Race week. ‘How do you feel?’ my friend messaged me on Monday morning. ‘Excited…Nervous... Scared?’ she asked. ‘All!’ I agreed. As I sit and write this on Wednesday evening (trying to use the extra time I have on my hands during this final taper a bit productively!) my feelings are still the same, and probably will not change now until I take the first step across the start line on Sunday.
I am excited to get to Berlin. I loved the city last year when I took on the marathon for the first time, and it is always an adventure when running takes you somewhere different. I think my excitement levels are heightened this year by the fact I know that this time my friend is going to be running the marathon too. It was difficult last year travelling out there together and experiencing the pre-race hype, but knowing that due to injury, only I was able to run. I am so grateful that I had my friend with me last year though, I could not imagine having been out there alone and not having someone’s support or someone to share that finish line embrace with. This year though, to get to both experience it all just feels extra special.
I am nervous as with any race day. When I think of actually running the marathon I get little bubbles of cautious excitement within me. I just want to get there and run now but at the same time I am guarded. Am I ready? Have I prepped well? Do I have everything I need? Will I get to the start line ok? All these little running related concerns and anxieties are crossing my mind, and maybe the fact it is a marathon means they feel a little stronger than normal.
I am scared. A marathon is such an unknown beast that really anything can happen during those 26.2 miles. Sometimes you cannot control this no matter how prepared you feel. I have been there where a marathon has spat me out and left me to struggle, so I am not oblivious to the fact it could happen. I think this is a risk any marathon runner takes though, and just maybe it adds to the thrill.
Amongst all my emotions I do have to think about how I am actually going to approach the race. So far this week I have completed some very short (maximum four mile) runs. They have not been super relaxed as I can sense the tension in my body; the fear of any niggle or things not feeling quite right is constantly on my mind. Taper week aside though, training has gone very well for me – I literally could not have asked for anything more from myself. I feel strong and fit, and I since my last marathon (the London Marathon in April this year) I have managed PBs at half marathon, 5 mile and 5k distance.
With all this in mind, I would love a new marathon PB, which would have to see me go under the 3:51:03 time I set at London this year, and if I run a perfect race I think my body is capable of doing that. It is no secret of my goal to run qualifying time for others races too, and a sub 3:45 time would guarantee me a spot in other marathons I want to run, and would also be a Good For Age time for the London Marathon - my favourite race of all. However, I really only have one goal for the Berlin Marathon, and that is to run it with my friend. I want to do this not only because it was not possible last year, but because it would mean a lot to share this experience with someone who loves running as much as I do, and equally knows how much of a positive influence running has on life. Running has created a unique friendship between us which I know I will never get with anyone else; my friend has seen the best and worst of me, and our ventures over miles means she probably knows more things about me than most people do. To be able to share one of the world’s best running events together is therefore a memory I want to create and look back on more than I want a specific finishing time. I still believe that together we are capable of challenging a very good marathon time, but if it is not to be then I will not be disappointed in any way, shape or form.
So next stop Berlin. An early morning flight (which thankfully Ryanair did not decide to cancel!) will see me in the German capital Friday morning ready for the marathon weekend. Good luck to anyone else running and I hope you will all celebrate your achievements, whatever your goal is, in true German style – with a beer! I hate beer, but after a marathon it somehow taste’s good and also feels somewhat deserved!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...