Berlin Marathon 2017: Reporting live from the Berlin Studio (apartment)

Just got back from my run in time to watch the last hour of the BMW Berlin Marathon as Kipchoge, Berkeley, and Kipsang (as the advertised world record strivers) fight for first place and hopefully the world record on this dreary Berliner day.

Opting for a more comfortable spectator position than last year (in my defense, I’ve also got wicked jetlag), I’m taking advantage of Berlin’s major TV station, RBB where the whole race is reported live. These are my thoughts while watching (disclaimer: I’m not a sports reporter, nor get paid to be one on TV 😉):

  • Right now (1:08), they’re talking about Anna Hahner, one of Germany’s top marathon runners and also the hopeful for the top German result. She is about 20 meters away from the top women. (Spoiler alert: she only gets mentioned two more times and finishes alright)
  • Kind of interesting this year are the thousands of election campaign posters lining the course and constantly caught by the camera
  • Berkeley is off course (1:10:48) for the record. He could still make it up but eh…
  • Guye Adola missed his water bottle at km 25…he’s a debut runner doing pretty well. Go underdog! No one shared his bottle with him, though. Competition is tough
  • My bet is on Kipchoge, because he has that sub 2-Hour attempt to draw meantal strength from
  • I think I’m glad I’m not volunteering today. The weather is kind of miserable
  • I also hope no one forgot their glide… chafing=ew
  • 1:24:29 Kimputo is kind of bouncing around in the back, my bet is he’s next to fall off the pace
  • The water (light rain and sweat) is flying off their feet
  • Pacer 60 Kimpare is doing a great job
  • Oh! They’re at km aid station 30, and before I could finish writing about how I was there last year and didn’t even realize I could end up in the footage…
  • WHAT Kipsang is out?! WHAT!?
  • Now it’s just Kipchoge and Adola! I guess I may win my bet after all
  • Kimpare is gone now too
  • It’s not long now
  • The bicycle leaders are are having a hard time not working as pacers for the two
  • Marathon running televised is a bit like watching sloths play soccer.
  • 1:43:11 Adola still there, slightly irritating Kipchoge it looks like. Hang on for 7 more km, Adola! Wouldn’t it be wild if he won?
  • And how lucky is Kipchoge, after the other two fell off, to have this competition? Someone who keeps him on pace?
  • Bekele is now also completely out. :-(
  • Kipchoge is running the blue line (the adidas three stripes to be seen throughout the city weeks after the race) Adola is running long curves. What is going on? Is a Adola letting Kipchoge keep his own pace?
  • 1:50:40 Okay, yeah, it’s getting a little more interesting  now
  • 4 more km
  • Less than 10 more minutes
  • 1:54:55 Kipchoge looks like he’s losing a bit of form :/
  • What the heck, Adola looks like a running god. He can have the win. I’m a fan
  • Okay Kipchoge, you still got this after all. He closed the gap
  • Adola doesn’t take any fuel? What? He may also have surged too early
  • Max 5 more minutes. I’m actually on the end of my seat. I take back my sloth comment
  • C’mon Adola! Hang on!
  • Kipchoge is claiming the last km for himself
  • Okay, experience wins. Aber Adola, aller Respeckt!
  • Damn. Kipchoge, look at that smile. 1km left and he knows he has this
  • Stride, smile, finish.
  • 2:03:34
  • AND ADOLA, fastest debut in history, 2:03:47 :-)
  • First woman, Gladys Cherono, doing a really nice job, on her own these last km.
  • Wish I had that kind of stride
  • Wins in 2:20:21 (and still gets a 15,000€ time bonus). Wooh!

In summary: what a race. Had I bet, I’d have won. Still proven: there are some fast runners out there. Athletes have a tough fight; it takes a lot to know when to step out of a race. Love the Berlin Marathon and hope to maybe run it one day!

