I ran my first 7k! Actually, I ran my first race in general.
Giovanni, Jillian, me, Chiara and Niccolo in our lovely shirts before the race.
I’ve never really been a runner. I tried liking it when I first met Erin and Danielle. They’d run with me and talk the entire time, trying to keep me distracted while I was trying to not pass out. That didn’t last long.
I tried liking it again a few years later, doing a “Couch to 5k” program Danielle sent me. I made it through the 10-week program, ran the equivalent of a 5k around Wash Park, then promptly stopped running.
When I moved to Chicago last summer, I started running more often. I can’t say I enjoyed it, but it was at least doable. It was a good excuse to enter the real world and take a break from my apartment during the workday. It’s also a whole lot easier to breath at 590 feet than 5,280 feet.
I’ve managed to go on several runs since being in Europe. It’s a free way to try and counteract the gelato, pasta, pizza and wine diet that I’ve been enjoying. And it’s an easy way to see a new city (thanks, Ana, for the tip!)
Chiara mentioned a 7k race she was doing with some friends and after Jillian said she’d do it, I figured why not? If I’m ever going to run a race, I might as well do it in Italy – you can’t beat that for your first one.
Jillian and I walked over to Parco del Valentino (almost getting run over by a tram on the way) and attempted to locate Chiara and the starting point of the race. We started seeing men in short shorts stretching – we figured we must be close. Then we spotted a sea of neon shirts and realized what we assumed to be a casual “fun run” was actually an intense 7k with 2600 runners!
Niccolo took this picture – look at that line of runners!
The energy was literally palpable. For the first 10-minutes, I forgot that I was even running as there was so much going on between the runners, those cheering and seeing a new park in a new city. We ran through Parco del Valentino, alongside the River Po and across several bridges, where the sun was starting to set, casting gorgeous shadows over the city. Definitely memorable!
And a beautiful sunset to cap it off. Please note: this was at 9:30pm.
I finished in 43 minutes, which I was quite pleased with! And out of the 1300 women, I placed 420th. Chiara and Jillian finished 86th and 87th for overall women – so impressive!
In the six weeks I’ve been in Europe, I’ve done some pretty amazing things. And to be completely honest, the run is towards the top. I’m so glad I agreed to do it, even if I was rather nervous about it!