9 Oct 2012

Valencia Marathon is a No Go for Me!

After Berlin Marathon my recovery hasn't been so good! Actually it's been the worst yet after a marathon....

I knew my legs would hurt for a few days but I hadn't figured on my knees, especially my right one, still hurting on and off after 9 days :-(

I've always had knee problems after a run but since training for Valencia Marathon last year they stopped hurting and have been fine since. I can only imagine that because I was pushing my body to the limit in Berlin, and didn't slow down for the last 5k as I normally would, that my knees just couldn't take the extra pressure. Also maybe going from not running at all to running 4 marathons in 16 months might not have been so smart!

Not that I regret running Berlin for one second as, thanks to Paul, I DID finish in under 4:30!!

My plan for the next couple of months is to take it easy and learn to land on my fore or midfoot to take away  some of the jarring on my knees. I'm also going to stengthen up my quad muscles as this should help too. Right now my plans for next year include no marathons but at least two of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series half marathons in Europe. Next year I will have the choice of Nice, Edinburgh, and Dublin and probably Lisbon. Edinburgh and Lisbon are the ones I'm thinking of doing! So next year for me is going to be no serious racing and just running for fun :-)

So basically because I'm going to be learning to land differently and I want to give my knees some time to recover I won't be running Valencia Marathon :-( I will, however, be running the 10k there if my knees are feeling better by then but I'll just be using it as a 'fun run'. I'll also have to jump on the marathon course in a couple of places to run with my good friend Ciry and help her beat the 4:30 time as I did in Berlin :-)

I last saw Ciry in Madrid in April and can't wait to see her again in Valencia!! See you real soon Ciry!

4 Oct 2012

Mike's Sightrunning Berlin Marathon Orientation!

While in Berlin Paul, Latimer and I met up with Mike from Mike's SightRunning Berlin who had kindly offered to give us a Berlin Marathon orientation tour :-)

I first met Mike when I visited Berlin to see the 'Festival of Lights' in October 2010. I thought it would be great fun to run around the city at night seeing the lights and having a guided tour at the same time. You can read my review of that tour here Festival of Lights Sightrunning Tour and here More Photos of Light Sightrunning Tour. As you can see, I had a great time and highly recommend Mike's SightRunning.

Anyway on the Friday morning before the marathon we met Mike outside the main station along with two other guys. He took us over to the marathon start/finish area and then proceeded to tell us everything he could about the marathon. This was a lot as Mike has run the marathon over 10 times!! Mike told us about the different ways into the start area, the best way in to avoid the crowds, how we would have to walk a long way once we finish and be penned in like sheep again. He gave us tips on drinking water and how to avoid lots of toilet visits (I certainly needed help there). He is very interesting to listen to.

We enjoyed very much our time together with Mike and it won't be the last time I see him as I'm hoping to visit Berlin for a little holiday next year and will definatly be doing another sight running tour with Mike :-)

2 Oct 2012

Berlin Marathon 2012 Write Up!

First things first:-


I've had such a strange month leading up to this marathon that I knew it would be hard! I managed to get in a 25k run 4 weeks before and then a 17k with three weeks to go but it was all downhill from there.

I had a mole removed so wasn't allowed to run for 10 days until the stitches were out and then, the day before they came out, I caught a very bad cold so I couldn't breathe very well. I wasn't going to run like that and make it worse! So my goal for the last month has been to make it to the start line.

My friend Paul from 50-is-the-new-30.blog was to be my pacer for the whole race! I was so glad he was with me especially at the end but I'll get to that later :-)

The weather marathon morning was sun with a big blue sky! It was going to be a hot one....

At 8am on race morning Latimer (my son) and I met up with Paul and Toni. Toni would be looking after Latimer while I was running :-) Latimer and Toni both had huge cowbells that Paul had bought for them so we would hear them in the crowds of spectators :-)

We said goodbye to them and headed down to the beginning of block H where we would be starting from. Of course, I just had to go to the toilet before we got penned in. I actually starting bleating like a sheep as that's what I felt like. It was very squashy waiting to begin running.

At 9am the first wave of runners started their marathon and lots of blue balloons were let up into the sky. It looked very pretty! At around 9.10am the second wave of runners were off. We started walking towards the start around 9.15am and were over the start line and on our way by around 9.20am.

