The all-pink marathon: race report

Two weeks ago, on the 25th of October, I ran the fifth marathon of the series, this time in Batemans Bay, in the south coast of NSW. It was a first in many aspects: the first flat course, the first official marathon race, and the first that I didn’t run in the bright orange Can Too colour. Being my October race, I decided to support the Pink Ribbon cause and run all in pink in honour of all women that have been affected by breast cancer. The Batemans Bay Marathon was also officially raising money for Ovarian Cancer Australia, which made me extra happy for my choice of race.

Saturday: “race preparation”

We rented a house near Surf Beach for the weekend and went there with some friends. Marcele and Clara (my wife and daughter) and also Marconi and Patrícia were registered for the 6km race. Luiz and Nina were the only ones out: Nina for being only 2 years old, and Luiz because Nina can’t take care of herself 😉 .

With the whole “all pink” theme, the fun started before the race with the preparation of my outfit. I bought pink socks and shorts, had a bright pink shirt from “Outubro Rosa Niterói” (Niterói Pink October) that my brother gave me, and stained my running shoes pink with one of those coloured hair sprays. But the icing on the cake (and the moment that everyone in the house was waiting for) was the pink hair. While the others were gathered around the dining table waiting for the pasta to be cooked, Clara was in charge of dyeing my hair. Ah, on top of that there was some nail painting as well… she was so excited! Here is the result:

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Before, during and after. Whoever named this colour “Shocking pink” was spot on!

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And there was also nails, shoes, socks, shorts and shirt.

Sunday: race day

I woke up in the morning, got ready for the race, and then drove to the starting line. The others decided to sleep a bit more since their race would start only two hours after mine and their race preparation was also slightly different: while I had pasta for dinner on Saturday, they had pasta AND quite a few glasses of red wine.

I got there early and in the line to drop my keys I saw Sarah Fien, an awesome athlete that has recently won the Canberra 102 km race (the same one that I ran 49km as my fourth marathon). I did some swimming training with her a few years ago and decided to talk to her: “Hi Sarah, I don’t think you remember me but…”, and she replied “No, definitely not with this pink hair”. It was the first of many moments during the race when my hair and/or outfit would be the topic of the conversation. I didn’t mind, in fact, that was the whole point of it: raise awareness and promote the fundraising for cancer research.

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Here we go! Photo taken from the event’s Facebook page.

The race started and I was determined to put my race plan to work: I wanted to run at a comfortable 5 min/km and increase the pace only if I felt really well further down the track. I managed to keep my fresh legs under control and was close to my target pace, only slightly faster: 4:56, 4:48, 4:48 and 4:50 min/km in the first 4 km. It was only when I reached the end of the bridge over Clyde River that I sped up a little due to the gentle downhill.

A couple of km after the bridge and I hit what I thought was the only boring part of the course: running up and down following the zigzag course in the school oval. If that was the price to be able to run on the sandy beach in the photo below, then I’d do the grassy oval run again. Wait! I actually did, four times!

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An invigorating part of the course. It felt really good to run just a few meters from the water. Photo taken from the event’s Facebook page.

And it was exactly at the beach that I increased my pace again. Wasn’t intentional but I was just feeling good and happy to be running: 4:41, 4:40, 4:36, 4:38 min/km were my paces from the 10th to the 13th kilometers. I slowed down again after leaving the oval on the way back, but that was expected given the two small climbs (if we could call them that) on the way. The 5 km from the bridge to the end of the the first lap were the fastest in the whole race: all under 4:40 with the 18th km at 4:30 min/km. This was the part where we ran through town and I attribute my fast kilometers to the amazing support from all the volunteers, spectators, and fellow runners along the way. I heard a lot of “I love your hair!”, “Nice outfit”, “Go pink!”, but the best was a couple of girls that sang a song from Pink when we crossed our ways. I couldn’t stop laughing. At the turn around point I saw Laura, a friend that I coached earlier this year in one of the Can Too programs. She was there for the 14k race and ran with me for a few hundred meters to give support. It was nice to see a familiar face and have a chat halfway through the race. Thanks Laura!

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Given the smile, this photo must have been taken in the first lap! A big thank you to Suzzane Crane for the photo and for the support! Hearing a “Go Bilbys” made me ran extra fast.

But of course there is a limit to what support and mental strength can do and I ended up slowing down considerably in the second half. After km 27 I couldn’t run in under 5 min/km but I didn’t really crash. My slowest km was at 5:34 and I finished in 3:20:34, just a minute over my personal best. I was surprised by that and checked the data from my Garmin: the total distance was just under 41km. The same distance came from the watches of different competitors, and it seems that the course was indeed a bit shorter than the 42.195 for the marathon. Even taking that into account, my time would still be around a respectable 3:27.

