My friends and co-workers
I also want to thank my other adopted family Lauren, Mauro and their kids Lorenzo, Valentina and Luca. All of them together with my awesome co-workers at Ciclismo Classico – Cristiano, Christy, Marc, MJ, Lauren, Leanne, Patria - were on top of Heartbreak hill making amazing colorful chalk drawings, including my name. Seeing them definitely lift me up the hill!
The Ciclismo Gang
Mauro, Lauren, Lorenzo, Valentina & Luca at our 2nd Wedding in Maine
I also have the most amazing friends, running, non-running and facebook friend who have been an incredible support system getting me to this day! They were cheering for me and tracking me during the whole race and each time I stepped over a checkpoint, I was thinking of all of them that were receiving updates.
Here is few encouraging messages that stayed with me:Poem wrote by Amanda Perry “Hey Bella,
About a year ago, you said, “I wann run.
“ And now you’re a machine who’s run a ton!
You’ve battled blizzards and snow plows too,
Nothing could stop you, not even winter blues,
You stayed on track and woke up before the sun,
After a body pump class, 15 mile bike ride, and weights, you were never done!
Always optimistic and with a smile, You made it look so easy, every single mile,
Three more days ’til you shine,
Smiling ‘cross that finish line!
Heartbrake hills got nothin’ on you,
You’ll be so fast, we’ll think you flew!
My running hero, can’t wait to say,
Those 20 milers were worth it, damn straight.
26.2? For you is child’s play,
Train it, run it, do it, love it – that’s the Natascia Way!
Go bella, go bella, what what!
You know it, you’re awesome, kick butt! “
Amanda & I goofing around
Steph Brewer message
“The marathon’s about being in contention over the last 10K. That’s when it’s about what you have in your core. You have run all the strength, all the superficial fitness out of yourself, and it really comes down to what’s left inside you. To be able to draw deep and pull something out of yourself is one of the most tremendous things about the marathon. ”
Steph & I after running our 2nd Half Marathon together
I am lucky enough to know Simonetta Piergentili, a Master runner that started with the elite runners and who came 1st in her division of last year’s Boston Marathon and 2nd of this year one. Simonetta was my inspiration throught my training and, she was so kind to take the time to write me a very reassuring, wise email few days before the Marathon ( She did the same for my 1st Marathon). This is what she wrote me:
“First of all, it is normal to be as nervous as you are. It is Boston after all. However, forget that you have not done as much speed as you would have liked. You made it through a very tough winter. You never gave up and that is worth more than anything. Don’t under estimate how much of the marathon is mental. You can be in the best physical condition, but if you don’t have it mentally, it doesn’t matter. But, if you are mentally strong, It is amazing what you can make your body do. With that said, have confidence in your training and your ability. Think about what you did do over the winter and what you can do because of how you are and how strong you are and how passionate you are about this No negatives. The day will give you so much unexpected energy that you can work with that it is unbelievable. Believe in yourself and embrace the nerves as part of the preparation.
How to handle the course. Start out slow. You will want to just go, but hold back. It will be difficult because it is a downhill start and downhill most of the way. Not to mention the excitement makes you want to just go. But hold back. It will almost feel like you are going too slow. At the half way point, if you are feeling ok, that is where you will pick up your pace. Don’t worry about people passing you in the first half. You will catch many of them on the 2nd half. As you are passing people on the 2nd half, it will make you mentally stronger and more motivated and it will just make you feel good. It will help you get up the hills and to the finish.
You can reach your goal Natascia. You are strong. Just believe in yourself. You are fit and ready to go. Remember, until Monday, you are going to think about only what you CAN and DID do. Trust me. You are ready. Enjoy the ride!
In bucca al lupo!!”
Simonetta on top of Heartbreak hill
There is no way I can express in words the gratitude and admiration I have for her. She is my idol! I printed out her message, read it everytime I needed to and took it with me in Hopkinton the day of the Marathon.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being part of this incredible and unforgettable journey !