Monday, May 21, 2018

Copenhagen Marathon 2018 {race recap}

What a day!

Time: 3:38.37 my 4th BQ! (5th fastest marathon of 17) 

AG: 26/266 
Women: 154/2023 
Overall: 1511/ 9121

Instead of writing the 2018 version, I could say just read my recap from last year because it’s pretty much the same.  2017 CPH Marathon Race Recap

But instead of being lazy and reposting an already posted post, I’ll write the 2018 version.

I signed up for this race in February- when I knew we would be returning to Copenhagen. I had a blast last year so figured it would be fun to do a no pressure race post beer festival- Boston drained me emotionally. I craved a race where I could just be. 

Pre Race:

Wednesday- I participated in the 2nd  Mikkeller World Beer Mile

Thursday- I woke up late and felt awful. I had taken melatonin before I went to bed. Couple that with some beer, and holy shit I woke up feeling completely drunk/world spinning/help. It took a few hours to sleep that off, and then we went around the corner to our friend’s flat for breakfast. 

Post breakfast we went to the expo. On the way we heard explosions and chanting. At first I thought it was protests- but L commented they sounded too happy- like soccer fans. Then we saw yellow and blue and thought it was for the hockey tournament that was going on. Nope. As we got closer we realized it was for a huge soccer match which was taking place in the stadium adjacent to the expo. 

The expo was well organized. I bought some SiS gels, and a Saysky tank I had seen online. I love how organized the expo is. 

Post expo, we walked over to Baryl and had the most instagram worthy lunch ever. 

Then we walked over to my favorite bar, Mikropolis and enjoyed some cocktails and beer. We  ran into the MRC Thursday crew as well as the Fishtown beer runners from Philly. 

Friday: we had breakfast at Hyggestund and met The man behind Aktivfoodie - a really cool concept which he created. It is basically a respository of restaurant reviews where active people can go to search when they have a destination race and want to eat somewhere (good) vetted by other active folks 

Day 1 of Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen. We went to both sessions and had so many amazing beers. We met up with the people behind People Like Us- and incredibly cool company/brewery which employs autistic people. They work hard to find a fit for the people in their company - to find what they are truly good at. It was inspiring to hear stories of how they work with their employees instead of trying to mold them into something that wouldn’t work for either of them. 


We went to the first session of MBCC and drank more beer. 

Post session 1, we ran with MRC Copenhagen- there were so many chapters from all over the world represented. It was so cool to meet people we follow on social media- from MRC Kazan, Helsinki, Skaraborg, Finspang, Toronto, Liverpool, Sheffield, London, the list goes on. 

Post run, we went to the second Saturday session. I ended up leaving early to meet J for dinner. We had delicious bolognese at Pasta Mania. 

Race Day!

I woke up around 6:30 to drink some coffe and eat the blueberry muffin and banana  I got from the local Netto. I was feeling good but ambivalent about the race. Usually I wake up feeling excited and get out of bed with urgency to get ready,  but Sunday morning I felt really calm. I got ready, kissed L goodbye and walked over to a local bar to meet some MRC Liverpool runners who were also running. We walked the 2km together to the start area. 

In the start area was breakfast for sale- an amazing spread of pastries- I wish I had brought some cash for these since they looked delicious! We eventually found the other MRC runners for a group photo. Post photo, I dashed off to find a portapotty but the lines were crazy- derp. I should have gone pre photo when the lines were short. Shit. Literally. 

I dropped my bag and walked over to the start corral and stood around the 3:30 pacers. I figured despite all the beer fest, and walking that I would be good for a 1:45 half and 3:30ish finish. I was mildly concerned that I had to use the bathroom but knew there would be on course portalets in a couple of km. My only goal for for this race was to have a good time and feel good. (It’s really hard for me to turn off the competitive side).

The gun went off and soon I was running the streets of my favorite city again. I got emotional. It was the end to another fabulous trip to Copenhagen, and I couldn’t have been happier. 

A few km into the I found the first aid station with portalets and breathed a huge sigh of relief as I entered. I exited with an extra bounce in my step because I knew there would no longer be a danger of code brown. 

The first 5k I kept thinking “Whoa- I’m on pace  to PR! This is great!.” I had no idea how a beer fest + beer mile + all the waking would affect me- but I know my PR at Boston it 3:25 is “soft” because I could have easily run 10+ min faster in better weather. 

Km 8 came and I was suddenly full of nope. It was very clear at this point that I would need to take the remainder of this race completely for fun due to the heat- which I had already played out in my head. Boston was the super duper “A” goal and CPH was always to be for fun. Forget Boston to Big Sur, for me Boston to Copenhagen is where the party is. 

As I passed the KM markers, I high fived 100’s of kids. Anyone with an outstretched hand was not left hanging. I was having a blast.  I finished the SiS electrolyte drink I was carrying with me around mile 10, and instead of dropping the disposable Powerade bottle, I made the decision to refill it with water. If my blog is good for anything, it’s definitely worth it’s trouble for the  race recaps. I remember last year feeling that the aid stations were too far apart for me- which led me to keep my bottle and refill it. 

