How much do 20 seconds cost per km? How to navigate if you're in an anthill? What to use to cure a heat stroke? And how to become the highlight of the program?

A month ago, my team-mates started preparing for the Bucharest Half Marathon, and I decided to support them. As they say, the best training is a competition :)

Bucharest. Evening. We are looking for our motel and have difficulty finding it – alleys, turns, ”bricks” at every corner of the street. Finally, we managed to locate it and went to rest. The motel was ultra-cheap, not more than 1 star, maybe even half a star. But there are beds, light, it’s dry and we’re having fun. What else can you need for a bed-space?

In the morning we went to registration. Expo was puny the same as the entire organization – but they carried out the event for the third time, so, it can be understood.

Next morning we went to the registration. The expo was quite poor, as well as the whole organization – but it’s only their third event, understandable.

We put on our club T-shirts, and went to run our intervals in the park, discussed our plans for the race, what is the planned pace for each runner, strategy, tactics, defense and attack details.

For some of the guys this run was the first – boys were nervous, and we, as their elder and more experienced comrades, encouraged them and tried to build their confidence in the future. Although, we probably shouldn’t have told them to keep the route in mind, otherwise you can get lost :)

After that we had a pasta party – ate 2 portions of pasta and went happily to get prepared for the following day.

In the evening, we bathed, shaved our legs, underarms and other private parts, figured out how to play Ticket to Ride (by the way, a fantastic table game) and went to bed.

A clear Bucharest morning came and at 6:30 our room turned into an anthill – some were taping their boobs, others – taking Loperamide, someone was looking for his socks, others were taught about a secret marathon technique of shoe lacing – a mess, in short…

We get to the start and see that people on the square are in full warm up mode!

Checked-in on the wall of wishes. As you can see, modesty is our strength…

Aligned to our wave and waited for the shot.

Run! Oh, by the way, my plan for this race was to improve my pace with 20 seconds per kilometer. Last time I ran the halfy in Barcelona with 4:40 min/km and a total time of 1:38. It means that today I should be running 4:20 min/km and expect a total time of 1:32.

I immediately linked to the 1:30 pacemaker. Run easily, pace – 4:15 min/km. At km eight, I started thinking I could keep this pace till the end and could finish earlier than 1:30. However, my calculations were unforgiving – at km ten I realized I was running faster than I was prepared for, and hurt my legs.

My pace went down to 4:25, and I started to feel uncomfortable. A few kilometers more and the pacemaker with the 1:30 disappeared. The sun came out and I understood I overreacted at the beginning. It got hot, and the pace went further down. I frankly started to suffer.

On the 16th kilometer, I was running at 4:30 and with an understanding of the fact that my hearty start turned out to be a very bad idea, and that I would not reach my 1:32 target. Pulling myself together, I tried to increase the pace, and from time to time I succeeded, but it came at a very high price.

At kilometer 20 I saw 4:35 on the watch – this was absolutely unacceptable and I pushed ahead…

I finished at 4:05, totally depleted, but happy that I made it within the 1:32 target! And then the classical thing – medals, bananas, water, oranges, water, just water and water spilled on heads.

Then the guys reached finish, we ate and drank once again, found Denischeg, who caught a heat stroke on the track, hooked him up and went out looking for bread rolls and milk.

But the headliner of the program became my trainer – Liviu. He came first on the 10 km distance! This is something! Our delight was indescribable, and we went to celebrate this in a pub!

After taking some “carbs”, we got into our car and headed to East. Home.

To wrap up, I decided to compare my half marathons and check evolution. Progress is face on.

Happily moving on – the IRONMAN is just two months away.

Bucharest Half Marathon results among Moldovans.

Bucharest Half Marathon results among Moldovans.

In the meantime, we’re getting our luggage prepared and plan to escape from Alcatraz in the cold waters of San Francisco bay.