lunedì 31 dicembre 2012

Fourth Day, the Freaking Volcano

Fourth day in Bali. The last one. The last day of 2012. The last day of my life, I believed for a while.

My name is Valerio, I'm a runner. And I suffer from vertigo. Heights freak me out. No idea why. Just happens.

I can remember the day it all started. I was 8 years old, in Stromboli, Eolian islands. On the volcano.

Since then I have been looking for volcanoes and mountains to climb. To heal.

You'll be surprised, but it never works. Keep freaking out, no matter what.

I wanted to climb Bali's volcano. To see the sunrise from the top. Most of all, to prove I can do it anyway.

My friends didn't come. I tried to convince them: "let's wake up at 2, start climbing at 4, to see the sunrise at 6". Crazy people, why they decided to sleep until 10 instead?

The guide, Waiyan, is a very nice guy. Very patient. He'll need to be with me.

The trekking starts at 3.45. Easy path but no moon or stars. You can see below a picture of the view at 4.30. It's the black one.

We need to use a torch, nothing's enlightened but the ground before our feet.

To climb is easy. I feel comfortable. No idea what's going on around. I don't bother even the dog climbing with us, uninvited.

Suddenly we're up. At the top. 1700m above the sea, 800m above the starting point. It's 4.45 am. Still hard to see around for the darkness. But it's possible to understand that we are facing the most amazing show of Bali's nature. A view like no one else. Cold lava, a huge lake surrounded by volcanoes, villages, plantations. All before us. We're freaking high. And I am freaking out.

I tell Waiyan for the first time that I suffer from vertigo. He lights his fifth sigarette of the day and offers me one. "No, thanks", I reply.

We arrive at the camp where his friends are cooking food for all of us. They've been there since 3. We are the first group, other 30 people are coming. But I don't want to see the view.

Instead, I stay with Waiyan and his friends in the kitchen. We have a lot in common: they saw the volcano so many times. I saw myself acting like a frightened child so many times.

I eat and light my first sigarette after ages. It's 5.30 when I go out of the kitchen. The sun is coming out, slightly. Sunrise is expected at 6, dawn is upon us.

We now can see better the lake, the villages, the other volcanoes. Even Lombok, an island as big as Bali, far far away. Better go inside.

We talk and laugh. It starts raining. Good, the path back will also be slippery.

6, the sunrise. The view is spectacular. I ask Waiyan to see the crater, the smokes of the volcanoes, and to go the hell out of there.

Waiyan never makes a move. Always calm, always easy. I see the crater, going down for 300 meter.

Everything around is pure nature's power.

He pours me a second sigarette. We smoke together. Then we start going back down.

I can clearly see the 800m we climbed.

Surprisingly I feel better than usual. Who knows what they put in those cigarettes.

First 100m down I'm still frightened, holding Waiyan's hand most of the time.

But the more we walk, the more I get confident. Suddenly I can walk alone. Easy. Fast. No more fear, like a normal person.

We reach another group and a girl is still holding the hand of her guide. Pff, what a pussy.

Waiyan does never make a move. He asks me to take pictures of me. And I can easily stand with the void on my back. I can also take pictures.

We reach the ground and I'm willing to go up again. Already looking forward to the next volcano to climb. I will probably freak out again. But it will be less.

Like the philosopher Rocky Balboa once said: "If I can change, and you can change, then all the world can change".

Happy new year.

domenica 30 dicembre 2012

Third Day, Sunrise Kingdom

Slight reference to Moonrise Kingdom, the best movie you can see in 2012. Hurry up, no much time left to watch it in 2012.

Third day in Bali.

The alarm clock rang at 5.30 this morning. Nothing compared to tomorrow, but we will see that tomorrow.

Busy busy day.

7k run along the coast. Federico and I amazed by the sunrise. Our sight went through the beach uncovered by the low tide, fishermen, reef, open sea, and, finally, the horizon waiting for its king.

After a deserved breakfast we moved to Kuta, the famous beach for surf beginners and drunks. We opted for being surf beginners.

One hour with instructor (two instructions: paddle, up) and boards so big that we could eat there in ten. Nobody could fall from such big boards. Nobody but me and Seba, Federico's brother.

I tell you, I'm not a surfer.

