“I run… because it’s the only therapy that makes me stronger on the inside and outside…” J.H.
A native of Rome, Italy, Martina Di Marco came to the US in 2006 and immediately fell in love with the hub-bub that is New York City, moving here permanently while obtaining her visa. Running came into her life shortly thereafter as a way “to save money on the gym and to keep my always-getting-bigger butt under control…” A 2009 stint as a volunteer translator at the New York City Marathon only strengthened her resolve to become the best runner she could be, and by 2012, she running and racing distances from 5K up to her first half-marathon in May of that year.
In March of 2013, Martina joined the Whippets, and is one of our most faithful participants, both as a racer and in support of the others members of our team. She is now in training to run her first marathon, not coincidentally the one we run right here in New York City.
“Yesterday I ran 20 miles for the first time in my life. The plan consisted of warming up for two miles and then running the 18 mile-NYRR Marathon Tune-Up as a progression run. Since I am writing this post right now, it means that I somehow survived the experience.
The day started just as planned: I overslept and ended up running the warm up at a 10K pace. If by any chance you saw a crazy girl in a Whippet singlet running totally uncoordinated with a bag in one hand and the phone in the other hand on the east side of Central Park, that was me. Long story short, I reached the start ten minutes after the race began. Thank goodness I have the best friends ever, all of whom patiently waited for me. To thank them, I entertained them for the whole first loop of the race. Believe me, talking about what’s going on in your life for six miles straight makes time fly by.
Turns out that my stories were apparently pretty boring since Daniela disappeared after the first loop. During the second loop, we started picking up our pace little by little and so I had no other choice but to finally shut up to save my breath. I bet Sole was happy about that.
Before we knew it, we were running the third loop of the race. After running Harlem Hill for the third and final time, I decided it was finally time to push (I know, I sound just like a woman in labor). I took my espresso lover GU, put my headphones on, and went. Don’t ask me how but I actually ended up running the last five miles or so of the race way below marathon pace, obtaining a 10K PR along the way. Once I crossed the finished line, it almost felt surreal. Not only had I run my first 20 miles, but I had finally achieved what I had never achieved before during a long run: negative splits. The best I can do during long runs is keeping an even pace. Sometimes, I am so tired by the end that I have no other choice but to drop my pace. So what happened yesterday made me incredibly happy. Of course there are some secrets behind my successful long run and, since I am feeling particularly altruistic today, I will share them with you.
- Secret number one: Ned. If you are having a race or a long run in Central Park, just let Ned know. He will show up at 7AM and chase you along the course with bottles of water, making you feel like an élite runner. He will also wait for you at the finish line with [organic] chocolate milk and different choices of Gatorade. I swear he is real and I didn’t make this one up.
- Secret number two: Sole. She is the best pacer ever. In fact, her second name is: “you are going too fast!” I believe it is truly thanks to her that I was able to finally achieve a negative split yesterday.
- Secret number three: Peri. When you think you are ready to give up on your run, just go talk to Peri. He will tell you that he is running 18 miles after I don’t remember how many hours of fasting. If he can do it, so can you.
- Secret number four: Kevin. He is the best at organizing post-run brunches. The thought of delicious food (and mimosas) will make you run faster. Guaranteed.
- Secret number five: weather in the low seventies and little to no humidity. After training for two months straight in the heat, you will feel the difference.
All in all, I had one of the best runs of my life and I was reminded once again that I am lucky enough to be part of the best running team in the world. So yes, thank you guys!
This post is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Dashing Whippets Running Team, its board, or its captains.