Monday, March 31, 2014

You simply have not lived until you've run downhill on cobblestones in the freezing rain. The 2014 Rome Marathon - Race Report

I woke up this morning with the alarm which means I'm back on Eastern Standard Time ... which is good. I was enjoying my first cup of coffee in a few days (food poisoning) and I was thinking back on the last week or so really taking a moment to think about how lucky I am.  Not trying to brag just taking a moment to count my blessings.

I just finished this amazing trip to Rome with my husband and friends. Ran a marathon a little faster than ever before. Came home to see my kids who had spent the week with the grandparents having a great time being spoiled rotten. Watched my in-laws perform in their senior variety show. Then came home and watched my 10 year old play Mozart in her first piano competition where she got a first place ("a" ... not "the" first place, all the kids in her group got first places so I don't know what it means but I'm still super proud).

I'm a pretty lucky lady. Now back to the race report. It's long. Sorry, not sorry.

My husband (not paying attention) and my training buddy Jim. All ready to fly to Italy. I wore this jacket the entire trip. I may never wear it again :-)
Packet Pickup
We arrived tired but excited on Friday afternoon. Dropped off our stuff had a small bite to eat in the rooftop restaurant and headed out for packet pickup. Interestingly and a bit confusingly the packet pickup was at Palazzo di Congressi nowhere near the actual race start/finish.  It's nestled in sort of a business park and we were in the cab all confused because it looked like there was  no way it could be the right place. I was the one with the printout with the address and everybody was looking at me saying, "are you sure?"

Which of course, I was not sure. I mean we're in Rome how in the world would I know? And then we turned a corner and saw all the inflatable arch stuff and regular race expo type stuff.

Sheesh ... relief.
The line to get in is on a red carpet marked with the kilometers and markers of the race. Fun.

Silly and fun. Plus free. At the actual Colosseum you can take a picture with gladiators but they want 5-10 or more euros for this pleasure. Here at the new balance booth ... gratis.

Packet pickup was fun. We bought shirts, dressed up as gladiators, dreamed of traveling to many more marathons and each got a pound of spaghetti in our packets :-)

Ideal weather conditions ... not so much
Part of the reason we took this trip without the kids is that it fell over my 11th wedding anniversary and a trip to Italy was part of our honeymoon that we never took because I got pregant. We hadn't wanted to travel there in March because the weather is iffy. Boy was that the right decision. But I had forgotten that apparently and was bummed to see the forecast. Also let me admit here I'm 40 years old and I still can't pack a suitcase for a cold weather trip. A coat would have been a great idea.

Unlike Florida weather forecasters who are almost always wrong these guys were on the money. Also there were 18km winds. Ick.

Saturday - shake out run
Saturday the weather was perfect. Cool and sunny. This was the most spectacular location for a shake out run ... ever. We took about 20 photos and were just generally all geeked out over where we were. We ran towards the start - around the coloseum and then back through circus maximus.
 
This is in front of the hotel getting our watches all happy. Of course the sun is shining and oh yes the columns across the street date from 100 bc. Crazy.


we were just giddy

so happy

the official picture

circus maximus where ben hur drove his chariot around in the movie. Now they use it as a park and it was where the festival for the 5k was the next day.

Race Day 

have you ever seen a bigger bib? It is no exaggeration wider than my shirt. Notice that my arm warmers while cute are too big they are already slipping down. My expression in the photo has to do with the fact that my husband has trouble operating a point and shoot camera. This was the second photo and yes it is out of focus. How is that possible there is one button and it's shiny? Push the shiny button honey.

rain on the camera. Walking to the race.

Waiting for the porta pottys. We saw a few Italian runners lubing up with olive oil. We have no idea what that was about. We talked about it for days. Since it was just a few guys we eventually decided it was just them and not an italian "thing"

This is the start line in our coral. Those cool trees are called umbrella pines. That's the Imperieal forum to the right of the start line. There was a statue of Cesar standing just to our right. Yes of course, Jim did the lines from Shakespeare.

