Berlin Marathon - Not a great result today for me. But I was pleased that I soldiered through a bit of an off day and finished relatively strong. (Sept 25) After writing the below entry yesterday - based upon the reports of the leaders - I think I can attribute at least part of my difficulty to the sticky humid conditions. It did not really dawn on me because the temps were much cooler than in ATL - but humidity was 99%.
Weather conditions were wet/sloppy, cool and humid. Temps in the upper 50's at the start. It had rained steadily all night and in the morning it was foggy/misty with periods of light rain even in the race. So the streets were quite wet and my shoes and socks were soaked by the end.
Had a hard time with sleeping the night before. I was tired around 8 pm local time and fell asleep only to be awakened by the thumping of some dance club nearby the hotel around 11:30 pm and then could not get back to sleep for about 2 hours. So I slept in shifts or intervals.
Hotel was within relatively easy walking distance to the start and finish which are pretty close to each other.
Not really sure what happened to me today. I felt a bit flat and never felt comfortable for most of the early miles. I even suddenly started wretching around mile 7 as if I was going to throw-up; but that passed without any production thankfully.
Knowing I was not at my best - I decided to simply run by using my HR monitor in order to keep my pace in an aerobic HR range (top of the range unfortunately)- to try to "consolidate my losses" as they say, and not completely blow-up by attempting to force things. I went from running around 7:40 pace for the first 4-5 miles or so, to running 8's and the 8:10's and then even had a few 8:40's. I would feel decent for a mile or so, and then feel bad again so my pacing was somewhat up and down but not with huge swings.
Some interesting items of note about this race. This marathon had only kilometers marked, as it is in Germany (I don't recall when running in Paris or London if they only marked k's or had some mile markers too) - with no mile markers at all. No worries, my Garmin kept track with autolaps at every mile. Water was sporadic at maybe every 3 to 4k in flimsy platic cups. Picture thousands of those plastic cups on wet streets. Most volunteers did not hand out water, so you had to pick it up yourself from the table. That caused some crowding - and I even had someone bump into my watch at one of them, which inadvertantly recorded lap between mile 17 and 18. There were maybe 2 stations in the entire race where I think they had the equivalent to a sports drink - otherwise it was tea. The sports drink was very sugary and did not sit well with my already bad stomach. Oh yeah, in the last 5k they had a special station for drinks which was Red Bull. Odd.
Anyway - the race did not get completely away from me and in the last 5k when the 3:30 pacers came upon me, I decided to not let them finish in front of me - so my last few miles were actually back to sub 8's. Turns out the pacers started perhaps a little further back than I did at the start - or maybe they were slow today too because although I finished in front of them, my time was not sub-3:30.
Postitives: I pushed through on an "off-day" in slightly less than ideal conditions and did not do too badly. I finished strongly. I last ran this race 10 years ago when I was in really poor marathon shape - and so I bested my younger self by over 30 mins. In the official results my range of pace by 5k was an average 4:50 ppk (in the first 5k) to a high of 5:23 ppk (at 35k) - which is less than a 30 secs per k range; with the last 5k at an average of 5:08 ppk.