This is going to be a pretty short and sweet race and holiday report. So short and sweet in fact, that I am just going to write some bullets about Frankfurt as a city, my 31st birthday, the marathon expo, the marathon itself and our beach getaway Fuerteventura the day after the marathon!
- Lovely city. Sleepy and pretty quiet from what I gathered pre-marathon (and post-marathon).
- The trains run on time, regularly and they are cheap. The public transport system in general is very easy to navigate.
- Germans are, by and large, a friendly bunch.
- If you go to Frankfurt, find a street market and get a bratwurst or currywurst. You won’t regret it.
- If you’re in Frankfurt and you really want a beautiful meal and cocktails afterwards you need to visit a place called Roomers.
My 31st birthday
- I woke up on marathon morning (my birthday) feeling spritely and happy. This was awesome and quite unexpected. In honesty I thought I’d be much more nervous at the prospect of running my first big city marathon.
- Gabrielle was amazing. If I was showing any nerves, worry or doubt she quickly expelled those fears and treated me to a wonderful morning – she went to the hotel restaurant and brought back muesli, yoghurt and coffee and then gave me an awesome Ganesh t-shirt for my birthday which made me smile. (I practically wore this every day when we went to Fuerteventura)
- Knowing I was on for a PR around the 30km mark made my birthday that much sweeter.
- Seeing Gabs unexpectedly at around the 30km and 36km marks made my birthday marathon even better – she appeared right there when I needed some support most!
- Dinner at Roomers was absolutely fantastic! I tried oysters for the first time (delicious), ate a steak that was cooked to perfection (rare, melt in the mouth), drank the finest wine I have ever tasted in my 31 years and then topped that off with a deconstructed crème brûlée.
- I can safely say it was the best birthday I have ever had.
- Frankfurt was my first big city marathon exposition and I have to say as much as I loved running a big city event I really, really did not enjoy the expo!
- There were so many stalls hawking their wares to willing consumers and the whole commercial aspect of it was quite unsettling.
- I am a running geek, massively so, but this was not anything to do with running and the joy of it as far as I could tell! It seemed to be a mass of businesses taking advantage of pre-race nerves and excitement to make a fast buck. Needless to say, they made nothing from Gabs or I!
- Okay, one thing that got me – I found Brooks Green Silence (!!) in pretty much every size but mine or Gabrielle’s. They were going for between €40 and €70 which was the best bargain I saw the entire time we were there!!! That sucked and probably further discoloured the experience!
- We were both glad to finally get the race pack and head back to the hotel!
- Actually, one thing that was pretty fun was going into the Festehalle where there was loud music playing, the pasta party was going on and we both got to see the finish line.
- Starting just behind the 3:14 pacers was a stroke of luck and turned out to be a great idea I think. I ran with them right up to around the 35km mark when they started to slip away but at this point I knew if I kept on I would be well on for a PR.
- Running a marathon in Adios Adizero Boost is hard on the feet. I got a few blisters and my first ever black toenail – this was really unexpected! My feet began to hurt around the 25km mark, two or three blisters developed and then popped around the 28km mark and then I felt every footfall from 28km to about 32km. From there it was plain sailing as my mind had zoned into the business end of the race and I didn’t noticed how my feet felt until I collected my drop bag at the end and actually took my racing shoes off. Time to find a new pair of marathon racing shoes!
- I could have run a much faster marathon had it not been for two things. Firstly I decided after the first water station that I would have to slow it right down to a walk at each subsequent station to be able to take on enough water without air (and thus cramping/nausea) because water was distributed in plastic and paper cups. This worked but probably cost me about 3 or 4 minutes. Secondly, for the first time ever (including at my first ultra in August), I stopped for a pee just after the halfway point. I figured it’s my birthday, I’m walking the water stations and I’m running not totally fit and with an ankle injury – let’s make this a little easier to finish instead of toughing it out holding on to a pee for miles and miles and miles!
- When I passed our hotel at the 13km mark and saw Gabs I cannot describe how that felt. A wave of happiness shot straight down into my legs and I ran my second fastest kilometre split of the day (4:12).
- The fastest kilometre of the day was kilometre number 2 which I ran at 4:02.
- The slowest klick of the day was number 36 which I ran at 5:26. I think this was a particularly long water station walk where I took a bit more time to get going after taking on a gel and water. Understandable after 36 klicks of pavement pounding I think! This was probably the toughest point of the race for me mentally – this represented my own personal ‘wall’ which I didn’t face when I ran my first marathon back in December 2013.
- My average pace over the full distance was 4:39.
- The crowds along the route were great. I couldn’t understand a lot of what was said but the general air of noise and encouragement along the majority of the route was awesome. There were lots of kids holding out their hands for high fives and when the going got tough it was great to reach out and reconnect with humanity!
- Initially I had intended to do the race on two gels. However, something came over me when I came to the first water station offering them and I took one on at about 12km. This really gave me a boost so I decided to take on another at the halfway point. In the end I took on four and I think I’ll probably aim for five during my next marathon as I really did notice the difference – I don’t really care if that’s psychological or physiological! Every little helps!
- The final 4 or 5 klicks are really tough as you get a few glimpses of the Festhalle in which you are set to cross the finish line – it seemed kind of cruel to put you so close but keep you so far at this point! It was real test of mental strength the keep my head up, keep my pace up and to keep on keeping on.
- I hardly looked at my watch the whole way. I pretty much ran the entire marathon ‘on feel’ which I will take as a great achievement. It was pretty liberating!
- Crossing the finishing line indoors was a fantastic experience! It was so loud in the Festhalle with music and the crowd – it really helped me to pick up my speed and sprint the finish.
- I’d recommend the marathon course for people looking for something pretty flat and fast.
- I would not recommend the course for people looking for interesting or thought provoking scenery. The whole course was pretty dull to be honest and it was the crowds that made the day really.
- This was the first race I’ve ever had my medal engraved with my name and finishing time. It really felt like an achievement when it all sank in after crossing the line and I’ll cherish the medal and the memory for many a year to come!
- …Midnight Sun Marathon in Tromsø in June and I’ll be aiming to improve that time!
- We were blessed with a flight that left Frankfurt on time the day after the marathon and further blessed with a smooth ride.
- The weather was stunning.
- The food was fresh, hearty, cheap and plentiful.
- Our private terrace afforded a beautiful view of the night sky.
- I saw four shooting stars and Gabs and I witnessed a fiery comet on 0ur last night.
- We witnessed the most awe inspiring and peaceful sunset. The orange light that the island is bathed in just before and just after is something to behold.
- The sky over the mountains at sunset is gorgeous and holds onto a purple and orange hue for about an hour after the sun has dipped below the horizon.
- I’d love to fall asleep to the sound of the sea every night!
- The lagoons around El Cotillo are fantastic, quiet, beautiful, romantic…words can’t really do them justice. It’s awesome to watch the power of the sea trying to break it’s way past the rocky outcrops that surround you as the tide comes in and you’re just floating and paddling around in clear, safe, deep blue water.
- There are hundreds of trail options for runners! Dirt roads that lead off along the coast line, beaches that are eminently runnable, paved and dirt roads that lead up into the mountains and I’m sure that in the mountains themselves there would be some pretty gnarly single track and animal track to explore.
- I didn’t really know what to expect of the place but I was blown away by it. It was just so relaxed, peaceful and natural – it was really easy to just feel like you were part of the place.
- I’d go back.