|Sunny Sunny Sunny|
I knew that I was going to be in Spain through work since many months ago so had booked this event up in the middle of last year. Leslie Crawford from Monaghan Phoenix was also planning to go so I was really looking forward to it.
|Geraldine, Leslie and Peter at the cathedral|
|Arriving at the exhibition|
I was in Barcelona the Thursday and Friday before and caught a very late flight to Seville on the Friday night. An hours delay on the tarmac had me arrive around 11:30 pm. When I got into the taxi I was shocked to see the guy put €22 straight on the meter. Fortunately it seemed to be a fixed price from the airport and we were in the center in 15 minutes and checked in and in my room by midnight. The hotel was cheap and 4* (€50 b&b). The room was a little small but had a bath and a shower so I was happy enough.
I had arranged to meet Leslie at 11am so I got up early and went for a shake out run (5 miler) in the morning to help me get my barings. As it turned out I ran along the race route for quite a while and eventually got lost. Fortunately the "back to start" feature on the watch kicked in and it brought me straight back to the hotel. I dandered upto the Cathedral and met with Leslie. Also there was Geraldine Cawford and Peter Ferris. We had a coffee and Lesie and I headed off to the exhibition. Now I had done no research on the exhibition but fortunately Leslie had it all worked out. We started with a Luas from the Cathedral to St Bernad train station. Here we joined the circular line which after about 15 minutes rocked up at the exhibition center which was quite a bit out of town.
|Great pasta party|
The exhibition was quite large (similar size to Dublin) and we went straight away to pick up the numbers. It was a little chaotic but we worked it out. Included with the number was quite a generous goodie bag which included a very nice running jacket. There was also lots of other bits and pieces. We spent a little time at he exhibition and also noticed we had been given tickets to a free pasta party hosted next door. We went in and in a massive hall there was a huge amount of food (pasta, fruit, crisps, drink (including alcohol)) all included in the price of the race. We stuffed ourselves. So far so good.
We went back into town and headed for a siesta. We met up later that evening and went for a very nice Tapas meal in the old town.
The race started at 9am on the Sunday at the stadium. We decided that we would walk to the stadium as it was only 2 miles from our hotels. The hotel started breakfast 30 mins early and even had water and bananas in the foyer, that was classy. Walking was a mistake as we got lost and ended up walking 7K before arriving at the wrong end of the stadium at the start area. I then had to walk 1K back to the stadium to drop off a clothes bag before making my way back to the start. I just made it with 10 minutes to spare and got straight into my pen. I ended up right beside the 3:45 pacers so decided to go out with them. We were off. Mick Clohisy was there trying for a RIO place and ran a PB 2:15 to be in second place. 2 Irish girls also ran under 2:40 to also bag qualifying times.
We were off. The 3:45 pacers went off like hares at just over 8 minute pace when they should be at 8:30. After 5K they noticed this and pulled back. I kept going at this pace and decided to keep it going as long as I could. Temperature was going to be a big issue today as we started at 12 degrees and it steadily climbed all day. By the time I came into the stadium it was 24 degrees. Fortunately there were loads of water stations and loads of water. It was needed. The race in general was perfectly run and was flat flat flat. The last 10 K in particular was a sight seeing tour as we went through the university gardens, circled the parliament buildings, went past the cathedral and through the old town before making our way back to the stadium.
My splits for the day were better than normal.
|Leslie finished |
After I ran away from the 3:45 pacers I was surprised I kept the pace going. The second 10 miles was slightly faster than the first and the last 10K though I was struggling I still managed to keep it going. I really tried to break 3:45 and as I got closer really really tried for a sub 3:40. I was delighted with my time at the end. As I came into the stadium it was absolutely fantastic and there was a great atmosphere. When I came over the line I picked up my medal and lay on the ground for 10 minutes to get myself together. I then was able to see Leslie to come into the stadium and he finished strong in 4:10. Afterwards there was plenty of water, oranges, crisps etc on the exit to the stadium.
|Crossing the main bridge to the satdium|
We followed the marathon route back into the old town (2 miles this time) and Leslie had to head off to Malaga in the afternoon. I had a quiet evening and caught a flight back to Barcelona at 7am the next morning.
Would I do this one again. Absolutely.