RomaOstia Half Marathon

Laura Bistrot

1) When did you start running?

I’ve started running a long time ago. My first memories are related to the running races of the primary school. At that time I used to follow my dad in all the races of our neighborhood, mountain races and marathons and sometimes, without aspiring to anything, I ran too. Once at high school I started agonism on track, trying all the speed specialties: 100m, 200m, 100m hurdles and finally finding my way in the 400m, the “death loop”, the memories of it bring me shivers as I remember the commitment I put in preparing it and the effort and the lactic acid to get to that damned photo finish. Those moments are some I cannot forget. Then the deadlock during university. And finally Rome. Being more relaxed in my mind made me want to start training again, to have a sportive objective. So I started looking for informations on the existence of running crews and I found them – or better, you: Eternal Eagles. It took me a while to get the courage to take part at the first training, but I still remember that day of about a year ago when during the training I switched from the orange group to the red one, and I remember the adrenaline after the run and the happiness I felt. From that day I always took part to the weekly trainings and the interest in training and getting better grew up. Until today when I managed to run 21 km.

2) What does running mean to you?

My relationship with running has changed over the years. When I was doing competition it was a duty, it always has been. I liked it, it gave me satisfactions, but I often felt like training was a sacrifice because I had to fit it with study too. Only a few times I was happy to go the the training camp, even if after all it relieved me. Now running for me is like oxygen, it’s sharing and joy, finally. I don’t feel it as a competition, if not with myself, with my own strength and my speed. I can’t wait for wednesdays to get to run with those who are becoming friends and adventures companions.

3) Roma-Ostia, your first half marathon, how did you get to this choice? what did you feel when passing the finish line?

A quick evolution. In December I took part to the Roma City Trail race and, thanks to this, I manage to integrate furthermore in the heart and spirit of this amazing group. I challenged myself and found myself believing I could still put myself on the line from the sportive point of view. So I started preparing the Corsa di Miguel (10km), without a real training program. While I was training for this race, silently, the idea of challenging myself in the half marathon came to my mind, those 21km that never in my life I thought I could run.

Knowing that all the decisions I took quickly and without thinking too much were those that gave me more satisfaction in my life, I decided to believe it. Giordano and Arcangelo started being harassed from my texts and reminders because I was greedy to get a training program, for me mandatory to get to any objective. This is the way it started, slavishly following the training, between repeats, long distances, training with EE, strengthening and a few training together with my trusted personal pacer (Arcangelo). Four or five training per week in total.

During the preparation there was a week of absolute stop due to a bad cold. Getting back on track was hard, but I did it as soon as I could, by that time I was past the turning point and I couldn’t just throw all the work done, it would have been a too big defeat. So I carried on my way until Sunday 10th of March. Needless to say how much anxiety I felt from the time I opened my eyes that morning. While training i only went as far as 18 km, the next 3 would have been a surprise. The path foresee a long climb of about 1 km half race and then a long straight road, without distractions, directly to the sea. It wasn’t easy; after the climb there was not a single slope. At 14-15km I was exhausted and couldn’t manage to recover. But thanks to Arcangelo, who was able to push me, I made it in the end. I even speed up at the last km, finding out I still had a bit of energy left in my muscles. I passed the finish line in pain but the happiness was immense. And it came out little by little. Once I got my energies back I hugged Arcangelo, my trusted companion and dear friend, thankful for helping me finish this challenge. I will not forget that moment.

4) Do you want to give any advice to the girls that, like you, want to challenge themselves on this distance for the first time?

I don’t think I can offer any strategy or advice to get to the target without effort.  As in anything else, if you want to obtain something you have to work hard, nothing arrives by itself. But if what I just said can be a deterrent to start, because it is hard, you can read the message from another perspective: all the goals are achievable, you just have to make a little effort, be constant and, specifically for running, follow a program.  The rest comes by itself, even the transformation from sacrifice to being running addicted. I end with a last take home message that was fundamental: training in company, pushed by a group or a single person, splits in half the fatigue, creates new friendships and brings the spirit of sharing that we often forget to exist. It is worth to train with a group for these simple reasons, without targets of time or kms.

And I recommend, always use nasal plasters. They are great!

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