The 6km race: friends and family

While I was in my second lap, the 6km race started. I wished I were there to see Marcele, Clara, Marconi and Paty in action. It was Clara’s first ever race and I was a very, very proud dad for her effort. She ran the first half without stopping and finished in 48:50. There she is coming to cross the finish line:

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My not-so-little-anymore girl coming to cross the finish line! Photo from the event’s Facebook page.

And a very proud husband as well, as Marcele left the others behind to finish in 42:55. There she is, cruising to cross the finish line.

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And my lovely wife running strong the 6km race. Photo from the event’s Facebook page.

Marconi and Paty were not that far from Clara and finished in 49:40. It was really great to have all of you supporting me and a great cause.

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Paty and Marconi a few meters from the finish. Photo from the event’s Facebook page.

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From top left to right: a) Paty, Nina and Luiz. Thanks Luiz for the recovery barbecue afterwards! b) Stretching the calves with Marconi. c) Almost everyone.

Is there a better way to finish a marathon?

Is there a better way to finish a marathon?

In the package it said: “lasts up to 8 washes”. Well, I have swum at the beach, swum in the pool, sweated over training sessions, been through a hair cut, and washed my hair at least three times as much as the promised 8 washes. However, as I write this post, I still have pink hair. It went from the bright pink to a somewhat purple tone and now is turning more into a “baby pink” as my white hair start to show again. Will I still have pink hair in marathon number 6? It is just one week away!

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Registered for marathon number 5!

I’ve just registered for my next marathon. It will be this Sunday in Batemans Bay, just a couple of hours from Canberra. It will be the first flat course and I expect to suffer much less than in the previous marathon. It will also be the October marathon and to raise awareness for breast cancer I’ll be running in pink. How about you help me choose the outfit? I’ll be posting the options during the week. Let’s start with the head: Afro wig, boring cap, or dyed hair?

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Happiness is…

…running without knee pain for the first time in two months!!! That’s right! Today I went for this lunchtime run:

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and there was no sign of my knee injury. Given that I’ve been dealing with it since just after my second marathon, this is really great news. I had to make big changes to my training, swapping running by swimming and cycling, and avoiding long runs. I’m currently leaving two to three days between consecutive running sessions and it seems to be finally working. I thought that I would have to endure the pain for 8 more marathons, but maybe won’t!

It is not always a fairy tale: race report

If you’ve read my previous race reports you may have had the impression that I’ve been cruising through them all. Apart from my knee injury just after the second marathon, it has all been brilliant: stunning locations, amazing views, the company of family and friends, and, to my surprise, a really fast recovery even after some pretty hilly courses. Well, this time was a bit different…

The night before: do you know the course?

This time I didn’t have to prepare a course myself as the marathon distance would be covered by running the last two legs of the Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Ultra. A couple of days before the race, I downloaded the track file from the event website to later upload to my watch. Trusting the technology, all I knew at that stage was that I would be climbing three big hills along the way, but I didn’t bother to study the details of the course. The night before the race, I sat down in front of the computer, merged the two gpx files into one, and went through the ordeal of uploading gpx files to Garmin Connect. A few hours and different platforms later (I also tried Mapmyrun and Strava) and I finally had a route uploaded to my Garmin account. Now it was only a matter of uploading to my watch. My experience with the first 3 marathons was that this step was easy, so I left it to the next morning.

With Jasen running the first leg and Shane the second, I would only start between 11 and 11:30 am. So there was plenty of time to get everything ready. Uploading the file should have been an easy task, only that this time it wasn’t! In the end, I gave up the idea of having a map on me and decided to rely on the markers used by the organisers. “The arrows on the ground and the ribbons on the trees should be enough”, I thought.

Leg 3 – First big climb: Black Mountain

My wife drove me to the second transition at the Arboretum where I waited for Shane. It didn’t take long and before 11:30 I was on my way. The first couple of km were downhill from the Arboretum and the right knee gave early signs of pain. It was annoying but I knew from training that it would get better after warming up, and it did. At the third kilometer I heard someone yelling my name, I looked back and saw Simon, a colleague from the Bilbys triathlon club, pointing me to the sharp left turn that I had just missed. I am so thankful to him. Without that warning I would have run along that bike path for a while without noticing that I wasn’t on the right track…

It wasn’t long until I reached the first climb, a southwest approach to Black Mountain. Even though I run around Black Mountain quite often at lunch time, this was a different, and quite steep, route to the summit. At some point I decided to walk and I felt very bad about it. I usually go steady on the climbs and walking that hill had an effect on my state of mind. Even though other runners were also walking and I tried to convince myself that running was just a waste of energy on hills that steep, the thoughts of “something is wrong” and “I’m not in a good day” followed me through the entire race.

