You know me, I like my unconventional race reports and for this one I thought I’d start at the finish. Barcelona Marathon is the first marathon where I didn’t cry at the end!
I was so lucky to be welcomed after the race by these babes, who popped a cork on a bottle of FCB Champagne and we sat in the sun watching the marathoners finishing on the street below and enjoying the noise and atmosphere. The perfect end to a super day you might think. But with these girls it was just the start of a great night and holiday in Barca!
I crossed the finish line with my arms in the air, a smile on my face and then turned around and stood there waiting for my pals. In the video of the finish line I look crazy, I’m the only person facing the other way. But I was just as excited for Matt and Jon as I was for myself. Matt was on for a shiny new PB (which he achieved) and Jon was blasting through marathon number 121 with a much better time than he had hoped for. Queue lots of hugs and annoying the marshalls, by loitering. I’m absolutely indebted to Matt, I was so lucky to find him within the first half an hour of running and we stuck together almost the whole way. #crewlove.
As my second European marathon I feel like a bit of a pro (jokes) and there are a few common themes between Barcelona marathon and Paris marathon. Unlike UK races/marathons there are hardly any fun runners and because of this they have much shorter cut off times, 6 hours in this case. I saw maybe 3 or 4 people in fancy dress at Barcelona, one of them being this fine young gentleman. I’m terribly sorry about the picture but when you are gunning for a PB, photo taking is not your priority but I couldn’t resist this one. He over took me in the last 10km. Imagine the chafe on that. I also found some nice blurry pictures of my feet afterwards
At about 38km (I think) I had an AWESOME surprise when I saw my coat jumping up and down and screaming at the side of the road. Not magic, just Lissy borrowing my coat and getting lucky bird poo on it in the process. At the perfect moment Lissy and Charlie were there for me shouting, screaming, snapping this amazing picture and giving me the boost I needed to power through those last kms. I’d lost Matt after (or before maybe) a loo break and was on my own for a little while. Seeing the noise and smiles was the moment when I knew, I could keep this up and make them and everyone else rooting for me proud. Turned out afterwards my social media streams had gone mad because Lissy was live tweeting everyone at home! I just reread that feed and felt quite emosh.
Despite not crying at the end I did almost shed a tear before I’d even started! I knew a few people and friends-of-friends running but didn’t manage to catch up with anyone, I headed to the start pen as late as possible to avoid getting cold and stressed. Barcelona Marathon made the atmosphere incredible, better than Paris. We had a blast of the final countdown, a tear wrenching chorus of this, a confetti canon raining down on us (I caught some), then we were off, through the Place D’espanya and past the bull ring. My heart beats faster just remembering it.
The night before I laid my kit out nervously and panicked, I’d been pretty calm all the way through the training and all of a sudden the gravity of the goals I had set myself hit home. I facetimed David; a horrible, grumpy, sulky, runner moaning about how I didn’t want to run Boston marathon anyway and why had I bothered going to Spain. Blah Blah Blah, maranoia crap. It happens to the best of us. Luckily David doesn’t take my nonsense and got me to sort myself out. I’d love to listen to that phone call back followed by our finish line phone call. It probably sounds like completely different people.
In addition to the marathon, Barcelona put on a breakfast run the day before, I liked to think of it as a Spanish parkrun, so much so I convinced myself and my travelling companions that it started at 9am and was 5km. After standing in the rain listening to bongo drums for half an hour, we decided to not let me plan our time schedules again. The 4km (yep wrong again) run finished in the Olympic Stadium and despite being empty it was an amazing experience. It’s made me rethink the costs of the races that finish in our Olympic stadium, I would now pay the extra pounds to hit that track. As we were soaked to our pants, we jumped on the tube home, stretching as we went attracting funny stares from the locals. Meh. This is how we roll.
I had a big scary goal for Barcelona (one I achieved) but when I signed up I hadn’t even considered that I could run that fast, so much so I put myself in the sub 4:30 pen. When I realised this at the expo I was worried I would miss out on the pacers I wanted to stick with. So I dragged poor Lissy all round the expo trying to find out if I could switch, unlike many races Barcelona does allow this. They had two pens: 3:00-3:30 and 3:30-4:00 and I didn’t know which would have the 3:30 pacer in. Luckily Lissy had more faith in my legs than I did and jumped in before I had a chance to speak and got me in the faster pen. I have so much love for this girl. She has been at all of my marathons so far, and it looks like this trend will continue. I plan to be at all of hers too. <3
Have you run Barcelona?