I like to keep my running stories short. But this post will be a little longer. Also the video is also longer than the rest of my videos. All this, because the race itself was longer. 2xlonger. Like never before 🙂
This is a story about how I lost my marathon virginity on top of Cindrel, after 6 years of halfs.
I’ve been running races since 2013. 99 races. I’m a creep with numbers, therefore nr 100, the sweet and round number, had to be special. Plus, is the first race after my 28th birthday. And it took me a few weeks to decide where to run and what to do for the hundredth. I was planning to do a 100k relay, together with a team. Then life happened, couldn’t build a team, for a second i had in mind to run by myself 100km, then I woke up and tried to think like a normal human being. And so, I choosed Cindrel in Alergare, a trail marathon in Sibiu county, next to my hometown. I was 18 (race number), marathon virgin and ready to be on top (of Cindrel mountain)
How was the first marathon experience?
No race in my entire life, made me feel so energetic. Honestly I still can’t believe how great it was. Everything went like a dream. No pain, just gain 🙂
I was imagining all kind of scenarios about it. Fantasizing like a teenager about he’s first love. That it will be tough. That maybe it will hurt. That maybe it won’t go as well as I want. But with an equal chance that it will be the best running experience. Acutally more than equal chance to succeed, because I’m Denisa and there’s no race I CAN’T do!
At the start line I was thrilled. Ready to suffer in case my legs would fail on me. Pressed start on my GPS watch, pressed play on my headphones and off I went!
Having so much energy, was a real challenge trying to keep my pace slow. I wanted to let my adrenaline run it’s game, while arguing with my mind that is better to slow down because I have 40k to go.
Soon enough, after the half marathon track split from the marathon, I counted on my feelings and i quit slowing down. I felt I could do better, so I unchained myself and let go. My music stopped because I lost signal. It was just me and my mind. And my GoPro. My awesome running buddy 🙂 It’s funny to watch myself on the recordings and see the stupid things I speak.
The first 20k were mostly climbing. At the exact half, there was Cindrel Peak. You would think once you get on top, that’s where the best view awaits. WRONG! The best view was the glaciar lake, Iezerul Mare ❤ I was amazed by it, almost wanting to stop and dive in that crystal clear water. There was a little bit of snow, very unnatural compared to the killing high temperature that day.
Climbing Cindrel was the steepest part of the course. If not careful, you could easily roll back to the base, like a snowball on a slope.
The view there was stupendous (Because you could see the lake and pretend you are a drone)
Being up there I realized: half was already over. Usually at that point, the races I run are over. There was the point where I should be crossing the finish line and feeling tired.
Not this time! The feeling that I must keep on going for another 20k wasn’t scarry at all. My adrenaline rush kicked in more and more. Plus, there was mostly descending from that point, so gravity was helping me get to the finish line faster.
The last km put me on an airplane mode: flying fast and unable to stop
At the finish, I realized my watch registered 39km. Unadmissible for a number freak like me. And my first marathon could simply NOT be 39. So after the official finish, I received my medal and I continued for another km to have 40km.
Only then, I stopped. My legs were tired. But my brain was smiling. My brain was happy and pleased. I had no pain, nothing. I felt great, as I never had imagined I would feel after a marathon.
So glad I did this. Yes, it wasn’t a hard race, compared to other marathons, on higher mountains. But it was perfect for what I needed.
Oh, and I won second place on my age category, 18-29 y.o.
The secret was that there were only 3 women with that age and only 2 reached the finish. Should I feel less proud? Nope.. I deserved that award. I gave all my best on that race. So I’m not seeing that prize as a fact that I’m a great runner, but as the fact that it was an event to remember and I felt at my best.
Funny thing, winners got beer! And I love artisanal beer!
Do you need more reasons to believe me when I say it was the perfect race? 🙂
PS: I’m drinking that beer right now! Cheers to the 100th race and stay tuned for the 200th!