Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two Days Later

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement and congratulations via e-mail, comments to this blog or Facebook. Also a big thanks again to all who sponsored me and helped me to raise money for the new Buddhist centre. (It is still of course possible, just click here!).

Two days after the event I feel surprisingly fit and well. It rained during virtually the whole time, which may indeed have been better than if it had been sunny. Apart from soggy feet, it helped to prevent me from dehydrating. To avoid this hazard I also drank litres of water and 'power drinks' at every refreshments station along the way, where I likewise consumed countless bananas.

Despite all the fears and expectations of hitting 'the wall' around the 30 or 35 km mark I experienced nothing of the sort, which in a wierd kind of way is something of a disappointment! Did I do something wrong? Apart from the super sense of satisfaction of having fulfilled this goal and of having helped raise money for the new Buddhist centre, I am really impressed by the accuracy of the training plan that I followed. The plan was to run the course in 3 hours and 47 minutes and came from 'the book'. In the event I ran it in 3:46:47, thirteen seconds within the limit. Similarly I completed my half marathon in April around half a minute in time. It was helpful to have a pulse meter which helped me to maintain a fairly constant pace, and I could also make sure I didn't set out too fast at the beginning.

The photos were taken by Mokshasiddha at 14km (left) and 40 km (right).

For anyone interested in such things, the split timings were as follows: 

Split        Time of day     TimeDiffmin/kmkm/h
5 km09:36:53         00:25:28         25:28          05:06           11.79
10 km10:03:1700:51:5126:2305:1711.37
15 km10:30:1701:18:5127:0005:2511.11
20 km10:56:4901:45:2326:3205:1911.31
25 km11:23:3202:12:0620:5605:2211.18
30 km11:51:4002:40:1428:0805:3810.66
35 km12:18:3303:07:0826:5405:2311.15
40 km12:46:3703:35:1228:0405:3710.69

More statistics:

My overall pace was 5:23 minutes per km
My average heart rate was 156
I finished 10,397th out of 34,027 overall
Of the men in the 50-54 age group I was 1088 of 3322
Among all the men I was 10397 out of 26597

The atmosphere was of course terrific despite the rain, as was the constant encouragement from the crowds. It was wonderful too to see many friends along the way.No doubt many memories will remain with me for many years to come. One of the more bizarre memories is of being massaged after the race in the rain on the lawn in front of the Reichstag! 

Although it was a great day which I will never forget, I do not intend to change my mind about not repeating the experience. I have already registered for next year's Berlin half marathon on 3rd April, but I will stick to halves in future.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

One Day...

Ran my last training run this afternoon - an easy four kilometers in gentle rain, followed by four 100 meter sprints. Ate a good portion of spaghetti for lunch. Occasionally experiencing some pre-race excitement / nervousness, which is to be expected I guess. The weather forecast is for rain the whole day, which is probably better than hot sunshine, though I hope it isn't too heavy. Am in the process of preparing  for an early start tomorrow, and will get to bed early, though I don't know how well I will sleep.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pre-race nutrition

Home-made rhubarb crumble with ice-cream

Two Days....

I survived the crowds at the trade fair in Tempelhof and have collected my number! Having made my way to the far end of the hall where the numbers were strategically situated I managed to get out again with my wallet completely intact.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Three Days....

Another day nearer and another six kilometer training run, more realisticly paced than a couple of days ago, but still surprisingly fast. I'll certainly need to watch out that I don't set off too fast, which seems to be the most widespread mistake of marathon runners.

Tomorrow I have written a big "NOTHING" in my diary, although I intend to bake a rhubarb crumble before collecting my number from a trade fair at the former Tempelhof airport, and making a short trip to Ikea. Otherwise I will be aiming to chill out as much as possible until the start of the race at 9 o'clock on Sunday morning. Just a very short gentle run on Saturday evening.

I have learnt that a small group of supporters intend to meet around the 40km mark to cheer me on. I hope I make it that far!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Four Days...

Very tired today, having had a very full couple of days with late nights, which I am about to rectify by going to bed before 9.30. Yesterday evening I enjoyed co-leading a very well attended Padmasambhava Day celebration at the Buddhist Centre, which included four Mitra ceremonies, that is, four people publicly commiting themselves to the Buddhist Path in a short ceremony. I remember my own Mitra ceremony at the Norwich Buddhist Centre in England in 1993, one of the most memorable and significant moments in my life.

And now I'd better get to bed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Five days to go

Just returned from a six kilometer training run, rather surprised by my time. I followed my pulse meter and ran at around 85% of my maximum pulse rate (which should be my marathon race tempo). I ended up apparently running faster than ever, with a pace of 4:42 per kilometer. If I keep that up on Sunday we'll all be in for a surprise. I'd finish well under three and a half hours! Dream on....

