It has been more than two years since I have decided to hang up my hockey stick. After 16 years of playing this wonderful sport, it was surely not an easy decision to be made. Indeed, it took me some time to digest, before I started to think of a new sport that I wanted to pursue. In the short term, running became my obvious choice to stay fit, but it was only when I came to Madrid this year that I decided to step it up. From competing on a weekly basis, celebrating victory or suffering defeat, to zero. The training hours before match day, the adrenaline ahead of crunch time, the mental and physical fight on the field, and the exhaustion after an intense game, those were the things I have been missing. I was seeking competitions. 

In January this year I signed up for my first marathon. I had a new goal, something to strive for, something to look forward to and something to work towards. Week in and week out, I lifted weights, run the streets and changed my diet, but most importantly, I enjoyed what I was doing. A month before the big event, I run my first half marathon in Madrid..

Once the starting gun was shot, I run, I run in my first competition. One may say, it is public event that everyone can sign up to and yes, that is true, but personally I felt I got back what I have been missing. I was competing, whilst obviously not for the ranks, I was competing against the clock and myself. There were hundreds of people on the streets, screaming, shouting and clapping. I was thrilled. By the time I crossed the finishing line, I knew that I had rediscovered my lost puzzle piece. 

One months later, Sunday, 26th April 2015 at 8:55am, I found myself standing amongst more than 10.000 like-minded people that were all about to contend in the Madrid marathon. Two hours later, around 30 kilometers into the race, I was suffering, learning about the other side of running. I felt weak. Maybe I ate too little or did not drink enough, maybe I was running too fast, I had to employ my mind against my body. The remaining 12,195 kilometers were tough. Eventually, I crossed the finishing line. Exhausted, but overwhelmed by the experience, I had completed my first marathon and re-confirmed that I had found a new sport, a new passion.