Monday, November 16, 2009

Changing my mind

(the Black Knight is the n° 547)
Some months ago I decided not to race anymore after the stress fracture on the highest part of the shin bone, the same bone fractured in 2 parts because of the motor bike incident. But thanks to Sir Giorgio on oct. 11 I entered a competitive race km. 10,700 (ml 6.64) long with a prudent pace (5’12” Km / 8’22 ml).
By that day I began a regular program of training: swimming and running; no more bike (risks on the roads and a little pain near the groin). The weekly schedule is:
Monday: rest
Tuesday: swimming (1600 metres)
Wednesday: running (tempo run 10/13 km)
Thursday: rest
Friday: running (relaxing 10/12 km)
Saturday: swimming (1600 metres)
Sunday: running (15/17 km).
Thanks to this program, on Nov. 8th I left my car near the 10th km mark and I made a 10 km test. I ran both the competitive race (oct. 11) and this test without pushing. To be sure not to change my mind during it I followed my scheduled program (no rest before the test: swimming the day before and running on Friday), moreover I didn’t wear my race shoes. I didn’t want to risk my leg finishing the half marathon. Well the time on 10 km (1 km uphill and no downhill) was 51’20” (5’08” km / 8’16” ml).
Looking back I can see a good progress: 62’00” in August; 60’00” in September; 52’00” in October and 51’20” in November. I hope to come back to run a whole half marathon next February.
The test story: In a dark and rainy bloody Sunday a barbarian Army of 1200 soldiers besieged the city of Civitavecchia believing that the Black Knight wouldn’t have been there to defend the territory. They began to sack the suburbs leaving their carriages everywhere. So Sir Giorgio called the invincible warrior to ask once more for his help to defeat the outrageous enemies. The Black Knight accepted, wore his shining black armour and among the wonder of the savage hordes took his place at the start. The Barbarian Army, scared and confused, began to run as fast as possible, leaving the city going to the country pursued by a very angry Black Knight. After 10 km they surrendered, defeated and humble came back to their carriages before going home wounded and humiliated.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A little help to sir Giorgio

Prologue: The Black Knight was into his castle enjoying this period of pace and quiet. But, what a surprise, received the visit of Sir Giorgio (see his report) who came to beg the help of the invincible warrior to destroy an enemy legion. What happened? Taking advantage of the night, 62 rebels besieged the city of Montalto di Castro, a town 42 km far from the Black Knight kingdom capital, asking for tributes and food. For this reason on the morning of the last Sunday (the last Sunday forever for the coward enemies) the fearless Black Knight came back unexpectedly to a battlefield to defend the scared citizens and support Sir Giorgio in this new heroic adventure. Of course the enemy legion suddenly surrendered.
Pictures before the race: n° 1 the Black Knight, n° 2 from left Sir Umberto, Sir Giorgio and the Black Knight.

The Battle: It was a competitive race km 10,700 (6.64 ml) long, with uphill and downhill on a sunny day. This time I was prudent and I didn’t push to avoid another stress fracture. However I was confident because I worked hard in the pool (1500-1600 metres each time) and I followed a wise training running program (3/4 workouts for week no longer than 75 minutes). The final time was 55’49 (5’12”/km – 8’22”/ml). The score 38° of 62 and 4° in the age group.
The Future: No programs, only a step by step training. At the moment only swimming and running because the bike gives me some problems (pain near the groin).
The loot (the prize for the 4° place in the age group)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The conquest of Tuscany

The conquest. After the conquest of the sea the Black Knight decided to conquer new cities and went straight ahead to Tuscany, a wonderful region in the centre of Italy.
The Army conquered Cortona, Florence, Arezzo, Montepulciano and other less important garrisons.
Now the black flags waves on the tuscan skies.