Now, I return to my regularly scheduled Sunday. Hope you also have a nice day! -Dorothea


2:00:24 Thoughts 

In no particular order: 

  • Woah. I know this didn’t break the 2 hour wall, but hot damn, that’s fast. 4:36 pace for 26.2? It’s almost unbelievable. 
  • Eluid Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersensay Tadese deserve some time off. Way to go for even attempting the feat. 
  • Congratulations to Kipchoge for making it sooooo close. I think he beat a lot of predictions by the naysayers. Given this result, I’m sure the world record will officially fall in the next year, too. It does remove a mental block. 
  • The temperature seemed right, but I was surprised at the high humidity. 74% is a decent amount, even if the dew point was still okay. I wonder if less humidity would have made a difference
  • I have respect for all the pacers… they were a valuable contribution to this effort and don’t share any of the limelight
  • How many people outside the running community care that this attempt even happened?
  • How many people followed it live? I didn’t… I was still sleeping when they started, and had places to go and no time to turn on the computer 
  • I wonder if crowd support would have helped? Or just made them more nervous?
  • I wonder how much was the shoes.
  • It’s inspiring, but the blistering speed all but inspires me to go out for a long run. Maybe a few hundred meters.

Happy weekend of running and all else. 

To start again 

I need to get this out in cyber text before I forget the feelings I want to share about it: it’s training time again and sometimes one needs to recharge before hitting “reset.” 

Writing from a bus with free wifi on my way from the Baltic to Berlin. Can’t catch catch all my spelling and grammar on my tiny iPod screen. Apologies for any misteaks ;) 

Since taking off my compression socks in the landing plane in Düsseldorf, Germany last Tuesday, I struggled with the next step. I mentioned in my last post that I signed up for a marathon in München on Oct. 9th (I’ll be running the same day as some of you running Twin Cities, or Chicago), but other than figuring out my plan (a modified ASICS sub 3:30 plan that I’ll have to link at a later date for anyone who doesn’t want to open a new Google tab), I wasn’t excited about the race. In fact, until yesterday, I really didn’t think I was ready to begin training today. Call it jet lag, or burn-out (not that I was training, but I pushed myself a bit hard the last weeks before leaving, [even with no real reason]), I just didn’t want to run last week. So I didn’t. I ran the day of the flight (Monday), seven miles to get to the beach one last time, and then again on Sunday, but with no motivation and an urgent need for the bathroom.

 I didn’t run before Sunday because I was working hard at moving and cleaning, and because running in the morning would have felt like death (1AM blood pressure). PSA: some coaches advise one day of rest or easy running per hour of time-zone difference before going for workouts again.

But maybe I also subcounsciously knew that I was about to commit to four months of training. I guess I felt I might as well use the last week I have beforehand as a break.

It was meantally and physically a good choice. While Sunday’s five miles were rough, it told me I didn’t need to push any runs before today. I took two more days off and had a blissful non-running existence.  Then magically, luckily, perhaps quite logically, when I woke up today, I was ready for six miles easy. Done at an 8:17 clip, it was the confidence-inspiring way I like to start my season. Here’s to fall marathon training!

And now, just like that, I’m motivated again. Of course there are no garauntees that it will be that way for 16 weeks, and 6AM is sometimes no better than 1AM, but at least I’ve started… And I’ll see it through to the finish! 

Good luck and good speed to any and all others (marathon training and otherwise). Just think, we also have summer Olympics to motivate us through key workouts.


Active Recovery

In my last post, I describe a little how I collect most of my running knowledge. A lot of my reading, of course, has to do with training- as a part of my search to find a good training plan for me. In these searches, I come across many running debates (you know, like low-profile versus high-profile shoes, running tights versus shorts over running tights), and one of them has to do with the uses of active recovery.

First, let me point out that the terms “active rest” and “active recovery” are often used interchangeably, but I argue that they should not be. First of all, the difference between rest and recovery should be clear. A rest day is one where you give your body and mind respite from the period of time where you did not give them a chance to back off and rest. Recovery is implied with rest, that is, by resting, you should be recovering. However, since recovery is something you do actively and it implies development from “I’ve just killed myself” to “I can do a few sprints right now,” the recovery is what I think can be active, while rest is just rest… no action required. Or, in more other words, active recovery are actions you take to maximize the repair of your body from it’s latest workout(s). So, for this post, I will be using “active recovery,” since I feel that “active rest” is a paradox and does not really describe the thing properly (semantics, tsk, tsk).

Runner’s World uses the term and break down the issues I have with using “active rest” as a term as well, so here’s that article.  Here’s another one (in case you’re super interested).

