It was a about a quarter to ten when I crossed the finish line near the Deutsches Eck in Koblenz this morning, and it was two hours and ten minutes after I started running the marathon in Oberwesel near the Loreley.
Even though I didn’t even train half as much as I did last year, I was able to skate significantly faster – almost 18 minutes less than last year. My average speed was also the fastest I’ve ever skated – about 19.5 km/h (about 12 mph) – and that’s including even my short trainings of 10 km. There were three things that helped me along, though.
First, the weather: Because we started so early it was not yet hot outside, and I finished by the time I would normally have breakfast on a Sunday. Second, a colleague and I each leaded for one kilometre and then followed in the other’s lee (slip stream? I can’t seem to find a proper translation for Windschatten), and that saves a lot of energy. And last but not least, quite a few spectators were up at this early hour and cheered us on. We even saw cheerleaders (which are not as common here in Germany as they are in the US by far) and a few brass bands. The last band was positioned at the third-last kilometre and managed to motivate me into a final spurt even though I thought I didn’t have much energy left.
After we had got our finisher T-shirts and medals and changed into normal shoes, we went to have some much-deserved ice-cream before I rode the train home. I still feel a bit groggy (it’s now six hours later), but overall don’t feel too bad. We’ll see if I get a Muskelkater tomorrow.