We met in a café as the sun was already low in the afternoon sky. M and I had not seen each other since August, and unfortunately due to my busy work schedule, there was only limited time on this visit, as well. We immediately began to make the most of the time available to us, though, and barely remembered to say goodbye to the barista as we chattered our way out. Although we found several hours every evening for long talks and belly laughs, reflections on the past and a session of scrolling though embarrassing university photographs, we had our most time together on Sunday. What did we chose to do with it? You guessed it. We entered a race.
M and I have been racing together since we started living together in 2012. I think the first race we might have planned as a team was actually a November Mud Run, which was terribly cold, and far more wet than muddy. She’s always been faster than me, and recently she’s taken to beating me at long distances as well, running several half marathons, sometimes in back-to-back weeks. So we decided that the half taking part in Torino would be a fun way to crown her visit.
This decision really tested our Italian skills. Because of flooding two weeks previously, I was inundated with emails from the organisers. First they warned of changes to the course. Then they cancelled the run. Then they gave us the option to change courses. Then the run was back on again… In the end we arrived to collect our race numbers with absolutely no idea what distance we were going to be tackling the next day.
We found our numbers in the half marathon pile, only to face a new dilemma: did we have medical certificates to prove we were fit enough to run? The answer being no, the Italian organisers launched into a five minute explanation of one simple fact- unlike in the UK where you can run after providing a statement assuming all responsibility for your actions, in Italy the organiser you must provide a doctors certificate. We nodded politely and hmmed in all the right places as they gestured and repeated themselves, desperate to make sure that we understood that this was nothing personal. Finally they got around to the solution: change your race and do the 10km, which does not require any certificate.
And so, secretly relieved because we both felt unprepared for a half, we changed our registration again and left the race village significantly less worried about the following day. Nonetheless, we headed to bed at a reasonable time, hoping for good weather and fast legs. In the end neither really materialised. Neither of us ran bad races and the weather was the right kind of cool, but the sun hid away and the city remained veiled in a layer of cloud. The route along the river and through the park seemed to make M happy enough, and the pizza reward was definitely a big hit!
Within hours we were already plotting our next attempt… there are so many other races to run… perhaps in my beloved UK?