Sat, Jun 2, 2012 - 51K - 07:00:00
51K Run from Strausberg to Steglitz
My friend Scott ran his 50K Rocky Mountain race today starting at 6:00 A.M. so my plan was to run a 50K with him at the same time, starting at 2:00 P.M. German time. Using Google Earth, I found a little town called Strausberg out east of Berlin in Brandenburg at the end of the S-Bahn line S5 and mapped out a 50K route back to where I live in Steglitz. My original plan was to run back to Berlin along the S-Bahn line, but within 20 minutes of running I realized that it was going to be more complicated than that, since although it looks like you can run along the S-Bahn based on a satellite image, in many places it is simply not possible because of fences, trees and lack of roads. I quickly learned that I was going to have to zig zag my way back, running along highways and roads in and out of towns which were on or near the S-Bahn. In addition, GPS is only so accurate out there in the boonies, so my smart phone was placing me in the middle of nearby fields and I could not trust that it was pointing in the right direction so I had to go by large landmarks such as forests and lakes as well as street names, which were hard to read with screen glare and sweaty vision. What resulted was a less-than-optimally-straight route back, but one that was tremendously adventurous and based on my general sense of direction with the goal of "running west toward Berlin". But given this general lack of orientation, I only ran into one dead end, at the Berliner Ring Autobahn where I had to climb a grassy hill, trek over the highway and climb back down onto a service road which luckily led me to a tunnel that let me cross under the Berlin Autobahn Ring and put me on a path straight to Hellersdorf which is technically inside Berlin city limits. Once there, I was elated to see the wide streets, busses, stores, subways stations and all the glorious features of urbanity. In this way, the run was divided in two equal parts: the first half through the empty country side of Brandenburg, and the second half trekking through the city of Berlin back home. The weather was perfect: too cool not to wear a jacket in the shade but too hot to wear a jacket in the sunshine, partly cloudy, partly sunny, constant cool breeze, about 40 minutes of refreshing sprinkling rain in the middle of my run, never got too cold or too hot. Legs felt strong up and into Berlin (30K) and at 42K when I passed the marathon mark running along Tempelhofer Park, my legs were just trucking right along, hammered but solidly moving with no signs of being too sore not to run for hours and hours, a wonderful feeling of extended mobility. I often thought of Scott running at the same time up and down steep hills and mountains while my elevation change during the whole run varied only between 30 and 57 meters, i.e. very flat. In all, it was a fantastic journey and the longest run of my life. I never feel so alive as when I run, and today was a very lively day. 
the route: 
the pre-run train trip to the starting line 
out of house at 12:35: 
caught bus at 12:42: 
had to buy an "extension ticket to Zone C" to get out to Strausberg: 
caught the Ring Bahn to Ostkreuz: 
at Ostkreuz, caught the S5 to Strausberg: 
rode a half hour east out to Strausberg: 
caught a glimpse of the wide-open spaces I'd be running through: 
"Strausberg", an old Germanic word for "starting line": 
2:02 PM, time to start running: 
thanks for mowing the side of the road: 
"caution: we live here": 
passed a cigarette vending machine but didn't need any: 
I had to zigzag in and out of little towns, always trying to stay as close to the S-Bahn as possible back to Berlin: 
crossing the tracks again: 
Saw on my smart phone that Altlandsberg had a road straight back into Berlin: 
vast emptiness: 
a typical tree-lined alley in Brandenburg: 
VIDEO: Running through Brandenburg, an old Germanic word for "middle of nowhere": 
a good sign: 
not something you see everyday: 
"life is like riding a bike, in order to keep your balance, you have to keep on moving": 
my first and only dead end: 
my solution: run up hill, over highway and back down onto service road: 
wide open spaces: 
cutting inside the Berlin Autobahn Ring: 
onto Berlin: 
still on the right road: 
entering Berlin! 
sweet urbanity: 
Flughafenstraße, off to Tempelhof 
42K, marathon completed 
50K: running past the kids' school: 
last turn into home sweet home: 
51K completed. Right after I took this picture, the battery on my phone ran out and it shut itself off, awesome: