Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year. I want to begin this post with the best wishes for a 2012 of happiness and success, full of beautiful things and …. PB. Happy New Year, my friends!!!!!

The Storm. In the last post I wrote about the storm that hit my city and mainly the port making many damages. Here are 2 pictures, the first outside the breakwater and the second in a marina half mile far from the port:

Running. Now I am doing speed-works in the evening with the Sir Giorgio's (now Duke of Pisterzo, please Giorgio explain how you got the title) group. They are faster than me so I can improve my speed. These are the last workouts: sunday 22.8 km (14.2 mi); tuesday 13.8 km (8.5 mi), thursday 11.8 km (7.3 mi) and yesterday a tempo-run on the hills 10.6 km (6.6 mi). We will celebrate the 31st with a long distance run near the sea.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Liberty Run Christmas

Pisa Marathon. After a lot of thoughts I decided to run the Pisa Marathon. On Saturday afternoon I was in the beautiful city, I left the baggage in hotel and I went to take the bib. But while I was walking through the crowded streets full of lights I received a phone call: “Please come back as soon as possible because there is a storm, 2 ships and 1 pontoon have broken the mooring ropes; the breakwater is closed for the traffic and we don’t know if the line-ships can leave”. At 08.00 p.m. I got home. No marathon. In the next post I will put the pictures of Pisa and the storm.

Liberty Run Christmas. Not to waste 4 months of training the day after (Sunday 18th) I entered, in my city, the Liberty Run Christmas a tough race 10.3 km long: only uphill and downhill streets one after the other as you can see:

After the storm of the day before, the weather was a little better but always rainy, windy and cold. I was not ready for a short race because I didn’t do speed-works, only long distance runs, mainly on flat roads, to prepare the marathon. Finishing time: 51’15” at the pace of 4’58”/km (8’00” ml). Final stats: 88/106 (the runners at the start were 136). Being a race to raise money for charity we got only a t-shirt in cotton.

And now it’s time to wish MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Another broken dream

Goodbye Marathon. I surrender, despite 4 months of training with many tough workouts, today I have understood that on sunday I cannot enter the Pisa Marathon. I have an inflammation and I feel pain when I run; it is impossible to finish 42.2 km in such conditions. The ultimate test of this morning was the confirm.
Shopping in Rome. Last saturday I decided to do shopping in Rome with my wife Daniela. We hoped in an ordinary quiet day but when the people knew that the Black Knight was around Spanish Steps, Via del Corso and Via Condotti, the day became hectic and the streets crowded. All the persons wanted to see, the cheer and to greet the famous Knight. Pictures: #1 Via Condotti; #2 Spanish Steps; #3 Via Condotti from Spanish Steps.

Are you ready for Christmas time? Where will you spend the holidays?

Friday, December 09, 2011

21 Things (Tagged)

Amy tagged me to share 21 things about myself. Here it goes and sorry for the long list:
01. I like to run but when I was young I played judo and rugby (the B.k. is under the arrow):

02. I don't have any brother and so my wife. We were not spoiled;
03. I have a Law Degree from "La Sapienza" University in Rome. I also have a Grad. Dip. in "Accountancy". However I don't use them because I work in the maritime branch:
04. I was not a good student and only thanks to my mom and my wife I got those "titles" because I spent all my time on my "own business" (playing rugby, reading, lazy, traveling ecc);
05. In 1977 I had a terrible car-crash, I finished down in a slop after many "somersaults". I was lucky because I left the broken car completely unhurt;

