Last Saturday, the husband and I drove to Munich for their half marathon. We went immediately to the expo at Olympic Park and it was huge! We were handed our packets by girls in dirndls and guys in leaderhosen. After picking up our race packets, we walked around the expo for a bit, purchased a few things and then decided to go check in to the hotel.
We were really under trained for this race and I was a bit nervous. Our longest run prior to the race was 7 miles. But we were both going to run intervals and just pace ourselves to get through it. Brian had decided to do 2:1 intervals and I decided to do 1:1.
We drove the car to Olympic Stadium and parked. Then we walked to the metro stop to head to our starting point (which was the half way point for the marathoners). Our race didn't start until 1 pm. The marathon started at 10 am and the organizers probably figured that most people would be past the half way point in 3 hours. So, we sat and waited and drank water and ate our peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
Then it was time to line up. We were in the second starting group (there were only two). A loud gun shot later and the first group was off. We're talking loud, this thing had to be a huge gun like an American Howitzer. We waited and then started to move up and then a second gun shot and we were off. I lost Brian within minutes of starting and was just moving along on my own. I started my intervals after 5 minutes just so I could move down the course and not block anyone.
The course ran through some neighborhoods and there were families out on the streets cheering people on. The course was pretty with no major up hills, although we did have some nice down hills to run. The course really got interesting as we were nearing the 10km marker. We ran through Marienplatz, home to the famous Glockenspiel. There was a fairly large crowd gathered and an announcer who would give the crowd a little information on the runner coming through. After that, we rounded the old palace and then went back to neighborhood streets (albeit some busy ones). Some of the residents didn't seem to care that a race was going on and would ride their bikes on the course, sometimes in the opposite direction of the runners. That was a bit challenging. By this point, my feet were getting tired but I was too far in to stop. So I just kept up with my intervals and took longer rest breaks when I needed to and when running through a water station.
After working our way around the city, I finally started seeing signs for Olympic Stadium. On my way in, there were several runners who had already finished and were cheering people on. After running around the stadium, we ran through the tunnel and out on to the track. Yes, there were goose bumps at this point. I'm a huge fan of the Olympics and I'm kind of disappointed that the London Olympic Marathon didn't finish inside the stadium. But the fact that I was going to finish in the stadium was so freaking cool! I made my way around the track and to the finish area. Brian was there waiting after I got my medal and we just chatted about our races.
We then realized that we would have to climb a ton of stairs. That was slow going. We showered and then hopped in the car for the drive home.
(please notice world's largest race bib in the pictures. oh and there were no holes punched it it either)