Race Review: Rome Marathon 2016!

Rome Marathon 2016 Race Review

Sooo I ranĀ another marathon – SURPRISE! šŸ˜€Ā I managed to accidentally book it forĀ the weekend of ourĀ 7th anniversary, too. (Ooopsie).

Rome Marathon Start Area

Happy anniversary to us!

Romantic, me? Always! šŸ˜‰

Luckily, the whole trip was eeepic, and we both loved Rome. So I think James will forgive me šŸ˜‰

We seriously lucked out with our hotel location. A 15-minute walk brought us right to the Colosseum, where we followed the sea of blue backpacks around the side to the start area. (The mandatory drop bag rucksack was SUCH a brilliant idea!)

I dropped my rucksack at the luggage lorry, gave James a hug and headed off to the start area. Despite my estimated 5-hour finish, theĀ organisers hadĀ put me in Wave 1 (with the super speedyĀ 3:00, 3:15 and 3:30 pace groups).Ā In my dreams, mate! Luckily, faster runners are allowed to move back to the later waves, so I snuck into the slowest corral as planned.

The first few miles were pretty crowded,Ā and there were quite a few faster runners passing on both sides (often with a warning pat on the shoulder, which was a new experience for me!) The route took us past loads of Rome’s monuments, and it was hard to absorb everything – the cheering crowds, the sea of runners, the gorgeous views… It all became a bit of a blur at times! And it definitely felt like there were a lot more than 13k runners.

We were told to expect 7km of cobbles, which I was initially a bit concerned about – but it turns out that the cobbles in Rome are fairly smooth and flat, and once the crowds thinned out a little it was easy enough to avoid the bumpy bits. I imagine things could get quite slippery in the rain, but we were lucky enough to have glorious sunshine for the whole day!

Rome Marathon Smile

You can’t help but smile during Rome Marathon!

Within a few miles it had startedĀ to get quite warm, but there wasĀ plenty of shade under the trees along the course (who knew Rome was so green!?) and sponge stations had been set upĀ atĀ 5km intervals from about 7.5km. This was the first race where I actually used the sponges, and oh my days, I’ve been missing a trick – they were heaven! (It was also quite surreal to see a sea of multi-coloured spongesĀ lying on the road afterwards)!

James Spectating Rome Marathon

When in Rome… on your anniversary… and your girlfriend has abandoned you to run a marathon… šŸ˜‰

I started to flag quite early on. ToĀ be fair, having run a PB at Barcelona just 4 weeks before, and slacking on my training in between the 2, it wasn’t hugely surprising. I had started to take walking breaks from about 9/10 miles (a few miles earlier than Barcelona) and by about 16 miles the arch of my foot had started to hurt quite badly.

Luckily, the route was fairly flat and the crowds and the sights took my mind off it for the most part. And to make it even better, I got chatting to a lovely lady called Karen just after the 20m mark, who stuck with me to the finish! This made SUCH a difference psychologically, and really kept me going. She’s going to be running 10 marathons in 10 days next month for her local charity – what an inspiration!

Rome Marathon Finishing Straight

Eyes firmly on the finish line!

We walked quite a bit over the last 10km, but when we hit 25 miles we got ourselves properly running again – and pushed all the way to the finish!

I think that’s the first time that I’ve ever run the whole of mile 26 in a marathon. If you’re reading, THANK YOU Karen, you lovelyĀ lady! Ā And good luck for next month!

Rome Marathon Finish Line

SURPRISE ROMAN GLADIATOR AMBUSH!

Rome Marathon is also the first time I’ve ever walked through the finish line arch and into a barricade for a photo! All the LOLs. It was a brilliant touch, though – and the best marathon finish photo I’ve had so far! šŸ˜€ Yay, Rome!

I also got interviewed by the commentator (another first), so there’s that. Having a microphone pointed at you seconds after finishing a 26.2 mile run is… an experience!? I don’t remember quite how I responded to theirĀ ‘Oooh, English! Did you just travel to Rome for the marathon!? Where are you from!?’ But I think I probably spoke in full sentences? Maybe?… šŸ˜‰

Grazie, Roma!

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Have you ever run Rome, or is it on your bucket list? I think this is the first race I’ve been tempted to enter again!Ā One day… šŸ˜‰

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Barcelona Marathon Training: Week 7/16

I’m baaack!

These weekly training posts have disappeared for a little while now, thanks to a tendon injury I’ve been trying to recover from. This was my first full week of training after a 2-week break (which still included a bit of running, but at a gentle pace and nothing over 5k). Quite frankly, I haven’t really been doing enough for a weekly summary!

Today, I cut the scheduledĀ 17 miler to 14 miles and re-jigged theĀ plan a bitĀ (thank goodness for cut-back weeks giving me some wiggle room…) and I’m officially back on track! Come at me, Barcelona!

Barcelona Training Run With Head Torch

I got a running backpack for Christmas, and a head torch a few weeks back, and today was the first time I ran with them. (Yep, I’ve been skipping my run commutes – ooops!)

I felt slightly dubious before I set off. Having used a belt and water bottle for myĀ last 2 marathons, I felt like a bit of a wannabe with my new kit! But it made my run SO much easier. I’m never doing a long run without the pack ever again, ever ever ever! šŸ˜€

Barcelona Training Run With Head Torch 2

The head torch was seriously fun, too. Now that I can see where I’m going, the possibilities for run routes are ENDLESS, and thanks to the backpack they’llĀ be made even betterĀ with ALL THE SNACKS! (Oh, and I can now run home without faffing with my belt/tripping over tree routes. An added bonus).

Sooo, without further rambling, my week looked like this:

Tuesday: 5k @ 9:29/mile. I took it easy as I didn’t want to shoot off and have to walk home (the physio had told me to go easy on both speed and distance until my leg was better). It was tough after a break, but given that my 5k PB was 9:40/mile back inĀ August, hitting 9:29 on an ‘easy’ run felt brilliant. And no pain, either!

Thursday: 4m @ 9:40/mile. This was meant to be 7 miles, but I ran out of time and cut it short. I also accidentally recorded the first half a mile as a cycle, rather than a run, but as a result I discovered the funky ‘multi sport’ option on my Garmin – so there’s that!

Sunday: 14m @ 10:16/mile. I also clocked a half marathon ‘moving’ time of 2:15:07, which is a PB of 7 minutes and 3 seconds! Woop woop! And miles 13 and 14 were my fastest, at 9:57 and 9:39. This isn’t counting the breaks I took to stretch, adjust the pack, put the head torch on, cross roads etc. but it’s pretty awesome regardless!

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Do you have a spring race you’re training for? How’s it all going?