06. I have never smoked;
07. I am teetotal;
08. I don't eat seafood;
09. I love Coca Cola;
10. My favorite movie is Clockwork Orange;
11. I like to read historical books mainly about the ancient roman and the etruscan people;
12. I love to spend some days in Scotland. Before Italy entered in the 6Nations Tournament (rugby) I was a proud member of the Tartan Army. However I like all the british rugby;
13. Running? I have been running since 1985 even if my first race was in 1969 and I arrived 6th among all the students of the junior high schools: I was very upset because I considered it as a failure;
14. I spent a short part of my life in the Naval Bases of Taranto and La Maddalena. Here are my children in La Maddalena. Now Paolo is 32 and Elisa 27.
15. Both my children work in the port. Paolo in a terminal container and Elisa in a private company. My wife Daniela is an elementary school teacher.
16. We got married in 1979 when she was 19 and I was 23. We get very well together.
17. I traveled a lot, in Europe, in Asia and in Africa. Here we are in Tunisia, Sahara Desert.
18. During my trips I had the chance to race in Athens (10k), Edinburgh (10 ml and 5 k) and Berlin (half marathon);
19. I like the rock music. Among the oldies I prefer the Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry and now I love the gothic rock. Here is an example: Nightwish (wonderful rock band and the voice of Tarja is inimitable)!!!!!
20. I hope to finish the Pisa Marathon on dec. 18th.
21. .....have a wonderful week end!!!!

If you haven't been tagged go ahead and do it, I like reading these about other people.

Friday, December 02, 2011


Filippo. Filippo, my second grandson, was born this morning at 06.30 a.m. Here is his first photo taken one hour later. Welcome to the Black Knight Army!
Susan & Serena. There are other 2 newcomers arrived last monday: Susan and Serena, my daughter Elisa's cats. Here they are with the brother Umberto.
33 km (20.5 ml). At last, on sunday, I succeeded in running 33 km (20.5 ml) under a warm sun. It was a slow run, with many short uphill, at the 5'48"/km (9'18"/ml) pace. Now if the things go well (no flu, no bronchitis, no cold, no antibiotics for some stupid reason) I will run the Pisa Marathon on Dec. 18th.
Happy Running

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Last Chance

Marathon: the last chance. I planned 3 months of training, since september, to run this sunday the Florence Marathon but many health problems (teeths and bronchitis) didn't allow to follow the scheduled plan and I had to give up. I skipped many workouts included long distance and tempo runs. As second possibility I thought to enter Latina (dec. 4) or Reggio Emilia (dec. 11) but the first is psychologically tough because there are 3 laps to do and the second is far from here. The last chance is the Pisa Marathon on dec. 18, a beautiful city of art and only 2 hours of (fast) train from here. But .... between the Black Knight and the Pisa Marathon there are 33km to run tomorrow or sunday.

Surfing the web, I have found these two pictures of the Trofeo Todaro that I ran last September with Sir Giorgio. As usual in these places there were few (only 75) but fast runners.

Happy Running Everyone

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A week end to forget

Prologue. The last was a week-end to forget for 2 reasons: the first for the workout 33 km. long to confirm my participation at the Florence Marathon and the second for the Mark Knopfler’s concerts. But both the things went wrong. In chronological order:

Dylan-Knopfler’s Concert. I bought the “limited visibility tickets” because all the others were sold out. But, what a surprise, when I arrived at the auditorium in Rome (Palalottomatica) I found 2 sites with no visibility at all!!!! They were at the far right and under the stage hidden by a lateral curtain. When I complained at the help (???) desk the woman said: “send a letter” and I replied: “I don’t want to send a letter, I want to see the concert”!!!! No way. I left Rome and I came back home without following the concert. The day after I wrote to both the organizers and The first affirmed not to be responsible and the second that I knew that the visibility was limited. I argued that limited is different than nothing. No way, no refund. Now I am studying a legal action and I will start a press campiagn against those dishonest operators. On the first picture (I am under the arrow), took 4 days later during the Zucchero concert, you can see the 2 sites I bought and on the second Mark Knopfler (from the exit gate) before I left the Palalottomatica:

Running and Marathon plan. The day after (sunday) I was upset again for the adventure at the concert and I tried to do the workout 33 km. long but, after 25 km (15.5 mi), I gave up and I came back home. The other workouts during the week were: 11.4 km (7.1 mi), 12 km(7.4 mi) and 26.1 km (16.2 km) this morning. It means goodbye Florence!!! Looking at the calendar my last chance is the Pisa Marathon on dec. 18 if I succeed in running those “damned” 33 km on the next sunday.

