WC Ostrava 2008 Tatiana Volova VT
In touch with the city. Another Moscow by Ksenia Afanasyeva
We tried very hard to make this material leave you the same lasting impression that personal communication with Ksenia made on us. The girl who from year to year creates the Moscow Marathon, creates the event that the city is waiting for, people are waiting, those who have already bought expensive running shoes and those who are running in shabby sneakers around the stadium are waiting. Let's not torment you with long introductions. In a nutshell: all you need is love. Such love for oneself, one's work and people around gives birth to something big, necessary and very significant.
Photo: Olga Sitnikova, Championship
- Let's go back to the very beginning. Why did you decide to start running at all? And how it was.
- I had the most banal reason - I wanted to lose weight. I've never been fat. But, like many girls, in my youth it seemed to me that I could be even slimmer. There is no limit to perfection. It's great that I took up running. In the process, my focus shifted from weight to something more important. When I got sucked in, I felt that running can do much more than a slim figure. I wondered how far and how fast I can run, what cities I can measure with my runs, what amazing places to visit. I wanted results and emotions. In general, I forgot about how much I weigh. It is curious that now, at 30, I look the way I wanted to look at 17. But at the age of 17 I tormented myself with diets, played sports as a punishment, and still did not reach my goal. Now I understand that appearance is only a consequence, when it becomes an end in itself, nothing comes of it.
- How did it all start? Can you remember that very day?
- I started running in the early spring of 2008 - it turns out, 10 years ago. It was very cold. I put on tights under some casual pants, a cotton sweatshirt under my jacket, wound a scarf - it all didn't look very good. Then I did not have an iPhone or any other gadgets. I just laid a route on Yandex.Maps around the area and left the house. And so it went. I ran 3-4 km for several months, then began to run a little more, then more, until I reached 18-20 km. I increased my mileage abruptly, unreasonably: I did not know how to do it right, there was no one to advise with. I envy those who start running now. A large running community has formed in Moscow - you can rely on someone else's experience. I didn't know the runners. I didn't know what to run and how.
Photo: From the personal archive of Ksenia Afanasyeva
- Now they write a lot about it.
- Yes! There are runners on Instagram and Facebook who talk about their experiences, there are free and paid clubs, running teams, open trainings at sports stores. You can always come to the free five-kilometer zabgi parkrun. In any thematic group, you can ask a question, and the answer will be found: runners willingly share their experiences, so everyone is pleased to be experts.
- What in principle can make a person start running?
- During the five years that I have been working in running, I realized that the reasons can be very different. For example, I wanted to lose weight, but someone wants to express themselves. Someone starts running for the company, someone is brought in by friends. There are many reasons. I do not believe there are right or wrong. I myself had a banal goal, but it opened the door for me to a new, wonderful world. If a friend dragged me to the run, I would thank him for that.
- The first run is usually not easy, how not to despair and go for a run a second time? Maybe you have some life hacks or tips?
- It sounds trite, but in order to want to do something the second time, the first should not be terrible. Many people want to give the result from the first run, from the first trip to the gym. Then these people feel sick and tired for a week. This is the first step towards making sports sick. Or here's another common promise to myself: I'll start running tomorrow. I'll get up at six in the morning - and go for a run! As a rule, this ends with the person simply not waking up. Why start at 6 AM on Monday? Let it be a day off, for example, at 1 pm. For example, I still cannot run in the morning. Maybe it will calm someone down. Pick a good time and run a little. You should always run with pleasure. One more tip. Newbies on their first runs imagine themselves in sports advertising. And there are always tense faces, athletes very actively wave their hands and move very quickly around the city - so no one in life runs. Take a comfortable pace, even if it's a little faster than your stride. You can and should run slowly. No one will look judgmental. Nobody cares how you run and how you look. The pace will come by itself.
Photo: From personal archive Ksenia Afanasyeva
- Is equipment important in terms of motivation? Is it worth it to immediately buy expensive and beautiful sneakers or go out to run in whatever came to hand?
