here we go...again! it's race report time!!

It was such a tough race. really hot day (25c), no shade along the route. it was the complete opposite of connemara and as a matter of fact my body (and mind) reacted completely differently!
we started at 8.50am. 4000 people at the start line, 1000 pulled out during the marathon.
I wanted to start behind the 4h pacers but I got to the start line a bit late and I couldn't reach them. I decided then to run on my own and try to keep them in sight and so I did for quite a while. I kept an even pace after the 25th k but everything went wrong after that. but let's proceed in order...
at the 6k marker I saw a friend of mine and he stayed with me until the 25th. It was nice to have company. we passed 10k in 57:36, maybe I was going a bit too fast, so I started to slow down. I was through the first half in 2:02, bang on time for a 4:10 marathon :)
I had planned to take 2 gels during the race. I had tried them during my 22 miler and I had no reaction to them. I took the first gel at 20k and I had planned to take the second one at 30k. But this time (despite having taken immodium as usual before the race) my stomach did not agree with it. I started to feel really unconfortable and there was no signs of partaloos. I started to get worried and I decided to take more immodium (even though I was scared of overdoing it a bit). 25k marker, 28k marker and the pain was really unbearable. I started to walk and the only thing I could think of was to get to the next drink station (30k) and then if the pain was still there, get on one of those horrible little buses with all the people who pulled out and get to the finish line that way. I was down down down......But once I got to the drink station the pain wasn't there anymore. So I carried on only to find out that there was something else wrong. One of my toe nails started to hurt and once more I resorted to walking. then I stopped. took my shoe off. took the sock off and I was ready to remove the nail if I had to. but everything was fine, the nail was in place...only a bit sore. I put the sock back on and the shoe back on and I started to run again. It was then that I saw the 4:15 pacers overtake me and I thought nooooooooooooooooooo!!! I caught up with them and I was hoping to stay behind them until the finish line. But at the drink station around the 35k marker my legs started to ache. I hadn't taken the second gel, of course, and I could feel it big time! I slowed down to drink and eat and I lost the pacers.
it was getting really hot. the excellent drink stations were at every 5k and after 2k we were given sponges (I loved them). at the beginning I could drink at the drink stations and get fine to the next one. after the 35k marker the drinks stations seems really far apart and got really thirsty and desperately in need of water!
I walked and run between 35k and 39k. I kept looking at my watch and I knew that I could walk all the way till the end and still beat my pb of 4:36:30, but I wanted to get a sub-4:20 and after the 39k marker I run, very slowly, but I run. Last drink station and we were in Padova. The city centre though was empty. People went to eat leaving us with no support. I could have done with some. I plodded until the last 400m. when you get into the square (prato della valle) then lots of people cheer you on. I looked around to see where my family was and I finally saw my bro taking pictures of me. I looked at the big watch: 4:20 and I knew I had done it!!! YAY! real time 4:19:29!!!!
I was a bit disappointed by the way the race went but was well chuffed with the fact that depsite all that I still managed to take 17 minutes off my pb. I know that I can get a sub-4. I just need some time. Maybe next year, but I'll get there.

After the mara it was just amazing: my family, my friends, pasta party, concerts, pictures. It was just madness!!

Now I want to get ready for NEWRY MARATHON on May 26th. I miss racing in the irish weather :-)

done!!
it was bloody hard and I don't think I'll do it again!! well...I mean...I won't do padova again :-)

but it was great to see my family at the finish line and to meet so many people from the various italian running forums and to meet all my italian blog's friends. I had such a ball....before and after the marathon that is!!

anyway...I don't remember much from the race, so I'll write a complete report when my memory recovers. What I want to say now is that my real time is:

4:19:29

17' sharp less than my (old) PB!!!!!!

I am a bit disappointed though. Not by my time, but by how tough the race was for me!!


when I posted my marathon predictions this morning I felt quite positive....shooting for the stars!! I have fallen down since then. I am not sure what it is. Is it work? I am madly busy...end of term and all that. sure. but I should also be quite happy as all my work with my students has finally been rewarded. is it that I have missed my run today and I have been eating more than normal and I feel a bit heavy?

dunno!

I came back home from work at 9pm today and I was starving. then I sat on the sofa and stared at the void in front of me. I got to think about stuff. about things that just touch us imperceptibly. things that should leave no sign on us 'cause insignificant...only to find out that they made an impression that cannot be shaken off.

I feel without energy, lethargic....not sure how I will run a marathon on sunday!

I have been a bit quite on here, but work commitments are taking its toll on me and I cannot feel the excitement for the marathon yet! and that's very unusual!

