Puh…. stressful last couple of days guys!! On Friday evening I left to drive down to the South of Austria to spend a night at my parents’ place because the day after I needed to be even farther South for my half marathon. My home village (it really is a village with no more than 200 people) is only 1 hour away from the Italian border and therefore it was the perfect stop on my way down. On Saturday morning my boyfriend and I continued our road trip to Trieste, Italy; where I picked up my half marathon starter package and did a little warm up training. Can you believe that you actually get a can of lager (beer) and a package of white pasta in your starter bag? I mean after all its a half marathon- in Vienna you get fruit & nuts, protein bars, isotonic beverages and stuff like that… those Italians.. they really make me laugh.
That evening before the marathon I decided I needed to feast on a yummy Italian dinner including (of course) red wine and my boyfriend’s wonderful company. It was quite fun and made me relax a lot more. I guess the 2 glasses of wine did me good. At uni I actually often drank a glass of wine while studying. Somehow it helped me focus more on my papers. I know, most of you probably shake your heads now and do not believe that drinking wine and studying works together but I promise you, if you actually start knowing your wine and appreciate a special glass- it is a wonderful helper in ANY stressful moment. Just be sure to stay with that ONE glass.
Anyways after a dinner of yummy risotto, local fish and red wine plus a nice walk along the seaside, I went to bed in hope of getting some good rest before the race. I had a restless night but was so excited in the morning that I did not mind. I enjoyed glass of water with a spoon of barleygrass and then a pre race breakfast of overnight oats, sunwarrior vanilla protein powder, loads of cinnamon, dried apricots, half of a sliced banana, maca and some sunflower seeds. I took it with me from Austria and kept it in an old peanut butter jar. I just knew that an Italian cornetto (Italian version of a croissant) would not be a great pre race fuel and it is quite impossible to get a bowl of porridge or even decent muesli in Italian hotels and cafes. After all the Italian standard breakfast consists of a cappucchino, a cornetto and a glass of orange juice. BASTA!
Then it was time for me to get ready and leave for the meeting point. A bus took us marathoners to the starting point where we had another hour to kill. I was freezing and was walking around, doing gymnastics, warming up etc. I was afraid to exhaust myself even before the race but I was just too cold. Half hour before the race I unpacked a small homemade protein bar to give me some extra fuel. Everyone seemed to be scarfing down bananas and protein bars before the race so I just went with the crowd. AND THE RACE… .the race was so much fun. I truly enjoyed every minute of it. I actually just wanted to run it in a moderate pace and did not have a particular goal (although I was dreaming to run under 2 hours). The race was all along the seaside. It is called the “Marathon of two Castles” where you basically run from one castle to another. It was so beautiful and the perfect sea breeze. The weather was perfect, not too warm, not too cold!
My legs were so light and I felt absolutely great. I loved every minute of it and ran the whole race with a big smile on my face. I would have never thought to enjoy it so much! I felt quite AMAZING after the first half of the race that I decided to speed up a bit and go a bit faster the second half. I slowly overtook a pink lady apple (the woman had bright pink shorts and a round figure (I just had to come up with a story while running) that I had been following for about 3km, then a purple pirate woman (she wore a purple shirt and a pirate hat with black skulls on it), then a space galaxy girl (she wore a pink skirt and knee long socks, plus a neon green shirt and had her blonde hair in a high bun) and last but not least- Giulio: An Italian who I ran next to for the last 2 km. At some point we looked at each other, smiled and shook each others hands and introduced ourselves(yes during the race!). I then told him, “Lets go for the last km” and took off. I thought he would stay with me, but I did not see him again until after the finishing line. I finished with a time that was much better than I had expected : 1:51:13
For the amount of training I put in I can be more than happy. Actually its incredible that I even managed to do it after having been so busy with my 2 jobs. I owe a big thank you to my boyfriend and coach who supported me on this journey to my first half marathon. It was amazing! For all of you who want to run a half marathon with me in the future, I would love to have some bloggers join me in Austria or Italy or anywhere, really!
Have you ever ran a half marathon? Do you like running? What is the most challenging sport/exercise you have done so far?