Monday, 19 November 2012

Running Away: pt 1 > Berlin, DE

Right then… where were we?

Well, I was in Berlin. October 21-25, that is. Then I was in Liguria, near Genoa, from October 27 to November 3. And then I was in Boston (MA. not Lincs), November 10-15. In between those trips, I got to spend some time at home: but, by my standards, that’s a lot of time away from Portishead. One more trip next week (Stuttgart), then I should be done with travelling for a while. Not that I mind it, by any means: but, in the build-up to Christmas, it’s always good to be home.

So – what did these trips mean for running? Let’s start with Berlin – and we can carry on in future posts.

Just before Berlin, on October 12, I’d started a runstreak. This means running at least a mile/day every day. I didn’t hold out too much hope of sticking to it during my time in Germany. To put this into context, between October 22 and 24 my company, Servigistics, held its annual regional conference, EXCHANGE EMEA 2012. To put this into further context, organising and running this conference is one of my main tasks, and arguably the one that takes up the higher chunk of my time. Over those three days, I am in the constant spotlight as far as my colleagues are concerned. It is my responsibility to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible. If things do, great: and the sum of all those parts will, hopefully, be noticed. If they don’t, then any one part will grab the spotlight.

With that in mind, I couldn’t see myself running much on those three days. As I did in 2010 (Barcelona) and 2011 (Dublin), I wasn’t going to have any time to run: the conference is all-consuming and I have to be available pretty much 24 hours/day. So why/how/when run?

Well, here’s the thing. In recent months I have come to appreciate that my morning runs, which intuitively should tire me out before I’ve even headed into the office, actually energise me. The endorphins kick in and I’ve got more to give than had I just rolled out of bed, showered and eaten. Counter-intuitive but true. So… why would I not fit in a run on the mornings of the biggest and most important days in my work calendar?

With that in mind, you won’t be quite as surprised to learn that I ran 10km on Monday 22, 5km on Tuesday 23 and 10km on Wednesday 24. Tuesday was when the main event started, and early: the first presentation was at 8:00. So 5km was impressive…
…and not unduly taxing. See, Berlin’s quite flat. The area in which we were based lent itself nicely to flat runs. My average pace over those three days was 5’24”/km. Perfect!

Then came Thursday 25…
…by that point, most of the people around me had consumed their fair share of alcohol, and then some. It’s an inherent part of the socialising that goes with business conferences and I say that without a hint of irony. Twelve months prior, I’d hardly touched a drop until it was all over, when I ensured I was the last one standing at the hotel bar in Dublin, enjoying varying types of Jameson’s. This time round… again, I’d hardly touched a drop whilst the event was live, but I didn’t indulge unduly in alcohol once the curtain had been brought down. I had a few but kept my sobriety – too keen to get in a decent run the following morning…
…exactly, Thursday 25. Having devised a sightseeing map, I set off at 7:38am. The map was followed with an unintentional and unknowing sprinkling of liberalism, i.e. I ultimately discovered I’d got lost and proceeded to ask “Wo ist die Kudamm?” every five minutes, given the look I got when I first asked it and was sent back hence I’d come…
…but, by then, I’d seen some glorious sights. Running through the Tiergarten and past the Brandenburg Gate is not something I’ll forget in any great hurry. And, helpfully, this route was just as flat as the one to Zoological Garden, to which I’d wandered on the Monday with the whole “Achtung Baby” ringing in my ears – as well as memories of reading Christiane F. at school in my early teenage years.

By the time I’d got back to the hotel, I’d run for 24km in a highly-pleasing 2h5’14” – 5’13”/km. That was the pace at which I’d run the Bristol Half Marathon, powered by the adrenalin of race day. So very, very happy with the time – and even happier with the setting for it. And, as I sat down for breakfast, I felt a darn sight better than I would have done after an all-nighter – in every sense!

So… that was Berlin, folks… considering I thought runstreak would be in jeopardy in Germany, I was happy with 49km over four days…
…check in again soon for tales of my runs in Santa Margherita Ligure and Boston! Is runstreak still alive???

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