Berlin Marathon 2016 – Race Day Eve

After a grueling 14-week training schedule, the Berlin Marathon is finally here. After a short stint in Copenhagen (the most incredible city in Europe; blog on that coming soon), we have been in Berlin for 2 days. The atmosphere surrounding the race is absolutely electric. The brands of the moment are definitely #adidas and #BMW. You see them everywhere.

Check out my race outfit. You can distinctly see the colors of India (green and orange) represented from top to bottom. Green #Ironman visor, orange #adidas shoes, green #Zensah calf sleeve (right), orange calf sleeve (left), green #Mio heart rate monitor.

I wanted to go with a plain white shirt but switched to my blue #Sugoi dryfit because it has a pocket to store nutrition. Speaking of, notice a combination of #Stinger honey waffles and #Gatorade endurance gel packs coupled with 8 salt pills (electrolytes – notice them on my right chest in a star formation). Also notice the small water bottle that I plan to fill with a combination of #Carbopro (calories), #Hyrdax (flavor and calories) and #Skratch (electrolytes). The plan is for Binita to hand this small bottle to me at approximately the 21 mile marker (34 km marker). With 40,000 runners and more than a quarter million spectators, it will be a small miracle if we are able to pull off the exchange!

This morning, Binita and I walked over to the start/finish line to scope it out. It wasn’t as crowded as I had expected. There were lots of runners but not too many visitors. The setup was well underway. This afternoon there’s an inline skating marathon on virtually the same course. All setup has to be complete before the skaters take off at 3:30PM.

I wanted to run hard, but ran a super-easy 2+ miles zigzagging back and forth near the starting line. The tree-lined starting line with broad avenues and cool temperatures forecast for tomorrow will make the first few miles effortless.

I will be starting in block E based on my PR. This means I will be starting with sub-3:30 runners and will need to watch my speed for the first few miles. The starting gun for runners will go off at 9:15AM tomorrow; I reckon I will cross the starting line at around 9:30ish.

My bib number is 34867. I’m happy that it ends with the number 7. G is the 7th alphabet and I like all things 7 (I also like all things blue).

Starting the Berlin Marathon with group E

My race plan is simple. Start slow. Take it easy for as long as possible. If I am able to run at a pace SLOWER than 7 miles-per-hour in the first hour and manage my water and nutrition intake and there are no mishaps and don’t have to use the facilities and it is not too crowded and all of the thousand other things can go wrong don’t go wrong, I will have a chance to finish the race in 3:45. At this time, 3:45 seems like a fair under-over for the race; but I am an optimist! I plan to run as closely as possible on the adidas striped blue line to cover the shortest distance possible. At marathon majors, this is easier said than done. All 40,000 of us have the same idea!

The adidas 3 stripes are the shortest distance – Berlin Marathon

Last night, we had pasta at Ristorante Il Sorriso near our hotel. After an unbelievable meal in Copenhagen (again, I will blog about that experience in a week or so), this was my first carbo-load meal. It was nothing too special but very good with a touch of spice and a touch of sausage.

Pasta with Ragu at Ristorante Il Sorriso, Berlin

We arrived early yesterday in Berlin. The hotel (Sheraton) room wasn’t ready. We decide to make the most of it and walked to the Topography of Terror museum and visit the remnants of the Berlin Wall. German history is gruesome but I have to give props to present-day Germans in recognizing the atrocities and learn about the perils of Nationalism. Ironically, there was a protest at Brandenburg Gate against the Trump Wall yesterday. It was widely reported in the local newspapers today. Germany (and the world) cares about the next President of the United States. To me, the choice is easy. #ImWithHer.

The Berlin Wall (what is left of it)

Anti-Trump protest, Berlin

As I write this, my race plan is all set. I feel good. We plan to walk to an Italian restaurant nearby and eat a full pasta dinner at 5PM. We plan to walk to the point where Binita will hand over the nutrition-filled water-bottle tomorrow. I will go through my race plan again this evening and then hit the hay around 9PM. If I get shuteye for 4+ hours, I will be happy.

The hotel is an easy mile-and-a-half walk from the starting line. I plan to leave the hotel at around 7:45AM tomorrow. This will leave me enough time to walk, change, check-in bag, use the facilities, stretch, relax and proceed to the starting line. I’m sure the start of the race will be chaotic. It always is! Race nerves have already kicked in. My stomach is already rumbling as if the race is in a few minutes. I’m sure my heart-rate is revving high. I have to remember my mantra “Relax and Flow” – it may come in handy tomorrow.

If all goes well tomorrow, I will have finished two-thirds of my Marathon Majors journey. With Tokyo and Chicago to go, I need to start thinking about my next goal. Will it be a marathon on each continent or will it be back to the Ironman circuit. I don’t know yet…

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