I woke up with a cold again. I thought I had shrugged it off about a week earlier, but it was back. I took some cold medicine and slowly got dressed. The temperature was perfect outside, and I was still hoping to finish in under five hours. Yes, I’m a turtle- slow and steady. My mom and I picked a meeting point by the large arch near the Colosseum and parted ways. I walked towards my starting corral that was next to the Colosseum- what an amazing place to run I thought. As people crowded in, I started to smell the B.O. Puke, I thought. Maybe someone should’ve handed out bars of soap at Marathon Village. As I got over my grumpy attitude towards foul smells, I tried to regain my focus.
The 2010 Rome Marathon started, but I couldn’t seem to shake the B.O. smell near me. At about 0.4 miles into the run the crowd bottlenecked, and we were back to walking. Tsk, tsk. But after mile 1, it opened up and became enjoyable. The Rome Marathon took runners past all of the beautiful sites of Rome. I was glad that I had yet to sightsee in Rome, so nearly everywhere we ran was a new place to discover and to distract me. Around mile 10 we ran past the Vatican. Other sites on the route included the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. At the halfway point, I was surprised to be making such good time, considering I wasn’t feeling so well. I was ahead of my Chicago pace. Cobblestone had been present off and on throughout the race but at mile 20 the cobblestone started and it didn’t stop. The last 6 miles were all cobblestone. By mile 23, I was begging to see the finish line. My pace plummeted the last 3 miles. As the Colosseum finally came into view, I got a glimmer of hope. I still had to run around it but I at least knew the end was in sight.
As I crossed the finish line, I looked for my mom. It was supercrowded and they had the sides blocked off so I couldn’t find her. I found a place where the fence had been cut and started walking back towards the Colosseum. As I stepped off the sidewalk, I nearly fell. How embarrassing! My legs really hurt from the cobblestone, and I was hobbling a bit. I tried to walk it out a little but caved and sat down for 45 amazing minutes waiting for my mom. By the time we met up, my legs were feeling a bit better. I had finished the race just 2 minutes over my Chicago time and under 5 hours. I was so relieved. Had I continued training for Rome, I probably could have beat it.
That evening I ate lasagna and gelato guilt-free. A cozy candlelit dinner with my mom and a visit to the Trevi Fountain at night was a perfect way to end the day.
Note: I continued to eat guilt-free the rest of the week but unfortunately, using a 26-mile run as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted only lasts so long.