Anywho, to continue, most of the time active recovery is something talked about in the weight-lifting community. It’s something that seems more reasonable in that community, given the fact that weight lifters are not pounding miles of cement everyday (hence involving bones and muscle), but rather mostly using joints and muscle. They may not need rests as runners need breaks from running (though everyone needs a break at some point). However, these active recovery days are useful for anyone. As explained on, “Active recovery focuses on completing a workout at a low intensity, but just high enough that it gets the blood moving and helps reduce residual fatigue in the muscle.” This makes sense to me, and may make sense to you too.

It used to be that people thought running also cleared out the lactic acid, but really the running helps increase the blood flow that helps bring the whatever to the muscle to help repair the microfractures.

So, obviously for runners, some of the best forms of active recovery involve activity that increases blood flow, but not impact on the body. Swimming, stretching, cycling, etc. are the most touted forms and since practicing them myself, I find myself able to recover more quickly from things like long runs and hard interval runs than I would if I took the day completely off. Here are some other suggestions of what to do on rest and recovery days.

Active recovery, long story short, is something I discovered once in a training plan, did some reading about through various sources (mostly my friend Google), and now practice, especially the day after my long run, to feel good for my next workout.

The end! Hope this is useful, and I’d appreciate comments about experiences you’ve made practicing active recovery, or suggestions for workouts to do to help recover.



how to get smart

Or, more appropriately, “how to get informed about running.”

One thing I get asked all the time (or I wish I got asked, to justify all the time I put into random reading) is how I know so much about running and sports nutrition. Seriously, I’m the running partner who constantly gives unwanted advice about anything, set off by a mere statement about the knees, pace, coffee you had for breakfast, or amount of sleep you got. I can’t help myself. I notice it while I’m doing it, but I get so lost in trying to call up the random spark of knowledge, that I ignore the slowly growing look of disinterest on my partner’s face. This habit is not helped by the fact that I teach English composition. I’ve become bored-face immune.

Oh well. Sometimes, the advice is welcome though, and it’s usually up-to-date with the latest sports medical and psychological developments, even if I’ve never studied either one (could be a second career path though, for sure). How do you get this way, you wonder?

Well, it’s a development. For me, it started with a subscription to Runner’s World when I had my first self-earned money and no vital commodities to buy otherwise. These magazines came in monthly, and I read through them like my textbooks (and as a straight-“A” student, you can imagine that it was everything minus the highlighter and the sticky notes). I absorbed all the knowledge until I finally realized, midway through the second year (it was a two-year special subscription deal) that the information repeated itself. Even if a different workout was highlighted each time, or the type of shoes always changed, at some point, the magazine recycled it’s articles like a bad romance author recycles his/her story-lines (sorry, guys). Runner’s World magazine is great for the beginning runner, looking for a fun magazine to read by the beach. At some point though, it’s time to move on. What it is good for, however, is to get its readers introduced to the breath of running topics: types of workouts, types of attire, types of nutrition, types of terrain, VO2 levels, great races, who’s who in the running world, etc. Yet, the depth of which the authors get into the topics is limited, as I realized later, by the clientele. Most of the world are amateur runners, so therefore Runner’s World smartly caters to those readers (who don’t want or need to know about how lactic acid necessarily works at the blood cell level).

For a while, I was a member of MyFitnessPal. Most of my friends on it were also runners, and we exchanged a lot of notes about workouts and because I could see their food diaries, I also had an idea of how nutrition=workout satisfaction. The good runners really did pay attention to their nutrition (types of fuel)… it’s really not a simple matter of calories in vs. calories out. But from the wise masters in my version of the online community, I learned about other sources to read besides Runner’s World magazine, such as Running Times. Running Times is a sub-publication of Runner’s World, and it caters more to competitive runners (most runners are competitive, but here I mean runners who raced in high school and college, and/or who are hunting down sub-elite times (or like to believe they can, like me ;)).

I don’t subscribe to Running Times, but rely a lot on their website. I’m often brought there by my Runner’s World “quote of the day,” which gives me a daily quote and article to peruse. The quotes are all some variation of motivation (i.e. you’ll feel/be better if you run! It will be hard, but worth it), but the articles are usually the latest news in the running world.

Now, through WordPress, many of my fellow bloggers remind me about key running advice or share their personal tips about how to deal with things like cold- or warm- weather running. Those who post their workouts give me a good idea of ways I can tweak my own plans.