I have been following a training plan with goal of finishing in three and three quarter hours. Of course, that would be great, though I will be really happy if I run under four hours, and happy enough if I manage to complete the course at all.

I continue to be plagued by fears that I could get ill before Sunday. Every other person I meet seems to have some kind of cold or flu, and I do meet a lot of people, at the Buddhist centre and in my English teaching. I keep reciting my mantra: I will not get ill - I will not get ill - I will not get ill...

Mr Price is on the left, but where am I?

Friday, September 17, 2010

number 30522

I have just registered on-line my 'contact persons' in the event of my hospitalisation during the marathon! In the course of which I learnt that my number will be 30522, which I guess may well reflect my final position.

I haven't heard anything specific to confirm that my main rival, Haile Gebrselassie (pictured left), world record holder and four times winner of the marathon in Berlin, will not be running, but judging from the latest news from the organisers, it looks like he really has pulled out. What a shame! I had been looking forward to giving him a run for his money.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Two Weeks to go

This weekend I ran a reasonably fast 10km on Saturday and a gentle 7km on Sunday around Stadtpark Lichtenberg. Generally my training programme is tapering off, so apart from a 20 km on Thursday I'll run nothing more than 8km before the marathon on 26th.

The weekend was full of enjoyable activities, beginning with a meditation in Volkspark Friedrichshain, in beautiful late summer sunshine. In the evening Claudia and I heard went to a benefit concert at the University of Arts to see the Ensemble Incendo perform Piano quintets by Shostakovich and Schumann. It was a stunning concert. Both pieces, as well as the performance, were outstanding.

On Sunday morning Claudia and I visited the dahlia exhibition in Britzer Garden, a feast of colours and forms, and in the evening we attended an evening of music and meditation at the Buddhist centre, where we listened to a recording of Brahms' First Piano Concerto.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Past Lives

Last night at our Sangha Evening at the Buddhist Centre I spoke about my life and how I have come to be in Berlin. I showed a few photos and talked about some of the milestones along the way, which of course took longer than intended. I had planned to talk about my life, my practice and my inspiration. Well, the practice and inspiration will have to wait for another time. What I had to say seems to have been well received by the 30 or so people present. Looking back confirms that one can always change. For most of my life even the prospect of talking to more than three people at a time brought me out in a sweat. I sometimes find it difficult to recognise myself in the unconfident and painfully shy person I was in the past.

Yesterday I also ran a fairly gentle 10km along the canal. I am rather relieved that the really long training runs are over as they take up so much time. I still plan to run a 20km on Thursday next week, but otherwise nothing more than 10 or 12 in the tapering phase. In fact, the time needed to train for a marathon is probably the main reason why I can't imagine myself wanting to run more than one. I have every intention of continuing to run after September 26th, but I will probably restrict myself in future to half marathons.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ten Years in Berlin

Ten years ago today I arrived in Berlin, having spent two days travelling from Padmaloka near Norwich in East England. Early in the morning of 4th September 2000 I set out on my bicycle to Colchester, where I stayed overnight with Amoghavajra in his community. From there I went to Harwich where I caught a ferry to Hamburg, travelling with Claus-Wilhelm and Mahananda, who were visiting Germany on holiday. I was also pleasantly surprised to meet an old friend John, who was taking a short trip on the same ferry by chance.

My first view of Germany as we approached the Elbe in the early morning is captured in this photo. It was raining as I arrived, and was met by a smiling Nirmala, a good friend, who took me for breakfast and after putting me up for the night, set me on a train to Berlin, where I was met by Anomarati, the Chair of the Buddhist Gate of Berlin, who welcomed me with a bouquet of flowers.

Last week I was very tired and possibly also suffering from a chill. Therefore I couldn't complete my training runs as planned. On Thursday I didn't even try to run the 16km which was on my training plan. However I did travel to Vimaladhatu for the weekend, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Although I didn't manage another 35km, I did run 28km on Saturday. I had to finish a little earlier, otherwise I would not have been back in time to give the short presentation I had offered to give.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

To Vimaladhatu

Off to Vimaladhatu tomorrow for the annual Central European Order Forum. I hope to run my last 35 km training run on Sunday, though I will no doubt have to start early in order to fit it in before the day's programme gets under way. Yesterday I had to drop the idea of running 10 x 1000m intervals, as I was still extremely tired from the exersions of last weekend. I am still tired and intend to get a 12 km run in tomorrow before breakfast. I don't yet know if that is too much. We'll see.

Who is this hirsute chappie? The photo was taken in County Clare, West Ireland in 1991.