Six months ago I decided to start running regularly. I bought myself new running shoes and hit the street. In my first attempt I struggled with running 4km. As time passed my struggle continued. I continued struggling with the distance. An ever increasing distance. At first I could barely run 4km without stopping. A few weeks ago I could barely run 18km without stopping.
The six months have been an interesting time for the number crunching enthusiast I am. I have analyzed the data and seen the distance increase, the time increase, the pace increase, and the heat beat go down. I am not sure what excites me most: The statistical analysis or the idea of becoming more fit.
Today I had yet another struggle. A two dimensional struggle. A struggle with distance and time. I participated in the Amsterdam (Half) Marathon with the aim of running 21km in less than two hours.
I ran the race at a fairly even pace. As the distance piled up behind me, the fatigue piled up in my muscles. When I arrived at Vondelpark I was getting completely exhausted. I knew that the end was near. The finish line — that is. This knowledge gave me an extra energy boost and I was able to pump up the pace a bit. Upon arriving at the Olympic Stadium I was even able to find some reserve energy somewhere for a small sprint.
As I crossed the finish line I wanted to lift my hands above my head as a gesture of celebration. I could not. I was too exhausted. Gravity was too strong. I was too weak.
The end result was according to plan. I finished the race within two hours — in 1:58:11. I was thrilled. I felt like I had accomplished something great. I was convinced that this was something I wanted to do again. I even had some delusions about running a full marathon in not so distant future.