My favorite way to see a city is on a bike tour, as we’ve done in Salzburg, Berlin, Paris and London. Sadly, I couldn’t find a bike tour in Rome so I had to resort to a tour on foot.
Kidding! It didn’t happen exactly like that…
The real story is that I’ve run many half marathons (including Amsterdam, and nearly a half from Paris to Versailles) so I thought it was about time for me to go for the whole enchilada (or maybe the whole Lasagne) and run a full marathon. That is 26.2 miles – or as they say in Rome, 42.195 km. Thankfully I convinced my super-marathoner friend to fly from Ohio to Germany, then to Rome, just for the marathon. Melissa is also the mother of 4 and her husband is deployed for a year. She’s not just a super-marathoner, she’s a super-friend too.
I decided to once again document the race in a niche category of photojournalism that I like to call Photography In Motion. In other words, I don’t stop, I just point, click, and keep on running. Considering the equipment, I’d say the photos capture the race pretty well, especially if there is no expectation for photos to be in focus. Warning: The race was long and so is this post.
The start was at the Colosseum. The weather was perfect!
I was in the slow corral (way in the back), so I couldn’t really see the start, but since this helicopter was hovering I figured it was about that time. Melissa said the Pope Francis even blessed the race!
This is actually before I even officially started the race. After waiting a long time our corral was finally released. I decided to make one last pit stop (sorry if that is TMI) and when I emerged everyone was gone! I really felt like I was the last one.
One of the reasons I picked this race is that it was described as a perfect race for tourists since the race route went by many notable sites in Rome. Not even a half kilometer in we ran past this gorgeous building. This is one example of how a marathon is not a good substitute for a tour: I had no idea what this building was until I just googled it. It is the Victor Emmanuel Monument. Next time I’ll check out the interior when I’m not in such a hurry.
Having a race marked in kilometers instead of miles is nice because the kilometer markers are closer together (obviously.) The downside is that there are more of them.
There were several bands (the marching variety) in the first part of the race. This one was playing a little tune over and over and they kept increasing the tempo. It didn’t make me run any faster though.
We headed toward the Testaccio neighborhood. I think that is the Porta San Paolo ahead. There is a free museum inside but I didn’t go in.
Oh no, wrong turn, I’m in Egypt! Just kidding – it is a pyramid under that scaffolding but it is the tomb of a rich Roman magistrate.
Not all of Rome is beautiful. We ran past some boring parts too, but not many.
I thought these trees were so pretty, even without leaves.
We ran past the walls that once protected the city. This portion is now a car dealership!
There is no shortage of beautiful churches. Check out the dome on the right.
I remember learning that Rome was built on seven hills. I’m quite happy to say that although we saw many hills, we didn’t run up (or down) any of them. The course was quite flat.
I imagined that those winged figures on the bridge were Nike, the goddess of victory, cheering me on.
That is the Castel Sant’Angelo, also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian. (Once again, thank you google.)
The race support was great. There were stops every 5km that had water, “salts” (Gatorade), and “solids” (biscuits but not the buttermilk kind, fruit, etc.)
Yes, that is a bicycle that cut right in front of me. The second half of the race – that is, once the rest of Rome was up and about – got a little crazy with people on the race course. Check out the road – lots of cobblestone. Considering that and the trash from the marathoners, I was quite happy that I didn’t trip or sprain an ankle.
Here is another building which I admired but cannot identify.
Sponges were given out along the route. The weather wasn’t that hot but that was very refreshing.
We crossed over the Tiber river four times but this bridge was the nicest.
If Jeremy had been with us, I would have told him to wait right here for me. That way he could have checked out the antiques while waiting for me to run past.
At about 28 km I stopped to stretch and realized that my toes were quite blistered. Ouch.
I kept going and tried not to think about my poor toes.
Ah, Kilometer 32. Only 10 more to go.
If I were to guess I’d say this is the headquarters of the Italian Navy.
Oh no, a tunnel! I hated the tunnels we ran through in Paris…but this one was not too bad. It was quite short and there were no noisy exhaust fans.
We got into the heart of Rome and there were tons of
spectators tourists feigning attention to the marathon but it was pretty obvious they were just annoyed.
Goodness! It’s another church!
I thought this was Trajan’s Column, but it actually belongs to Marcus Aurelius.
And another church!
At this point my photos weren’t as blurry, mostly because I was moving -ahem- a little slower. Here’s Trevi Fountain! No time to throw a coin in though. Later.
Finish line! I’m so happy to see you!
I collected my medal and my shiny mylar blanket and headed to meet Melissa. She’d finished an hour before me (and she’d done GREAT!) so she was energetic and chipper. I, on the other hand, wished I could lay on the sidewalk and take a nap but I didn’t. After a little recovery snack we hobbled back to the hotel.
Here’s my complete post-race analysis. These are really notes to my future self and are not to be confused with advice or race instructions.
Weather: Perfect! High 40′s at race time and sunny; got a little cloudy and a bit of drizzle at one point but great running conditions. After finishing the wind really picked up and later that night it was pouring rain.
Attire: I wore a short sleeved shirt and capris. I had a long sleeved shirt pre-race but left it in my backpack.
Training: I followed Hal Higdon’s novice training plan. The first 12 weeks were great. The last 4 fell apart. Between travelling, loads of snow, sick kids, and an injury after my 20 mile run, I did very little running the last 4 weeks. That did not make the last 1/3 of the race much fun.
Nutrition: I had water at every stop and Gatorade at some. I ate Clif Shot Bloks (cherry flavor) during the race. Thinking back, I probably should have eaten more protein in the days before the race. I ate plenty of pizza and pasta, but I should have ordered steak.
Equipment: I debated whether I would run with my ipod but the decision was made when I accidentally left it home. I wished I’d had it.
Recovery: The first two days I hobbled around like an 85 year old. Ouch, ouch, ouch. The sore muscles and blisters healed pretty quickly, but I’ve still got that injury that I sustained after my 20 mile training run. I’ll make a doctor appointment soon, I promise.
Next Marathon: Yes, I would do another! And after a full, a half-marathon seems like a walk in the park. I collected plenty of race brochures at the expo, but whether I’m healed enough to run remains to be seen.
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