I'll be busy with work until tomorrow afternoon, then it will be dinner with my irish fetchie friends :-) and on saturday morning I am off to Padova. I'll be meeting lots of new peeps, from the italian running forum and from my contacts through my italian blog! I should be very excited but I am just concentrating too much on the million things to do before that day ....bohoo! but I am sure that tomorrow evening I'll be buzzing with excitement!!! (poor fetchies!)

now...let me do a something that I saw on RW, that is, to set my three goals for the marathon:
dream goal: the time you think you could achieve if the running gods are smiling down on you on race day 3h59'59'' (yeah...right!)
main goal: your core target 4h06'
that'll do: 4h15'
I know, I am being a bit optimistic with my prediction, but I believe that we always need to 'shoot for the stars!!!'...wouldn't you agree??

video

sooo sensual.....


week 15

strange week this week. very busy preparing a paper for a conference which, then, went quite well but slept only 4hs in 2 days. interesting and exciting gathering of people. new friendships but also new wounds to try and heal. I did NOT feel like running yesterday. I felt quite distracted and unable to focus on the marathon ahead even though it's only a week away.
Anyway, I went for my run: last LSR before padova marathon!! 15k (9.32 miles) in 1h24'40'' with an average pace of 9.04
I was faster that I should have been but this week I only managed 2 runs with a total of 22k (more or less 13 miles). my legs felt light and willing to go and I thought to folllow them. I really felt good and I hope it's a good sign for sunday!

london marathon

pete is a RW forumite and completed his first marathon on sunday. he did just brilliantly. he should simply be proud of himself for what he has achieved!! and like him everyone out there who run the london marathon on sunday. BRAVI!!!

he made this video which I want to share it with you (with his permission).

WELL DONE PETE AND KEEP IT UP!!!


week 15

2nd week of taper madness!! went out today for a 40 min run and I managed to do 4.5 miles. I found the first mile hard going but then, as a miracle, I felt great and I think I had THE perfect run (as you can see from the graph!)....i know, it's only 4.5miles....but who cares!

I got up this morning at 8.15 and I sat on my sofa to watch the 5 and a half hours of FLM!!! I laughed and cried and screamed at the TV. I remember very well my FLM in 2006 and it was very hard and emotional. I hope to run it again one day.

it's finally taper time for me. I planned 19k, more or less 12miles, at marathon pace or at what will supposedly be my marathon pace: 9.15 and I finished bang on time. My legs were fine, just a bit tired on the last k. I won't be able to keep this pace for the marathon, that's for sure. But let's focus on the present: this is what I was supposed to do today and this is exactly what I did!

this is the graph of my run. the splits are in k not in miles....sorry :-)

week 14

I have read many complaints about connemara on the connemara forum. most of them are quite appropriate, but to me the beauty of the place makes me forget everything else!
Having said that, the 20minutes wait outside the tent just after the finish line to get the medal the t-shirt was a real drag and I'm still paying for that now. I am also paying for not having being able to change right away which meant waiting for the bus with my wet cloths on. and it wasn't exactly a warm day.
I am paying becasue I've had the flu since monday and I had to miss a run this week.
On thursday I did 5 miles and my legs felt very weak. Today 9.50 with 3X3k at a pace of 9:30 The last 3k were really tough!
Tomorrow I should do 12 miles at MP, but only AFTER WATCHING FLM ON TV!!!! Hopfully everything will go well :-)

- 2 weeks to padova!! YAY!!

FLM!

I just want to wish everyone doing FLM on sunday


good luck!!!!!!

I'll be watching you on TV!

I found this on the connemara forum posted by one of the organisers:

"Just to clarify: the times are 'starting gun to finish line'. We had a last minute hitch which prevented us using a starting line chip mat. All official results are always 'starting gun to finish line'."

this explains the difference between my garmin time and the official time. so, I am sticking to my garming time....so

sub-2 hours it is!!!!!!

my connemara!

well, it's time to post something about one of the most amazing days of my running time :-) not only because I did a massive pb but also because the friend I went to connemara with actually WON THE MARATHON! it was just an amazing experience to be part of something like that!!

I did only the half marathon and if you don't know what connemara is I can tell you: it's bloody hard! last year I did it in 2:17 and at one point I was thinking of pulling out. It's full of hills and the last one goes on for ever: from mile 9 to mile 10.5! this year my training went much much better and I could feel it on my legs all the way through the race.

