MARATHON OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS (XXXI) – Athens 2004: STEFANO BALDINI (1971-)

”It was an unbelievable sensation, because Panathinaiko is the story of the marathon.”

Stefano Baldini

Once again, the men´s marathon would mark the end of the Summer Olympics, on August 29, 2004. As with the women´s event the marathon was following the route from the 1896 Olympics, starting on the site of the Battle of Marathon and finishing in the Panathenaic Stadium, in Athens.

Luckily for the guys, weather conditions were milder than one week earlier, when the ladies endured temperatures above 35°C for the victory of Japanese Mizuki Noguchi. The 101 runners in the start line knew what to expect.

But the field was one of the strongest ever: 14 men have broken 2.08 and another 14 the 2.09! Among them competing for Kenya was the World Record holder Paul Tergat (2.04.55). Besides them, the powerful teams, with 3 runners each and PBs below 2.08 were Spain (Julio Rey, Antonio Peña y José Ríos) and Japan (Tomoaki Kunichika, Shigeru Aburaya and Toshinari Suwa).

Regarding Baldini, he was born in Castelnovo di Sotto, in a large family of 11 children. He run since early, specializing in the 5000 and 10000 metres. Debuted in the marathon distance in 1995 in Venice, where he finished 6th in 2.11.01. Nevertheless, he kept running the 5000 and 10000 metres, representing Italy in the Olympics of Atlanta 1996, although with no success. In 1997 he focused on the marathon, finishing 3rd in NY and 2nd in London, becoming European Champion one year later. He run the marathon in Sidney 2000, although he did not finish. His luck was better in the World Marathon Championships, where he finished 3rd in 2001 and 2003. He was experienced enough to try his luck once again in Athens.

The race starts with Khalid El Boumlili of Morrocco running away. His lead is 10s in the first mile. With a personal best of 2.10.49, no one worries about him and gets back to the pack shortly after the second mile. Everyone seems to be saving energy. The 10k is crossed in 31.54, with Vanderlei de Lima (Brasil), José Ríos and Gang Han (China) in the front, and other 60 runners within 9s.

At a relatively easy pace the pack keeps mostly together. Only the South African Hendrick Ramaala tries his luck, gaining a lead of 20s, although he is caught before the 20k. It is crossed in 1.03.54 with de Lima in the lead, who starts to build up distance. His lead is 12s at the half marathon point, with a big pack of 30 runners behind.

De Lima´s attack start removing rivals from the pack. His lead is 35s at the 25k and 46s at the 30k (1.35.03). Despite the efforts of the pursuing pack the distance only increases.

With no much distance left Baldini, Tergat and Keflezighi (US) leave the pack and increase the pace chasing De Lima. The race seems down to four runners, with Tergat maybe the most dangerous contender.

Getting to the 35k the unexpected: a bystander grapples De Lima. Thanks to the efforts of a spectators he is quickly released, but losing a precious time and what is worse, his pace and focus. Meanwhile, in the pursuing trio, Tergat starts falling back.

With 3 kilometres to go Baldini leaves Keflezighi and surpasses De Lima, reaching the 40k (2.04.49), with 10s over Keflizighi and 18s ahead of De Lima, who has fallen to third. Baldini looks strong and a step over his rivals.

Finally, Baldini grabs the gold with 2.10.55 while Keflezighi gets the silver (2.11.29) and De Lima settles for bronze (2.12.11). Another victory for Italy in the Olympic Marathon after Gelindo Bordin in Seoul 1988.

What would have been the results without the incident involving de Lima? Nobody knows, although he didn´t complain and was happy with his result. His sportsmanship was awarded with a Pierre de Coubertin medal, a special honour for his fair play and Olympic values.

Regarding Baldini, he was European Champion in Gothenburg in 2006, and was back to the Olympic Marathon in Beijing 2008, where he finished 12th. That would be his last marathon.

On the personal side we had the chance to run once with him, in the 2001 Madrid Millenium Marathon, which he won (2.09.59), in a race organised to say goodbye to the legendary Spanish marathoners Martin Fiz and Abel Antón.

Thanks for reading.

Next, we will focus on the marathon Olympic Champions of Beijing 2008.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stefano_Baldini

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athletics_at_the_2004_Summer_Olympics_%E2%80%93_Men%27s_marathon

http://www.marathonguide.com/news/exclusives/Olympics2004/MensOlympicsMarathonRace.cfm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Summer_Olympics

Panathenaic Stadium

ULTRA TRAIL CAMINHOS DO TEJO (12/06/2021, PT)

Landscape

Last year, after the first lockdown and in the absence of official races, I considered running from Lisbon to Fatima following the pilgrims’ route. To do so I had divided the 144k distance into 4 affordable stages, with Lisbon as the centre of operations. Finally, I discarded it for fear with the whole “Covid situation”.

However, in 2021 the opportunity came back at the last minute, with the Ultra Trail Caminhos do Tejo. The “short” distance of 57k, would start from Santarém to reach Fátima, with a 10h time limit and 2 UTMB points at stake. With 1000m of D+ and 760m of D- is enough. The “long” option with the whole route, of 144k and 22h time limit (5 UTMB points) seemed too much.

After arriving to Santarém, a short walk takes me to the starting area. The runners of the 144k race have a refreshment station there.  Starting on the evening of the previous day they have already run 87k, and their faces show the effort.

The 20 participants of the 57k leave at 9.00, in 2 small batches. It is already more than 20⁰C and the sky is clear, with a forecast of storms in Fatima for the afternoon.

The route of the Caminho do Tejo is marked with blue arrows and in some difficult places, also with extra signs from the organization. For the most part, the pilgrim route to Fatima and the Camino de Santiago share the route, although the latter is marked with yellow arrows instead of blue.

With no experience in this race, I had the idea that it would be mainly on roads. This is largely the case until the first aid station, in Santos, at kilometre 19. In a semi-autonomous regime, I still have isotonic left in my backpack. Thus, I drink a bit, eat a banana, and quickly leave for the next control, 13k away, in Olhos de Agua.

Olhos de Agua

But in this section things get complicated. We leave the roads and get into a forest area with steep slopes, especially in its final section. I arrive at kilometre 31 in 3h and 35 minutes. 26k remain. Calculating I could finish in 7 hours. Too optimistic as I would find later. Having discarded the idea of ​​taking a bath in the river beach of Olhos de Agua, I make a minimal stop and keep running.

With the sun at the highest point, the 6 kilometres to the next refreshment station, in Covão do Feto, are a mountain trail., where I must walk the most difficult sections. On several occasions I think that I have taken a wrong detour, due to the rough terrain, but arriving at the refreshment station they confirm that, indeed, I was following the correct route. There are still 20 kilometres left and energy is already scarce.

At the last control in Minde, at kilometre 40, is where I do the longer stop, and even drink a cold Coca-Cola, that although I am not a fan, tastes delicious. I fill the Camelback to the max and, with a little more energy, go out again. There are 17 kilometres left and the next control will be in Fatima. So many kilometres running alone, temperatures of 30⁰C and hardly any shade lead me to intersperse longer sections walking with others simply jogging.

Despite this, I still manage to pass a few lagging runners in this section, while exchanging a few times positions with the first classified female. At 3 kilometres from the finish line, the sky covers up a bit and even 2 timid drops of rain fall. Not enough relief after such a day.

Race section
Sign post

We arrive together at the entrance of Fatima and run towards the esplanade of the Sanctuary searching for the finish line. Obviously, it is not there. Lost, I look on my mobile for the race instructions to find the location of the finish line. After asking in a store, and wandering a bit, adding more distance to our battered legs, a policeman point us in the right direction.

