Why run a marathon? – how did it all started for Fulham Massage & Wellness Managing Director, Agata
- Monday, 13 November 2017
The idea of running a marathon was at the back of my head for a long time. I used to think that running 26miles was just for crazy people but over time and hearing inspiring stories from my clients - the seed got planted. I was admiring those who managed to cross the finish line because it was always a symbol – of determination, strong will power and persuasion. And an enormous sense of achievement! I began to want it! This desire, although noticeable, wasn’t enough to take any actions for years. Eventually I signed up for a London marathon 2015 with a high hope that I won’t get a place. And I didn’t! I remember telling myself it was a universe’s way of saying “it’s not for you”. Relieved I don’t have to commit to a long training, I quickly realised I also felt a pinch of disappointment which I couldn’t understand.
Running has been a part of my life for at least a decade. But when I say running, I mean 5km jogging along the river to release stress and keep myself fit. It was never competitive! A few years ago I encouraged my husband, Arthur, to jog with me. He hated it at the beginning! I really wanted him to feel what I felt when running – the sense of freedom and total relaxation, everything has a different meaning when you go out there and give it all you have. Arthur used to say running is not for him, but he started doing it, first for me and then… totally for himself! Who would have thought that 3 years later he will complete a marathon and say “I could do another 10miles”!
In July 2017 my friend lent me a book written by a polish journalist who went from hating running to completing multiple marathons and wanting more and more. I remember reading this book in Greece, during our holidays. I started to research what marathons are out there. I already knew I won’t try London marathon anymore as I couldn’t risk a ballot entry. It had to be a guaranteed place. Ideally when it’s not too hot and somewhere where I have never been before, so sightseeing could be a distraction and entertainment during a potential marathon run (how naive was I then!). And that’s how I came across Dublin. A place I wanted to visit for a long time, with a marathon set in the middle of autumn and… just couple of days before Arthur’s 30th Birthday! Perfect present! It was symbolic. How amazing would it be for him to run a marathon before turning 30! It would add another meaning to it! And so it happened, I booked two places, bought plane tickets and rented an Airbnb. Arthur tried his best not to show enthusiasm at first, but very quickly got into the spirit of becoming a marathon runner!
Training went off to a brilliant start! I religiously followed a training programme and very quickly was able to run up to 18km (11miles). I suffered with ITB syndrome a few years ago, so I knew I had to implement regular massage, stretches, foam rolling and corrective exercises. Luckily, I had an access to the best massage therapists in London – at Fulham Massage & Wellness. Our amazing massage therapists deserve half the credit for my finishing a marathon as I wouldn’t be able to complete my training without massage. Every time I felt I hit a wall with my mileage, massage was the only tool that helped me to overcome the limitations. Each time I got up from the massage couch, it felt like my body was given a new pair of legs. My ITB has not even once given me trouble during training, I simply couldn’t believe it!
From the moment I signed up, I started receiving massage every two weeks. I understood that this is a crucial time to help my body adapt to long distance running. When the training became tougher, I decided to increase it to an hour of sports massage every week. It was the best thing I could do! With the motivation to running and stretching fluctuating, massage was the tool that made it possible to eventually run over 26miles.
It wasn’t all plain sailing. With the rapid increase of mileage and inappropriate footwear (it turned out I was wearing shoes 1.5 sizes too small!), I developed a foot injury called plantar plate injury. It affected my toe and at some point I was advised by the podiatrist to pull out of the event. And again – massage was what made the impossible – possible. Luckily, I was able to do the homecare on the daily basis, but sticking to my regular sports massage sessions at Fulham Massage & Wellness meant my body could reconnect and recover very quickly. I can’t emphasise enough how important the full body treatment is in the marathon training; how releasing the shoulders, neck, arms, back, hips, feet and legs can synchronise the body and make it work in harmony. It makes the movement more efficient and helps with any form of recovery.
On the week leading up to the marathon I arranged for the pre-event sports massage treatment 3 days before the big day. Yes, the massage helped to release any form of tightness, prepare my body for the most difficult activity it was ever going to undertake, but it also, gave me confidence and peace of mind that I have done all I can to complete the event. I often heard that marathon is a psychological event; that your body will do what your mind dictates. I think the pre-event massage is that mind preparing treatment as well. After that session, I just wanted to be out in Dublin and was simply rearing to go!
The marathon day was incredible! It’s an early start to the day, porridge for breakfast, walk to the event, waiting in anticipation on the starting line and then the run! What an experience. The atmosphere in Dublin was exceptional, people cheering and supporting, reaching for high fives, offering sweets and water, DJs playing music. My husband and I decided to stick together in case any of us needed some support or help. It was great, and easy, at least for the first 13miles! The thoughts of the training and massages, the sense of accomplishment and the surrounding itself were giving me a lot of motivation. The legs started to fatigue and my back started to tighten noticeably in the last 5 miles. That’s when I realised the impact of repetitive pounding and gradual loss of technique and posture caused by tiredness. Thankfully, the finish line eventually appeared and after 4 hours and 27minutes Arthur and I were able to cross the line holding hands, happy and proud as never before!
Exhaustion and muscle ache were camouflaged by the excitement for the rest of the day, but we sensibly received a quick 15-min leg massage to boost the circulation. The next day, the build-up of lactic acids, toxins and waste products caused a lot of discomfort, especially around the knees and hips but with a great post-event sports massage and extensive walks around Dublin, we were very lucky not to be affected too badly. Having a lot of trust in Fulham Massage & Wellness team, I already had a massage pre-booked after returning to London and within 3-4 days after the marathon my body felt normal again!
Dublin marathon was a very emotional journey but I wouldn’t change a bit in this journey. I simply know that the event wouldn’t have happened if not my great team of massage therapists. From the moment I signed up, I had a full trust in Fulham Massage & Wellness on assisting me in training and preparation for the day. So if you ever think about running a marathon or are already training for one, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We are here to support you, every step of the way!
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