"How a sedentary like me managed to finish his first marathon after a year of training"

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MARATHON – "I could never run a marathon." "The biggest distance I run while running is between the sofa and the fridge." "You're crazy." That's about what I heard when I told everyone I was going to run the New York City Marathon. And I really told everyone.

Not so long ago, I would have had the same reaction. A long-time observer, I cried with emotion on the streets of Brooklyn watching thousands of runners wave like waves of neon and wondered each year why someone decided, of his own free will, to run at least only one kilometer. So, 42 …

And then, a little over a year ago – October 14, 2017 – I participated in my first race, a half marathon, after only eight weeks of training. Before that, I did not go beyond the kilometer and a half.

"I paid twenty-five dollars for this picture of me at the finish because I was so happy at that moment that I wanted to remember it forever, and also to have likes on Instagram" .

I spent the first twenty-eight years of my life avoiding sport like the plague. And then, last year, I started the cross-country race and I went very quickly from 0 to 42 kilometers. It changes from the time when I spent all my time in creative hobby workshops in colo!

The first question I usually ask myself is: how did I get to that level in long distance running? In fact, by different paths. Some of whom I remember and others not. It did not happen overnight, of course, but it's not that easy to determine exactly when I felt like I was "a real runner".

I trained. Verry much

I followed the training program (free!) Of the runner Hal Higdon for the half marathon and the marathon. It's a mix of running, cross-training and recovery. I also said a lot of dirty words. Very much. As a harmful boyfriend, training gives me 95% of suffering and 5% of pleasure. Running may seem impossible, unsatisfactory and endless. But the rider's pleasure is real and it's fantastic.

And, as with a bad boyfriend, I forgot all the bad side of a training at the very second when it stopped, and I plunged right after.

But, unlike a bad boyfriend, the hard times made me stronger, faster, more confident and more physically and mentally fit. The five kilometers that seemed impossible one day were a little less the next. And so on, slowly but surely, kilometer after kilometer. I recited mantras, I filled my playlist of eighteen hours of music (she is here but, careful, we do not judge!) And I said to myself: "Just do it." OK, it's a sluggish slogan, but it's now part of my life. Put on your clothes, go out, you can always stop and walk, but try.

Honestly…

I started running because I wanted to lose weight, despite many conflicting articles about the effectiveness of running in weight loss and my own journey towards self-acceptance. I actually lost weight, gained muscle, and all the trimmings. But what the race did for my anxiety, my cluttered mind and my relationship to food turned out to be more important.

Let me explain: I firmly believe that it is not necessary to "deserve" to eat what pleases us after exercise, and I often defend this idea, from the height of my platform, that You have the right to eat a cheese, whether you have trained or not that day. On the other hand, know that I often say anything. I blame myself for having swallowed anything and I feel much better if I give myself a little pleasure after an intense workout.

When you run long distances, you have to eat a lot. We need fuel. When I started to think of food as fuel, past that threshold, my mindset changed. But, instead of stopping thinking that "we must deserve it", I just stopped giving food that power over my thoughts. And it's incredibly refreshing.

Over time, I learned several things, some by myself and others with the help of a friend or a coach, that I would like to share with all those who wish to embark on the adventure. Training for the New York Marathon involves starting the summer when it is hot, foggy and wet.

It is normal to miss certain sessions, and normal that those you make leave you totally flat. Once the temperatures go down, you will feel much better.

But, after September 1st, do not miss a race. You will feel more mentally ready on D-Day if you go knowing that you have done everything you can to prepare yourself. And believe me, you need a fucking mind.

Running really hurts your head. One day, you run thirty terminals. The next day, you drag on five. It's normal! Finally, everything is relative, but it happens to everyone.

Before my first half marathon, I was so stressed by the possibility of not finishing, I wanted to prove to people so much that I could do it that I talked to a sports psychologist. He reminded me that I did not run for the spectators. It changed my way of seeing things. When I crossed the finish line of my first race, my mother was still parking her car and I did not care. Well almost.

You can do it. Believe me. I can not count the friends and family members who looked me straight in the eye and told me that frankly, they could not believe it was ME running a marathon. One of my friends cried when she told me how proud she was of what I was doing. Of course, we were three tequilas, but still.

We say more and more that it is feasible, but it is always unpredictable. In September, I ran another half marathon and went a bit too sure of myself. I was training for the marathon, after all, so 21 kilometers, it was going to be cake. Except that I ate what was not the day before and I had to stop to go to the toilet just about every kilometer and endure cramps on most of the course. Remind me why am I doing all this already?

Oh, because it's amazing.

Two weeks before the marathon, I finally followed the advice of the runners around me and joined a group that was training for the last 20 kilometers of the course. I have always been afraid to run with people – I can hardly breathe while I run, then from there to make conversation … – and I was afraid to slow down the group. But runners are the most supportive people in the world. I spent the most part of the course chatting and doing high-fives to other bands, and I ended up getting a better idea of ​​the grueling end of the marathon route, which I was told many times that it was indispensable. The energy I felt that day made me want to cry. Incidentally, know that many race groups are free, and I strongly recommend you join them.

Ori Demri

Journalist Jamie Feldman at the New York Marathon

Last efforts at the 37th kilometer.

It is also an experience that transcends you. I am proud to say that I raised nearly $ 4,000 for the American Cancer Society and ran alongside people who raised thousands of dollars for other charities. So, even when I wanted to stop, when I wandered the streets of Chinatown in search of Gatorade by no longer feeling my legs, I continued.

Two or three little things: all of Taylor Swift's songs have a perfect tempo, trust me on that. It's not necessary, before the race, to read everything on the web about the marathon, but you'll do it anyway. Bring plenty of warm clothes that you are not attached to because you will throw them after the long wait on Staten Island. More importantly, HAVE FUN. Or try.

The day of the race has arrived

I broke out. Generally. When you see your name on a shirt, you feel like a star. It is because I felt during the six (yes, six) hours it took me to go through the five neighborhoods. See the skyscrapers of Manhattan, standing on the Verrazzano Bridge with 50,000 other people, it's really moving. To make high-five to the children, it is adorable. Seeing how happy people are just to encourage strangers is giving hope.

When my legs started to let go on the 22nd kilometer, I thought for a long time that I was not going to get there and I started to wonder what pushed me to do that. But then, I saw friends and family, who followed me around the city like real champions, and my energy came back. My friend and running coach, who had an amazing drawing done for me, ran with me when I was on the verge of tears, massaging my aching legs and encouraging me. I smiled all the way, whatever my feelings. It helped me.

I became hysterical when I crossed the finish line. Because I could not walk, because I thought I would have a better time (I try not to think about it, but we still have to say it), and especially because I never imagined living a day like this -the.

The first thing I said to myself was that I would never do it again. It was the most difficult day of my life, physically, mentally and emotionally. But 25 minutes later, in the subway, while I was going to join friends to swallow a cheeseburger, I was already talking about signing up for the Chicago one.

I think it's called a marathon initiation. Sign up, do this scary thing you never thought you could do. Because you can do it. And if you can do that, who knows what you can do?

This article, originally published on the American HuffPost, was translated by Karine Degliame-O'Keeffe for Fast ForWord.

HuffPost is a partner of the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris which will take place in the capital on April 14, 2019. How to prepare it? What are the tips for integrating a workout into your daily life? Testimonials, expert advice … Find our special marathon file.

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