My journey into sports began as a 6 or 7-year-old child when I was taken to soccer practice by a friend from kindergarten.
From that moment on, I played soccer for 21 years, usually three times a week. I remember being reasonably good as a child, with my strength being my endurance and speed. As a senior player, I earned the nickname „Horse Lungs“ for my endurance as an outside defender who ran up and down the field during the game. Unlike others, running was not a chore for me; it was something I excelled at, was praised for, and probably enjoyed more because of it.
However, this ability didn’t necessarily help me much in soccer. Over time, I lost confidence in my soccer skills, likely due to the uncertainty of what I should do next and the fear of making mistakes. Sports have always been a significant part of my life. As a child, my passion wasn’t limited to soccer. I also had a fascination with other sports I discovered through television. With neighborhood kids, we played „Tour de France“ and had biathlon races on inline skates with water pistols. During school breaks, we played basketball. I also took an interest in other sports on TV, such as track and field, cycling, and winter sports. Each sport had something that intrigued and excited me.
In 2017, I, for the first time in my life, started setting goals and New Year’s resolutions in an Excel spreadsheet. I can’t recall why, but somehow, „marathon“ made it onto that list. I set a goal to run a marathon in 2018. With that goal in mind, I began training. Even back then, I was passionate about training more professionally. I even took a two-week vacation alone, which partially served as marathon preparation. Additionally, it was my first solo vacation, and I enrolled in a language school to learn Spanish.
Like any beginner runner without training experience or a coach, my first injury wasn’t far off. Excessive mileage, rapid training increases, and running too fast led to a patellar tendonitis that plagued me for a long time, especially after the marathon, resulting in a lengthy six-month training break. The marathon itself was tough, incredibly tough. Up to that point, I had no experience with race nutrition and had only done 1-2 long runs over 20 kilometers. When I look at the race data now, I’m amazed at how consistently I was able to complete the marathon without a major collapse. Nevertheless, it was challenging, and I finished the marathon in 4 hours and 4 seconds.