So many demons have been slain on this trip. My last trip to Berlin was a bit of a nightmare. Certainly the getting home part... I’d been over for the 50 anniversary commemoration of the building of the Berlin Wall, with The Professor in August 2011 (tip. Do not travel anywhere with exes. A rule I broke twice that year. Ahem). He had scribbled instructions for getting to Schonfeld on a piece of paper, and waved me off at the S-Bahn because he was too cheap to buy a ticket of his own to see me all the way to the airport. There were engineering works. I missed the plane. I’d also failed to get up the Reichstag (on the second attempt) while there, and, generally speaking, did not enjoy myself. It wasn’t Berlin’s fault. Berlin was lovely. I took heaps of photos, I was thoroughly historical. I visited museums.
This time was much better – I was with N, for starters. And he is an excellent demon-slaying-assistant. We went to see all sorts of things!
Friday evening was all about the ceilings, apparently.
Saturday was all about Tempelhof and the Expo… we got our numbers. It was held in a disused airport, the one used for the Berlin Airlift, and we think it was the stomping ground of another friend of ours: lots of USAF signs, so we took several photos in total overexcitement (he was over in Berlin in the 1980s. He speaks Russian. Nuff said). We headed out to a lovely place that produced gluten-free pasta. We bought rice cakes in a whole foods shop. We covered about 10-12 miles the day before the race, which was possibly a slight mistake (although that does include a lovely run round Tiergarten, where N pushed me to 8:40 min/miles….)
Anyhow. There were some demons in Berlin. Slain. We made it up the Reichstag on Tuesday morning. We did not miss the flight (although the leitmotif of a delayed flight and a lack of information at the airport continued at Tegel). I have now managed to enter Berlin via train, and both airports – I just need to drive there at some point.
And there was a race. Which was epic, and awesome (it was definitely epic. My Strava Suffer Score was 843).
(You can see where I slowed down after I realised that a sub-4 hour maraton just wasn’t quite going to happen – and then when the adrenaline hit after going through the Brandenberg Gate! I will get rid of those 2 minutes at some point.)
I was pretty pleased – 8 minutes off my previous marathon PB. N did even better – he knocked 20 minutes off his, and has a Boston Qualifying Time (so that’s where we’ll be in March/April 2017). 3:22:20. I could not be more proud of him!
It was really quite warm – warmer than we wanted in the sun. We caught the sun. It was an amazing atmosphere – I ran the whole thing without music, as there were so many bands along the route (and my iPod had not been packed…). People cheering. People getting in the way…people cheering more. Oompah Bands. Rock Bands. Someone with some incredibly tinny speakers playing “Olay Olay Olay Olay” at at least three points round the course. Random chaps in hats playing snare drums. Small children with pots and pans. Hands down, the best course for people cheering. There weren’t many places were it was silent. I started well, but couldn’t quite maintain the pace. You can see where I picked up a bit after passing a Macmillan Cheer Point at mile 17-18 (there were only two of them, but BY GOLLY they were LOUD). I think my own music would have helped during mile 25-26. I gave myself several pep talks, instead. I had the time. And, by then, I knew I’d be faster than I was in Rome, so it didn’t really matter that I wasn’t getting my aim. The high as I finished was enormous – and lasted for aaaaaaaaaaaages.
Afterwards, it took forever to find N (eventually we met back at the hotel – he got cold waiting for me, I struggled to get through the crowds of people) and we had room service. The two most blissful words in the English Language. We then staggered out for supper. I had a currywurst. I failed to finish my chips. N had two beers, one of which tasted of cola. Weird.
Around the marathon, we sort of did sightseeing. We met up with an internet friend on Friday night, and had sushi.
Monday, I couldn’t walk terribly well. Stairs were an issue. I was in pain and grumpy for much of the afternoon (I eventually took Ibuprofen, which took the edge off, and I was vastly happier, and wondered why I’d put it off for so long). We went to the zoo. I love Berlin Zoo. This was my second trip, and we saw pretty much every animal. We meandered over to the Adidas shop, and had our times lasered into yellow plastic wristbands. That’s pretty cool – although they’re not lasered in deep, it’s rather good fun seeing all the flame as it’s burned in! We went to a yarn shop which was shut, and came across some Stumbling Stones.
Tuesday: finally, on my third try, the Reichstag. We went to a lecture (pretty interesting, very well delivered). Then we went up to the dome. And I felt dizzy! I still got right the way up to the top, slaying a demon – the demon of not managing to do something I’d wanted to do, as well as the demon of height-fear… Then we went to another yarn shop (this time open, although not the best selection of German Sock Yarn known to humankind. I did better in Munich), lunch and home. Via a delay, but not missing the flight. Incidentally. You cannot assume that a BA flight automatically gives you hold luggage. Even if you had hold luggage on the way out. Also, dill smells even more vile than usual at 40,000 feet…