Prague – The city where beer is cheaper than water

I went to Prague with Minna last week.

I flew from Bristol with Brussels Airlines and had a stopover in Brussels on the way there and back. Minna flew straight from Finland and we met at the airport. My fear of flying came back momentarily on the first flight as it was in a tiny propeller airplane that made very strange noises… but I survived.

We stayed at an Airbnb (this one ) and it was actually my first time ever staying at an Airbnb abroad. The place was small but really cute and very convenient location about 15 min walk from the old town. The owner actually came to bring us the keys on the night we arrived and left a map of the area as well. And we paid about 110 euros each for 4 nights. I’ll definitely be staying in more airbnbs now.

Timewise I think 3 full days + the Wednesday night was enough time to explore but of course you could do much more and visit other places too.

Foodwise it was good but very meat focused. Even though I’m not vegetarian I also don’t eat much meat and all menus were very meat heavy. I did try beef goulash and that was actually not bad. And it came in a bread bowl!

When it comes to eating out in Prague it’s not that cheap as you’d think if you stay within the old town area where all the tourists are. For example the place where our airbnb was had loads of restaurants around it and they were third of the price but actually better food.

Cauliflower pancakes

Also, we had to try the Choco Cafe by Bethlehem Square as anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with chocolate. Apparently you should book but we just walked in and got a table. This place was such a disappointment and I actually never finished my hot chocolate. It was just way too sweet to the point where every sip tasted gross. Maybe it was the particular hot chocolate I ordered (I ordered one with milk chocolate) or maybe I just only like chocolate in its normal chocolate form rather than in a drink 🙂 Worth going if you like sickly sweet chocolate drinks.

Drinkswise the saying “beer is cheaper than water” is true. For some reason they don’t want to give you tap water in many places so you have to pay for the still water. Still water was roughly 55 korunas where beer was 45. Because I’m not a huge beer drinker I drank mostly white wine and I tried a lot of local Czech wines which were actually really nice!

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Highlights:

-This Trdelnik thing was so nice – especially with nutella!

-Loads of nice parks – my favourite view was from the Vitkov Park and Petrin Hill (we didn’t climb up the tower because we are both scared of heights :D)

Vitkov Park

-Just the whole cobbled streets, architecture and old city feel. I love eastern European cities.

Lowlights:

It was cold! Haha. Not Prague’s fault but if I visit again I would go in the summer. They had loads of lovely looking bars and restaurants by the river so I imagine it’s really picturesque to sit there in the summer time.

I think some of the views would have been even nicer if it hadn’t been so foggy. Overall though 10/10 for a travel destination and would strongly recommend to everyone!

(Most photos thanks to Minna and her camera!)

 

Adios Prague! Where next? 🙂

 

Currently…

Hey guys,

It’s time for the monthly (I’m going to try keep them monthy :)) Currently post.

Current thought:

-It’ll be nice to go back to work tomorrow after 2 weeks off (due to the hernia op).

Current tv-show:

-13 Reasons why

Current book:

-“Around Africa” (Afrikan Ympari) – it’s a book in Finnish my mother got me for Christmas. I haven’t read in Finnish in so long so I’m really enjoying it.

Current song:

-Darius Rucker – Wagon Wheel

 

Current weather:

-Sunny!!!

Current food:

-Granola with greek yoghurt, berries, nuts and peanut butter.

Current drink:

-Coffee

Current chocolate:

-Milk chocolate with hazelnuts from Lidl. I love chocolate from Lidl cos it’s so cheap!

Current source of stress:

-Holiday planning  – so it’s good stress 🙂

Current source of happiness:

-Family

Current mood:

-Grateful – That I got two weeks off work to recover from the surgery and JP has been amazing at doing everything for me! Haha.

Current quote:

-‘Obstacles are what you see when you lose the sight of your goal.’

Currently want to be:

-In New York  – everyone seems to have travelled there recently.

Current idea:

-I think I’m going to win the lottery.

Current video:

Current blog/article/website:

-Pinterest. I discovered this not so long ago and love using it for travel and life inspiration.

Current countdown:

-To Prague in March 🙂

What’s currently going on in your world? 🙂

Old Me vs New Me – The Importance of Recovering

Hey guys!

As I’m laying on the couch for the 7th day after my operation last Monday I’ve had some time to think and re-evaluate my goals for recovery. Before this operation my motivation was at an all time high for training hard and getting those PBs this year as I failed to get any last year.

