The race

  

5:30 waking up from a non-sleep, getting that coffe and cig kick for a start on the terrace, looking down already seeing some runners heading to the start mixing into the crowd of saturday turned sunday partygoers slaloming in slow pace, adjusting their alcohol level to the state where it hopefully doesn’t come back, in fact out.

Shower and silent dressing up, still chilly for my taste, but all according to the plan, dressing up silently, no words automatic mode, the cold I don’t like. We are already late, not to the start but as per Mini’s timeschedule. She is the safe one, arriving to every race way too early, it is a routine I guess she needs to do pre race. Walking with no words to the meeting point where we must get on the bus to take us to the start area. Bit of NY feeling, more comfortable though, I’m not cold anymore, and not alone in one enormous crowd. There is no crowd here, this makes Mini nervous, did everyone already leave? We finally meet up with a man Mini constantly talks about, he will run with us to reach the 3:25 goal time. He is dressed up funny, the official runner blogger with quite a few items in his bag, like an oxygen spray he is testing out for a future article, glasses with sunshades on, I rather keep looking elsewhere for style inspiration, and keep being silent. 

  
Look for my headphones to listen to the pre race kick off songs, but I’m not alone and basic conversation begins. Giving Maxi my pocket size snickers I brought from Japan, though not the ones with the wasabi. Mini needs to pee, this isn’t new, we need to every five minutes, this routine we share. Maxi isn’t sure what to run in which shorts, still doesn’t know she actually changes 10 minutes before start once again. Doubts on her side on basically everything.

Getting off the bus, we run into a group of Hungarians, after we ran to pee. I tell my name probably at least twenty times while casually chewing on my Cliff bar. Five bites, and I give the rest to Maxi, she eats it all up in a second, after getting back to her topic of what to wear. I listen and look around, assesing the people, as usual. Pick on some chats, listen to what others say. There is this girl, superfast, I always believed she was really introverted, shy and soft spoken, Mini whispers she is now the girlfriend of this other well known hungarian runner figure, but I’ve never heard of his name. This is normal, I’m new in the running world, wannabe perhaps, with no intentions to be a wannabe I guess. The boyfriend starts eating some super-high-power-makes-me-run-awesomefast plastic stuff, but some bits falls onto his also-makes-me-superfast-and-not-nike runshirt, and this when I cannot hide myself being the retractive of the morning. It isn’t the bits falling, isn’t the chewing that usually makes me running out of the world, I’m a mother afterall, I got used to crumbs and foodstains everywhere, but the girlfriend’s reaction she posted front of at least ten people. With a tone so arrogant she mentioned, now this needs some practice at home honey. Not funny comment, nor anyone laughed. My face showed my shock probably, because Mini looked at me with her eyes messaging me: do not take notice. So I quickly looked the other way and suddenly I realized I’m so happy I’m not like that, nor anyone I’m in relationship with would make a comment like that. For a brief second I felt hate in her words. But I knew I have to get over of this extremly soon, I had a marathon to run afterall. Looked back at the boyfriend, his sad eyes looked even sadder, and I felt sorry for him, even if staying with this woman was his choice I guess. I wanted to give him a hug and release him free. 

Another turn to the toilet Maxi got even more unsecure of her gear situation, it seemed everyone had a nice advice in regard to her. She became totally confused. I wanted to finally listen to some sounds, but a girl ran up to me if I could take a photo of her group of friends first and then me with her. Was surprised but she told me she followed me on instagram. This made me smile if not being proud. A bit though, only a bit. My state of mind was somewhere else. I was so calm yet nervous but above all felt ready to race, with no time preference in me anymore. I always ease myself with the thought that although finishing time is relevant, I could explain myself if final digits do not meet with a so called PB, runner always chat on about. PB is almost as annyoing as the word of wannabe. Though lately I’m adressed safely as a newcomer, this brings a hidden smile on my face. 

We line up, set our watches, while trying to increase the volume of my earbuds in order to overhear the loudspeaker’s usual songs like we will rock you and stuff. Vallis Alps and Running up that hill makes me ready steady go, and we are off.

Starting careful, I run, with Mini and his company, the blogger. It feels weird to be as a pack, but I know I have to keep up with them in order to meet my goal of 3:25. Bit faster than usual, I wonder how it will go. A Hungarian lady passes us, dressed fully purple I wonder how many minutes an average runner takes to choose their racerun outfit. I’m not an average, but I would never wear something like that artficially chosen gear either. I’m the parisian chic in the running world. The je ne sais pais how she does it.

The purple lady has a 3:18 as PB and I just cannot get over that. She is not the runner type at all, a woman who occasionally sports, running a close 5 hrs marathon I guess. I’m probably just jealous and let this thought go. Looking at my watch, we are fast I think, but I calm myself down that after the first fifteen k it will be going down if only a bit, but still, when the road goes down, so I will rest there. Already finding excuses if the finish time won’t be a PB. I ran 70K for the week, I should take it slow anyways. 

