Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Paris Marathon 2013: Marathon Memories & Motivation

Wayback Wednesday Marathon Motivation

After my comeback run to training, last Sunday, I thought I will repost this "I-finished-the- ‪#ParisMarathon‬ " collage I created 2 years ago  today, and write a blog to remind myself:

1.  ... to continue believing in the completion of the Rotterdam Marathon goal. 

2. ... that there are beautiful rewards for having a never give up‬ spirit!

2 Years Ago, in February. . .

In February, 2013, I already knew,  that if I did make it to Paris in spite of all the struggles, it will be a more (physically) "painful" experience, than when I ran Berlin & Amsterdam marathons.

My mind was devoid of motivation in February 2013, and focus was far, far, far away (think of Shrek's voice full of frustration, telling Donkey, who asked for the umpteenth time if they are near the kingdom, yet!).

Egmond was my first ever half-marathon I ran in 2013,
which I ran after  my first back to back (Berlin/Amsterdam) marathons in 2012.
I was happy to make it to the finish line because I almost did not make it to the start.
This was two weeks after we lost our home.
Meeting the GL2R girls for the first time in February, 2013 a year after I discovered their blog,
helped kept me motivated to keep training for Paris.

My first DNF and what was supposed to be my 2nd half-marathon ever, in Holland (I ran a total of 6 HM in 2013).
Groet uit Schoorl was beautiful but then I felt my head was not completely focused.
I was late for the start, was allowed to run anyway but got lost
 since by kilometer 5, there was no one to show me where to go from there.

Home in Holland

We lost our home in the wee hours of the morning on the 31st of December, 2012 because the neighbor living above us went amok and set his house on fire.

Photo courtesy of R-TV Nord-Holland 

We were displaced for 3 months (grateful we had somewhere to go to!), and when we finally moved to our new home (grateful we were facilitated with a house in a great neighborhood near our old home!), we were mentally and physically exhausted from going through all the experience.

Running kept me sane, and going then.  At the same time though,  running, specifically trying to keep up with the training schedule  became a chore.  Running was not an activity to completely release the stress but just another task like the mountain  of things we have to accomplish.  The list of things to do was long, when we moved in the house, we were not mentally & financially prepared to renovate.

May, 2013 - as you can see the house was still not finished

There were many things happening all at once and no time to process it in peace because you had children to take care of, and help as well through the process of yet another change in their lives (we moved in Holland 3 years prior in a not very easy transition).  Daily life, obligations do not stop because you are overwhelmed.


"The Finishline" in Paris

I did make it to the finish line.

Welcome (To Our) Home! - a blog I wrote in May, 2013 - 3 weeks or so after the marathon
 to keep me focused on what matters most and to keep me energized for the many unfinished tasks ahead.

The first challenge was to go to Paris.

We needed a new car to bring us to Paris; we did not expect to lose our home and there was actually no extra money for a new car at this point.

My husband left his job of 13+ years in January, and officially begun a new challenging job in February.  It  was not until 2 weeks before Paris, that we were able to deal with the task of getting a new car.  We got help from so many people, and for me, it was a sign that we should go.

The original plan was enjoy Paris, have a 21 km jog and join my husband to eat a lovely lunch afterwards.

At this point (between 22-25 km??) I could have stepped out.
P walked, jogged, ran with me for at least 5 km from here.

I fooled myself more than I did my best friend and "marathon manager".

He knew once I stepped at the start, I won't be able to stop until I saw the finish line, even if at the end I had painfully walked the last 5 kilometers.

Considering I ran a "mere" 311.6 km (from November 2012-March 2013),  and no kilometers at all 27 days before the day of the marathon (except a shake-me-out-of-this-sabotaging-myself-5K run, on the 28th of March).   I was surprised that I did not take longer than the 6:50 to reach the finish line.

I was proud I finished. I was proud that I kept going through the Winter of 2012-13.  Not right away, of course.  First I was embarrassed, then I was relieved, euphoria came after we reached the hotel, and as days went by, came pride.

My marathon motivation for Paris was ‪#‎KEEPMOVING‬: go outdoors, and stay active, no matter how much was weighing me down.

My most unforgettable reward in the end was the experience of seeing my husband live in action around Paris, making sure I was okay, supporting me passionately in reaching my goal, buying a little Eiffel tower to surprise me with a trophy (since we both thought after 5:30, there would no longer be a medal or a finish line awaiting me!).

Ganesh, on the right of this picture, one of the many runners I met a long the course of Paris,
accompanied me the last 5 km.

I was happily holding my "Piet & I were in Paris trophy"

Ganesh and I over-joyed we got finisher's T-shirt AND medals!

I may not be on the official finisher's list but Paris felt my presence in the Spring of 2013 thanks to my Pieter.

February, 2 years later. . .

I still feel pride over what I have accomplished in Paris.  But more proud of what I accomplished in the months leading to Paris, and the day we had to go to Paris.  

I would not be here now writing a story of "never giving up", if I did not go.

I would also not have been seen Faith in person (spontaneously, serendipitously magical like in the movies!), a friend whom I met online, more than half a year before Paris Marathon 2013.  

She  gave away her Amsterdam Marathon 2012 starting number,  as a gift to me, when I was then a complete stranger to her.  Our story deserves another separate blog.

There are still countless of beautiful stories that came out of Paris Marathon 2013.  A story that will stay with me, and motivate me to keep moving.

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