This was Gisi's and my 8th half marathon together and our second in which we made it a weekend trip to a city outside of Berlin. Last year we ran in Hamburg, two hours away, and this year in Poznan, Poland, three hours away. Since these trips are enjoyable, healthy, and a great way to see a new city and spend time together, this is the beginning of a tradition, I would say.
Poznan itself was a very positive experience for us. We knew very little about the city other than having passed through it on a train a few times, and that my great grandparents apparently emigrated from this city. We stayed in a luxurious and spacious Airbnb rooftop apartment in the Jeżyce district and also booked a four-hour, evening-out Airbnb experience which turned out to be a highlight of our stay in Poznan and an enjoyable way to get to know the city.
Our tour guide for the tour was a 30-something young man named Szymon, and since we were the only ones on the tour, he seemed less of a tour guide and more of an escort/friend for the evening, taking us to various restaurants, showing us interesting parts of the city, hopping on and off trams together, and giving us a perspective of modern life in Poznan that we otherwise would not have experienced, and that while effortlessly switching from near-native English to functional German and impressing me with French much more fluent than mine. If you visit Poznan or are here for a conference, definitely look up Szymon on Airbnb, he'll convince you that Poznan is an up-and-coming, enjoyable city full of active students, fun night life, and a vibrant economy between Warsaw and Berlin which has a bright future.
The next morning our half marathon started at 10:00, and Gisi and I woke up at 7:00 to cool overcast clouds and light rain, which was difficult to get out into but turned out to be perfect running weather. It actually didn't rain during the race and by the finish cleared up to sun. Gisi was looking to beat her personal-best of 02:23:19, and her splits at 5K and 10K (00:31:31 and 01:04:04) gave indication that she was going to do it.
The route took us out into the suburbs of Poznan and through a wooded area outside the main city, and afterwards back towards city center. Even during the slow incline from 15K-20K back into the city, Gisi kept powering along at her 6:35 kilometer pace. As we came sprinting around the last turn into the finish area, I looked at my watch and saw that we were well under her best time, and we ran it in to finish with a 02:18:51, four and a half minutes faster than her half marathon record.
The toughest feat after our race was climbing the nine flights of stairs up to our rooftop apartment, where we enjoyed some well-deserved showers and a nice, post-half-marathon nap, afterwards taking off to our victory meal at Yeżyce Kuchnia, a local restaurant recommended by both our Airbnb host and tour-guide, which we can confirm has wonderful modern Polish cuisine, especially the dessert: rich chocolate pudding cake with layers of raspberries inside, delicious.
Today we are headed back to Berlin with wonderful memories of Poznan, and since after the race is before the race, we are already thinking about where our next half marathon weekend will be, perhaps Amsterdam on October 20th.