I finally cross the finish line in an official time of 8.24.15 (net time 8.23.43), after having spent almost 5 hours to cover the last 26 kilometres! Exhausted, I estimate that I have drunk at least 6 litres of liquid. Position 9th out of 17 finishers.

Satisfied with the medal that has cost me so much to get, I walk to the shower in the hotel, right next to the arrival, that the organization provides to the participants.

Despite its toughness, I look forward repeating the experience next year and improve my finishing time. Another 2 UTMB points would qualify me for the OCC race of the Mont Blanc in 2023…

But that is already thinking in the very long term, and as the pandemic taught us, it is better to go step by step.

Greetings and see you soon.

Medal
Finish area

MARATHON RUNNING ON MOOD AND DEPRESSION

Photo by Capstone Events (Unsplash)

Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), is a “mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss”. It is not only a mental issue, but also physical. MDD is associated with an increase of all-cause mortality, due to a higher incidence of cardiovascular diseases. And it may compromise normal day-to-day activities too.

On the other hand, patients with chronic physical diseases frequently exhibit associated depressive symptoms, often related with low levels of physical activity.

Current guidelines from the WHO recommend 150 min of moderate aerobic exercise per week, or even 300 min (or 150 min of vigorous aerobic activity) for a better outcome on health. Thus, physical activity has the potential to improve depression, whose patients often live a sedentary lifestyle, while improving cardiorespiratory fitness.

Marathon runners usually exceed WHO recommendations for aerobic exercise. Furthermore, completion of a marathon is associated with the so-called “runner´s high”.

A recent study on amateur marathon runners showed that endurance training increased their levels of positive affect while decreasing depressive symptoms when compared with sedentary controls.

Thus, 150 minutes of aerobic exercise, or even higher training volumes, and a marathon completion itself, had positive effects on different mood parameters. These potentially antidepressive effects had no significant side-effects.

Therefore, supervised aerobic exercise should be offered in the recovery therapies of MDD patients.

MORE RUNNING Þ BETTER HEALTH Þ LESS DEPRESSION Þ LONGER LIFE

Be active and you will have a better chance of being happier.

 

Bibliography

Roeh A, Lembeck M, Papazova I, Pross B, Hansbauer M, Schoenfeld J, Haller B, Halle M, Falkai P, Scherr J, Hasan A. Marathon running improves mood and negative affect. J Psychiatr Res. 2020 Nov; 130:254-259. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2020.08.005.

Photo by Rudy & Peter Skitterians (Pixabay)

125 YEARS OF EVOLUTION OF THE MEN´S MARATHON INTERNATIONAL SCENE

The marathon as such was brought back to life in the first Olympics of modern times, in Athens 1896. On April 10 Spiridon Louis won for Greece the first Olympic gold medal in the marathon, running around 40 kilometres. After this first attempt, Boston organised its own marathon on April 19, 1897 with victory for John J. McDermott of New York.

There have been many marathons since then, and one can wonder which was the best country at such a distance during a period. That is a difficult question we have tried to answer, considering only the following marathon events:

World Record performances. Maybe the only achievement capable of overshadow the Olympic glory, allowing any marathon runner to write his name in marathon history.

                                                              WR: 20 points

Olympics. For most athletes, the Olympics are the highest achievement. Organised every 4 years (with the exceptions of 1940 and 1944 because of WWII, and the 2020 delayed to 2021) for many marathoners they were for long almost the only chance of getting noticed internationally. It was the case of great Abebe Bikila.

                        1st: 10 points. 2nd: 8 points. 3rd: 6 points. 4th: 4 points. 5th: 2 points

World Championships. Celebrated for the first time in 1983 in Helsinki, they took place every 4 years until 1997, when they started been organised every 2 years. Many great marathoners won it, although it looks that recently have become a “minor” event.