Pictures: n° 1 typical Val d'Orcia landscape; n° 2 the Black Knight at Monte Oliveto abbey; n° 3 Daniela (B.K.'s wife) near the Asciano cathedral; n° 4 the pool of the hotel in Cortona.
Training. The muscles of the left leg are smaller than the right leg ones, but this is normal after all the fractures. Now I succeed in running the 10 km in 60 minutes, 2 minutes less than the last month but, as we say, the road is long again. To stay fit I continue to swim and bike for a good cross training program. Even if my son “rings the bell” I don’t enter any race.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The raid

The coward enemy heard that the Black Knight was wounded became always more reckless. The last outrage was the arrival of many invaders by the ship “Navigator of the Seas”.
This was the last challenge and the invincible warrior decided to conquer the battle ship and to show to all the Mediterranean sea how the Black Knight Army is strong again.
In few minutes the crew surrendered and was submitted. The other ports of call of the raid (july 19 – 26) were Genoa, Villefranche, Barcelona, Palma de Majorca and Cagliari. The natives didn’t resist the Black Knight Army and renewed the promise of eternal fidelity. And the justice ruled again!
The Navigator of the Seas in Cagliari:

Portofino, a wonderful town near Genoa:

Montecarlo: on the left the Casino and on the right the Hotel of Paris:

Daniela, the Black Knight Kingdom's Queen in Barcelona:

The Spanish Pueblo in Palma de Majorca:

The Black Knight and his wife onboard:

Training. At last the things go better. The knee doesn’t hurt anymore and the liquid between the knee itself and the bone was reabsorbed, however all the muscles of the left leg are weaker than the right leg ones. But now I can run and the distances are longer even if I am very slow (10 k in 62 minutes). At the moment I am following a cross training program (swim, run, bike) improving distances and speed even if I don’t see the triathlon in my future. I took this decision for many reasons: after all the fractures I have lost my speed and my endurance; I am scared to bike with the locks and also the swimming is a step to the future because of the special items to wear to get better performances.
Enjoy this summertime.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

4th of July

The visit. The 4th of July was a great day in the Black Knight Kingdom, we received the visit of Katy the Greaty IHateToast from the pacified and unified kingdom of USA/Australia where she and her husband iliketoast rule with wisdom and justice. We visited many famous places in Rome: Spanish Steps, Via del Corso, the Pantheon, Campo de' Fiori, the Parliament, Navona Square and Trevi Fountain. The time was too short to visit other parts of that wonderful city. Thank you again Katy for the visit and the wonderful present: the singlet of the Brisbane Running Team, I will wear it with pride. Below the Black Knight (on the right with the blue t-shirt) checks the people who are waiting for the arrival of the famous Katy the Greaty (on the left Spanish Steps, in front Square of Spain, on the right the Spanish Embassy):

Below Katy the Greaty and Daniela (Black Knight's wife) near Trevi Fountain:
Below: Katy and Daniela in Navona Square refresh their noble feet:
Training: the things are going better even if the knee hurts a little but I know that the recover is long and I must be patient. The program now is day after day: swim 60/75 minutes across the sea), bike (90 minutes), run (50 minutes). The time of the workouts is more or less the same of the last month but now I am faster and I feel stronger.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The last victory

After 3 months without running, due to a stress fracture on the highest part of the shin bone with liquid between the knee and the bone, I came back to run. The first workout was hard, 35 minutes testing every part of my injured leg, with many bad thoughts and a big fear. Unfortunately the recover is long, that poor leg suffered 2 different fractures and 2 operations; for this reason I decided not to race anymore. The last magnetic resonance confirmed that decision, by now the knee, the ligaments and the meniscus don’t allow the effort of a race. However I will enter some popular events with thousands of runners but only to enjoy the group without pushing at all.
The current program is day after day: swim (40 minutes if in the pool or 60/75 minutes if across the sea), bike (90 minutes), run (40 minutes), rest. This is not triathlon but only a way to stay fit and in shape.
But the Black Knight Army doesn’t demobilize, all the heroic warriors fight everywhere: land, air, sea. At present is very active the Black Knight Navy busy to patrol the coast by 4 invincible seals: the Black Knight, the Black Knight’s son, Sir Giorgio and Sir Gianni. They heedless of danger swim often from the local marina to the shepherd’s cape to check that no enemy fleets are sailing against the coast of the Black Knight kingdom.
The last victory: the major terrified by the Black Knight’s anger decided to stop the cut of the trees (see the post down).

