Lombardia · milan

Stramilano 10km

The starting line, right by the Duomo, spectacular.

I am not a runner. It doesn’t come easily to me, nor do I particularly enjoy it, yet I ran 10km this weekend.

Running 10km to prove I could…
Why?

  • I’ve never run that far before, so I wanted to prove I could;
  • I’ve wanted to do a 10 km before, so I figured it would be fitting to have my first in my first love, Milan;
  • I’ve been totally lax with gyming recently, so I needed something to kick me up the butt and make me work out.

What’s the furthest you’ve run readers?!

So, back in October when I signed up to the Stramilano 10km, I figured that was plenty of time to train. What I hadn’t reckoned on was Capodanno (New Year in Italy – read twice my body weight in food), or taking on so many after work commitments that I was unable to go to running club.

And then before I knew it, it was the night before the race!

I’d already agreed to have friends around for lunch on the Sunday afternoon of the race, so did most of the prep on Saturday night. By the time I’d finished prepping, it was after midnight. In my head I figured that there would be another hour’s sleep since the clocks went back that evening, when actually, they went forward and I lost an hour!

So I set my alarm for 7.15, half intending to sleep through the alarm so I didn’t have to worry about the run, but actually woke up after a nightmare about the race just in time!

In the dream I’d arrived at the race with my mum and realised at the last minute that I had forgotten my trainers! So my mum went back to get them, but as she was gone I realised I’d also forgotten my race number, but by this time it was too late and I couldn’t run the race officially, so I set off running unofficially. I was near the end of the 10km and the last person in the race. The crowd were shouting my name, but behind I could see the organisers getting annoyed that I was the last and taking too long and that they wanted to clear out the track for the half marathoners that were coming up behind me (despite starting an hour later).

So I woke up completely anxious and went to check the time on my phone half hoping I’d slept through the alarm but unfortunately/fortunately, I was 5 minutes before the alarm was set to ring! So I decided that I should really go along.

After a light breakfast I made my way to Duomo to experience the start line. There was a brass band playing music to huge crowd plus the runners, and their finale was the Italian national anthem, that the crowd sang along to.

My before picture. Feeling pretty nervous at this point!

Then the canons were fired, and the race began. I ran down the side of the Galleria, following other numbered runners, and joined the main course route through a barrier. From there onward, it was 10km smooth sailing.

I’ve got to say that for a first 10km race, Milan was perfect. Not only is Milan the city of my dreams, but it’s absolutely flat, the perfect terrain for running!

So I began. Running. Along with thousands of others. Old, young, fat, thin, everyone took part. They were also ridiculously friendly, we were all in it together!

I got myself through this 10km, further than I’ve ever run before, by tricking my mind into doing it….or as some might call it, a “positive mental attitude”. In my head, before I started, I told myself that I just need to run the first 5km, since I know I can do that easily, and anything after that I could walk. Then once I got to 5 km, I knew that at 7km was a refreshment station, so I told myself to run until 7km, grab a drink, and then walk the rest. But then by the time I reached the refreshment station, I figured well I’m almost there, so I may as well run the rest of it. And with that mind trickery, I managed to trick myself into running the entire 10km!

That last km was the hardest, but also the most triumphant. I was tired, but being cheered on by the formula 1 mock up pit stop created at the entrance to the park and the last km. I was running on gravel, so it was much harder to go fast, but the end was in sight. So I stuck it out to the finish line and in the most Italian of finishes, I was handed my medal and free Parmesan Cheese. Bliss!

What joy seeing the finish line!!

If ever I’m going to run 10km again, I will expect the cheese at the end. It should be a given at every race. This could only have been beaten by maybe pizza.

I will also take a foldable shopping bag in my pocket, as along with the cheese were stands handing out free bread sticks, chocolate milk, tinned peas, tinned corn, shower gel, aloe vera drinks, crisps, and much more. I embraced my inner Yorkshire lass and gathered as much free goodies as I could carry, and took the metro home to finish cooking a 3 course meal with anitipasti. Hashtag housewifeextraordinare!

So as a race I would definitely recommend it mainly based on the fact that it’s flat. so a great intro to 10km. The route takes you around the centre, enjoying a lot of the most important sites, it definitely helped pass the time and kilometres faster watching all the passing monuments. They also had the half marathon (21km) that set off 1 hour after me. Maybe next year I need to sign up to that?! There’s definitely plenty of training time (yeah….I’ve heard that before!).

The after photo. Pretty sweaty, but bloody chuffed with myself. Hobbling a bit with blisters, but clutching proudly my medal and free chocolate milk!

Maybe it’s just my connection with Milan, but it does mean a lot that it was the place of my 1st 10km race, and although not much to the super runners out there, it does make me feel a bit invincible now. Maybe I’ve caught the running bug! Bring on the next half marathon!

Has anyone else been training for a big race coming up?

Do you have any tips on how I can now start to improve the speed of my running?

My medal. Proof I did it!
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