Ieva Reaches for THE STAR

So maybe I should start at the beginning and say that I wasn’t a runner. I starting running when I moved to London (I am originally from Vilnius in Lithuania). After being exposed to a lot of delicious and unhealthy options, I gained a few kg. I went home for a visit, and my grandma said that I look “healthy”. I knew it meant I was quite a few sizes bigger than I should be. I came back to London determined to lose weight and get healthy. I was studying and working at the same time and couldn’t afford expensive gym so decided to jog in local park.

The beginning was tough, but soon I was able to run a 5k, 10k, half marathon and then marathon (this spanned a few years, keep in mind). I signed up for Paris as my first marathon. I was discouraged by my ex colleague because he didn’t think I had a chance to finish. However, I beat his time. And so my love for marathons was born.

I ran Paris with my friend François, who will be running Berlin in 2017 with me. How did I get to the Abbott World Marathon Majors? I started it with Boston in 2013. I qualified, and that is a big deal, right? Due to unfortunate events, this marathon remains the best and the saddest. In 2014 I did London. I was hit by a hamstring injury at the end of 2013 and just wobbled through the race in April, with kinesio type all the way down both my legs. I spent the remainder of 2014 trying to fix my leg but it wasn’t easy. I had to pull out from a marathon in autumn 2014. Advised by my physio, I took on swimming and cycling. The coach from my local running club helped me devise a training program and here I was standing at the start of Boston marathon 2015. The weather wasn’t great but I got my pb of 3:17! I was over the moon. Soon after that I found out that I got the place in New York. My husband had run out of holiday time off by that point, so my four friends came to support me. I will forever be thankful for them. New York marathon was phenomenal. You can’t put a finger on it, it’s just crazy good. I love the bridges, the people, the city, all the neighbourhoods. In preparation for this event I only swam, cycled and water ran due to leg injuries.

In 2016 I concentrated on triathlon and keeping up my fitness. I got a place for the Chicago marathon. I did okay, however during the run I tore my hamstring. I already had a place for the Tokyo marathon, but I couldn’t run until at least the beginning of February. I couldn’t cycle until end of November. It wasn’t looking great but I just knew that my legs would remember what to do. And they did. I spent more time chatting to people and high fiving than usual, but it was great fun to explore Tokyo.

In Tokyo, I bumped into Dan, a runner from Vancouver who I had also bumped into in Chicago. How is it possible to bump into the same person out of thousands of people? We ran together for 10k, but then I had to slow down — my legs were not ready for his pace. We connected on facebook and met up before London this pas April. When we met up, we weren’t wearing lycra — sometimes you don’t recognise people when they are not in Lycra :) I saw Dan at mile 22 at the London marathon — that’s when I passed him :) I visited Dan in Vancouver this past August. How amazing is that? It’s like in a movie, Dan’s mum said. So here I am, Berlin is only a week and a bit to go. It will be my 14th marathon overall and my 8th marathon major (I did London and Boston twice). I am looking forward to Berlin because I will get the six star finisher medal, and because I will be running it with my best running buddy, Francois. I can’t wait for that and for the alcohol free beer. I am recovering from Ironman in Coeur d’Alene at the moment, so my running has slowed down and I think Berlin will be another marathon I can just enjoy.

If I would have to give any tips to those embarking six stars finisher journey, I would say make sure you document the very first marathon or them all. This is one thing I regret, not having had recorded my journey to Boston 2013. See you in Berlin!

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