Home » The Berlin Half: Week 12

The Berlin Half: Week 12

Source: DailyMile

It’s finally the day before the race, yikes!  This week was my “taper” week, with an easy 4-mile run, 30-minute tempo run, and easy 2-mile run scheduled.  Enough to keep me from going crazy with worry that I’m not fit enough, but easy enough to give my legs a chance to rest a bit before running 13.1 miles on Sunday.

It would have been nice if training had gone according to plan, but instead I developed a slight aching in my left foot and lower leg on Monday. Probably nothing major, but I didn’t want to chance injuring myself further the week before the race.  So instead, I did less running and lots of icing and ingestion of anti-inflammatories.

The good news is that the soreness is mostly gone, the bad news is that I only got in my 30-minute tempo run this week.   In addition to the one run, I did two strengthening workouts.  Not an ideal taper week, but I think it was a smart decision.   I guess we’ll find out tomorrow, right?

Runners' expo
Runners' expo: Flughafen Tempelhof, Berlin.

In other news, we visited the Runners’ Expo last night to pick up our race numbers, shirts, and bags.  (Mein Schatz is running with me as my personal cheerleader and fluid carrier.) We were blessed with no crowds, despite the 30,000 runners registered for the race, and were very happy that we decided to avoid the Saturday chaos.

One bonus was that the expo was held at the old Tempelhof airport, built in 1927 in the middle of the city.  It is perhaps most well-known for its role in Cold War tensions after WWII.  After the Soviet Union cut off all land transport into West Berlin, the Allies supplied the city’s inhabitants with food and other necessities by airplane, landing at Tempelhof, which was then in the Allied-controlled West Berlin.  This operation went on for almost a year in 1948, and came to be known as the Luftbrücke, or air bridge. The airport closed in 2008, and is currently used for various events and expos, and still has all the trappings of a functioning airport.  They’ve left up all the original arrival and departure signs, the luggage belts, and ticket counters.  I love old spaces that have been repurposed for other uses, especially when you still have a hint of the space’s earlier history.  This is part of the reason I love Berlin so much.

Race day prep
How did they know 5374 is my lucky number?

The weather for tomorrow looks like it’s going to contain a little bit of everything: 8C/46F, some sun, some rain, some wind.  Not as lovely as the last few weeks have been, but considerably better than the -11C/12F and snow we had when I started training!  Here’s what I’ve decided to wear:

  • My Brooks running shorts with three pockets + short sleeve shirt + running cap (to protect against the sun and the rain!)
  • I’m also bringing my super light weight jacket, in case it proves to be extra cold at the start.  But since I usually get really warm when I run, I probably won’t end up wearing it.
  • In terms of shoes, I’m wearing my trusty Asics Gel Nimbus.  They have seen me through many miles, and this will probably be their last race with me.  It’s time to invest in a new pair, I think. Maybe as a reward after the race?
  • My very unfancy Timex running watch.  No GPS, no elevation tracking, no automatic calculations of my pace.  But I will be able to track my kilometer splits (yep, no miles over here in Europe), which is the most important thing.

I’ve also organized my race bag in preparation for tomorrow.  Here’s what I’m bringing along:

  • 1 High5 Energy Gel for 15 minutes before the start of the race. These are nice because they go down like juice, and aren’t quite as thick as your typical energy gel.
  • 3 Power Bar energy gels for during the race.  These I’ll take every 40 minutes or so during the run.
  • 1 protein bar, 1 banana, and 1 bottle of sports drink for refueling after the race.
  • Tissues.  My nose always runs in cold weather, plus you never know whether the supply of toilet paper in the port-o-potties is going to run out.
  • Long pants, jacket, long sleeved shirt, and compression socks for directly before and after the race.
  • And my start number and timing chip, of course!

I’m feeling pretty prepared for the run.  Since it’s my first half in about two years, I’m using it as a test of my fitness, and I’m not going in with a specific goal time.  Instead, my goal is to run strong and feel good, and see where that leads me.  After tomorrow I’ll have a basis for what I have to do to reach my time goals in the future.  But now all that’s left to do is put my feet up, take a nap, eat my new favorite spaghetti with chickpeas carbo-loading meal, and go to bed early.  Try not to be jealous.

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