Firstly thanks for the amazing support I have received since the last update. So far you have raised £2765 for Willow Burn Hospice, which is an amazing amount. It is really appreciated by both Willow Burn and myself. It makes this stupidity all worth while. The link to the Justgiving page is below.
The Berlin Half Marathon was nearly the Half Marathon that never happened. When I first set about this challenge I didn't think for one minute I would get injured. I had managed almost 7 years of running several Half marathons a year without any issue. The only time I came close to injury was after completing the London Marathon and then stupidly starting training 48 hours after finishing it, not a good idea. However this bravado proved to be ill founded, Wrexham injured me, not too seriously, but my right calf decided it didn't want to be part of the team anymore, and would do its own thing. A lot of rest and a small fortune spent on Sports Massages did help, but the subsequent lack of training due to prolonged rest meant I was both still a little injured and also not race fit. If I hadn't paid for flights and hotels in Berlin and told the world I was doing this event, I would have and should have pulled out. But I am too stupid to do that.
This dilemma over, my son Jack through a curve ball 2 days before we were due to fly, when he got himself admitted to hospital and put on an IV drip. What he initially thought was tonsillitis turned out to be glandular fever. So Wednesday night the choice was either cancel our travel plans totally and look for another half later in the year in Germany, I fly by myself leaving Victoria at home to look after Jack, or finally he gets discharged from hospital and is well enough for us to both travel. Fortunately by Thursday he was home, Victoria had spend a fortune on ice cream and other associated liquid foods and our daughter Ellen had agreed to make a rare visit home to keep an eye on her brother (rumour is she needed a sat nav to find our house, her visits are that rare). So the race was back on. He better not take ill before the Luxembourg half marathon, as there isn't an alternative to that one I can run this year.
So, support stockings, or in running speak - Compression socks. This is a product that they issue free to all patients in hospital (I discovered while visiting my son this week), you can also buy them in boots for £10 to stop you getting DVT on long hall flights. But buy them to both avoid injury and assist with injury recovery with a running logo on and your local sports shop will fleece you £30 for what is fundamentally the same product. I had bumped into a seriously good runner at a business lunch in London by the name of Rebekah Randell who I discussed the challenge with and mentioned my current injury issue. It was her advice that I buy compression socks, and I have to thank her as it got me around Berlin in one piece. The only issue is I also have to thank her for making me look like a dick every time I go running now. (before you ask the running shoes were in the sale!)
So the Berlin Half Marathon. Unlike Vienna, when I was one of two Brits in the race, Berlin was a very large event with runners from all over the Europe and beyond. The course was also very impressive traveling through both East and West Berlin, including running through the Brandenburg Gate at around 3 miles. This did mean I stopped on a few occasions and took photos of bits of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie and Kaiser Wilhelm Cathedral. I stopped worrying about times a while ago, this was about enjoying the day. The atmosphere was great and Victoria was joined by our good friends Mark and Marie who flew out for the weekend, for my own personal support crew. They sometimes may not be the most motivational support crew however, when I saw them at 10 miles, Mark did point out that there was a runner dressed as a beer bottle ahead of me, frustratingly I knew this already as he had just passed me.
If you haven't been to Berlin, I would certainly recommend it, I was really impressed with the city, it has a great vibe about it (Victoria’s words not mine). What I don’t recommend is running a half marathon, booking a flight back that gets into Manchester at 11pm that night, then having to drive 3 hours home for a couple of hours sleep before driving to Birmingham for 10:30am the next morning. I may be in logistics, but this was crap planning.
I now have a month before the next race in Luxembourg, but not one to sit still, we have booked a week in the Lakes at Easter to start getting as many Wainwrights bagged as we can. Whatever happened to lazy beach holidays?
The challenge continues with only 3 half marathons, 1 Coast to coast bike ride and 46 wainwright peaks still to do.