                         1st: 5 points. 2nd: 4 points. 3rd: 3 points. 4th: 2 points. 5th: 1 point

World Marathon Majors. As we mentioned previously Boston is the oldest of the Marathon Majors, being organised since 1897. But the World Marathon Majors Series has been recognised as such only recently. Despite this we have decided to include these marathons into our account. New York organised its own marathon in 1970, with Berlin following suit in 1974, Chicago in 1977, London in 1981 and Tokyo, as we know it in 2007. All these marathons are top-level, although considering that there are 6 over a year period, their scores are a bit lower.

                                                     1st: 3 points. 2nd: 2 points. 3rd: 1 point

Many other marathons could also qualify for this classification, but it would be almost impossible to consider all marathons run every year worldwide.

Additionally, for our analysis, we ONLY included the 5 countries with more WR that has been traditionally the most influential: UK 8, USA 7, KENYA 5, ETHIOPIA 5, and JAPAN 4.

Points by international event

Summary

For the first half of the 20th century US was clearly in the lead. The Boston marathon was an event where usually US and Canada athletes occupied the first positions, with some exceptions from different countries, especially Finland capable of competing at the highest level. It was not until 1947, with the WR victory of Suh Yun-bok from South Korea, that Boston reached worldwide popularity.

From the 1950s to the 1980s we must mention the UK and the figure of Jim Peters. He broke the WR in 4 different occasions between 1952 and 1954, 3 of them in the prestigious, but sadly disappeared Polytechnic Marathon, or the Poly, that was held annually between 1909 and 1996. That period saw also the dominance of Kenya in the Olympics, with victories and WR performances from Abebe Bikila in Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964, and victory for Mamo Wolde in Mexico 1968.

From the 1980s onwards with the running boom and the appearance of the remaining World Marathon Majors and World Championships the scales have tipped in Africa´ direction. Kenya entered the marathon scene with a second place in the 1982 Chicago Marathon by Joseph Nzau, who won on the following year. From that victory onwards Kenya has claimed two Olympic titles, 5 World Championships and other 93 victories in Marathon Majors! In doing so they have also broken 5 times the WR. Coming late, Kenya has already overtaken the US place as the historically dominant marathon nation. On the African side Ethiopia have also started climbing positions, especially in the last 20 years, to increase his tally of victories, that started in the 1960s.

Do you agree with our analysis of the men´s marathon international scene or do you have your own favourite?

WR performances by country and repeating athletes

LINHAS DE TORRES MARATHON (22/05/2021 – 97)

Starting area
BIB number

After 460 days not wearing a bib number for an “official” competition, we were back on a starting line. We travelled to Mafra, in Portugal, for the Linhas de Torres Running Challenge, an athletic event organized among others by the Portuguese Army, and with modalities of 100k individual or by teams, 42k on foot or on horseback and 10k.

Obviously, we opted for the marathon distance, for a demanding trail course with 1600 meters D+ (and another 1300 meters of descent). The route going from Mafra to Torres Vedras follow the lines of Portuguese defensive forts built to face the Napoleonic invasions of the 19th century.

With just over a hundred participants, and the start on one side of the Mafra National Palace, declared a World Heritage Site, you cannot ask for a better return to the competition. In addition, the meteorological forecast accompanies, with a predicted temperature of 18⁰C and clouds, instead of the high 20⁰C on previous days.

In Portugal they love trails, and races of this type are always demanding. In a semi-autonomous regime, there are only 4 supply points on the route. That means carrying a backpack, although used to it, is not a big deal.

Shortly after the start, I meet once again an old acquaintance from my times in the UK, Tiago Dionisio, an avid marathoner, and ultra-runner, with more than 700 to his credit. However, knowing what lies ahead, each keeps his own pace.

The route is mostly through wooded areas, in which the rugged terrain forces you to look where putting your feet to avoid falls. With continuous ups and downs, it is a constant leg breaker. I try to maintain my running cadence on the ascents, although the steep descents slowing down are also punishing to the quadriceps.