When the surgery date was put in place the first thing I thought was “it’s gonna ruin all my pb attempts in the next few months”. Instead of thinking how the operation is going to make me better in the long run all I focused was the short-term and how it’s a nuisance in my training right now. Silly right? What’s even worse is that I started googleing the recovery times for my op and more importantly “When can I run after umbilical hernia repair”?

In case you wondered this is what the NHS says:

“Most people are able to do light activities after one or two weeks. Gentle exercise, such as walking, can help the healing process. Heavy lifting and strenuous activities should be avoided for about four to six weeks.”

First thought; Running isn’t strenuous though so probably less than the 4 weeks? Again, very silly to be focusing on that. I think one major thing that makes us want to speed the process up is the comparing game we do with others. I follow hundreds of runners on Instagram and see how their training is going and inevitably end up comparing myself with them. I’m not majorly competitive but I am to some extent and it kills me to see someone who is similar to me in running times progressing when I’m not. But why? Again, so stupid. What I do want to thank social media for is that it also opened my eyes to comparing other not so great circumstances. I follow a girl who had to take a year out from running because of overtraining. I follow another girl who had to take a year out because of a knee operation. All of these people are still alive, they survived their running break, and they can come back to running when they are ready. What about the elite athletes whose whole career is their sport? I’m sure the impact of taking time off is ten times worse for them. So why am I worrying over my potential one month break? It just sounds really silly when you put things into perspective. Instead of comparing myself to the ones who are training really well for their perfect race right now, I’m thinking about the ones who had to take a year or more out.  One month or even 6 weeks off running really isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of things.

However, as I’m still me and you can’t change yourself that quickly, my first question to the surgeon was “When can I run after this”? To my surprise, she said 2 weeks. I was momentarily really happy over this but when I asked other nurses and googled some more the general advice tends to be longer than that. Now the old me would 100% take the advice with the shortest possible time – I would probably even run after 10 days (as that’s almost 2 weeks right!). After my broken ankle few years ago my physio gave me one clear instruction: “don’t run yet” and I came back to the next appointment embarrassed having to admit I had run. What was the result? I ended up with few years of various injuries because I never strengthened my ankle properly and rushed into running way too early. I would like to say that I’m going to be smarter this time, not as smart as taking 2 months off but smart enough that I will listen to my body, I won’t take the 2 week advice and I won’t sign up to any races that would tempt me to start running sooner than I should.

Recovery is SO important, especially after injuries and illness, and the recovery time really isn’t THAT long even though at the time it seems like it. Don’t compare yourself with anyone, just focus on healing yourself 🙂

Have a great week everyone!

And please do share your recovery stories below.

My Bucket List

Happy Saturday everyone!

I once saw someone post about a bucket list and it made me realise I have never actually written one I could use to cross off things as I go along. So here it is, my bucket list currently.

In no particular order:

-Run an ultra marathon (but for some reason I want it to be exactly 100km not shorter not longer)

-Climb up Kilimanjaro

-A lot of marathon related goals such as run the original Athens Marathon and all the marathon majors

-See Macchu Picchu

-Dance tango in a Spanish speaking country (I’m thinking Buenos Aires)

-Run in Central Park, New York

-See a show on Broadway

-Live in at least one other country

-Write a book

-Do an Ironman

-Swim in all of the 7 seas (5 down, 2 to go)

-Walk up the great wall of China

-Win an Oscar (I know I should probably become an actress first)

I wish mine also included “cool” things such as hot air balloon rides or skydives but there is absolutely no way! I am terrified of heights 😀

I also think it’s important to sometimes stop and look at things you have already accomplished in order to be grateful. So below are some of the things that used to be on my bucket list and I have already done:

These include:

-Travel to Australia (little did I know I would be staying 21 months)

-Volunteer in Africa

-Travel to Venice

-Live in Spain

-Run a marathon

-Study in an English speaking country

-See Barcelona play in Camp Nou

-Visit Lake Garda

-See Eiffel Tower

What’s on your bucket list? 🙂

Currently…

Hey guys,

Few years ago when I was more active on this blog I started a habit of doing this series of “currently” posts. I’m always really good at coming up with new ideas but never sticking to them. I think I did 2 of these “Currently” posts and last one was 2 years ago 😀 Anyway, here we go again. I’m going to try and make these more frequent.

