The short version: Excellent race organization. Very well run. Great crowd support, even for us turtles (or penguins). A marathon PR for me by almost 7 minutes. Chip time: 5:51:11.
The good: Cooler than forecast
The bad: Windier than forecast
The ugly: I had major stomach problems, which I normally don't have.
The long version:
I had several goals heading into this race. One, simply to finish the race before the course closed (accomplished). Two: PR (accomplished). Three: Run the entire race (didn't happen because of my upset belly.) Four: Run it in 5:45 (didn't happen, again, probably largely due to the belly.)
Normally, my stomach doesn't bother me at all when I run or race. The only time I've had an upset stomach while running was on our last 20 mile training run, and as I was dealing with major endometriosis pain at the time, and had taken a painkiller before the run, I figured those two things combined contributed to my upset stomach. But then I had my stomach be very unhappy today. I'm not sure why - I didn't eat anything that I don't normally eat the night before the race, and this morning I ate my normal pre-race food. Didn't do anything new during the race - the only difference is that I was drinking Hamburg water, which I've never had before. So who knows? Anyhow, it really affected me for a while. Basically, from about the 24 km mark on, my stomach didn't let me run as fast as my legs wanted to, and really slowed me down for a while.
The race started at 9:00. Our time group (5+ hours) started at 9:15. We had to be in line at 8:35 for the race organizers to check our bibs and make sure we were in the right corral (there was a letter on your bib indicating where you should line up.) There were starts on three different streets - they converged later on with no congestion, because the elites and fast runners started first, on their street, then another group started five minutes later, then another group, then the final group. It seemed to work really well. There wasn't a crazy amount of crowding at the start and there was no crowding at all where all the start lines came together.
It was nice and cool when we started. We were running slightly uphill for about the first 5 km, through a very nice neighbourhood, then slightly downhill for the next 5 km, with a large portion of the course along the harbourfront. Just after 10 km, there was a nice, long downhill, where I just let gravity pull me down. After the harbour, we turned into the city, and started experiencing some wind. The wind wasn't too bad until the 19 km mark, where it suddenly was blowing very strong. Got through the half in a time that I was happy with.
After the halfway point, things started going downhill. The wind was really blowing, and my stomach started acting up. It just wouldn't settle down, and the pounding was making it worse. My legs wanted to run faster, but my belly was saying no way. When I ran slow enough to keep my belly happy, my quads started complaining. So finally I took a walk break, which helped to settle my stomach, and I continued to take them whenever my stomach got really bad. So I didn't make my goal of running the entire thing. But since when I tried to run with my belly, I had slowed to a crawl, I was actually faster walking and then running!
Near the end, the shade that had lined most of the course disappeared for a long while. Although it didn't get terribly hot out there today (high of about 17°C), being in the direct sun felt really hot, and that slowed me down a bit. Tried to kick it into high gear at the end of the race, but although I was running, I wasn't able to sprint as fast as I would have liked, since my stomach was holding me back.
Received our medals at the end, and then our "Verpflegung" kits, which consisted of a banana, apple, granola bar and bottle of water in a plastic bag. Went to get a glass of non-alcoholic beer, then went to the massage area, and I got a massage, which felt really good.
The race didn't run out of anything, even for the slowpokes like me! There was plenty of water, sports drink, bananas, etc. at all of the water stations, and there were still lots of spectators lining the streets, cheering us on. Because our bibs also had our first names printed on the front, we heard our names called out a lot! Mine as pronounced the German way, which threw me at first, until I realized they were calling out to me! Hubby's name (Keith) was more problematic. You see, in German, and "ei" is pronounced "eye" and they don't do the "th" combination. So those who didn't know English were pronouncing it "Kite". Cute, anyhow, especially when the little kids tried to say it!
Kilometre splits and commentary on some of them:
1 & 2: 16:15 (missed the first kilometre marker)
3: 8:17 (uphill)
4: 8:05 (slight uphill)
5: 8:03 (slight uphill)
6: 7:46 (slight downhill)
7: 7:36 (slight downhill)
8: 8:04 (fiddling with my first gel)
9: 7:41 (feeling good)
11: 7:10 (big downhill)
14: 8:07 (a little windy here)
17: 8:07 (took my second gel)
19: 8:26 (strong winds: 20 km/hr with gusts up to 40 km/hr )
22: 8:42 (more strong wind )
23: 8:31 (still windy)
24: 8:54 (stomach starting to bother me )
25: 9:26 (stomach not happy)
26: 9:36 (stomach not happy)
27: 9:51 (stomach REALLY not happy )
28: 9:21 (took walk break to try to settle stomach)
29: 8:27 (stomach happier after the walk break)
30 & 31: 16:38 (missed 30 km mark - had photo and video taken)
32: 8:32 (stomach acting up a bit again)
35: 8:14 (stomach not letting me run any faster )
37: 8:22 (starting to get tired)
38: 9:47 (tired and hot - it's too sunny - where's my shade? )
40: 8:51 (slight uphill right here)
41: 8:23 (then a little bit of a downhill - stomach still not terribly happy)
42: 8:35 (trying to turn it on, but my stomach didn't want me going faster)
Total time (watch): 5:51:18 Chip time: 5:51:11 Clock time: 5:54:09
So, I'm happy that I have a new marathon PR, but upset that I didn't manage to run the entire thing, and didn't manage that 5:45 I had hoped for. For the next while, I think I'm going to stick with half-marathons. For someone as slow as I am, you are out there for a LONG time when running a marathon and it's probably not something I'll do again soon. The half is a nice distance. Long enough to be challenging, but the training doesn't consume your life like the marathon does (again, especially when you are as slow as I am, and an easy 5 miles takes an hour to complete.) But who knows, I may change my mind in a few days, especially since I didn't meet my goal of running the entire thing. But if I do another marathon, I'll either look for a trail one, to minimize the pounding on the asphalt, or maybe even do a 50K that's on the trails. I'm sure one of the reasons I've been able to run more since moving to Munich is due to the fact that just about all of my runs are done on dirt or gravel trails, with minimal asphalt.