The first race, 50km da Romagna, was unreal. I’m not a total fan of the 50km distance because it feels too short and fast but this worked for a great weekend of training leading up to the May races. It starts in the town of Castel Bolognese near Faenza and travels out of the town in one giant loop. The highlight of the race is a good size climb in the middle. And it’s not like the hills in Austin, this is a really nice long climb that takes some work. Outside of the climb, the course is spectacular especially given the time of year. The wisteria was in full bloom. I’m talking about clouds and clouds and clouds of wisteria billowing over balconies and on the sides of buildings. It’s almost intoxicating running past some of the sections because the fragrance is so intense and sweet. Of course given the region, vineyards are not in short supply here either.
Oh yeah…results...so I ended up running a 3:57 which was good enough to grab 8th female overall. Not too shabby considering the jet lag and travel less than 24-hours prior to the race and the fact that I only managed 4 hours of sleep before I was staring at the ceiling trying to figure out where I was. Such a weird feeling… I ran the race in my go-to coupling: Newton Gravity’s and Dry Max Maximum Protection Socks. No need to change what works perfectly every time. <3
Oh yeah...the day before the race I was treated to a mild earthquake while standing in the lobby waiting to go pick up my race packet. For a moment I thought the building had major construction. But no… just a little earth shaking that’s all. GULP!
Post race we piled up in the square inhaling gelato (HIGHLIGHT of traveling to Italy - endless amounts of gelato). Ok disclaimer… maybe I was the only one inhaling gelato. Everyone was enjoying theirs calmly. Hahaha
I’m joking about the Wonder Woman and falling part….
I wasn’t sure what to expect running the marathon following a hard effort 50k. Because dinner doesn’t start until my bed time in Italy, I was faced with yet another late night. I think it was almost 2am before I fell asleep. But let me assure you, I’m not complaining because the food was divine! I was treated to local a variety of piadinas (native to the Romagna region), of course delicious pizza, and other delectable items. Heaven, and perfect for refueling.
The race has a late morning start which meant heading to a local coffee shop and enjoying beautiful breakfast pastries and more espresso. (OMG YES!) Getting to the race felt like walking into a bee hive, but I suppose that’s every race. This bee hive was fabulous though because everyone is speaking in Italian and so by default the bee hive magically turns into a poetic buzzing sound. I can’t explain the high I get from hearing people speaking in Italian but their language is overflowing with double consonants, z’s, i’s, and other letters that would totally help me win a Scrabble game. It’s beautiful and, in small increments I’m getting better at speaking the language which means certain words leave my mouth feeling like it just got a massage. But I digress…
I ran the marathon with two other fellow ultra peeps that had also ran the 50km so at least I was in good tired-leg company. Although these two are wicked fast. The pace was a pretty good clip out of the gate and I almost thought we were hitting a 3-hour pace but they started talking about this and that which eased the pace down a bit.
Toward the end of the race, my legs started feeling the effects of the weekend. We passed a few women but weren’t sure where I stood in the lineup. I stopped looking at my watch and instead focused my attention to the heels of the guys trying to stay pace. Every few minutes one of them would yell, “Brenda Dai!” which means, Brenda come on! Easier said then done, they made it look easy! Once we arrived back into town adrenaline took over and miraculously, I forgot about my exhaustion. We came through with a cool 3:13, only two minutes off my PR from the previous month. SWEET and FOR REAL!?!? The finish line was just under the big old arch. A-MAZ-ING. My time was good enough for 7th female overall.
I love a good high mileage training weekend, but this definitely took the cake.