Planned: sub90, 87-88 maybe. Training-race as warmup to next race to come…
Actual: 1:28:50 – within the expected time-range, but a bit slower than could have been. Still…sub90 is a good time for a training race. The body was all good from start to end, and as usual (!) a bit indecently not-tired after the finish line and despite the final sprint.
- Took at least 20 sec to reach the start mat.
- Took at least 1.7km to get into a race rythm.
- Took 10km to get to cruise pace.
- Took 11.7km to start slowing down the pace but still feeling fine.
- Took last 2.5km to enjoy passing so many guys.
- Took 1.1km at the end to get passed, keep the gal in sight, start to sprint with 600m left, pass her not without fight, pass another gal and miss a place to the finish at less than half a second.
- Final sprint of half a km @3:41… liking it…but also meaning I had way enough strength to run slightly faster before…
A good start for the year anyhow!
Place: 55 – all women, 6 – age category, 3rd Swede & 1,234 out of 15,242 finishers. A good way to start this year…
Way slower than RIL in October already from first 5K. On the other side the route was slightly up then in Barcelona. All in all, a good and comfortable pace throughout…
In short: Niiiice! Sub90 to start the year. Stable throughout, even though lost quite a lot during the first 2km. Good run in Spain!
BEFORE THE RACE
The 2 days before…
Traveling down to Barcelona with G on Friday. Went smoothly. Took the long bus ride to the city center. No sun shine directly, but that was still better than back home… Found the apartment and then we walk the long way to pick up the BIB and then back home and eat. Pizza for late lunch and pasta on the menu for dinner. No creativity whatsoever… Body felt all good for running, although a bit sluggish as it often is prior to race.
Saturday started with an easy run, done from home to the start and then running the first 5km was the plan. It showed that the 5km from the start were nothing to fear which was nice to know. Thereafter Lost a bit my way and the “easy 4-6km” turned into 9km… Took it easy the rest of the day. Relax and preparing my race gear. Still unsure regarding the weather.
4:45am – Already??? Up early for breakfast, as I wanted to get into “marathon-testing” mode. Chia seeds, green mix and sport drink. All get down and that’s it. Then back to bed. When the alarm rang again, it was time to get ready. No rush. Long hot shower and on with racing gear (NY singlet, SOC blue army shorts, black arm sleeves and neckwarmer as well as my superduperfast shoes ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky). Setting two Swedish flags on my left arm and I am good to go! Woke up G, check for the 100th time my bag with changing clothes, that I have my BIB on my singlet… and then we were both ready to go.
7:00am – A bit chilly outside, good to have long pants and jacket on. Would gladly get back to my warm bed… but did not. We walked nice and easy to the start with G. Lots of people. Passing the train station (?) where the bags can be left. So nice to have G there and to let him all my clothes before running. Real luxury treatment!
08:00am – Arriving in the park and keeping my clothes on, started to run…OMG…so easy pace I would have lost a race with snails probably! After a few 100s, got to meet the lady having the world record on this route in 2015 (record that fell 2 days before today’s race… Talk about motivation!!!). Anyway, cool to run right behind her for a short while and at the same pace! Yes! I can follow WR-holder…during her warmup…and for 200m… Final pitstop. A few pics taken in front of the fountain and time to get to the start corral. Off with the long pants and the jacket. Final warm hugs. And that was it.
08:30am – melting in my start group. 1:20 to 1:30. Should work fine. Meeting a Swedish gal, who says not being in the best of her form. Well, she still is in the next-best start group… Seeing the pacesetters for 1:20 and 1:25. OK. Lots of couples actually in this start group. I mean boyfriend/girlfriend. You meet your equal in races probably 😛 They all look so crazily fast anyway.
Deciding to NOT get to the front line. Letting the chaos from start disappearing before I arrive. Quite a lot of runner in front of me then… Those from my group, the “less than 1:20”-group and the elite-group… All those are in front of me. And plenty behind too.
