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Monday, 10 October 2016

My first marathon: Experience

The Day before the marathon:
The months passed faster than expected. In April I had made the decision: you register for a marathon. The first time I had set myself a goal that I wanted to reach, but did not have to. For all school and highschool performances, this was also my will and ambition. However, I had the opinion that I "must" do this. The marathon was a voluntary goal. I think I underestimated the training and would now do a lot different. Better training plans, no missed run, better food choices and more intelligent training. However, you can not change the past, but only learn from it for your future.

In any case, it was time and the 2nd of October was imminent. The day of the marathon. My training was drawn from two very hot days (over 38 degrees Celsius). I personally can not run in heat and since I had to work at 8 clock, I could not run in the morning. I also missed 3 weeks training because of a kinked ankle, an tonsillitisand a stem cell donation, which completely knocked me down. I had heavy legs for the first time in my life. The reason for this probably was my deficiency in iron, calcium and calcium. This is not an excuse, but the reason for my low marathon goal: under 5 hours ... hopefully. I was very negative and pessimistic and just wanted to make it. Fortunately, I have been able to use the excitement and adjust my will so that my final goal was to enjoy the marathon and to do my best.

The last day helped to get a little but more positve though. I drove to Cologne very early to get my Marathon documents. I also picked up the start documents for two of my friends who wanted to run the marathon as well. My sister also bought me the participant shirt as a reminder. It was getting crowded, so we drove back to my sister's flat. There I took all the things away and we went for a relaxed run in the park. My sister is still a beginner, so I have not even sweated. I personally liked the run with my sister. We were in a small animal park. There were goats, sheep, geese, deer, donkeys and more. Afterwards, I had a carbohydrate-rich lunch: muesli (without added sugar) with a banana, some honey and soy milk.

We then relaxed and watched Gilmore Girls before we went to the restaurant. We went to an Italian restaurant, so I could experience the traditional pasta party before the marathon. Of course it was important that I eat a lot carbohydrates. We shared a starter: Olives and a slice of bread fried in olive oil for each one. As a main dish I had spaghetti in tomato sauce with olives and feta cheese - super delicious! We had a few pizzbuns for free! A perfect day before the marathon.

The Day of the marathon:
The alarm clock rang at 6 o'clock. My heart was beating fast. The Cologne Marathon was just around the corner. I got up straight, went for a shower, put my running clothes on and made breakfast. I had my normal breakfast I always ate before long runs. Oatmeal with soy milk, a banana, blueberries and some honey. That was all I ate before the marathon. I drank a lot of water and a tea until 2 hours before the marathon. I said good-bye to my sister and made my way to Cologne Deutz, where the start of the marathon was.

I had to go only three stations by tram. There I had to change to another train and drove for another three stations. It took me a maximum of 30 minutes. In Deutz it was crowded and I already heard the music. I met my friends and handed them their papers. We were talking and looked at the scenery. There were so many people, music were played. It was so amazing and breath-taking. But since I had to go to the toilets one last time before the race started, we said goodbye and I was on my own. The toilets were the worst thing that happened on that day. I do not understand how people can be so disgusting. I'll spare you the details.

After I had to wait for about 30-40 minutes it was then done. I made my way to my starting block. This was the last because I was aiming for a time under 4 hours 30 minutes. I hoped to be faster than five hours. I had to wait about 30 minutes at the start before I could also start the marathon. I was very excited and just wanted to get it started. It was very cold as well, so I did not want to stand still any longer. I knew I would be warm when I run. But then I was allowed to go and getting closer to the start. I start my watch and my NikeApp and ran. The marathon had begun.

