Those who know me better, know that I do not like running races. Yes, I like to run. Over the last few years I have done it quite regularly, and occasionally I’m running for twenty or even more kilometers. But mostly I do it alone. When I want. Where I want. The way I want. And yet, last month, we both with Una went to Vilnius Marathon to run half-marathon there. Why?
Invitation to participate in this competition and visit Vilnius I received about 8 months ago. At the time when we were cycling across India. And then we had no idea what we will do in the second half of the year. Then came September. We were in Latvia. And so we decided to take the opportunity to visit the neighboring and still unseen Vilnius.
Start at 9:15 on Sunday. So we go to Vilnius on a Saturday afternoon. In the evening in the city I pick up my participant package. Everything happens quickly and easily. I don’t know why, but later we discover, that comparing to Una’s package my package lacks energy gels, vitamins and some other stuff. But I’m OK. Anyway I don’t eat any gels during races and this time I have also decided not to stop at drinking and snack points. I want to run self supported.
Instant oatmeals, banana and chocolate for breakfast. I fill up my 600 ml water bottle with tap water and we are ready to go.
No surprises. Streets are full with people, who have came here for Vilnius Marathon.
And still it’s impossible to miss one team – charity runners team from Poland “Spartans for kids”. This team is running full marathon. And I’m sure, that their songs and shouts during the race helps not only few other runners, but much more. Spartans and running, everything is clear, but in modern running shoes? Ha ha! I thought that they run in sandals or bare feet.
First kilometer we are running together with Una and close to Spartans. But then I speed up a bit and continue on my own. Who knows, maybe this time I will improve my not so high, but still personal best time and will finish under two hours. Keeping it somewhere in my mind, but not really thinking about it I’m running. This time I’m also not listening to my personal trainer – Endomondo. It’s just quietly sitting in my pocket, counting kilometers and minutes, but I’m just following others and keeping my pace.
At about half of the distance I start to think, that it’s going quite easy. It helps that there are so many people running at my pace, which is around 6 minutes per kilometer. That makes it possible to overtake someone regularly. And there is always someone to follow, to keep the pace.
These few hills during the race I use as my advantage. They are not high, but still higher than the bridges in Riga. While going up I maintain roughly the same pace as over flats, but when going down I speed up and rest at the same time. Here I feel, how actually useful is my this summer experience running in hills of France.
The race track is beautiful. It starts and finishes in the city center, but central part goes through a park. For me as nature lover central part is the favorite one. Kilometers there just fly. No cars and no city noises. Just a peaceful run.
Only at one point, about the middle of the race, I feel a slight pain in one side. I slow down a little bit and soon everything is fine again. And then it’s done – I finish half marathon without any stop at any of the refreshment points. My feet feel good in Adidas Adipure minimalist shoes and I am even ready to run more. Although in last few months I did about 1000 kilometers of walking and running in these shoes, this was the second time I run for so long only on a hard surface.
I don’t finish under two hours. But what a nice sightseeing tour it was! We will come back to Vilnius for sure!
Pictures are taken from Vilnius Marathon Facebook page.
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.