Current thought:

-I love the weekends!

Current tv-show:

-The Good wife – we recently started watching this and liking it so far.

Current book:

-“How bad do you want it” – by Matt Fitzgerald. A running book that I’ve seen all over instagram in the last months so wanted to know what it’s all about. So far so good.

Current song:

-Eminem – River (so weird it’s with Ed Sheeran, but I like it)

Current weather:

-Grey and dark.

Current food:

-Turkey Burgers (a relatively new thing I’ve learnt to make)

Current drink:

-White wine

Current chocolate:

-Kinder

Current source of stress:

-My upcoming surgery this month

Current source of happiness:

-A warm home!

Current mood:

-Sleepy but happy

Current quote:

“Obsessed is a word lazy use to describe the dedicated”

Currently want to be:

-Anywhere warm and sunny!

Current idea:

-I want to learn more Spanish.

Current video:

Very interesting view on how to gain more time and what “not having time” actually means.

Current blog/article:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2015/03/24/how-successful-people-spend-their-weekends/#24739b5519c0

Current countdown:

-To when my surgery is over and I have recovered from it.

What’s currently going on in your world? 🙂

Embrace the Uncomfortable

In my last post I talked about how I had lost and found motivation. Following from it I wanted to write a bit about positive self-talk and how to actually motivate yourself to stick through a tough workout or any other thing in your life. (side note; my surgery got postponed, hence I have been able to run). 🙂

I’m definitely not an expert and actually, quite surprisingly to myself,  found that I really struggled with this whole self-talk thing. Whenever I’ve been training for a marathon I have read about other peoples blogs, instagram stories etc where they always talk about how mindset is everything. I mean I studied psychology and then sport psychology so I should really know this better than many people. In reality, I often fail to do this successfully myself. The positive impact of self-talk is well researched and proven to work in many instances (one study here,). Even when I grew up my mum always used to talk about the importance of self-talk and how it has to be positively worded. Basically, if you are stressed then you tell yourself “I’m relaxed” as opposed to “I’m not stressed” because “not stressed” has a negative word in it.

When it comes to running I’ve tried all sorts of mantras to keep myself going; “I feel strong, my legs feel light, I can do hard things” etc.. I have copied these from wherever I’ve read them but I’ve never really found them particularly useful. I tried them in Estonian as well (my native language) to see if that would make a difference but more often than not I felt like they weren’t working. I remember reading from Hungryrunnergirl’s blog (here) that when she was training for Boston marathon she kept repeating “Boston” during her tough intervals. I tried that when I was training for Paris and repeated “Paris, Paris Paris” like a maniac but I think it worked for one rep and then the effects soon disappeared.

As mentioned in my last post, I have become really good at skipping my tempo runs and during all the faster runs that have felt hard I’ve just kind of let myself slow down. I didn’t really know how to get out of this mindset and work hard again.. but I think I have found something that actually has worked. At least so far. Now I bet you all think this is something groundbreaking but it’s actually quite simple. I have decided to embrace the uncomfortable and become comfortable with it. I recently saw few different insta posts by people who have had recent success in a marathon and they had this in common; they used the phrase: “you have to learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable”. It sounds so simple but it’s so true. I know for a fact that I can run a certain pace for a certain time but some days as soon as it gets a bit tough I give up. On my last three fast runs (tempo, hill training and interval), as soon as I felt uncomfortable I literally just repeated to myself “get used to this and become comfortable with the feeling of being uncomfortable” 😀 And it worked. I mean maybe this is just beginners luck and the effects will soon fade but for me I think this phrase is more than just a positive mantra. I genuinely believe in it and understand why it’s so important to go through these uncomfortable patches in training as on race day (especially in a marathon) there will be multiple uncomfortable times where it’s so much easier to just give up but if you’ve taught your body to embrace it and be comfortable then you’ll nail it. I mean a comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there right 😉

Would love to hear your thoughts on this?

Have a great rest of the week and embrace the uncomfortable!

Motivation Lost and Found and a Bump in the road

Hey all!

Firstly, I need to apologise for my lack of writing recently. I actually forgot I had a blog until I saw the email come through for yet another renewal of the platform. I paid without even thinking and then thought “hang on, why am I paying for this if I’m not even blogging?”.

So anyway, here I am and I’ve now promised myself I will keep this blog a bit more active. I won’t promise you but I will promise myself which should be strong enough reason to keep it, ha.

