Everything began last June during a phone call with a friend where a crazy idea was born. After some back and forth the idea was turned into action. We’re going to run nothing less then the Charlotte marathon together!
I signed up for the race, booked the flights and was ready to start the adventure or rather the training. I don’t like to bore you with details, there were good runs and there were crappy ones. There were days I was excited and there were the ones I had profoundly doubts about everything. Today with 8 days to go I’m elated to start this journey, to be back in Charlotte, to catch up with friends and to run a bit… I don’t know if I’ll be fine after the long flight, I don’t know how the jet lag will effect me but it’s to late now to change something, we’ll see.
Tomorrow I will travel to Charlotte, all by myself. Thousands thoughts buzzing around in my head. What if I got stuck in a traffic jam (did you ever drive on M25, England biggest parking lot?), what if I miss the flight, will I be in time for race bib pick up, won’t I be too tired after two 4:30 mornings, what if I can’t sleep in the plane, what should I wear on race day (forecast looks quite chilly), … why am I doing this? Because I love to run, because I can’t wait to see my Charlotte friends and because if something doesn’t challenge you it won’t be a memorable adventure!
Short update: I reached the flight without problems, like expected I couldn’t sleep during the flight, I ate a surprisingly delicious vegetarian curry and I watched three movies: crazy rich asians, our big little farm and rocket man. I needed to cry a lot, well is that a sign of my beautiful sensitive character or just embarrassing?
After landing in Charlotte I met a friend in the line to the immigration, what a lovely welcome! Everything went smoothly and I drove through the city southward. It felt so good, like coming home.
Finally race day was here, I was excited and ready to log this 26.2 miles through uptown Charlotte and the surrounding neighborhoods. A lot can happen on the way to 26.2 and you are forced to become incredibly honest with yourself- what you need, how you feel, when to take it easy, and when to push. I recognized after a couple of miles that today won’t be a PB day. The lack of sleep, the long flight the day before and my stomach rebellion against American gels was too much to cope with. First I was really disappointed and thought about all the training hours and hard work I invested, jealous about the runners that overtook and angry with myself and the whole world. But everyone that knows me knows that I prefer living on the bright side, I started to recognize my surrounding: the colorful graffitis, the lovely shops and the beautiful wooden houses from NoDa and Plaza Midwood. The people cheering along the streets were supportive, friendly and crazy. All warmly wrapped in this cold, dancing and shouting since hours, dressed as cows, tigers, princesses or dinosaurs, offering sweets, fruits or a whisky shot. I loved reading the signs, waving at the musicans and smiling at the people. The feedback was overwhelming and I was soon I was in peace with myself again and I really enjoyed the second part of this race! I’m still in love with this city and it’s beautiful people!! I crossed the finish line finally happy and relaxed. Unfortunately, you can’t always win but being grateful and happy for what we have is important too and being able to do what you love supported by family and friends is priceless! And well, there will always be another race.
I enjoyed the rest of my stay in Charlotte to the full with catching up with friends, stocking up on some sunshine, shopping, laughter, mimosas, cuddles and delicious food. Oh yes, life is good!!