10 Things I Think About The Berlin Marathon 2017
1. The Snip
I think I'm going to avoid Vivian Foley for a while. I'm very scared. He beat me badly today in the marathon (seven seconds). I had been promising all week that I would beat him badly again like I did in Churchtown South. The forfeit proposed at dinner last night was that I would get the snip if I lost. I really don't want to get the snip, it sounds very painful and it might impact my running.
2. Chariots of Fire
I didn't think that I would ever end up actually racing someone in a marathon but I did. I really wanted to beat Vivian today, primarily because I was afraid of the snip but also because of pride. We had a great race long battle although he did sit on me for the sum total of 41.8 kilometres before unleashing a vicious kick. The finish was like the end of a stage of the Tour de France, the two of us striding down towards the Brandenburg Gate side by side. In fairness we did agree that we would stay together until then for a dramatic sprint, we even fist bumped. Sprinting at the end of a marathon is a very bad idea, things can easily tear. I wisely decided to save myself for the XC. I can always beat him then. I hope I don't regret not sprinting.
3. Familiar Faces
I think it's reassuring to see so many people you know while running a marathon. It gives you a great gauge of how bad or good you're running. I was delighted to see Derek Griffin at 20k, I knew then that I was running ok. I was going to ask him if his glutes were firing but I didn't as I didn't want to spend the next 22k debating the rights and wrongs of sports medicine, that's what Twitter is for. I also tried to beat Derek but failed miserably. I'll add him to the list for future beating.
4. Baldricks Cunning Plan
I think it's safe now to reveal the cunning reason why I drink San Pellegrino sparking water during my long runs. It's because it makes you exceptionally good at burping. I bet no one else practiced burping before the marathon. When you're forced to drink water from a cup like you have to in Berlin, burping is an essential skill. I reckon I cut at least a minute off my time by being a brilliant burper. Although I didn't have to rely entirely on the cups of water thanks to Ian O'Leary and Ronan's daughter Aisling who had lovely bottles with sports caps out on the course. There was no repeat of the John O'Connell mouldy water incident thankfully.
I think my pre-race breakfast of three bananas, peanut butter and countless rice cakes (at least 10) was ingenious. You don't need to take gels if you can regurgitate your breakfast continuously throughout the race. Even at 40k I could still burp and taste rice cakes, bananas and peanut butter. This made me extremely confident that I wasn't running out of energy. I was right. Who needs gels when you can be a human seagull.
6. Continental Tyres
I think I know why Kipchoge ran such a bad time and couldn't break the world record. It was because of the rain last night. The roads were actually really slippy and oily, especially the busy roads. It probably doesn't matter when you're 80kg and wearing Brooks Ghosts, but I'd say being 50 something kg and wearing Nikes which don't have Continental Tyre technology like the Adidas shoes makes a huge difference. A big German conspiracy. Adidas probably made it rain last night. Next they'll have wet and dry shoes like in Formula 1. They'll double sales immediately. I should patent it.
I still think Spain is a great country. I followed two Spanish guys from Madrid to the start when I got the U-Bahn in the wrong direction by mistake. I was a bit worried about following Spanish people because they're normally not the most reliable but they got me right to the start without delay. In truth I really only trusted them once I saw German people wearing ponchos going in the same direction. I was wrong to doubt them. Spain is brilliant.
8. The Jagged Key
I think I have some sort of curse hanging over me regarding keys to apartments and Berlin. In the last three trips to Berlin someone has lost a key. Today it was my turn. I put the key in the pocket of my trusty Saucony short shorts before the start. I checked that there were no holes. Unfortunately it was a particularly jagged key. I think the jaggedness combined with the sweatiness and jostling over the course of a marathon resulted in it cutting itself free. I rang the owners of the apartment using a phone from a volunteer in the finishing pen after the marathon. Unfortunately the owners of the apartment don't have a spare key as some other fool lost the original key the week before and I actually had the spare. They did kindly leave me in to the apartment with the master key so that I wouldn't die but told me not to leave. As a result I'm stuck in the apartment, sitting in the bath hoping that a German locksmith will work on a Sunday. This would never happen in Spain.
I think cold misty rain is brilliant for running a marathon but absolutely terrible immediately after the marathon. The race was like one of those rare cold calm misty murky beautiful Sunday mornings in Blackrock where running is effortless. It's not so nice when you stop and have to walk 4km back home after running 42km, I'd much rather have gotten back into my car and gone for coffee. I had the cheek to ask for a second rain poncho after the race because I was a little cold and it was raining. They literally had millions of them but no the old stern German woman policing the ponchos said "Entschuldigung, Nein". I really could have used that extra poncho. This would never happen in Spain.
10. The Science of Running
I think Ronán Boland has a fantastic marathon training group. He's like a Cork Steve Magness. Scientific training applied holistically but also great fun. Everyone of the guys he coaches ran brilliantly today including himself. Even better they're really nice guys, even if they do threaten to give you the snip. I better not drink too much beer just in case they were serious. That's if I ever get let out of the apartment.