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Final map and elevation profile. For the full activity go to https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/911187276

The downhill was also very steep, which was not good for my knee. I naturally jump with my left leg and land on the right, so it is far from ideal to have the injury on the right knee. I tried reversing the roles of the legs sometimes but was too uncoordinated to succeed, so I just sucked it up and kept going. Apart from a quick chat with Paul Cuthbert, the guy that ended up winning the solo 102 km race, the rest of this leg was pretty much uneventful. Although I felt slow and in a bad day, I finished the 24 km of this leg in 2:14:20, 11th in the overall classification.

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24 kilometers later and I arrived at the third transition station.

Leg 4 – Two climbs the real struggle

I heard a “Go Andre” coming from a group sitting on the grass at the third transition (I think it was Simon who finished 5th in just over 2:05) and that gave me an extra boost for the beginning of the last leg. That didn’t last long. At around km 27 a blister had developed just below the ball of my right foot and I started to feel a burning under my right arm. Chafing and blisters can be minor distractions when you’re feeling good but can have their effects magnified if your mind is not in the right place. That followed me for the next 3 kilometers when I decided to do something. I needed a distraction! I took my camera out of the homemade support on my camel back and started filming myself running. That worked and soon I forgot the blister, although the chafing reminded me of its existence until the end of the race.

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Selfies for distraction. The orange Can Too shirt as a reminder of why I’m doing all this!

I moved my backpack to the front to grab something to eat and started to feel better. I kept following the large path and was pleased to see a gentle downhill just before the 32nd kilometer. I was again moving well and thought I was finally rebounding from all those mental lows. But suddenly I realised that I hadn’t seen the blue arrows markers on the ground for a while and the orange ribbons were also nowhere to be seen. Am I in the wrong path? Should I go back? All these thoughts came to my mind but I decided to keep going, given that the alternative was to climb back what had been a lovely gentle descent so far. Despite the lack of course markers, I kept telling myself that without any important crossing, there was no need to have them. So I kept running until I reached a fence close to the road. No markers there! Oh no! I had definitely missed a turn somewhere! I went back, cursing myself and wondering where that turn would be. As I approached the only possible turn, I looked to the ground and saw three huge blue crosses indicating that I shouldn’t have gone that way. How did I miss that? My explanation is that I was distracted while getting the food out of my backpack and I didn’t see it. I also blame a tired brain that was easily lured by that downhill. Anyway, at that point, the actual course would turn right towards a rocky climb without any clear path: my second walking moment. This time it was easier: my pride had been left way back at km 7 on the Black Mountain climb. I was just surviving and now, with extra 2 km on me.

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What is the difference between the two maps? Only that the right one shows my position 13 minutes after the one on the left. Two km and 13 minutes wasted on a missed turn! 😦

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From top-left to bottom-right: a) the rocky climb just after the turn that I missed. b) an orange ribbon indicating that that improbable climb is the right one. c) How could I have missed those big blue arrows twice in the same race? d) I blame the energy bar!

I reached the road towards Mount Majura summit and walked again. When I finally reached it, I took my time, chatted with the volunteers (if any of the two volunteers ever read this: THANK YOU!), drank water and sports drinks, refilled my camel back, ate watermelon, banana and lollies, and left towards the steep downhill. At this point I had already accepted that finishing was already a great result and just kept going. I approached a big puddle just after km 40 and decided to jump over it. What did I have in mind? My very tired left calf immediately contracted and cramped by that sudden and unexpected movement. What a day!

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Top: There were many options but I decided to jump over it with very tired legs. The result? Cramps. Bottom: The last climb towards Mount Ainslie.

I reached the final climb towards Mount Ainslie. Another walk. No shame, no regrets, nothing. Just a vague image on my head of a volunteer telling me that that was a tough climb and that there was another kilometer to climb to reach the summit. The slope was more gentle, though. So, no more walks until the end of the race!

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From top-left to bottom-right: a) not far from the finish line and I passed by Paul Cuthbert, the winner of the solo category, heading back. b) The arrow (from a different race) pointing in the wrong direction didn’t help my tired brain. c) The best view of the entire race. d) Does it need caption?

I went down the track that I had run up two months before in my second marathon. I was exhausted but already enjoying that good feeling that comes when you’re close to the end of a tough event like that. I reached the War Memorial and followed the road towards the lake. Someone yelled my name from a car. I couldn’t see who was that person, but I’m in debt by the last and much needed encouragement before the finish line.

