I am now a marathoner

Hi everyone!

After 16 weeks of training, I finally did it! I completed my first full marathon yesterday and it still feels so unreal to me that I actually did 42 km at the 20th edition of the Maratona Di Roma.

rinaz.net #rinazdoes42km Completed my first marathon!

The entire week leading to it, I was carbo-loading with food like pasta, risotto, pizza and sushi. I had such a ravenous appetite that even Cart was worried that I was eating too much.

On a normal day, I think it would be unhealthy, but after doing my 32 km training, I understand that my body needs plenty of fuel for long distance running.

rinaz.net #rinazdoes42km Completed my first marathon! (Delicious pizza with tuna, onions and balsamic vinegar)

On Sunday morning, I woke up at 5 am feeling butterflies in my tummy. Despite all my trainings, I didn’t feel prepared. I didn’t feel the same excitement I felt when I did the half marathon last year, and the thought of doing 42 km was so daunting to the point that I was actually thinking of not going. But I tried to quell all those negative thoughts by doing my pre-long run routine.

rinaz.net #rinazdoes42km Completed my first marathon!

(look like I’m going camping)

I was contemplating on bringing my water bottle, but then I realised that it would be an additional weight as the organizers will be providing us with water, energy drinks and solid food. Moreover there are an abundance of water fountains all over Rome.

Cart drove me to the nearest metro station and while waiting for the subway to arrive, I did some dynamic stretching. When I finally got on a coach, there were already a lot of people inside wearing red for the 5 km fun run and with all the excitement, I actually started to feel quite charged.

rinaz.net #rinazdoes42km Completed my first marathon!

I dropped off at the Circo Massimo stop where I saw a number of athletes walking towards the Arco di Costantino. It was around 8 am, and the air was extremely crowded and chaotic with over 14 thousand other athletes. I had a hard time trying to find the lorry to deposit my bag and in the end, I found that it was the last one, a distance away.

I wished that there were more signs so that I could avoid the human crush. By the time I deposited my bag, the clouds were starting to get dark. The weather forecast said that it would rain the entire day but I was in denial, hoping for a sunny day. Unfortunately, while we were queuing up at the corral, it started to rain quite hard. While normally the rain would be a demoralizing experience, this time round, it wasn’t so bad with all the other people around me giving each other motivation. Moreover I’ve been in worse conditions during my training.

rinaz.net #rinazdoes42km Completed my first marathon!

The race was supposed to start at 8.50 am but due to the amount of participants, we were only able to inch forward bit by bit. I only managed to step on the start line around 10 minutes later. But once I got to that point, things got real for me. That I am actually going to run a marathon!

We started running towards Via dei Fori Imperiali and I saw a lot of people going really fast. I wasn’t disheartened and kept my pace slow and steady so that I didn’t exhaust myself, but mostly not to risk injuring myself. That’s the hazard of running too fast – In fact, I saw a number of athletes limping quite early on – at less than 10 km in.

rinaz.net #rinazdoes42km Completed my first marathon!

As we went though the different locations and monuments in Rome, I felt a sense of happiness going through the places that I was familiar with. With the roads barricaded for us, jogging through these area on foot gives me a new visual perspective on my adopted home.

And there were even some paths that I haven’t discovered before. At every corner, there were so many supporters clapping and cheering for us, giving us motivation which was really nice. It was heartening to see so many.

rinaz.net #rinazdoes42km Completed my first marathon!

As much as I enjoyed the sights, after a while everything seemed like a blur to me and it was difficult for me to remember what I passed by. Mostly it was because I was more actively looking for the distance indicator banner, telling you how much you’ve run. I felt really good and felt so motivated each time I went past each mark and I mentally high five’ed myself at each one.

  • 10 km done,  you can do another 10!
  • 20 km done, lets do another 10!
  • 30 km done, don’t give up now. You can do it!

When I reached towards the 32 km mark, it was the start of  my longest distance to date. I anticipated the same feeling as I did when I did 32 km, but interestingly I didn’t feel overly tired because we were given plentiful of fresh fruits and energy drinks along the way.

