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.