And I did it! 49.2 km in grueling 5h 22min. That was marathon 4 done and dusted! Only 20 days to the next one! Keep donating to cancer research.

Marathon #4: Race Preview

Next week I’ll be running the fourth marathon of my fundraising challenge and for the first time it will be a real race, the Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Ultra. This is a race that explores Canberra’s hills, trails and nature parks covering more than 100 km in four stages that can be completed by solo athletes or in teams of two to four runners. It started two years ago to celebrate Canberra’s centenary with a 100 km trail race, a distance that has been increasing by 1 km every year to match the age of Australia’s capital.

Running an official event should have made the planning stage a lot easier as I didn’t have to create a course, make a map, count the kilometers, or find suitable starting and finish points. However, I decided to run the race as part of a team (or should I say that my body decided that it wouldn’t accept 102 km as a reasonable approximation to the 42 km that a marathon should have?) which means that I couldn’t completely avoid some sort of planning. The major problem was to form a team since most of my triathlon friends will be racing the duathlon championship on the same day. I was luck to get Jasen and Shane, two other members of the Bilbys triathlon club, to run the first two legs of the race, leaving the last 47.1 km for me.

Race map with individual legs for the relay (1st - red, 2nd yellow, 3rd cyan, 4th- purple). Below the elevation profile.

Race map with individual legs for the relay (starting from red and finishing with purple). Below the elevation profile.

I ran leg two in the first two editions of this race and I’m looking forward to complete legs 3 and 4 this time. One week to go!

Things to Keep in Mind When Dating/Married to/Friend of/Parent to an Ultra & Trail Runner

Not quite an ultra runner yet but my wife said that she sees me in at least 7 of the 10 items in the list…

BethRunsWILD

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  1. When we say we “need” to go for a run, we mean it. Whether it’s for sanity’s or training’s sake, we literally need to go run. After we get that run in, we’ll stop talking about it . . . until the next day. In that same vein, we may sometimes complain about HAVING to go for a run. Yes, we know we could technically “not go” . . . wait, actually no, we have to go. If we don’t, it’ll pick at us all day, everything will remind us of the fact we didn’t go, and we’ll be cranky and miserable because of it.
  2. However long we say we’ll be gone on a run, it’s safe to add AT LEAST an hour or two. Sometimes, we fail to take into consideration travel time, bonk time, refueling time, or “we felt good so we just kept going” time.
  3. Grocery bills will…

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TED Talks on Cancer Research

A friend of mine, Carlos Pineda (the one that ran with me in my first marathon), sent me a link to some TED talks on cancer. Since supporting cancer research is the reason behind my 12in1 marathon challenge, I decided to share some of these videos with you. The first one is a talk given in 2011 by Jay Bradner, a researcher at Harvard and Dana Farber Cancer Institute. He talks about a molecule developed in his lab that can make cancer cells forget their identity and turn into normal cells. What is interesting is that his talk was not advertised for the technical progress made with the JQ1 molecule, but was announced as “Jay Bradner: Open-source cancer research”. The reason for that is that Bradner’s group not only published their results (that’s what we, scientists, do), but published them at the early prototype stage AND shared their molecule with labs around the world. This fast-tracked our understanding of this molecule and its potential to be used in cancer treatment.

He finishes his talk (spoiler alert!!) giving me even more motivation to run my marathons. In his own words:

Now the business model involves all of you. This research is funded by the public. It’s funded by foundations. And one thing I’ve learned in Boston is that you people will do anything for cancer — and I love that. You bike across the state. You walk up and down the river. (Laughter) I’ve never seen really anywhere this unique support for cancer research. And so I want to thank you for your participation, your collaboration and most of all for your confidence in our ideas.”

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Marathon 3: race report

(Para a versão em português clique aqui)

After a month of uncertainties, knee pain, two physiotherapy sessions and only a few short runs to test the knee, it finally came the big day! The third marathon of my fundraising challenge and the first in my hometown.

Joe, a friend from work, and I left the hotel at 6:45 and walked to the beach. On the way, I tried to set up the app that tracks my position in real time for those who would like to follow the run, especially for those who would meet me somewhere along the way. There was no connection though. We ran back to the hotel and I set up the app and posted the link on the blog and on Facebook. The app seemed to be tracking our position on the screen but, as I would discover only later, nothing was being broadcasted because the internet on my mobile was down. I used that pre-paid sim card the whole week and it failed exactly when I needed the most!

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Ipanema 7 am. Views from Leblon and Vidigal (left) and Arpoador (right).

