Friday, May 30, 2014

Very long, very much belated race recap

I know you are all dying to hear the big story of the race, so I'm gonna share it with you now
(and only 20 days late):

So, before the race even started, I kept forgetting about it and that that it was actually actually happening. I know. Ridiculous, but hear me out.
When I signed up for it, I just pressed "yes, I will run this 10k for a t-shirt and a medal."
(I am certain the button said this. Or something remotely similar.) I never even bothered to check what time of day it starts or what the general planning of the day looked like. My only thought was: "hey! It's 2 weeks before the wedding! I have time then! I want to run this!"

Well. If you ever get married (or like us, have a big wedding ceremony almost 5 years after you got married) - don't underestimate the planning. No matter how "small" you want your wedding to be. The planning still is a humungous pile of work. It sucks you in and takes over every minute of your day (and night). Oh just thinking about the hours on pintrest, etsy, or google...

I'm getting side tracked. Different post. Different time.

Anyways. Imagine my surprise when - in a bright moment of "I am running tomorrow. I should check when it starts." -  I realized that the race was at 6pm!

I don't run in the afternoons. I can't.
I have no choice but to trick my morning brain by dragging it outside before it realizes what I'm about to do. 6pm is bad news. I'm fully awake by then (as fully awake as it gets). Telling me to run in the middle of the day already makes me come up with instant excuses why I can't do it then.

Plus, Saturday is our "lets clean the house" - "lets get groceries" - "lets go to the dog park" - "lets go have ice cream and explore the city" - "lets have wine in the park" - "lets have a picknick by the water" - day. Having to leave at 4.30pm to make it to the starting line kind of threw a wrench into all of this.

Especially if you have a visitor coming Monday morning, who is staying for two weeks, and you have to clean the house (Sunday, you can't make any noise, so that's a no-go for doing house work. - Yet, another blog post. Or 3.)

So yes, I kept forgetting about this race, because my mind was filled with "I have to send the first draft of the beginning of my paper to my professor", "when can I do laundry and have a chance it will dry on the balcony within 12 hrs", "we need to buy coffee!"...

No surprise then that we cut it really close to make it to the beginning of the race. The event itself seemed to be a lot of fun and well organized. I had picked up my race package two days prior and was already very much impressed with the fool-proof and incredibly structured pick-up" - plus, the t-shirt is my favorite yet. Its a deep pink adidas running shirt. Just like the half-marathon shirt (that I bought for 30 Euros!). It is incredibly comfortable and I just like its cut.

That was a plus.

I also really liked that they had scheduled warm-ups for everyone to take part in. They had instructors and loud music and everything. While I didn't do it, because I'm a grump, lots of people seemed to enjoy it very much and happily hopped up and down, clapped, and danced in place.

As we were waiting for the race to actually begin, we all looked really cool. Almost veryone was wearing their pink shirts. - It was an all women's run, sponsored by Avon. I just realized that I should have probably mentioned that earlier. Well, now you know it. It was just women running this race. Before the 10k at 6pm, they had already had a 5k run, a 5k Nordic Walking, and other events throughout the afternoon.The 10k was the longest run for the day though.

Awesome T-Shirt! 

We started at 6:00:00pm. On the mili- or even microsecond. Seriously, this is only my second race organized by the SCC, but if they say a certain time. It is right at the very second when it starts. I truly love that!

When we started running, everything went as expected. We all slowly started moving and, because the road was relatively wide, people were able to spread out in order to pass others and find their pace.

Well, scratch the last part. Shortly after the start, we all took a hard left turn to run into the park.
Living in Berlin, I've run in that park plenty of times and when I saw the course of the race, I was wondering how this is going to go down. Imagine 2-3 (car-)lanes of runners being funneled onto a sidewalk thats lines with trees or bushes. - I would think that in theory, it really could have gone well, but people turned out to be complete assholes.


Ladies were aggressively pushing each other, elbowing, showing, and overall being really nasty to each other.