After provoking the laughs of everyone around, we managed to boost our self confidence with a couple of good waves. So boosted, I opted for using the small board, for trained surfers. I think the waves weren't big enough. That or I can't surf. The waves, for sure.
Excited like never for our two good waves, we later showed the beach what Italians do better. Ok, second thing Italians do better: playing football.

Federico, Seba and I against Indonesia in the toughest football match on the beach that Bali remembers.

From lame surfers we became professional football players of Serie A (that's what we told to the kids asking for autographs). And to the fifteen years old guys we beated hard.

Day's almost over, time to have dinner and go to sleep early.

Tomorrow, 31 December 2012, I'm waking up at 1.45 a.m..

Tomorrow's the big day. We'll get there tomorrow.


sabato 29 dicembre 2012

Second Day, the Day of the Shit

It can be a shitty day without running.

Our tour of Bali started at 8.30 in the morning. We went to Ubud a city in Central Bali.

Tours in South East Asia are ran by drivers. You rent a car, or a tuk tuk. And they come with the driver. Either this or you die in a car accident at the first turn of these crazy roads.

Drivers earn money from you, and from the places where you spend money (food, souvenir shops, museums).

Induced places are usually nice, especially for you that come from far far away. But if you want to do something you want to do, you need to avoid drivers' tricks.

For example, we wanted to trek around Ubud, at least for a bit. We managed to do our first trekking.

Light trekking for an hour and a half, visiting temples on the way and taking pictures of the shining rice terraces.

The second one became a walk in the shopping streets of Ubud.

The third one was a pleasant walk in the Monkey Forrest. Impressive mangroves, a couple of temples and myriads of crazy monkeys.

In between there was the Neka museum of contemporary Balinese art. (you can see below the "Where's Wally" style painting).

We managed to avoid the Balinese paintings shop. But not the wooden craftsmanship.

Our happy ending is called Luwak Coffee. We visited a typical Balinese coffee plantation (with annexed shop, of course). Luwak Coffee shows how far mankind can go. Some lunatic-drug-user-visionary man thought to feed weasels with coffee beans. He then took the shit, cleaned it, toasted the beans and created an expensive blend of coffee: Luwak Coffee.

We drunk Luwak Coffee. Shitty coffee. That marked my day as the shitty day.

Surprise surprise, the coffee was good. As it was the day. Sometimes who puts you in the shit makes you a favour. That was the case. Thanks for the shit, man!!

venerdì 28 dicembre 2012

First Day, First Run

So, 28 December 2012, the first day of this trip around South East Asia (Singapore-Bali-Kuala Lumpur-Penang-Bangkok-Chiang Mai-Singapore). The second day actually, as we arrived on 27.

We are staying in Bali, Senur, the quiet area for families. Not many chicks, unfortunately. WE is me, Federico (my old friend from Trento) his brother and their parents.

The beach is so close we can feel the sea breeze. Along the beach there is a path, looking on luxurious villas, Hindu temples and the beautiful traditional Bali boats. Do you see what I see? Of course not, you're not in Bali (UAH UAH UAH). Yes, we gotta run here.

Federico and I woke up at 6.20, willing to see the sunrise. Senur is in the eastern coast of Bali. Unfortunately the sun was already up and shining at 6.30. We came back from our 7k red like lobsters.

The late morning is for some swimming. Beautiful beach, nothing to say. But I still haven't found a better place than Milazzo, my home town in Sicily. And we do not have sea snakes like in Bali.

Easy hiking in the afternoon. Hindu temple on a cliff, full of monkeys and tourists. Guess who's more annoying? Yeah, right, it's me: a tourist jumping around like a monkey.

Sunset from the temple, grilled fresh fish dinner and sleep. Tomorrow trekking around rice terraces. Life can be harsh in Bali, I know.

P.s. I'm using an app for Android. Pictures are uploaded "ad minchiam" (trans. not in order). Sorry for the inconvenience.

martedì 25 dicembre 2012

Natale a Singapore

No, non è un film dei Vanzina. Sono a Singapore. Di nuovo. Nel senso che sono stato a Milano per un mese (di grandi passioni).

(questa foto non c'entra nulla col post. Volevo ringraziare i 281 amicici che con il loro "mi piace" hanno reso la foto la più votata del calendario della Milano City Marathon. Dati ancora non ufficiali, cliccare QUI per vedere i voti)

Sono tornato a Singapore per Natale per una serie di ragioni.