Ipanema-Copacabana and back (10 km  with Joe)

But let’s get back to the beginning. Posto 10 in Ipanema, just after 7 am and Joe and I started our run towards Copacabana. The day was gorgeous and we followed our plan of running at around 6:30 min per km. Arriving in Copacabana we saw the preparations for the cycling test event for the Olympic Games in Rio.  We took photos of the athletes, the support cars with all the bikes on top, and Joe even posed in front of the tens of police motorcycles that were there to escort the cyclists.

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Copacabana beach: us, the runners, the sunrise, the teams preparing for the road cycling event, and Joe posing. 🙂

We kept going until we completed 5 km and it was time to go back. Back in Ipanema we were forced to leave the main road by the event organisers but we were already a few meters from our starting point: first 10 km completed and it was time to say goodbye to Joe, thank him for the company and head to Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas where I would meet Debinha (or Debbie), my sister.

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Getting back to Ipanema.

Loop around Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas  (with Debinha and Crass)

I got to the lagoon and didn’t see them. I ran slowly looking around when I heard: “Hey, Wait for me!” I was relieved that she found me as we ran a bit in the anticlockwise direction to meet her husband, Crass, who would also run with us. We changed directions and increased the pace to something around 5:40 per km. We ran at this pace for most of the loop, enjoying the view and taking photos.

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Lagoon loop: Debinha, Crass an me.

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Views from Lagoa.

Just before the helipoint, I saw someone that looked like a cousin of mine. I yelled his name but the person didn’t even look back. I didn’t bother in the end since we were not supposed to meet for the run. I was really looking for Rafa and Ramon, my wife’s brother and cousin. By the end of the loop I found odd that they were not there and asked Crass to check his mobile. As I mentioned above, the links were correct but the connection was down and no data was being broadcasted from my phone. I don’t know whether the problem was with my phone or the telecom company but that was the only issue that I had during the run.

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Final course and elevation profile. Full stats can be seen here. Below, the signal sent by my mobile. Clearly I had no connection for the first half of the run and lost it again in the forest. From the final point on the map on, the  culprit was the battery…

I left Debinha and Crass after a nice full loop around the lagoon and went through the process that I’m getting used to in these runs: hugs, kisses, thanks, and the “see you at the finish line”. I kept going and passed by the orange tent of “Filhos do Vento”, a running group in Rio, when I saw the guy that looked like my cousin again. I approached and yelled: “Bibigo!” It was him in the end! We hugged, jumped on the spot, and swore quite loudly in joy and excitement. I quickly explained what that run was about, we ran together back to my sister, took more photos and I followed my way, this time alone.

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Top: with Debbie and Crass. Bottom: with Bibigo and Debbie.

From Lagoa to Horto (with Rafa and Ramon)

Just after the Monte Líbano club, I was surprised by Rafa and Ramon. They had finally found me! Despite the lack of connection, they knew more or less the time I would be passing at the lagoon and waited until I passed by them. We ran together until the Piraquê club where I would turn left in the direction of Horto. I invited them to join me for a little longer since they missed a big chunk of the Lagoa segment. The three of us followed the road partially closed for the cycling event towards the mountains. At the beginning of the ascent, it was again time to say goodbye, thank them and ask someone to take our picture. Ramon had traveled from another city the day before just to join me. I really appreciate their support and the persistence they showed despite the communication problems. Thanks guys!

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From Lagoa to Horto with Ramon and Rafa.

Me, the forest and the climb

From there I began the tough and solitary journey to the Christ statue. I love the forest and I felt energized, happy and at home. In any moment I thought about fatigue and was simply enjoying the sounds of the birds and the monkeys. I even interpreted their noise as yells of support and encouragement. At some points these sounds were replaced by the company of people that were there to watch the cycling event: the athletes would come from a different direction and go down following the road that I was climbing. I should thank the volunteers, tourists and spectators that helped me taking photos and supporting me after listening to the ten seconds explanation about my run.

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Views of the forest.

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Map with the ascent difficulty level. While climbing I noticed the two line colours on the road and assumed that they corresponded to the levels of difficulty on the map. To be honest, my legs couldn’t tell the difference between the white and red segments.

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More forest. I swear there was a monkey when I took the photo on the right!

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Vista Chinesa.

I hadn’t felt the knee until the downhills just after km 28. I sped up a bit to avoid braking and landing on my heels, which would put more stress on the knee. Was just a discomfort and the descent was actually welcome. I was already over 29km and a break in the climbing effort made me feel even better. I got to the bifurcation where to the left one goes to São Conrado (where the cyclists were coming from) and to the right one goes to Corcovado. I was tempted to wait for the athletes but heard from the volunteers that they were at least still 20 min. away from that point. I continued towards my goal and it was time to climb again. For the first time I saw the north side of the city with Maracanã and Rio-Niterói bridge at the back. Again, some nice people along the road took pictures for me. Thanks!