Landscape
One of the few road sections

The second refreshment station is at the highest point of the route. In the 23.4 kilometres, at the top of the Hermitage of Nossa Senhora do Socorro, there are bifanas, soup, bananas, energy bars and nuts available. I stop briefly to have some fruit and refill the backpack. The next checkpoint is 13 kilometres away.

Although the next 2 or 3 kilometres are downhill, the climbs are not over yet. With the legs already tired, I take a breath and start walking up the hardest slopes. I see possible to finish under 5 hours.

Arriving at the last checkpoint in the 36.3k I have been running for 4h15m and Torres Vedras can be seen in the distance. In a “road” marathon at these stages the worst is over. Here, though, there is still much to go, and new trails follow one after another.

Finally, I cross the finish line with 5.27.22 for one of the toughest marathons I have come across, second only to the Trionium Picnic in the UK. My second worst time ever in the Pheidippides distance, although happy to return to official competitions on a highly demanding course.

With the calendar shyly opening, we can start making some competition plans. Hopefully, we have already passed the worst of this pandemic.

On horse marathon participant
Getting a rest at the finish line

SEX-SPECIFIC RUNNING INJURIES

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Photo by Quino Al (Unsplash)

Running, as sports in general, is associated with many benefits for prevention and rehabilitation of health issues, although it also carries an injury risk.

Among the risk factors for running, we could highlight training load, anatomical and biomechanical (footwear) variables, lifestyle (drinking & smoking), health status (injuries history) and sex.

Sex has been linked to specific injuries and for overall injury risk. Using data from 14 international athletics championships a previous study showed that male athletes had lower incidence of bone stress injuries than females.

 A recent systematic review of the literature on sex-related injuries found 38 studies eligible, including a total of over 35000 runners (40.8% females – 59.2% males), including road, track, cross-country and trail/orienteering runners (from recreational to elite level). The main findings follow.

Overall Injury Rates

  • No difference in overall injury rates between male and female runners (around 20 injuries per 100 runners).
  • In distances longer than 10 kilometres: higher injury risk in male runners.
  • In distances shorter than 10 kilometres: higher injury risk in female runners.

 

Bone Stress Injuries

  • Higher probability in female runners.

A possible explanation is their association with the female athlete triad:

              low energy availability + menstrual dysfunction + low bone mineral density

Although similar symptoms have also been described in male athletes, mainly due to what is called relative energy deficiency.

 

Achilles Tendinopathy

  • Higher probability (twice the risk) in male runners.

The Achilles tendon is key for propulsion during running but its poor blood supply makes it prone to overuse injuries (tendinopathies). The difference between this injury rates in males and females could be explained by hormonal differences.

Oestrogens, whose levels are high in women, are associated with collagen synthesis, and therefore with tendon healing capacity. Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle have not been associated with modifications of tendon function.

Conclusions

  • Sex is not a risk factor when considering the overall occurrence of injuries in running.
  • Female runners sustain more frequently bone stress injuries.
  • Male runners have higher risk of developing Achilles’ tendinopathies.
  • Prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation strategies would be more effective when considering sex of the individual.

 

What is your personal experience about injuries?

 

Bibliography

Sex-Specific Differences in Running Injuries: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression. Hollander, K., Rahlf, A.L., Wilke, J. et al. Sports Med (2021).

https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-020-01412-7

ENERGY COST OF THE GALLOWAY (RUN:WALK) MARATHON PACING METHOD

Photo by Pasja100 (Pixabay)

The pacing strategy alternating periods of walking and running is known as the Galloway Method, after Jeff Galloway, the former US Olympic runner who popularized it. According to his theory, walk breaks help to endure fatigue and reduce or eliminate muscle breakdown.

Worth to mention that this run-walk method is not used only when the athlete is tired, but throughout the whole race. By reducing overall impact on the body, it has allowed many runners, especially beginners, to go farther, and even faster, than they would have achieved simply by running.