The blue race line
For around the first 7 or 8k it was pretty crowded and very hard to keep an even pace going. There were so many runners. I haven't done a large race like this before so it was a completely different experience.

At the first water station I knew that my fear of plastic cups all over the ground was going to be a reality :-( The stops were every 5k to begin with and then became every 2.5k. So every time there was a stop for around the next 300 metres or so you had to watch the ground and hope that you will not step wrong and slip over! It seemed that everytime a water stop came up it was on a narrow road so you would grab your drink and try to keep running while watching the ground for cups. This made it impossible to get an even pace going again until the stop had been left behind. Paul actually saw a man go down from slipping on a cup at a water stop later in the race!!

We looked out for Latimer and Toni (and listened for their cowbells) at the 7k mark but didn't see them there. We found out later that they didn't make it there in time. They were also standing at 21k, 32k, and 42k and we saw (and heard) them at each of these stops :-) It was fantastic to be able to run over and give Latimer a kiss before running on again!!

For the first half marathon I was pretty high and talking lots and just enjoying the whole atmosphere :-) There were so many Danes (around 30000) cheering the runners on and Danish flags were everywhere. I didn't have a danish top on but I found out that if I waved my arms like crazy and shouted out 'Danmark' they would all shout back at me :-) They really helped me along! Thank you so much to all the Danes that were there!!

I didn't do my usual stop at 30k where I play my own mind games and pretend I'm just about to start a 12k race. I still did try and pretend I was just starting the run for the day but I did it this time after having my water and continuing to run. I just clenched my fists together and started saying out loud 'it's a brand new day' 'it's a 12k run'. This helped for a little while.....I remember starting to count down the kilometres from there but stopped after saying 'nine to go'. This is where I started getting into a little trouble!!

Thank you Paul for being by my side!! He had done a great job of trying to keep me doing an even pace and we had even started to make up a little of the time we lost at the beginning with the crowds of runners. I was so tired by 40k that I just had the urge to stop and walk but I didn't. I could hear Paul behind me telling me that I was looking good and that my pace was still on track. This helped so much!!  I had nothing left to give and just tried to run the same speed as before. I think we slowed a little for the last 2k though. I was struggling so much! I didn't hit the wall but it was so hard to keep up the pace!!

Then there it was! The Brandenburg gate was right before me!! What a fantastic sight :-) We ran through the middle gate as Mike from mikes sightrunning had said we should! Paul had been trying to get me to speed up since around 41.5k but I kept saying that it wasn't possible and I couldn't do it. Then with the finish line around 150 metres away I shouted 'sod it! Let's go!' It wasn't exactly a sprint finish for me but I did speed up my pace and just crossed the line while clenching my teeth together :-) A great video that will make!

I finished in 4 hours, 27 minutes and 19 seconds so got my new personal record!! There is no way I would have done it without Paul as he really kept me going the same pace for the last few kilometres!! By myself I would have slowed down!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Paul :-)

After crossing the line I was breathing very quickly and loudly. Someone asked if I was ok and I kind of said yes and waved them off. It was time to become a sheep again! We had to queue up for our medal and then to get past the plastic sheets being handed out. All I wanted was some water but it took us about 20 minutes to get to the people handing it out. Then me and Paul went for the beer :-)

Then we made our way to the family reunion area and found Latimer and Toni :-) We all had dinner together that evening too. It was great to see Toni and Paul again and we talked about meeting in Spain when they travel there :-)

One last thing here which is very important:-

I do think that there were too many runners for the course. Maybe if there were 30000 runners instead of 40000 it would improve the crowding at the beginning and also the waiting around times?

My overall experience of Berlin Marathon was fantastic!! And I would recommend everyone to try it at least once!!! Oh yeah and the medal looks great :-)

Knightley, Lynne-Deanne (GBR)
Overall: 4289
Overall: 696 (in Agegroup: W35)
chiptotal: 04:27:19
clocktotal: 04:47:43
First half: 02:13:11
Second half: 02:14:09
Time per km: 06:20
Speed: 9.47 km/h
5 km: 00:31:33
10 km: 01:03:33
15 km: 01:34:50
20 km: 02:06:08
25 km: 02:37:43
30 km: 03:09:38
35 km: 03:41:34
40 km: 04:13:07