from mile to marathon

The journey of a thousand leagues begins from beneath your feet.

Friday, October 26, 2012

the reason I started running again this year

I wanted to run the Berlin Marathon.

It ends at the Brandenburger Gate, where once the Berlin Wall stood - the tangible manifestation of the Iron Curtain, the line that divided East from West and us from liberty. You run 26 miles, you come from the East, you pass through the gate, and there's the finish.

I wanted to cross that line.

Monday, October 22, 2012

the rio grande half

Two weeks after San Francisco I was cruising around on my bicycle when I came upon a closed road and found out they were having a half-marathon next day. I had known about the race, and had also forgotten about it, not interested.

That day I bought new running shoes. At the store I impulsively
signed up for the half, since it just so happened that I could. Next morning I showed up at the start line in the brand-new shoes, a no-no by all standards of running.

What worried me more was that I had run next to nothing since the marathon, at most four miles in two weeks combined.

The shoes worked out fine. Not training didn't hurt either, probably because it had helped me recover. I did the half in about 2h 15 min. I wanted to be faster, I wanted to reproduce that awesome sprint to the finish from San Francisco. Probably a foolish idea, serendipity doesn't visit twice in a row. But I was still happy to have run a little half at the spur of the moment.

I am not sure what this says about my love-hate relationship with running.

Friday, October 12, 2012

the best i ever had

San Francisco on July 29th.

Almost always I start a marathon with this heady feeling that I can do it forever. As long as it takes, in any case. Certainly for 26 miles. No reason I wouldn't be able to go on for 26 miles, the way I do it right now.

If it's a good race I still have the feeling by the halfway point.

Sometime after that it dissipates. Even without hitting the wall around mile 20, moving forward isn't this easy certainty anymore, this given, natural, sustained rhythm that promises to unfold, if not forever, certainly for as long as it takes.

In San Francisco I had this feeling throughout. I was sore, I was bored, I was cold, I was tired, but there was no reason I couldn't go on forever, at any given moment, the way I did just then.

At mile 22 my boyfriend texted me that our friends were at the finish line. I thought they were early. Then it occurred to me that maybe I was late, and I went for speed. I sprinted the last four miles, passing people left and right, as if I was a motorcycle. This race wasn't my fastest, but it was the first one in which I achieved a negative split.

Probably also the only one where spectators offered us joints with a compassionate look on their faces. We were passing through Ashbury Heights. Only in San Francisco.

The exhilaration of power stayed with me until the end - or almost - I would keep running as I did right then for as long as it took. At mile 26 I couldn't feel this anymore, but I knew it. I could already see the finish line.

I kind of enjoyed this one.