Exactly one year ago, I blogged about my goals in terms of running, for this year:
What are my goals for 2008? Well, I'm planning to slowly increase my distance to run a marathon next year. It's not gonna be easy! Haile Gebrselassie once said: "It's the king of the distance!". My first step will be to get used to 20km, after that I'll jump to 30km and then we'll see :-). I'm definitely going to take part in the Badische Meile again, although just for fun, I won't practise for it. I'll run the LBS Halbmarathon in September and I hope after that I'll be ready to run the Berlin Marathon 2008.
Since Haile Gebrselassie is one of the most inspiring athletes of our time, I sticked to my plans the way I laid them out last December and ran the Berlin Marathon 2008. I'll quickly highlight the milestones of going from 21k to 42k.
My first run this year was the Badische Meile, which was quite hard. It's only 8.8 km, but since I started training for a longer distance, my ability to run really fast, kind of disappeared over time. With 42:01 minutes my timing was still reasonable. However I couldn't beat my last year's time of 39:06 minutes.
The second run I participated in was a 10k run hosted by the local energy company "Stadtwerke". It was a great run, especially because it was the first time my wife was at the finish line waiting for me. With 52:23 minutes I was not nearly close to my last year's time of 45:09. The reason is not that I wasn't able to, but simply because my training schedule said not to and believe me, sticking to the plan works out, as I'll show you in a minute.
The final preparation run was the LBS Half Marathon in Karlsruhe, which took place exactly one week before Berlin. To that point I had run close to 700 km in less than 10 weeks. It was a brutal, time consuming but amazing experience to get my body literally "up to speed". For the half marathon, my training schedule suggested to have an easy 21k run and that's what I did. However, I couldn't resist to really test my potential and did a sprint in the last 2k to cross the finish line after 1 hour and 56 minutes. To give you an idea of "how slow" I went, my last year's time was 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Day 0 took place in Berlin this year on a sunny Sunday morning with about 35.912 other runners among them the world record marathon runner Haile Gebrselassie. I was really excited and I couldn't wait for it to begin. I was in the second wave, which started 15 minutes after the pro runners. It was an amazing feeling to start with thousands of other people. The run was blast at least the first 30-35k! There were so many people at the side cheering and making noise that I completely forgot that I was running sometimes. After 2 hours, 3 minutes and 59 seconds a new world record was set, which gave me another push. Unfortunately, I had a slight stomach ache all through the run and it got quite apparent at around 30k. Due to that I couldn't drink that much and eating anything wasn't possible. At around 36k I was really tired and exhausted, but I pulled through and finished after 3 hours and 48 minutes. That's 5:24 minutes/km, which I am really proud of.
Running a marathon was an amazing experience and with that goal reached, I'm gonna close the chapter on running for me. I'm still gonna run and I probably always will, maybe I'll compete in another marathon some day, but for now I'm happy with what I've reached.