I want to give you a brief update on my running life this year (since I have not written one single post about running this year). In terms of races I did two 5km races, two 10kms, 4 half marathons, and a marathon.

Unfortunately, I only PBd in one of the 10km races. My new PB is 42:50. The biggest reason for my poor racing form was lack of motivation. Especially lack of motivation for hard workouts.

I still ran and sort of trained but I always gave up on my hard runs, especially tempo runs. I would go for a run and within one km I would come up with an excuse of why I didn’t have to complete the whole distance or why I didn’t have to keep that pace. These negative thoughts just spiralled into never hitting my paces on my training runs anymore. I still went to a lot of my races with overly optimistic attitude thinking I’m still gonna be fit and PB even though I haven’t trained but obviously the reality was I didn’t. Each race this year was worse than the other. In my last half marathon in Cardiff in October I stopped for about 4 times as I thought I was going to die, faint or puke, and I wasn’t even going fast. I think my time was around 1:45 in the end (PB is 1:34).

There is no one else to blame other than myself, after 6 years of running I know that you have to train hard in order to see results. It’s actually funny that for years I struggled to run slow because I wanted every run to be fast and I worried about how slow my pace is on long runs whereas this year I really nailed the running slow bit, I was slower than ever on my easy runs but I just got so comfortable that I never wanted to run fast again. Haha.

Having studied sport psychology I should know better than the mindset is everything. If I dreaded my hard workouts the night before and woke up knowing it was going to be tough it was always going to be hard. As soon as I started running I would just kind of spiral into this negative circle of “well I didn’t do my 6km tempo last week either so no point doing my 8km tempo now”. Also in races “well I’m not going to get a PB so I may as well walk for a bit”. How stupid is that? Very stupid :). Then there would be the days of “I’m tired, I’m hungover, I haven’t eaten properly, I’m stressed.. ” and the list goes on. Motivation is a strange thing. I watched other people train and I follow so many people on Instagram and I just couldn’t understand how they had the energy to train the way they did. Normally these posts would motivate me but this summer/autumn I just had no energy whatsoever.

I even ran a race in Finland this year!

 

So what did I do? After the terrible Cardiff half marathon I took couple of weeks off running because I wanted a mental break from it. And funnily enough, my motivation creeped back and wanted me to start training properly again. In the few weeks I had off and then the first few weeks back I wasn’t doing much, about 3 runs a week but all those PBs started flashing in my eyes and I was ready to go again with a fresh mind and actually start nailing the hard workouts. I was so excited and motivated for about 2 weeks but then life happened. As it always does.

I’ve been on a waiting list for a surgery for months (to remove a hernia so nothing too serious) but I didn’t think I was ever going to get an appointment (thanks to my not so great experiences with the NHS in the UK). However, two weeks ago I had a letter saying I would have my operation at the end of this month. When I called to ask about recovery times they said it’s about a month, sometimes longer. So here we are now, I’m obviously glad it’s getting sorted after 11 months on the waiting list but it’s made my motivation go out the window. I mean, what’s the point in working hard and getting fit only to then have to take a month off and start all over again? I guess you could do that but that’s not how my motivation works. As soon as that letter came in, out went my motivation.

Oh well. Life is what happens when you’re too busy making other plans. Or whatever the saying is.

I will update you on my post-op recovery and hopefully, (fingers crossed) I can start running again in January and my motivation will join me on those training runs 🙂

Have a lovely rest of your Sunday! xx

 

In Bruges (It’s in Belgium)

Hi all,

and sorry for the silence! This blog has become very quiet but one day I will pick it up again and start writing more frequently (I promise).

However, for now, I just wanted to share few pictures and thoughts from our trip to Bruges.

A lot of people asked me why Belgium when I told them I was going there for the long weekend. My main reason? The film In Bruges. Anyone who has seen it will hopefully understand why I had the temptation to see it myself.

Me and JP flew to Brussels and spent a day there as I thought we may as well see the capital while there. Brussels was… not sure how to describe it. It was just like any other European city with nothing that really jumped at me. The EU buildings looked big and gave the city a “businessy” look but few streets down there was a lot of obvious poverty and dirt etc. It was very strange.

