Tomorrow at 9AM the 2007 Berlin marathon starts. As usual I waited till the very last moment to pick up my start number, which required me to drive to a fitness fair at the other end of town, usually a 35min bicycle trip if I ignore traffic rules. Unfortunately I had forgotten that half the city center was blocked due to the skater marathon today, and even the secret paths one can usually sneak through were blocked even for pedestrians. So instead of an easy trip it became an one hour sprint around the city. To add to my luck it was raining, so when I arrived about three minutes after the gates officially closed, I was soaked in a mixture of rain and sweat.
Of course, this being Germany the fair hostess guarding the entry told my I was too late and wouldn’t be let in anymore (people were still strolling through the halls). A quick chat with the help desk changed the situation for me (and several others), but we still had to pick another entry, since the dear hostess was a strict believer in enforcing rules. Luckily for me the Berlin police is ways more relaxed about things like ignoring traffic lights, or I would have never gotten to the congress center in the first place.
What followed was another sprint on foot through several halls, finding the desk handling the 28XXX numbers (signs already taken down) and yay! got my number. No force in the verse can stop me now. Besides catching a cold while driving like crazy across town, completely soaked during a chilly day.
Unfortunately this put the final nail in the coffin for my two recovery days before the marathon. Ran for the last time two days ago planing to avoid any exhausting activity afterwards. Then I received an emergency call for help from a rather chaotic friend who moved to Dakar, Senegal today for a couple of months and was stuck while trying to clear out her apartment. We finished at 03:30AM which, combined with some other stupid decisions of mine, resulted in two hours sleep last night. So my final marathon preparation includes packing and hurling heavy boxes for several hours, sleep deprivation and bike sprints. All this also took care of my attempt of carbohydrate loading, so I will go and shop some chocolate in a few minutes. Pigs may fly, but there will never come a time when I will not find a way to rationalize eating chocolate.
Returning from the fair I concluded that all this was obviously insane. But then I passed the finish line where the last couple of hundreds of skaters were rushing in. I passed the people on the sidewalks shouting and applauding. I passed the crowd at the last large turn at 40km, cheering the skaters who looked tired (and very wet), but happy. So yes, all this is insane, but it’s also worth it. To add to the strangeness shortly before arriving home I first passed a group of fireman standing around a traffic light that had just been “mowed down” by a Mercedes, only to find the next traffic light modified with cutouts to display a red heart, a yellow star and a green water drop. Yin and Yang karma stuff.