I munched on a slice of apple or banana and sipped on some water, and did a quick stretch at each stop. It was enough fuel to top my glycogen reserves,  so I didn’t feel hungry and I’m amazed that I didn’t hit the wall this time.

rinaz.net #rinazdoes42km Completed my first marathon!

While my energy level was great, my feet were pulsating and it got more challenging to run with my minimalist shoes on the cobblestones when we reached the city centre. I had to tread carefully to ensure that I didn’t trip. I doubt that Abebe Bikila himself would appreciate running on these if he was still alive.

After jogging for about 4 hours or so, I felt the need to pee but opening a portable latrine door near the Auditorium refreshment stop, I saw something so nasty that I was immediately turned off.

By the time I reached 33 km, my Garmin was already starting to run out of juice, so I couldn’t tell how my pacing was and just went as best as I could.

rinaz.net #rinazdoes42km Completed my first marathon!

Eventually I reached the 40 km mark near Piazza di Spagna and I felt so relieved that I gave out a whoop. Just 2 more kilometres to go!

And as I returned back to Via dei Fori Imperiali,  there were so many people clapping and cheering. The end is near! I saw the finishing gate and spotted out a line of Roman Gladiators towards it.

rinaz.net #rinazdoes42km Completed my first marathon!

It was such a rush of emotion for me when I went past the line. I raised my arms, so grateful that it was over, feeling a sense of personal achievement that I’ve overcome this fear.  It wasn’t an easy run, but I managed to do it!

rinaz.net #rinazdoes42km Completed my first marathon!

I am now a legit marathoner 🙂

My timings may not be anything to shout about. 10.35 min/km for the first 5 km? Yikes. I’m probably one of the last few to complete the race.

Nevertheless, I’m quite happy that I managed to stay on a constant speed throughout the marathon. Plus I was slightly faster than my expected time of 6 hrs 59 minutes and 59 seconds 😛

rinaz.net #rinazdoes42km Completed my first marathon!

It was only when I went past the stop point, stopped jogging and started to slow down was when I felt my legs and feet pulsating badly. Every step felt like I had weights on my  legs and my feet felt as if they were on fire. It was so painful and the ironic part was, that the bag deposit lorry was located really far away. I don’t think even the little mermaid felt like I felt when she first got her legs.

As festive as the air was all around me, by this time, I really wasn’t in the mood for taking pictures. All I wanted to do was to get back home, shower, rest and be in clean, warm clothes. I could only manage to walk slowly as each step was excruciating.

Luckily Cart was waiting for me at the Constantine Arch ready to drive me home. I was close to tears, being so profoundly grateful as I just couldn’t bear the thought of having to walk all the way to the metro, with the crowd of people. I sat in the car and pulled off my wet socks and shoes and gave a quick massage. My feet were all wrinkled from all the rain.

rinaz.net #rinazdoes42km Completed my first marathon!

I’ve heard horror stories about long distance running and I’m grateful that I didn’t get black toenails, had very minimal chafing and got just a little bit of sunburn on my neck due to the rain washing away my sunblock.

When we reached home and when I tried to leave the car, my back ached and I had to take a full minute just to stand straight. I imagine that this is probably how I’ll be walking like when I turn 80 years old. I did my best to do my after run stretches, had a quick shower and then concussed on the sofa.

Interestingly, I didn’t feel that hungry. Probably due from all the food I consumed during the run. In the evening, my legs were pulsating very badly. I think this was probably due to my adrenaline levels crashing down. No matter how much I changed position to make myself comfortable, I was in so much pain that I was in tears. Foam rolling, muscle cream and ibuprofen helped, but just a little bit.


Thankfully, I managed to sleep soundly and I’m feeling a lot better now. Although I think that my immune system is not great at the moment, so I’m going to take it easy for the next few days to avoid catching a fever.

Now that the marathon is over, my routine is probably going to be quite different now that my 16 weeks are done. Looking back though the 4 months, all the training, the fear, the sweat and tears, it was all worth  it and the marathon was a satisfying conclusion.

I think that I could probably do better, but at this point of time, I don’t think I want to do another marathon any time soon. At the same time though, it would be a waste to lose this level of fitness that I’ve already achieved so far.

rinaz.net #rinazdoes42km Completed my first marathon!

To end this post, I would like to give thanks to everyone who has ever given me love, support and advice, to those who liked my #rinazdoes42km posts and for all who were with me in my marathon journey these past 4 months 🙂

#rinazdoes42km? #rinazDID42km!

What to do with a 100 litre Nutella Jar?

Hi everyone! Do you remember this picture taken last year?

rinaz.net with a giant nutella jar

It’s currently my profile picture on facebook and so far, a lot of people has liked it. Coincidentally it was featured under buzzfeed.

The picture was taken in a supermarket near our house called ipercoop. I blogged about this place some while back about free trade chocolates,  and our mutual friend Francesco, who works there liked it so much that he decided to give me the very same Nutella jar as a present. It’s sitting comfortably at home right now.

I’ve no idea what to do with it. My in laws think that the top could be unscrewed and I can store things inside, but it’s completely glued on. And sorry to those who think that it’s real,  but the jar is completely made of plastic. And empty. If it were a real Nutella jar, I doubt I could have even lifted a glass jar filled with probably 100 litres of Hazelnut spread.

Nevertheless, what I can do with the jar at the moment, is that it’s totally a great prop for photo ops. Like this :

rinaz.net with a giant nutella jar

and this :

rinaz.net with a giant nutella jar

and this :

rinaz.net with a giant nutella jar

and this!

rinaz.net with a giant nutella jar

That cake on the table is a homemade Sachertorte by the way. Cartcart made it and it’s so delicious.

By this time, you’ll probably be thinking, what on earth do all these pictures have got to do with Nutella, but hey it’s my personal blog. I’ll do what I like :p

Currently here in Italy there is this promotion where you could get your own Nutella jar with your name on it. I think it’s a good publicity since a lot of people like to have their own personalised one.

You don’t even need to buy a jar it seems. Just go to the nearest supermarket, find the display area and find your name. And then stick it to your jar later. Cart and I tried to find our names, but either :

rinaz.net with a giant nutella jar

  1. Our names are too popular that it’s snatched up in minutes
  2. Or our names are not popular enough to justify it being printed out

And it wasn’t just in Coop, practically every other supermarket that we went to, we weren’t able to find our names there.

Technically, you could try going online to sign up and have it delivered to your mailbox. But  it seems to be such a hassle, as fellow blogger Nerys has experienced and to me, it doesn’t really matter in the end. I’m not that crazy over Nutella (I mean, I like eating it, but I can still go on without it)

By the way, did you hear about World Nutella Day being ordered to cease and desist earlier this year? Something to do with the trademark use. It’s now de-instated though, which is a good thing as it doesn’t bode well for their publicity. This has always been something I don’t understand. Why are there some companies so afraid of people writing or taking pictures of something, when it can be positive free publicity for them?

Oh well.

Sidenote : If you liked this post, you might enjoy my post on how to make Mousse alla Nutella 🙂

Easiest way to do tilt shift pictures

Not sure if you’ve heard of the app called snapseed before, but I just recently discovered it and I loved using it especially for making tilt shift pictures.

By the way, tilt shift is basically a term used when you make a picture look as if it was a miniature. An example would be, from it looking like this scene from Tarquinia.


To this :


To me, I think this feature makes a regular picture looks really cute and it makes me excited to snap more pretty sceneries.

Here are a few other pictures that I played around with. Starting  with Gianicolo 🙂


This was near a winery inTuscany :


This was taken at the Grande Moschea di Roma during Eid :


And this was taken just last week at Laghetto dell’Eur 


Isn’t it adorable? I used to do them using photoshop, but it can get quite time consuming. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to do using snapseed. By the way, it works for both android and iphones and it is free!

Below is a video I did with a quick demo on how to do tilt shift on snapseed.

I hope you give it a try and have fun as much as I did 🙂