TS Eliot

The Email That Made Me Simultaneously Want to Jump for Joy and Shit Myself

It was Halloween night, when I received the email.  I’d just walked out of an osteopath appointment and was sitting outside in the dark checking my messages for about the hundredth time that day.

It’s interesting how technology has changed us.  In the days of letters, before email, you still might anxiously anticipate the arrival of important mail.  But if it wasn’t in the day’s post, you could just move on, the postman wasn’t coming again until the next day.  Now though, it’s “technically” possible that the email you’ve been eagerly awaiting has arrived 60 seconds after the last time you checked.  And I’d been obsessively checking my email all day long.

Finally, there is was in my spam folder.  I opened it.  And then I had no freaking idea what it said.  “Herzlichen Glückwunsch” it said.  What?  Is this good news or bad news?  The first half of the message was entirely in German and it took me a few moments to scroll down to the second half of the message where it was in English.

The pre-registration phase has come to a close, the lottery wheel has been spun, and the winners from among the 74,707 applications have been randomly chosen. We are delighted to be able to inform you that you were selected to participate in the 41st BMW BERLIN-MARATHON 2014!

OMG!  OMG!  I can’t believe I got in!  Shit!  Fuck!  Now what?

Well, now 2014 has become the year that I take my running to the next level.  The idea of challenging myself with a marathon has been in the back of mind for a long time.  But it honestly wasn’t until this past year that I even considered it possible.  On a whim, I’d first put my name in the lottery for the London Marathon.  Putting my name in the hat for Berlin was an after thought, something I could hold out hope for if London fell through.  I really didn’t anticipate getting into either as they are both enormously popular marquis events. And when the London Marathon rejection magazine arrived in the post, I wasn’t surprised.

But Berlin, success!  And, honestly, I’m glad I got into Berlin instead.  I’m grateful for the extra time to prepare myself for this challenge, Berlin is in September, London in April.  This also means that over the winter months I can instead focus on the half marathon distance which I’m scheduled to run at Reading in March.

What have I gotten myself into?  Even after a couple of months, I’m still not sure I understand what this all means, other than a lot of running.  All I’ve thought about so far is travel plans.  This will, without a doubt, be the most challenging thing I have ever attempted and right now that challenge is filling me with more excitement than anxiety.  No matter how I finish, this will be an amazing life experience.

And at this stage I have little perspective on how long it will take me to finish the marathon.  But I do know that the elite runners will be finished, showered, dressed, and sitting down for a nice recovery meal long before I cross the finish line.  To put this in perspective, Laura shared this entertaining video of people attempting to run on a treadmill at the marathon pace of elite runner Ryan Hall.

Now, in my training, I regularly run at this pace.  Over a distance of about 100 meters.  And then I don’t know which starts screaming first, my legs or my lungs.  I am in awe of the hours upon hours of training these athletes have put in and the fact that they can run that fast for 26.2 miles.  It boggles my mind.

So while I haven’t consciously chosen a word to represent my 2014, maybe I have a word anyway.

Laufen.  Run.

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Sam January 9, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I’ve never ran a marathon either and I’m doing London… so I know how you feel 🙂 Its nerve-wrecking and exciting at the same time!! I personally think the training will be the best bit – after all the run itself is just one day! I’m sure with your hard work and dedication you will do amazing & smash your desired time (just need to make sure that work doesn’t get in the way of training :p ) Good Luck & mostly importantly ENJOY!!!

    • Reply Katherine Lightner January 12, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      Good luck to you! Your race isn’t that far away now. Hope the training is going well!

  • Reply Fiona January 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    the video is crazy. and the post just makes me want to hug you.

    • Reply Katherine Lightner January 12, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      I so want to have a go on that treadmill! Hugs accepted!

  • Reply Anne January 9, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Congratulations! Excited for you. You can do it!! Love, Anne

    • Reply Katherine Lightner January 12, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      Thanks Anne!!

  • Reply Jet Harrington January 11, 2014 at 4:06 am

    I love everything about this post. Some of the most awesome things in life have that combination of “this is bloody brilliant” and “what the fuck have I done?” Kind of like the doctor confirming, “Congratulations, you’re pregnant.”

    Congratulations, you’re going to be a marathoner! Well done, Katherine. You’ll be ready when the day comes. I love the word. (Makes me want to look up my word in other languages.)

    Gut laufen.

    • Reply Katherine Lightner January 12, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      Yes, exactly like the news that you’re pregnant! Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Reply Race Diary: Reading Half Marathon | Katherine Lightner March 13, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    […] I did it!  And, I’ll do it again.  In fact, I’m running double this distance in September in Berlin, a full marathon.  Yikes!  But I’ve learned a number of lessons running the half that I […]

  • Reply Holly Chilton April 14, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    You continue to BLOW MY MIND. Stay Strong and Stubborn!!

  • Leave a Reply