Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fora London marathon 2007 - the day after

The day after. I felt almost like a human being again. Just a slight muscle ache in the legs. But soemthing else had not been so lucky the day before. There was a casualty, my poor Polar watch. The wrist band tore after years of absorbing sweat.

As a marathon survival treat I will get myself the Bentley of heart rate watches, the Garmin Forerunner 305. It has a GPS receiver, so I will never get lost again running around in the forest. It is frightfully expensive, so it will have to be the Christmas/birthday/Eastern/... present to myself for at least a couple of years to come.

After breakfast I decided to visit the Victory and Albert Museum. It is just down the road from the hotel and always worth a visit. As you can see, the weather had turned colder and rainy again. (Why? Why not the day before?)

I hadn't been to the museum for a couple of years, so it was about time I went again. The collection of art and design is huge and you can spend days in there. I only had a couple of hours, so I concentrated on the fashion & jewlery exhibition. I may not look like it, but I am a fashion victim.

In this way inspired, I visited
Harvey Nichols and bought a jacket. The British economy is booming just because of my visit.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Flora London marathon 2007 - race day

And then it is Sunday morning. It doesn't start well. When I try to attach my runners number to the Unicef t-shirt I tear a hole into it (the t-shirt AND the runners number). I am starting to have a premonition about the problems ahead of me (my nan was very superstitious, it has rubbed off on me a bit).

Then it's time to go and we get on the bus that will take us to the starting line:

To my great surprise the bus took us to the blue start this year, which is also the start of the elite race. Last year we started from the red start together with all the costumed runners. I hadn't paid notice when I picked up my runners number and didn't see that the number was printed on in blue, which would have been a clue. Uli claims he wrote about it in his newsletter, but that I too hadn't noticed. Apparently the organisers are experimenting with the different starts (three in total: green, red and blue) and are thinking about abandoning the green one next year.

Balloons, balloons, balloons...

We arrived early to beat the traffic and have plenty of time to rest, put on sunscreen and be nervous.

Based on last year finish time, I have been allocated to pen 6, so when there is only about 25 minutes to go I follow the signs...

There is not much to tell about the race itself, but... it was very hard indeed. I have plenty of excuses for not doing as well as last year: I didn't have sufficient time for training (about 6 weeks instead of the "prescribed" 12), I had been ill only two weeks before the race, it was a very warm day ("hot" in my world).

The first 5k I ran too fast. If you look at my splits it doesn't seem like that, but shortly after the start there was a congestion and we had to walk for a couple of minutes (4 according to my watch). It seems that the "experiment" with the blue start failed. After 10k I was already starting to feel the heat. After 15k I knew, I wouldn't be able to continue at the pace I was running. After 20k I knew, it wasn't a question of keeping up the pace, but finishing at all. I don't look bad though on Tower Bridge, which is exactly at 20k (the pictures are small, because I am not willing to pay 75 GBP for one print to the official photographer for a better resolution!):

I have to admit that I started to walk after about 23k. I had drunken too much cold water and was having stomach cramps. But running for Unicef and thinking about the sponsors' money kept me going. I spent the second half of the race, walking running walking running. Finish time didn't matter at all. And suddenly there it was... the finish line!

At the meeting point, Uli and B. have already recovered from their race. They were trying to run 3.45, but the heat had taken it's toll on them too and they finished in very respectable 4:04.

In the evening we all meet in a pub for
inter air's after marathon party. Achim took pictures, but they aren't online yet:

Uli and B. have recovered even more and look pratically radiant:

It may not have been a brilliant race for me, but I was lucky and won a price at the tombola. A weekend marathon running course with Herbert Steffny! (You may remember that last year after the marathon I wanted to book this seminar, but it was fully booked.) The only embarrasing thing about it was, that Achim had asked me to be the Good Luck Fairy and draw the winning numbers out of a hat. But since I hadn't cheated, he insisted I was the winner. (I have asked my trainer Jens if I am allowed to go and he replied "absolutely not" :-)).

I did have my picture taken wearing my Brittlestar t-shirt and my medal (marathon tradition no. 5). But I am not posting it here, it's censored. I asked Uli to ensure that I have only one chin and he managed to do that. Unfortunately that came at a price. I look like Jay Leno. Let me get this clear: it is not at all Uli's fault, but entirely due to my stupid face. I did send the picture to Stewart, but it's for private use only.

Mark asked if I enjoyed the marathon. Yes and no. But more yes than no, so I will be back next year.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Flora London marathon 2007 - the final two days

I had decided to start a couple of London marathon traditions (I know that doing something two years in a row is not a tradition worth mentioning, but you have to start somewere, right?):

  1. Visit the Wildlife photographer of the year exhibition at the Natural History Museum
  2. Buy a London marathon mug at the marathon expo
  3. Join Uli and the other runners in our group for a last training run on Saturday morning.
  4. Finish the London marathon (obviously)
  5. Have my picture taken afterwards wearing my Brittlestar t-shirt and my medal
Traditions 1 to 3 are easy to achive, but 4 and subsequently 5 are a challenge.

