I knew right away once I had done my first half marathon that I was ready to do a marathon too! Before that, running was just for my personal fun as I live by the beach and the beauty of running on the coastline always captivated me.
I had read many articles on other first time “offenders” and knew that I had to do it the right way ….. that is with a personal trainer. My choice of a coach could not have been a better one than Touma Bayoumi – amazing athlete and the best coach ever!! I used to see him run and admired his running stride and when I met and spoke to him I saw what a wonderful person he was too. He just makes things so easy and possible – he makes you believe and want to better yourself.
My training took four months – Touma and I decided that I would do my marathon in spring (in March specifically) so as not to suffer too much with training in the hot summer months.
Every Sunday night I got my program for the coming week and every Saturday I would send it back to him with my times, paces, etc. We would speak whenever I needed it and he was always so attentive to even the most stupid of my questions ……… and they were many of those….
Other than having the good fortune of the “wonder” coach, my good friend Evgenia decided to train for her first marathon too. It helps a lot to run with a friend, however we were lucky enough to both be on the same level/running capacity otherwise we would not be able to train together however good friends we are!!
Before I knew it, my training had done its cycle and I was at the starting line ….. March 6th at Nafplio. I saw it all as an adventure. It helped to know that Evgenia would be waiting for me at the 10 km line so we would do the last 32 kms together as her marathon was one month after mine. It was one big party – I had Touma’s guidelines for every kms etched well in my head , 8 gels strapped on me (one for every half hour, plus extra) and a good playlist on my ipod with my favorite songs playing after the third hour. That’s all I needed.
At Km # 10 there was Evgenia as promised and that’s when the party started. We talked, laughed and joked all the way as we did on all our long runs with the only difference that I was living the excitement of my first marathon. I was slightly curious of how I would feel after the 32-34th km “wall” as I had read and heard so much about especially since I had never ran more than 32kms …. but it never came – the more I was approaching the finish line the more energy and excitement I felt. No sore knee or other sore parts even though I did have an issue with my left knee from improper training the years before, however this pain did not come back to haunt me.
When I saw Touma 4 kms from the finish (this was a huge surprise as I didn’t know he was going to be there) he ran with me till the end. I don’t know where I found the energy after the 38th kms I had done already, but I actually sprinted to the end!!!!
The exhilaration I felt at the finish line is something I will always remember how many other marathons I do – the first one will always be the important one for me. Other than not experiencing any psych wall after the 32nd – 34th km, I also woke up the next morning feeling a slight tightness in my legs which disappeared into the day as it was work as usual for me!!
The reason why I wanted to share my marathon story is to tell the fun and enjoyable side of the hard training required to complete such a journey. Looking back, despite the good times, I must admit the training was hard and there were days when it felt impossible – this is where the magic of family support is needed. I am very thankful to have received a lot of encouragement and understanding from my husband and boys.
WEARING Joanna: tight and windbreaker jacket salomon, top reebok, shoes saucony hat nike, watch garmnin vivosmart