the day before
my friend and I arrived at galway after a very quite train journey from dublin. once we got there we went to our hotels and made an appointment at the place where we could collect our numbers. I was shocked to see that my hotel was sooo far away from town! I had to walk for 45 minutes before I got there. I left my luggage and walked for another 30 minutes to collect my number. we had lunch and then a lovely and huge ice cream. we discussed the race, my pace, what to wear and what to expect. he wanted to better his time of 2:50 that he did last year when he ended up 4th. I wanted to get as closer to 2h as possible. we split up for dinner. he was meeting his friends while I was going to dinner at my hotel with my two favorite ladies: hippo and shades from RW and fetch. two true inspirations for anyone who loves running! we had a lovely dinner (even though I wasn't hungry) and then we went back to our rooms for an early night. I was feeling quite positive, 'cause the niggle that I had been feeling in the last week on my feet wasn't there anymore, even with all that walking. what worried me was the weather forecast: rain, sleet, hail, wind and ...yes, sunshine!

the morning and the journey to Leenaun
I woke up early, had breakfast in my room, got dressed, packed up and left for the cathedral where I could catch my bus to the start line. actually the first stop is the HQ of the race in a place with a name impossible to pronounce. my friend left earlier than me 'cause the marathon started 1 and a half hour before the half, but when I got to the HQ he was still there, stretching like only CHAMPIONS do!! once he left I was on my own. I was supposed to be there with other 3 friends, but they all had to pull out. I listened to my music and when they called us I got on the bus. the bus basically does the same route of the HM only in the opposite direction and it seems never ending!! the sunshine was out but there were horrible dark and heavy clouds looming behind the hills. I was worried about that, but I enjoyed the sunshine and took lots of pics.

preparation
at leenaum, the start line, we all got off the bus and manically run to join the long queue to the loos. It was quite an eventful wait as at one point we heard people cheering and clapping and whistling: THE WALKERS were starting their adventures on the hills of connemara. after 5 minutes the hail started to come down with no pity for us. fortunately, it didn't last too long and it was too big to actually wet us. so everything was good and the sunshine was back on. after the loo, I took off all my layers so that I could give the bag to the people who were waiting for it. but it was bloody cold. I decided not to take my rain jacket and I am glad to say with hindsight that I did the right thing. but at that point I was kind of freezing. a girl next to me must have had pity of me and kindly offered me a bin bag. last queue to the loo and off to the start line. it's midday and i know that my friend would have passed the HM start line by now and it's good to know that as from now on all the marathoners will be slowed down considerably by us!

my race
off we go. it is too packed to actually run and after 200m we found the bottle neck that we were expecting. there is a bridge right at the start but it collapsed during this year. we were left with half of it where you can barely fit 5 people in a row. there were more than 2,000 so you can imagine what happened when we had to cross it. we were walking very slowly and the time for my first mile was 12:01. finally the bridge was over but we were at the beginning of the first hill (elevation +164 ft). after the hill I managed to get in a nice pace. my friend and I agreed that I should keep it around 9:06 but I was doing less than 8:50. I kept telling myself that I was going too fast but at the same time I was feeling great and I was overtaking a lot of people who were already tired or walking. I told myself to slow down and I did...but only a little.

the hills were there and I decided to follow my friends' advice: don't look up, look down at the feet of the person ahead of you. so I did, and it worked!! the pace was ok even on the hills. my only worry was that I would collapse on the famous HELL OF THE WEST, a long (almost 2miles) and horrible hill. when I got there I kept looking down. I slowed down considerably (9:40, 9:31) but I NEVER STOPPED and once the hill was over my legs felt still good, my breathing was fine and I pushed! "only" 2.5 miles to go now and according to my garmin I was on my way to do a sub-2h! so I kept pushing and it was kind of easy down hill: 7:56, 8:04, 8:09 my last 3 miles!!! I couldn't believe that I was feeling so ok....I could have carried on! I crossed the finish line and the big clock said 2h but my garmin said 1:58:30!! while I was crossing the finish line I heard shades calling my name and I saw her standing there with a big smile. I also heard my friend's voice but I could not see him! Once I grabbed my medal, t-shirt and a mars bar I went outside to meet him! I had a big smile on my face but when he told me his time (2:48) and that he had actually WON the marathon I started to jump up and down for the joy! I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT!!!!! amazing!

well...my official time is 2h and 6 seconds :-( it would have been great to have an official sub-2. but what the hell....I have improved so much!!!
2007 garmin 2h17' official time 2h21'
2008 garmin 1h58' official time 2h

now I cannot wait for the padova marathon and hopefully I can get as close to 4h as possible!!!!

connemara 2008

after my almost 22mile LRS last sunday I started to feel a niggle in the area between my ankle and my calf. I haven't being training much this week, feeling kind of down, but everybody keeps saying that it's nothing serious and I just want to believe them.

tomorrow morning I'm off to Galway and on sunday morning the buses will take us to connemara for the race. I'll be meeting up with hippo and shades from RW and Fetch and I cannot wait to see them again! Not sure what type of race i'll have considering the niggle and the awful weather conditions they have predicted: rain wind and cold. great!!! just what you need!!! I am just hoping that they're wrong... as usual!

;;