So the most random thing occurred when I got back to my hostel the night before the run! Instead of the interesting guy who was sharing my room for the past 2 nights, I came back and found out my new room-mate was a girl who was also going to be running the marathon! This was great news, since we’d have to wake up super early in the morning to get to the start line. Sabrina and I bonded instantly over mutual athleticism and became fast friends.
We got plenty of sleep and woke up to cram onto the metro to get to the start line by the Coliseum where we did the typical pre race agenda: dropped off our bags and stood in line foreverr to use the wash room. Finally, we were ready to get to the start line, our timing was perfect. Next thing I knew, I started the long run, unsure of what to expect, and chatting easily with a girl I just met. Since I hadn’t trained for the marathon very well, I wasn’t sure how long I would last. But talking with Sabrina, checking out all the cool monuments we went past, and snapping photos made the first 13.1 miles fly by! The half way point was a little bit past St. Peter’s Basilica, and although I was getting a little tired, the refuel stops every 5 kilometers kept me going. We would run and then take a quick break to stuff our mouths with apples, bananas, sugar cubes, and biscuits. Then we’d wash it down with water and Gatorade and run again.
The second half of the race, we were both really concentrated on our efforts, and listening to our playlists to keep our energy high. We went through some pretty residential areas in Rome, then started seeing more and more monuments as we drew back towards the city center. This was perhaps the most frustrating point of the race since so many people had given up and were walking, and the path was a bit more narrow so it was tough to navigate through the crowds. Also, towards the city center a lot of the roads were cobblestone, which was really hard to balance on, so I was constantly looking down, worried about falling or injuring my ankle.
Remarkably, we managed to stay running together during the whole race, and Sabrina and I finished in about 4 hours and 40 minutes. We received our medals at the finish line, then packed our bags full of as many free snacks as we would before leaving the crowded finish area and trekking to the metro. Once back in the hotel we showered, stretched, and rested. We couldn’t rest for too long though because our stomachs were growling, so we set off towards a casual spot called Cantine e Cucina. On the way, our hungry stomachs were tempted by a local bakery, so we had a little dessert before dinner. We made it to the restaurant I got a delicious fried artichoke and followed it up with pasta carbonara. To continue our recovery, we decided to try Gelato per Passion, which has received rave reviews, but much to my disappointment it didn’t stack up to the gelato place I had found in Palazzo Barberini.
On the way back, we saw the Fountain of the Four Rivers illuminated in Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon. You know, just a typical walk through Roma 😉 We stopped to purchase some white wine which we enjoyed at the hostel where we hung out with some other people in the common area. Then, completely exhausted from running 26.2 miles, walking, and eating, I fell into a deep sleep!