Overnight train, one-night stay, marathon, overnight train back.
This time: To Venice for the Venice Marathon.
Yep, Italy again.
After this spring’s Rome Marathon… and there’s one more marathon trip to Italy coming up.
It’s close enough for such quick actions, yet different enough to feel that they are worth it.
The Pleasure of a Controlled Pace
Finally, the lessons from my running coach course stuck, now that I had really overdone it in Finland.
This time, therefore, I not only thought that it would be good to just keep to a comfortable pace, but I actually listened to myself and did so.
I aimed for a pretty constant 5’30 min/km, finished with an average pace of 5’32 min/km, and never hit “the wall”.
There were times I wanted to walk for a bit and did so, but they were mainly for slowing down to drink at aid stations (well, and for the slight uphill after the bridge into Venice proper, which is one of those straight shots that just seem to go on forever without any interruption, making for tougher running than that in a mountain ultra, which at least gives a distracting diversity of ups and downs…).
There were times I had to head for the bushes because of some stomach issues, but given those interruptions, it’s all the better to see an overall constant and nice pace.
There were no episodes of cramping and having to stop or walk because of that, however.
The experience of being able to go on running and still enjoy it, finally running along the canals and over the bridges of Venice (and the large pontoon bridge they build only for the marathon), not being one of those who have to slow down and walk and fight with cramping muscles, was definitely worth the self-control.
The Place of Pleasure
Any run could be at a certain pace, at any distance you can cover. You wouldn’t have to go anywhere special for that.
The real fun of an event like the Venice Marathon, of course, are the same places I’ve only mentioned in passing above, as an aside to the matter of my own performance.
Marathons, all too often, do become all about one’s own performance.
Personal Bests, capital-B, and all that…
The locations the marathons take place in, much-advertised as they will be, often seem only a distant thought, good for nothing much more than nice views (if one ever manages to pay attention to them).
The bragging right of having participated in *that* marathon seems to then be what remains, along with the time on record, the T-shirt, the medal.
The Venice Marathon is a strange case, actually, when it comes to that.
The Venice Marathon Course
“Venice” has a nice ring to it, it is a fabulously special city – and the marathon does end very nicely.
Before the marathon ends in the Venice you’d think of, though, it goes through quite a bit of the mainland.
It starts in Stra, goes along waterways and villas there, passes by quite a bit of the Venetian hinterland’s industrial landscape, especially around Marghera and Mestre.
A few rounds through the park of San Giuliano where the marathon expo also took place, then the route finally goes onto the bridge that leads straight into the Venice of postcards and dreams.
Past the port where the much-disliked cruise liners that tower over the whole city berth, along the waterfront of the Canale della Giudecca, across the mouth of the Canale Grande, one finally circles across the Piazza San Marco before continuing the last few meters, even more up and down ramps over the bridges there, down the Riva degli Schiavoni to the finish on Riva dei Sette Martiri.
Those last impressions are hard-earned, but are they ever pretty… especially when paced right so you can still enjoy them ;)
And if you want to watch:
Yep, got a bit long, especially with the last impressions, but well, those are the nicest ones ;)