This is how they separate the corals with that line of beefy Italian men. It worked.

I love this picture because Jim said, look up. And Doug did but into the sky. I don't know why that's so funny to me but it is.
It really rained hard right before the start. The start line even lost power for a few minutes which we only knew because they told us once it was back on.  I'll say here. They did all the announcements and everything in writing was in Italian and English. Sometimes things were confusing for a moment but a lot of runners in the race are from English speaking countries so they really do a great job of accommodating the non-Italians.

And go ...
There were 19k participants registered. I think some didn't show up due to the weather because only 14k finished but still. It was basically 1...2...3... go. It only took us 2 minutes to cross the start line from after the gun. Pretty fast. In comparison I think it's about 10 minutes at the Miami Marathon if you're in the 9th or 10th corral. And it wasn't too crazy although you had to pay a lot of attention because there were ponchos and discarded trash bags all over the ground and it was wet. But the rain stopped right for our start which was pretty great.

Cobblestones hurt your feet ... really ... a lot ... or perhaps I'm a wimp. 
Seriously my feet hurt in all kinds of weird places early like mile 5 from I think being bent over the cobblestones. Also, it's a much harder surface than asphalt so that creates pain in different places.
Right at the start you run by the Capitoline steps, church and museum. There was a huge marching band. The sun was shining, it was fantastic. We were really concentrating on not tripping on the wet cobblestones.

The course is laid out to pass all kinds of attractions.

Running by the old relics is a lot of fun. I read somewhere that this is considered the most beautiful marathon. I don't remember who said it but it's very pretty. Notice the ominous rain clouds.

I was taking a lot of photos. Notice this guy photo bombing :-) Nice job sir. Nice job.

Surrounded by such old things modern structures seem very cool.

we are running

This guy saw me taking photos and came over saying, "Selfie!" It might be my favorite photo of the race.
So, notice how he's wearing the race shirt. Here's a difference between US and European racers. It's totally normal and expected to wear your race shirt on race day. Many people had their names put on them at the expo. Where as in the states sometimes people think it's sort of bad juju to wear the shirt before you've finished the race.  It's also very common for groups to run in matching outfits for their team group. We see that in triathlons too but here it seemed more prevalent to me.
another marching band. I was clearly compelled to photo all the bands. Seriously there are about 5 pictures of other bands that I didn't even include.

I didn't see a single tutu on the course. There was a group running dressed as cows in full furry costumes. That had to be tough in the rain. And this guy running in a tutu and olive leave crown. Love it!


The water stops alternated with sponge stations. Both were seriously hazardous.
 We have a training partner who did the Paris Marathon a few years ago. He had told us that there they passed out full water bottles at the water stops. The first few in Rome also did that. The tops aren't even loosened. So we were expecting it. But it's a serious mess to dodge all the bottles dropped. The wet sponges are also no picnic. The ground is already wet and if you step on a wet sponge your foot is instantly soaked with icy water. Of course, I know this because eventually you step on one even if you're trying to dodge them. There was also a sort of buffet of food with the sponges I didn't stop to get any but I think it was food not gels. The later water stops were cups of water and gatorade. They were pretty understaffed. It didn't bother me because I just opened my bottle and they filled it up but if you had to wait for a cup it was a few seconds.

yes another band

This was a very pretty street by the river

so pretty we took 2 photos
 Okay so here you notice we are 2 runners not three. I started the pace out quickly as I said I would. Jim who is a faster runner than me likes to start a little slower so he was a minute or two behind us from about the 3rd mile.  This is the 16th kilometer you can see the flag behind us. A second after this I thought I saw Chrissie Wellington on the sidelines. It was just a flash but I told Doug but I wasn't sure so we didn't go back and harrass her or anything. Then later I saw this on twitter.

