The whole race of 21k was easier than I thought, yet no way do I think I would have made it 42k. Those full marathoners passing by me as I was cramping up towards the finish line (thanks Leigh) absolutely amazed me. How do they do it I don’t know, but I can’t wait to learn. I’ve been running for 5 weeks, and counting in days off with injuries, I think it was a total of 8 times.
Yes… I ran only 8 times prior and managed to get myself to the finish line of a 21k race after I failed to fully finish a 16k twice during training due to injuries. I was so proud of myself, my cheeks were sore from smiling! I was never a distance runner, but in high school I was a fast but never mentally there. I always held my breath when sprinting and when I finished, I’d hyperventilate until I felt like I would die. And running distance? PUH-LEASE. We ran timed 5k’s once a year and only once in my life, as a punishment for not showing up to a game, did I run for a whole 2-hour practice around the track (thanks, Coach).
Speaking of prior-experience, when I Google my name with my high school sport, I find nothing. Yet, I find my teammates names. It was as if I never existed. This is a huge reason why I joined LRC; I want to be good at something- like really good. I want to train hard, I want to pass through that stage of blood, sweat, and tears and just kill it. At I’m quite proud of myself, beating the odds and actually finishing the half marathon but now I’m ready to meet the “impossible”.
To explain the feeling is impossible. Once you get past the first 5k, you’re legs feel stronger and your breath is relaxed. Hell, me and fellow LRC member Debbie were chatting it up, while other runners and onlookers stared at us in disbelief, most likely thinking, “What are these psychos doing?” I also practiced what is known as “Pranayama breathing” and did so the entire race. Pranayama breathing is a special breathing practiced in yoga and meditation where you breath in and out only through your nose. It keeps your heart rate down and allows you to eat and continue to breath at the same time during running. It worked magic for me and kept my heart rate at the lowest it’s been since I started.
But less about me and more about this word called “team”. Because without my team, I wouldn’t have gotten through it, let alone even considered a marathon. Without Michael Rivers positive talks and mathematical formulas and running knowledge, I’d have no clue what I was doing. I wouldn’t have had an idea about pre-, during-, or post-race eating; heart rate monitors, running sunglasses, or the importance of my frenemy, Raw Hemp Protein. I’d have no idea that my shoes were WAY too small, or the horror stories about where exactly people bleed during marathon races (I’m chuckling as I write this part! Haha). I’d also be lost without Limassol Sports Massage owner, Eva and her AMAZING massages and kinesio-taping, and her saving me with second-skin the night before the race because as is typical of me, I got blisters the day before. While everyone was supposed to be relaxing and keeping their feet up, Michael and Eva were still working into the evening for us. That is the definition of team. When you put your own needs aside, to attend to those of your teammates. And in running, every man is for himself, yet every runner is my teammate. We are smiling past each other, pushing each other on. And whether joking or near-tears, my team leaves no man behind because that is “The LRC Effect”.
My friends ask me how did I have the guts to just go on my own to this club- well, it was easy. One day, I got in my car and met them at Dassoudi beach. And from day 1, it wasn’t about speed. It wasn’t about keeping up with the best. It was about finishing. Doesn’t matter if it takes you a minute or a day; doesn’t matter if you sprint it or you walk it; you will finish. And each run, you will get better and faster and healthier. You will see how far you can trick your mind into going- you will see that what you thought was impossible is actually very much possible. So cheers to my team, cheers to Michael Rivers for believing in us, and cheers to everyone who finished a 5k, 10k, 21k, or 42k. Because there is no better feeling than accomplishing a goal!