We went to a place recommended to Spencer by his colleagues at Loyola. This was not a week to argue with Jesuits. The food was excellent. Artichokes a la Romana, and pasta all around. Then for dinner, I went out for pizza with Vicki and Emma:
Then off to bed. The trip to the start was a bit of a production. I got as close to the start as I could, near the Victor Emmanuel Monument, but found that you couldn't get through to the start from there, so I began a long wander around the Palatine Hill, past the Circus Maximus, and ultimately to the luggage trucks.
It was a bit more walking than I wanted before the start of a marathon, but oh well.
The race went way better than expected. I started not too far behind the 3:45 pacemakers. Pretty early in the first mile or so, I caught up with them, and they locked in to an 8:10 pace. I felt fine, my heart rate was in the usual zone, so I figured, what the heck. The race was really fun and uneventful for the first 30k. I held pace with pretty much the same group. The temperature was perfect. I noticed after a while that it was really crowded near the pacers, so I lifted the pace slightly and drifted forward. All of a sudden there was lots of room. I wish I had done that earlier, because I find I waste a lot of energy in a crowd jockeying for position. I began to tire a bit at the 20 mile marker, but still felt good. At around 21-22, I felt like I was going strong, but noticed I was slipping back from the pace a bit. I held form, but my pace dropped radically in the last 5K. It didn't really feel like I hit the wall, I just got tight, and my legs wouldn't turn over as quickly. I didn't fret too much. I knew that I was not on pace to PR, and I also knew that I was well ahead of my Dublin time. So, I decided to enjoy the tour of central Rome. It was great!! We ran past the Trevi fountain, past the Circus Maximus again, around the back of the Coliseum, and then down the boulevard past the forum, and as finishing stretches go, it doesn't get any better than this!!
End result, 3:50.25, my second fastest marathon ever.
Thank you Philip and Spencer for organizing this. Philip, I suspect that I may have to surrender the fanny pack of victory at the next Antitrust Marathon wherever it may be!!