Running is, of course, important. But just how important it is to simply be able to breathe in and out is something that Carina Heinrichs learned as sports suddenly became something far out of reach for her. Three years ago, the 28-year-old was brought to the hospital when she was having a hard time breathing. The diagnosis: Bronchitis-induced asthma. “I was not able to lie, or stand, without pain; only sitting on my bed was bearable.” It took half a year for the woman from Berlin to be able to walk normally again. Her excitement about her first steps was so great that Carina decided she was going to start getting into endurance sports to increase her lung function. “Sport became a kind of therapy for me.” Since Carina began running regularly, her doctors were able to notice a significant improvement.
The only thing the young woman has not yet been able to undertake are interval runs. Instead, she integrates long distance runs in her weekly programme. For the past year, Carina has been part of a women’s running group that meets regularly in her neighbourhood to train. “When I am out with my girls on our loop, whether on the airfields at the Tempelhof Aiport or along the Teltow Canal, then I sometimes lose track of the time. We chat and chat, and suddenly we have gone 20 kilometres without even noticing it.” Her running pals were also the ones who convinced her to turn her initially tentative idea to run a marathon into a concrete plan. “A year ago, I watched the live coverage of the marathon on TV. Suddenly I thought to myself: Why not simply reach for the stars?” Since that decision, she has upped her runs with her friends to 30 kilometres. “I want to find out how far my body will let me go and how strong my will is. For me, the marathon gives me a chance to challenge myself.”
Carina has already made a detailed plan for the day of her first marathon. She wants to eat two pieces of toast with honey three to four hours before the start, and half an hour before the race half a banana. She will carry water with her throughout the race so she will not have to stop at the water stands. Her brother, mother, and her running pals will be watching at kilometre 10, 15 and of course 42 to cheer her on. “That way I can get myself from kilometre to kilometre.” She does not really care how much time she takes to make it to the finish. “The main thing is to finish without too much pain.” She is already looking forward to the regeneration after the race with a massage roll, sauna and salt bath – and to being able to say that despite her illness and all her pain, she still had the courage and will power to tackle the 42.195 kilometres.