Yesterday was Lisbon's Half Marathon. 21 km run, which I signed up for just 3 days in advance. Therefore, you can imagine what kind of preparation I had. Yes, zero. And I haven't being running for at least two weeks. Not to mention, that I've never ran for more that 7-8 km in a row my entire life. So, yesterday was an interesting day.
Honestly, the idea of participating in a half marathon had been in my head for a while, but I was never feeling physically prepared. Not even when working out five times per week. How was I able to make it now, as my work out routine, actually has nothing to do with a "routine"... I've been so lazy lately. So, I simply jumped the gun by signing up with an adventurous spirit, hoping only to finish. I didn't care about time, scores or anything. Just wanted to challenge myself and to prove myself that I'm mentally and emotionally strong.
This past week had been crazy, and living abroad and far from my family didn't make it easier. The nerves, fear, sadness and mostly, incapability of doing a single thing, were killing me. And still are. But I decided that I need to shape all these emotions into something positive, something challenging. Because, crying is easy when feeling helpless and the last thing I wanted, was to get the easy way. I kind of wanted to punish myself. And I did it quite well. Today my legs are extremely sore and my right knee hurts so badly... I guess, people can get very creative when it comes to make themselves feel better, when actually feel like a crap.
So, after not getting a good rest the night before the half marathon, as I was always waking up, I got up early but with a headache and no appetite at all. Not what I have planned for a strong start of the day. Anyways, I got to the starting point only 20 minutes before the beginning and it was already packed with people. So, there was almost no space to warm up and I though Ok, I will warm up as I start running. We haven't even started yet, and all I wanted to do was cry. I don't know if it was the adrenaline that was kicking me the wrong way or all the mixed emotions from the past week were coming all together...
Lisbon's half marathon starts in Almada, passing over the April 25th bridge. As I was running on the bridge, I really wanted to take the opportunity and appreciate the views over the city and Tagus estuary, as this was the first time I'm there with no traffic at all, and passing relatively slow. Unfortunately, it was impossible as the crowd was pushing me even to go faster, which was actually great for warming up my muscles. I didn't stop running for the first 5 km. After that, in order to be able to finish, I needed to take pauses from running and walk instead. But every time I was getting back to run again, my legs felt heavier. And heavier. But the worst was when, just 1 km away from the finish, I felt a terrible pain in my toes. I really thought that That's it. I'm done. I've failed. Even though, I'm just 1 km away, I will not be able to finish... The tears came back, together with a strong will to scream. To let out all the pain and vast hope to prove something to myself. But instead I stopped, took a deep breath and took off my sneaker. I made until here, I was not going to give up now. When after a short massage of my toes, I felt ready again, I continued my journey to the finish line.
My adventurousness and positive-thinking lead me to the final of this crazy (I mean, really crazy!) experience. Because a rational-thinking person would never dive into something like that with no preparation. And I'm aware of that. So, after passing the finish line, for the first time in my life, I got to experience the "being in shock" thing. Or may be it was a panic attack. I'm not quite sure, but for about a minute (or at least it felt so) no air was getting to my lungs. I was trying, I wanted to breathe, but every breath I was taking was simply stopping somewhere in my throat. My eyes got full of tears, but this time happiness was also in the mix. Inside I was screaming. I made it! It was still difficult to believe it, but I did it! And I did it faster than I was ever expecting - 2:28:33 h. All the pain and insane effort was worth it. I got to prove myself that even if physically I'm not as strong as I wish I was, at least mentally I am exactly where I want to be. Otherwise, I would never be able to finish. I still have to work on my emotions, but at least I got to control my tears throughout the entire day. Which for a crying Aquarius like me is a victory.
Now, all I have left is believe that positive things will happen. Please, stay strong!