Freiburg Marathon Finished!!!!!
Conditions: Cloud, gusty, some rain, some sun
Location: Freiburg Marathon!
Time: 11.05am onwards
Planned Run: Have fun!
Actual Run: 3h 57m 58s (Kelsi), 4h 17m 12s (James)
Well, we did it! Our first marathon! It was tough, there was pain, but a great experience and I'm so glad I finished!
The weather turned out pretty good with sunny spells and the occasional light shower. Not too hot though. We set off at a fairly good pace but I got a bit caught up in the fervor of the race I think. At one point Kelsi reminded me that we shouldn't run too fast as we'll lose out later one. This was true but many people seemed to be passing and it was difficult not to want to keep up with them
The crowds were pretty good. There were some patches with no people supporting at all but nothing too long. When we entered the city centre this changed and there were many people out clapping and cheering which was quite something. I thoroughly enjoyed this atmosphere and found if I thanked those clapping and cheering it would make them clap and cheer even more. And most of the children wanted to give 'fives' and slap your hand which was great.
At one point we came across a chap speaking English to a friend in the crowd and Kelsi asked him where he was from. Turned out he was from Milwaukie on a business trip and thought he'd do the marathon whilst here. He was a marathon veteran and gave us some good tips about not running too fast when the adrenalin flows with the cheering crowds. This was something I noticed with all of us. When something happened with the crowd you'd suddenly realise you'd speeded up considerably. At one point someone cheered on a runner behind me and he ran into the back of me because of the rush he got. Quite interesting.
The water points were pretty good although a bit too far apart at some points. Water, Isostar, sometimes black tea and Red Bull, bananas and some really nice yoghurt power bars were given out which I found very enjoyable. It was at one of these water points that both Kelsi and I had our first power gel intake (this was the first time I'd used one! Ooops!) and it went down well with some water. This was about 17km's (11 miles) into the run.
I was still feeling good at this point and felt quite strong. Kelsi also seemed to be running well and our pace showed this. However, in the back of my head I wondered what it would be like the second time around. I was feeling great and very comfortable and soaking up the whole atmosphere with the bands playing and the Freiburg folks cheering.
We arrived back at the start area which is the half marathon mark (two half-marathon loops) and crossed the line in just under two hours (1h 59m 49s) which was great. We were on target to get around in 4 hours but the tough bit was about to come. I still felt good although my legs were starting to tire and I could feel my 'runner's toe' starting to hurt a bit.
So, the second half arrived and we decided that we could start looking as though we're in pain! The stretches without supporters were quite difficult (apart from one incident where a chap caught short of a toilet giving a select few a bowel symphony from the hedge to remember!) but a friend told me last week that he found the more interaction he did with the crowd the better it was for him. I found this very true. Acknowledging their support and smiling really got them beaming back. Both Kelsi and I had our names printed on the front of our shirts and this was also useful. Suddenly you'd hear your name shouted out and that was a boost.
Boosts were needed at this point. Around 30kms I was starting to suffer. I told Kelsi beforehand that it would be great to finish together but if she feels she's got the legs then she must go for it. I started losing my pace and told her to carry on. My energy levels, my legs and more than anything a nasty pain in my chest made me want to slow down. It was time to 'tough it out' big time. I started stopping and it seemed to relieve the pains in my chest which was a bit worrying. I then got into 'plod mode' and hoped this would carry me through but it seemed like I was now running backwards.
The last 10kms were very difficult. At one point I really felt I wasn't going to finish and just wanted to have a hot bath! I sent a text message to my friend saying my legs were seizing up and she replied astonished I had the energy to send text messages! Well, I needed to do something to take my mind off the pain and this seemed to work. I actually got into an 'auto pilot' mode here and before long I was quite pleased I'd plodded without stopping for a few kilometers. Again the crowds helped and to hear "Go James Go!!" was such a boost
Slowly but surely I got closer and closer to the end and I tried to remember that this was a marathon so I SHOULD be feeling this pain! Again stopping to drink water and to ease the pain before trudging my legs for another few kilometers.
I reached the long road to the finish point and this was a nice feeling. Just one long road to go with a water stop halfway along and the end within reach. Many people seemed to have passed me and looking at my watch I realised that I was probably going to finish before 4 hours 30 minutes. This was ok. To think where I was 6 months ago I would have never believed I could finish a marathon in this time.
The last corner turned and then downhill into the throngs for the finish line. My legs were shattered and my chest hurting but I managed to find a sprint finish from somewhere. Even keeping up with a finishing half marathoner!
Pow, I'd finished!!
I crossed the line and again heard my name shouted out. My friend Terrence shouted "James, you've done it" Wow, I had! Had I? Me finished a marathon??!! Crazy!
I met up with Kelsi and asked her what time she achieved and was so pleased she'd beaten the 4 hour mark. It said 3h 59m 38s on her watch but we later found the correct time was 3h 57m!! That is incredible! It suddenly dawned on me that she'd run the second half of the marathon faster than the first half!! What a time!! Something to treasure.
So that was it. Collecting our thoughts, memories, belongings whilst we limped around the Start/Finish area.
I'm going to add more pics when they arrive but here are a couple Terrence took which are great.
Now it's time to sleep!!