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Copenhagen

34

20 May 2012 6 min read

It’s time for the second marathon! This time it takes place in our beautiful and flat neighboring country of Denmark. On top of that it’s a wonderful time of the year, right between spring and summer. What could possibly go wrong?! We decided to add another day to the trip and thus left Hamburg on Thursday the 17th, to really have a short vacation. I managed to mobilize a few friends to come along again, quite selfishly to cheer me on. Serzhey and Maddin came with us again to run the marathon, but Maddin announced to not finish because of his bad knee. Also, he didn’t train enough. Because of this and because of a lot more situations where he showed us this kind of behavior, he got the new nickname Ausredin (~ Excuse-Maddin).

The group consists of Sophie and me of course, Serzhey, Maddin, Till and Lia (our new friends who we met in a birth preparation course half a year ago), my co-worker Krischi and his girlfriend Nena, and for the first time: two babies! Till and Lia brought their little Levi, and Sophie and me our little Julie. Both were born in November 2011 and are about 6 months old by now and of course are best friends already. It is so much fun to be with those two little people, although it is a lot of work, of course. First of all we had to find a car that is big enough for all of us. Till managed to get a VW van from his company for the weekend, we just had to put in some children’s seats. Krischi and Nena came a day later by train, so the 9 seat car worked fine. A relaxing ride in the car and on a ship later, we found ourselves in beautiful Copenhagen. It was a sunny and warm day. Because of the children we didn’t get a bungalow at a camping ground this time, it had to be a little more comfortable. So we booked a flat via AirBnB. Our landlord was a great guy from Iceland, who offered us his whole house bar in addition to the flat. What a guy! Then he went to a friends apartment and left us by ourselves. The flat was right next to the famous district of Christiania.

Me and my daughter Julie

I don’t remember much about the two days before the marathon, probably because we had so much to do with the kids. We did a walking tour of the city center and a little bit of sightseeing and tried to relax. Maddin and me went to the marathon expo to get our racing numbers. It turned out to be quite far away, we took a train, went on foot and rented a bicycle to get there. Three hours later we were home again with some sore feet from the long walk. In the evening we all ate lots of the obligatory pasta. I had a bit of wine, too. Probably not the best idea before the run. Then we hoped for a night with some sleep and without Julie crying. It worked! Sophie took care of Julie during the night, so I was feeling really well on the next morning.

Just before leaving for the race: Serzhey, me and Maddin
Just before leaving for the race: Serzhey, me and Maddin

A quick breakfast, some vaseline on the feet, a few PowerGels in the pockets, and off we go! The starting point was in walking distance. Very well planned. Serzhey took the first pill of paracetamol right there before the start, thinking it would make him faster. So here we go! I was a lot calmer than last time, but a bit of nervousness is always there, I guess. At the time I hear the gunshot that’s starting the race, I always feel some kind of relief. It means that I don’t have to do anything now, just run. No problem. The conditions were perfect. It was really warm, not windy, no hills, not so crowded, really good people cheering us on and very well organized refreshment stations. In short: everything was good. I also liked the electrolyte drink they had, although it was no Powerade. I guess there were between 6,000 and 8,000 runners this time. Less than Amsterdam, but still quite a few. I saw many people running in costumes again. A group of people looking like soldiers were carrying a type of sledge that was maybe as long as 5 meters and had some sorts of stuff on it. I think they were trying to convey some kind of message, but I didn’t know which. Then there was a guy in a Sumo fighter’s costume, a Superman, two clowns, many funny bearded guys, and again a couple of dudes running with bare feet. I admire those quite a lot.

The course was very diverse, although it completely stayed within the city’s bounds. We went through the famous old harbor with those colorful houses Nyhavn, ran next to the mermaid statue in the water, up north to the castle and again through the nice old city with its cobble stone passages that were a bit difficult to run on, I must admit. Up until KM17 nothing much happened, but there I met my personal fans! Happily they greeted me, cheering devices in hand, offering more PowerGel’s, saying: “do you need anything else?” – just a kiss from Sophie and Julie, a high five and a smile, thanks. I don’t need much more. What followed was a boring straight part of a kind of highway. I guess that was to get some more kilometers into the course in this relatively small city. There was a turning point at about KM20, and at KM23 I saw my favorite people again.

Personal cheering at KM17 (Sophie and Julie, behind them Krischi, who hands me PowerGel’s)
Personal cheering at KM17 (Sophie and Julie, behind them Krischi, who hands me PowerGel’s)

After that point it was a long time to the finish line, because I knew I wouldn’t see them again until then. Julie and Levi had a long lunch break while I felt a bit alone during the hardest kilometers of the race.

Lunch break: (Till with Levi, behind them Sophie with Julie)
Lunch break: (Till with Levi, behind them Sophie with Julie)

But everything was going to work out. I ran at a steady pace that came naturally to me. Again I didn’t listen to the GPS pace on my phone because I felt it would influence my natural speed in a bad way. Good decision, I think. This was the first time I used the new app called Runtastic, which submitted my realtime position to the internet so that my friends could see where I was. Really cool! Also a good idea: I activated the post to Facebook feature, so my Facebook friends can cheer me on by liking my activity. Whenever anybody does that, I get notified over my headphones. That happened about 30 times during the race! But there is a downside to this technology: as I heard afterwards, my good friend Digger was hosting a barbecue at the time of my race and got so distracted by intensely following my position on his laptop that he forgot to attend his guests… well, Digger. Thanks! :-)

At KM30 the course got back to a place we ran before. I don’t like that a lot, I prefer to see more different parts of a city during a race. But I guess the city is small, so they had to plan it this way. Still I prefered what they did in Amsterdam: just taking the race outside of the city. The surroundings of Copenhagen are probably very nice, too. An advantage for the tactics that the hosts of this race follow, would be that you are able to see your fans a couple more times. We came to a nice park, again into the old city, and I just ran and ran. My body worked perfectly, I had no problems at all. I think by now I kind of know how to run a marathon. At KM40 there were some known faces again, finally! The group had positioned itself shortly before the goal, so that I was motivated again for the last 2 kilometers. Yey! But there was another face in the crowd: Maddin. What?! I thought he was behind me all the time! Afterwards they told me he quit at KM23 and just walked to the finish to get his medal. That way he had a finishing time of 3:21, but can he do that without cheating? No way!

Towards the end it really makes a difference to be motivated
Towards the end it really makes a difference to be motivated

The atmosphere towards the end was really good. People were standing on the street, partly blocking the course, smiling and shouting for their friends and family who were running. Through all those people there it finally was: the finish! I tend to get a bit emotional when I see the goal. Just a few steps left, and the marathon is done. You belong to that small part of mankind that is able to do this. That feels quite good! Although no marathon finish is as good as the first one, this one also felt very good.

My finishing time was 4:25:42, a good 10 minutes faster than last time. I am looking forward to how my next few marathon times will improve! Again I got a nice sunburn and a craving for a steak. But first I get to relax with my friends and play with the children.

Watching babies. Krischi, Serzhey, Maddin, Nena, in the front Julie, in front of her Levi and me
Watching babies. Krischi, Serzhey, Maddin, Nena, in the front Julie, in front of her Levi and me
Medal and racing number
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Amsterdam Marathon
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Lisbon Marathon