Monday, September 30, 2013

Back in Berlin!

I have so much love for this city. Berlin isn't the most obviously beautiful city in Europe (there is a lot of competition) but it's definitely one of the most interesting. I feel at home here!  It's vibrant, a little rough around the edges (but safe), cosmopolitan, artistic and it was the center of one of the most important revolutions of my lifetime. My grandparent's generation fought in WW2 in Europe but it was my generation of Germans that tore down the wall when I was in college.  I came here in 2011 to run the Berlin marathon with some friends from CARA, and this year we decided to come back - (some same people, mostly new people).  We were all lucky to get in, the race sold out in 3.5 hours! I had to have Kimberley register for me because I was on a bus in Morocco last fall when registration opened. 

I landed on Friday completely recovered from jet lag and excited to see my friends.  I was really looking forward to the marathon expo (it was fun last time) but this year it was maddening.  My claustrophobia kicked in big time (this picture looks oddly empty of people). I bought a few shirts and picked up my bib. Usually I have a rush of emotion or excitement when I actually get my marathon bib and chip in my hands.  This time, I did not. I had been strangely ambivalent about the race for about a week, almost negative about it. I blame lack of sleep or maybe that I was tired. I needed to get that energy back. I believe that marathons are very mental and positive mental energy means everything in doing well in a long race. I can slog through a 5k with any state of mind but  a 13.1 or over needs something else.  I had an almost perfect summer of training but I was suspicious and felt that my luck had maybe run out, which is completely crazy.  

We ate bratwursts at the expo and I got a carrot-ginger heath juice thing that I hoped would make me somehow heathy and vibrant. 

I was able to finally check into my room at the Circus hotel, same place we stayed 2 years ago. I love that hotel. Reasonably priced and friendly with a great breakfast. I love the neighborhood too! 

I feel like this is the montrose brown line stop - my home! 

That evening I went to a Russian dumpling place that blew my mind. I met the others at their German restaurant to have a drink with them. 

I woke up in a much better state of mind, completely positive about the race again, thank goodness. You can't force the way you feel so I was relieved. Saturday morning we did a group photo shoot at the a East side gallery (top picture). It was nice to revisit all the artwork. 

A Trabant, an old communist-era car: 

After the photo shoot, Pankers and I took the train home while the others toured the city. We had the same idea - rest! I locked myself away in my room to read with my legs elevated. I had walked so much in Stockholm that I was worried. It was torture to be back in Berlin and not be able to walk around but it paid off in the end. That evening, we had a grandma-early pasta dinner and got all of our outfits ready before early bedtimes. 

Next: marathon day 

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