Zucchero’s Concert. At last a very good concert, last wednesday I saw with my wife Daniela the Zucchero “Sugar” Fornaciari’s concert. 2 hours and half of wonderful rock and blues. Fortunately I found the “right” tickets to follow the performance from a good central position. Here are a couple of pictures of the concert in Rome:

This singer is also famous because he sang with the Queen "Las Palabras De Amor" during the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert:

Friday, November 11, 2011

The first photo

Training update. I am trying again to run a marathon despite all the days off for the bronchitis. This week I have done tough workouts: sunday 28 km (17.4 mi), tuesday 15.1 km (9.4 mi), thursday 17.3 km (10.7 mi) and this morning a recovery run 9.3 km (5.8 mi) long. If I succeed in running 33 km (20.5 mi) on sunday, I will enter the Florence Marathon.

The First Photo. Few days ago I was putting in order some pictures and I found my first running pic: 25 years ago when I was 30. Another era: few runners (we were pioneers here); all the cars look like toys; on the right now we have an open market; all the buildings are different and on the left now there is a building 5 floors high.

The Clandestine. In spring he arrived to the garden wounded and shy. He was fed and cured. Day after day he became always more friendly and affectionate. Yesterday we found Red at home, on the chair under the table with Gioconda who controles the situation. Welcome home Red!!!!

Happy Running!!!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Troubles and doubts

October. October had to be the month to load mileage for the marathon but I only ran 196 km (121,7 ml) for a bronchitis: 9 days off!!!! Now I don't know if can enter the Florence Marathon because I also skipped 2 long distance runs. However I have the plan b: Latina Marathon (dec. 4) & the plan c: Reggio Emilia marathon (dec. 11). Now Italy is under a strong rain storm and it will not be easy to follow the scheduled plan.

Gioconda likes the artichokes:

Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan. On nov. 12 I will go with my wife Daniela to the Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan's concert in Rome. This is the Daniela's favorite song:

Ciao a tutti (what does it mean?)

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Versatile Blogger

Big thanks to Terzah for tagging me with the Versatile Blogger award. These "tag" posts are fun because you can learn a lot about your fellow bloggers. There are a few basic rules with this award:
a) You have to thank the giver and provide a link to that person's post. Thanks Terzah, I like your blog and your posts. I hope one day you can also run in Italy;
b) Share 7 random facts about yourself;
c) Award 15 other newly discovered blogs the same award.
Here are the 7 random facts about me:
1) The Black Knight is a Gigi Proietti's joke that finishes with a very rude but nice sentence in roman slang ("don't piss off the Black Knight" has the same meaning of this sentence but is kinder). We founded the Black Knight Army during a summer workout because we were angry against a stupid driver. Please listen to the final, even if it is in italian I am sure you will have fun:
2) In 1977 I joined the Coast Guard where I served for 20 years. Now I work in a Port Authority. I will never forget those 20 years in uniform spent with wonderful collegues: we were and are friends; we were and are again a family;
3) In 1979 I got married with Daniela, now we have one son (32 y.o.), one daughter (26 y.o.) and one grandson (3 y.o.) Both the children work in the port and live by their own. I am happy that they work near my office and live near my house;
4) I am a cancer survivor. I had a melanoma in 1991;
5) The story began with one cat, a devon rex. Later a lady cat without husband arrived and gave us 2 kittens. So we left the mom in the garden and offered hospitality at home to the 2 "babies". The mom didn't like to have lunch alone so, day after day, other 5 welcome guests (4 gentlemen and 1 lady) joined the group. Now we have 8 "owners" who claim the usucapion of the flat and the garden;
6) I love the rock concerts. In the last period I saw: Deep Purple, Marc Knopfler, Bryan Adams, Within Temptation, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Ferry, Queen, Le Orme, Chicago, Elton John, Joe Cocker, Leonard Cohen, Depeche Mode, The Pretenders ... to be continued;
7) So far I have run 197 races (since 1986). Not many because only this year I have learned that I can enter a race only to enjoy the event, taking it easy and without pushing over my limits. In the past I didn't enter if I was not sure to be in perfect shape and well trained. The best memories: my PB on the marathon (1991 - 3h34'09"), the qualification in the National Navy Team (1996 - 8th overall and the Team had to be composed by 8 runners) and my first real half marathon after the surgeries (2011 - 1.46.12 far from my PB of 1h31'58" but I cried for the happiness).
Now I would have to tag 15 bloggers but I prefer not to choose. You are free to get the Versatile Blogger Award, to write 7 facts about yourselves and to award other blogs.

