It’s been quite a couple of months since I wrote my last blog, but I think this is the perfect time to start writing again.

In this weird situation that we’re all in right now, there are a lot of people that want to know how to stay motivated. Therefore, I thought the best thing I could do is start writing a set of three blogs. They will not be just happy blogs, but they will be honest. We all struggle sometimes but it’s how we deal with struggles that makes our lifes different. Let’s start with where my struggle began.

In September I was one of the many runners at the startline of the Berlin Marathon. Of course, I didn’t just stand there to run a cool marathon, I was there to realize one of my biggest dreams. It was that realisation of what I was about to try that made me mess up.

When we’re young we all have very big dreams, of which some seem very unrealistic. Back when I was about 10 years old I told my dad before going to sleep that I was gonna go to the olympics some day. He didn’t straight up laugh at me, instead he made sure that i’d set some more realistic goals first. Little did we know that I actually was gonna become someone who had a shot at qualifying for the olympics. When I started running I was 9 years old, and I wasn’t that good. Once I noticed how easily I could run for long periods of time, I started to get more motivated by the day and got better really quickly.

Foto made by: Erik van Leeuwen

By the end of my time as a junior athlete, I managed to achieve some results I’m still very proud of. It also marked a turning point, as after the World Junior Championships in 2014, small injuries and pains started to come up. Aside from a few really good results, I could have done a lot better most of the time if I had done some things differently. After 2 or 3 years I started training at National Sportcentre Papendal. With help of my coach Grete and the other experts working there, I went from a very weak and underfed runner to a healthy runner, strong enough to finally start that marathon adventure.

The story of my first marathon was a really weird one, where I made some critical errors but had such a great focus that none of it seemed to really matter. Life after that was great obviously, I’ve never felt more content than in the weeks after that first marathon. My second marathon become a very different story though.

Back in September, the biggest mistake I’ve made was a rather simple one: I let the thought of qualifying for something as big as the olympics get to my head. I wasn’t relaxed at all. Throughout the entire race I was working hard, focussing on my opponents and the pace and I managed to miss my drinks at most of the drink stations. Despite all of this, I managed to get up to 35km at the right pace, 2km later I was totally empty though.

After that race the first thing I told my father was that I was gonna try again in a spring marathon. I still managed to have fun later that day and in the weeks after, but every single day I found myself confronted with the fact that I wasted such a beautiful opportunity. What I hated even more was that I had to quit a race, which I can’t remember to have ever done before. Even though I know I just couldn’t go on anymore, it felt like giving up.

Life of an athlete is kind of beautiful, training every day and seeing your improvement. As a marathoner, you only have 1 or 2 races a year (in my case still just one) where you train for the entire year. Not to forget all the years of hard work you’ve put in before. Once you finally get to the day of your race, all your emotions get amplified to the extremes. That feeling of a good result in the marathon is so great, I can’t think of much that could top that feeling. It also works the other way around, so I discovered. Still I managed to get up better than I thought I would. In the end, it only motivates me more to put things right. In the past couple of months I’ve worked a lot on how to keep my cool during such an important race. Knowing how far I still got last time, I just look forward to giving it another try.

Due to the Coronavirus I have to wait a lot longer untill I can actually go for it again. Right now my next opportunity seems to be in Valencia on the 6th of December, but even that is still unsure. With every day my motivation grows, because I know again how to do what I need to do.

My next blog will be about the period from the first races after the marathon untill just before the outbreak of Corona in the Netherlands.

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