La prima è che sono riuscito a incontrare (anche se per poco) persone fantastiche del master, che non rivedrò per molto tempo. Tornando a gennaio le avrei perse.

La seconda è che Singapore è nel sud-est asiatico. Stupiti, vi vedo stupiti. Singapore non è in Cina. Si trova esattamente sull'Equatore. A 3 ore di distanza da Bali, a 3 ore da Bangkok. Iniziate a immaginare di che cosa sto parlando.

Dopodomani parto per Bali. Con un amico trentino che non vedevo da tanto. Lui gira il mondo come professore universitario (c'ha un anno in meno di me, st'infamone!!). Ieri era qui e abbiamo corso a McRitchie.

Non è un amico qualsiasi. Ci incontrammo il primo anno di università, a Trento. Per tre anni sempre insieme. Poi si trasferì, nell'ordine, a Bologna, Fiesole, Delft. Ma appena si può, ci ritroviamo come se non fosse passato un giorno.

Non è un amico qualsiasi per un altro motivo. Corse la maratona di New York nel novembre 2008. A quel tempo non potevo camminare, convalescente dall'operazione ai legamenti crociati. La sua passione per quella gara mi spinse a cominciare a correre, e a correre maratone. Se scrivo adesso su Piovono Runners è quindi colpa sua.

Nella migliore delle tradizioni, il nostro incontro è stato seguito da una corsa. McRitchie Reservoir, 11,5km intorno al lago.
(nella foto: MacRitchie Reservoir. E' più bello di come sembra)

La vigilia l'abbiamo passata separati. Lui con la sua famiglia, appena arrivata da Trento. Io con una ventina di colombiani e qualche collega rimasto qui. Ballato, cantato, bevuto, mangiato.

Dopodomani, 27 dicembre, siamo a Bali (Indonesia). Mentre saremo lì passeremo un giorno a Lombok, per salire al vulcano.
(nella foto: Bali e Lombok)

L'1 gennaio parto in solitaria alle 6 di mattina per Kuala Lumpur (Malesia), da dove mi sposterò subito a Penang (Malesia) via bus. Dopo qualche giorno andrò a Bangkok (Thailandia). 1146km da percorrere in autobus e/o treno.
(nella foto: Penang e Bangkok)

Poi salirò più a nord, a Chiang Mai. Altri 746km, bus o treno. Da lì mi sposterò con ogni mezzo a disposizione nella zona, fino al 12 gennaio.
(nella foto: Bangkok e Chiang Mai)

Unici biglietti certi: Singapore-Bali, Bali-Kuala Lumpur, Chiang Mai-Singapore.

Perché questo post?

Beh, in primis per suscitare un po' di invidia a tutti quelli che stanno schiattando dal freddo mentre leggono (UAH UAH UAH).

In secundiis perché così sapete dove cercare il mio corpo quando non mi troveranno: nel deposito del ghiaccio o in un ascensore bloccato di un albergo da due soldi di Bangkok (cit. colta).

In tertiis, e soprattuttiis, perché cercherò di correre lungo il viaggio, e di aggiornare Piovono Runners in diretta. Cioè non proprio in diretta, ma quando avrò a disposizione una connessione internet e un po' di tempo lo farò. Parola di lupetto.

Buon Natale da Piovono Runners!!

venerdì 26 ottobre 2012

Run tints my world

Dear Ms Nike,
Our shining smiles did overcome your anonymous t-shirt.

Cara Signora Nike,
I nostri raggianti sorrisi hanno annichilito la Sua anonima maglietta.
(in the picture: the fab five)

But I keep thinking that coloured is better.
Ma sono ancora convinto che a colori è meglio.
(in the picture: the fab five after the race)

As per the race. It didn't go as expected. Better.

From the left:

Riccardo closed it in 54 minutes and 48 seconds. We betted he could run under 1 hour. He owes me an ice cream now.

Soonpeel closed it in 54 minutes and 32 seconds. He had never run 10k. He actually never run before coming to Singapore. And he did it, in less than 55 minutes!!! This is a serious man.

Christina closed it in 1 hour, 6 minutes and 9 seconds. Stronger than any ache to her knees. Her first race. Never run over 5k. Promoter and supporter of the group, best smile of the race. She owes me an ice cream too.