If you have followed the news, you know that in Italy we have had rainy storms. Here is a picture few hours before the local one.

Friday, October 21, 2011


More than 3 years ago, 6 months after the surgery to rebuild my broken leg, I entered in Rome the "Race for the Cure" finishing very tired the 5 km. The effort was terrible and at that time I didn't want to buy this photo where it is evident. Here is that pic (the Black Knight is the 36804):

Now that is only a memory, many things are changed and I am more confident with running also thanks to Sir Giorgio and his humble squire Massimo who help me during the weekly long distance run. This is the 6th week of my marathon training. I am at half-way.
On wednesday I went to Naples for an international conference about the maritime connections between Italy and North Africa. I took the occasion to enjoy the local delicious mozzarelle (cheese) and the sfogliatelle (cake - see the photo).

Have a good week end

Friday, October 14, 2011

30 Km Ostia

Prologue. On sunday oct. 9th the Black Knight Army - the Black Knight, Sir Giorgio and his humble squire Massimo - went to Ostia (near Rome) to enter the so called "30 km of the Sea". We took it easy because we considered the race only another training run for the marathon. The path was very beautiful, we also passed near the archaeological site (see the photo below), through the natural reserve and along the promenade. I was worried because I spent the 2 days before with a terrible headache but fortunately it disappeared the day of the race. Near the start we met our blogger friend TheYogi but we didn't have the time to have a coffee because we were late (Sir Giorgio still had to pick up his bib).

Finishing time. A slow 2h 52'45". Average 5'43"/km (9'12"/ml) but the real distance was 30.240 km. Final stats. 835/1077 overall but many runners were not classified because there were 2 cut-off times at the 17° km and before the arrival; 756/940 men, 62/88 age group. Pictures: the Black Knight is the 331 and Sir Giorgio the 438.

Happy Running

Friday, October 07, 2011


October is the 2nd month of the marathon training. The workouts become always longer. Last Sunday I left home at 06.00 a.m. for a run 28 km (17.4 ml) long. The first 8 km were totally in the dark and the other 20 under a warm sun. I got home in time to watch in TV the rugby match Ireland-Italy: it was a shame, a "bloody sunday" with the final score 36-6. Everything was wrong and Ireland too strong. At last we are going to change the head coach!!!!
Here is the monthly mileage (in km), as you can see I began to increase the miles since June. (corsa facile - easy run; corsa in salita - hilly run; corsa lunga - long distance run; gara - race).
On Sunday the Black Knight Army will enter the Ostia 30 km race, for me it will only be a little bit faster training for the marathon, no more; for Sir Giorgio the longest distance ever and for his humble insolent squire Massimo .... we don't know because he was sick until yesterday.
Now I have another boring problem. This is my eye now, I don't know what happened but the doctor said that I am ok. Do I have to trust him?
Happy running, biking, swimming, racing .....

Friday, September 30, 2011

Grosseto Bio Half Marathon

Prologue. Last sunday the Black Knight Army - the Black Knight, sir Giorgio and his humble squire Massimo, went to Grosseto (Tuscany) to run the half marathon. I decided to do this race (and other 3 in the near future) as a training run for the Florence Marathon, reminding myself to slow down to avoid injures. In the past I was too proud to take this kind of decisions: better few races but at my max speed. Now I have changed my mind, I want also enjoy the atmosphere but I always worry not to be the last because in these places the pack is very fast.

Good Things. Perfect organization; flat path; beautiful landscapes through the downtown and the country; rich loot and rich post-race refreshment.

Bad Things. The heat (33° C - 92° F in the shadow) with 10 km totally under the sun; because of the tootache sunday was my 7th day of antibiotics and the 3rd of aninflammatory so I was very very weak; for staying on the running schedule I did a 18 km (11,2 ml) and a 10 km workout on thursday and friday: it means no tapering at all before the race; only 257 runners at the start with the risk to finish last.

