Marathon #17 : Friuli V.G. – Lignano 11/04/2012

Italians don’t like number 17 because they say it’s a very unlucky number. Well, there must be some truth as my marathon number 17 in Friuli Venezia Giulia region, has been the toughest so far. At the same time, it may become one of my favorite memories as not only I managed to push through a mental challenge but I had proof once again, of how lucky I am to have a girl like Lidia on my side and so many good friends.

We spent the night before the run at Betta’s place, half hour from Lignano Sabbiadoro. (Betta is our dear friend that joined us in Sicily). We also managed to catch up with another friend, Marco, that lives near by. The night was excellent till Marco broke the news that the forecast for Thursday was not looking good. Lots of rain was expected. We went to bed reasonably early knowing that the following day’s run would have proven more difficult than expected. It’s not that running in the rain is difficult but it is mentally challenging. Lidia and I don’t really have rain gear, we have goretex jacket but that’s about it. The rest of the body is going to get soaked.
We woke up with the sound of the rain.. not really.. Lidia and I were so tired from the previous day that we snoozed the alarm clock a couple of times before finally getting out of the warm bed. But the rain was there, as expected. Not too strong but constant. And the sky was completely covered, sign that the rain was there to stay.
We started the run a bit later than usual, around 8:30. I would run and Betta and Lidia would follow with their bicycles. The chosen route was 2 loops of 21km around Lignano, a town on the Adriatic sea very busy during summer, dead quiet in this period and conditions. After 5km, we were all soaked but while I was “happily” running strong, I could tell that Lidia was suffering. The effort of riding a bicycle at running speed is not enough for your body to warm up. And the cold wind was not helping. Around 12km, I noticed that Lidia had stopped chatting with Betta, she was pretty pale and her lips had started to change color. It took us another 3km to find a bar open in the deserted town. We stopped and I asked Lidia and Betta to wait there for me while I sipped an espresso, changed water bottle and picked up 2 energy gels. There was no point for them to get even more soaked as now the rain was pretty strong. They agree and I left. There is no much to tell about the run, I didn’t really see anything interesting as I kept focus on the job ahead of me trying to maintain a nice rhythm and run tall. Around km 22, I saw Lidia and Betta riding towards me from the opposite direction. They were heading to the campervan as Lidia was soaked and needed to get changed. Despite me repeating that I was ok and that they could stay in the campervan and wait for me, as soon as Lidia got changed, they left on the chase again. Women.. they never listen! 🙂 I am actually happy they did as I was feeling a bit miserable on my own in the rain!
Meanwhile, Betta parents arrived from Treviso, to support us. They drove 100km, to meet us and escort us for the last 10km of the marathon. They were in the car behind us, with the hazardous lights on making sure that other cars would slow down and not spray us. I am lost of words.. I really appreciate the gesture and that really cheered me up and gave me an energy boost.
Because I was wet and cold, I made the rookie mistake of not drinking enough and I didn’t pay attention to my energy levels. And I paid the mistake in the last 4-5km. My mind was not clear and every step was difficult, I slowed down significantly and I was not really sure if I wanted to drink, eat, stop or what.. Luckily Lidia was there and she talked me through the last few kms.
A good news comes from my plantar/heel. This morning I taped it before the run and it felt much better. Or maybe I was only focused on the cold and the rain. 🙂

So I learned a few things today.. the most important of all is that Lidia and Betta are IRON GIRLS !

The stats of the run are:
Time: 3h:52,
Distance: 42.20
Participants: 3
Food: 2 gel, 1l water
Garmin GPS : http://connect.garmin.com/activity/167024042
Highlights: Seeing Betta’s parents & dog supporting us!

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