Actually, this marathon has a much better name in Romanian, but I’m not sure how a best-suited translation should sound like. It’s a winter marathon, on the same day we are celebrating Romania’s National Day, when here we celebrate The Great Union, and as I was about to find out later, it’s one of a whole series of historical marathons that are being organized in Romania to commemorate some of the most important events in our history.
After some well-deserved recovery time after my first marathon in October, I told to myself that it would be a pity to stop just now, and if I survived one, I can do it again, even if it’s in the cold season.
(I just got a call from a friend of mine who invited me to a concert nearby, so I will switch the writing on fast forward mode.)
Still figuring out, how to run and, as important, what to wear when you run, I managed to get a tough cold, about 10 days before the marathon, while I was in a trip to a dear friend in Copenhagen. I crashed on his couch, I couldn’t take any antibiotics, nor any other medicine without seeing a doctor. That would’ve been much more than all of the money I had with me, so I had to try some more traditional ways to get better, and get a chance to see some bits of Copenhagen (I will write about that at a certain point, but now I still have to continue the part on Georgia and Armenia).
I had to put almost all the clothes I had. Inside the house I was feeling quite cold, so going out to the supermarket was terrifying, ride the bike to the closest shop and bought garlic (I expect some Dracula and Romania jokes in the comments section), bread, chamomile tea, lemons and some honey. Garlic sandwich…yum.
With this specific treatment, in three days I was feeling great. My worry now was that again before the marathon I hadn’t enough time for a healthy long distance run. When I trained and got the cold, I managed to finish just 13km. I had to be hopeful again, and confident that it won’t be that bad after all. A marathon in October, one in December, and some runs in between.
The second day after I returned from Copenhagen, I put on the layers, it was the first time I had a pair of running leggings on the subway, felt quite exposed, especially in a morning, on a national day, when everybody is taking the subway to go and see the parade.
I got to the park, it was quite cold, and about to get much colder, so I started warming up long before the start.
With less than 100 participants, the 2014 edition of this marathon was the moment when I told myself that this shit is serious.
Temperatures below freezing point, wind, some snow, get warm when you speed up, sweat and then feel like freezing when the wind starts blowing straight in your face. At some points, you don’t even know if you’re actually running or you’re stuck against the wind. And the track…the track was in one of the big parks in Bucharest. With laps of +3km around a nice lake, we had to do 13 laps in order to complete the marathon.
During 4h 28min, my time, I went up and down, from sprinting at first, to walking towards the finish with water almost freezing in my bottle, some ice in my beard, I had some chats with a bunch of other runners, who were having the same problems, but complaining in group about the weather did the trick.
I have a strong appreciation for the volunteers. Because they had to face the weather, without running, staying in one place, and one of them was so awesome that he brought some hot tea in a thermos. That hot tea felt like magic, better than any gels or anything else.
Of course, only noobs like me were feeling this race as something out of this world. One of the first finishers, or maybe even the guy who won, was just in a sleeveless shirt and short pants, and he was so fast.
But, eventually, I also crossed the finish line, and got a cute Romania-shaped medal.
Another nice side of this marathon’s story is that I managed to convince a dear friend of mine, Ana Chioc, to start running and to participate. She did the 10km race, and a while after that, she completed the Madrid Marathon in 2015. It wasn’t that hard anyway to convince her. She was thrilled about my running stories, she wanted a taste of that so I told her something like “If you want to do it, who’s’stopping you?”
Oh yeah, and some warm traditional Romanian food just waiting at the finish line.
I got back from the concert and Ana managed to find some pictures from her end. Kind as always, she sent a picture with both me and her at the finish line. Yeah, she was already in her street clothes when I finished.
And because this is what friends are for, here is a picture with her happy face after the Madrid Marathon medal
Until next time, you can also find me at any of the links below: