Sunday, April 18, 2010

2008 Florence Marathon: a live experience

This post describes a live experience for the November 2008 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 2008 Florence Marathon live experience. Reader can also check the 2009 Florence Marathon live experience. The next 2010 Florence Marathon is scheduled on the 28th of November 2010.

At 8:30am, my brother Luke and Elena accompanied me near the start of the 25th Marathon of Florence, Piazzale Michelangelo. We are approximately 7,000 competitors.

I got the strange impression that Bavisela was already crowded. Actually, Firenze cannot really be compared to mountains competitions.
It is cold, with lots of annoying drizzle. I avoid warming up, because I then need to stop for few minutes in the cold before the departure.

After greeting Luke and Helen, I enter the 3 hours 40 minutes corral, that is the time that I intended to do. Let's hope so but, unlike Bavisela, in Florence I do not know the way, I did not even bother to look on the map of Florence. This was an impromptu marathon and will be so until the last!

At 9:20am, with the live Rai, we go! We wait for 2 minute before passing the real starting line, we walk, then, little by little, we find the space and begins to run. The cold, little by little, disappears.

The first kilometers are on a beautiful run down. I keep a fairly sustained pace (for me at least), running to the left, on a pedestrian street that runs alongside the main road, via Nicolo Machiavelli, that leads, down, up to Porta Romana. I would like to visit the Boboli Gardens, but today is not the case. It will be for next time.
The long and beautiful descent is over, we then start the tour inside the city.

The people, by the roadside or from the windows, participates actively in the marathon, cheering and encouraging the athletes. And this one is the big differences compared to the known Bavisela. In Trieste, there was much of the route in quiet areas with few people, with the exception of arrival in Piazza Unità d'Italia. Here in Florence, however, the presence of people encouraging the runners is practically constant. This helps both the race! Thanks!

The Virtual Trainer Garmin Forerunner informs me that I am ahead of time that I set. Here, in a hurry, I set the units of measurement in miles and I forgot to set the alarm for every km, which has always proved to be of some use. Patience. I forget to look at my GPS and I run with my feeling, trying not to massacre them too.

I skip the first refreshment: I do not feel the need, with the Florence moisture I do not feel the need to drink and snack. Time and kilometers pass, arriving at 21th with a time of 1h44, well, a normo-athlete like me!

A little at a time, I reach the pacers for the three and a half hours, just before a refreshement. Well! Too bad that, after the refreshement, I can not reach them and I was hoping that I could increase the pace, but a series of red flags, they put me on alert. I do not want to end up like the previous marathon after finishing, I was destroyed. I could not get up and I was dizzy. Never more so.

I reached the fateful 30km in Via Magenta, with a time of 2.23h.
The most boring run will reveal to be the Cascine Park: the refreshments with lots of energy bars, energade, bananas etc. enliven this tedious tract. Boring perhaps because I felt the fatigue. In the distance I see the pink balloons of 3 hours and thirty, but: nothing, I just can not reach them.

The last miles, the center of Florence, are the best. Applause and encouragement of the public are getting stronger, runners feel the adrenaline! Beautiful!
I pass the finish line with a 3:28:23 RealTime: a good result for me! I congratulate myself. "Bravo David!"

I feel tired, but not destroyed. Someone else competitor stumbles, dragging his legs. Like me in the previous marathon. Mistakes we learn.

Immediately after the line comes the most annoying part: the delivery of chips. We are herded like cattle into a narrow street cordoned off, sweaty and tired in the cold,  luckily that several volunteers are doing their utmost to give us the profits sheets "Heat", which we repaired properly cold.
I had not anticipated all of this mess: I can not find Luke and Helen. I enter a bar located upon arrival (after having received the 5 euros for the security of the chip), I got a coffee and I requested a free of charge phone call. Call home (one of the few numbers I know by heart). "'Hello, this is me. I arrived earlier than expected ... Luke alerts direct to go home, ok? .. yes, well ... everything! "

Ahead of schedule. Small satisfaction! After I give myself another hour or satisfaction, in fact, two: two nice kebab in a row, just to replenish the protein. And in the evening at home in Trieste, I cornered Steaks. So much of my desires of vegetarianism.

It is 4pm and the time to take the train back to Trieste. At the station you immediately notice the marathon ... who is wearing the jacket of the goody bag, medal and those who, like me, is teetering slightly, cursing every step.
By train I sit next to another runner. Rumor is a little bit, until the classic question: "What time did you?" - I rejoice: 3.29h. The runner in front of me, not very young but definitely in shape, from Bologna, said to me: 2.50h. Oh my, I said: six training sessions per week give great results. It is for sure better than my 3 fickle training sessions!

What can I say: beautiful Florence, the beautiful location and impeccable organization. To be redone! See you next year, Florence!

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