Overcoming barriers

Four days ago I ran my first ever (and only?) Marathon. 42,2 freaking kilometres! Insane

The reason?

To see if I could

To find out if my body was capable

To know if my mind was strong enough

To learn how to push myself through the pain

And to overcome a barrier and push the limit for what I thought I could do

But let’s back up a little bit

The idea to run a Marathon came in the beginning of May. Two of my friends (in different context), who probably wouldn’t consider themselves as runners, was taking about doing a Marathon. Stupidity, I thought and laughed a little bit behind their back and at the same time I couldn’t resist to feel a little bit impressed.

I have been running my whole life on and off. When I was playing football I was running quite a lot and was pretty good at it, if I’m allowed to say so. I even did a half marathon a lot of years ago. The feeling afterwards was, ”yeah this was cool but not something I wanna do again”

Shortly thereafter I found OCR and was sold. The idea that I could spice up the boring run with cool obstacles along the way really intrigued me so the last couple of years I have been doing 2-3 races every season as a motivator for me to run. So nowadays I try to run like maybe one time a week, just a slow, nice run. Then some months before the races I take it a bit more serious, do some intervals, some tempo and so on, but rarely over 10 km.

The plan was to do the same also this year, but then came Corona and all the races was cancelled. So what to do?

I can run a Marathon

This is when I remembered my dear friends and their pursue of the Marathon. Maybe they weren’t that stupid after all?

For me a Marathon sounded like something really boring. Just running… I wanted the obstacles and the action!

It also sounded like something impossible. Or to completely honest, I always thought I could run a marathon, that it wasn’t such of a big deal. I mean here is how you do it:

Step one: You start running

There is no step two.

I thought it was just a mental thing, that I just had to embrace the suck and the boringness and just keep going. It never occurred to me to actually give it a try. I could run Marathons when I got older, no problem.

But as I said, when all the OCR’s was cancelled I needed something new, something to motivate me to run. The answer. Marathon.

My plan

So I decided I wanted to do a Marathon this summer, as soon as possible, preferably somewhere around the end of June. Of course I wanted to be prepared, but I didn’t want to take it to seriously. Because I wanted it to be a mental battle and if I was to prepared it wouldn’t be a challenge. You can say I wanted to see how little I could train and still do it.

So I started to run more, about 2-3 times a week. Every week I tried to increase the length of the run. From 15 km, to 17 km, 20 km, 25 km. This was around June and somewhere around here I started to feel a lot of pain in my body. In my hips, knees and feet. So I understood I had to back of a bit. Didn’t do any long runs for a while, mostly intervals and tempo run. Some weeks I did barely run and I was a bit scared that my goal would get lost. All of august I was traveling around a lot, visiting friends in different cities in Sweden and my running was almost forgotten. So I decided on a date, the 30th of August it was gonna happen. I asked some friends to join me on bikes, for support, to carry some food and drinks and to have someone else accountable.

The Marathon

So the day arrived and I hadn’t run longer than 25-isch kilometres which was over a month ago. But I couldn’t back down now. My friends was waiting for me. I was psyched but still my hopes of succeeding wasn’t so big.

It was a beautiful day. We set of a bit after 8 in the morning. I had eaten a nice breakfast and had brought two bananas, two energy gels (which I have no idea where I got them), two Powerade drinks, a Lohilo and a waterbottle. I had not practiced to eat/drink while running and had heard it can be a big deal for some people so I also brought toilet-paper, you know, just in case…

It started of really nice. We talked, played games, made up stories and had a really nice time. I had imagined that the first 0-10 km would be no problem. 10-20 km maybe starting to feel some pain, but still no problem. 20-30 km this would be a tough one and finally 30-42 pure will power.

After 10 km it felt good but I decided to stop and a bit to shake out my knees, drink and eat a bit and then we continued. After 20 km the walking pauses was more frequent, about every 5 km, but I noticed how much easier it felt after just a few minutes of walking where I tried to shake out my knees. It got harder and harder, but I kept about the same phase. The last 2 km was the worst ever. I had finished the route we had set up, so to finish the whole thing I had to run around in small laps. So close and yet so far! I could have just stopped there. 40 km would still have been awesome, but I knew that I would be so disappointed in myself if I stopped.

The route

Then finally, after 4 hours and 55 minutes and an average phase of 7 min/km I was finished! I was so happy, surprised, overwhelmed, impressed, grateful and felt pain everywhere, mostly knees and feet and for some odd reason even my left shoulder. The hips was okay though, which I was both happy and surprised about, because in my previous long runs I felt that the hip was the limiting factor. I had eaten one banana, one of the energy gels, and drunk both of the Powerade and the Lohilo and my belly felt totally fine.

I’m so grateful for my friends Stina & Björn who biked alongside of me the whole time. Without you I wouldn’t had made it<3

Me with my friends Stina & Björn

The days after

The day after I was still sore in my knees and feet. Yet I started to move. Slowly bending, extending, twisting, rotating and little by little loading my body more and more, going deeper and deeper. I felt right away that for every move I made it felt better and better. I still haven’t done a ”real” training session yet because I wanted to give my body some rest and let it recover. But recovery for me means easy, soft movement and walking and the knees was back to normal already the next day.

Yesterday evening I came across this beautiful bridge and just felt the urge to do some Sissy Squats. Right then and there all the gratefulness just stroke me and how good movement is for me. It was a nice moment.

Sunset Sissy Squat

Will I do it again?

So if you have gotten this far reading about my adventure I thank you. Hopefully you could find some inspiration in there somehow.

I don’t know if I will run a marathon again. I probably will but not for a long time at least. And I already said to my friends that they have to stop inspire me with this crazy ideas

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