Training for my first marathon was somewhat of a challenge itself. Starting from 10 km and steadily increasing it to runs of up to 35 km (the so-called Long Slow Distances or LSD). To spice things up, Interval (Speed) training was something I have never done before. Ditching on early morning (6 am) runs was much harder as I often did my training with Christiaan. Regardless, running in and around Amsterdam at different times of the day made us aware of what a beautiful city we were living in.
And here it was, my first marathon morning. On October 17th 2010 Christiaan and I, together with our friend Etana, went to the Amsterdam Olympic Stadium where the race was about start. The gun was shot and all the runners started walking towards the start line. From the point I crossed the line the chip started recording my marathon time. The whole crowd did the first lap around the Olympic track before exiting the stadium only to return to it 42 kilometres later.
First few kilometres seemed easy. I knew I did enough training. Some spectators would shout my name as I went past them. It was surprising at first but very encouraging. Unfortunately, each kilometre was harder as I pounded on and by the 20th I realised that my body was starting to ache. “Luckily” I still had half the distance to go. Seeing my friends cheering at the 37th kilometre was life saving. I hit high fives and continued running with short brakes of walking.
Only when I was a couple of kilometres away from the finish line, I knew I could complete my first marathon. I sped up to finish strong, entered the stadium and soon crossed the line with hands held high. My time was 4 hours and 12 minutes. I received my finisher’s medal and soon met up with both, Etana and Christiaan.
It is hard to describe the feeling after finishing the first marathon. I felt that nothing was impossible. That was the time when I started thinking of the next race – I became addicted.