The Düsseldorf Marathon deserves its place in my mind and heart as being my FIRST one, the beginning of a new life, the countdown to the next marathons, the look in my eyes when being asked about it, the turning point of this blog if you want.
As you can hopefully remember, on the 24th of April, I ran my first marathon, beat all my personal targets and have now caught the bug. The high of crossing the finish line, after 8 months of preparation, is a feeling I want to experience over and over again. Nevertheless trying to summarize a transformative experience like running your first marathon using words is almost as hard as running a marathon itself.
Here I go … 3 months later speaking from my heart.
8 months before the race – after my first 10k-race in September a crazy thought of finishing marathons came to mind and decided to stay. So, I started lacing up my running shoes pretty much every morning.
Exactly 2 months before the race, I had a stupid accident that left me with my right arm broken and threw me out of the game (training plan) for over a month, 6 weeks to be precise. Emotional breakdown was out of the question, so I had to do something in all that time. The stationary bicycles from the gym I was going to back then were my best friends. However, to make it sound challenging enough to me, I signed myself up for a 4-hour spinning marathon that was taking place a month later. That experience made me realize that I will choose to dedicate the time and work required to any difficult task, athletic or not, if it means enough to me to accomplish it from now on.
The race day … Thinking of the race ahead of me, I was a bit tetchy, but once the starting gun fired and I began the journey, it didn’t take long for me to get into my stride. My plan had been as a first-timer to try to stick to the 3’45” pacemakers until km 35, which I actually did. Believe me, it was not an easy thing to run at a constant pace back then (my wild character, I guess).
I listened to music for the first km but the crowds cheering and the unity among fellow runners made me realize that this energy was so much more motivating than any song on my playlist. And overall made my experience all the more special.
At km 35 it got harder … by km 41, every km seemed exponentially harder than the last. While I did my best to prepare physically for the race, one thing I didn’t bargain for were the muscle cramps. Every fibre of my being was screaming to stop this cruel punishment but the overwhelming sense of achievement that was around the corner had a strong effect on me. It helped me push through the pain and kept me going till the end.
The last km … It was 1:45 pm and the sun made its way through the clouds to brighten my way to the finish line while spectators were everywhere, and kept cheering us. I could hear this runner’s voice – “Come on, only a few meters to go, KEEP RUNNING like before.” That moment, that voice, the finish line ahead of me – I was now able to see it – put this huge smile on my face. Suddenly, my legs found the strength to run faster while this euphoric sensation was flowing in my body. Despite the physical agony, the final km was the most enjoyable. I was loving it!
I crossed the finish line with pure exhilaration after 03:48:36, a big smile and a dance (you bet!). And this strong feeling of hugging somebody. Luisa de Graat you made my day with that sweet smile and the warmest hug ever! Thank YOU!
Meanwhile, impossible has become very possible:
– on the 18th of June I had had my first trail marathon called Biggesse Marathon, finishing very happy and strong in 04:25:22 and placing myself 3rd place overall and 1st place in my age group. I even got on the podium. :-)
– on the 2nd of July I was beating my 21k PB by 6 minutes, finishing Himmelgeister Half-Marathon in 01:42:12 and placing myself 2nd in my age group.
Berlin, I can’t wait! :-)
TO BE CONTINUED …
Meanwhile, stay healthy and run happy!