|The ladies from Kenya and Ethiopia that ran a little faster than me.|
Three days before race day I did my last training run, a slow 6k run. I felt fine.
Two days before the marathon, my stomach got upset. It was paining to an extent that I wasn't sure if I could be running at all. I didn't know if it was a bug or my nervousness kicking in, as I thought I felt pretty cool about the race. I knew I was well prepared and ready for it. In the night before the race I woke up at 2am, realizing that the tummy pain was gone. That got me so overtly happy, relieved and excited that I was hardly able to sleep until the alarm went off at 4.45am. Up I got to chomp down a bowl of porridge with mashed banana at 5am, two hours before the race would start. Not a meal that I really enjoyed, as it was far too early. But I can eat if I think I have too. That also helped me during the race. More about that later.
I arrived early at the starting area. It was overcast and raining. Two very rare weather situations in Dubai. I didn't mind the clouds. But I didn't really want to run in the rain for 4 hours. By the time the race went off, the rain had stopped and it remained overcast which provided perfect weather conditions: a steady 20C throughout my whole race.
The Dubai marathon is rather small. I think less than 1,500 people were at the starting line.
I started off on a pace that would bring me home in 4 hours. This pace felt comfortable, although it took some braveness from my side to stick to it, as friends of mine went off with a slightly faster pace that I thought I wouldn't be able to keep up with for the whole distance. I let them go with a heavy heart.
|Marathon? What marathon? Life goes on as usual for other people.|
I positioned my husband and sister at agreed spots along the route (approx. every 6-8km) to provide me with my "doping" (just my preferred sports drink and half bananas).
|My sister providing me with bananas and sport drinks at 13k.|
|Pretend to be fresh as a daisy at 35k. Almost home!!!|
I fulfilled a big dream: completing a full marathon, and finishing my first one in less than 4 hours (exact time was 3h 58min 01sec with split times of 1h59min for first and 1h 58min for the second half).
|20 meters to go and realizing I did in under 4 hours.|
As I am writing this, about 36 hours later, I must say that the sense of achievement is still sinking in. I am feeling great, I know I have achieved something really extraordinary. I am very proud that I trusted my instincts about how to run this race. It all paid off in the end. And it hooked me on. I will definitely do another marathon. Or two, or three. Or many, many, many!