I actually preferred the areas out of the city centre as it almost looked like Italy or Spain with its narrow streets, sunshine, and people drinking beer on the little corner cafes with clothes hanging on balconies. The cool thing was that lots was going on in the centre as well, in the couple of hours there I saw a really good Dutch man singing on the street, and two women dancing off a building (yes I mean off the building). They were hanging from two strings that were on the roof of the building and they were dancing on the wall. It was incredible!

Anyway, following day we went to Bruges which is about 1 hour away from Brussels. It was extremely busy and full of tourists – a lot of Japanese and Chinese tourists – which I found interesting. So Bruges must be famous outside of the film too.

My first thoughts were “this is so pretty and everything looks like a fairytale” (for anyone who has seen the film :D). However, after about few hours I had seen enough bridges and canals and I realised there really isn’t anything to do there. I slowly started to realise why in the film they call Bruges “a shithole”. I mean it wasn’t, it was very beautiful but after you’ve walked around for few hours you kind of feel like you have seen it all. Food was okay but nothing special (my favourite was pancakes)

Chocolates are usually my thing but they were very expensive as that’s what they are famous for. And Belgian beer, well after trying 3 different ones I established I’m not much of a beer drinker anymore haha!

JP not impressed after having to queue over an hour to the Bell tower 😀

Overall, it’s a lovely little city but it really can be seen in one day, we spent 2 days and I don’t think I could’ve stayed any longer. It has a lot of churches and other bits you can visit but maybe I’m not cultural enough to appreciate it all. I would love to hear thoughts from other people who have been. Am I just being too critical about it or is it actually a bit boring? 🙂

Would I recommend it? I’m not sure. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked our trip there but I don’t feel like I need to go again. Usually when I leave a place I like I can’t wait to return so I guess the fact I don’t think I’ll ever go to Belgium again says it all.

P.S. In Brussels we stayed at the Radisson Red hotel. If you ever find yourself in Brussels I would highly recommend it.

 

2016 Goals Evaluated

Hi all,

I do still exist 🙂

My blog has been living a silent life for most of this year but as we draw to the end of 2016 I wanted to go back and look at those goals I set at the start. I mean what’s the point in setting goals if you don’t go back and evaluate them right?

I wrote about my goals for 2016 back in January, you can read it here.

But below is a list and an answer to whether I accomplished them or not.

Pbs in every distance; 5km, 10km, half marathon and marathon

-20:30ish for 5km

-Sub 43min for 10km

-1:33 ish for half marathon

-3:25ish for a marathon

Soo my 5k time ended up being 20:38 so you could call that as being achieved. I never raced a 10km. Half marathon pb was 1:34:14 so I would say that was ticked as well. Marathon, well unfortunately I never raced one. I was too injured in the spring and in Berlin I decided to just run 39km instead of 42 ha! You can read about that here.

Linking with the injuries, my other goal was to stay injury free and that didn’t happen either. I guess I didn’t have any major injuries but still I did have to take few breaks from running.

 Get a new degree-related job!

I did land myself a job in February. Not exactly a psychology related job but a job that required a degree nevertheless, and one with great opportunities and career progression.

Write an amazing dissertation.

Well. I haven’t got the grades yet but not gonna lie, I think it’s safe to say we could take the word “amazing” out of there and just call it dissertation. I left this very late and ended up having to rush it so I’m glad it’s done but I definitely didn’t give it as much time and effort as I should’ve.

TRAVEL.

I did travel but again, not as much as I would’ve liked. My plan was to do a longer trip somewhere further than Europe but I ended up just doing few trips here. I was lucky enough to visit Dublin 3 times, twice with work. I also saw Berlin for the first time and then visited Amsterdam once again. Sooo could’ve been better could’ve been worse 🙂

Brush up on my Spanish.

Haha. This one was a total failure. I’m not sure I made one attempt at this over the year. That’s quite disappointing and definitely something to remember for next year.

Spend less time on Social Media.

Hmmm. I’m not too sure this happened either. I think I’ve made a reduction in the time spent there but not enough yet.

Read more books.

Yeah no. Again, disappointingly, I think I read one book all year. It was an amazing book but still, not an excuse.

Be present.

This one is hard to evaluate really. I’d say I tried occasionally but there were definitely times I was more focused on the past or the future.

Word for the year: Ambition

Was I ambitious? I’d say I was in some circumstances but not all. I definitely haven’t reached as high as I could’ve.

