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[EN] Anna’s London Marathon Journey, part 1

Some of you already know that my beginnings in the UK have not been easy at all. One of the crucial things that helped me to overcome difficulties was running. It started with an old pair of trainers which just got me out to a park nearby. I did not look like a runner at all (I wish I looked like one now!). However, all of my little milestones helped me get to where am I now and looking back I can do this cute little review of my running history, so let’s have a look together, this journey is quite fun!

July 2013

My first 10k race was in Haileybury for Muscle Warriors.  My lovely Ondrej ran this race with me for the very first time (and last time since then). The race was, of course, for charity (a majority of races in England are for charity). I remember how Ondra and I slept a whole day after this race, but this first race motivated me to continue running.

My first 10k in Haileybury

April 2014

It was April 13, 2014. I was just in the gym on the treadmill. Coincidentally, there was a live broadcast from the London marathon on TV. I do not usually watch any races as I find them quite dull, but this was the first time I had not only enjoyed the broadcast, I was amazed. You might be asking why did I suddenly like it? Well, I knew how hard it was to run only 10k so a marathon was something I could not imagine at all. Since then I have watched every race and athlete with respect.

Shot from the gym that day running and watching the live marathon in London while my butt is bouncing from the left handlebar to the right one all the time.  

Also, the atmosphere of the London marathon was incredibly captivating even just from the TV. I started to run more seriously thanks to the London marathon. April 13, 2014, was the first day I started dreaming of running the London Marathon. The above pic is proof I might not be an athlete, but I feel devoted enough to work on my dream, and luckily I have a great partner who never let me down. 

July 2016

In July 2016, I was confident enough to try a longer race of 10 miles (16 kilometres). I ran it in 1h 48min and 30 seconds. I was pleased I did not end up last (this is my biggest nightmare, being the last one) as I ended 219 out of 244. I do this race every year to track my progress. Last year, I got over the magic line of 200th place and finished 192nd (out of 284)!

My first 10 miles race

September 2016

The 10-mile race in July was an endurance test for my first half marathon in September which I finished in 2h and 17mins. I will never forget the feeling after the race. I was half dead and swearing in my mind something like ‘sh*t; I will never be able to run a marathon, I was barely able to do fu*king half’.

This is a pre-race photo as one taken after would never pass my censorship. I am standing weirdly to make my legs look slim.

May 2017

The advantage of the human body is that it will quickly forget the pain experienced in the run. The next year in May I ventured to my first marathon in Stratford upon Avon, a beautiful town and Shakespeare’s birthplace. The race itself was a terrible experience because there was a minimum of refreshments along the way (just water and sponges). I was carb depleted very soon, so I felt like I was running in goalie pads. It was more a military-run than fun, and if Ondrej had not shown up with a snack, I would have died somewhere in the middle of the race.

My first marathon

I remember vividly a bunch of retirees overtaking me while I was running up a hill and young cyclists standing opposite on the road laughing at me. It was the first and only time I took a pain killer in the race to be able to continue. It was 5.5 hours of hell, but I would rather die than give up, so I finished! Knowing I CAN run the marathon was something so incredible that my only thought was that I need to do it again.

May 2018

The fact that I managed to run the marathon was a huge motivational kick, and in 2018 I decided to try a more famous marathon, so I decided to run in Prague. My training did not go well due to a trip to Dublin which left me with a nasty cold and infection. It took me over a month to fully recover. Despite the poor spring training, I still improved my time, and my overall experience was far better as I ate loads of oranges and bananas along the route so no goalie pads this time, just the wall at 30k.

This picture was taken just before the Prague Marathon race. I cautiously pushed my butt back to make it look like I had lean legs and kept my hands next to my waist to hide ‘the handles of love’ (fatty waist).

October 2018

The year 2018 was a breakthrough in my approach to training. I understood that if I want to move forward, I need properly structured training. Improving is one of the biggest challenges in running. I have tried various apps and stick to one which has proved to be the best for me (It is named Aaptiv). I went through the programme successfully without injuries or flu, and although the race was quite hilly, I have managed to finish in 2hours and 1 minute which was over 16 minutes better than my previous half marathon. It was my first race where I was smiling afterwards and felt like a runner (finally!). 

My second half-marathon in Luton, for the first time in my life, I am genuinely smiling right after the race.

April 2019?

Last December, I started to work on what I want to do in April this year – to run the marathon in London and fundraise as much money as possible for Ear Foundation (the charity I run for). It is a great and unique opportunity for me, and I am super excited. If you like mystory, you can look forward to the next part soon 😊

This article is available in Czech.

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