Sunday, March 23, 2008

Marathon Post - Part I of Spring Break

I'm finally back in Granada and could not be any happier. After traveling for more than a week I'm ready to stay in one spot for a while, especially a spot that I know well. After my trip to Barcelona I'm tired of seeing tourists and not being able to walk.

To make this easier for me I've split my trip up into three parts. They may not come all at once, and probably not on the same day, but I'll eventually get my entire spring break up on here.

And now the story of my journey begins....

On Thursday March 13th I headed to the Granada airport to fly to Girona. I stayed overnight and took a plane the next afternoon to ROME! I made my way to our hostel and was able to easily find it. It was my first time in a real hostel and it wasn't that bad. The first one we were at was my favorite because the people working there were so friendly and really helpful.

On Saturday we woke up and went to get my race packet for my marathon. I got my bib number and racing chip, as well as a cool Asics backpack with two running shirts in it.

Waiting in the long line to get my race packet

We made our way back to the main train/bus station and took a bus tour of the city.

Circus Maximus - where chariot races were held

That was our best way to get our orientation and see the major sites.

Ruins in the Roman Forum (3rd day in Rome)

I loved seeing all of the history in the city. There was one building that I loved the most (picture below) but I never found out what it was called.

My most favorite building in Rome. I'm not sure why, but it just was. It was massive and I got to run by this in the beginning of the marathon and again near the end.

We had dinner that night in a cool little restaurant where I had a huge plate of Spaghetti. I had to get my carbs in because the next day was...

MARATHON DAY!!!!

Yes, so I hadn't been nervous for the marathon at all until the morning of. It really hit me then that I was running. I was able to make my normal USA pre-race meal which consisted of toast with peanut butter, chocolate milk, frosted flakes, and yes, even a Reese's peanut butter cup! I walked to the race start at 7:30 because we had to be there an hour early. I got so excited when I arrived, however I was a little sad at the same time. I've always been to the Vermont City Marathon and I'm so used to always being around runners that I know, that it was really sad to be the only person there! I kept looking around for familiar faces but it was only me.

The start and finish of the marathon - picture taken the day after of course.

The race started at 9. I was wayyyy in the back and had to make my way around all of the slower runners to get to a pace I was comfortable with. I tried to stay around the same people and found that after a while my splits were really consistent. I loved that they gave us drinks at every 5K cause it gave me something to look forward to. Starting at the 20K they would also give out fruit and cookies. Me being me, I always grabbed 3 cookies. I probably could have shaven off a few seconds if I didn't stop for them but they were just so good! And starting at the 7km mark and every 5 km after that we ran by a sponge station. That was handy because after I spilled the Gatorade all over my face each time I tried to drink it I just had to run 2 more km to be able to wash it off with a sponge!

I felt really good for the first 25k, but after 30k I started to get tired and slow down. At that point I think it was more mentally than physically. An Italian man, Leonardo, ran by me at that point and told me to follow him. I'm so glad he was there and that he helped me because I was able to pick up my pace again to what I had been running before. He stayed with me until about the last 3K and then told me to run ahead. He said he was so lucky to be running it because he was injured a month ago. I have to give him props to go out there and do it! While we were running together I thanked him for waking me up back there and told him I'd probably remember him for the rest of my life.

 Leonardo on my left

However....at that point in the race my body was getting quite tired. The last 2k dragged on, and all I remember about the last kilometer was running up a hill around the colloseum and practically dragging my feet. I WAS SO TIRED! I crossed the line and was so happy. Once I got my medal (which I had to stand still for) I wasn't able to walk! I got going again eventually but I moved VERY slowly. Especially on my way back to the hostel, which was an uphill trek. I got my little cape that the marathoners get to keep them warm and was sad to throw it away. I felt like superwoman! haha no not really. But I was sad to leave the marathon atmosphere. Now that I'm back in Granada I don't have that to look forward too and I feel a little lost. Runners are great people and I miss them!

Could barely walk but I was happy. Was done the marathon and had my medal

Oh so duh! I should probably write how I did! Haha. I ran a 3:26:54. I wasn't sure what my time was as I was running it because I was stupid in the beginning. Instead of pressing split on my watch after the first kilometer, I pressed stopped, and I had no idea how long that happened for! I was 71st out of 1676 female runners so that's not bad, and the 3rd American female to cross the finish. I was just really happy with my time. I didn't talk a lot about my training in my posts because I didn't get any real training in. I only had about 8 weeks of real running and with those weeks I never did speed workouts. I wasn't sure how I would run at all and I was afriad to talk about it to people. My goal for the next marathon is to follow an actual racing plan for the full weeks that it requires. I don't want to make it up each day as I did this time around.

I can't wait to run the marathon in VT but that'll have to be after I graduate. It'll be sad though that I'll have to train for it next year when I'm in VT instead of Granada because it's going to be so cold!
Moving away from the marathon and back to Rome....

That night we moved to a new hostel that was further away from the city than our first one. We went out to dinner (which cost a lot more than I wanted it to) but they gave us so much food. We were all tired and went to bed when we got back.




The next day was hard. I was so sore from the race but it was my last day in Rome so I had to go walk around. I ended up being gone for 12 hours which probably wasn't the best thing for my legs. Our first stop of the day was the Vatican but there was such a long line to get in that we didn't wait in it.



We headed to the Pantheon and then we got gelato!! MMMM so good! After that we headed to the Colosseum and took a tour of it, as well as a tour of the Ruins nearby.



At 5:00 we walked around the Roman Forum.



It closed at 5:30 so we decided to get dinner. However, we walked around probably for an hour and a half before we finally found the place that everyone wanted to go to. Guidebooks can be good at times because they tell you things to see, but after running a marathon and walking around all day, I really hated that guidebook at that point! I just wanted food and a place to sit down.

We luckily made the metro before it closed at 9 and made our way back to the hostel. I hit the hay and hit it hard! I had to wake up bright and early (4:45am) to get on a plane to Belgium, but I´ll leave that for another post!

1 comment:

Geraldo said...

Hola linda Danielle,
When I was at the Univerty I felt myself sometimes as if I was participating of "Marathons".
It is a great struggle.
I desire great sucess to you and your studies; after all this is a blog of a student who likes "of course" chocolate. cheers.
Have a nice day in this spring in Spain.
Saludos de Brazil, y Felices Pascuas.
Geraldo