Meeting my family at 40 kilometes / 24 miles
During the marathon:
The first 28 kilometers were AMAZING. I ran through the center of Cologne, so I was cheered by many people, who also called my name. This really helps a lot. There were so many people on the streets cheering for the runners. It was amazing. I high-fived so many kids, they were so cute. Besides, the euphoria of the start took me very long. In my head it was not really clear that I had 4-5 hours of running before me. I enjoyed the situation and that I was so terrific. I felt no effort, which is why I was 30 seconds a minute faster than I had planned. I had no pain and felt no exhaustion. I was not even sweating! This was certainly due to the very cool temperature and the small rain showers. I met my family at kilometers 11 and 21. This also helped me so much. I looked forward to meet them at those points. I was grateful to have them. Without them I wouldn't be able to do this. Without them I would have been lost on this long run.

I took care to drink at every station. First, only water. From kilometer 14 I alternately drunk water and DextroEnergy. I took the energy gels about every 8 kilometers. This also helped a lot. I never felt the need to stop. My glucose stores were never emptied completely. Of course, it became harder and I had pain, but my body went well until the end.

From kilometer 28 the pain that everybody talked about was there. My thighs, as well as my hip and my butt, hurted a lot. Like really sore muscles. However, the pain was bearable and did not slow me down. However the pain under my feet were horrific, especially front. I've always said to myself, "If you would walk now or stand still, It would be the same as giving it up. And then the pain will not go away, so go on." In fact, I ran the entire marathon. I did not take a break. At the food stations, however, I took time to drink without stressing myself, so I run a little slower.
The last kilometers were also bad because I did not see my family from km 21 to km 40. However, I just thought about them and that I would see them again at km 40. The last kilometers were so hard. The thought: "Only 10 kilometers left!" didn't helped at all because the kilometers are felt so long. However, I unfortunately counted the kilometer down a bit and was no longer in the moment. This went away and I get back in the moment. Everybody has a rough stage during the marathon. This was mine.

My family gave me the last boost at km 40. I approached them smiling and saud "Everything hurts!". My father was visibly relieved that I could still smile and was so happy. My sister told me one day later that my father had tears in his eyes because he was so relieved. My family screamed "Only 2 kilometers left!". It was a bit more, however, because I had not reached the 40 kilometer sign yet.

The last 2,195 kilometers felt very long. Although I ran faster and smiled, it was hard. It did not end. Then we went over cobbles. It was good that there were more people cheering. I realized the finish line was close. A moderator says as I run by: "Ann-Christin just smiles the pain away!". This was incredibly funny and gave me even more motivation.

The moment you see this finish line is indescribable and it's over way to fast. I felt great, I could not believe it. I had done it. I smiled and just looked at the word "FINISH" all the time. I had run the marathon in a amazing time. In 4 hours, 37 minutes and 22 seconds. I could have been faster, but I wanted to enjoy the marathon and finish happy. I had achieved everything I wanted and more.

Me finishing the marathon!

After the marathon:
I got my medal and a plastic blanket that should keep me warm. Unfortunately, I was still freezing. I was wet from the rain showers and it was under 15 degrees. I grabbed water, two chocolate bars, and two small pastries. I had to use the free food, even if I was not hungry. I just wanted to see my family. Unfortunately I had to walk for anothoer 1 kilometer to get to the "Reissdorf". There were the pre-party. There were food stalls, a stage, drinks, the medals engraving and more. There also was a big screen from the finish line. I found my family and hugged them. I was so incredibly happy and proud. I let my medal engraved and then we drove home. My family was so important that day. Without them, all this would not have been possible.

At home I took a bath with a Lush bath bomb and relaxed. I was not very hungry, but I had to eat. I ate some sweets. But also a rye bread with Brie and Biscoff Lotus cream. Then low-fat quark and low-fat milk with grapes and some muesli and Lion Cereal. I enjoyed myself and do not regret anything!

At 10 pm I went to bed. It was an exhausting and exciting day. I am incredibly proud of my performance. The next marathon will take place in Berlin or Hamburg in autumn. In 2018 I am striving for London. I licked blood. I want to get faster. Running is my passion and running helps me. October 2 was a complete success. Even if my legs hurt inconceivably and kneeling wasn't possible for five days :D

Right after I got the medal with my little plastic blanket. Didn't helped, I was freezing!

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