A little over a month ago I ran my first full marathon – 42kms of Amsterdam and canals. And I loved it.
From about 26km I wasn’t loving it quite as much or giving it quite as much large as you would probably predict. At about 38kms I had just about lost the will to live, when a kind spectator, seeing the look of me, called out: ‘Keep going Bianca, you can do it!’ (He wasn’t telepathic, our names were printed on our race bibs). At which point I almost cried *sob*. People can be so kind. That kept me jog-shuffling to the finish line.
Now this blog post is not a run brag and a blah blah blah about how awesome it was (it was awesome!), but wow. That feeling of crossing the finish line, and later, when it actually sank in that ‘I did that, I just ran 42kms’? Well let’s be honest, it’s a looong day, and after months of boring people to death by talking about it, and almost 5 hours of actually doing it, you never quite imagine what it will feel like to finish it. Let’s just say it was a very special personal moment one has with oneself (it was also a speak-in-the-third-person-moment) – about the things you can accomplish when you choose to.
I entered this marathon, because just over a year ago I quit a 20-a-day, 7 year habit. This blog post is also not a quit-smoking brag. It is however, a reflection of the changes that can take place in one short year.
Between these two big points of the last year, there was also a lot of other stuff – life – taking place, and a fair amount of running and music. I discovered a new DJ and his podcast kept me going through all the training and the race itself – no easy feat. If you know me, you’ll know: I’m mad about music, all kinds; I’m a fan of EDM (electronic dance music); and I believe exercise and music are inextricably linked. Full stop. [Big up Danny Howard for the awesome tunes!]
But this last year was not all high points. After I quit smoking, I also put on weight. The extra boobage is fantastic, but other than that, the tighter jeans, chipmunk cheeks and knock to my self-esteem haven’t been that much fun. However, it has taught me patience, persistence and the ability to own my failures as well as my successes.
It is coming off. Slowly (like I run). And if this is the worst temporary trade-off to quitting smoking, on balance I guess it is okay. There is a lot of pressure to be perfect in this world, and specifically slim. But I am real, I falter, and I happen to have put on some weight. However, I can also lose it, quit smoking and run a marathon (THAT was a brag).
So in the meantime I will keep running, keep raving and own it 🙂 [*Grabs boobs*]
A Mile in Her Shoes is a charity helping empower homeless women through running. Knowing how empowering running has been for me I champion this charity and if you would like to donate your old running shoes, sports bras, or anything else you might think is helpful, please visit their website http://amileinhershoes.co.uk/ for more information.