So she was there! And even more astounding I finished before her. Okay she was sick. But still I finished a marathon in front of a world champion ... that's fun. It was fun just to see her actually.

pretty pretty

Almost halfway!
Wet cobblestones. And cool Arch.
The coolest spot on the course
This is approaching St. Peters Basillica. That's Vatican City. It was the coolest thing I've ever run by in a race. You run right up to where they stage the seating for the Popes Speeches and then turn right and run around the square, by the wall surrounding Vatican City and under a gate. Truly breathtaking.

Jim caught us after the 1/2 way point. He has friends in Rome and they knew a runner running with a go pro. We were instructed to look for her. I totally blew that off because seriously, French woman in all blue with a go pro what are the chances. 19k runners. Of course Jim found her. So fun! She sped off shortly after this and finished ahead of us in about 4:15. Congrats Laurance!
Okay so speaking of Jim's friends in Rome. They walked with us to the start. They followed us on the course... in the rain cheering several times. It was fantastic. To have people cheering for you is crazy cool. I can't say enough how cool it was to have that on the course.
 
Selfie. I had told Doug I was stopping at the next porta potty. My stomach was acting up but still smiling.
 Nutrition ... stomach woes.
I have used the same nutriton in every Mararthon I've done. Water and gu every 40 minutes.And I always have to stop. So next marathon new plan because this isn't working. I can be slow to change apparently since it's taken me 14 years to decide this. I gave up about 5 minutes for this stop. Plus it was revolting. People do not stop to use porta pottys on the course for peeing. And afterwards it was hard to get back to the same pace unfortunately.
This is by the Olympic stadium. I was on my own now.

That sign says Avenue of the Americas or something like that. Seemed cool. Notice the lack of spectators. There were lots. Plenty. They were sort of in "pockets" But there were also just people out and about not paying any attention to the marathon.

Here you can seethat the smile is more forced. I was really trying to push because I was pretty sure I was going to miss 4:30 by a lot. I'm never right about these things.
Wardrobe Fail around mile 21.
I ordered those sparkly arm warmers and they were too big. Which stinks because they had measurments and instructions for sizing and they weren't a little too big but a lot. They wouldn't stay up. I kept them on for a while but then they got annoying and I tossed them to the side of the road. They were only $10 so I don't mind but I won't be buying any more team sparkle stuff unless I can try it on in advance. Actually probably not even then. The fabric didn't really breathe at all. Okay fine. I didn't like them. 

This is a 4:30 pacer.

Pacerunner who can't tell time freaking me out. I saw him go by and I hung on for dear life. He was running about an 8:45 pace. Which I know is not 4:30 but I got all freaked out because I figured maybe my watch was off or something.

Anyway  he stopped with his group at every water station which is one reason he had to go so fast I think. I would get ahead of him at these stops because I just grabbed and went. Also he was just insane because after about 20 minutes he passed me for good and I just let him go. I figured that meant I'd finish around 4:45 and I was bummed a little but also knew it was just what the day was for me because I had tried and just couldn't hold his pace.

It was a blessing to see him because it pushed me hard to speed up and when he dropped me at least I knew I had pushed hard toward the end. This made me really think about how valuable a friend or pacer pushing toward the end is. And I was missing my pals. 

Around this time I passed a race clock which said 3:45 which I was pretty sure was off from the power outage at the start since I thought I was way behind that. For some reason I couldn't find the elapsed time on my watch. However after a few minutes I figured hmmm. maybe it's right and I am actually faster than I think so I didn't give in. Also I was freezing and needed to finish this race.

This is a tunnel toward the end. At this point I was gassed but I knew it was about over. This is uphill inside the tunnel. There was a water and sponge stop. Everyone was walking but I jogged a bit because I really wanted to finish. It's also my final picture during the race. After this my battery died. There was a dj at the end of the tunnel with club music and a strobe light. I think they were actually supposed to be outside the tunnel but came in because of the rain.

Just after this tunnel where I had filled my bottle it leaked and was empty. Why I haven't thrown this peice of junk away before this is beyond me. It always annoys me. So in a moment of total road run rage I tossed it to the side with all my pent up frustration. Which is to say I threw it about 3 feet away in a total girly toss. But whatever. I was annoyed. Good bye arm warmers, good bye water bottle, I put the camera in my pouch and was all business till the finish.

Europeans can really run fast. Also ... don't fall.
Different from any other race I've done. I was passed by people the entire race. Usually toward the end there are zillions of walkers that I pass and I love that feeling. Not here. I was passed continuously through to the end. Just an observation. Lots of fast runners.

Running on cobblestones toward the end just stinks. The whole last few miles is up and down on uneven cobblestone roads. I seriously just kept thinking don't fall. I didn't see anyone wipe out but both Jim and Doug apparently did. So, I feel lucky. I won't run another cobblestone race anytime soon. ouch.

Maybe the best finish line ever.
Finally I saw the chariots on top of the museum of defense (I'm not sure that's what that building is but I think so) and I knew I was close. I quickened my stride a bit but not much because it was raining, of course, cold, and I was on winding cobblestone roads. But still coming back onto the Via dei Fori Imperiali (road of the Imperial Forum) seeing the ruins and the finishing arch was pretty spectacular and I just couldn't believe it when I saw the clock saying 4:31. I was thrilled. Super thrilled.

I got my space blanket and a super kind Italian opened it for me or I'd still be standing there shivering. I got my medal ... it's really rad. I found my friends in the crowd. Amazing. And I found my cheering crew including my husband ... more amazing. Plus, it stopped raining for a bit.

Here are my splits from the race results. 

SplitTimemin/KmDeltamin/KmRealTime
Via Ostiense (5K)0:34:236,520:34:236,520:31:26
Via Ettore Rolli (10K)1:04:366,270:30:136,021:01:38
Lungotevere dei Sangallo (15K)1:34:586,190:30:226,041:32:01
Via della Giuliana (21.097K)2:11:546,150:36:566,032:08:57
Piazza Lauro De Bosis (25K)2:35:426,130:23:486,052:32:44
Viale della XVII Olimpiade (30K)3:10:506,210:35:087,013:07:53
Lungotevere Arnaldo da Brescia (35K)3:43:596,230:33:096,373:41:01
Via dei Fori Imperiali (FINISH)4:31:566,260:47:576,394:28:58

I can't quite figure out how to purchase the race photos yet. But if I do figure it out I'll post them up.

Long hobble back to the hotel followed by some seriously rad pizza.
Your legs are shot at the end of any marathon but I think due to the cobblestones my quads were extra fried this time. It wasn't the hilliest marathon I've done but I must have run with a different stride with the terrain. It was a painful hobble.

Accidentally we took the slightly longer route back to the hotel. We stayed at Hotel 47 which I recommend as a convenient hotel to the race.

It's only about 3/4 of a mile but with about 1/4 mile to go there was a torrential downpour and a strong icy wind. It totally sucked. But we made it and I took a seriously hot shower.

Then we met up downstairs and headed out for pizza. We lucked into a great cabbie who found us a local pizzeria that would serve us and had pizza and beer which was perfect. Just perfect.
The pizzeria is called Popi Popi and you can just see my pizza behind the giant beer which apparently seemed much more important at the time to take a photo of. It was the best pizza I had on the trip.

This is the next day we're getting ready for our Vatican catacombs tour. I'm sporting my medal.

Later that night we went to an Irish Sports bar and watched KU (my alma mater) lose a basketball game which was not the best result but still a great end to a great day (weather not included).

So that's it. 

It is the a huge long post but if you have any questions about the race ask away because I'm happy to answer. I do recommend this as a great travel race.

What's the farthest you've traveled to race?

What do you think is the most beautiful race course?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

All Roads lead to Rome -- I'm back ... mostly

Super quick update.
These are my training buddies Jim and Doug during our shake out run the day before the marathon. Very cool to be running around the relics. Notice the beautiful weather!

I'm still sort of reeling from the recent trip to Rome. It was a great trip and I'll give more details shortly but sadly I was hit with food poisoning on the last night.

My husband always teases me about my weird food rules when I travel - I only drink bottled water even if I'm somewhere "safe" like Italy or Chicago for the first few days or even the whole trip which he thinks is silly. But I've learned from experience that my stomach isn't as bold a traveler as the rest of my body so I follow my little quirks and even that wasn't enough this time. I think it was a dish of risotto porcini that did me in. But I'll never really know. 

It was an ugly, horribly mess of a night and a loooong flight home. But to be honest I was pretty happy to actually make the flight since in the middle of the night that hadn't seemed like it was remotely possible. And I'm not quite even eating yet and let's see we're almost at 36 hours and I'm still eating bread (not even toast), and ginger ale.

Bleh.

But it's still nice to be home. It's always nice to be home.

More later -

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How big is your bicep?

I just measured my bicep to order purple sparkly arm warmers for the race.

10.5 inches of mightyness if you're curious ... which you are probably not. I don't think I'd be curious if the tables were turned.I'm not exactly sure I measured the right part of my bicep being new to bicep measuring and all but how off could it be? It's an arm sleeve for crying out loud.

Getting ready for the Rome Marathon
I am very excited for this race. Although I've sort of chucked the time goals out the window which is not my favorite thing to do but oh well I'm not setting any amazing time standards here.

The truth is that since this is (most likely) the only time I'm ever going to run this race it's more important to me to have a fun and memorable day than to run a super fast race. Do I say this before every race... possibly. Does that mean I'll never run my fastest race ... maybe.

This combined with my complete and total lack of knowledge about the course makes for a loosey goosey goal.

The Plan
So the plan is to head out at a 9:55 pace. That's a 4:20 target (which would be a huge pr if I hit it which I don't actually expect to).  I'd like to come in before 4:30. If I don't I'll be okay. I do have some speedy pacers with me (jim and doug) if we start together.

Common wisdom is to start the marathon conservatively and speed up at the end. Why start out so much faster than I intend to finish? Well unlike other shorter races there are some slow downs in a race this long like getting water, eating gus and usually at least one potty stop. So setting the target pace a little faster than my end average target pace hopefully factors in these slow downs. Plus while I don't intend to slow down throughout the race on purpose I think "hitting the gas" as mile 24 or 25 is unrealistic for me. My plan of attack is to start out at the pace I hope to hold and then hold on (for dear life).
I tried this before my last long ride this weekend. I think it's helpful. I won't use it for the marathon just because it's got a lot of caffeine and I'm not sure how my stomach is doing with it.
The weather will have a big part if in I can hold this pace. I lose speed like a crazy person when it's warm outside. But if it really is 55-60 degrees my chances are better.

I am toeing the line basically injury free. My hips have been tight these past two weeks but I think they'll loosen up this week with reduced easy running and stretching.

Things that could go wrong
Jetlag, cobblestones, foreign food, not speaking the language, lost luggage so many things that could happen to sabbotage my time goals.

One huge wild card is the start. There are 19k runners in this race and there are 3 corrals. Not a typo there are apparently only 3 corrals. We're all together. In my limited research of international races (mostly reading dcrainmakers blog) I have learned that organization at the start is ... not always great.

That pretty much lines up with my experience in France which was a self-organized start compared to the craziness of a big race in the states. 

So if the start is a 4 mile slog at the beginning then that's the day and I'll just go out and have a good time. I think a lot of people underestimate the time effect that 15 minutes of basically walking has on your overall time but it's pretty huge. If you want to run a 3:45 and you start with the 5 hour runners it's a lot of extra work at the beginning.
I didn't take any photos of the run so all the photos are of the ride.

The portapotty stop. I have no idea what to expect with the porta potty situation in Italy. I have never made it through a full marathon without having to stop.

I am going to carry my camera with me during the race which I don't do if time is my only goal. I do hesitate a bit as I take pictures on the run but this race is for fun and I've decided that cumulative minute is worth it. We picked this race because it's supposed to be a great day...start and finish at the colleseum and all that. So I plan to enjoy it ... dammit! (that last part is a goof - sorry I'm not sorry for cursing).

The nutrition plan
I have no faith - zero in there being anything except possibly water on the course. I asked months ago about the sport drink and heard it wasn't yet decided. It's apparently still not decided. Actually it probably is decided I just have no idea what it might be and that's okay because I only drink water on the run.


For nutrition I will carry 6 GUs. They will be plain flavor and half caffeine and half not. One before and 5 during the race at kilometer marks 7-15-23-31-39. I will remember this by writing it on my hand in sharpie also it's about every 45 minutes. I learned in IM France that converting to miles from Kilometers is beyond my mental power late in the race so I mapped out what the kilometer markers will be. I will carry either my fuel belt or my handheld bottle for water during the race. I think they hand out full water bottles which will be a blast (imagine 19k tossed half full bottles of water under foot) but I'll just transfer and run on.

Most importantly - the outfit
The weather currently says 40% chance of rain ... which will really be craptastic. But I think that will change. It should be 50-65 the whole day. That's good running weather although 50 at the start feels pretty cold to a Florida girl. I am going to wear the outfit I wore when I ran in NYC. With one change in NY I wore a sweatshirt at the start and then carried that around my waist till the finish. Which was ... annoying. This time my plan is to wear arm warmers the whole time. I ordered them today. I requested priority mail so it should be here in plenty of time. 

Now to end with a gratuitous photo of my daughter doing gymnastics. Because I love her and she's so much cuter than me. That's her waiting to warm up on bars.
Can't you just feel the nerves? look at that little bent foot. She did great though.

Now I have to go pack :-) The blog will be I think silent while I'm gone. Plus I gave up facebook for lent so you'll have to be patient to see how I do :-) Those of you who know me closely my husband will have his phone working.



Monday, March 10, 2014

The Rome Marathon is in two weeks

I write this post as I'm currently skipping today's workouts.

I'm not really that lazy I did play 1.5 hours of tennis today but that's not really a "workout" as much as it is social time. But I'm tired from my weekend and to be perfectly honest I kind of need Monday as a get organized day. Today I'm supposed to run 7 miles and swim 3000 yards and that's just going to have to happen another day this week.

Stretch
There is actually a reason I'm taking today off (two actually) the first is I'm tired. It was hard to wake up this morning and I don't feel terribly peppy. Which sometimes I'll push through and sometimes I listen and rest. The second is I need to stretch. The entire right side of my body is all tightened up from my shoulder to the bottom of my foot, including my hip and my calf. I felt it during the Saturday long run and yesterday's bike ride. Enough that I didn't run after the ride and today I'm foam rolling and stretching. I know ... me who never stretches. And drinking lots of water. And eating my veggies. Eating the veggies isn't really related to the stretching but I think it is a good thing to do :-)
short and semi-quick ride yesterday. 2 hours and we saw the 20 a few times on the old speed-o-meter.

In just 2 weeks I'll be in Rome
It feels like it should be farther away. But it's not. It's time to start thinking about packing and vacationing and making goals and whatnot. I have a plan for caring for the guinea pigs while we're gone without relocating them and that's about it actually.

Let's start the goal speak. My marathon PR is almost 3 years old.  (4:33 which I'm proud of thank you very much). This is the first standalone marathon I've run in over 2 years.  I haven't done any lead up races I'm not really sure what to think about that.  When I ran NY I had done all kinds of lead up tempo runs and stuff so I was more confident and solid in what I could do. Also I have to be realistic I know zippo about this course and whether it's a hard one or not. And I have to admit I'm about 5-6 lbs heavier than when I ran NY which does play a part in how fast one can push the legs. Plus there's the whole travel / jetlag / cobblestone wildcard.

And in the end it's the only time I'm going to run this race I want to have fun and post a good time without stressing out and being miserable. So I'm thinking about that. Just thinking though. I'll give more details in a few days I guess.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

On my soapbox - why cyclists make safer (better) automobile drivers ... and also Marathon Monday

I did my long bike ride Sunday.

Not too long 50 miles. But I had plenty of time with my thoughts because I was alone. I don't usually ride totally alone but I also don't mind being totally alone.
documenting my solo ride to pester my training mates who bailed on me Sunday morning. It didn't actually bug me but pestering them is fun.

I have an acquaintance who recently wrote a book about good street design. Which is interesting because we live in Miami where there isn't a lot of good street design and we also lack greatly in the area of communal driver quality. Our drivers are terrrible and our roads are bad. It's not a great combination when it's your turn to be a pedestrian.

But in the end I have one thought. It's perhaps a complicated thought but I think it works. See if you can follow me here. Cyclists (and by extension motorcyclists and probably families of those who "ride") are safer drivers when it comes to pedestrian accidents. This is my theory - it could be a bad one but it's mine.

Here's my explanation. As cyclists we expect to see cyclists and runners in the road. Because we expect it since we are there too we "see" it. If I see a small blinking light off in the distance I think, oh that might be a bike. When I make a turn I look behind me to see if a bike is coming up on the right - I do these things because sometimes that cyclist is me or a friend of mine. It's a natural thought - oh here's a road there might be a bike on it. Oh here's a sidewalk there might be a walker/runner on it.

Those who don't do it. Don't expect it, don't check for it and don't see it.

For example in Miami we have these "sharrow" marks showing up in the street. Recently I showed them to my husband and my father-in-law and neither of them had any idea what they meant. That's probably not too helpful then is it? They are supposed to mark a spot in the road where cars and bikes share the lane. Ergo sharrow. The share arrow. Get it. Nope neither did they.

Therein lies the conundrum ... how can you get people to see something they aren't used to looking for?

Also therein lies the inherant risk. In my opinion it's so very important for cyclists to think like drivers when they are on the bike. Today on my ride I saw several cyclists go around on the left of a car at an intersection. They squeezed into the lane. This is something a car couldn't do. The driver is looking at the traffic light ahead of him and oncoming traffic etc. He's not looking for bikes to his left in his driving lane. The car wasn't expecting them and not totally surprisingly when they appeared in his frontal vision he stopped short. He was surprised. There was a car behind him who almost hit him and I was behind that car. But I had given them a lot of room because I saw the cylcists pull out to the left and I suspected - anticipated what might happen. So I wasn't hurt or caught off guard but that isn't always won't always be the case.  And in true Miami fashion the cyclists totally hazed the driver as they went by.

Thinking like a car in this case would have meant stopping behind the car in the lane and waiting for the light to change. Waiting for lights is something some cyclists hate to do but really ... riding a bike doesn't change the driving rules as much as we might want it to.

We can't make all drivers be cyclists. That's just impossible. We could perhaps lobby for more bike awareness on driving tests perhaps. We can encourage more education in the form of community bike rodeos and things. 

That's the end of my theory. I don't have any real suggestions of how to fix it. But somebody should probably think about this because I'm pretty sure herein lies at least part of the problem that results in pedestrians getting run over at a pretty frequent rate and nobody likes that. 

In other news, my last long run before the Rome Marathon is complete. Last 20 miler. I ran with my friend Doug which was fun. He had plenty to chat about which is always helpful. Now it's time to relax recover ... taper.

 We must be getting close to tri season!
Look, running biking and swimming!