....as I said on the radio it could have been worse....yet it could have been much better
Since I stopped going to the gym on my lunch break I swapped the time that I would spend pumping iron for some more running, I knew it was a mistake but it seemed to me that devoting part of my lunch break to any other activity (such as reading all those mags that are piling up because I never find the time to read them at home) was a waste of time. My legs were getting stiffer and stiffer but I kept on procrastinating any good R&R.
May 1 being so close both to Sunday and Wednesday (my day off) offered me the occasion for a short escape, so I packed up my things and went to London for a few days. For a while I was tempted to toss my trainers in my bag too, but on the excuse that with such a short time to spend in London running would rob me of precious time I left my running shoes at home. Yet this sudden stop (and a slew of walking in tennis shoes which were probably too flat) made my muscles even more rigid so that as soon as I got back home I turned to muscle relaxant pills and ointments for a last minute miracle. The sun was shining in Trieste so that I spent my lunch break on the last two days preceding the marathon running very litte and and baking on the beach near the pharmacy. The sun kept on shining until Saturday night...as the weather forecast had anticipated....
On Sunday it was windy and rainy, the perfect weather to run a marathon... I didn't feel like running, I felt tired and nervous, the fear of failing was eating me, yet I jumped on the bus which would take me to the start. On the bus I started listening to people chatting and commenting the course which crushed my last hopes of performing good: they were talking about a very challenging but beautiful course, praising its beauty but making clear it was not the kind of course which would allow you to achieve your PB.
Once we got to Gradisca, the little town the marathon would soon start from, we found shelter from the rain under a terrace, there I was so close to my "rival" the chief of the local police that I could hear him talking about his expectations for this marathon....which lifted my spirits.
But soon a girl from Florence brought me down again: she had asked her hubby to take her for a spin in his car the day before so that she could view the course of the marathon and had gotten scared by the hills.
The shot..I started running and passing people, the street was wet and slippery and, even worse, inclined on one side which always makes my calves stiffen up...People along the way told me I was the third woman..just like 7 years ago...aside the fact that 7 years ago I felt at ease running at that speed while today I was like "OMG tell me the finish is just around the corner" of course it was not. There was a girl fighting with me for that 3rd place, I hoped she would slow down after the 30th km while I usually start to settle into a comfortable feeling after that mark. Actually it happened so and she finished way behind me (she was so nice to congratulate with me on that)...what I didn't expect was that I started suffering too and was passed by 3 other girls! We spent too many energies fighting between us, got burnt out and allowed girls who had started out slower to eventually pass us. I was suffering so much that for a while I took into consideration the idea of throwing in the towel and quitting but the thought of the chief of the local police still dragging himself behind me helped me tough it out.
A funny episode occurred during the marathon: a half marathon was taking place at the same time, starting between Gradisca and Piazza Unità (the finish) so that the marathon would join the half marathon halfway. The half marathon kicked off 30 minutes after the marathon. My dad came to see me halfway....soon after the start of the half marathon, so he saw a huge crowd preceding me and called my mom to let her know that I was doing badly and was probably about to quit.
Eventually I was the 6th woman to cross the finish line. A lady stopped me for an interview on the radio. I felt stupid not being able to dissimulate my disappointment, she couldn't understand why I was not feeling smug and I knew I was sounding like the one who wants to overcome everybody.
Once the interview was over I turned around to look for my mom as I had no keys and no cell phone (I didn't wanna leave my iphone4S unattended in the bag with my clothes) but my dad had told her I would not make it to the finish.. I was like "OMG I'll have to walk home and if I ring the belldoor and nobody is in? It was cold and I was wet...luckily I met a friend who lent me his cell phone...he also offered to gimme a ride home which I was dreading because he's a bit mad and has had a slew of car accidents...luckily mom heard her cell phone ringing....
The following photos are the ones of the Ferrara marathon:
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