Grappling with Grippe in Berlin

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Daniel Kit Berlin 2014.jpg

I was quite excited about getting another chance to run the Berlin Marathon. Last year, assisted by the fabulous pacing of Ed Shattock, I battled through pain to register what still stands as my marathon PB. After a year of growth, and some months of very intense training, I was optimistic that this PB would fall. My optimistism (seen pre-race below with Claudia and Rachel) would prove to be misplaced.

Daniel Claudia Rachel Pre Berlin 2014.jpg

The weekend began quite well, with an easy flight from London into Berlin, a smooth transition from plane to train (actually being on a train 30 minutes after my flight got in even though I had checked a bag!), and a lovely welcome and shakeout run with my Bridge The Gap family, hosted by Flo Hoffman (pictured post-race with me below) and Run Pack Berlin. Throughout the afternoon I had conversations with other runners during which I discussed my race strategy and shared my philosophy about running marathons: there are too many variables that you simply cannot control. You can have a desired time, but you shouldn't base your evaluation of success purely on that time. I like to tell people that the goal is to cross the finish line feeling that you ran the best race that you could have run today.

Daniel and Florian post Berlin 2014.jpg

Based on my experiences both in Berlin last year and in London this year, I headed off to the start on Sunday morning expecting to have about two to two-and-a-half hours of fairly comfortable running, followed by forty-five minutes to an hour of mental battle against pain to get to the finish. So it was quite disturbing when barely over an hour into the race I felt like I had no energy left. My legs just felt dead. And I still had about twenty miles to go. While I had no idea at the time what was wrong, subsequent events offer some clarity. I had woken up on race day with a slightly irritated throat due to post-nasal drip. I had written this off as allergies, and hadn't thought too much more about it. By Monday morning I was clearly ill. When I got home Monday night I was running a 101.4 F (38.5 C) fever. In short, I was coming down with something (perhaps a mild case of the flu?). So, there I was, three-quarters of the race still to go, no energy, struggling simply to keep running. This was That Moment. The one you have at least once in every race. That time when you need to answer the question "how much do you want this?" Some would have quit. Some would have cried. Some would choose to soldier on. For someone as stubborn as myself, the last was the only real choice.

The rest of the race was a mixture of struggling to run, walking, drawing as much energy from the amazing support as I could, smiling, high-fiving kids, encouraging other runners. In general making the best of a bad situation. When I finally hit the final kilometer the major thought in my mind was the words of Charlie Dark: what matters isn't how you run the race, it's how you cross the finish line. And I crossed that finish line running, head held high, and feeling quite proud of what I had just accomplished. It certainly wasn't the race I wanted to run, but it was the best that I could have run on that day.

Post Berlin Feed 2014.jpg

Bear Berlin Medal 2014.jpg

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This page contains a single entry by Daniel Maskit published on October 5, 2014 2:24 PM.

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