My first 10k run at the La Corsa di Miguel

Wow, it was such a wonderful experience doing my first long distance run at the La Corsa di Miguel run last Sunday. How colourful is this picture below!

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Towards the middle of last week, I was worried to be running in the cold winter, especially with the temperatures dropping down to 2 degree celsius just last Thursday. I really didn’t want to choke and die from lack of oxygen. But in the end, everything went fine.

The day before, Claire and I collected our race packs at Stadio Olimpico – the largest and main sports facility in Rome. Looks pretty generous for 10 euro doesn’t it? I especially love the thermal and humidity headbuff and don’t mind going around with it everywhere. But I think we should be paid for going around promoting a swimming pool. Ah well

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By the way, Claire was really happy to find out that the S size shirt fits her better. She initially asked for a M but the man at the counter said that S would be better for her and winked jokingly, “Next year a XS!” Hahaha!

On the Sunday itself, Claire and I woke up bright and early and headed towards the Acqua Acetosa train station. As taking trains is such a daunting thing for me (have you seen the number of lines as Termini?) so I asked Cart to accompany us.

Fortunately for us, when we reached Flaminio station, there was only one line. Phew! No need to crack our heads too much wondering which line goes where. We just sit down and wait.

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There were loads of people in running gear waiting together and that made me feel more assured that we were going in the right direction. It was quite charming to be in the train – so old school. The vibe felt very different compared to the run we did in the city center – like the Corsa dei Santi or the Maratona Staffetta.

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And here we are in Acqua Acetosa! Cart tells me that translated, it means “Vinegary water” Urgh! I don’t think I’d drink their spring water if it literally means that!

As you could see while we were going out of the station, there was a huge crowd at the exit. Turns out that there was a raincoat being distributed and everyone wanted one of course. More freebies! Hahaha! AND participants get breakfast too! I shared a coffee and cake with Cartcart.

I actually snapped this picture below as there’s a man in a bright orange cat suit in this picture. I wonder how he’d feel to run 10km under all that.

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But take a look at the sky, look at how cloudy and foggy it is. It didn’t make me feel too confident.

And check out the sitting eagles on top of the entrance to the Paolo Rosi stadium. I don’t know about you, but doesn’t it look very … world war 2?

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And here we are posing insouciantly before the race. Clean and fresh.

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And then we scrambled to find the start point. There were no signs, and hardly any marshals staff to be found. I thought that the organization was rather bad. In the end, Claire and I saw a group of people and followed them, started running, and hoped for the best.

(Cart went off to play angry birds on his handphone, if anyone is wondering)

And this is our running route. Scenic route around the river.

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During the run itself, initially I was a little apprehensive. Because each time I exhaled, fog comes out. It was disconcerting to see. But experience has taught me to keep my mouth closed so that I don’t breathe in cold air. And eventually, I felt warmed up enough to have a sort of conversation with Claire. Woah!

We went around the river and past the Olympic stadium. And there were some sceneries that we’ve never seen before, such as a giant face statue. It was lovely. One funny thing also was each time we went past a banner indicating the distance we’ve gone, there would usually be a photographer near it and we posed for all sorts of silly poses, and then went back to our regular running pose after that (usually the tired look) Hahaha!

And this is us at the end of the race. Ahh … chilling out with hot lemon tea. At this point of time, I just felt like lying down. Haha!

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Thank you Claire for asking me to come along. And thank you Cartcart for accompanying us! I really had fun! Next time you come and join us! 

We did the Corsa dei Santi run!

It’s a holiday on the 1st of November in Italy. And on this day, Claire, Cart and I woke up bright and early to head to the monumental Saint Peter’s Square for the 3km charity Corsa dei Santi Run.

Normally, trying to park around the area would be a nightmare. But luckily for us, participants could park their cars at a multi-storey carpark called Terminal Gianicolo at a reduced price. From there, it was just a few minutes walk to San Pietro.

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And here we are, all nice and shiny! I’m so proud of Cartcart for joining us, even though I know that he’d rather stay home and relax

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Oh! By the way, do you see our three digit number bibs? Unlike the run in mid-October, here it was very crowded with participants. In fact, when Cart and I were there at the registration counter last Sunday, just one hour after it opened, we were already number 526 onwards. Woah! There were already 500 people before us?!

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The race started at about 10am and by then, there were so many people! Even while walking on our way to San Pietro, there was a crazy huge line forming outside of the porta-potty (which I have absolutely no intention of ever going inside again) Which is why you should always empty your tank before going out of the house kids!

