This Saturday I participated in a race in Tuusula, the place where I ran a marathon last year. Initially I was planning to run a half-marathon because this was the first race in year 2010. In addition, I had only one long run this year after which I felt pain in the legs and was not running for another couple of weeks.
So my mindset was configured toward an easy half-marathon until the moment when I arrived to Tuusula. But I will start with what I was doing on Friday. In the evening I had a check-up training session under rain after which my mood was between not running on Saturday at all or running a half-marathon.
However, on Saturday the weather improved and the sun was shining. I went to the bus station and boarded the bus to Tuusula. It was quite a low-cost comfortable trip in a tourist bus. It costs less than 6 Euros one way, 30 kilometers from Helsinki to Tuusula. I was astonished when I got off the bus and breathed freshest air and saw the cleanest sky. It is a kind of feeling when you arrive to a village after spending time in the city. And I thought – such a beautiful life, why should I spend half of the day at home? I should spend all my time on the road today – and I decided to run a marathon against all odds!
A marathon is always a challenge. But I have learned the lessons of the past and started the marathon slowly. Because of the nice weather lots of people were walking or biking. Many of them were also participating in marathon but as cheerleaders. Look at these nice posters in the hands of children. They are saying Hyvää which means Good in Finnish. The spectators make the run a lot more enjoyable.
The course goes to the town of Järvenpää – the town of Jan Sibelius and Joonas Kokkonen, the two famous Finnish composers. It was surprising to see an amusement park there. Besides the traditional carousels a helicopter tour was offered for only 60 Euro! It is well known that in big cities it costs a lot more, probably 300 Euro or so. Of course, I did not fly the chopper this time but if I were visiting Järvenpää as a tourist I sure would!
After leaving the town the course goes through countryside. At this time of year the trees are not green yet and there is no crops on the fields. However, the spring has definitely come and the last patches of snow are disappearing under the shining sun. It is very nice to watch the nature waking up after winter sleep, such an enjoyable feeling.
I have completed the first lap 21km in 2 hours 25 minutes, slightly slower than last year when I was running a marathon. However, then I felt crams in my legs because I have not adapted to the shoes yet. It is one of the best shoes you can get. The original price is nearly 150 Euros but I got them on a sale for 70 Euros. I guess their biggest advantage is that they treat your knees well – a typical problem of an experienced runner. Indeed, I should say that on Sunday my legs were in good condition, much better than earlier even after half-marathons. However, during the second half of the race I felt lots of pain in muscles and thus had to walk, not run.
De-hydration is another typical problem during the marathons. I was in the winter pants, I used to skate during freezing temperatures in this pants. I decided not to buy the sports-suite because I thought the weather will get warmer and I will run in the shorts. But for this race I definitely needed a sports suite, not the winter pants. This is why during the second half of the race I needed to drink a lot. Even though the water stations were available here and there I felt thirsty at thirty kilometers. Fortunately, there was a Siwa shop near the road. Another lucky coincidence was that I had money with me, but only 3 Euros. It turned out that the energy drink costs 2.99 Euros. This drink healed my legs, the muscle pain was gone and I was able to run again! I guess I was super-lucky on that day!
So I completed the marathon walking the middle part of it but otherwise running. The net time is 5:16:41 which is worse than what I thought of in the beginning but much better than what I was thinking during the race when my legs started to hurt. I thought I would have to walk the second half of the race in which case my time would approach 7 hours.
Overall, nice run in a joyful atmosphere. A tough battle to finish the race but this is a marathon after all, the sports of Gods! From now on I think I should try marathons every time. Because a half-marathon is a shorter distance I am always trying to beat my record which takes lots of effort. I feel a lot more exhausted after a half-marathon than after a marathon. Also a marathon gives a lot more satisfaction – not everybody can do it.
And I just did it! Again!