Training for Berlin Marathon was hard. Although I had a group to train with, but it was not the same feeling as in Miami. Summer in Barcelona is HOT. Probably one of the things I missed the most about the US was the AC during this infernal time. So yes, putting miles in the middle of August was not the best thing, BUT it gave me to opportunity to actually run the whole city of Barcelona, from corner to corner. And that was something that was totally worth it.
So coming September, I had to travel a lot for vacation, but at least I put the most millage early on. I signed up for Berlin with the help of team ProAM from Barcelona, as they sell the trip to Berlin together with the racing bib. So I took advantage of the opportunity of being in Europe and actually doing one the Marathon Majors during my stay.
With the team, we got to Berlin, and I was lucky to have my mom with me for this trip. We stayed in a nice hotel, and tried to move around Berlin, with our zero German. Even worse, most of the people of the team, didn’t speak English, so most of the times I served as translator haha.
Next day, we ran easy in the morning, and my coach was confident that I could do a pace that seemingly I could do. He had super high hopes for me and said to stay with another teammate during the race. Later that day, we went to the expo, packet pick up was super quick, and the expo was packed! But my priority was to stay off the legs and go back to the hotel ASAP.
Race morning was super cold. We took the metro and arrive to the race site. We dropped the clothes bags, I stayed with my teammate, and went to the corral. It was a cloudy day, no sunlight at all, and there were TONS of people. This was my first major so I expected no less!
So for each wave of corrals they had a start. Slow because of the insane amount of people, but finally we started. Although cold, the weather was perfect for running. I took off a layer I had and continued the run. I kept the pace with my teammate, but I thought the pace was too much to keep for the whole marathon. I kept with him for 1.5 hours, and after that I slow down because I KNEW I would never get to the finish line at that pace.
Onto 2 hours, and I was still fine, but I was feeling the fatigue to kick-in already, half way through and I knew it wasn’t a good sign at all. On mile 20 / 32km, I started to increase the pace, just like I did in Ironman Texas the year before. It worked in Texas, why not in Berlin? With 5km to go, I knew it was an all-out. But my legs were broken already and I didn’t have it on me. Nothing will revive me, I tried Red Bull, gels, nada, zero… The last 5km we the longest and most painful.
The Brandenburg Gate was the signal of the finish of the marathon. Those last 5km were full of turns, and on each turn I was expecting the f*cking gate. But it was like a never ending turns without luck. Finally I turned on my left, and I saw the Gate, another runner started shouting in Spanish “Ahi esta la puta puerta!!! Ahi esta la maldita puerta!!!”, and he said what I was thinking this whole time of my walk of dead. (Translates as: there’s the f*cking gate! There’s the goddamn gate!!)
With my soul leaving my body, I reached the finish line (panda kick included!). At the finish, I got my medal, and a goodie bag with snacks for recovery. I was in SO much pain. Walking hurted like hell. I still needed to get my clothes bag before getting cold, and I got lost in the process. The venue was HUGE, and I didn’t know where the hell I dropped my bag, and I was freezing already.
Finally I grabbed my bag and changed clothes. I stretched and just laid down to rest on the lawn. When my soul returned to my body, I went to the metro station, had a pizza, revived a second time, and headed to the hotel and died. My mom met with the rest of the team to eat but I was completely KO.
The moral of the story, is to trust what I can do, and not what others think I can. The pace from the beginning completely obliterated my own plan for the race, and I ended miserable. Berlin Marathon is a great race to PR, cold weather and a flat course. Still after all this suffering I did PR on my 3rd marathon ever, after running my second one 7 years before. (Ironman marathons are a different story lol).
Berlin Marathon: 4:29:30
3rd marathon and first major.