In any case, it’s a bit of a confusion trying to get to the correct section as I didn’t see any signs for the 10km and the 3km runners to head to.

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It was only later when the race started, we were herded to the correct lane by the marshals when they spotted the colour of our bibs. The three of us happened to be standing next to a huge organizational group. I was amused that they kept screaming out their region as soon as the cameras went towards them.

Not too long after, off we went! It was such a beautiful sunshiny morning. Just as we left the area, there were people cheering on at the sides. It was nice to see that even though I know that they were cheering more for the 10km runners! Hehe!

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At every crossing, we had precedence to go even though the traffic light was red for us. It felt like such a privilege, as if we were a celebrity or a a royalty somewhat. I don’t envy the vehicles on the road though, they were honking at the policemen like mad, but it’s not like they’d have a work appointment to rush to!

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It was a pretty easy run since we’re all running on a solid, flat path and we went to picturesque areas where we’re seeing with different eyes, the sights that we’d have missed as we ran through instead of rushing over in cars.

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And before we knew it, we’re running next to Castel San Angelo (which is directly opposite of San Pietro) and thus we’ve already made a complete round and close to the finishing line already.

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And we finished it in about 20 minutes or so. Hooray! Such a nice feeling! What would make it better is if I had my own entourage cheering me on, but that’ll be asking too much

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And here are how we looked like after the race. Still fresh and clean! Not so red this time as it was an easy run for us.

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And here is Cart.

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Still looking good and hensem! I feel like such a bad wife for leaving him, as much as I’d prefer that we start and complete together, Cart needed to go at his own pace. Hopefully he’d go for more regular walks with me in the future

(Instead of always being glued to the computer … *coughs coughs*)

I’m a little bit disappointed in the goodies though, not much food freebies this time round. I spotted a stand where only this cake and a cup of water being distributed. But I shouldn’t complain much as it’s all for charity.

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Next year, I’d love to try out for the 10km one. Each participants have medals … I want a medal too! But I think I just have to train a little more, for me, my aim is just not to be last and be forced to ride the “slow bus

Here’s a video of the race :

On a slightly unrelated note, Alex, Claire’s fiancé joined us as well as her brother Peter and his girlfriend Katie who were in town and we were chilling out around the area after the race.

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One of the places that we went to was Gelateria Pierrot where I found this interesting machine. It’s sort of like a blender/mixer. Intrigued, I wanted to try something different instead of a typical gelato.

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And that was when I learnt that Frappè is milkshake = gelato + milk. There’s also the frullati which is like a smoothie made of fresh fruit + milk.

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I was quite fascinated looking at my ice cream and milk being shaken together in the machine and some minutes later this is what my pistacchio and hazelnut frappè looks like.

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Mmm! Totally yum! (I didn’t share) But with the amount of calories in there, my lunch was already settled

We survived the Maratona a Staffetta!

Claire, exhilarated from her run in Brussels asked me to join her for the La Maratona a Staffetta. We both participated in the Roma Fun Run earlier in the year and so, I thought that it would be fun to participate in the 4 km non-competitive run.

We met at the Flaminio metro station and walked towards Piazza de Siena in Villa Borghese. Coincidentally, there was a demonstration going on at the time hence a couple of stations were blocked, and the subway didn’t stop at there.

I was amused when she passed me a banana and asked me to eat it. Claire explained that it will reduce lactic acid build up.

We both reached the piazza about 1.5 hours prior to the race and registered ourselves at the booth. There was one queue for the kids race, another for the 4 km non competitive race and the last row is for the 10 km competitive race.

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After we registered, we were given our bibs and t-shirts. And this is our official tee shirt shaped like a bus. How very cute! I’ll never open it!

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But I was very surprised to see a double digit numbers on our bibs when all of the previous runs that I’ve been to has always been at least in the thousands. Turns out that there were only 30 something people participating in the non competitive run and about 100 odd people for the 10km one.

Look, Claire is 22.

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And here I am posing with my number 21 bib.

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I think that the low number is probably because the the race corresponds to another marathon the next day hosted by FAO which is a very well known organization. Also, I suppose this marathon was not that widely publicised and the fact that there was a demonstration going on perhaps. Also I guess the rougher terrain kept away casual runners (as you’ll see later)

Another thing that I didn’t expected was the amount of freebies that we got. I mean for 5 euro, I really didn’t expect to get any freebies at all. But I guess the lack of participants meant that we had more stuff. One of the booths were from Atac Roma, the public transportation in Rome which was the main organizer of the event.

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This was what I nicked off this booth :

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The round tin container was full of sweets, below it is a watch (which I have no idea how to use, but it’s cute anyway) a lanyard with a lipbalm attached to it and a bus keychain. These alone costs more than 5 euro.

The next booth that we went to was this booth that had juice, cookies and gatorade.

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I took a chocolate cookie here to munch on before the race.

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And there was the centrale del latte di Roma (Cart’s favourite) booth. But I only saw yoghurt being given out instead of milk. There was a big queue anyway, as the kids race had just ended.

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The kids all had medals! They also had their own freebie booth too, where they could get a nice cotton candy, popcorn and balloons.

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And if they were not tired enough from the race, they could hang on in this bouncy playbooth. I was fascinated by the dog’s head bobbing in time with the music.

And here was the stand, all ready for the winners of the marathon. I can only dream at this point of time. While I can run 10 km, I’m pretty much just a casual runner. Running against professionals freak me out.

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And of course before any race, it’s always good to empty your tanks. It’s not a good feeling to be running on high tide so it’s a good idea to head to the toilets. Or so I thought …

Just look at the guy on my left grimacing as he left the porta-loo.

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It was horrible! You can literally see all the crap floating in the hole made by other people. That by itself was scaring me off! Also there were dubious drops of liquid on the ring. I was so nervous putting my naked butt on it that I had to line it with toilet paper (luckily there was enough to do so)

Once is enough!

And then it was about 15 minutes to the start of the race. I quickly scanned through the path that were were supposed to go to and confidently thought to myself that it will be pavement all the way.

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We queued behind the ‘real’ runners (they all looked so very fit and skinny) and watched them run off in front of us.

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And just for posterity, we had a ‘before’ picture taken by a nice person who offered to snap a picture for us. Look at how nice and clean and shiny we looked. Oh, and also notice our sling bags.

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I think I was the only fool that was carrying a bulky bag like that. But I couldn’t do much because I didn’t have a proper runner’s bag and there wasn’t anywhere we could deposit our bags.

And in no time, it was our turn! It was so strange looking at our group of 30 odd people. Smaller than when I participated in a school run even.

Claire and I decided that our goal was to simply not be the last. But as soon as the signal was made, everyone else ran off quickly, and it seemed like we were last which freaked me out a little.

But I didn’t plan to sprint off because I prefer to keep to my own pace on a constant. We saw 3 young ladies who zoomed off at the beginning and when we caught up to them, they tried to run away as soon as they saw us. But in the end, it seemed that they wore themselves out too quickly and they cheated by walking through the barriers.

Nevertheless, I found out that we managed to run past at least 5 people.

It was a very challenging run in all honesty. While 4 km seems like chicken, the fact that we were on a terrain made it really hard. We ran on gravel, earth, wet leaves, slopes, roots and whatnots. It was (almost) like climbing the jungle.

I was dying! Luckily Claire was there to give me motivation. Here she was approaching the 3 km mark. She’s amazingly fast! But I still prefer to keep to my own pace.

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The run seemed to go on forever!  And my sling bag was bothering me, as well as my jacket which flaying all around.

But at length, we were approaching the finish line. The crazy thing is, as we almost reached the end, one of the competitor from the 10km run whizzed past us (they ran the same route as us, only twice)That was crazy impressive!

But eventually, we reached the end (Claire saw the three cheater at the finish line before us)  Nevertheless, we felt quite proud of ourselves. It was quite an achievement!

And here is our “after” picture. I have a “I’m gonna die!” look while Claire’s face looks really red!

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By this time, I was too tired to get more food freebies as my brain felt quite fried. I’m not sure if I’d want to do this race again

Maratona 2011

Cart, my friend Claire and I went to the Roma Fun Run this year. Check out the amount of people there!

We’ve already participated in the Fun Run last year, so this time round, I thought that I’d do a video blog instead 🙂

It’s interesting to see famous Rome landmarks and monuments up close with the roads all to ourselves. One qualm I had was that our freebies werent as good as last year’s though.

Participating in the Maratona Di Roma

I was keen to do something different this year.

By chance, I stumbled upon the Maratona di Roma website and got very intrigued. I’m not fit enough to do competitive running, but I saw that there was a 4km fun run.

I didn’t want to go alone. Asking around, it didn’t seem like anyone would be interested. Fortunately for me, at the last moment, Cart agreed to accompany me!

I was touched since firstly, Cart isn’t really a morning person and secondly, Cart isn’t really an exercise person. And he’s doing this just for me 🙂

Anticipating that there will be loads of people at the venue, Cart and I left the car and took the subway instead where there were already a bustling of activities with people in exercise outfits taking the train with us.