I closed it in 41 minutes and 21 seconds. Way over the planned 39 minutes and something. On my defence: a) we arrived late and I started at the end, lot of people to pass; b) at 6th k I had to stop 1 minute for... physiological needs; c) I ran all the time with t-shirt and singlet, d) I ran outta gas; e) I had a flat tire; f) I didn't have enough money for cab fare; g) My tux didn't come back from the cleaners; h) An old friend came in from outta town; i) Someone stole my car; j) There was an earthquake, a terrible flood, locust's. It wasn't my fault!! I swear to God!!

Julia closed it in 1 hour 3 minutes and 9 seconds. Way faster she claimed to be. She was the first one I met after the race. She probably had never seen me that happy.


Almost forgot. How did it go with Nike? We all had to wear the Nike t-shirt, right? Well, art. 12 ordered to wear their tee. Not to show it... Lawyered!
Quasi dimenticavo. Com'è andata a finire con la Nike? Tutti dovevamo indossare la maglietta Nike, giusto? Beh, l'art. 12 ordinava di indossare quella maglia. Non di mostrarla... Lawyered!

(in the picture: lawyered!!)

Fight for your right... party

(in the picture: coloured is better)

[The post on Nike Werun will be out in 6 hours. See you later]
[Il racconto della Nike Werun arriva tra 6 ore. A tra 'n pochetto]

giovedì 18 ottobre 2012

Sconcerti - Conte - Farina - Juve cacca

No, scusate. So che è un blog di corsa. So che tutti aspettano notizie sulla gara di domenica. Quella della maglietta della Nike per intenderci.

E' che ho appena aperto il sito del Corriere. Domani ho un esame, sono già nervoso di mio. Più del solito quantomeno. Cercavo di rilassarmi guardando sulla colonna di destra le poppe di qualche modella russa. Quand'ecco che mi imbatto in questo post di Sconcerti. "Conte, dopo Farina, è due volte eroe".

Lo so, non dovrei parlare di calcio qui. Mi permetto di farlo solo perché si tratta di smerdare la Juve. Non tutta la Juve, solo quella dei personaggi tristi alla Sconcerti, Moggi & Co.. So che Cristiano (cuore granata) e Carletto (fede rossonera, ahimè nessuno è perfetto) non se la prenderanno troppo.

In realtà non si tratta di smerdare la Juve. Solo Sconcerti.

Sconcerti accosta Farina a Conte. E sostiene che Conte è eroe due volte.

Riassumo brevemente alcuni passaggi della triste vicenda del calcio scommesse. Farina era un giocatore del Gubbio, squadra di serie zeta. Gli avevano offerto 200.000 euro per truccare una partita. Ha rifiutato e ha denunciato chi aveva tentato di corromperlo. Farina guadagnava 50.000 euro all'anno, ed era chiaro all'epoca che non avrebbe mai fatto carriera. Dopo calcio scommesse Farina viene chiamato da Prandelli, allenatore della nazionale di calcio, a fare il giretto con la nazionale. Tornato dalla vacanza scopre che il Gubbio non lo vuole più in squadra, e che nessuna squadra di serie zeta è disposto a farlo giocare. Chissà, magari nel frattempo si era anche scassato la uallera di tirare calci a un pallone, con-tutto-sto-schifo-che-c'è-dietro. E' finito ad allenare i pulcini dell'Aston Villa, prestigiosa squadra di Londra. Che sputaci sopra. Ed ha avuto anche la benedizione di Gramellini su La Stampa.

Conte è l'attuale allenatore della Juventus. Non dovrebbe esserlo, in quanto sospeso perché condannato dalla "giustizia sportiva". Ebbene sì, esiste la "giustizia sportiva". E' una condanna su cui si può discutere (per dire, non come Calciopoli). Ma è una condanna. Conte avrebbe saputo che altri stavano truccando una partita del Siena, squadra che allenava, e non avrebbe denunciato il fatto. L'illecito si chiama "omessa denuncia". Conte contesta, ovviamente, tutto quanto. "Io non so niente, non avevo idea di quello che stava succedendo, che dovevo denunciare?". Bene.

Sconcerti, è bene precisarlo in anticipo, scrive sul Corriere della Sera. E' un giornalista e scrive sul Corriere della Sera. Ripeto, il Corriere della Sera. Lo ripeto così, perché ex-milanese ed ex-aspirante giornalista, considero il Corriere un'istituzione. Il Corriere della Sera.

Sconcerti scrive, in buona sostanza, che Farina è "un infame". E che il calcio italiano è "mafioso". Che in Italia tutti (chi?) hanno escluso (da che?) l'infame, e l'infame se n'è andato in Inghilterra. Alla fine gli è andata anche bene (sottinteso, a sto pirla di un infame).

Che Conte è un eroe. Due volte eroe.

Farina era uno sfigato qualsiasi, Conte era Conte. Già mega giocatore della Juve. Allenatore rampante. Sticazzi di Farina e dell'Aston Martin. Conte non può certo denunciare che truccano le partite della sua squadra. Farina non ha carriera, non ha futuro. Conte sì, epperbacco!

Quindi, secondo Sconcerti, Conte sapeva. Conte non ha denunciato. Quindi? Conte ha commesso un illecito sportivo? No.

"[Conte è] due volte eroe: per aver taciuto e per aver scontato una pena che a questo punto non meritava."

Da siciliano, mi sovviene un accostamento tra chi paga il pizzo e chi no. Uso la similitudine perché Sconcerti si permette di usarla. Mi rendo conto che che sto scrivendo una filippica su una scurreggia.

Ebbene, capisco "umanamente" chi paga il pizzo. Ma se qualcuno, un giornalista, sul Corriere della Sera (sul Corriere della Sera!!!), definisce chi paga il pizzo, chi non denuncia, chi omette, un eroe, ho una e una sola reazione.

Ma va a ciapà i ratt!!!

[a futura memoria gl'ho fatto lo scrin sciot - QUI l'articolo sul Corriere]

lunedì 15 ottobre 2012

Cara Signora Nike

Non sono uno dei Suoi fan più fedeli. Solo un semplice utente dei Suoi prodotti per la corsa. Apprezzo alcuni tessuti che Lei usa per le magliette e le canotte. Ho alcune calze, e un paio di pantaloncini da corsa. Guanti, che chiaramente non posso usare a Singapore. Nessuna lamentela riguardo ai Suoi prodotti. Quelli che ho sono eccellenti.

Ma in questo momento sono molto molto contrariato nei Suoi confronti.

Mi sono registrato per la Nike We Run SG. Come Lei sa, è una corsa di 10km. Ci sono gare dello stesso genere in altri paesi. In Italia Lei usa la Deejay Ten per questi fini. In Malaysia si chiama Nike We Run KL.

Sono contento che Lei promuova questi eventi. Introducono le persone alla corsa, e ciò è un bene.

Signora Nike, voglio che Lei sappia che sono molto felice per questa corsa. Probabilmente arriverò in uno stato di forma decente, e finalmente romperò il muro dei 10km in 40 minuti. Ma ciò che mi rende davvero felice è che quattro amici che vivono a Singapore correranno con me. E non hanno mai corso in una gara.

Signora Nike, sono profondamente contrariato. La scorsa domenica ho prelevato il pacco gara al punto di ritiro. Dentro al pacco c'era una maglietta della gara. Era tutta nera, con sottili strisce giallo fluorescente alle estremità. E ho letto per la prima volta che tutti i partecipanti DEVONO indossare la maglietta. Era scritto anche nel regolamento della gara. Regola 12 del Regolamento, non l'avevo notata prima.

Signora Nike, questa sarà la mia quinta gara a Singapore, da maggio 2012, quando mi sono trasferito qui. Fin qui, ho indossato con orgoglio la canotta della Fondazione De Marchi. La Fondazione De Marchi è una onlus italiana, legata alla omonima clinica pediatrica. Aiutano famiglie con bambini che hanno dovuto subire pesanti trattamenti sanitari  (ad esempio per la leucemia). Rendono la vita dei bambini in ospedale molto molto molto più piacevole. Dovrebbe vedere come hanno trasformato la clinica, Signora Nike. Correre e raccogliere fondi per la Fondazione De Marchi è un piacere e un onore.

Non correrò la Nike We Run SG indossando la canotta della Fondazione De Marchi. Ciò a causa della Regola 12, Signora Nike.

