As one very inspired writer could hardly create a plot so lively as it was my last week, it would be equally difficult for me to predict a surprising ending of this story as well. Let's abandon the seriousness of everyday life and let's dream about the emotions that the marathon can give us, marathon that always requires effort, sacrifice, dedication, but most often rewarded with immense satisfaction that are not necessarily linked to the fastest time.
The Trieste Marathon has now reached its first decade and, although unable to take off as participation (544 arrived yesterday), it is one of the key events of my spring. The classic distance is flanked by the 42 km relay marathon, the Marathon of Two Castles which kicks off from Duino Bavisela and non-competitive part of the Castle of Miramare.
The confluence of this diverse group of athletes running different distances happens on the promenade, crossing Barcola to see its culmination in the arrival in Piazza Unità d'Italy. The whole event is organized at best, this year there was a small change in the route with the decision to place the arrival at the Piazza in the opposite direction. This requires a C-shaped ride that does not convince me, because it does not allow free flow of human tide at certain times which could be potentially very large.
Let's talk about my race. Tension is written on my face, I must admit, since I have placed great expectations at the Trieste Marathon. It was the ultimate goal of a 4-month preparation period in which I ran 5 beautiful marathons (Salento, Barcelona, Rome, Treviso, Vienna) that had to be only intermediate steps. In the morning I have told my friend Mark Grimaz that every second in this race was essential, the clear objective was to be able to run at 4 minutes /km. Marco was really surprised, because he knows that my relationship with race and marathon is almost never dependent on the result. I am physically prepared and psychologically ready with nervous energy that I need to unwind. Also the weather conditions are optimal: hazy sky and acceptable temperature.
Ritual photos with friends, dressing and then I start to make even a slight warming (unusual practice for me before a race long distance). In the starting area I see Fabio Marri, it takes little to make him long and interesting talk but today's goal is to run. I am strangely relaxed, wandering in the start area to greet people all around the places, I get together with friends, I am aware of new converts. The starter ends the waiting time, we all should let our legs go, making sure however they can support us until the arrival at Piazza Unità. I did not get influenced from somebody starting at full throttle, I hope that Marco stays at my side, since he has good feeling in pace management. A couple of miles flying by in a flash at a rate slightly higher, we are around 3'50'' at km; madness or perhaps a gamble. The Marathon is a faithful companion, but woe to disrespect, mistreat especially in the beginning, it presents the bill. Today the bill can be seen at the Miramare Castle when runners finish its descent. I make the choice to continue on high pace, feel that the heart beats faster than usual but in life sometimes it is necessary to take risks, to get involved, groped fortune, revealed, come out. It can happen to remain scorched but can also happen to bring home a surprise.
I run in groups or at least never isolated, I give a tribute to the fallen of World War I during the transition from Shrine Redipuglia, I noticed the split at the 10km marks with 38min24sec (average 3'50''per km). I am now at stake at this time, since slowing down now would be useless, the only choice is to persist in this tactic. Along the way the little public crossings in these villages is very warm, somebody is calling me by name (I'm wearing a tank top custom), I am however highly concentrated and I only reply with a nod. An athlete that is at his first marathon is running alongside me, we exchange a few words and warn of approaching the tough uphill stretch that starts at km 19.
The uphill path determines the increase in my focus, I hide myself from the world. My attention goes into managing the shortest path in the curves, always choose the direction that allows me to do less road, slightly increase the pressure to compensate for the slope and lose as little as possible. The split at the 20 km mark was still good at 4'06''. In the town of Duino, I have to turn right to reach the carpet that marks the half marathon, noticing that in the parallel street there are friends departing for the half marathon. I then receive many incitements from friends ready to go for the relay marathon. The transition to half is 1h21:49. The confluence of the two races brings me a delighted surprise, I find myself alongside those that run on my own pace. I found among those individuals Cristian Gerussi with whom often I "fight" in short races and who has been repeatedly "to my tow "in his attempts to break down the wall of 3 hours. I do not have the courage to ask him to keep me at least once but as often happens in life the feeling of working more explicit requests and I will make the side and go. With two people, the climb is completed faster and better, until the 25 km I have lost only about fifteen seconds. The village of Aurisina marks the end of fear but also the awareness that in the next km of downhill we can not save ourself. I am surrounded by friends participating to the half marathon, and I let myself following the freshness of their rhythm. I look at the split: 3'49'', 3'51'', 3'55'', then again 3'40'' at the 34km (full downhill), 3'43''to Miramare. I am only missing seven kilometers at the end, the dream begins to become concrete, a look on the right, the horizon is something indefinite, sea and sky come together. On the descent I reached some runners, while I see other individuals among the half marathon runners.
I stand as a goal to reach a girl who is ahead in the half, it is a slow but steady comeback, while at my side the beauty of nature is nurtured by the trail of rose colored Bavisela participants. I embrace many inducements, I recognize someone but I am obviously tense, concentrated, I give up even the hint of feedback.
I feared that the flat path would have brought a marked slowdown chrono and instead I notice that at each mark the chrono is always less than 4 '/ km. My exploit is almost made but with my insatiable wonder, I ask my legs to make the last effort. I start to shoot a friend of exercises a couple of years ago, my gesture is in no way a gesture of defiance but to become a stimulus, a means to reach the highest possible goal. I reached him at the 40th km, I run side by side, escapes some "touch", he redeems; I proceed with my pace and I overtake him. I understand that this butt will be a harbinger of an increased pace in the last kilometers, "touches" become "healthy elbow" as a middle distance race, we are now in Piazza Unità, the mark 42km, with an eye split (3'44''is the result of the fight). Now the exploit has finally been accomplished, I return after four years to enjoy time for framing. I enjoy it at least in these last 200 meters, greeting the audience cheers, and there is a gesture of anger at the bad luck. With me under the banner, the announcement of the speaker making public my joy and my final time. I finish my 156th marathon with a time of 2:43 '55''in 17th absolute position. I would not have even seen in a mirage, but this time is real, it is there on that clock and I enjoy it. In the moments after the marathon I receive compliments from many people. I share this satisfaction with all those who have crowned their dreams and those who, for one reason or another, must defer to the next.