Sunday, September 27

Ryan's Berlin Marathon

Ryan and I took Morgan to Berlin last weekend to see the sights and participate in the Berlin Marathon. It is the fastest marathon course in the world, ranked second among the world's top five marathons. "Twenty Years Without Borders" was the theme where over 40,000 athletes traversed East and West Berlin while a million spectators cheered them on and over 70 bands kept us all feelin' the beat! Ryan's been training for months to run and once again, it was so fun to see him give it a go!

The excitement was palpable from the lobby of our hotel and the cheering troupe of Brazilian runners in the U-bahn (underground metro train)! I kept getting choked up all day chasing my runner! I couldn’t wait to see his happy finish face!

It was a gorgeous morning and it was hard not to run people over with the stroller as we absorbed it all! We got a good laugh as we approached the race along the Tiergarten and just about every male in town was off to the side leaving their mark in the 'garten. Sorry, but it's also something we've become used to here in Germany when there's a big event or stau (traffic jam). Especially now that McKay is potty trained/ing!

Plenty of nerves between the both of us! What to do?
Kiss on Miss Morgan, of course!

I caught this while running along side - can you see Ryan waving?

The Victory Monument was their first site to round. Worked great for me, because I was able to hang a left and scoot a few blocks down to catch Sacrament meeting before meeting up with Ryan at the half way mark.

The Tiergarten Ward in downtown Berlin had enough English-only speakers to warrant headphones and translators. Hurray for me! The ward also had three sets of missionaries - two elders and a set of sisters. By the end of the meeting there were about 50 ward members present and I really appreciated the warm welcome by the bishopric, the bishop's wife, and a handful of members.

After the meeting, I rushed down to the race's halfway point and stood at the edge til I could inch me and Morgan to the front. Within five minutes of scanning the fast paced runners, I squealed at my man! One of those involuntary girly squeals, Ugh! But PHEW! I was so worried I'd miss him! He couldn't stop because of the pace and sheer number of runners pressing on. A woman behind me chuckled and said, "You've done your job!"

Right after Ryan saw me, he looked up and saw the 4:00 pacer and was pretty happy with himself! This meant he'd run half the marathon in two hours. He was cookin'! The pacers carried yellow balloons with their respective pace time. So if you want to run a marathon in four hours, you try to be near the 4:00 pacer.

And off I was trekking back to Potsdam Platz and the Brandenburg Gate to find Ryan's post-race carbs -- Dunkin Donuts and cheese pretzels. Oh yes, and it was noon so I decided I should probably eat something too! I sat and took in the Sony Center while scarfing down a breakfast and trying to discreetly feed an overtired Morgan.

We were very impressed with how the event was organized. Right before the Brandenburg Gate, close to the finish line here, they had a large pedestrian crossing zone they would herd us through while diverting the runners from one side to the other. We'd gather on one side then they'd divert the runners into a far lane while we crossed to the middle corral. The runners would be diverted again so we could cross. I took this from the middle of the herd. The new US embassy is to our right.

And once on the other side I waited to see if I could catch Ryan before he ran through the gate. He said he got choked up as he approached the Brandenburg Gate here. It's an awesome sight. He also said that when he'd hit a wall, someone would inevitably holler out "Run, Ryan, RUN!" It was fabulous that below their bib numbers, each runner's name was also printed. I waited here for a little over a half hour and probably just missed him. But I didn't want to miss him at the family reunion park!

I was so excited to see Ryan!!! So proud! So relieved! It'd been such a warm, bright day that I wondered if he'd been able to keep hydrated. He'd looked good at the half way point, but I was so anxious to see him!

Second marathon and he shaved over 30 minutes off his time! Well done!!!

Quite happy with himself as he should be! Then we had to hoof it to the hotel
to catch a cab to the airport to fly home and see our boys!