Ma il vero problema è un altro. Perché non è consentito ai podisti di indossare i loro colori preferiti?

Molti di loro avrebbero indossato la maglietta nera in ogni caso. Molti avrebbero indossato i Suoi prodotti rossi, gialli, arancioni, blu, rosa, Signora Nike. Ma 20mila  persone indosseranno lo stesso colore, nero.

Podisti anonimi. Nessun colore, nessuna differenza, nessuna felicità. Solo magliette nere. E' questo ciò che vuole, Signora Nike?

Signora Nike, i miei amici ed io, noi, saremo felici in ogni caso. Saremo diversi. I nostri raggianti sorrisi annichiliranno la Sua anonima maglietta. E mi dispiace che i suoi piccoli aiutanti di Singapore non capiscano questo: le differenze arricchiscono.

Dear Ms Nike

I am not your biggest fan, but a decent consumer of your products for running. I like some of the fabrics you use for making t-shirts and singlets. I have some of your socks, and a pair of running shorts. Gloves, that I clearly cannot use in Singapore. Nothing to complain with your products, the ones I have are excellent.

But right now I am very very disappointed of you.

I registered for the Nike We Run SG. As you know, it is a 10k run. There are equivalent races in many other countries. In Italy you use Deejay Ten. In Malaysia it is Nike We Run KL.

I am glad that you organize such events. They bring people to running, and that is good.

Ms Nike, I want you to know that I am very happy about this race. I will probably arrive in a decent shape, and finally break the wall of 10k in 40 minutes. But the thing that makes me really happy is that four other friends who live in Singapore are running with me. They have never run a race.

Ms Nike, I am so deeply disappointed. Last Saturday I picked my pack at the collection point. Inside the pack there was the race t-shirt. It was all black, with tiny fluo yellow strips in the borders. And I read for the first time that all the participants MUST wear that t-shirt. It was also on the rules of the race. Rule 12 of the Rules and Regulation, I hadn't noticed it before.

Ms Nike, this is going to be my fifth race in Singapore, since May 2012, when I moved here. So far, I have proudly worn the singlet of Fondazione De Marchi. Fondazione De Marchi is an Italian charity, linked to the pediatric clinic of the same name. They help families with kids who have to go through heavy medical treatments (e.g. for leukemia). They make the life of kids in hospital much much much more pleasant. You should see how they transformed the clinic, Ms Nike. To run and fundraise for Fondazione De Marchi is a pleasure and a honour.

I will not run Nike We Run SG wearing the singlet of Fondazione De Marchi. Because of your Rule 12, Ms Nike.

But the real problem is another one. Why runners are not allowed to wear their favourite colors? Many of them would have worn your black t-shirt anyway. Many would have worn your red, yellow, orange, blue, pink products, Ms Nike. But 20 thousand people will wear the same color, black.

Anonymous runners. No colors, no diversity, no happiness. Only black t-shirts. Is that what you want, Ms Nike?

Ms Nike, my friends and I, we will be happy anyway. We will be different. Our shining smiles will overcome your anonymous t-shirt. And I am sorry that your little helpers in Singapore do not understand this. Diversity makes us richer.

domenica 30 settembre 2012

Sweatman Run

I woke up at 5.30 this morning. Sunday morning. Yes, I know, too late. But the race started at 7.30 this morning. Always Sunday morning.

(to embed Sunday Morning here was too easy)

Races in Singapore usually start at 7. Sometimes even at 5.15. The reason is clear for anyone who's ever just passed by Singapore. Heat. Always. And when it's heat plus sun, you'd better stay in a mall or in a house with on going air conditioned.

This race started at 7.30. They decided to do so. This race is the Mizuno Passion Wave Run. 16k, all around Mount Faber, highest Singapore hill.

This race was all the time under the sun. Plus heat.

We gathered 15 minutes before the start. By "we" I mean the guys who decided to wake up at 5.30 and gather at 7.15, 15 minutes before the start of the race. Bad choice. In 15 minutes I lost all the liquids I had been saving since the night before. All. Soy-milk, litres of water, isotonic drink. All moved from the inside to the outside.

The speaker shouts "start" and we start. As usual I start fast. But less fast than usual. Legs and arms are still stiff for the Friday work out. Never work out on the fridays before the race, unless you want to become a Strong Man. (Here's how: "To Be a Strong Man").