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By the time we reached the Colosseo station, there were already a crunch of people – people participating in the run, people supporting them, bystanders and confused tourists. It was a disorientation trying to get to the registration station. The huge crowd was really something that I didn’t foresee.

After walking around, we finally found the registration counter where Cart and I paid 7 euro each to participate and we received an official tshirt each.

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We also got a blue sling bag and a bottle of water between us, but we felt cheated. We should have gotten two!

And then we queued up with the rest of the conglomeration walking towards the starting point.

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I’m not sure if you are able to see this, but there were heaps of clothes, mainly jackets being hung at the metal fences. Some of them were branded outfits. I am kicking myself for not snapping a picture, but there were a number of cleaners who picked these clothes, threw them on the floor and swept them away as if it were rubbish.

I was shouting out, “Gratis! Gratis!” and was tempted to pick a couple of free jackets for myself.

It was a slow walk towards the starting point. I had time to look around me. There were a number of interesting looking people. I spotted out this guy on this high wheel bicycle with what looks like Topo Gigio plushie.

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There was another guy I spotted wearing a pizza maker outfit with his face painted with the Italian flag.

Eventually, we reached the starting point and we were off! Everyone started to go faster – some brisk walked, some jogged … and some headed to the portable toilet?!

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In any case, I found it really interesting to run through the touristy areas of Rome which was closed for the day. I was amazed to find myself jogging in the main square facing the Vittorio Emanuele Monument which would normally be busy with traffic.

Regardless, I was basking in the energy. Everyone seemed so full of life and just enjoying themselves.

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There were so many different types of people there – adults, kids, even pets with their own number tags. I could hear different accents thus there were plentiful of participants from the overseas.

The interesting bit is that, at every corner that we passed through, there would always be a band playing. It was quite amusing.

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People would actually slow down to enjoy and clap to the music.

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It kind of reminds me of my Wii Fit plus where there would be people clapping and motivating you to go on.

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By the 3rd kilometre, I was feeling rather tired and actually warm even in the 15 degrees Celsius temperature. I wondered where the end point was. But Cart and I motivated each other to keep on going. And at long length, Cart and I finally reached the end point!

We were both feeling tired and looking rather unglamorous, but I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. Victory camwhore session! We probably look unattractive, but I like seeing how naturally flushed we both looked. Organic blusher!

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Unfortunately, I look really horrible in this picture so I’ll just cover my chin with a Photoshop flower.

We walked to the top of a hill near the Colosseo where it looked as if there was a mass picnic party there, with people lying around in the grass. It kind of reminds me of the WOMAD concert I attended some years back.

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There were several tents where you could get a couple of freebies.

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Like Yakult! I grew up with this. We drank one a day when we could. By the way, its interesting how Italians pronounce it. Here it is pronounced as Yaa-Koolt.

Anyway, here is what the Italian Package looks like.

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Buon Giorno!

And here is Cart’s favourite milk. The man prefers to drink only this brand if he could.

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I don’t really drink much milk since I think that I’m a little lactose intolerant. But *ahem* as a good wife, I took a carton for him since I paid 7 euro for this run anyway.

There were also a number of other exhibits, like this Judo demonstration and a number of non profit organizations like the red cross association. Cart and I saw a booth where they were selling items to help the children of Guatemala.

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I chanced upon this very very cool aerobics routine and I was very tempted to take off my jacket and join in. I spent a full minute wondering if I could join in or not.

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But Cart was feeling exhausted and I was still dubious and preferred to start at the beginning instead of the end, so reluctantly we left the area.

And as we crossed the road to head home, we chanced upon the paralympics segment. This guy here was the first to finish the marathon. I don’t remember his name, but Cart told me that he used to be a driver for the Formula 1 race.

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I think the guys in the yellow jackets were the volunteers. I wonder how one becomes a volunteer? Because I’d like to be one too.

And we also lucky because just a few minutes later, we got to see the first person to complete the insane 42 km marathon. It’s already tiring enough to run 4 kilometers, let alone 42!

Yes, yes, the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.

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But all through the end of the race, he never lost his stride and never slowed down. It was impressive. What’s interesting to notice was that the next 5 to complete the race were dark skinned too. I guess the best runners are black.

I really enjoyed myself at my first mass run in Rome and I’m glad that Cart shared this experience with me. Looking forward to the next one 🙂

To end, I post this picture of me, posing with a giant bottle of latte.

Maratona Di Roma 2010

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