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Frankfurt Marathon

In the ten years of racing triathlon this is the closest I ever came to a DNF. And this in a marathon, NOT in an Ironman. Why's that when the day before I signed up at ASICS to "better my best"?

Well. it started with me waking up on race morning wirh something stuck down my throat. As in  - some cough which was just sticking in there but not coming out. With getting up it became better, but al morning I was kind of raspy. Well - all morning till the race started at 10am. My thoughts: Well, just start and see what happens. Going back in my racing log I just saw - this was not the first time to race a marathon with a cough. One of the Des Plaines River - Equestrian Connection races also turned out that way.

But for some reason my body did not seem to  cooperate from the beginning. I ran the first 5km but it still did not get easier. Usually it takes me a couple of minutes to be just warmed up and into smoother movement but not this day. Not that I had to cough. I ran with runny nose but that's normal, due to environmental allergies. No problem here.

So I put out my first goal - get the half marathon done. Then walk - or stop. So I ran to km 22 (of 42) with the <1min waling breaks, I usually do at long races. Still. Nothing got easier so I tried walking. The second half I walked - km by km, my legs, arms, shoulders, back, all hurting. Maybe the cold got me change posture - I don;t know but it was a serious case of "shut up, legs". Martin kept me at it by cycling along the race course stopping every so often to cheer me on and taking yet another picture of his exhausted wife. I couldn't even look annoyed anymore (of all the picture taking) so I tried smiling instead. If there's no power to smile the race is over ans so I hung on km by km.After the Half-Marathon goal I set the next for the 30km-mark.

Nicely, the organizers had assmbled lots of music stations - plus there probably were free lance ones - especilly on the long way back into the city. All of them carrying me on rhythmically. Also announcers at several stations calling up the athletes ("Sylvia - the one from the forest"...Well I have to run well for that...)

Two potty breaks instead of the usual one also didn't accelerate things. Two pacer groups passed me. And I still had in mind that the Frankfurt Marathon is limited to six hours. So no slowing down possible. At least not much. The warm tea and the isotonic drink they served was just fine but I couldn't wait to get into Magic Coke area after km 35.

The only acceleration I managed was during the last five km, to wait until I spotted a km-marker and run toward it. Walking on after passing it. That far for last half-hour motivation.

After agonizing 42km I fell into jogging again, when I entered the Festhalle - the indoor finish of the Frankfurt Marathon. Tears in my eyes for I had managed it nevertheless.

Most fruit was gone by then - I was just 25 minutes from the possible maximum time. But I still grabbed a banana, some Radler (beer-lemonade mix, translated "cyclist" - why-ever) and some water and grapefruit isotonic, picked up my medal and a metallic blanket and went off to meet Martin. 

This was harder than any of my Ironman marathons.  It did not get me a PR. But it got me the satisfaction of having finished nevertheless.