After 5k my pace slows down. Down down down. I start thinking to keep AT LEAST a pace of 4m10s per k. Then 4m15s per k. Then 4m20s per k. Then 4m25s per k. Then 4m30s per k. Then I close a k in 4m40s. And I decide not to bother anymore about the pace.

Around 10k I stop. Suddenly. A policeman makes me stop. "You need to wait for the traffic light". What?!?!? "It's Unbelievable! Never Happened in a Race!! Outrageous!!!". I think. To waste liquids by speaking isn't a good idea. Not to mention the time I would waste by going to jail. 50 seconds later we can start again.

Around 13k another traffic light. I start shouting 100m before. The policeman hears and stops the cars. "Thanks". I've been in a terrific shape. The guy I've tried to chase for 13k is so close. I cannot risk to loose him by waiting for the traffic light!

I pay that shout. The throat is dry. The same cannot be said about the clothes. And the shoes. A sweatman running.

1,5k left. I don't know where, but I find enough energy to push. I pass the guy 500m before the end. Retro-running. Arrival. Food. Water. Isotonic drink.

16k in 1 hour 8 minutes 48 seconds. 4m21s per k, considering also the time I stood still.

No traffic light can stop us!! (more than required)

(the smile of a rehydrated man)

sabato 29 settembre 2012

To Be a Strong Man

How do you become a strong man? That's a question I was asked many times.

The first thing is eating. A strong man needs a lot of energy. Eat at least four raw eggs in the morning, 1kg meatball spaghetti  for lunch, and a steak for dinner (better is beefsteak Florentine style). Every day. If you don't like eggs you can have a steak also for breakfast.

If you want to be a strong man you need to train hard. There's no easier way to get there. Two to four hours of daily work out are required. A strong man needs to suffer and suffer and suffer and suffer. You don't like the atmosphere of gyms? Cut logs, push carts, lift people, try to chase a chicken. Better if you do it in Philadelphia. Or in Russia.

If you want to be a strong man you need to look like a strong man. Shave your legs, arms and chest. Use a mirror and train until you reach the perfect fierce dumb look. Never forget to oil up your body.
(a little more oil would help)

You don't want to become a strong man? you may always consider to become a Strongman Runner.

You run as usual, you do some work out from time to time. You go to the Fisherman's Friend Strongman Run and leave with fun, bruises and stories to tell. There's one in Italy, today 29 September. A lot of friends of Piovono Runners are going. 18k run with 24 obstacles.

There's one in Germany, one in France, one in Switzerland, one in Belgium, one in The Netherlands. If you are in Europe you can easily be a Strongman Runner. If you are in Singapore, well, you can just be a Strong Man. Where's my oil?

(Once we were Strongman Runners)

domenica 9 settembre 2012

Back to the Future

Back in 1992: "kid, one day you'll wait for a bus in Singapore at 3.30 a.m. in order to run 21k" "Sure, why not?"

Back in 1995: "kid, one day you'll catch a bus at 3.45 a.m. in Singapore, and it will be full of people dressed like you" "Come on!"

Back in 1999: "boy, one day you'll publicly spread vaseline on your genitals without any shame" "Man, you're gross!"

Back in 2002: "boy, one day you'll start and complete a half marathon before the cock crows" "Why should I do such a stupid thing?!"

Back in 2005: "man, one day you'll run the Singaporean Army half marathon, where each squad organizes refreshment and collateral events" "Peace and love, bro"

Back in 2008: "man, one day you'll hear a woman screaming to cheer you during the race, but that is a soldier of the Singaporean Army" "What did you smoke bro?"

Back in 2010: "man, one day you'll turn a corner, 5.50 a.m. in Singapore, and you'll see Indian dancers and fire-eaters" "And where are the elves?"

Back in 2011: "man, one day you'll finish a half marathon in Singapore as the top 30 over 10,000 participants" "Has someone cut their legs?"

Back in March 2012: "man, this year you'll run a half marathon over 1h30m" "Are you kidding? I'm faster than that!!"

Back in May 2012: "man, this year you'll run a half marathon in Singapore under 1h35m" "Shut up and pass the booze!"

Anytime after 2010: "man, one day you'll finish a half marathon in retro-running and waving a flag" "That I believe"

True story.
(in the picture: sunrise in Singapore)