Friday, May 29, 2009

The ultimate fight

At last on may 7th I made a magnetic resonance at my knee and now I know that I have a stress fracture on the highest part of the shin bone with liquid between the knee and the bone. It means one month of stop: no swimming, no bike and no run. I can walk avoiding, as possible, the stairs.
But never mind the Black Knight heals and recovers. Many battles and new countries to conquer are waiting but on the corner there is the most difficult and shameful fight. The Black Knight Army during the campaigns saw many bad things and many coward enemies but never faced such unbelievable ambush.

He used to run with Sir Giorgio through beautiful streets and one of these now is in the situation that you can see.

Some “very important persons” decided to cut down the wonderful eucalyptus trees because “dangerous”!!! In this period on those trees there are (were) many birds into their nests. Now we can see those birds flying over the zone looking for their lost "home"! The major told that he will put other trees. But I don’t want other trees, I want those trees, I want those nests! Some trees were our marks for the runs and we enjoyed to watch the bird over them. Now there is the desert!Tomorrow I will go to sign the petition and to garrison the zone to prevent new cuts.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Goodbye to race (sorry for the long post)

My running life changed on 18 Sept. 2007 when the motor-bike incident broke my leg. I had the illusion to come back to a normal running life, for this reason I decided for another surgery to remove all the prosthesis (28 Nov. 2008). The recover was long and I began a running program; day after day the run was easier and faster but on 29 Marc. 2009, during a hilly race I damaged my left knee (the injured leg). By that day I could not run anymore. I tried with the bike but the pain is always strong. Only swimming helps a little to stay in shape.
I am sure that the knee heals but I need time and I will always be scared of injuring again the leg.
After many thoughts and considerations I made the sad decision to say goodbye to race. I cannot risk to rest for weeks because of an effort to finish a little bit before. I am not so wise to slow down when the pain "calls".
Now I want to stay fit and when possible I will begin to alternate running, biking and swimming but without pushing.
I think that this is the right moment to weigh up successes and failures of 24 years of running and 172 races. In this period the Black Knight conquered Athens (10k), Edinburgh (10 ml), Berlin (half marathon) and many italian cities.
  • 15 oct 1989: For the first time 1st in his age group;
  • 18 nov 1990: My first marathon (3.48.04);
  • 09 dic 1990: The first race under the 4'00"/km (6'26"/ml);
  • 01 apr 1991: The best marathon in 3.34.09;
  • 17 mar 1991: The best half marathon in 1.31.58;
  • 13 feb 1996: Qualified for the National Navy cross team (8 members) The B.K. was in the Navy in the period 1977-1997;
  • 12 nov 2006: Half marathon italian champion of the port workers (age group).
  • 14 apr 1985: The first race and ... last at the arrival;
  • 17 mar 1996: Italian championship of cross (La Maddalena naval base as member of the official Navy tem) 80° of 90;
  • 1993 and 1998: no races;
  • 1994 and 2002: only one race.
However this is not the end but the start of a new different sport life. The Black Knight never surrenders.
Here you can see the Black Knight (making "hi") with some collegues in Barcelona:

Monday, March 30, 2009


(before the race. From left the Black Knight, Sir Umberto and Sir Giorgio)
At last the Black Knight entered the first race 4 months after the second surgery. The battlefield was Tarquinia an ancient wonderful Etruscan city full of historical places: museum, graves, art, castle, towers, churches, architecture and so on. (the castle of Tarquinia)
He arrived in a windy and rainy day, under a cloudy sky, to remind that he is alive, angry and always ready for new glorious adventures.
Indeed he was not ready to race because the mileage done was very very poor: December 0, January 35 miles, February 39 miles and March (until the day before the event) 80 miles. But he strongly desired to come back to compete.
The race course, 3 laps around the city, 11.4 km (ml 7.08 ml) was hilly, wet and most of it paved like the medieval streets. It was the worst for an injured leg. There were not any marks so he could not check the pace km per km. The official time was 1.00.45 but the chip final time was 1.00.38 (5’19”/km – 8’34”/ml) : 1st lap 20’04”, 2nd lap 20’10” and 3rd lap 20’24”. The last lap was a nightmare because the knee and all the muscles around began to hurt. The result was 195 of 227. It is a bad result but this is my situation now. I must work hard to try to get the old performances.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The miracle


