If we can just pretend for a moment that this was posed a month ago…
The start of the marathon comprised of a train journey from Bergamot into Milan at some silly time on the morning, giving me a chance to eat my chocolate spread filled rolls and drink my coke, not my first choice breakfast but I couldn’t find any muesli. It was already starting to get warm so it was quite nice strolling from the station to the start area.
As always I made plenty of time to kill one at the start area, being constantly fearful of being late and rushing my final prep. This gave me time to have a coffee and then queue for the not quite numerous enough portaloos. And then to stow my stuff on the baggage trucks before making my way to the start pens.
Having originally been shooting for a sub3 time I was right at the front of the race, and there were some very serious looking athletes around me as we waited and warmed upping the sun tonth deafening sounds of the Italian DJ on the PA system. I’ve been studying Italian, but what he was saying was just noise!
Finally after an age the countdown started and a canon fired to set the 5000 runners off. There would be a further 5000 relay runners setting off half hour later. Cautious of my various injuries I set off at a pace which felt good. Not too fast, but likewise not too slow.
We jostled along the first km and I checked my watch, “4:20, a little quick”, so I needed to slow down touch to finish and not die. Next km “4:00, balls too fast” and that was when I decided to notepad any attention to my watch as much as possible. I knew I was going quite well over the first 5km as I was pretty much between the 3hr and 3:15 pacing groups, easily seen by the balloons they carried and the out and back on some of the avenues meant I could see both groups.
At about 8k we passed duomo, the magnificent cathedral I the centre of Milan, and shortly after o saw my family for the first, then second time. We high5’d and I ran on while they went to explore.
I passed the 10k mark in just under 45mins and then the halfway mark in just over 1:35. Things were looking good. I was feeling good, I might do well here…
Spoke too soon!
Just after the halfway point we were running round the industrial part of Milan (next to the San Siro for you footie fans) and I was looking at my watch trying to work out if I’d finish in time to see my wife at the finish line before she had to head to the airport and fly to the states for business, when I stepped into a dip in the road. My body dropped half an inch more than it was expecting and to compensate everything tensed up, tightened and that was that.
My time got slower and slower, I had to have small walk breaks due to the cramp in my thighs until I ended up having to walk the last 2.5km. Bugger.
I staggered to the finish, vaguly managing what some might try and claim was a sprint finish, in a time of 3:49. Far from a great time. Still a time a lot of people would kill to have but for me it was an utter failure. There was nothing left to do but stagger to a bar and drink many recovery beers.
You can see both how flat it was (also check out the elevation changes in the table above! Pan flat!) and how my pace nose dived after 24k. Note the ‘sprint finish’
The medal was lacking a little charm, mostly with how the ribbon was attached.