I am writing this blog post in the airplane, trying to sum up a great experience I had. I am looking on the window, hoping to find some inspiration on how to structure my story. The sky is blue and life feels great 🙂
In a previous blog post I was writing about discipline and consistency and the importance of a systematic approach. The lesson I’ve learned before running my first semi marathon was about goals optimisation and how to adjust if you can’t follow the initial plan.
My goal was to run 26k the day I turn 26 years old. And do it in Barcelona.
I was running for three times per week anyway and I though to set a goal and aim for more. I started to run longer and faster but I didn’t really have a training plan.
With three weeks before the big day, I started to have problems with my both ankles. Achilles Tendon was getting really sore. I overburdened Posterior Tibial Tendon and I could barely run forefeet. After I participated at a 10km cross, I wasn’t able to run at all. The orthopedist recommended me to take a break in order to avoid further injuries.
Anatomy of the ankle, with the area of pain highlighted in red
Recovery time turned to be a great learning experience about my body, running, patience and friendship. And once again, my theory about planning, was right.
I couldn’t run but I didn’t stop training. I did swimming, playing tennis, biking, functional training and walking. Last but not least, there was the mental training.
On 5th of June it was an incredible day in Barcelona. Had a full day of discovering, visiting, hiking and exploring Barcelona from one part of the city to another. There are always a few things I do, when visiting a new place and I am happy to say that in Barcelona I checked them all 🙂
Tibidabo, Barcelona. Personal archive
Late in the evening, around 10pm (I know, not really the perfect time for running long distance) I was ready to run. The only plan I had was to run 26km and discover more of the little streets of Barcelona and eventually finish my race at the beach.
Everything was almost perfect excepting one thing. I did not know how my body would react and cope with the effort. The only concern I had was my ankle but my only focus was to reach the goal, no matter what.
For the entire race I experienced a mix of feelings. The most powerful sensation was a complete body and mind relaxation that I had. I was focused, I was there and completely enjoyed the local energy of the little streets, local people, disconnected from the touristic noise.
The cardio was good and I tried to run with the shortest stride length, landing on the midfoot for around 18km. Getting close to 19km, the pain from my left ankle started to get serious. After 20km, my right ankle started to hurt really badly. After one more kilometre I felt that with every step I make, the pain was getting worst.
I run my last 6km at the beach. It was a new body sensation. Everything felt really great excepting the annoying pain from my ankles. With every step I felt that I am landing on needles and I couldn’t run forefoot.
I really wanted to achieve my goal so I did it. I took the risk of severe injuries that happily didn’t happen. The only thought I had in mind was to finish my race and enjoy the experience.
I think the body won’t go where the mind don’t take it. Just turned 26 and here I am, making big plans before turning 30’s and this is just the beginning of a great adventure 🙂
I would like to mention here the support I received from Alex, an experienced runner, and Mihai, one of my best friends! Thanks for being part of this great story that brings happiness to my soul 🙂