Overall, I think I managed some but not all. Ultimately, I don’t think they all have to be accomplished perfectly anyway. I’ll probably write about my goals for 2017 later on but it’s safe to say that a lot of these will have to be shifted to the next year as well. That’s totally acceptable right 🙂

Have a great new year! <3

xx

 

 

 

Berlin Marathon Recap – my first DNF race

Hello!

Apologies for the lack of posting over the last months. I am going to try and get better at this blogging thing again. There’s a reason I wanted to write now and that’s my Berlin marathon recap, or shall I say a recap of 39km in the Berlin marathon 😀

berlinexpo

Anyone who follows me on social media would know that I collapsed and didn’t finish the race. Before I go into detail about the day, I have to tell that this wasn’t the first time I collapsed as it also happened at the London Marathon 2014. Be prepared, this will be a LONG recap of me talking about not only Berlin but the London one too.

The marathon was on last Sunday. Me and Minna flew to Berlin on Friday, got our race numbers on Saturday at the expo and were really excited for the day. My original goal was sub 3.30. Training for the past 4 months has been pretty good but during the last month I had issues with my hamstring which prevented me from running for a while. The preparation wasn’t ideal, I hadn’t done a long run or a hard run for a while before Berlin so I knew sub 3:30 would most likely be a struggle so anywhere near 3:30 would be nice. We had the chat with Minna beforehand where you tell each other it’s okay if it’s not a pb day, not every marathon is great. It might not be your day and don’t push it too much etc. If it doesn’t feel great at the start it’s not going to feel great at 35km that’s for sure. However, try and tell an ambitious person that maybe their goals are too ambitious. It wasn’t going to stop me from trying.berlinexpo1

Anyhow, we started in different pens and I was feeling good. The first couple of kilometers I felt so happy to be there and have the chance to run it so I decided to just enjoy the race and atmosphere. I started with 4:50ish min/km pace which would get me a sub 3:30. By 5km I had stomach cramps. I had the exact same feeling in my stomach at the London marathon at my worst race and it started really early on. I told myself I’m just being paranoid, this run will be great. By 10km I knew it wasn’t going to be great, I just didn’t feel good. A smart person would slow down a little as it’s not going to get any better later on but I’m not a smart person. I continued to run with the similar pace. By half way point I knew this will be hell. If you don’t feel great at halfway point at a marathon you know things aren’t going well. At that London marathon halfway point is where I pretty much wanted to give up, at Chester last year I felt great at half way but even there I got tired later. I drank water at every water station apart from one. I took my gels religiously every 8km. The weather was warm but not hot at that point. I don’t know why but running just felt so hard. Did I slow down? Nope.

By 30km I remember really starting to struggle not only with running but just feeling a bit delirious and just not clear headed anymore. This is where things went wrong in London as well. I was so focused and determined to run a pb that I refused to take my body signals into account. Everyone who runs a marathon knows that at some point, usually around 32-35km you will feel terrible, you hit the so called “wall”, sometimes it’s very hard, other times it’s not but you will feel like you need to stop. However, your legs can push through and run longer as long as you don’t let your brain convince otherwise. Mind over matter. As much as I like to be a determined person, i think it was my determination that actually caused all of this.

I don’t remember much from between 30-39km, I remember doing calculations in my head an knew that I am still getting a pb. I knew I couldn’t get sub 3:30 anymore and luckily I allowed myself to accept that but I still wanted 3:31-3.32 time. Even though I felt awful I kept pushing at that pace. I told myself it’s just the wall (that has lasted the whole marathon :D) and I have to convince my brain to get over it as my legs can do it. If only I understood that it was my brain warning me that I can’t keep going. Slowing down or stopping to walk wasn’t an option. I was so focused on pb that I refused to read my body. By the time it was 3km to the finish I knew that even if I slowed down to 6min/km pace I would still get  a pb. Did I do that? No, I slowed down but only a little. I think my pace got to 5:15. Thinking about it now, I could have stopped at 39 and walked to the finish and still finish in less than 4 hours; a respectable time for a marathon anytime. But no, that was not an option because in my head I felt like that means giving up and failing. Instead, I kept running and running until my body just shut down. I found myself at the side of the road as my legs just gave up. I didn’t lose consciousness but my body just did exactly what it did in London, my legs were unable to even stand they just went like spaghetti and I was on the ground.