I passed the famous Danish flag lined street and felt emotional. I love this city and this race. 

I passed the half in 1:46.xx and felt pretty good. I was really hot but otherwise was in great spirits. Going through the NBRO run club cheer zone was crazy. They had smoke and confetti canons and it was madness. I was happy to get past that stretch because the gunpowder smell was overwhelming. 

I knew L would be at the MRC cheer station around km 25/mile 15.5- it felt like forever to reach this point. Every turn I made I thought it would be right there. Finally I reached the cheer zone and hugged L. Just like last year, I got a beer from Henrik. I took a sip and he said “I can take the cup back” and I said “no way! I’m not done yet!” It was Frank the Tank from Warpigs and it hit the spot so hard. It gave me life. 

I wasn’t too jazzed about running another 11 miles since it was pushing high 70’s and was super sunny but I picked up my walk to a run and said good bye and continued on.  My feet felt so sore- like hot spots or something. They felt great for Boston despite being soaked from the rain. I wore the same exact sock/shoe combo and it was like I changed everything. Running over the cobbles was painful. (No blisters or anything post race, so weird) 

The rest of the race I continued to fill my bottle at aid stations- I filled it 4x! I also dumped a ton of water on my head at every aid station I passed. I was super hot and the water felt so good. 

I got to km 40 and was so happy to be nearly done. I did crap math and figured I would be close to last year’s time of 3:35 so I picked up the pace a bit. Then I hit km 41 and was super elated to be 5 min from finishing. But then I saw we had to go over a bridge to finish and it looked way further than .62 mile. 

 It felt like this km took forever to finish. I was so happy to see the finish and be done. 

I took my finisher photo, got my free beer (alcohol free), got my bag and proceeded to collapse into the grass. I took my soaked singlet off to dry off, and laid down while I waited for J to finish.

 {spoiler alert} I didn’t wait long at all because she PR’d by 20 freaking minutes! Insane. That’s 35 minutes off her marathon from 2017-2018! I’m inspired with the work she’s put in. 

We hung out for a bit and then said our goodbyes/ see you soon, (it’s less finite than goodbye) and headed our separate ways.

 I walked back across the bridge to warpigs where we ran into more MRC’ers and I finally had some delicious American bbq food  and a beer. 

We saw so many friends it was amazing. 

We stayed there for hours and hours and eventually went to Fermentoren where we had more beer and ran into more friends. 

Past midnight we decided to walk back to our air bnb and pick up one more Kylling durum at Kebabistan. I was happy to go home and finally change and shower  (I had been in my marathon clothes since 6:30am!) luckily with all the water I dumped on myself I don’t think I smelled too much like a barnyard. 

Gah. What a day! I can’t stop smiling when I think about it. I had so much fun running the streets of my favorite city and got to share it with so many fantastic people. I honestly think I needed a race for funsies post Boston- a hot AF marathon after a beer mile/ beer fest might not have been the best idea, but it did the trick.  Boston drained me emotionally and physically. I still tear up when I hear certain songs which were on my iPod for the Boston Marathon- it brings back some pretty raw feelings. Copenhagen was bliss. Running for fun, high 5ing everyone, hanging at the MRC zone, and seeing the other crazy cheer zones. It was what I needed before I start training for what’s next- my 2nd 140.6

So yeah- this recap is pretty much a carbon copy of last year’s race. I ran another BQ, I had a ton of fun, J got a massive PR, I knew more people in this race than back home in Chicago. 


blåbærmuffin And banana + instant espresso pre race
SiS bar 45 min pre race

500ml(?) bottle of water with 2 sis berry tabs until mile 10

Refilled said bottle 4 more times. (Crazy for me)

3 SiS gels, mile 5, 10, 16. I could not stomach these at all. I think it was the heat. My plan was for 4 - one every 5 miles but with the water I was drinking, The idea of taking any of these was repulsive.  I’ve never felt like that before. I felt fine regardless. 

The field was 26% women, and 36% of the participants were from outside Denmark. I was one of 104 people from the United States. 

So 10/10 for this race, it’s world class, completely organized and huge fun. I’d totally do it again if it is beer fest weekend next year. (It got bumped up a week due to the Prince’s birthday and his Royal Run the following week) 

What a great day to enjoy in my favorite city.

At the airport I saw a few of the elite men who ran for Henchman Running- a few moments later, a few more elites showed up to join them. I went over  and said congratulations. The winner introduced everyone- “I got first, this guy got 4th, etc” it was amazing. They said running is fun for them. It was refreshing to hear they enjoy this sport and that it’s more than just a job and paycheck. 

What a day. 

Welcome to the party. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mikkeller World Beer Mile Championship 2018 {Race Recap}

On Tuesday night I boarded a plane for Copenhagen, Denmark. It was an uneventful flight and I slept a few hours. 

I landed in CPH 8 hours later-  around 1:30pm, got my stuff and headed to the air bnb we rented in Vestebro. 

We got a shawarma (Kylling Duram) from the world famous Kebabistan and got settled. 

A few hours later we headed to Baghavn to participate in the 2018 Danish World Beer Mile Championship. 

I love Baghavn. It is located on the water and has an amazing view of Copenhagen. 
We immediately started running into friends- like Henrik. 

After hanging out for a bit, we got our bibs and started getting ready to tackle this beast of a race. 

I stretched out my calves and did some strides. I wondered what a proper warmup would entail for a beer mile- should I pound half a beer and run 200m? 

I stood with the other women in the heat and tried to look serious in the setting sun. (I think we started our heat around 9:10pm) 

Got my beer mile game face on. 

My PR from last year was 15:xx- half  the time was drinking half was running. I knew my only area for significant improvement was to drink much faster because I knew I wouldn’t be running a 3:30 mile ever to compensate for the slow drinking. On Tuesday at work, I chugged a la croix. Nailed it. 

I had put down that I would drink/run 10:20- after submitting it to the race organizer I immediately thought how in the world would I ever shave 5 minuets off my time? Yolo. 

I was nervous. I didn’t want to come in last- my competition looked fierce. I also didn’t want to feel like crap. 
Some people even made sweet signs!

After watching the elites in their heat, I was shocked to learn we would be drinking out of bottles. I was worried because I had only practiced with cans. I never went over the logistics of opening a bottle - something I rarely do now since most beers we buy are canned. I also haven’t drank out of a bottle in ages. 

I started my watch and fumbled with the bottle to get it open and started drinking as fast as I could. One by one, the ladies started taking off for their run. I was still drinking. 

And soon I was DFL still drinking my beer as everyone else was out running. Shit. I took off running and started catching people. 

About 200m into the first lap I realized I forgot to clock the beer split. Damn. The first 400 consisted of trying to burp as much as possible to make space for the next 3 beers. 

I passed a bunch of women on the run which made me feel better- and then I was back at the table for #2.  I  fumbled with the bottle again to open it. 2nd beer was just as tough as the first. 

With 2nd beer finished, I took off around the warehouses picking off faster drinkers. Burps And burps on burps for this lap. 

3rd beer was easier to open and seemingly more difficult to drink. I was uncomfortable. The beer would be ok to drink- but as soon as I stopped to take a breath, it would foam up making it difficult to consume. 

3rd lap felt gross. More burps- and a near miss for puking. I would have been ok with puking at this point but it was just a crazy big burp. 

4th beer/lap was a welcome sight. I was ready to be done. There was a lady in our heat that could empty the bottle in no more than 5 seconds. I was fixated on her each time I saw her drinking. It was magnificent. I couldn’t wrap my mind around how she could drink so fast. 

4th lap was more of the same- although I pushed myself really hard the last 200m because I heard someone coming up behind me and I didn’t want them to pass me. I crossed the finish and was so happy to be done. And I didn’t get passed. 

I got a new PR by 5 minutes! Insane. Since I sucked at getting splits I can only offer the following insight as to how I shaved 1:15/lap off my time. 

I was competitive AF. Instead of laughing and taking 3 minutes to drink a single beer, I focused on trying to drink as fast as possible. I’m sure my beers were consumed in less than 45 seconds each. 

I’m sure I didn’t run markedly faster than my last 2 beer miles. I’d imagine I ran around 7:00-7:30 tops. 3 minutes of beer drinking seems reasonable to me. 

After coming back to life, I spectated L for his heat of the beer mile. Going into this race he held the house record for beer mile. Would he remain the champ?
Soon he was off and I was cheering and snapping pictures of him. 

I was annoying and asking him how he felt while drinking. Sorry k?

After 4 beers and 4 laps, L finished in a respectable 11:xx. The house record was now mine. 

We had to take selfies to cement this memory for perpetuity. 

Night fell on Baghavn and it was even more beautiful. 

The awards ceremony was held and we didn’t place. The lead women finished in 8:xx. Blazing fast. The first guy finished in 5:26 I think. 

We met the Swedish beer mile team. They are a bunch of cool dudes who travel around Europe doing beer miles. We asked them how many beer miles they’ve done, and they replied 70-80. 

They also mentioned that before they go out for the weekend, sometimes they will do a beer mile. They also kicked ass later in the week for the Grill Pong Championship And won first. 

Against all logic, I had one more beer post beer mile- a delicious passion fruit sour from Baghavn while we chatted with friends. Around midnight we walked to catch a bus with a friend to go back to town. 

We got back to the center station and started walking towards our flat. On the empty street we suddenly heard “MRC Chicago!” And turned around to see fellow MRC Copenhagen runners who were also walking to their place-a totally random encounter. We stopped for another shawarma Kylling Duram (chicken shawarma wrap) from another place because we were hungry. 

We ended up going over to our friend’s place for a few more beers and ate our Duram while we chatted and then went home around 2. 

First night in Copenhagen was crazy and awesome. 

I love this town.