- My experience is this: what was, I put on. Now I have a lot of beautiful sports equipment, but I started out in casual pants worn over tights. Subsequently, I noticed a trait in the runners that I personally do not like. People are replacing the craze with buying inventory. For example, a person wants to start running, and he definitely needs to: buy the most expensive Garmin watches, the most technological clothes, go through a bunch of tests and choose the most suitable sneakers. A person spends so much time in the store, and then almost does not play sports.
I read the results of a study that examined how the human brain processes information about goals and their achievement. Let's say a person is going to run a marathon.... At first, he wrote about it on social networks, and his friends praised him - he already feels like a great fellow, although he has not done anything yet, only boasted of his decision. The human brain has already received serious encouragement. He feels like he has taken a significant step towards the marathon. Then a person chooses suitable sneakers for a long time, sits at work on the store's page, goes to consult, eventually buys them - and uploads the photo to social networks. The light bulb lights up in my brain again, I'm done. The person has not started training yet, but his brain has been deceived. It seems to him that he has already done so much. I know a lot of examples of people who spent an immeasurable amount of time buying cool and fashionable equipment in order to take pictures in it on Instagram, but they just started playing sports. Of course, buying clothes can be a hobby too. I do not blame this. But I believe that sports are more important than attributes. Running can do much more than just a pretty photo.
If a person is involved in allied sports, then the equipment can be taken from there. For example, two years ago I became interested in cycling. I was embarrassed that a new sport is a new cost. They gave me a bicycle. I bought cycling shoes, a helmet, cycling shorts myself - that's all. This was my principle. I wanted to check whether I would study or not, and only then go shopping. As a result, my running T-shirts and jackets migrated to cycling equipment. They are not ideal for a bicycle, but for the first time it was enough. Running is the same. The first summer I ran in cropped denim shorts, like during the 70s running boom in America.
- What was your first marathon? Why did you decide to participate in it?
- I ran my first and so far only marathon in 2013. It was the Moscow Marathon, in which I now work. In the fall of 2012, Sasha Boyarskaya, my friend from the running team, said that next year in Moscow the new team will hold a marathon at a new level. This marathon should grow to be as cool as the Paris, New York, London. Sasha infected everyone with this idea. Subsequently, she invited me to work on a related project - on a website about running. I was involved in editing and writing texts, and in the next office we were doing the Moscow Marathon. At the initial stage, I did not take part in the very organization of the race, but I helped with texts. That is why I was able to run the first marathon. Since 2014 I have been working on it, and for me this is the most difficult, most working day of the year. Why did I run? The argument that this is an important event for Moscow seemed convincing to me. In the first year, we had an amazing opportunity to finish at the Grand Sports Arena in Luzhnikah, which was closed for reconstruction almost immediately after the marathon. The Moscow Marathon was the last major sporting event to be held with the participation of this site. I hadn’t been to the Big Sports Arena in Luzhniki before, but I thought: How great! I will be able to finish where the 1980 Olympics took place. I will feel like an Olympic athlete.
Since I was still working in a related project, I had the opportunity to spy behind the scenes of the race. I saw how people are involved in the process, how they try. I was even lucky to be on the first track measurement, when the AIMS meter covered the marathon distance on a specially equipped bike. I was in the escort car. At some point, the leader said: By the way, have you seen the medal? Look, I have it in my bag. And so I am driving along this fantastic route, holding a future medal in my hands and thinking: I will run and get it !. These were such pure emotions. By that time, I had been fond of running for about 4-5 years and, of course, had heard about marathons, but I believed that the distance of 42.2 km was for the inhabitants of heaven. And then I realized that a huge number of people are going to run with me, and they are the same as me. It spurred me on. The track limit for the Moscow Marathon is 6 hours from the start time. I figured that even if I crawl by crawling, then at 6 o'clock I will meet exactly. I just needed this. I just wanted to finish.
Photo: From the personal archive of Ksenia Afanasyeva
- How long have you been preparing for it?
