Sunday, January 24, 2010

2009 Padua Marathon: a live experience

This post describes a live experience for the April 2009 Padua Marathon and gives you insight of what it is really look like. Below you can find a translation from the original posting made here in Italian.

2009 Padua Saint Antonio Marathon
I knew, even suspected, that my body had in mind something to me yesterday. I could not be so quiet. I had in front of me my first marathon. I did not know how I would react mentally and physically at different moments of the race. Now I know exactly what I wanted to give my body yesterday. I just got one of the most beautiful feelings I've ever tried. I remember the sign "42" and the arrival in front of me. Then I experienced the "eternal void" of 195m and what is next?
Let’s go in sequence or at least I try to do that. I am still "confused" in the sense that I have not yet fully understood my true performance yesterday. Before starting with the story I only say one thing: THANKS TO ALL FANS WHO yesterday, and have supported me in all these 18 long weeks of preparation! Without you I could have not FOUND THE SPIRIT TO PERFORM AS I DID YESTERDAY!

To be honest, I think it is difficult to write a story about yesterday. I have too many emotions in the body and not easy to write. Now I try, I hope the story does not look as disgusting as it sounds. If you don’t like it, it means that I am more committed to the story of the next marathon!

Padua train Station
I woke up with my alarm at 5 am. Time to get dressed and meet my fellow friends (we were 5 in two different rooms) for a rich breakfast in the room. After this little joy, we started warming up with about 2km walk from our hotel to the train station of Padua. We took the shuttle to the start in Vedelago. Before leaving we were in a group, we laughed and joked as usual. I was always calm and relaxed. I did not feel any pressure on me. This detail was strange and made me afraid.
Vedelago landscape
A chat leads to another but it was time to say goodbye. We must enter the grid. Handshakes and slaps on the shoulders. There I had few seconds of panic. From that moment, I had to run alone. Once it enters the grid all thoughts were over. I saw the balloons of pace-makers immediately upon entering the grid. But, I found those pacing 4 or more hours and I was simply not interested. I finally found those managing 3h: 30m but I thought it was once a hard pace and so I decided to follow the 3h: 45m. Time passes and my serenity increases. The start of the event was closer. I could not understand why the peace grew more and more. Grids are open, we are invited to go ahead to get closer to the start. I looked into the sky. The weather was great for a marathon. Clouds covered the sky, temperature about 10 ° or even more. We have a little bit of fresh air.

Vedelago departure
Now lacks very little ... here is the shot ... LET’S GO AHEAD!

Being with the pacer of 3h and 45 minutes from the first meters is very reassuring. The pace is scanned from the first meter of travel. No risk of doing mistakes because I follow the group. Minutes pass.
Castelfranco Veneto km8
We reached Km 7 and I saw Paride and Stefano. I shout to greet them but they cannot hear me. I greet the pace-makers, saying that I would have come back shortly. The pace of my friends was little different. Racing at 5/km against 5.20/km could be crazy with 35km still to be run. Pacing in 3 is easier especially if there is friendship. We begin to cross the countryside and we notice several claps of hands. We saw many people including young children.

At km11 I got the first and thankfully the only issue of race.
Resana via castellanaFriends, I run away to pee ... if you decrease the pace, I'll join you later! I stop and begin to do it. It seemed endless. We only say that while I was doing it in one side of the tree, another person has stopped. He asked me if I wanted to continue to do so endless. He has finished and I continued to pee. Finally it's over. I then start the recovery of Paride and Stefano and I reached them. The pace rises back up to average. Then we got another problem. Paride has problems with his foot and reduce his pace. We arrive at Km16 and we were only two. Good luck Paride, you expect on arrival! 5Km missing the half the time and I still look good. The passage was about 5/km constant. It's me & Stephen. For the record, Stefano is better than a Garmin ForeRunner ... he splits the Km or the time per second time.