Than comes a hill, and all of a sudden I loose my company. Man and Mini behind me I feel better not to have anyone in my aura, I actually enjoy even more. I realize I’ve been totally enjoying the scenery, my own thoughts, my running. Small little voice warns me not to overspeed, Mini will catch and pass me later if I do not calm down.

Up and down on hills, suddenly the wind starts and this makes me nervous, I didn’t count the windfactor, but looking at my watch I’m still well under 5 min pace, and I wish I could do it all the way. If so, than I will be fine. 

Wind is a bit annoying but pretend not to take notice. I could play this game as long as I start to feel someone so closely behind my back. Seriously, someone really uses me as a shield against the wind? Me being so small? I don’t mind though, but he is seriously so close to me, it trespassing my aura. Remembering a blog pots about this from a really annyoing runner. So I step aside, and we run along next to each other silently. I wonder how long I could keep up, inspecting him from the corner of my eyes he looks really someone serious about running. Looks like a thriathlete too. Making up lifestories of his life, I always do that, especially when sitting at cafes, peoplewatching mode. I’m so into my own thoughts I miss the refreshment point, though it is so humid and the weather heating up I should have drank. Chet Faker I decided to call him that because of the red beard and deep and blue eyes hands me some water. He picked up two, one for me one for himself. What a gentleman, does that mean we will pace and run together from now on? This makes me nervous. Running alone with my thoughts I love, not the competition.

We are already at twenty, and the pace increases, though my thought that it will be a downhill after 15 doesn’t seem to be right. Yes there are flats and downs along the way, but than unexpectedly come some uphills too, and I loose energy I feel it. We pass the half marathon mark, great but worrysome whether I will be able to keep up. We start talking in a total mixed language. Close and in fact we reach 4 min pace at least we are going down, this must be a turnpoint I mantra, no more elevation I tell myself, but than come another one. Getting pretty mad, pace going up is still 4:30-ish I cannot believe why I do it, I will loose.

I let him go, he is great, pretty sure he goes for a negative split for the second half, I decide I in the other hand wanna finish the race, at least survive. Brain starts playing around, I knew it was coming. But at least I’m finally totally alone. Around 30 I play myself whether I should check on elapsed time, but decide not to, I run ok, I feel ok, speed is well under the 5min pace, I should not stress myself, deal myself to check on 35. Happy with my way of negotiation ability, I suddenly see a purple point front of me. Could it be the lady in purple? Will I be able to run up to her? Do I want to chase her, pass her, race her? It is still a long way to finish, do I really want a challenge?

I ran up to her, in fact passed her and ran with the fear of looking back anymore. Never look back, she will pass back.

32. The point marked where I when telling the story of the marathon would I say, the point where I started losing willpower. Acknowledged and marked. But kept going. The route took us to the seaside a long and final strech, with a turnaround in the beginning. We are moved into the half marathon crowd, don’t like it, too many people around me all of a sudden. I see Chet Faker in the crowd, it is either me who really slowed down or the turning point must be near, this made me glad. Smiled and cheered we went on. Just to find out, turning back means wind is against me. Got mad. But it was 35, time to check my watch. Shocked on 2:44 I thought even if running a slow last 7 km in 5 or even worse pace I still can make it. This gave power, and I kept going. Chet was in view distance how nice would it be to catch him afterall.

36 I reached him. Was worn out and tired. Probably hit the wall, but I grabbed him to come with me. He let me go at 38. And suddenly I also felt the wall. 4 more k, come on. Looked at the watch, still a slight chance to make a 3:15 I thought, but my brain won, it is still a massive PB, why should I make an effort. At 41 I shut the brain up and really wanted a 3:15. Wasn’t sure it was possible anymore though.

But it was. I did it.

Started a bit of crying of happiness, I finally also felt proud of myself. Though I wasn’t tired. Again, I felt to have some power left in. Fvcking insatiable, I hate this feeling. Waiting on Chet we went to have some drinks, than waited on Mini. She also ran a PB though not the desired 3:25. Another hour passed by when she was full of cramps, this is something I never achieved, running myself to the fullest, I admire her for that.

We waited two more hours to Maxi to come in. 

But I ran a good one this time. Not only time-wise, but my mind was set to  a good way of dealing with myself. I wanted to show, I wanted this to be a statement run, and it really worked well. Because some things and someone can bring the good out of me. But helplessness as well. 

Trieste Marathon, my 6th marathon in less than 7 months, and a bit more than a year after restarting running felt great and seriusly selflearning.

I can do, I can love, I can run.

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