I mean seriously. We all wanted to cross the finish line eventually. I would even say that most people had the idea of not finishing as the last person, but pushing someone towards the bushes at a 10k women's run in Berlin? Rubbing each others arms and trying to pass - absolutely. But using both elbows and hands to shove people out of your way? Get over yourself! I don't want to diminish this race by all means. It was important to me, too, on a personal level - but this was neither a qualifying run for the Boston Marathon, nor the Olympics. So there is no need to forcefully push others around.

I'm happy they didn't carry bats or sticks...
For the first 2 miles, I saw young girls elbowing older women and vice versa, I saw ladies jumping fences, cutting through woods and bushes, shoving others aside like nobody's business.

I was not only shocked, but completely ticked off. It wasn't just once that someone came from behind and rammed their elbow into my ribs, or pushed me towards a tree. Again, I can understand light rubbing your arms agains one another, or even shoving a little bit and trying to pass each other, that's all good and well - but this was way beyond that. This was rude!

Now you might think "maybe you were in the way?"

Let me just say this: No, I wasn't! And neither were the other ladies I saw being pushed around.

There wasn't even any place to go. This was less than a mile into the race with almost 4000 women trying to fit onto a path that is 7feet wide. Of course, the pace that most people were going was slower than what I would have liked to go, if I had been alone. But there were hundreds of women in my fairly close proximity and they were all giving their best, I'm sure. So what I think you'd normally do is to adjust to the general pace if there is no place to go! It's very likely that there will be the opportunity to speed up again later.


At mile 2, I was ready to call Nick and quit. Not because the race was poorly organized, not because I couldn't handle the 3rd mile, but because the runners around me were acting like maniacs. There were few like-minded who shook their heads, others just put up with it - and I chose the path of loudly swearing and shouting at people (very productive, I know).

Yes, maybe there is a slight chance that this could have been avoided by having 2-3 start waves, but honestly, I'm not even sure about that. Just having different starting times doesn't make people more respectful or less crazy. I believe that if people had run less like hooligan antelopes on crack, it would have worked out.


The only reason I didn't quit was a conversation that Nick and I had right before walked to the starting line. He told me if I didn't give my best, he would think less of me. It was all in a joking conversation, no worries. I am 100% certain that he would still cheer for me even if I quit after 10 feet or come in walking after taking 2hrs to finish 3 miles.

Still, it got me thinking about how much I wanted to be able to be proud of myself. How much I didn't want to think "less of myself." Being unable to run for three weeks after my half, due to a nasty cough, and then having to start at the "bottom" again in order to make it for 6miles within just under 3 weeks was not the easiest thing. Especially with everything else that's going on at school, the wedding planning, and the upcoming move back to Baltimore.
I wanted to finish this. So none of the other ladies should be able to take that from me. Especially if they are nasty like that.

Also, lets not forget: I paid money for this (yes, I'm that cheap). AND there was a medal waiting for me (yes, I care about a 10k medal).
Plus, I had grand plans to enjoy the crap out of this race. It was (most likely) the last race I would ever run in Berlin. So I did what I can to stare people down and called them names.

Everyone always praises the wonderful running community - and rightfully so. I know very many wonderful runners. But trust me, there are jerks out there.


In case you were curious: I finished. I even did a bunch of extra turns through bushes and trees, which made the 10k just a bit longer - and threw off my timing. My GPS told me 56:21 at the 6mile mark (that was about half a mile out from the finish line) the chip said 59:00 at the finish line.
However, I think my GPS was trying to make me feel better than I actually was.

I even received the very nice medal. It is particularly awesome to have this, because it has the "Siegessäule" (victory memorial) on it. It is one of Berlin's famous sights and happens to be the first thing I took a picture of on my very first run in Berlin almost a year ago.

I know that this race wasn't nearly a big as the half marathon, but I truly liked that there was a lot of space to walk after I finished. Everyone was able to stretch and move and they even had running water, in case you wanted to rinse of your face. There was plenty of water, tea, and alcohol free beer after the finish line, the chips were collected right then and there, too (which was really nice!) - and I forgot to mention that there were 2 or 3(?) water stations during the run. Which, if you don't run with a hand bottle like me, was really nice.

All in all it was a great experience, because I learned that an all women's run, doesn't mean it is just all nice and friendly. Even if the program states that the idea is that "we are all winners" - once the race started the gloves were off.

