Running , recovery and life’s goals. During my revalidation period it quickly became apparent that exercise is good for your brain and helps a lot in recovering it. Well , no need to tell me twice. Dug out my running shoes and I thought I was starting out slowly.
As I’ve mentioned before this was way too much , way too soon. So after a while I done myself in and had to resort back too walking. Luckily after a while I was able too get back to running and it became the cornerstone in my recovery, rest and relaxation. Running clears my mind quite literally form the endless thinking, impulses and mental fatigue.
It’s simply putting one foot before the other. All went well until I picked up the pace. I fell pretty bad twice in one week. Shaving my knees and arms pretty bad. My shoes were worn a bit, new ones were in order. In the store the video pointed out a few problems , one my movement was not going forward enough.
I was holding myself back as if I wanted to go backwards, second problem was my left leg and feet lagged behind. I needed a better stride and better running techniques.
While very solid advice this was not as easy as it sounds , being a right handed guy and always avoiding using my left side I at first had not noticed there was a problem. Maybe another left-over from my encephalitis or just old habits dying hard. Whatever it was I needed better skills. My falling down skills very even worse.
Training in new running movement and getting my left side in check was a bit difficult. Step by step I improved and I didn’t fall flat on my face any more. Which was very important.
An added bonus was that my running required less energy then before , making training easier and more pleasurable. So I decided digging up a training plan for the marathon. I decided going for a simple and effective plan focused on making the necessary miles and exploring if I could manage the training load without overdoing myself.
My running improved vastly and I decided registering for a marathon if I could get trough the series of 30+ K sessions. And not just physically but also mentally. A glimpse on the calender showed the Amsterdam marathon was the best option. After the longer distances my confidence was big enough to take the plunge, I registered.
The week leading up to the marathon my nerves got going, mostly if I could cope mentally. Will I be able to handle all the noise and hustle and bustle surrounding the event ? What if I don’t know what to do any more and need to get out? Checked the route and picked a few points where I could give up and fairly easy return towards the start/finish. And all of sudden it Sunday came knocking.
Waking up I was very nervous , but after a nice breakfast and the walk towards the Olympic stadium my nerves settled a bit. Once I got inside I did a warm-up and headed for my starting position.
Fortunately it wasn’t too busy and there was plenty of room. From the start on the tempo was pretty spot on, first highlight the Vondelpark and the running under the Rijksmuseum. Until the 28 K it went very supple , at 30 K the temperature had risen and I became hot. At that point I didn’t pay any attention to what my watch was saying and the focus went towards simply keeping the tempo as best as I could.
At 35/36 cramps in my calves, after a few hundred metres it went away, again at 41 and I had to slow down a bit but I managed too keep running. The finish in the Olympic stadium is very cool. I just didn’t believe the race-timer. After the finish line I was just thrilled that I completed the distance.
My final time was an absolute surprise, 3:17:15, a personal best. Very special and just now , 2 days after it’s slowly sinking in, I have come a long way, sometimes not very aware of my situation but slowly learning and getting more aware.
You run into personal barriers and nobody really knows an definite solution to your problems and if and when it will get better. They give you structure and a framework , the rest is up to you , perseverance and patience is all you can do really.
Running is the one thing I feel I am in total control. And besides helping me get trough the week it’s also the one thing I can visibly improve in.
I never imagined running another marathon , yet I did it. I am a very happy person.