The anatomy of my decision to run a marathon

Mid-April last year, I was watching the Rotterdam Marathon on tv. After all the professional runners had ran the distance in unbelievable pace, I saw how 30 000 amateur runners were waiting to start their 42.195 kilometres of hell. At that moment I realised that if all these middle-aged men and housewives could do it, I should be able to complete a marathon as well.

I started running in 2006. My initial reasons to start running were that I was fed up with not being fit and that I needed a challenge. I quickly found out that for me, running was a way of getting rid of everyday tension and neutralising negative feelings. Running made me feel better and stronger, both mentally and physically.

The first few times I went running, I was able to run for about two minutes on end, max. I could barely make it to the corner of my street! Slightly overweight, and massively out of shape, it took me over two months to be able to complete a 5 kilometre run, in over thirty-one minutes. It felt great!

Motivated by my acquired ability to run 5k, I continued. Slowly but surely, I got a little bit faster and started to run longer distances. One and a half years after my first 5k, I ran my first half marathon. I was completely exhausted when I passed the finish in the Olympic stadium in Amsterdam. It took me day to recover.

Last October  ran my fifth half marathon, and decided to run a full marathon in 2010. Initially I wanted to run the April Rotterdam Marathon, but this one turned out to be too soon. Now I’ve decided to run the Amsterdam Marathon in October 2010.

I already know there will be plenty of times I will curse myself for this decision, whilst running in a rain storm, or the morning after a party that got a little out of hand. I will definitely declare myself completely insane the day of the marathon itself.

But when I only think of the moment that I will cross the finish line, I get Goosebumps. I must feel absolutely amazing. It will also be very hard. Not just running the actual 42+ kilometres, but also the long training sessions beforehand. But I will do it, because if they can do it, I can do it as well!

To sum up, I think this decision is mainly composed of:

* An irrational belief that past achievement provide guarantees for the future

* Compulsive minimisation of how long 42.125 km really is

* An obsessive longing for how I will feel when I cross the finish line

* Fanatic disregard of the amount of time it will take me to train for a marathon, and the absurd muscle pain I will suffer post-marathon

* The outcome of a comperative analysis between myself and thousands of other people (who have already ran the marathon)

Did I miss something?


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