However, nowadays, most of my knowledge comes from google searches about particular concerns of mine on a given day. For example, if I feel a pain on the outside of my knee, I look it up and get a bunch of information about possible causes of my pain, and I continue clicking links until I’ve gotten all the “evidence” and then can pinpoint the “culprit” after eliminating all the duds (hence, my online research has become some kind of detective work, as could be true for everyone). This kind of work means I collect a wide breath of all the options, and in reading in-depth about multiple of these options, I learn about things that don’t affect me at the time, but I save these bits of fluff for annoying my running partners. Unlike Sherlock Holmes, my brain has room for these things (as found at

I read about what the best fuel is for a long run, a tempo run, trail run, how to handle high humidity, low humidity, what to do with little sleep, if you’re having a hard time sleeping, etc.

Of course, all this reading comes with the caveat that I don’t have the academic background or any real training in this field, but I have pretty sharp brain and know when to seek out someone who has the proper background and training (especially in matters related to injury and nutrition). A lot of it is trial and error anyway, since we all are different and have to figure out which set of advice works for us.

Still, I wanted to share some fun sources with you, in case you were looking for ways to fill up your time.


Paying it forward

I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time, but time- ‘nough said.

A while ago, all the way back in the beginning of November, a fellow blogger participated in “Sharing Sunday,” and shared some of the blogs she really enjoyed following. It is such a neat idea, and while it’s not Sunday, and I am not doing this to make anyone feel like they have another thing on their list to do (i.e. you DON’T have to pay it forward!), I do want to share some of my favorite blogs to follow, with you.

So, consider this my Christmas gift to you: several great running blogs that you can enjoy checking out in your free time (if you aren’t already following them… because they’re just that good).

Of course, Paula at Never a Dull Bling provides me with weekly entertainment from her happy hour ramblings. She also posts regularly about her training (hills, agh!) and about her cheer leading for her husband, James, who also blogs at 50 in 50 Marathon Quest. He and I run pretty similar times, so it’s cool to see how he’s doing and mooch off his training plans. Both are incredibly supportive in the comments section as well, which I’ve learned is what makes the WordPress blogging experience so great.

Then there’s Jim at trying to get faster as I get older, a really fast masters runner who is super consistent about logging and usually posts every day- something short and sweet with a touch of thoughtful zen.

I also enjoy following Colby at It’s A Marathon and a Sprint, her partner in crime Tina posts there too. These updates are usually hilarious and full of sweat, cursing, and tears.

Chelsea at The Dancing Runner and Hollie at FueldbyLolz are regular posters whose posts I look forward to several times a week. Chelsea does themed posts I can depend on (I always love her TGIFriday Faves) and Hollie is super fast and I love reading her race recaps and weekly workouts.

Harold at One Foot in Reality  kids himself. He really has both feet grounded and reflects on running and life in thoughtful, precise ways. He usually breaks down his posts into the situation, the way he feels about it, and rounds it out with “the reality is,” putting things into perspective. He’s also great to go to with advice!

So, there’s also Amy at The Tiny Terror another fast runner whose times are a little closer to mine which makes it fun to follow as well. Plus, we can both complain about running in humidity together.

Christopher at We Run and Ride is a great blogger who writes legitimate essays that take you on a journey. His posts usually involve some experience or metaphor that gets him on a written road that usually gets the reader back to what he started with, but with a lot of new ideas and observations to consider along the way.

Finally, a few blogs I only recently started following, but have come to look forward to are Inverted Sneakers, Pip in Motion, and Ben’s Running Blog (makes me laugh without fail).

Well, that’s it for now. I follow a lot of blogs, but this collection hosts my favorite ones (they’re the blogs I’ll open to read, even if I don’t have any time to like or comment!).

Finally, while I’m sharing, here are those finish photos of my brother and me. :-) We tied, but I won in the photo finish!

Cheers! – Dorothea

Update: I’m still alive!

So, I’ve been off the radar for a while (in reading and posting blogs). I’m going to skip off again after this, but to check-in and make it easier on myself when I finally return for the end of 2015 (likely next weekend, life will be mine again), I’m doing a quick running log.

Last time you read from me, I had just PR’ed and was already part way through finals stress. This year, I have tons of papers (late and on-time) from my students to grade, my brother’s finals to help him prepare with, and grad school applications…plus the house needed to be decorated! So, I’m a wee bit busy and can’t wait for the break to begin next weekend.

