Lake Garda Marathon 16th October 2016

I'm so sorry, this is way way late and now I don't really know what to say. 

Lake Garda, you still have a little piece of me. (This is how I was feeling before the race)

I couldn't have asked for a better outcome (ok maybe one thing...) and I feel incredibly lucky to have had such a great weekend again. Going with a group from Advent Running and with the Mr driving the minibus made it enjoyably different to last year. There was lots of pizza and pasta eating, a crazy restaurant owner, some great icecream and plenty of laughs. We arrived late Friday night and Mr B valiantly drove us through horrible weather to Torbole where we met the friendliest pizza restaurant owners who re-opened for us and fed us before we all got dropped off at our respective hotels. I'll not go through the whole weekend but it was great to share the experience with others, especially those who had been kind enough to come out just for the purpose of cheering Francesca, Adam and me on.

Race wise: It was a different experience knowing that I was running for a place not a time. It was a warm day and with only 2 weeks after Berlin I was going to have to dig in mentally as much as physically.

I decided not to go too near the front to start with as I didn't want the winner from previous years (Monica) to go out hard knowing that I was there. Adam from AR was gunning for sub 3 and went out a storming pace but I tried to hold my nerve and keep a lid on it a bit. I caught up with Monica pretty quickly, she was getting lots of shouts from the supporters but at about 10k a couple of people shouted my name and it felt like she started to push it a bit. I figured that since I was feeling fine I was just going to have to make my move now and I passed her without too much hassle. It was a warm day and drinking from cups is always hard but the setting is incredible and thanks to Tara reminding me beforehand to 'look up, look around and remember you enjoy this' I did manage to take my mind away from the pace and the plod and take in the fantastic views. There was a pretty hard headwind for a lot of the way.

Sarah and Si, the AR cheer squad caught me along the side of the lake before I hit the tunnels and it was a great boost to see them.  I thought I could hear people cheering the next female close behind me, so there was no letting up. 

30k was where it started to bite. This is the point where others peel off the finish the race and the marathoners carry on. Another AR boost from S,S, Mr B and Jo.They made signs! Best. Squad. Ever.  I could still hear the shouts for the other lady and as we made the turn to head in-land at about 34k I saw her on my shoulder. I knew that I had to sit on the pace while the wind was bad as she was unlikely to want pass me at this point because she was drafting off me.  As always in the race, it was right now that it was starting to be hard work and that extra mental battle was a whole different experience to add to the normal 30-35k tough patch. I know there was a point where she went ahead and then I got it back but I'm not sure when that was! I just know that Mr B was on the corner willing me on. 

I had forgotten (blanked out) how annoying the bit that goes away from the lake is. It feels like it goes on forever even though it's only about 5k or so. It just feels like you're going further away from the finish and I know Adam found it really tough.  I feel bad that I didn't flag that up more. As we went past a drinks station, the lady who I thought was Monica grabbed her drink and pulled ahead. I tried to stick with her but the lead just got bigger and she was strong. 

As I finally turned back toward the finish I was thirsty and tired and ready for it to be over. Don't get me wrong, at no point did I wish I wasn't doing this, I was just mentally spent.  The AR crew cheered me as I turned the corner and, as Simon likes to remind me, you could tell I had nothing left in the tank because he out-ran me with a rucksack and a bottle of wine! The lady who won it was not Monica at all, it was Simonetta Menestrina who ran 2:58:19. She raced it brilliantly and judged her move to perfection. Much respect. There's a whole aspect to racing which I need to learn and which will come from doing things like cross country.

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I came second female, 12th overall in 2:59:04. So, I gave it a good shot, I raced the race that came to me on the day and I got a sub three. The only possible improvement could have been that I won (of course). In all honesty though the main reason I'm a little sad I didn't win is that I won't get the free entry and accomodation next year....I'm just being honest!  The organisers were so incredibly generous and helpful. I can't recommend it enough. I don't know that I'll do it again next year, just because things might look different next year and it's nice to go to new places but the 30k would be very very tempting!

Splits below and then more comments..

Splits Cumulative TimeDistanceAvg PaceAvg HR
106:50.7106:51168
209:23.60.406:26175
315:55106:32178
422:39106:43178
529:28:00106:50182
636:18:00106:50180
743:04:00106:45181
849:47:00106:43179
956:40:00106:54180
1001:03:32106:51185
1101:10:30106:57182
1201:17:24106:54179
1301:24:31107:07182
1401:31:24106:54183
1501:38:25107:01179
1601:45:04106:38182
1701:51:47106:43184
1801:58:33106:47179
1902:05:23106:50170
2002:12:17106:54171
2102:19:15106:58179
2202:26:20107:05186
2302:33:23107:03183
2402:40:24107:01187
2502:47:27107:03183
2602:54:29107:02186
2702:59:050.6407:13186
Summary02:59:0526.0306:53

So, what were my highlights of the weekend? 

- The crazy restaurant we went to in Maclesine where we kept getting given free stuff and the toilet was some kind of weird shrine to camp-ness

- Sitting on the edge of the lake contemplating the race ahead as the sun went down

- Flying past the photographer along the edge of the lake  

- Eating icecreams and pizza after the race with the gang and dangling our toes in the water

- The hug that I got from Mr B the moment I crossed the line

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- Standing on the top of MonteBaldo marvelling at creation

- Laughing at the boys drinking free wine in the airport before going through security

- So much more. These are the things race experiences are made of.

Well done to Francesca  (30k) and Adam for great races even if it didn't pan out quite as you'd hoped.  Francesca has since gone on to storm her first ever marathon and Adam is going to smash that sub three if he runs like that in the future. Just maybe don't do a crazy HIT session the week before next time eh? 

If you click on the photos below it'll scroll round and you can see a bit of what the weekend was like: