28.10.14

WHAT I LEARNT FROM MY FIRST MARATHON AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE BEST CAKE I'VE EVER EATEN.


Hi all! if you read my last post you'll know that last Sunday I took past in my first marathon in Amsterdam with a pretty vile cold. As luck would have it, on the day itself I magically felt about 10x better, although that could have been adrenaline, and bounded my way to the Olympic Stadium full of nervous excitement before dragging my increasingly weary and heavy body around 26.2 miles. I can see why they're addictive and I'm already contemplating my next one – Paris in April – where I'd love to run a sub-four hours. I'm hyper-aware that at least 20% of my sentences in conversation currently begin “When I was running the marathon...” and I'm trying really hard not to be a bore so this is just a little summary plus a tourism tip and then I'll stop going on about it. 

What I learnt 



1. My FlipBelt made the whole experience a million times easier. It's a nifty yet super-simple stretchy belt that I promise really is super comfortable and that's coming from someone who hates carrying things with a passion. Finding people after the race is tricky, you're a bit out of it, you somehow don't fancy much walking and there's an endless sea of people in the way so having a way to carry my phone that isn't supremely inconvenient is ideal although I also stuffed mine with sweets. For energy! FlipBelt is definitely worth a Google, I know I'm going to get so much use out of mine and the colours are really fun!



2. I was sceptical but coating yourself in Vaseline is an important part of prep. I had to buy new trainers only five days before the big day and I expected my feet to shred like wet tissue paper but in the end, I didn't get a single blister and I credit this to slathering my feet in petroleum jelly. I had tons of little cuts and scrapes from the waistband of my leggings and from my sports bra – pretty much anything will rub after that long no matter how comfy – and I think Vaseline would have prevented this too. 



3. Take it super-easy afterwards. Your immune system crashes pretty hard after that kind of exertion and sure enough, my cold came back with full force. You'll need extra sleep and food for a good week afterwards. Luckily I stayed in Amsterdam for a few days afterwards and it was my third visit, meaning I didn't feel to much pressure to take in any particular sights and could commence with food tourism, staggering from cafe to restaurant. In particular, the legendary Appeltaart from Winkel next to the Noordermarkt was literally the most incredible thing I've ever put in my mouth. Enormous wedges of cake/pie/spongey moist tart topped with a heap of whipped cream with a brown sugary crust and a perfect cake to fruit ratio, it was the perfect decadent reward and honestly I would return to Amsterdam for Winkel alone. 



4. “Complete not compete”. Obviously most people have a time aim and it's great to have a goal but let's not forget that training for and completing a marathon is a massive achievement in itself. It took me a few days to reflect on the experience and to appreciate it for what a big deal it was instead of concentrating on how fast I ran.

In the intervening days I've been drinking a lot of wine, doing a lot of sitting down and reclining and eating. Basically, I've been doing all my favourite things under the guise of refueling and recovering. One thing the experience has shown me is how accessible a marathon is, they're not just for the super sporty but simply anyone willing to put the work in for a few months, go through a couple of hours of very rewarding suffering and then feel good about it forever!



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"Hiya, I'm Catherine, recent English Lit graduate newly situated in Shoreditch. I love street food, puppies, competitive cheerleading and pyjamas."