Padua half marathon
Finally the half marathon is ahead of us. We are half the adventure. If we arrived here with strong stamina, we really need to think people along the villages and music clubs that have brought us calm and relaxed until now. We saw beautiful villages where we found a reconstruction of medieval village and a group of flag-wavers. It would have been nice to see them, but I had a line waiting for me to Padua. You know, that line is a bit like a beautiful woman ... why do it wait? P

At half marathon I told Stefano "The road we have done will take us home - Aldo Rock - Ironman Hawaii”. The village we saw after the half was the most exciting. A lot of people and children were clapping hands. I do not know how many hands, but in the end I have regenerated. Both me and Stefano were newbie, as just Paride. Just after the half marathon I do see a familiar logo that is new. It was the BlogTrotters logo. We noticed a t-shirt that says Gianluca. We introduce each other during the race and then we go on our way.

Time passes and also the road traveled. 

Padua Marathon Km30

Finally KM30 comes and the race REAL starts. The weather is good. Maybe we can dare to 3h.30m but the Marathon has not yet begun. The fateful wall began. At one point I see a group of children to cheer. I look at Stefano and I say "I'm going to take the doping pure state, are you coming with me?" and so together we headed toward children. Something is "not working" properly inside me. I see others slow down and instead I begin to click well and I feel in good shape. However, it continues with Stefano, I don’t leave him alone! At Km 33 we found Primo in trouble. I leave Stefano and I left off alone. We are the height of the marathon wall. I see people in crisis and I increase my pace.

I left the wall and all is still right. I reached Km35: NOW BEGINS THE MARATHON! I was alone. Deciding whether to speed up or to keep the same pace was complicated. There was still 7195m to finish. Andrea, the average is 4.58/km, it is pretty good ... do not screwed up!

At Km38 I have been overtaken by Stefano. We still travel together and we enter together into Padua. Then we reach the flyover I was hoping not to cross. There I had my first problem, but we were already at Km40 and it was acceptable. Between me and Stefano are created 20m in vacuum. He was in front of me but I could not get it. I reach the refreshment zone. I drink and he also does the same. Shortly before Km41 a right-turn played for me: I get to Stefano. I can see him in a slight crisis: "Stefano, can I go? I feel it" he answered very simply:" Go away and do not come back before the arrival"

Via Umberto I last kmThe center of Padua was quite disappointing from people support standpoint. Very few people were in the streets. I was alone to deal with myself in what is less than a mile, even now perhaps less than a thousand meters. When I find the 42km sign I can no longer restrain to say that I really made it! The guy next to me point out that we were really there.
Padua Marathon arrival

I was amused, I dreamed and I was already excited. The finish line is in front of me. Now I just have to do one thing: fly! I gave everything I had in my body in those meters. Prato della Valle was full of people, the glory will be immense, between screams and applauses of the fans. I can see only the timer and the finish line. When the foot crossed the finish line my face was full of tears. I take off my glasses, I'm not ashamed to cry and I went forward. A girl comes up to me and she put the medal around my neck: I am a marathon runner!

A few moments later I hear screaming my name. I see Giorgio calling me. He hugs me and congratulate for the good timing. A few hours later he told me that he was also really excited and then that he was also close to cry. Then he congratulated me again and announced that he did his best marathon time: 3h20m! Good guy ;-)

Within 30 minutes we all arrived. We then go to the massage room: the time queuing up was well spent. Once the massage session was completed, it became easier walking again. Removing chip from the shoe or remove my shoes seemed harder than the whole marathon!

Since our hotel was only 100m far from the finish line, we immediately took a good hot shower. While the others were busy taking shower, I made few phone calls to inform my friends about the outcome of the Saint Antonio Marathon. I also sent a message to many others:

Padua wanted me, Padua proclaimed me Marathon man in 3h 33m! I burst into tears at the finish line, I could not stop! Thanks for the support. Andrea

I must say that responses were so many! Not to mention that when I turned on the phone, I received several text messages to know how it went. Even today I have received plenty of congratulations either in person or through text messages or email. I have not really understood what happened yesterday: I know I have learned a lot and I have also changed. I cannot quantify my accomplishment. Now I dream and wish to prepare for an upcoming marathon. Now I only have to decide which one and faster. So I know how to commit the next 18 weeks to return again in glory!

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