According to the runner level and strategy the running:walking intervals may differ greatly, going from an easier 1:1 ratio to a more demanding 8:1, when the runner would run 8 continuous minutes and then walk during 1.

Despite the Galloway Method popularity, a question remains:

Does a runner need more energy when changing speeds or while running at a constant pace?

 

The study

A recent study has used a treadmill and a group of recreational runners who did the following:

  • 6 min continuous running
  • 6 min continuous walking
  • 12 min alternating 2-min periods of run and walk

Being measured the energy expenditure per kilometre (kcal/km), the distance traversed per litre of absolute oxygen (m/L O2) and the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) for each of the conditions.

 

Results

  • Energy expenditure

Walking consumed less energy (9 kcal) for a given distance than running, although when alternating every two minutes participants required 4 kcal extra to traverse one kilometre than running it. For a marathon race it would mean 168 kcal more.

  • Distance traversed

Walking allowed participants to traverse 12.31 metres farther per litre of oxygen consumed than while running. There was no difference when between participants running or using the Galloway method.

  • Fatigue

There was only a small reduction in perceived exertion for the runners when using the run-walk method than with continuous running.

Conclusions

  • Alternating periods of running and walking did not save any energy per kilometre when compared to continuous running and only offered a slight reduction of perceived fatigue.
  • On the positive side, the Galloway method can reduce the risks of injury and allow a better management of fatigue, pain, and discomfort in marathons, although limiting the performance.

 

Bibliography

Run-walk marathon pacing: the energy cost of frequent walk breaks. William P. Nolan & Andrew R. Moore (2021), International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 21:1, 170-179, DOI: 10.1080/24748668.2020.1862493

Photo by Drew Farwel (Unsplash)

ESGUEVA MARATHON (23/04/2021 – 96)

Picking up the torch from Quique´s marathon two weeks ago, it is time to organize a new one. The chosen date, Friday April 23, festivity of Castilla y Léon, and incidentally commemorating the fifth centenary of the “Comuneros” defeat in the Battle of Villalar.

The circuit will follow the riverbank of the Esgueva as it leaves Valladolid, a linear and flat route of just over 7 kilometres that will have to be run 6 times to complete the distance of Pheidippides.

At the start, once again the usual ones: Quique, Lola and David, both going for their fourth marathon on as many weekends, and Kacho opting for half the distance. Pepe is going to miss it.

Being festive only at regional level does not help travel, but with four for the marathon, we are enough to “validate” it, a criterion that will still give a lot to talk about.

During the week forecast had been promising water, although later it changed, and finally the morning appears only with some clouds and good temperature.

After two weeks of active rest, trying to recover physically (and psychologically) from the last event, it seems that things can go better today. Thus, and although not perfect of “sensations”, at least I can manage to run the first 2 laps with the others.

Shortly afterwards David pulls forward and we let him go. I still make it to the half marathon with Quique, who has been holding back so as not to get me off the hook. By that point I still have a small margin to get below 4 hours.

Later in the day we must overcome quite a few walkers and cyclists, something that I did not have foreseen, as I usually have trained on this path much earlier and during weekdays.

Meanwhile, the race continues its course. I keep Quique and Lola at a visual distance, while David is already quite far. Running back for the last time and seeing that the 4 hours are going to escape me again, I squeeze what is left in me.

In the end I cross the finish line at 4.04.28, improving almost 20 minutes the debacle of 13 days ago, although again above the 4 hours finish time. On the positive side, a marathon less to reach the 100-barrier…

After the fifth MIV marathon, during the post-race talk, we begin to glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel for the “official” competitions. Among others, the names of the marathons of Gran Canaria, San Sebastián, Reykjavik, Tokyo and even the North Pole ring out …

It is what the marathon has that, like sports in general, knows no borders, and will survive to Covid, even if it is based on PCRs or “clandestine” marathons.