- I purposefully prepared for the marathon for about a year. And of course, it all went wrong: I got injured in the middle of the season, missed some time. As I approached the marathon, I realized that, of course, the preparation was not perfect. But I decided that I would run slowly and everything would work out. Since then, I believe that this was the most correct decision. I ran at a pace of 6'30-6'40 minutes per kilometer. It's very slow, but I'm not ashamed. Throughout the entire marathon, I did not face any difficulties. I ran slowly, but exactly the entire 42 km. I smiled. I saw everything I dreamed of seeing. I remember I ran out to the Garden Ring and thought: Damn it, how wide it is, and that's all for me.
- Probably, it was difficult to run such a distance?
- I didn't it was never hard, painful or bad. In the end it was a little boring, I won't lie, but the finish overshadowed everything. Marathon is often associated with pain. Yes, theoretically anything can happen at such a distance. But, if a person trains, chooses the pace at which he is ready, takes care of himself and agrees to withdraw from the race in the event that he becomes unwell, then everything will be fine. On the eve of the race, I tried to fall asleep for a long time, I had phantom pains, I had nightmares (that I overslept and missed everything), but when I went into the distance my fears vanished. Now I want to embellish this experience. The truth is that it was a cloudy, September day, drizzlingheavy rain, there were not many people at the first marathon, tired police officers stood in the cordon. But it was so powerful. There was a feeling that I had established a connection with the city, felt it. Now he's mine. Truly mine.
- Did any of your friends or family come to see and support you?
- I have assembled a huge support team - nine people! My close friends made posters, my parents met me in the middle of the distance and at the finish, my partner was running with me. When we got to the stadium, illuminated by floodlights, I was completely blocked. I really felt like an Olympic athlete. I cried at the finish line, then hugged everyone. It was so cool! To be honest, I was afraid that the finish of the marathon would disappoint me - for so long I dreamed of it. But the reality turned out to be brighter and more emotional than the expectation. I recommend to all runners: call everyone. Let your loved ones share this day with you.
- Why did you even want to run for results? To compete with someone? You can just go to the park in the evening ...
- When I was going to run my first marathon, I had no sporting goals - I wanted to run around the city, feel this experience, and finish. There are those who run for results, compete with other athletes, but this is not the only reason not to stop. You can get involved in jogging and not have sports goals. Now I have a big dream - to run the Moscow Marathon again. I want to see how he has changed. On the day of the race, I am in the start-finish town, I work at the start, finish, in the director's group or with prize-winners - this is completely different. I want to see the track again. I want to look for familiar faces and find them. I don't know how many years this will happen. When will I be able to quit my job, which I love very much, so that I can devote the most important day of the year to myself? I know I won't care how fast I run. Even if the run is slower than the first time.
Photo: From the personal archive of Ksenia Afanasyeva
- How long does it take to prepare for the Moscow Marathon?
- I would say it never ends. We prepare all year round: closing one marathon, we immediately join the next one ... For something to happen at this year's race, many processes were launched two years ago. Development of schemes, coordination with the city, partnership agreements, production of medals - whatever the field, it takes a lot of time.
- How many people are working on this project?
- There is a team that works all year round. When preparing for the race, people who work as projects are involved. In addition, we attract volunteers. As a result, a huge team works at the Moscow Marathon: 60 organizers, 450 sports personnel, 115 doctors, 800 volunteers, as well as employees of several city services, including lawsecurity agencies.
- Have you taken part in any international race? Tell us about your impressions.
- I have run several races abroad. Most memorable were two half marathons: in Salt Lake City and San Francisco. For the first one I cooked the longest and the hardest. There I set my best result at a distance of 21.1 km. The second was held as part of the women's marathon. Alas, Nike is no longer hosting this event, I really regret it. 30 thousand girls, an amazing city, a difficult but very interesting track. At the start, the track Beyonce Run the world (Girls) sounded, at the finish they were awarded medals-pendants from Tiffany. The feeling that I was at a big women's party did not leave me. Feminine not in the sense that everything is beautiful and pink. It was a triumph not only for beautiful girls, but also for strong, purposeful ones. I ran with a good time for myself and cried again at the finish. I always cry at the finish line. It seems to me that this is why I participate in races.
