Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Munich Marathon 2007
There is one feeling every athlete should experience in his or her lifetime. Finishing a marathon by running into an Olympic Stadium. The sensation of entering the tunnel of the Munich Olympic stadium where the darkness opens up with each step to revel where legends have run.
The lap around the track to finish line should be longer just so that you can enjoy the moment, for just a few minutes more.
The morning of the marathon was cold with the temperature in the single digits and the Olympic Village clouded with mist. Instead of one plastic bag to keep warm I opted for two as Chaim and I walked down to the start.
I always laugh when I think that I spend more time wondering and procrastinating about what to wear on marathon compared to how much time I spend getting ready to go out. What to wear shorts or running tights, singlet or long sleeve shirt? I opted for tights and singlet, wanting to keep my legs warm in the cool seemed the best option. Chaim decided on shorts and forgot the golden rule of “shorts and marathoning”. If you have never chafed once in training then the Chafing God will rear its ugly head, which it did.
One good thing I did find at the expo during number pick up was band aids specifically designed for the male nipple. There is nothing worse than finishing a race thinking you are looking trim taunt and athletic, to only look down and see two blood trails down the front of your singlet, as if a wide mouthed vampire has bitten your chest.
We decided to opt for the Galloway walk run method for the race. As I had not gone further than 28km’s in training and wanted to make sure that I did not injure myself in preparation for Ironman Austria next year.
Much has been written and discussed as to the walk run method; we opted for 9 minutes running followed by 1-minute walk. I ha done this in Tiberius earlier in the year and was amazed at my recovery post that race. It does work provided you do it from the start the theory being that you change the muscle groups and this allows you to run faster longer and avoid the wall.
The course of the Marathon is one of the most scenic and flat I have run to date, the English Garden is more renowned for where the locals like to go and walk around in their birthday suites whenever the weather is pleasant, luckily the cold morning meant that we did not have to avert our focus. Thru leafy suburbs and in to the city center where architecture is measured in multiple centuries, from there you enter the University and theatre area, magnificent buildings that you pass in a slow blur, focusing more on the feet ahead of you. Finally it was onto the loop back to the stadium.
Being Munich, home of the Oktoberfest what would a marathon be without a beer station instead of a water station. Somehow they have managed to make a non-alcoholic beer taste very good and at 39 km’s it was time to stop and enjoy the moment.
We have all heard and read about lists of things to do in life, from a hundred places to visit to a hundred books you need to read. If I was to start a list of things that every runner must do. Then add you must run and finish a marathon on an Olympic stadium, and Munich gives you that thrill. A feeling that I will never ever forget crossing the line with my friend Chaim, our arms raised in victory ... in an Olympic stadium.