The final stretch – Athens authentic marathon 2022

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The final stretch – Athens authentic marathon 2022

It’s now the final week before the race in Athens. The training is complete, the squats, the chin-ups, the speed runs, the threshold runs the lunges and on and on. Paradoxically the final week is a waiting game. A resting game as well. But how does one rest when I’ve been exercising and locked into disciplining myself like a marine for the past 6 months? I’ve written extensively about this here, with chin ups here and with discipline here as well as running here.

It’s actually quite counterintuitive to relax when you’ve trained your body to take pain and exercise and sweat and a raised heart rate. Your body gets used to that and for me it’s been natural and a habit at this point. Asking me to sit and wait for a week or more is something I’d never do unless it was advised – and it has been. Nevertheless, I’m ready to do some squats or go for a nice slow burn run for fun. I guess it is what it is.

I’ve waited a long time

I’ve waited a long time for this moment to arrive. I’ve always wondered about this event, ever since I learned the history of it as a kid in Greek elementary school. There’s a lot of glory in that moment of history and I recall perfectly the photo in my history book of the dramatized scene as Philipides came in to tell the Athenians of “Victory” against the enemy, the conquers at the door with a bigger force and against the odds. Make no mistake that kind of distance means pain and life has got so comfortable now that most of us will avoid it at all costs.

Against the odds

I’ve spent the past 7 years channeling that glory that pain, in my training runs – it started with a casual 5km and then why not 10km? 55min? Let’s do 1hr and change? 15km? Bring it…

All this took some months in the summer of 2015 but quickly lead to the half marathon race. I got my ass kicked! But I kept going…..

The culmination came in 2019 when I’d run a half marathon in rough terrain and 80 obstacles followed by 1hr 40min in Krakow and 1:45 in the hills of Ojcow – revenge for my ass kicking the first time with a 2:15 finish. All the while the marathon was hanging over me, calling me to dare and try. But fear disguises itself in excuses and ultimate resistance to the what really needs doing.

If not now then when?

I guess that’s the only question that needs asking isn’t it? I haven’t ran since before the pandemic but I’ve maintained the fitness. After 7 years of maintaining and entering my 40’s in the process the time has finally come. I’m a professional after all. Not the kind that gets paid and wins money prizes, no. The kind that keeps honing his craft day in and day out – I’m that guy. And so are you, as long as you keep working at it – no matter what. I’ve discussed in my What’s your action post.

A mental game

People concentrate on the physical aspects of a marathon like I have for the longest time. But now, in the final stretch and Sunday November 13th fast approaching I can tell you it’s small potatoes. What determines our final finish is all mental and that is the biggest lesson I’ve learned in all of this, in life, in death, in my job/profession and whatever we take on as an interest. Whatever we do, we need the right mentality, the right inspiration, the right internal motivation that will drive us to do amazing things, incredible things, things you never knew you could do. When life is in its final act that mental strength is our salvation, our culmination of a lifetime of work. An experience better than any you can buy for any money or get on a smartphone. Now I know…

I’m ready.

The wait ends soon.

It was worth it.

I’ll see you at the finish line….

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growth mindset, life learning, life lessons, marathon, running
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