Finishing Time. 1h57'13" my personal worst on the distance!!!!!! Average: 5'33"/km - 8'56"/ml.

Final Stats. 207/257 overall, 190/233 men, 12/17 age group.
Question: Do you do any race as training run for another more important event?

Friday, September 23, 2011

60 years of rugby

60 years of rugby. The local rugby team Civitavecchia Rugby Centumcellae (so called the Saracens) this year won the championship and was promoted in the second division. To celebrate the victory the President invited all the players from 1950 until now for a dinner. As you know the Black Knight was the wing in the 70s. It was a great emotion to meet the old friends and to remember who now plays in heaven. How many hugs, how many memories and yes, some drops. In the first 2 pictures the Black Knight is the first on the right, near the head coach and in the middle, the elder with glasses, the greatest and most charismatic player: the Pirate (Milvio Mondelli). When he came the journalists said: "Mondelli, Mondelli, please come here". He replied "Who is Mondelli? I am the Pirate"! My dear old friend Pirate, you were my best teacher on the rugby ground, my second father.

Here you can see the present and the first President of the Civitavecchia Rugby Centumcellae (the B.K. is hidden beyond the first President):
We are all the rugby players from 1950 until now. Avanti Saraceni means "Go Saracens". Click to enlarge.
Running. I beg your pardon but after the emotion of this event I prefer not to write about running. I can only say that despite the injury and the teeth pain I am following my scheduled plan for the marathon.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The scheduled plan

This is the second week of my marathon training. During the first one I had to rest from wednesday to saturday because of a deep pain into the knee and the neck. Now I feel better, but I need the help of the PT again: a weekly treatment on monday after the long distance run. Moreover every wednesday I have a thermal bath to relax my muscles. Here is the scheduled plan (L means monday and D sunday). In these 3 months I have included 4 races that I will do as training runs. The distances are in km; 1 mile = 1,610 km.

Here are 2 pictures of my lady cat Gioconda:

Do you like the ice cream?

Have a good running, swimming, biking, hiking week end.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Ladispoli - Trofeo Todaro

Todaro Trophy. Last sunday the Black Knight Army (the Black Knight, Sir Giorgio and his squire Massimo) went to Ladispoli to run the Todaro Trophy 6 km (indeed 6.06). It was a bad surprise: everything wrong! We didn't get the promised swag, tha path was different (3 laps with only uphill and downhill) and water at the end; nothing more. Moreover we were only 75 runners at the start. As I was following the training for the marathon, I took the decision to do a relaxing race without pushing but, after 1 km, I realized to be the last (a lady with her dog and a walker don't count). To save my honour I began to run faster even if I was late and still tired for the long workout of friday. The score: finishing time: 29'44" (4'55"/km - 7'55"/ml); 59° of 75. Sir Giorgio and his squire did a very good race.

Injured. Because of the stupid race I am injured now. This is my 4th day off. I have pain inside the knee and on the neck.

Good memories. Here are 2 pictures of the period when the Black Knight (in both the photos the second from left) was in the Navy. The first in the Taranto Naval Base (1990) and the second in Leghorn (1977):

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Le Orme

August in numbers. 200,8 km (124,7 ml) in 17 workouts, 4850 meters swimming in the sea (low mileage because in summer the pool is closed in early morning) and 1 race.

The road to Florence. On monday I will begin the 3 months training for the Florence marathon. Indeed with Giorgio, Massimo and Gianni we have already did 3 long distance runs in august to be ready for the more demanding workouts. Anyway on friday we run 20 km and on sunday we will enter a 6 km race in Ladispoli to get a very rich loot.

Le Orme. The last summer concert was held in Tarquinia by Le Orme a progressive rock italian band. Their songs were the sound-track of my youth when I was a teen-ager. We enjoyed 2 hours of great rock in a wonderful summer night. Question: do you like the "old" rock groups (sacred cow)?
Below you can see the sunset on the beach near the arena and Le Orme. The last photo is a gift of a professional photographer, my friend Angelo Bonarelli:

Here you can listen 2 famous songs of this group: