Yes, I admit: I AM EXTREMELY EXCITED about my first 42km race. Excited, nervous, hyped. I have felt this way at least every day last week – which drug shows the same symptoms over such a long time? Have the side-effects already kicked in without me noticing? I’ve already told my non-running friends and co-workers I’ll turn back to „normal“ after the race, I’ll go back to eating Franzbrötchen (can’t wait), (responsible) drinking and talking about other topics but running.
It is unbelievable what entering into a marathon does to people. I for myself have taken these last few training months quite seriously. Especially in the beginning: 4-5 running sessions every week, long runs on the weekend (up to 3 hours), low-sugar diet, no drinking…I quit partying due to sore leg muscles after 3h training runs. I went to bed on Saturdays at 10 pm. I started buying more and more running geer and had to stick to the same lame sweaters over the long-lasting winter, because I wouldn’t go „normal clothes-shopping“. I tried gels and carb-bars, studied nutrition information like the seasonal IKEA catalogue and even bought bright pink compression socks.
I wasn’t as outgoing about this race as I am now. I think I didn’t tell people I was going to run at this year’s Hamburg Marathon until February although I had submitted my registration already in November 2012. Why? First, I didn’t want the experienced people telling me what to do and what not to do during training and the race although hearing their advice wasn’t too bad after all. Secondly, I also didn’t want people expecting a tremendous finishing time and putting pressure on me. However, eventually I admitted I was going to run and all the reasons that had held me back from telling actually helped during training.
I learned that running is about sharing although it is not a team sport. It’s not a one-man-sport either. Well, it doesn’t have to be, although some people might prefer the solitude of running. I used to be like that, too, but let myself learn about the party of running. When running 3 hours in a training session you really long for some company, even when no-one is talking. Having someone breath, run and sweat next to you – literally step by step – keeps you moving. Also, talking during running is terrific, because you forget about tiring muscles, time and miles ahead of you. And you can learn so much about others and from others – and of course, about yourself. While soccer, for example, is about tactical passes and strategic team play, running is very personal. Well, it can be.
But as I said, I was very serious about this whole marathon thing in the beginning – which was in January 2013. With the return of a fucking (!) hardcore winter in March, I felt stuck in my training. Snow and ice-crumble were no fun to run on. Noticing no or only little progress in speed and condition, nor shape or weight made me question all my restrictions. I had weeks of only 0-3 running sessions and never managed to go back to 4-5. With an increasing work-load I balanced the blame on weather and work-load, instead of „getting my shit together“ and just run.
Something has to happen, my conscious told me!
So I cut my secret goals short and focussed on „it’s your first marathon – RELAX & ENJOY“! Which of course – every experienced runner will tell you. But …of course – you have to make this experience yourself 😉
Earlier this week, after a shitty day I thought, why not run at 10:30 pm? So I went running and felt great afterwards. So great I had to send out a tweet…that was Monday evening. Monday, April15th 2013. A date marathonians all over the world will never forget. Two bombs went of during Boston Marathon and killed three people, injured hundreds, shocked millions. The bombs were placed near the finishing line and timed to go off when a mass of people would be in the area. Was it a terrorist attack? What were the motifs? Why here? Why? Why? Why? Why 6 days before the party run of my life? Answers are being investigated, suspects chased and wounds treated. With this incident on my mind, I reset my final goals for my first marathon are:
a) try to relax
b) try to have fun and
c) also finish for all those Boston Marathon athletes who were deprived of finishing.
Entering Marathonia is a great learning experience.
A lesson about setting and following a goal!