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Left: the beginning of the second climb. Right: view from Maracanã and Rio-Niterói bridge.

I passed by the bifurcation between Estrada Redentor and Estrada do Sumaré and entered in well known territory. When I lived with my parents in Laranjeiras, I climbed a few times up to that road. I knew I was close. The view is sensational and I took some nice photos. I had my last drop of water at km 38 but was already feeling at home and didn’t worried about it. Just after that I passed by a fountain, put my head under it to refresh, and had my last sip of water before the end.

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View from the last kilometers.

These kilometers were fast as there were no hills and I was impregnated with that extra energy that you get when you know the goal is really close. I took many shots of the Christ as I approached the target.

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Final goal from different points of the run.

I got to the base with 41 km on my legs and knew that I had to climb even further. I asked for information and was directed to the road that leads to the monument. These were the most cruel 2 km of the whole run. I could see the statue and started to feel the heat and the thirsty. I could only think of a cold bottle of water. After more than 43 km I finally got there. I bought my ticket, climbed the stairs and walked without much problem around the tourists. They were many but were all trying to avoid that weird guy dripping in sweat. Those who were too distracted to avoid a collision would just make a face of disgust and keep going. I couldn’t care less. In fact, if I had the chance I would have hugged and kissed them all, so happy I was with my feat.

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Top left: gate at the beginning of the last 2 km climb to the Christ. Do I need legend for the others?

I was found by Debbie, Crass and Joe that had arrived there before. Later I learned that Rafa and Ramon also went there but arrived a bit late and missed me. At the statue a tourist came to me to congratulate for my run. He had seen me going up that last hill. He was even more impressed when Joe told him that those were the last 2 km of a marathon. I finally drank the cold water I was dreaming about, took some photos, left some more tourists disgusted with my sweat and had a can of guaraná. We didn’t stay up there for long as we had a table booked for lunch. The three would go back to the base in a van but my ticket didn’t included the transportation up and down those last 2 km. So, I decided to go down running. Two km downhill at that stage would be nothing. Not only did I ran down, but I also got a course record for that segment on Strava. Well, I wasn’t expecting that!

We went back to my sister’s place, I took a shower and went to the restaurant. I ate a lot and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to digest the “mineira style” food. Recovering from lunch was harder than recovering from the run! 😉

Everything was perfect, the course, the people running with me, the lunch to celebrate the race and to say goodbye to family and friends as I would be catching a plane back to Australia the next day. The only thing that didn’t go as I expected was the fundraising. I’m still behind the goal that I had set for the third marathon. Anyway, there is still time to donate. I have 9 more marathons ahead! 🙂 .

Now i is time to recover and plan the September one!

Maratona número 3: como foi.

(for the English version click here)

Depois de um mês de incertezas com dores no joelho, duas sessões de fisioterapia e poucas corridas curtas devido à contusão, finalmente tinha chegado o grande dia! A terceira maratona do projeto e a primeira na minha cidade natal.

Saímos as 6:45 da manha, eu e Joe, um amigo de trabalho da Austrália. Caminhamos até a orla e iniciei o aplicativo para enviar minha posição em tempo real para quem quisesse acompanhar a corrida. Tentei postar no blog e no Facebook mas algo nao estava certo, parecia que estava sem conexão. Voltamos ao hotel e de lá consegui iniciar tudo e partimos novamente. O aplicativo (chama-se Road ID e é excelente por sinal) acompanhava meus passos mas mal sabia eu que, apesar de mostrar minha posição na tela, os dados não estavam sendo enviados do meu celular. Só teria certeza disso bem mais tarde, por volta do quilômetro 18.

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Ipanema às 7 da manhã, no momento da largada. Vista do Leblon e Vidigal (esquerda) e Arpoador (direita).

Ipanema-Copacabana (10 km ida e volta com o Joe)

Mas voltemos ao começo. Do Posto 10 em Ipanema, eu e Joe iniciamos nossa corrida rumo à Copacabana. O dia estava belíssimo e seguimos o planejamento de correr num ritmo em torno de 6:30 min. por km. Chegando em Copacabana vimos os preparativos para o evento teste de ciclismo para as olimpíadas. Tiramos fotos dos ciclistas, dos carros de apoio, e Joe ainda ficou correndo sem sair do lugar para posar para a foto abaixo em frente às motos da polícia rodoviaria federal que fariam a escolta dos atletas.

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Praia de Copacabana: os corredores, os nascer do sol, as equipes se preparando para o ciclismo de estrada, e Joe fazendo pose.

