Riccardo's useless Marathon blog

Pains and gains of my training.


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WHO’S GONNA DRIVE YOU HOME?

Dear fans,

Here I am again. Ten days after my last post. What a wanker.

I would really like to begin – once again – by apologising for my absence from this blog but as you can imagine I have been very… erm… very… – what’s that word again? Oh yeah… – busy! Very very busy.

Another untalented actor playing me, being very busy.

Being a full-time boozer, a full-time worker, a full-time celebrity blogger and a full-time runner is not that easy. Especially in that order… I am trying my best though, and you should know it. And just in case you’re wondering: my best is good enough. Ask your sisters. Waaaayyyyyy.

Now that you’ve asked them – … –  it’s time to move on and talk about the marathon.

May 27th is getting terribly closer: both my knees are pretty much fucked up- we’ll get there -, I am not even close to the £500 Save the Children asked me to fundraise, the weather in Edinburgh is shite and going for a run at 7.30 pm or even later after a full shift at work most of the times is just wrong.

At that time – and especially after a full shift at work – all you – Me, in this case – want to do is to go for a pint. But it’s never just one pint. It’s never just two pints either. It’s not even three, to be honest. You know that it’s more than likely six or seven, and a couple of double rum&cokes, and some shots inbetween. But you still think that’s acceptable. Until you find yourself – Myself, in this case – a few hours and a shit load of pounds later at the casino, sipping Tennent’s at the bar with your arse glued to a stool while your mates waste their money and hopes at the blackjack table, with a brand new nine-hours shift at work in something like two and half hours and an extremely annoying Talking Cricket next to you – mine looks exactly like the Fresh Prince’s mom… – reminding you that you should be training and not getting Charlie Sheened and asking you how did you get here? and who’s gonna drive you home? and where did you put the keys? and where’s the nearest chippie and would it still be open? and shit like that.

What a shame that you don’t have any of those answers. Especially the only one we all care about: the one about the food…

So yeah – long story short – I don’t have idea when or how or why I got home from the casino the other night but I do remember how I got home from my last run exactly a week ago.

It was last thursday: April 10th, 47 days to the marathon, 8-ish pm. I am on fire and I am halfway through the training. I’ve got almost all the way to Musselburgh – almost – via Arthur’s Seat and Duddingstone – same old route – and I am literally flying home. A big smile on my face, an amazing outfit – as always -, good tunes in my ears and I am loving every single second of this training session. Especially the bit on the Portobello Promenade: cold wind, rough sea and a bit of rain just the way I like it. Not joking. I am on Portobello Road now and I’ve put 8,2 miles under my heels in 1h10m. Not too bad. There’s only one problem: for the last 10/15 minutes my right knee has been a bit of a dick and for the last 5 minutes so has been his left pal. Annoying but tolerable. I am still on Portobello Road – almost on London Road – when I run past Morrisons and suddenly they both collapse. Both my fucking knees stop working at the same time!!!

Thursday's route, up till the moment my knees decided they'd had enough.

I am raging. Raging, scared as fuck and in a lot of pain. I am on the other side of Edinburgh – kind of -, something like 4 miles away from home, with no money and no phone on me, covered in sweat, wet because of the rain and immobilized.

How I felt at the time.

After a wee break at a bus stop I somehow make my way to James and Louise’s flat. Here I get a pint of water, a knee support – which I was meant to get anyway since my right knee has been giving me troubles for about 7 years now… – and a good chat. Thanks guys. When I leave the flat I am still in pain but I manage to walk and I get to the Scottish Parliament. It took me a good ten minutes but still… Then – believe it or not – the mp3 player plays this song. I swear to God it did. I wish I could tell you that a cab appeared straight after that but I can’t. I had to wait a couple of minutes – while it was still raining, I was still in pain and I was still sweating like Walter Pandiani in his memorable press conference – but eventually I managed to get one and got home safely and I can asnwer the question in the title. HIM!

Unfortunately I still don’t know how I got home from the casino but I want to say that the cabbie was sound and waited for me downstairs while I was getting the money – Cheers Marcus! – and wished me luck and everything.

