Monday, November 30, 2009

2009 Florence Marathon: a live experience

This post describes a live experience for the November 2009 Florence Marathon (or Firenze Marathon) and gives you insight of what it is really look like. Below you can find an Italian translation from the original posting on the Florence Marathon live experience. The next 2010 Florence Marathon is scheduled on the 28th of November 2010 and will be an unforgettable event.

Congratulations Henry (nickname Albe), you have won the glorious yellow t-shirt for the lightning Running Team [...]. With your prediction of 2h43'25" you did predict better than everybody else my real time of the Florence Marathon which was 2h45'12" (difference of -1'47"). I have finally understood why when we saw each other 2 times during the first part of the marathon, you told me to slow down ... you would have in mind to get the t-shirt... eh eh, just kidding. Thanks a million for your support, particularly during the last stage where I was really tired. My race was somehow strange and, as in all marathons, everything happens after the 30th km. I was progressing very well at the pace of 3'45"/ km, but I decided to speed it up during the neighbor of 29/30 km, downtown Florence through the Cascine Park.

But let's get starting from the beginning. Initially I thought I was doing a great race. The start was very confusing, but it was also my fault since I lingered a bit too much to chat with friends and bloggers that I came late in the grid already clogged enough (even with "abusive" having no right to the red chest). Along with Franchino we started slowly, doing slalom among the many top runners making a-6 km/min pace. With difficulty we got rid of the heavy traffic after 1.5 km, with the first step in 4'20", the second in 3'35" and 3'20" in the next 2. It took a while to reach Matthew who I saw the front but running at pretty strong pace. Once there I held a pace slightly quicker than him, that I saw and decided to follow Franchino running very relaxed and loose. The first 10 km has gone fast and without much effort in less than 37 minutes. I was feeling pretty good and also the 15th km I was in a good control in 56' although I decided to move away from Franchino who had a slightly too fast compared to mine. I've always kept running at pace of 3'45-50" passing the half in 1h19'07" with the feeling that I still got lot of energy in the body. But obviously I was wrong. I started doing the maths and thinking that maybe I would have the chance to achieve the target under 2:40. As always I have encountered the biggest problems towards the last 10-12 km, especially if you are not in great shape as I am right now. At km 23 I reached Franchino who had suddenly slowed down. I do not know what happened to him, I tried to encourage him but he nodded as if to say he had some problems, I am very sorry for him but luckily he is still very young and strong and he will be back soon, and seeing how he runs I do not think the next marathon will go above 2:35. Going into the center of Florence, the speed it had seemed discreet and fatigue seemed under control, even my legs felt OK.

Running into Piazza Duomo (left) and Piazza Repubblica (right) was memorable: lots of audience to applaud and encourage. Fantastico, a performance worthy of the best NY Marathon! Exiting from the center of the Cascine and close to 30 km sadly have ended my dreams. The switch to the 30 km mark in 1:53' 39" was still in line with a final 240 projection. This has been the critical point of my race, I saw Matthew running at double speed, seeking his personal Best.

Firenze Piazza Repubblica
I pushed verbally and mentally knowing how much he cared.He closed in 2:44 and did not go how he hoped for less than a minute but it is only a matter of time, the marathon next spring will certainly be a triumph because his potential is well below 2:40.Yesterday in the last 7 km back from the halfway point of the Cascine, the stiff wind against us has put a clear obstacle to our performance. And it annoyed me a lot, I dragged awkwardly toward the finish line by closing the last 2 partial steady decline from 5 km in 20'38, respectively (average 4'07"/ km) and 21'41" (average 4 ' 20"/ km) with the 40th km in 4'35" and the recent slight improvement in 2 to 4'12", only thanks to the incredible pressure of the public ... I crossed the finish line still in hands like always and I finished my 28th marathon, one of the finest is sure to follow contour of friendship and fellowship that has characterized this wonderful weekend spent with friends and all the other bloggers. I expect a month of relax and deserved rest. I will restart in January with new targets. Motivations for sure will be there! Greetings to all, we'll meet again in March for a new marathon (I think Treviso) and for the second edition of the great contest "get the time." Be clear: We only accept less than the expected timing 2:40!

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