This year I wanted to set off my season running a great 10000m on track.
It might have been easy just to focus on mountain running and maybe winning some races and being cheered. But I felt this time it was not my thing and I wanted to go back to track and field.
I need to improve and get faster in order to perform well on all kinds of surface, including mountain running. I believe the growth process must pass from there. I’m not very fast and 3’/km pace still does not feel very easy, and although it may never be, I want to get as close as possible to it.
To me, 10000m is an identification of distance running, an expression of endurance and balance. If I imagine to be an athlete, I would be a 10000m runner.
The choice fell on 10k national champs which was scheduled for early May in Ferrara. Not being sure to be included in the entry list for Night of the 10k PBs in London one week later, the main focus was to run as hard as possible in Ferrara and reserve London meeting for a volatile vacation.
Ferrara felt great.
It was a hot ( temperature around 26°C) and humid day as I could easily imagine for mid Pianura Padana-3m above sea level-mosquito infested towns. Nonetheless, a good day for a track meet, as my energy was unusually high for the period and the atmosphere felt relaxed and professional. After the must-watch Giro d’Italia stage on Nadir’s camper, leaving all my stuff in the shade of the trees surrounding the Campo Scuola in Ferrara, I tasted the gravel around Ferrara’s ancient walls with Luigi and moustache-connoisseur Leonardo during warm-up.
The first lap was already a little slow, and I wondered by how much would the pack of runners pick up the pace after realizing we were behind schedule. We went through 1000m in 3’05”, then it felt more like a 5000m race as we kept nailing laps at 72” average, a 5k suitable pace for my current shape. I hanged in there, slowly but progressively passing people who couldn’t keep up, dangerously creating holes in the middle of the pack. Half way was passed in 15’11”, suggesting a projection of 30’22, exactly my coach PB: dreamy! Tito was standing around the 200m bend and at each turn I gained something from his support.
Then I was left alone, and from that moment on it was all about keeping the pace as high as possible. The leading pack slipped away and I floated towards 74”-75” laps, still a pretty good speed being 20-something minutes into the race. Some of the hardest kilometers were run in 3’06”-3’08” and I didn’t feel it necessary to save some kick to speed up in the last two laps: you end up there and you find yourself having no fuel in the tank, but somehow progressing. Ali, the Chadian junior with a black jersey, was a few meters behind me and we helped each other getting to the finish. I could hear Giorgio Rondelli standing on the side of the track shouting and cheering on Ali, unexpectedly showing a pretty fluent French.
The feeling of the last 600m came along as a flashback from years ago. I sprinted for the last 200m and gave everything to stay at the front: at the finish line we were in the exact same position and we were both assigned the time of 30’41”45. It’s a nice coincidence and I believe it both gave us something to be proud of.
See you in London, it’s only two days away!