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2023 Berlin Marathon - 42.195 km
After finishing the 2021 NYC marathon in a personal record time, I planned to run the Chicago marathon the following year. Unfortunately, I got a groin injury, which forced me to skip Chicago and take a few months off of running. Only at the end of 2022-2023 did I seriously start training again, and needed to start largely from scratch. Training didn't go as smoothly as the other years, and it was clear I wouldn't be nearly as fast as during my previous marathons. Still, I was in a decent shape and looking forward to running a different marathon. I flew to Berlin 2.5 days in advance to avoid having a massive jet lag, while my girlfriend Diane would join me the night before the start.

It was a nice that the start area was only a 20 minute Uber ride from our Hotel, as I was used to wake up at 4:00 for the NYC marathon. After a good night's rest, I called an Uber. The guy drove closer and then suddenly stopped 3 streets away. He kept calling me to ask where I wanted to go, but didn't seem to understand and refused to come any closer. The app didn't allow me to cancel the ride, so I was getting worried I wouldn't get to the start on time. Only after 15 minutes did the driver cancel the ride himself, I guess he didn't want to drive through the crowded marathon course. The next driver took 10 minutes to arrive. Every turn we needed to take was closed off because of the marathon and eventually we couldn't go any further. I decided just to walk the last 10-15 minutes. 

I arrived only a bit more than an hour before the start. In New York, that would have been too late. After waiting in line for the bathrooms for over 45 minutes I was finally ready to head to the corrals. That's when it was announced that the actual start was a 20 minute walk away. We needed to walk through a forest, where way too many runners went to the bathroom, and not just to pee. I finally made it into the corral only 10 minutes before the start. It was nice to see the professional runners just ahead.  

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The race went well, although it was a bit warm. It was a great way to see Berlin and I didn't get as tired near the end as I had feared. Diane also cheered me on at several locations, which made the race easier and even more fun. Still, the last 5 kilometers were really tough, which was good, as it meant I had given everything.

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I ended up finishing in 3:25:29. That was by far my worst time yet (I finished in 3:18:54 and 3:04:17 during my two NYC marathons), but it was the best I could do after recovering from my injury. There was alcohol free beer at the finish and it was great to add another Marathon to my list. Diane and I would go to the Oktoberfest in Munich the following days to celebrate. I hope to run Chicago in 2024 and take another shot at finishing below 3 hours. 

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