There are only a few hours left for my debut in the magical marathon distance. In the most important week of this blog, firstly because of the votes for the Blog Awards (don't forget to vote!), secondly for completing the challenge that gives this page its name and closing the circle by which this website began.
Even though I'm a rookie at the test, I'm relaxed, I know I'm coming in with my homework done. It's been many months training with this goal in mind, and the last three specifically and guided by a coach. I know I come well prepared, which gives a really important peace of mind.
Looking back, it's hard to believe where I am today, the challenge I'm about to meet. Almost 40 kilos less than when I started this journey. 40kg, which is soon to be said. It hasn't been a bed of roses, but it hasn't been difficult either. There's a secret to not making an effort, and that is that the final goal is not to lose weight. From a certain point on, that weight reduction stops being the goal and becomes a mere side effect of training.
If that had been the goal, I would have probably stopped running a long time ago (and with that this page would not exist). The goal I am looking for is different. Like many of you, I am looking to run faster, further. All from a merely competitive point of view, but not because I am faster than anyone else, but for pure personal satisfaction. To know that I am capable of beating myself.
That path of self-improvement has led me here. I still remember the first day I went back 10 km after a meniscus operation. The first race that I participated in. How I trained for myself first half-marathon at a rate of 6:45min/km, a race I was not convinced to sign up for despite the encouragement of my friends and training partners.
I'd be lying if I told you I didn't have a target time in mind. Of course I do, because it's part of everyone's competitiveness. But just as for any other race, that target time would totally shape the course of the event, in this case it's a simple goal, something to focus on in the race strategy and to think about during the more than three hours I'm running.
Like any novice marathon runner, I respect the distance enormously. Firstly because a marathon must be respected. Secondly because I have never run for 42 kilometres. And thirdly, because the secret of such a long race is to take it easy and not to be over-optimistic. It is easy that after a few weeks of hard training, with the rest of the last days and the excitement of the start, you feel euphoric and at kilometre 15 you decide to increase your pace because the endorphins eat you up inside.
That's precisely the moment that can turn a fantastic debut into a disastrous experience. You have to be cautious at kilometre 15. And at kilometre 20. Of course at kilometre 25, when it seems you've only just started running a few minutes ago and you're still fresh. And when on the 30th you start to get tired, you still have to wait because there are still 12 more kilometres to go.
And above all, save energy to enjoy that magnificent finish line that Valencia gives us, that image that heads the article and that on Sunday will be full of runners, public and emotions.
I'll tell you next week!