Across The Line
“This is it! I did it!” I was laughing out loud, smiling a big, proud smile. A medal was placed around my neck, the Schwarz-Rot-Gelb of the German flag striking on the ribbon. I looked at it. On one side, the Brandenburger Tor, which I had just run through, and on the other, the face of Haile Gebrselassie with the world record he set last year at the Berlin Marathon, and which he broke during this year’s Berlin Marathon.
I was moving slowly towards the bag-check area, following hundreds of other finishers with yellow capes trailing. There were people laying on their yellow trash bags, some looking like they were on the verge of death, others eyes closed, sleeping.
I stopped to pose for a photo, then kept heading towards the bag-check tents. I was given a goodie bag with water, a banana, some cookies, and some sugar block thingies in it. I only drank the water and ate the banana. There was a long line for free beer, but I decided a massage was more important.
Got my checked bag, then found a tree and stretched for about 15 minutes. Now, it was time to shower and get my massage!
Lesson #3: Don’t forget to pack a towel and shower shoes. I think these are the only things I forgot to pack. The shower shoes, well, that’s just because I don’t like my bare feets going in wet places were lots of other bare feets have been. Ew. But we were all sweaty and had just accomplished the same great goal, so I ignored that idiosyncrasy of mine. The towel, now that was harder to work around. Luckily, I had brought both a regular bra and a sports bra since I didn’t know what I’d feel like wearing after the race. The sports bra became me towel. It worked well enough.
After the shower, I made a bee-line for the massage area. Whoops. Another lesson to learn.
Lesson #4: If you plan on getting a massage, don’t wear jeans. Yeah, most runners went the massage area before they took showers. I had to discretely remove my jeans while wearing the yellow cape as a skirt so that I could get my legs massaged. Not really a problem, but something to file and forget until next time, for sure.
After I changed back into my jeans, I found a place to sit down and wrote a couple postcards, then I went to the large lawn in front of the Reichstag. I needed to find a vertical surface so I could put my legs up, which is supposed to help drain the lactic acid out of your leg muscles to help decrease soreness. After 10 minutes of staring at the beautiful blue sky and occasionally chatting with the 10-time marathoner (!!!) who sat down next to me. Then it was off to meet my cheering squad.
Luckily, the Berlin marathon race directors know what they are doing and provided a “Family Reunion” spot (gotta love the translations. Before this one, the last family reunion I went to involved lots of cousins under the age of 14, hours of family photos, and still sitting at the kiddie table). I found them, we took several group pictures (on someone else’s camera, so you’ll have to check back to see those) and then it was up to me to choose what we did next.
I was hungry! I didn’t really know what I wanted, but after a few minutes, it hit me (while using the Klo): I wanted pizza. We walked to Friedrichstraße, got me some pizza (Pizza Salami and Pizza Mozzerella) from Ditsch, and headed back to Zepernick. More walking, since we had to walk from the S-Bahn station home. And I think that’s why I wasn’t as sore as I could have been. Only Tuesday was bad. I don’t know if that is because of that saying I’ve heard: “The second day’s the worse.” Or if it’s because of the painful deep massage my legs got Monday night. When Rob was massaging my lower calves, I cried. It hurt so bad.