So yeah: I went for a run and I got home by taxi.

A fucking celebrity, that’s what I am.

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YOU’VE GOT MAIL

Oh, hiya.

So the first good news of the night is that today I finally got the parcel I was waiting for. Another brick in this marathon-wall. Sound!

On my way home from work I met Marcus at Sainsbury’s and we bought dinner.

The second good news of tonight is that we had pizza. To share. And then pasta. One bowl each. Actually I had it in a bowl, he had it in a dish. And bread with Parma ham, as a starter. And coke and vanilla cheescake. Which we bought yesterday but we forgot to eat last night. Classic.

Anyway while opening the door of the flat Marcus told me “You’ve got mail!” and I Lonely Islanded the moment. My package had finally arrived. My packages had finally arrived. I was overexcited.

Me, overweight and overexcited

Once we got in and we chucked all the stuff in the kitchen I ran into my bedroom and found the two parcels there, waiting for me. I was over the moon. There it was, The Parcel. While opening it my hands were shaking, tears of joy streamed down my face: I’ve waited for it for so long and now there it was. Right in front of me. I stared at it for a few moments – that seemed hours to me – and then somehow it was finally open. I carefully pulled its contents out and leaned it on my bed. Wonderful!!!

The parcel's contents: the two A.C. Milan tops I bought online two days ago.

I’m in heaven! I kept saying to myself while trying them on one after the other and having consistent Lonely Island moments.

What I am going to do now is hang the red&black one somewhere in my room – probably next to the one from last season – and wear the black one when training for the marathon.

Right, the marathon! I then opened the second package as well and found all the stuff that Save the Children sent me: some papers and leaflets that will help me fundraising – in addition to my justgiving webpage – and of course my running vest! Which, believe it or not, doesn’t look that bad. Oh no wait, I’m still staring at the A.C. Milan top…

My Save the Children Running Vest. Yes, it says "RUN"...

Can’t really wait to put it on – the A.C. Milan top of course – and go for a run!!! I am sure that it’ll give me some extra-energies and it’ll definitely help me looking less ridiculous than last time I went running. Which by the way it’s yesterday, but let me explain.

Let me briefly tell you first about the second last time I went for a run though. It was last monday – the very next day my 4,7 miles solo sunday run – and it was warm and sunny and life was beautiful even though that was my last day of holiday. James and I ran 5,3 miles in 47 minutes. Route-wise we did something similar to what we did on the previous wednesday – we even managed to get lost at one point but he’ll never admit it… – but we stopped at his this time because his ankle was a bit sore and because – after a pint of water – I just couldn’t be bothered anymore. I then walked home, stretching my legs every two seconds and pretending to walk with a limp everytime someone gave me those eyes like why are you not running, you twat?

Monday's route

Now back to what happened yesterday. I got home from work at 5:20 pm and got ready to start in something like ten minutes: blue shorts and a plain white t-shirt on, laced shoes, some tunes pumping through my mp3 player and I was ready to go and run 10 – TEN – miles. Not even a minute after leaving the building I had to go back to the flat and change my outfit: in spite of the blue sky and the shining sun, it was windy as fuck and pretty cold too. That’s why I went back in and put something more appropriate on.

Me, wrapped up warm, ready to go.

Then I was ready: I walked up the Grassmarket, got on the Cowgate and at exactly 5:40 pm I finally started running. I ran all the way to Holyrood Park, circumnavigated Arthur’s Seat, went through Duddingston and then turned right till Portobello’s border with Joppa, turned right and sprinted all along the Promenade until its end. I then took Portobello Road which quickly began London Road, turned left and got right in front of the Scottish Parliament through Abbeyhill. A bit of uphill on Canongate then left – St. John Street – then right – Holyrood Road/Cowgate – all the way back to the Grassmarket.

Thursday's route

It took me 1h20m to run this 9,6 miles and at the end I was exhausted but happy. And proud. And sweaty and smelly and a bit stoned too I would say. But mainly happy.