Running - At last the recovery is complete: I am clinically healed. Of course there is a lot of work to do and a very little piece of “iron” will stay forever into the leg but I am ready to begin a running program after 1 year, 6 months, 4 days.
After the terrible crash the 99% of the doctors said: “The prosthesis will stay forever in the leg”; 50% said: “you will not have to run anymore” and 30% said: “I am not sure if you will come back to walk as before”.
Now after 2 operations (20 sept. 2007 and 24 nov 2008) and a tough physiotherapy the prosthesis were removed, I walk and I run again! I am very lucky.
By last Monday I started a serious training with 4 weekly workouts (10 – 12 km) and one swimming session (1600 metres). The pace is 5’30”/km (8’51”/ml).
In march and april I will enter 3 races only to breathe the smell of the competition and at the end of the year I would like to finish a sub 2 hours half marathon. The way is long and I hope to come back to race at my usual pace of the past. But if I will not succeed …. never mind, the Black Knight is however back!
What a pity I must forget the bike because my wife worries when I leave home, she remembers very well all the troubles following my terrible fracture. It (the bike) was a good help to heal but better to live in peace with her (my wife)! She spent bad days to stay day and night with me in the hospital and to drive me everywhere when I had to use the crutches. She is a wonderful woman.
Rugby. 6 Nations. Italy, the last with shame. Yesterday another heavy defeat against France: 50 – 8. That ridiculous Italian team doesn’t deserve such wonderful supporters (watch the movie). The head coach Mallet’s score: 8 loss on 8 matches. Wrong experiments, wrong decisions, wrong, wrong, wrong. For the first time I heard the “buuuuuu” and the whistling of disapproval. The Black Knight was there and disapproved too. He is very very angry.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Sorry for the long silence but i don’t like to write posts with a simple list of workouts without more interesting (?) news and some images. Moreover it is difficult to tell something about running if I am only working to recover a good condition: I mean speed and mileage. At the moment the muscles of the knees are again weak to push more.
This situation get me a little lazy so I didn’t run while I was far from home for work and pleasure. In fact in this period “of silence” I went to Naples for the meetings of the Espo Sustainable Development Committee and the Ecoports Foundation Board - where I am member - and to Scotland with my son for the rugby match Scotland – Italy.
For the first time by 2000 I can say that this Italian team is a shame, the players go hard at every game but the head coach makes experiments!!! How can he make experiments against England, Ireland and Scotland??? If you want to try something of different do it with Luxembourg, Andorra, S.Marino, Vatican City not against such strong teams!! So Scotland received this kind gift: “our” head coach Mallett put the scrum half as full back, the full back as scrum half and we lost again!

The Black Knight crowned King of Scotland at Stirling Castle (near this Castle Braveheart defeated the English army).
The Black Knight under the monument built in his honour to celebrate his visit.

The King of Terror inside the Rosslyn Chapel (did you see the Da Vinci Code?)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The apology

On January 14th the Black Knight ran for the first time after the surgery. The police had many problems to stop the applauding crowd of people gathered to celebrate the return of the invincible knight.
At the moment the only problem is the weakness of the muscles around the knee that I must completely rebuild.
The weekly schedule is 3 days swimming (1500 metres), 3 days running (45/60 minutes) and rest on wednesday. No bike because I am scared again to use the fastenings under the shoes.
In this photo there are the Black Knight and his wife during the celebration. The President Obama sent his apologies for the abscence, for this reason the annoyed Black Knight didn't go to the White House for the settling of the new President.