- What do you think is the point of running marathons?
- I am very interested in the topic of a person in a big city. I read several books about this and came to the conclusion that a person in a big city is usually very tired and lonely, despite the fact that there are many people and attractions around him. I believe that major sporting events such as a marathon provide a very good reason to get together and feel connected to something bigger. When you go to the start and stand shoulder to shoulder with strangers, you feel like something unites you. You are experiencing something in common together and you understand each other perfectly. In a big city, people try to isolate themselves. And here, at a distance, at the finish line, for some reason magic happens - people get closer, empathize with each other. At the same time, a modern person has few opportunities to gain experience of personal achievement - to feel that you have done something amazing, experienced something important, and you are an unconditional fellow. For myself, the experience was transformative. Many people say: I ran a marathon and I know that now I can do anything. Well, let's say I know I can't do everything. But nevertheless, I understand that I can do a lot, especially if my close people support me. This is an important human experience.
Photo: From personal Ksenia Afanasyeva's archive
- Do you manage to combine work in such a frantic pace and personal life?
- To be honest, not very successful. and I am very glad that I work with my young man in the same field - otherwise we would not see each other at all. There are people who are more skillful in dividing spheres of life. Alas, I am not one of them: I am completely absorbed in work, it never ends.
- What activities besides running do you enjoy? What do you like from the popular directions in fitness and sports? Maybe yoga, cycling or triathlon?
- I am fond of cycling. My young man brought me to this sport.He became interested in triathlon and, it seems, wanted to involve me too on the quiet. And I got interested. I went to a swimming coach, learned how to crawl. I also got a bicycle. Swimming in the end did not go well, and I fell in love with the bike as soon as I got on my first road bike. I will cycle to work again in the spring. It helps a lot after a day at the computer. I have a bike station at home: in winter I pedal and watch TV shows. This keeps me from souring. For obvious reasons, I respect cycling. I have a favorite studio in Moscow. Most of all, I like the format when they arrange training for concerts or movies. I can do a regular workout at home on the bench, and you can invite friends to the studio.
- What is cooler in life - a marathon runner or a sprinter? Are you also a tough fighter at work, capable of overcoming long distances?
- I don't know sprinters and their psychology. But I can say about marathon runners that they are all very different. A marathon is run by completely different people, and this surprises many. People think that only professional athletes go to the start, and then they see that grandmothers and grandfathers, and mothers, and fat people are running. Different ages, unlike each other. I don't know if this experience affects everyone the same. Each of him makes something different. I am very proud that almost everyone who came to support me at the first marathon sooner or later became interested in running. As for me, I'm more of a marathon runner in work than in sports. In sports, I want to be happy, because my work is already difficult.
- For you, a marathon is not just a job, it is a lifestyle. What qualities did he help you to reveal in yourself? Why are you grateful to the marathon?
- I was surprised by the experience of the marathon that emotions changed throughout the distance. You run and think: How cool. I have a lot of strength. Then you feel a little tired. A few minutes later I met an acquaintance and cheered up. Then it became hard, something got sick: insignificantly, but disgusting. And then it lets go, and you rejoice again. The long run is a long emotional story. If something is sick in the middle or at the beginning, this is not a reason to give up. If you feel bad now - pull yourself together, be patient, this will not always be the case. It helped me to realize that in any long process, in the same work, there are ups and downs. This is what happens in life: you will feel both bad and good, but if you continue, you will come to your goal. At one of the marathons in Luxembourg, there was a poster that read If you’re going through Hell, keep going. If you are going through hell, then go on, don't stay in it. These are the conclusions.
I am grateful to the marathon for the people, many of them became my friends. For a job that has grown out of passion. I have always wanted work to be not just a way of making money, so that it gives my life additional value and meaning. I really believe in what we do. I believe that the city and people need a marathon. It's great that simply moving your feet on the asphalt can doto give so much kindness, warmth, love and joy. I would like to sum up everything in one laconic phrase, but it doesn't work that way. I can only say that the marathon makes me feel happy and meaningful.