So this journey started a little after this blog, back in May this year, or maybe even before then if we’re gonna go back to the very beginning. Towards the end of last year my friend Orsi made some very bold claims. She had signed up for the Berlin Half Marathon and was going to be running it in April 2012. She was going to quit smoking, cold turkey, dropping the 20 a day habit, and she had joined a running crew and seemed to be getting really into this whole ‘being healthy’ thing. So April came, she still hadn’t touched a cigarette and she completed her first half! Inspired by her success I let myself be talked into signing up for the Amsterdam Half Marathon. Let me be clear, I’m the kind of person who makes random statements and claims about all sorts of things, but very rarely sees them through (unless they’re important ones), so a part of me always doubted whether I’d really complete this or not.
I knew very well that I couldn’t run, and that a 5 minute jog would have me struggling and out of breath, so I started in May with the Couch to 5 k program. As with many things in my life, I didn’t quite see it through to completion as it sort of fizzles out in week 8 and I lots interest. But it did get me up to a level where I was perfectly comfortable doing a good 5k. I started my training at the end of July and was motivated and inspired. Progress was noticeable week on week and I’d actaully managed to convince other people of signing up and doing this with me!
A couple of sessions with the physio and custom fitted insoles combined with exercises for my knee, seemed to nip that problem in the bud before it became too serious, and a month before the race I was doing almost 10 miles with no injuries. As with the C25K, my training plan for the half sort of came to a halt when I transferred up to Norfolk. Excuses were made and I didn’t do any running or training for the four weeks leading up to race day.
I felt so unprepared heading over to Amsterdam… I felt even more unprepared on the day. The healthy eating and no drinking had fallen through and if anything, I’d been eating worse and drinking more the last four weeks then at any other point of training. But when in Amsterdam, there’s no time to mope so out we went and we ran. My original goal of completing in around 2h 10min was out the window before I even started, but giving it my best I finished in 2h 26m 59s. By the 18th km, my knee was throbbing with pain and I was limping forwards (I guess exercise is something you have to keep doing if you want it to stick…). As I crossed the finish line in the Amsterdam Olympic Stadium I was so elated I didn’t know what to do with myself. Half crying, half laughing with hysteria me and Cris got our medals kept congratulating each other. My initial though of ‘I’m never doing that again’ was very quickly replaced by endorphins and ‘where do I sign up for the next one?’.
All in all, I really do think that this is the start of something. There already plans for the Barcelona Half in Feb/Mar 2013 and even whole Marathons in the future. It’s a really great way to see the world and it’s something that I want to keep up. Loads of love and thanks to Orsi, Cris, Flora, and Mithila who ran with me. Thanks to Dave, Steven, Rhod, Phil, Ina and Xanthi who cheered us on! Thanks to Patta and RDC who made us feel welcome, organised awesome parties and provided all the drinks and food we could ask for! And extra love and thanks again to Dave for being the best person in the world and to Orsi for opening my eyes to something new Friends who run together, stay together.