How I ran the Berlin marathon: the story of Nadya Belkus

My name is Nadia, and I ran a marathon in Berlin. Before that, I ran for three years, traveled to run, wrote about running, about awareness, about the fact that you need to listen to your body and love yourself. I thought of difficulties and heroically overcame them, and, in general, my marathon story, which I finished telling in Berlin a little further than the Brandenburg Gate, is about the same.

A little help for beginner marathon travelers

The city in which you will run your first marathon should be either one that you have a seething energy inside, or that the route passes along such places from which it is impossible to take your eyes off.

For me Berlin is a direct hit for all reasons: a city that I love with all my heart, a very flat track, one of the best organizations in the world (this marathon is one of the six majors ), many high landmarks that are very convenient to use on the run. What is better to choose - an apartment or a hotel - is up to you, but try to make sure that this location is located closer to the start. After the finish you will be glad.
How I ran the Berlin marathon: the story of Nadya Belkus

Photo: From the personal archive of Nadia Belkus

I ran the marathon on the second try, a year after giving up the participant's slot. It seemed to me that you just need to prepare very carefully, and in no case fall in love in the summer. Five months before the event, I built myself a training plan (Nike Running Club, initial level), created a sign in Google Docs, where I entered running and cross-training, colored and filled in the cells, calculated the result (now I can say that I have completed the plan for 45 %), regularly went to yoga, swam in the river and rode a longboard.

All the words about these activities I repeated like an incantation, while I ran to the start in my cluster on the morning of the marathon Sunday. If you are suddenly going to run a marathon one day, then please take care to find the best support group. The smartest people are your friends who have already run the marathon. They understand more than you, no jokes.

How I ran the Berlin marathon: the story of Nadya Belkus

Photo: From the personal archive of Nadia Belkus

What you need to do: agree on which kilometer and on which side of the track they will be waiting for you, how many gels, cola and handkerchiefs you need, because you can wipe your nipples, heels, get worn out, freeze or just get upset. And this is where support is your lifeline. It depends on her whether you get what you need. I was lucky - I got it.

How I ran the Berlin marathon: the story of Nadya Belkus

Photo: From the personal archive of Nadia Belkus

The most the quiet part of the marathon is to pick up the starter pack and number. Arrive at the inactive Tempelhof airport and get lost in the four Expo hangars with food, clothes, cars, isotonic drinks, beer with sausages, a small copy of the Brandenburg Gate, self-loadinglaces, backpacks and more. The scale of what is happening is such that you quickly realize how massive and grossing sport can be running.

Authoritative publications recommend to live the days before the race quite calmly. We, of course, did not sit still and on the day before the marathon all Potsdam went. It is incredibly beautiful, and it was worth it, but when I returned to Berlin late enough, I did not figure out where to eat decent pasta nearby (without meat), and was content with seafood soup, banana and pesto baguette.

We painted all the meeting points between the runner and the fan, prepared a marathon outfit, I took a photo with a number and realized that I couldn't even imagine what I was going to do in 10 hours. I am a bad marathon runner and preferred half a glass of Riesling in the evening and a deep dreamless sleep to sobriety.

How I ran the Berlin marathon: the story of Nadya Belkus

Photo: From the personal archive of Nadya Belkus

In the morning, everything happened very quickly: write time splits on my hand (I decided to run at 5.40), eat 2 bananas, check things in a small belt bag (if the bags with magnesia are in place), re-lace my Nike Structure, dress up in the trash bag and get out. The start of the marathon (and the finish) takes place in the Tiergarten, and it takes a long time to walk. At a certain stage, the fans cannot go further, so I walked alone along the fenced-in starting pockets with elite, very fast, fast and moderately fast runners.

Not so tough athletes gathered in my pocket, they joke at each other, they run with friends, and in general there are almost as many women as there are men. 20 minutes after the fastest start, I finally cross the starting arch. In five minutes I get rid of the long sleeve and continue to run in a dense stream. It should be noted that in Berlin the flow density of runners was maintained almost to the very end, and only a very small percentage of them switched to a step (well, that is, they probably crossed for a few seconds, and then ran again). What is strikingly different from Moscow, especially from regional, starts - everyone starts from wherever they want to, often creating incredible chaos and confusion in the first part of the distance.

Up to the 20th kilometer, I entertained myself by checking the splits and saying to myself: “Oh, you have another 8 minutes and 2 kilometers to run to the next milestone, you’re doing it, yes, Well done". I calculated how many shares of the distance I still had, ate gels, drank some water and isotonic drinks and looked around. I looked out for runners I knew on Instagram. On the half, I realized with pleasure that I was running smoothly, but after the 29th kilometer I was sharply depressed. It became clear to me that there was still a lot of running, and then something was very cold and I didn't want to move my legs. (Later it became clear that this is all from a lack of water in the body and is treated with a small bottle that is with you everywhere). At 32-36 kilometers, there is almost no moreI melt my phone, because it's understandable: I'm tired and most likely I can't fit into splits (in fact, it's not so).

How I ran the Berlin marathon: the story of Nadya Belkus

Photo: From the personal archive of Nadya Belkus

At the 37th kilometer, a street awaits me, along which I walk from my temporary home to the metro station and the house itself, my friend with a bottle of cola and a great desire to drop everything and go to sleep. I walk a bit, shake a cola, flirt and treat a runner with soda, who is now much sadder than me. All the way I promise myself that “just-there-behind-the-traffic-light-behind-the-arch-after-the-high-house, you can walk if you want”, but I don't. I see the Brandenburg Gate, I understand that everything seems to be almost over and at 5'13 'I finish my first marathon.

In fact, there were no thoughts at the finish line, except for the standard ones: “Oh yes, I did this damn marathon!”, “Never again!”, “Haha, now you can joke stupid jokes about marathon runners” , "God, why am I so dirty ?!" and “How wonderful that you don't have to run anywhere anymore.” I take the medal, a huge bag of food, give away the chip, change into dry and warm clothes and chat without stopping.

From time to time, the thought that the marathon is the hour when you owes nothing to anyone. You shouldn't answer calls and letters, you shouldn't do three things at the same time, it's simple - you are running. Probably, in life everything should be like this: you do the only thing at the moment, and you are all in it.

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