Traveling around Italy, from Milan to Rome and Ferrara, for family honor and for pure marathon pain.
A marathon in Ferrara
After the long Roman Day, I was hoping for some relax, but I knew I couldn't get it. I stayed at home only for few hours, before taking another train, this time for a relative short 5 hours trip, destination Ferrara.
What for? To run a marathon, 26 full miles (or 42km) of it
Some time ago, when I was younger and fitter (well, I'm still fit but I'm reaching 30 now) I made a list of the 10 things I want to do before I die
. "Completing 10 marathons before I turn 30
" was one on it.
I was doing great, at 26 I already completed 8
. Back then I thought that I would easily reach the quote by the time I was 28. Oh I was wrong. Too many things happened, and I guess that breaking my leg was the main problem.
Last year I finally completed my 9th marathon, at the Isle of Wight
, with a awful time (more than 4 hours) that made me think that maybe my best running days were behind me.
But, like any great hero in history, I like challenges.
Wasting all the preparation I did for the Tough Guy race
looked stupid, so when I decided to go to Italy (only 3 weeks before) I looked for a marathon in the calendar. I was luck enough to find one not too far away, in Ferrara.
Ferrara is another of these medieval / renaissance historical place in Italy, and I loved the city as soon as I stepped in. I just love big castles.
Probably this is coming from my love for the medieval Lego
and all the hours I spent building castles with knights smashing the shit out of each other in my fantasy battles. Lego, such a great game.
I was surprised by the amount of people on a bicycle.
Italians have always had a great traditions in bicycle (unlike British, Italians cycle for pleasure and to enjoy some exercises even after they reach a pensionable age. This is way probably British are so fat. This and the junk food they love to eat.), but Ferrara was like China to my eyes.
I walked around the old city centre, and thanks to the short distance from the hotel where I was staying, I had finally a chance to relax, while watching Italy beating Wales at Rugby in the Six nations.
By 8pm I was in bed, and 12 hours later I was up and ready to run.
The atmospheric conditions were quite good: sunny but not too hot, and a bit of breeze. After some warm-up, at 9.30 I started my race with maybe a thousand hopefuls. I could recognize the usual signs of people who will not make it to the end, or will make behind me: people laughing and sharing a joke still after the first mile, people running with mates, runners talking with the crowd.
Marathon is a personal thing.
You should run it by yourself, for yourself. I isolated myself with my ipod shuffle, bought for my winter training, and I decided, for once, to not run conservative. I draw inspiration from to the great playlist that Rob, my irish flatmate, created for my commando training (hits from the 80's like Karate Kid's You're the best
and Rocky's theme and training songs
You know. I am a great runner. Not the fastest, but I'm relentless, just like in life.
I find my pace and I keep going at that speed for a long time.
This time I tried to top myself and I decided to follow a quick pace, maybe even too quick. I reached the 21th km in about 1h30, with the wind helping me a lot.
As soon as I started running the last 21km, on my way back to Ferrara, I realized that I won't make a fantastic time, just a good one: the wind blew hard in my face, forcing everyone to slow down. But just like a Juggernaut
I never stopped and 3 hours and 20 minutes, my second best time ever, I was back in Ferrara. 46 minutes less than my last marathon, and only 1 minute worse than my best.
After the race and a quick shower, and with some pain due to my stiff legs, I somehow got on my train, and I was off to Milan, once again, to finally enjoy some relax.
I spent the next day finally seeing my friends, whom I neglected for the whole 3 crazy days. I met my cousin again for a drink at the usual Texas Town
, celebrating our achievements in Jack Daniels'
glory (and some Wild Turkey
I spent some quality time and money with Beppe, Max and Mera before finally flying off to London, ready to scratch off one of the things from my list.