However, I have been running, even if it was a bit rocky.

training_21 Nov 6 Dec

The first day after the race was fine. I did an easy 5 miles and shook out the legs. Things felt good! Then, I took my scheduled rest day and life was hunky-dory. Following that, I had an interval session planned. This was done at the track and I did 7 x 400ms with 400 m recovery jogs. The pace overall was fine, but nothing stellar, and I felt tired. I chalked it up to having just raced hard and didn’t really push myself, anyway.

Then, Thanksgiving prep got in the way of my run, and I started showing cold symptoms. That turned into a full-fledged cold, but not before I could get 8 miles in on Thanksgiving. They were nice (and windy) to the beach and back. Friday, my cold played out its game, hard, and I was miserable and forced to be productive on applications all last weekend. Still, I squeezed in a few short runs. They didn’t kill me (even though I just lay down in the grass at one point during Friday’s run, because it felt better than running), and life moved on. I took off the last day of running to work on my applications completely, because I know where to set my priorities… obviously. ;)

Starting Dec. 1st, things looked better. I was feeling healthier and had a little more time to run, even if I’m still tight for it.

Tuesday, Dec. 1- quick 10k. The legs felt good, I felt good, I had to get back before it got dark… (edited to add that this was actually an interval run! How could I forget? Probably because it wasn’t as easy as my selective memory had me believe, due to my cold. 3 x 7 minutes at 7:00-7:30 mpm, 3 min. recovery jog.)
Wednesday, Dec. 2- Easy five miles. It felt good to relax on this run, no stress and plenty of time for circuit training
Thursday, Dec. 3- short 3 miles. Got home late after driving around south Florida for three hours, but really wanted that run (and even if I would have actually been okay without it, it felt good to run in the rain)
Friday, Dec. 4- even shorter 2.3 miles… just to get the legs moving. I’m getting back into marathon training and wanted to get a  run in on the day before the long run.
Saturday, Dec. 5- longest run since the April marathon! Finally back into marathon training. 15.5 miles at a pretty good clip (8:37). To get the distance and be home in time for breakfast (because, let’s be real, it’s almost the best part of the day), I did a little less than 2 miles before the group run. Wore some compression socks after my shower, and wow, hose things really do help in recovery.
Sunday, Dec. 6- rest day, 2nd Advent, life is fairly good, but now I have to get back to grading.

Total: 32.5 miles. This is not as high as I’d like to see, but after the last two weeks sub-24 miles, I’m happy with this. I know that next week, with a planned 17-miler, it will be easy to get to 40 miles.

Hope everyone had a good weekend and has a wonderful week. Stay healthy! It’s that time of the year, but no need to get sick.

All the best and happy running.


Just 5 thoughts while watching live coverage

1. If the Macintosh is the official Apple of the NY marathon, they better have cartloads at the finish line for the runners.

2. Kipsang’s race outfit last year was pretty cool.

3. Biwott ran a great race!

3. I like Desisa’s running style

4. How do the winners have the energy/ muscle coordination to run around with their flag like a cape after killing it for 26+ miles?

5. So fast.

Running Log: 10/19-10/25 in which I evaluate why I’m so 5K fixated right now

I had a hard time sleeping last night, mostly because I was excited by the race I’d run in the evening and because my body-temperature was way too high (that’s why I hate Florida evening races). I kept tossing 5K ideas in my sleep, and had the weirdest dreams about the weirdest running injuries. Oh well.

But in short, the race yesterday went really well. It wasn’t a goal race, and therefore my goals were modest, but like I said, I’m really excited by the promise it shows.

I don’t know how often I can say this without question marks popping up all over the place, but basically, I have a nine year PR waiting to be broken. It’s weird how time goes by, since I feel like I just attempted to break the PR again recently, but even my last real attempt was over two years ago.

Basically, I started running competitively in high school cross country. In 2005, freshman year, it was my first year of high school sports and I had no clue about cross country. In 2006, however, I had caught the competitive bug and sailed through the cross country season with a culmination of running states. There, I set my 21:15 PR that I’ve been staring down for the past 9 years. I don’t know why I didn’t break it while still in high school running cross country, but I’ll chalk it up to puberty and academics.