VITAMINS C AND E ON EXERCISE PERFORMANCE

Photo by Massimo Sartirana (Pixabay)

According to the American College of Sports Medicine up to 50% of athletes use nutritional supplements. Among the most popular supplements nowadays are antioxidants, used to improve performance and fight against Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage (EIMD) and fatigue.

Two of the most popular antioxidants are vitamin C and vitamin E, capable of neutralising the reactive oxygen species (ROS) derived from intense exercise. Despite their extensive use most athletes consume adequate levels daily (Vitamin C: 75 mg/day females – 90 mg/day males; Vitamin E: 15 mg/day) in the diet through fruits, vegetables, and nuts, among other sources.

Some authors suggest that the transient rise of ROS with exercise is beneficial. Thus, antioxidant supplementation could impair athletes training adaptations, instead of helping them.

A recent review has investigated the effects of vitamin E and C supplementation on exercise performance. Their main findings are described below.

Vitamin C

  • Muscle strength and function are not affected.
  • Individuals with vitamin C deficiency increase exercise performance with supplementation.

Vitamin E

  • Effects on endurance are confuse.
  • During high intensity intervals acute supplementation improves performance (less oxidative stress and faster recovery).
  • Chronic supplementation may impair training adaptations and future exercise performance.

Conclusions

  • Chronic supplementation with vitamin E (with or without vitamin C) impairs athletic performance and is not currently recommended for athletes (except for those training at high altitude).
  • Acute antioxidant supplementation improves performance in high intensity/short recovery intervals exercise, conditions where an IMMEDIATE enhancement of performance is pursued.
  • To ensure antioxidants needs athletes should focus on consuming a diet high in them (fruits, vegetables, nuts…) instead of using supplements.
  • Determining the oxidative state of athletes would allow personalized supplementation.

 

Bibliography

Antioxidants and Exercise Performance: With a Focus on Vitamin E and C Supplementation. Higgins MR, Izadi A, Kaviani M. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Nov 15; 17(22):8452. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17228452.

Antioxidants rich foods

EXPERIMENTAL MARATHON – TUDELA DE DUERO (10/04/2021 – 95)

Staring group (lacking Pepe)

We returned to the distance of 42 kilometers in the vicinity of Valladolid. Quique organized in the pine forest of his village, Tudela de Duero, the next “clandestine” marathon of the Independent Marathons of Valladolid MIV.

Given the circumstances, we are 6 runners for the marathon, and 3 for the half-marathon distance. Among the marathoners, familiar faces such as Pepe, Quique and I from the locals, Lola and David from the Madrid side, and Joserra from Galicia as a new addition.

The morning dawned with good temperature, although with a forecast of rain, to do 14 laps of a circuit through the pine forest around the Santinos recreational area.

The last two weeks had been the chronicle of an announced failure. No day had I ever found myself fresh. I don’t know if the February and March “loads” were excessive, or the recovery time was insufficient.

I started running calm and lagged the leading group a bit. There are many laps and I have them in sight. I can close the gap whenever I want (I think).

Santinos pine forest

However, already in the second lap I feel that the legs do not accompany, and the feeling will only get worse as the race goes on. At the end of the fifth lap it starts to rain heavily, and some puddles appear on the sandy ground, but without causing much discomfort.

In the middle of the race, and with another 7 laps to go, the mind has a lot of work to do. The ghost of a DNF flies over my head, although the pleasant journey through the pine forest makes up for the effort.

The distance of Pheidippides always commands respect, and sometimes demands a toll, bringing out the best in us. You must forget the stopwatch and focus on finishing. I still remember marathons like the Lemmings track or the one in Funchal, and they are not enjoyed the same… It is feeling your body dissociated: going well at core level, but the legs not responding.

Running the penultimate lap, Quique and Lola get to double me. But my marathon is another one, and already within reach…

I cross the finish line with 4.23.57, a time that leaves me unsatisfied, although it serves to add the 95 to my personal count.

We will return, hopefully with better feelings.

Some time into the race (before the rain)