Seguimos até completar 5 km, o que marcava o momento de voltar. Já de volta à Ipanema, fomos desviados para fora da pista pela organização do evento. Nada que atrapalhasse muito pois já estávamos a poucos metros do ponto de partida: 10 km completos e hora de despedir-me do Joe, agradecer pela companhia e seguir em direção à Lagoa aonde encontraria Debinha, minha irmã.

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Voltando de Copacabana à Ipanema.

Volta na Lagoa (com Debinha e Crass)

Cheguei à Lagoa e não a vi. Comecei a correr lentamente olhando para os lados quando ouvi: “Ei! Espera por mim!” Fiquei aliviado por tê-la encontrado e corremos poucos metros no sentido anti-horário até encontrar o Crass, meu cunhado, que também correria conosco. Mudamos de sentido e aumentamos o ritmo para algo em torno de 5:30 min. por km. E assim fomos, correndo, apreciando a paisagem e tirando fotos.

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Volta na Lagoa: Debinha e Crass me acompanhando.

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Vista da Lagoa.

Na altura do heliponto, vi alguém que parecia meu primo Bibigo. Gritei mas a pessoa não respondeu. Deixei pra lá, afinal de contas não tinha combinado de encontrá-lo. Quem eu procurava mesmo era o Rafa e o Ramon, irmão e primo da Marcele, minha esposa. Já chegando ao fim da volta na Lagoa, estranhei o fato de não encontrá-los e pedi ao Crass o telefone dele para checar o link para a app. Estava no blog, no facebook mas como já adiantei acima, não havia conexão e os dados não estavam sendo enviados. Não sei se o problema foi no aparelho ou com a operadora (Vivo) mas foi o único transtorno que tive durante a corrida.

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Percurso final e perfil de elevação. As estatísticas podem ser vistas aqui. Embaixo, o sinal enviado pelo meu celular para o acompanhamento em tempo real. Claramente fiquei sem conexão na primeira metade da corrida e também em uma parte da floresta. A partir do alto a culpa foi da bateria…

Deixei minha irmã e meu cunhado depois de uma volta completa e segui meu caminho. Olhei para a tenda dos Filhos do Vento, um grupo de corrida no Rio, e vi aquele mesmo cara que parecia meu primo. Aproximei-me e gritei: “Bibigo!!!” Era realmente ele. Nos abraçamos, pulamos, xingamos de alegria! Expliquei para ele o que eu estava fazendo e que a Debbie estava a poucos metros dali. Corremos juntos de volta ao ponto em que tinha deixado minha irmã, tiramos fotos e segui meu rumo sozinho.

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Acima: Eu, Debbie e Crass. Abaixo: Bibigo, eu e Debbie.

Da Lagoa até o Horto (com Rafa e Ramon)

Logo depois do Clube Monte Líbano fui surpreendido por Ramon e Rafael. Enfim haviam me encontrado! Apesar da minha falta de conexão, eles sabiam mais ou menos o horário que passaria na Lagoa e esperaram por mim. Corremos juntos ate o Clube Piraquê, ponto onde viraria à esquerda em direção ao Horto. Convidei-os a me acompanhar até onde quisessem já que não tínhamos nos encontrado a tempo de dar uma volta completa na Lagoa. E assim fomos rumo à subida, cruzando as ruas parcialmente fechadas devido ao evento de ciclismo. Na base da subida era novamente hora de despedir-me dos companheiros, agradecer pelo papo, pelo apoio e pelo alto astral. Ramon veio de Cachoeiras de Macacú no dia anterior só para a corrida. Obrigado Ramon e Rafa pela persistência em me encontrar!

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Esquerda topo: ainda incorformado, tentava ver o que havia de errado com o telefone. Esquerda abaixo: Ramon e eu. Direita: Rafa, eu e Ramon pouco antes de nos separarmos.

Eu a mata e a subida

De lá foi só pauleira: comecei minha jornada solitária rumo ao Cristo. É dificil descrever como me senti durante a subida. Adoro a floresta e sentia-me energizado, feliz e em casa. Em momento algum pensei no cansaço e até interpretava o som dos pássaros e dos macacos como gritos de apoio e encorajamento. Em muitos momentos a companhia dos animais era substituída pela presença das pessoas que ali estavam para observar o evento teste: os ciclistas subiriam pela Estrada das Canoas e desceriam por onde eu estava subindo. Devo agradecer aos voluntários, turistas e espectadores que tiraram fotos para mim e ouviam curiosos e surpresos a versão relâmpago da minha aventura.

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Vistas da floresta.

