Uuu…look at that. A hexagon medal.
I can still feel the leg pain. And the two toenails that are about to fall. This Sunday was awesome.
I keep on saying it, and I do mean it. I love Cluj. Every time there’s an opportunity to visit, I do my best not to miss it. But, up to a certain moment, it was still difficult to decide if I’m registering or not.
I know that for some people the decision to move the event with one week, from the 17th to the 10th April, sucked big time. This interfered with training, schedules, bookings and so on. But, for me, it was a silver lining, because the Chisinau Marathon is scheduled on the 17th as well.
The 6th edition of the Cluj International Marathon. My 9th marathon, 3rd so far in 2016 and it’s just April. I must say it feels good. And now I’m not talking about the numbers. It’s such a nice feeling to go there and expect to see somebody familiar. Even when you pick up the race kit. As you run more, you’ll meet more and more people. This weekend was great from this point of view. People I’ve met in group runs, previous marathons, new friends, and the fact that I visited my friends who are living in Cluj.
Quite a popular event, The Cluj Marathon gathered a total of about 4,000 runners. I think it was a good call to have the marathon start before the half-marathon. There were plenty of people around to run with.
That 2km loop before the finish line. That was quite a downer. But except that the course was great. I visited Cluj many times before, but running in and around its center was a better experience. The start/finish area was The Cluj Arena, and each 10.5k lap had one lap inside the stadium. This added a lot to the whole experience. The course included most of the old city center, Unirii Square, main boulevards, and along the river Someșu Mic while passing by water points, music stations, plenty of cheerful volunteers, and a big crowd in and outside the stadium.
I felt awesome. At least the first three laps. My pace was going up and down. Not intentionally but, every time I thought I had a good rhythm, some pain appeared somewhere out of the blue and, to avoid having some nasty cramps, I had to slow down. The first pain alarm was at the 8th km, but I guess that was normal to happen. Somewhere in the first kilometers, I met a friend, a very good runner, and I wanted to match his pace for a while. He looked at his watch and asked me if that wasn’t too fast for me. No smartwatch, no smartphone, no nothing, I had no clue what pace that was. It was 4:15, so I decided that I should slow down. I was far from being prepared to keep that pace for 42km. That was a wise choice.
Really nice seeing all those familiar faces throughout the marathon.
I’ve met another fellow runner on the 2nd lap. He had a statement to make. And he did it. He ran the whole marathon without any gels, isotonic, bars, or anything. He was wearing a regular shirt and long pants. Not even a technical T-shirt. Besides the running shoes and race number, he looked as if he was running a marathon, during a lunch break. Why? As he said it, running should be about having a good time, and that you can do it even without advanced gear. I think it was a difficult thing to do. We ran side by side about 2 laps. Everybody was surprised to see him running like that. When the weather got warmer he decided to push it and finish the marathon faster, so he went ahead. He did an amazing job and finished in 3 hours 26 minutes.
My time was 3:36:17. Best time I did so far. I tried 3 hours and a half, but I lack the discipline required to plan a long run and stick to that plan.
After I crossed the finish line and stopped running I felt this muscle pain in the left shoulder area. During the 2nd lap, there was this guy cheering and advising to the runners. His advice for me was to lower my arms and relax shoulders. I tried doing that, but somehow I still messed it up.
Funny fact. They didn’t change the date on the medal. Probably it was too late, but I am curious to find out if the medal for The Chisinau Marathon shows the date as well. 50-50 chance that I will have two medals for the 17th April 2016.
To be continued…