...until the Munich Half-Marathon.
This is the first year that there will be a half-marathon along with the Munich Marathon. So far over 1600 people have signed up for it, which is a good-sized field for an inaugural race. I have a feeling that a lot of people will sign up this week. Many runners tend to wait until the last minute to register.
The half-marathon will be the second half of the marathon course. It will start at the half-marathon mark and finish in the Olympic Stadium. A lot of the tourist attractions in the city center, like the Glockenspiel in the Marienplatz, will be part of the course. I remember the last few kilometers in the city center being rather labyrinthine. It also seemed to take a long time to get into the stadium once it was in sight. But the finish on the stadium track is fantastic. The track is made of a high-tech very springy material that feels wonderful on tired feet. The only down side is that the course won't go through the English Garden. The English Garden was originally in the second half of the marathon course, which is the same course used in the 1972 Olympics. Then several years ago the organizers had runners do the course in reverse and it has stayed that way ever since.
Training has been fantastic and I'm peaking at the right time. It's going even better than for my half-marathon in June. In the past couple of weeks I've been running my normal routes faster. Yesterday I ran my last long run, about 13.5-14 km, or somewhere between 8.5 and 9 miles. I hit my checkpoints with my fastest times this year, yet felt like I was holding back. When I do my short runs later this week, I'll really have to rein myself in and save my energy for the race. All of my training is in and there's really nothing I can do now but have an easy week and hope for a good race and cool weather.
Because the race is a point-to-point course, my plan is to park at the park-and-ride on the south side of the city that I use when I do the Munich City Run and take the U-Bahn (subway) to the start area. The U-Bahn stops about 100 meters from the start. This seems to be the simplest option and the one with the lowest potential for getting lost or arriving late. The other options are:
1) Park at the starting area and take the U-Bahn back from the Olympic Stadium. The down sides are limited parking and the fact that I don't know my way around Munich by car all that well. I can just see myself driving all around trying to find the start area and missing the race. It's the stuff of pre-race nightmares.
2) Park at the stadium and take the U-Bahn to the start. The up side is that all of my things would be handy right after the race. I can just get in my car and head directly home. The disadvantage is that the closest U-Bahn stop is about a 20-25 minute walk from the stadium. I also don't know exactly where it is. Again, I'd be wandering around anxiously before the race trying to find the U-Bahn stop and worrying about arriving on time. If I'm going to have a long walk to the U-Bahn, I'd rather do it after the race because it will help to loosen up my legs after running 21.1 km (13.1 miles). Also, after the race I can ask people how to get to the U-Bahn stop and get there without any anxiety.
Race day has really snuck up on me. It seems like just a few weeks ago when I decided to train for this race. I'm really looking forward to it. My goal is to enjoy the experience and finish the season on a high note without setting any time goals. This anticipation reminds me a lot of what I experienced before my first half-marathon in 1991, when I had a better-than-expected time.
Here's to a good race...