Years back, I met an intriguing girl who said she came from Faroe Islands! And I was even more taken in by having never heard of a place by the name of Faroe islands! The Faroe or Faeroe Islands are 18 small islands in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Scotland and halfway between Iceland and Norway. The Islands have a population of nearly 50,000, and a language and culture of their own. And then I heard that she had done her first Full Marathon and prepared at the Faroe islands itself..
Here is her first full marathon story that she prepared hard for on a very rocky and volcanic topography….making for a very fascinating story for us sitting far away…
Dear Fellow Runners in India,
Mentally I had probably been preparing for my first marathon years before actually deciding to go for it. I had been running for a couple of years, and had started to run with a running club here on the Faroe Islands. This was in 2014 and many of the club members were training for the Berlin Marathon, which is the most popular marathon outside Scandinavia for Scandinavians. This also created an interest to also want to participate in that race. Especially because I knew that the training for the race would be more motivating instead to train by myself. But the Berlin Marathon takes place ultimo September and I was told that I wouldn’t be ready for the race in only 7 weeks. Instead I found a marathon in Nice, France which was mid November and decided to train for that one instead.
People advsed me to wait until next year because I wasn’t fit enough, but I knew that I would have hard time training during winter because of the weather conditions. The weather on the Faroe Islands is unpredictable, rough and highly changeable. The winter is dark because the sun is only out a few hours a day and the average temperature is 3 degrees. In contrast summer days bring long hours of sunlight and the average temperature is 11-13 degrees.
I knew that if I was going to run a marathon, now was it. I found many running programs on the internet, and after studying a couple of them they all looked kind of the same. I put together a plan that suited my running habits and me. It was a mixture of interval- , long distance-, and shorter faster runs. The first week I went from running 2 times a week 10-20 km to 4 times 35 km. And up to the marathon race I ran 3-6 times a week and gradually build up my distance running to 60- 65 km a week. The longest distance I ran was 30 km that I ran one time, two weeks before the marathon race. My appetite also grew simultaneously and I was very focused on eating the right foods at the right time, to make my overall marathon training program that much more effective.
People were very supportive and excited about giving advises about do’s and don’ts. The same mistake a lot of people were talking about was “hitsetuthe wall”. Knowing myself I knew I tend to be competitive and to push myself, which was why my strategy was to start out in a moderate tempo and speed it up after half the way, if I still felt fine and had energy left.
Race day. My goal was to run the marathon under 4 hours, but I had no idea if it was realistic or not. The weather forecast said storm, it was 13 degrees and raining, but I was used to running in this weather and felt kind of happy that it wasn’t too warm and that the rain would help me cool down. During the race I was very focused on staying hydrated and to keep my nutrients up. I stopped at every aid station, which was every 5 km, and had a glass of lemonade.
I also had energy gel with me, which I consumed after 15km, 25 km and 35 km. And instead of thinking about the overwhelming 42.195 km I broke the race down to manageable pieces and focused on getting to the next aid station instead. After finishing first half of the marathon I still felt great, so I increased the speed, which meant that I passed by a lot of runners who could see that I was still in good shape and cheered on me, which was very motivating. I was exhausted after crossing the finishing line but it felt fantastic. It was just crazy! I had had a great run and I enjoyed every minute of it. Hard work just really makes it more worth it.
My finishing time was 3h:49m.
I was born in Chunchen in South Korea and was adopted to the Faroe Islands just before I turned two years old. After finishing collage i moved to Copenhagen in Denmark to take my master degree which is in Economics and Business Administration. In 2011 I moved back to my family on the Faroe Islands where I currently live and work.