This is when I started to feel really bad as well; imagine your biggest hangover and then multiply that by 10. I was lying on the ground with doctors and nurses helping me (I have no idea how I managed to collapse by the doctors or whether they came there later but I felt like there was immediately people helping me). I couldn’t move anything the feeling was so helpless and terrible and the disappointment when I realised it’s happened again and I’m not getting a pb. As soon as I was on the ground I heard the doctor tell me he has called the ambulance. I remember thinking that’s the end of my race if I have to go there, it can’t be the end of my race. At the same time the thought of actually getting up, let alone walking to the finish was worse. In London, after I collapsed I was taken to an emergency tent and I was there for 1,5 hours. After that I felt a lot better, I got up and walked/jogged 8km to the finish (I collapsed at 34km). In my head I thought I could still finish this race I just need to tell these doctors not to take me to the ambulance, but the words just didn’t come out of my mouth. I think because I was on the side of the road and not emergency tent they couldn’t have just left me there for hours to “wait and feel better”, they probably had to send me to hospital. German efficiency 🙂 But also, I didn’t tell them that I want to finish, I don’t know whether they would have let me or not and I am gutted I didn’t ask and try to stay there for a bit longer. At that point I felt so so bad though that I didn’t know whether I could finish. It’s easy to say now that I was only 2 or 3km away from finish, surely I could’ve even crawled that but never mind. They took me to the hospital and put a drip of electrolytes and water in me. They took some blood tests and said it looks like it was lack of electrolytes or dehydration. I was fine after couple of hours at the hospital. Massive thank you to an Irish man who was also there after collapsing and let me use his phone to call Minna who was super worried at the finish. (She ran 3:01!!!!!!!!!!!) The doctors said I’m not allowed to make an international call so Minna would have waited there for hours as my bag had the hotel keys and everything. Afterwards we walked back, I knew I needed food but didn’t feel like eating anything. Eventually I managed to have a smoothie which came back up 10 minutes later. After I was sick I started to feel better. It was exactly like a really bad hungover, just from running 39km.

berlinhospital

As I said before, I took water at pretty much every station, however the water was in tiny cups which I struggle to drink from as they spill everywhere. Also, some of the cups they gave us were only half full so from the half full cup after I spilled another half I probably only drank half of a half. Still, I didn’t feel super thirsty. I did feel really thirsty in London marathon and remember thinking that even drinking a bottle of water every 5km wasn’t enough. I also took 5 gels in Berlin, I normally take 4 but it seems like they just didn’t digest. Minna suggested that when you run too fast your body is unable to actually utilise the energy you are putting in so maybe because I ran too fast for my fitness levels from the very start the gels just didn’t actually absorb, so I was practically running on empty. Also the stomach cramps are suggesting the same thing, that I went off too fast. It’s easy to try and analyse and explain it now but thinking about the similarities to London there are few obvious ones.

Before London I was writing my final year dissertation for my Bachelor’s degree and I had had very stressful couple of months leading up to it. I basically handed in the diss on the same week as the marathon. I had also been injured and hadn’t trained, I started off way too fast and it was a hot day. In London they never told me why I collapsed, they suggested heat stroke.

For Berlin, I have had a stressful couple of months as well; I have been working full time and then writing my Master’s Dissertation on the weekends. I literally handed in my dissertation half hour before I had to take the bus to the airport to fly to Berlin. I had an injury that prevented some of the training, I started off too fast and it was a hot day. I don’t need to be a genius to realise that most likely my body doesn’t cope well under a lot of stress or at least doesn’t want to run a marathon in a stressed state. Maybe the heat had something to do with it, then again Chester marathon last year was hot too and I didn’t feel bad. Most likely, I went off too fast for my current level and that prevented the gels from absorbing and my body just gave up.

You know in marathons people always have signs that say: “Never quit”, “Giving up is not an option”. I think I should run a marathon where there is a sign saying: “Giving up is okay, you can quit”. I think my determination is so ridiculous that it refuses to differentiate just pure fatigue and lazyness from actual harmful situation and that is how I have ended up collapsing twice. If only I had slowed down, or even walked for a bit, I would have given myself a chance to finish the race but no. I had to keep going.

If anyone read to the finish then I’m impressed. My takeaways would be: “Be determined but be sensible!” 🙂

P.S. If this is read by anyone who was at the race and helped me then thank you! There was one runner who ran same pace as me pretty much the whole time and then tried to help me up when I collapsed. Talk about the great running community 🙂