It is unconventional, I know, to start a travel blog with a running story, but when a girl does her first half marathon she has to talk about it right? (Plus this way I can justify forking out the 18€ on the professional photo… winning!). AND the marathon was held in Munich, so technically it's still a travel story. Or so I am claiming.
Anyway - here are the four lessons I learned:
1. It is possible to run a half marathon without training for it
Sure, I INTENDED to train for the half marathon (I even downloaded a Half Marathon app on my phone) but it didn’t HAPPEN alright! So by raceday I had a situation on my hands where the furthest I had ever run in my life was 13 kilometers (and that was back in 2012)... and I needed to run a not-so-cruisy 21 kilometers. Gulp.
2. The mind can command the human body to do amazing things
I actually wasn’t sure if I was going to finish this half marathon. And I’m not the sort of person who deals very well with failure, so the thought of trying and not succeeding terrified me. And with every pre-race pic I posted on Instagram the pressure only increased.
I always thought that the biggest challenge to a half marathon would be mustering up the energy to keep going. Well let me tell you that’s not true. Your body keeps going as long as you ask it to, drawing from deep reserves of energy you never knew existed. No – the biggest challenge is summoning the mental strength to endure the pain. It’s all in the mind.
3. Seeing an unexpected friend on the sidelines is the equivalent of approx. 10 Powerades and 5 bananas
By the 18 kilometer mark I was really hurting (some people feel it in their knees – I feel it in my hips). As I approached the drink stand I thought I would walk just for a few seconds to give myself a break. But then I realized that it hurt just as much to walk, and at least if I ran the pain would be over quicker... Lol!
At this point something really unexpected happened. I heard my name being called out and turned to see a familiar face on the sidelines. It was my friend Anna, and it was exactly what I needed. Seeing her smile and hearing her cheers quite literally gave me an extra burst of energy, and probably wiped a good ten minutes off my time.
The next day I contacted her to say just how much it had meant to me to see her there. I asked if she was cheering on a friend and if so I hoped they had also finished. She told me she was actually just passing by, and when she saw the marathon she thought of me (she had seen my posts on Facebook) and thought she would stick her head in the crowd on the off-chance she saw me. And there I was.
4. I will NEVER do a full marathon*
Sure I finished the half marathon, sure it felt fantastic to make it across the finishing line (special thanks to Carolyn for being there waiting for me - what a chum) but I could barely walk for a whole 24 hours after finishing. I'm talking shuffling around like a Grandma the entire day. That shit is not natural.
I also hear that people get addicted to marathons, travelling around the world each year to compete in different cities. Given my obsessive personality this is something I can TOTALLY see happening. And I’m not so sure that would be a good thing for me.
*Disclaimer: So I may have been a bit quick to completely rule out a full marathon EVER. I have since been hearing things about the New York marathon and I must say for a second I could see myself doing it. Just for a second! ;)
So I hope you enjoyed my first ever blog post! Please tell me what you think in the comments section below. And I really do promise to steer this blog back to it's originally intended travel-story purpose in future. My next big destination is Lisbon in November. Any tips??