Confidence, bliss and the void

Last weekend the Düsseldorf Marathon took place as planned. 😀

The city was vibrant, athletes everywhere, an incredible audience around each corner, a feeling suspended mid-air that a big event was about to take place, as an unusual quietude settled in as key streets were closed to pave way to the runners.

With the Estrela Grande Trail challenge approaching, my race was a collaborative one. Instead of the full distance with 42,195 m distance, I’d be part of a team of 4 participating in the relay. Each runner would run a part of the circuit and our race times summed up together would provide the race duration for the leaderboard.

A race is always a challenge, isn’t it?…

With challenges we always have a goal. Running faster. Running longer. Enjoying more. Better views. Friendlier running mates. Getting a nicer skin tan. Training for the next race. Showing off the new sun glasses. I could go on forever…

This year’s edition was prepared to be fast! Together with my running mates Kieran, Chris and Samba, we were confident we could do something incredible from a timing standpoint. And we did! What a race! We finished off with a total of 2h46m15s, placing overall 6th, in nearly 2700 teams. From a personal standpoint, I contributed with a 3m47s/Km in my ~9 Kms segment. All in all, it was… just… great!

Düsseldorf Marathon 2016 dream team. From left to right: Kieran, Chris, Samba and myself.

Düsseldorf Marathon 2016 dream team. From left to right: Kieran, Chris, Samba and myself.

You may have noticed that this blog post is however not about the achievement. The team performance was superb, don’t get me wrong! We could go and talk about how we prepared, how our intervals sessions helped us getting faster, how happiness and smiles contributed to training and how everything could have gone terribly wrong anyhow. But there’s so much more to it…

With the advent of Paulo’s guidance, my trail running coach, training started to be a lot more structured. The training plan is followed like a dietary regime, no getaways, no excuses… just doing it. That’s the way I am anyhow, either I’m into it or I’m not. It makes things simpler and there are no double conscience thoughts. Plan. Execute. Have fun. Measure. Understand. Repeat.

Life in simple iterations…

I woke up in the morning as relaxed as I could be, confidence built over time from a training schedule accurately followed, nothing to lose as the real, tougher, bigger challenges, would be yet to come. Had breakfast with the family, got my running gear dressed up, met with my good friend Carlo which would be doing the relay as well and slowly walked to our segment’s starting position. Marathon runners flew by. We cheered them. We revered them. We listened to the deaf sound of their efforts. Our mood got into the momentum of their cadence, our souls drifted fully into what was about to happen…

The start line was empty… Contrary to previous years, where the relay exchange boxes were filled with athletes, waiting for their counterparts to arrive breathless, waiting themselves to pour energy into the track and do their share… There were no runners in sight. We were soon but then again we were ahead of the game as well. As the first runners started to pass by us, jitters took over me and soon I’d be fluttering with the excitement of the inevitable. And suddenly… there he came… Samba, running like a gazelle, eager to handover and push me into the last segment, making all previous team endeavours worth it.

The moment I started I knew that mind and body were in harmony… anxiety was replaced by joy, heart pounding at a fast rate yet consciousness drifting into the void, a place of absolute bliss, as if body moved seamlessly through space without effort, as if time would run in a totally predicable manner, as if the now would have been written already and we’d just be playing it in front of my eyes. Absolute confidence. Action reaction. Cause consequence. A flow of movement and thought in pure symbiosis. As if I had seen and felt it already… as if I had lived it already and the now was just time travel into the past.

The void

Pure magic…

The void

Back into reality, my family attended the event as well, first time in so many I’ve been at. What a smile to see them… what a smile they had as I passed by… children thrilled to see their father pass by, hands clapping in a cheerful gesture of pure energy transfer. They loved it… I loved it too…

As I approached the finish line there was no need to look at the clock. I knew we had done great. It mattered… yet it mattered most what my spirit had just tapped into.

Looking ahead there was more to come, as the training plan requested 2 additional hours immediately after. So I ran, nicely, smoothly, soft breeze freshening me as it passed by, light rain refreshing my soul, all preparing me to tap again into the void.

The void

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