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Mapa com a dificuldade da subida. Enquanto subia notei que havia marcações com cores diferentes na estrada. Assumi que elas correspondiam ao grau de dificuldade no mapa mas, sinceramente, as partes marcadas de branco não me pareceram tão mais fáceis assim…

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Mais floresta. Eu juro que tinha um macaco bem ali quando tirei a foto da direita…

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Vista Chinesa.

Não havia sentido o joelho até chegar ao trecho de descida pouco depois do quilômetro 28. Senti um pouco mas apertei o passo para evitar a aterrisagem com o calcalnhar, tîpica de quem freia na descida, e que põe ainda mais estresse nos joelhos. Foi só um descomforto e na verdade a descida veio em boa hora. Já estava na casa dos 29 km e a quebra na subida me fez sentir ainda melhor. Cheguei à bifurcação onde à esquerda vai-se a São Conrado (de onde viriam os ciclistas) e à direita segue-se para a estrada do Alto e rumo ao Cristo. Fiquei tentado a esperar pelos atletas mas, segundo os voluntários, estavam ainda a uns 20 minutos daquele ponto. Segui pelo Alto e entrei na estrada que leva ao Corcovado. A trégua havia acabado e era hora de subir novamente. Pela primeira vez via o lado norte da cidade, o Maracanã e a ponte Rio-Niterói lá de cima. Contei com a boa vontade de pessoas que subiam a pé para tirar as fotos. Valeu pessoal!

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Esquerda: começo da segunda etapa da subida. Direita: vista do Maracanã e d aPonte Rio-Niterói.

Passei pela cancela na bifurcacao da Estrada Redentor e a Estrada do Sumaré e entrei em território bem familiar. Quando moravamos na Rua Alice em Laranjeiras, subi em diversas ocasiões até a Estrada das Paineiras e sabia que estava perto. A vista dali é sensacional e valeu algumas boas fotos. Minha água acabou no km 38 mas eu já estava me sentindo em casa e não me preocupei. Ainda passei por um cano de onde jorrava água e enfiei minha cabeça embaixo da fonte para refrescar. Meu último gole de água antes do fim, pensei.

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Vista nos últimos quilômetros.

Esses quilometros foram bem rápidos já que não havia mais subida e eu estava com aquela energia extra de quem sabe que falta pouco.Tirei várias fotos do Cristo para registrar minha aproximação da meta!

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A meta final vista de vários pontos da corrida.

Cheguei na bilheteria com cerca de 41 km e sabia que deveria subir mais. Pedi informação e indicaram a estrada de subida até a estátua. Foram os 2 km mais cruéis da corrida. Eu podia ver o Cristo e o calor e a sede começaram a pesar. Só pensava numa garrafa de água bem gelada naquele momento. Depois de mais de 43 km finalmente cheguei lá! Caminhei até a entrada e comprei meu ingresso. Caminhei sem muitas dificuldades por entre a multidão de turistas que faziam de tudo para desviar daquele ser suado que se misturava entre eles. Quem não conseguia desviar fazia uma cara de nojo mas eu não estava nem aí. Por mim eu saía abraçando e beijando todo mundo, tamanha a minha satisfação!

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Esquerda topo: entrada do trecho final de estrada para o Cristo. Demais fotos: precisa de legenda?

Encontrei, ou melhor, fui encontrado, pela Debbie, Crass e Joe que lá estavam fazia já algum tempo. Fiquei sabendo depois que o Rafa e o Ramon também foram até lá mas chegaram um pouco tarde. Aos pés da estátua recebi os parabéns em inglês de um turista que tinha me visto subindo a estrada. Tomei a tão sonhada água, tirei umas fotos, deixei mais alguns turistas enojados com meu suor e finalizei com uma lata de guaraná. Não fiquei muito tempo por lá porque tinhamos um almoço marcado. Os três iam descer de van mas meu ingresso nao dava direito ao transporte. Ao invés de comprar novo ingresso, resolvi descer correndo. Afinal de contas, pra descer todo santo ajuda! Não só desci como bati o recorde daquele trecho no Strava. Por essa eu nao esperava!

Fomos pra casa da minha irmã, tomei um banho e fomos comer comida mineira. Comi como há muito não comia e passei o resto da tarde tentando digerir aquilo tudo. A recuperação do almoço foi mais complicada que a recuperação da corrida! 😉

Foi tudo maravilhoso, o percurso, as pessoas que correram comigo e o almoço de celebração e despedida com os amigos e a família. A única coisa que poderia ter sido melhor foram as doações. Ainda fiquei abaixo do meu objetivo para a terceira maratona mas ainda há tempo para doar (tenho ainda 9 meses pela frente 🙂 ).

Agora é recuperar e planejar a de setembro.