Fun fact, Vienna was my first time traveling alone anywhere. So coming back to Vienna this time was quite special. This time my primary goal was to run my very first marathon ever and meet some friends of mine who had moved here.
I arrived Friday night and went straight to bed. I needed all the sleep that I could get after a long time of inadequate sleep.
Saturday I spent on first picking up my race number and then meeting up with friends. One I met while studying in Denmark and the other friend I met in Nepal. In the evening I went to get loaded up with food and successfully found a great place for a schnitzel.
- What? Vienna City Marathon
- When? April 22nd, 2018
- How far? 42.2 kilometers
- Where? Vienna, Austria
- Strava activity
- Not die – Barely completed
- Finish – Completed
- 21.1K – 02:23:38
- 42.2K – 04:57:49
Probably not the best idea to fly transatlantic + run a half marathon trail race a week before. The longest run I’ve done so far was 26K which was done without problems and at a pretty good pace. I really should have done a 30K run before but I thought that if I went slow enough, I would eventually finish.
I went for an Austrian pre-race meal the night before. Schnitzels and plenty of them. It turned out to be more than enough food so I was prepared on that front at least. Otherwise, I made my way using public transport and spent an hour standing in a queue for the bathrooms so that’s pretty much a standard race experience.
I aimed for a time under 5 hours for this race and tried to keep 6:30 pace from the very beginning. The first 5K actually went well and I felt like I had it under control. Then I started feeling the effects of the heat.
The temperature in Vienna would reach 28 degrees at its top and as the race progressed I felt it getting harder and harder. Unfortunately, the race course went by the nice wide avenues in Vienna which is nice but offered little shadow. There was a marathon relay and a half marathon run on the same day which meant that if I decided that it was too hard with a marathon I could always make a decision at 20K to finish instead of running the marathon. So at least I had a goal that was to get to 20K to make that decision.
At 20K I decided to go for the marathon. A correct decision but it was only going to get harder. The heat was relentless and the water stations far apart. The problem was that water was available every 5K but not every stop was a proper refreshment station and in some cases, it was just a hose with water. Every refreshment station would have to be taken advantage of and I got water, bananas, energy drinks at every station. I also poured a few cups of water over myself to cool down which only lasted about 15 minutes before it had dried and I was back to being really hot again.
After running a half marathon, my next goal was to make it to 26K and at least beat my distance record. Then it was 30K which is a nice round number. Between 26K and 32K was my toughest time mentally. As soon as I reached 32K I knew I only had to do 10K which is something I should be able to do. Before that, it was doubt of being able to run 15K more after already having run so far. Luckily I prevailed until 32K and then could start counting down in kilometers. Between 10K and 3K was relatively easy in that I was pretty sure that I would finish and I still felt alright. The last 3K was way more brutal than I expected. The race course went back to central Vienna and as the buildings got nicer, it really seemed as if the finish would be around the corner. Except that it wasn’t. It just felt much longer than it was and the last stretch into the finish was so hard to not start sprinting too quickly and get too tired. I managed to do a little sprint at the end but it was just for maybe 50 meters so it probably didn’t look as impressive as it felt.
I got some energy quickly after the race and picked up my medal. I had finished my first marathon but unfortunately, I did not have time to celebrate as I had to get back to my hostel, take a shower, pick up my bags and go to the airport. I picked up my clothes and stretched out as much as I could bear. I then got my medal engraved and then hobbled to the metro back to the hostel and got a shower. My post-race meal was a schnitzel in the airport. Not nearly as good as the one I got before the race but it would have to do.
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