Sunday, February 21, 2010

2008 Lake Garda Marathon: a live experience

This post describes a live experience for the September 2008 Lake Garda Marathon and gives you insight of what it is really look like. Below you can find a translation from the original Lake Garda Marathon live experience.

Lake Garda Marathon is a brand new one and it is growing fast thanks to the presence of foreign runners coming from several countries across the world and to its good calendar at the end of September. It is in the top 10 of the Italian ranking (number 9).

Now the mixed feeling is over: I have both got my new Personal Best at Garda Lake Marathon, but not my suggested target. I was fine, I was in great shape and fit, although maybe not as 2 weeks ago. However, 11 seconds more per km seems too much, but maybe it was the wrong day or the "the crisis of the sixth marathon."

Let’s start with technical comments.

What to say about the pre-race? Wonderful, meeting people with whom we spoke only in front of a keyboard is always exciting, apart Drug, others I had never seen, Fatdaddy with him I shared the journey by ferry to Malcesine, a great character with the spirit of a twenty. Chiara: she is super woman, she did the “Passatore”, the 100km of the Sahara and now in her 27th marathon. When Drugo asked her a forecast on her timing, she says, "Well I go quiet for a 3:30". She will make her Personal Best in 3:19" eleventh overall among the lady. She is coming from another planet, as it is with Jack. We said ... "a professional ... with the patches to match well" He finished in 3:07 ... It is a shame that we did not have time for a nice chat but it will be for the next one!

The hour before the race flies rapidly. I warmed up with Drugo, I turn on my Garmin and a weak shot indicates that it is time to run, just the time to say good luck to Drugo. Since the first few meters I am very concentrated, the first Km in 5:15 ... sorry I do but I have to overtake more or less 400 people. The street is pretty narrow, at departure I was pretty behind. However, that is ok: I have 41 km to recover. The 2nd km was at 4:46, 3rd 4:27, and then I slow down a bit at about 4:45, until the 9th km, which is close to Riva del Garda. I completed the first 10km in 47:53. After all I was in line with my plan. At the refreshment I drank half gel with a glass of water.

The road which first crosses the populous and beautiful center of Riva, for 2 km goes toward the wonderful park closed to the lake and then turn left toward Arco.
It thus leaves the lake and the landscape changes, it runs on a very wide valley surrounded by beautiful peaks, at 14 kilometers I overtake the 3:30 pacers, who told me "go ahead, anyway we will see at the thirtieth km." I reach the 15 km mark in 1:11:20: everything seems pretty quiet and smooth. The road that was formerly straight is now with sharp curves and slips through the vineyards toward the center of Arco. Everything is wonderful, the wind is gone and I arrive at the half in 1:40:10, with 4min44sec /km, I drink the other part of the gel, I feel good, I say there is less than half. At the same time I notice an odd pinch coming from the right foot. It does not matter: I close the next 5 km close them at 4:46 average. Meanwhile, we left Arco with its fortress and warm people. We plunged into the green with a little boring bicycle path along the Sarca River which takes us back to the lake.  I start feeling the fatigue, but at least the wind is not blowing against us and, indeed, arrived in Torbole, for about 500m we have the pleasure to get it behind us. I eat half energy bar, I say to a runner next to me "Finally, a bit in favor of wind." I'm sorry I don't speak Italian" I look at him and tell him ... "The wind is behind us now."  I wonder if he understands, not even time to get used to and there was again wind on our face.

He must have thought: "great Italian, he brought bad luck." I reach the 30Km mark in 2:23:10 and the average total increases to 4:46 / km. I lost clearly my freshness.
Pleasant thoughts creep into my mind enough to get to think:  another 12km of race. This was a typical example of a thought at the wrong time. Kilometers taking me to 35th are real ordeal, I seem to run with a guy that pulls my top and tells me "come on, go and walk, this helps resting your legs, stop by."

I remember advice I gave to Drugo and Fatdaddy "if your legs hurt you ... it is not your problem, it is their problem," I do not know if I have time to finish the thought, the fact is that I find myself beside the table at the refreshement area at km 35th. Then: I walk only.

On the 39th km I see my father as always telling me "come on, it is almost over" Poor man, I tell him all the time" "I don't have any energy anymore."
I run side by side with a runner I met few minutes ago, I want to stick close to him till the end. This is the only solution. We arrive at the 40th km mark, 25 minutes and 38 seconds in 5 km. If I think I did the 36th at 5:26, I'm sure if I was dead this is the first resurrection!

I have recovered well; even my legs and my head are back among us. I begin to act as cicerone to my traveling companion, describing exactly the duration and intensity of the 2 climbs that separate us from the beginning of the descent. He looks at me puzzled but I told him: "It's downhill all the way." Just before the 41 km mark I find my wife and my mother to whom I gave a beautiful smile. The climb is over, I can increase a bit the pace and I am wondering where is Gianluca. 300m ahead of me I see Helga, Gianluca’s wife. Then 10m further I recognized the legendary photographer Gianluca.

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