Rome Marathon 2011admin | Friday, April 8th, 2011 | No Comments »
Arrived in Rome late afternoon on Friday18th March. Took the train from the airport to the main train station Termini. The small Bed & Breakfast I was staying at, which was actually an converted large apartment, was located close to the station an just across from the Basicillica de Sct. Maggiore.
Apart from a short two day business trip a couple of years ago I hadn’t been to Rome for more than 23 years. The first trip was a history excursion with my high school class. After having checked in at the B&B and dropped of my bags and I went out to get something to eat at to see some of the City. Armed with my iPhone map and some wage memories from 23 years ago I went out to explore. I ended up just grabbing a couple of pizza slices from one of the many shops in the streets and spend my time taking in the city. I managed to see, Fontana di Trevi, Pizza Navona, Pizza del Fiori and a couple of other places.
Saturday came and I went to the Expo to collect my bib no. The setup was pretty well organized even though I did have to stand outside in a long line for approx. 20 min. before I got my no. Then came the worst part, getting out of the expo. The organizers had arrange the layout of the expo as a long winding snake path, with guards at every point where you could potentially make e short cut. After another 15 min. I was out again only to discover that I had forgotten to by some gels for the race. But fortunately the gel stand was right at the start, so I hoed I could quickly sneak out again the same way I came in, but no, I was stopped by a guard and told to take the long road all around the long line of stands ……. That is not the way to do it, sorry Rome, but you are way of here.
The rest of the day I spend walking around Rome in the company of Stephania a local Roman and fellow Couch Surfer. It was nice to see Rome in the company of a local person. And we finished of the day at Trinity College, an Irish Bar, with a couple of ice cold Carlsberg and Guinness.
Sunday, Race day and my alarm clock rang at 5:30, I got up and started my traditional race day morning routine, breakfast , coffee and energy drink. Then at 7:00 I went for at walk to get my system going. Then I headed to the starting area located just net to the Colloseum, an absolutely fantastic location. I was wearing my Luna Sandals (Huaraches) and my Sport Kilt and I can tell you it turned some heads …. The most frequent responds was disbeleaf followed by the question “are you gonna run in those?” …. It was good fun. I had brought my small video camera mounted with a gorilla foot tripod to hold on to, so that I could document the entire race.
A bit after 9:00 and the race started, fantastic. This was my first marathon in huarache sandals and I was kinda expecting to have to stop at least once to tighten the laces cos they tend to loosen up after a while. After only about 2k one of the laces actually got untied so I took the opportunity to tighten both at the same time. The entire first 10k was some of the most cowded I have ever tried in a race before. In Barcelona it was extremely crowded for about the first 5k, but opened up after that, this was different. I decided not to spend unnecessary extra energy by trying to pass al these people, so I just settle in at the same pace as the rest of the group. What I later discovered unfortunately was that I also adopted the cadence i.e. I ran with to long steps resulting in slightly over striding. When running in barefoot or in minimalistic footwear over striding I not really a good thing. It put excess strain on both you knees and soles of your feet. This is also the first time that I have had excess knee soreness after a race and I think this was the reason.
At about 10k we hit the Tibern river and followed this for another 5-7k towards the Cathedral of Sct. Peters. Simply an amazing setting. After the very slow first 10k I tried to pick up the pace a bit. I was hoping to hit the halfway point at about 1:52:00, but when I got there my time was 1:57:00 and I was finding it increasingly difficult keeping a satisfactory pace, I didn’t feel a very good flow in my running. At 25K I knew where this was going, it was going down hill, and going down hill fast.
I keep bumping in to this English guy at we chatted a bit every time and all the time I gut encouragements from a lot of other runners. Most of the cheered go Scotland on account of my kilt. I also bumped in to a guy from the Vatican, he was filming me while I was filming him. Being the first time running in a kilt I didn’t really have any idea of what to expect chafing wise and I thought that the amount of Vaseline I had used was okay, but it wasn’t. At appox. 30K I stopped at an aide station got lube up. This is actually the first time in my life that I have put my hand down my own skirt/kilt … and a Vaseline lubed up hand at that, funny.
From 30K I realized that this race was not a question of getting a good time anymore, now it was just a question of finishing. The good thing about it was that the last 10K of the course were absolutely picture perfect. We passed Piazza Venetia, The Spanish Steps, Fontana di Trevi and some many other places I don’t remember the names of. This help a bit in terms of shifting focus from the pain as was in. The last 2K seemed like they would never end, but then we returned to the area of the Colloseum and the finish was within reach. Going around the Colloseum one last time before finishing is by far the best finish stretch in any marathon I have ever run. My time was 04:12:14 the second slowest marathon I have ever run ….. but it was Roma Baby!
Next up is the Brutal Marathon in Aalborg the town I was born and grew up in. It is a 6.9K course you run 6 times and there is a 120M height difference on each round.