Nick picked me up at the finish line, where I really enjoyed that they had free (non alcoholic) Erdinger wheat beer for everyone. Best way to replenish after a run!
On top of the awesome t-shirt, the medal, and the beer, every participant also received an Avon gift bag with a shower gel and a body lotion. I haven't tried it yet, but it smells promising :o)

So to point it out again: I think this was a great race and I would highly recommend it just as much as any other SCC running event based on the experience I've had so far. The races start on time down to the second, everything is well marked, there is plenty of water/ tea supply, information regarding the races is easily found and even provided in regular emails, helpers are knowledgeable and friendly, there are plenty of bathrooms, .... truly, whichever part you take about these races - they are terrific.

Whatever negative I took from this race is only based on the actions of runners around me. They were royal assholes. Still, I want to also happily remark that despite the aggressive behavior, I didn't take home any black eye or other serious injuries.

There wasn't actually any water. I just like this gif.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The big day.

I know, I still owe you the race recap and a about 14 posts on top of that. However, I'm going to post a picture (or two) of the big day first. - Believe it or not, the full race recap has been sitting in my "ready to publish" queue for over a week now. Weddings make your life busy. Whether you want that or not.

I can't even believe that it's already over.

That day was so beautiful and so happy. Words can't even come close to expressing how we both felt having our family and friends all in one place. The church looked so beautiful and the ceremony was filled with such meaningful surprises. - I lost all composure after we finally reached the altar and I can assure you that the only thing that prevented something really ugly was that I knew we had only 2 tissues with us.

Our hearts were so deeply touched and we will always remember this day for how blown away we were by everyone's love, thoughtfulness, and generosity.

*no worries. I will have more to say about our wedding and the time leading up to it in the days to come :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

time lapse

If you are in a PhD program, sometimes - but only sometimes, really - the way it goes is:
grad school > blog (or life in general)

This is what's happening these days. I'm trying to (or pretending to?) get work done and while it may seem as if writing a paper isn't that hard to do, on good days, I manage to write a page. On others, I write a sentence and then delete the page I wrote on the good day.

This is a time lapse of my past days/ weeks (years?!)

It's a lot of fun. Trust me!


On a brighter side, I ran the 10k last weekend. I finished the whole damn thing and haven't run since.

Not because I don't like it anymore as a result of the race (although that doesn't seem completely crazy). No, my left knee is hating every step I take and I'm giving it as much rest as it needs. While knee issues are never good, I'm not upset about the timing. Having to sit at the desk to write or read without moving for hours at a time is exactly what my deadlines/ possible future career needs. So it's okay that I don't get tempted to spend a few hours at the park to run around.

No worries, you will get a full recap of the race tomorrow or the day after. It was one of the most interesting experiences. To say the least.
Maybe this much, after not even one mile, I was so angry that I was ready to call Nick to meet me at the beer stand in 5mins.

I sure did. But I did get a T-Shirt and a medal. And the T-Shirt is pink.

I can already see that this post really is a pleasure to read, as I am talking about work and being cryptic about an annoying race.

Trust me, in real life, things look much brighter. Today marks the "10 days left until the wedding"- day!!!
We are beyond excited.


Our first guest arrived on Monday and we've been in the "wedding mode" since then. There is still a lot to do, but I think whatever doesn't get done, won't be the end of the world.

Everyone has his or her plane ticket, the church is booked, the pastor said he will be there, the reception place is reserved, and the food is ordered. Monday, I am picking up my dress and Nick is buying his shirt and tie this weekend. What else would there be that could potentially ruin this day?!

The best detail: my dad is driving us and asked, if we wanted to have a bag of Haribo in the car! Marrying Nick again and having Haribo waiting right after the ceremony?! This is already promising to be the best day.
(Oh I told Papa that we need that bag. Plus a bottle of liqueur. - It isn't illegal in Germany to have open containers in the car.)

To let give you a glimpse on how lucky I am, two days ago, Nick just went ahead and ordered me a brand new pair of running shoes. Just like that. It's unreal.

Gotta go back to work... yay.