So, easy ones first and Friday morning I visit the wildlife photography exhibition at the Natural History Museum:

The exhibition was again fascinating and I would have loved to take home all of the pictures to put them on my wall. If you happen to be in London in April, go and see it. It's worth it.

Next up, the London marathon expo and that mug. More important than the mug is of course to pick up the runners number and the Champion chip used to take the time.

I spent way too much money at the expo. In addition to the mug I bought some clothes and energy bars and gels for the race. I had pasta, order the newspaper with the results (they send it to each runners home address) and got red laces.

Then it's Saturday morning and we go on our final run before the race. It has no training effect, it's simply to calm the nerves and do some sightseeing.

This is where it will all end the next day:

Saturday was a lovely, warm and sunny day. So in the afternoon I went to Hyde Park armed with a book to have a nap in the sun and watch the swans:

Monday, April 23, 2007

Two times lucky

It's done. It was hard, much harder than last year, but I made it to the finish line:

Position (overall) 20923
Position (gender) 4776
Position (age group) 914
Finish time 4:49:38
Pictures of the race day and time off in London will be posted soon.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Off to London

That's it, I am off to London tomorrow morning. No further training to be done apart from a Saturday morning slow run to Buckingham Palace with Uli. I am 2 days and 12 hours away from the second marathon of my life.

Stats of the week so far:

Total running time: 2 h 18 min
Total distance run: 21.2 k

I hope that on Sunday afternoon I will be able to add another 42.195k to the total distance. Thanks to everyone who is sponsoring me and thanks also for all the messages and well wishes! I will report back on Tuesday next week.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Stats of the week - 1 week to go

So this was it, the last week of "proper training". Jens has reduced the pace and the kilometers, so stats are:

Total running time: 5 h 56 min (plus 1h on the crosstrainer)

Total distance run: 53.5 k (plus 5.2 on the crosstrainer)

This time next week I hope to be back in my hotel room, showered and happy after a successful run. If the let me take part, that is. I have just spilled coffee over the registration form that I have to hand in at the marathon expo to get my runner's number. Don't know what's wrong with me. That's the fourth time in two weeks that I have knocked over a coffee mug. And there is always some important document ruined (like the original auditor's report for our company, including original not photocopied signatures of the auditor).

The weather is great, but that is bad for my running. I do not perform well in the heat (and "heat" in my world starts at about 20° C). Weather forecast for London next Sunday: rainy and 17° C. Yipee! That's my kind of weather!

Tomorrow I will have to take Mr Cat to the v...e...t. He doesn't know it yet and it's better if he remains in the dark for as long as possible. I fear, he has broken off one of his teeth. The gums look inflamed and he makes a mess when he is eating, probably because he cannot chew properly anymore.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Running for children

I blogged a while ago that I have become a member of Running for Children, an organisation associated to Unicef. The idea is to find sponsors for runs we participate in and thus raise money for Unicef projects.

I am dedicating the London marathon 2007 to "Running for Children" and I promise to run my little heart out for everyone who donates something to this project! I cannot promise a personal best after only four weeks of proper training, but I will do my very best to stay under 5 hours.

Fundraising is very popular in the UK, but something relatively new here in Germany and something like
Just Giving for UK registered charities, does not exist for German ones. Therefore, if you would like to sponsor me, please make a bank transfer to the following account:

Running for Children e.V.
Commerzbank Berlin
BLZ/Bank code: 100 400 00
Kto/Account no.: 441 441 3

The reason for transfer should be: "Member no. 217 London marathon". If you also state your full address and donate at least than 25 Euros, you will automatically receive a donation receipt for Mr Taxman.

If you live in the UK and would like to sponsor me, I have a Barclays bank account that can be used. Of course, I will transfer the equivalent amount you donate to the "Running for Children" account and sent you a proof of payment. Please contact me for details: sabine1302 @ (I am putting blanks in, because I receive enough spam email already).

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Stats of the week - 2 weeks to go

Total running time: 5 h 54 min

Total distance run: 59.1 k

I am back at work, so I cannot run as much as I used to over the last couple of weeks. But on Good Friday I participated in a long run which is advertised as 30k, but the organiser told us later that is actually "only" 29.1k (we asked, because we all felt it hadn't been 30k long). It doesn't matter, because it is a fun run not a competition. There is no winner; you run in one of various groups, each with a pace maker for a certain time. The route includes one very steep hill towards the end (after about 23k), which is a challenge. There are three stops along the way to have refreshments like water, bananas and biscuits. I chose the group that ran 6:15 min/k, because 5:00, 5:30 and 5:50 sounded too fast and 6:45 too slow. I did not want to spoil the fun for others by joining a group and not being able to keep the pace. But I could probably have managed the 5:50 group. Even though we were a bit faster than our intended 6:15 (around 6:05) our pace was too slow for my taste, which is good. Unfortunately I cannot draw any conclusions from that for the marathon. After all we did take those three 5 to 6 minute breaks, which I will not do during the marathon.

Happy Easter everyone!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Stats of the week - 3 weeks to go

Total running time: 7 h 15 min

Total distance run: 72 k

More kilometers in less time than last week. Strange. Did I miscalculate last week? I will check.