College was at a non-NCAA participating school, so I did easy local races, but nothing serious (and my training reflected that). I was also more focussed on running my first half-marathon, and then my first marathon.

However, first year of grad-school gave me another opportunity to run school cross country, and I followed a plan until I realized I couldn’t balance being a GTA, student, and collegiate athlete. I tried to stick with the plan that brought me down into the 21s for the first time since high school, but I still couldn’t stick with the plan enough to break my PR. And then I got injured.

I’ve sporadically run a few 5ks since 2013, but never with my eye on the prize. Now, however, after successful (read, not injured) third marathon, my training has scaled back in distance, but I’ve been pulling a lot more speedwork. Initially, the training was laissez faire, but after the 5K on the treadmill in the gym, a spark has been lit under my tail. I’m doing consistent speed-work and getting mild long-runs in, and this week was no exception.

Monday, 10/19- woke up early to get the miles in, since I knew I’d be running errands with my mother in the afternoon and didn’t want the pressure of a run that I needed to get in ruining our time together. 6.7 easy miles
Tuesday, 10/20- speed-work, for some random reason acording to no plan, needed to be on Tuesday and an extended session. I did 8 x 400s with 400m rests and a mile warm-up, mile cool-down. The intervals went really well. I surprised myself with a 5:48mpm average.
Wednesday, 10/21- super easy 4.5 miles and light circuit training. My right upper quad (Sartorius?) was sore and I spent most of my run trying to figure out if it was just sore or strained.
Thursday, 10/22- Sartorius still sore, I was tired, went for an easy 3 miler. I knew after Monday through Wednesday that I had enough mileage for the week, even if I just did 10 miles on the weekend, so I listened to my body.
Friday, 10/23-rest day; I know, I didn’t want to do these anymore, but my body wanted it after the Tuesday speed-work and I wanted the break before the “long” run and race on the weekend.
Saturday, 10/24- 10.1 unsupported (meaning, no Gatorade on the course :() group run; ran with Stan, which kept my pace nice and easy. I knew I’d want to keep it really easy before the Sunday race. It was fairly uncomplicated to keep a 9:30 pace (especially since I needed a restroom from miles 6-8)
Sunday, 10/25- 5K race with mini-warm-up and .8 mile cool-down. Not risking injury with too much running!

All in all, a good week with 35.4 miles. I’m looking at getting about the same mileage this week, a 14-15 miler on Saturday, and a rest day or very light day today and Friday.

Hope you all have a good week!


Five things I did while gone worth blogging about

Sorry everyone (or no one; depends on the size of my readership), I’ve been off blogging for a while. But I’m ready to come back, and this time I’ve been running while gone, so there’s at least some things to catch you up on:

1. Orthotics (or why they may not be the solution):
I thought my flat feet would be a permanent issue for me and my running. I thought I would need custom made orthotics to get rid of my plantar fasciitis. Turns out, there are exercises and stretches that can help rebuild the muscles. I also got a new pair of shoes and find the Nimbus 17s are perfect for me. Yay me! I won’t say that the orthotics did not help me recover from my injury, but I find now that I can do without them.

2. Running on the Elbe
Hamburg is such a beautiful city. I also cannot say enough how much I love running along one of Europe’s largest rivers. I am never too alone, the scenery is beautiful, and the trails are solid, but not too hard. I feel pretty awesome while running down the river alongside a freight carrier.

3. Marathon training
The Hamburg Marathon will be my third marathon. I haven’t trained for any other race less. I don’t think I’ve done more than 35 miles a week in the past three months, and I’m still at 16 miles for my long run, but I’m still down for that race on the 26th, and I’m likely to be less injured before the race, but seriously regret running during it…  Wish me luck! I’m going to need it.

4. Running on the beach
Enough said. I’ve built up to five miles on the sand without getting blisters, so that’s progress. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait until August before my feet touch sand again… unless I make it to one of north Germany’s famous islands?

5. Fueling
While marathon training, for the past few long runs, I’ve been taking food along with me to eat during my run. Water was especially important during some of my afternoon runs in Florida spring heat, but I hadn’t realized how important food was until eating some during my last 15-miler. It’s not even too long of a run, but in my condition, it helped to have that fuel to boost me the last miles. I had been struggling previously.