What I’ve done yesterday is one third of what I will have to do on May 27th and I must say that I feel quite confident. There are eight more weeks to go and things can only get better. Wish me luck. Or touch wood. Actually touch your balls, because that’s what we do in Italy, like Danny Bhoy – which I love – says here (from minute 2:27).

Cheers.


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THE MOST PROLIFIC WEEK SO FAR

Dear fans,

In spite of appearances – being on holiday (yes, again…) all week and being so hungover (yes, again…) all yesterday – and despite all opposition – we’ll get there – I actually had what we may consider the most prolific week so far. Unfortunately I can’t say the same about my fundraising but training-wise it was a really productive week. Nine more and I’ll be done. Not bad!

Now I know that I’m not exactly the living image of an athlete – unless you’re thinking about legends like Paul Gazza Gascoigne, or George Bestie Best, or Iron Mike Tyson… – but with my new personal trainer James’ help I’ll get there. Riccardo Hank Lenoci…

James, the way I see him while training together

Yeah, I forgot to tell you: my pal James is giving his big contribution looking after me and training with me. And even though sometimes he’s a total dick and he speeds up because he forgets that we’re not running the real marathon and he always takes me uphill when he knows I hate running uphill and his chat is shite when he tells me that there’s a quarter of mile left when he knows there is one mile and a half instead I really have to thank him for his help which is much appreciated. Thank you Jim.

So as I said earlier on this week has been really productive: I ran 4,7 miles on monday, I cleaned my room on tuesday, I ran 6,5 miles on wednesday, I went bowling on thursday, got completely drunk on friday, slept all day yesterday and finally ran 4,7 miles again today. A really good week, let me tell you.

To support what otherwise would only be a pointless chatter here’s the route we did on monday, covering 4,7 miles in just about 45 minutes.

Monday's route

Starting from right outside the Scottish Parliament we ran all around Arthur’s Seat, passed the Sheep Heid Inn – the oldest pub in Edinburgh – but unfortunately didn’t stop for a pint, crossed Duddingston – not much to say about it – and ran all the way back to the bottom of Arthur’s Seat via Willowbrae Road and London Road. I then had a pint of their finest tap water at The Last Drop and finally passed out in bed.

On wednesday James and I decided – actually just him because apparently I don’t have the right to speak and all I have to do is run – to change our route and went all the way to the pleasant Portobello.

Wednesday's route

This time we ran 6,5 miles in 55 minutes – pretty good if you ask me – starting again from just outside the Scottish Parliament and running around Arthur’S Seat this time going West. Got on Portobello Road pretty quickly and ran all along the Promenade – where we met loads of other runners that James of course decided to challenge, especially that presumptuous girl that we really couldn’t let escape that easily, and other annoying people such as those stupid little chavs that God help me I would have happily dumped in the sea to swim with the jellyfishes – then turned right on James Street – yes, we did it on purpose – and then all the way down Portobello High Street, Portobello Road and London Road back to where we started. It was a really good training session and I must say that once at home I felt much better than the way I felt after monday’s run.

After a pretty messy weekend I decided to go for a run today. James couldn’t make it but I still managed to get my arse off the couch and go training. Here is where you smile and say “Well done ma boy!” and then go to my justgiving webpage and reward me with a donation.

Thank you.

Sunday's route

Now because I’m a lazy cunt and I couldn’t/didn’-want-to think about a different route to do and because Sergeant James and I and maybe my friend Paolo – yes, that Paolo – are going for a run again tomorrow, I just repeated monday’s route with a couple of little diversions. No, I didn’t stop at the Sheep Heid Inn this time either. Other diversions, but it was mainly the same thing as monday, just with a better soundtrack. Speaking of which I will need your help making one up for the marathon, but we’ll talk about it another time. Today’s report: ran 4,7 miles in 40 minutes and feeling great!

Now if you want to excuse me, while you save your money to make a donation here, I’ll go for a quick and well-deserved pint at the pub. No, not the Sheep Heid Inn, can’t be arsed going that far!