On Friday, we took an uneventful 3-hour train ride to Bergamo before meeting up with the rest of Team USA. There, I was first introduced to teammates Annette Bednowsky and Jen Van Allen. Jen had just arrived a few hours earlier! We received our uniforms, chip, numbers (must wear front and back) and also received a cool jersey from the Bergamo running club. Next, we all changed into our official team uniforms and headed to the opening ceremony. This was quite a spectacle! The ceremony was held in a large auditorium and each country paraded on the stage where the country’s flag was projected and every runner was introduced. This was quite thrilling to see all of the runners and different flags and colors. After the ceremony, we headed to the pasta dinner. Mingled with runners from Great Britain and Australia and traded war stories. A number of us then walked the course. It appeared to be more up and down than was advertized. The race organizers were also busy laying carpeting and other materials down on some of the rougher areas of the course although not all of the cobblestone was covered up. I also noted that there was quite a bit of cant to the road and made a mental note to run on the inside of the road (i.e., the flatter part) as much as I could.
Part of the course - Trip hazard!
With Carilyn, taking it easy early on.
After awhile, Carilyn and I split and I was running by myself. The hours seemed to fly by (at least for the first 6 hours). The course started out fairly flat before taking a left turn that took the runners uphill past all of the country aid stations. Being alphabetical, USA was the last aid station (next to Sweden) which was pretty convenient for getting supplies quickly. After the aid stations, the course gradually turned right, leveled out, then went left again before going uphill over a canal. Then another left turn and the course had a nice long downhill section. This downhill section was shaded during the day and there was also a slight breeze blowing. After the downhill (and where the port-o-potties were located), a short steeper uphill followed by a left turn before arriving back where we started. The course would get ingrained in one’s memory – I looped it about 155 times (give or take a loop…)
Other than that, I had two longer stops (at about the 15 and 19 hour marks) to get stretched out by Dr. Andy. In between those stops, I also stopped every few hours to stretch my legs out. Due to the ups and downs on the course, I felt it wise to stretch both hamstrings and quads every now and then.
The race was a bit of a blur but one thing that became obvious was that the US men were not having a good day. They were all in varying amounts of distress and that was sad to see. It was just one of those days for these very talented runners.
Checking the Team standings with a few hours left in the race.
All of the US women put in a fantastic effort and ran really strong. We all had varying issues throughout the race but everyone dealt with them and hung in there for the team. I was very proud and excited to be on the podium accepting the silver medal with these wonderful athletes! I hope to see everyone again in Cleveland for the U.S. National 24-Hour Championship.
Jamie on her last lap looking fresh.
Annette on last lap running strong.
On the podium, USA (2nd), France (1st), Italy (3rd).
Thanks to our wonderful Aid Station workers, my SO Roger, David, Tim, George, Donna, Peter, Grant and Spencer. Very special thanks to Bill Allen who was forced to drop out of the race early due to an injry but put in long hours at the aid station helping the US runners. DryMax socks and Aruba sunglasses were a big help during the race. CW-X donated our uniforms so we could look good on the podium. THANKS!