Feeling warm now in the corral. All are pressing against each other as the start will soon be given… Feeling good. Or?… Countdown is suddenly given…at FIVE…four…three…two…one…
8:45am and BAAAM! Confettis in the skies…
Start is given. But not much happening actually. Starting to WALK!!! And it probably took twenty long seconds before getting to the start-mat (and yes, I was in the second fastest start-group! Right behind the rackets-runner!). Pressing the start button on my watch and heading towards the right side of the street. There is an abrupt left-turn pretty soon after the start and contrarily to other races, I decide NOT to get the shortest path there. Have read enough on this race to understand that it might not be worth it. Had in mind to take it easy first km, but this time…it felt WAY too easy. Checking that my watch has started properly and yes… and it shows 4:20-pace (!) on the first stretch after the left turn… Euuuuuuhhhh…What?!?!? This ain’t easy. This is snail-like pace! Turning right to the main large street and here it feels better. Runners have lots of place to spread out and that ease the running. Reach km1 in 4:17…after an acceleration! I know the first 5-7km of the race, so nothing to fear, right? First cheering from G there right at km1. Now the race is on! A bit off to understand what pace I am having, but the second km is passed @4:07. That’s better! Passing the big statue and then we turn right towards the long slightly slowly steady up part. Probably the trickiest part of the race as it comes right from the beginning. So the plan (in my head) was to take it easy for the first 5km and indeed I do. A bit too much maybe… The long stretch to km4 disappears however quite nice and it feels that the legs and rest of the body are happy to run. No racket-pace, but decent one. Getting passed by the 1:25-pacesetters when we take the little street on the right and I am just hanging along. I know it is not my pace and it is not what I am to run, but it feels fine. Turning right again to the main street Gran Via. Feeling nice and fine. Passing the 5K in 21min, which is a bit slow, but decent enough for being the first 5K. From this part on and for 5 more km or so, it is expected to be faster and downhill. I am having a gal in black outfit and with a bandana on my left and she looks like having similar expectations for the race. She looks tiny but so d*mn strong! No stop for water at the 5K-water stations. No need. Settling in a comfortable pace. OK, passing km6…and soon…we…should… be.soon..turning…right… Helloo!?!? Where is the right turn? Finally arriving. And downhill too. Have a Swedish older guy in front of me. New plan: Keeping him in sight and not letting him go! As well as having the gal with black outfit and bandana on my side. The downhill towards km7 is nice. Getting down to 4:00-pace and then 4:02 pace. Passing the Arc de Triomphe (the one in Barcelona…not the French one!).. Lots of people cheering there. Stretch along the Arc de Triomphe is longer than expected, but the turn left is nice. I am now heading towards km8. Good flow in the legs. The mind is happy. I can do this! I know how to do this! A bit less people in this street, but way more than I thought it would be. I am warm and I have taken off my arm sleeves. In on the front of my sports bra. Waiting for my lovely cheering-squad who should be somewhere there. Passing km8. All good. Sliiightly up, but so note easy to detect it. Looking right, looking left. Needing some smile-energy here! And here he is. The largest smile on his face and the best cheering in the world! All for me! Throwing my arm sleeves to G. Telling him that I am late on the schedule. That should count for 1-2 minutes slower than planned, but still under 90minutes. He just started to walk and then run along the race route. ON the pavement. And I can just NOT stop smiling and keeping my eyes on him. Soooo crazy cool! Cannot feel I am in a race. It is just a nice fast run with lovely G 🙂 OK, he makes it look like d*mn-crazy and I am actually at my race-pace, but it does not matter. All the energy in the world is getting concentrated in those minutes he runs with me and that feels like a blessing from above. He slows down on his pavement, continuing to scream nice things and here I am. Km9 has been passed and I am back on the road, alone. Finding the Swedish guy a bit further than I thought. But still in good sight. And having “my” gal with black outfit and bandana still on my side. Time to turn towards km10… The slight up is not really felt. Indeed, it is not THERE it is going up!!! Wake up, you! Reaching km10 under 42minutes. OK. No crazy pace, but still in good form to get under 90minutes. Right turn after the 10K-mark. Good! Just another one 10K like that, and that’s it! F.O.C.U.S!!!
Would have liked to have G running a bit longer by my side… The stretch after the 10K is not fun. Nobody on the side of the course. The skies are grey… and I am losing my pace-buddy! Felt safe and nice… until… her bandana fell on the asphalt and…she…stops and run back (!) to get it!!! Noooooo! Don’t do this! I am alone here. I am a bit sad actually to have lost her. I try to find another runner to follow. Only guys are surrounding me. And none are having a pace which I can adapt to. I see ahead of me the runners turning left. THERE it is… the little slope after km11…So short, almost missing it! And then the right turn is bringing a crazy “déja-vu”. Running on the street with a separation wall (?) with the other road with the cars. I feel like I have been there before. But not exactly. Took a short while before I connect that in Chicago marathon there is a similar part, but on the other direction! In Chicago we have the road with the cars on our right and here in Barcelona, we have them on our left. Stop this Memory lane trip and focus on the road!!! Right turn and downhill after km12 is SO welcome! Try not to run foolishly fast in the downhill…but it is very tempting! Down to “sub3-marathon-pace” by then. The kilometres to km14 are slower than I want. It is windy a bit, but I cannot really blame it on the wind here. I am the one running… Reaching the right-turn at 13.5km and on the other side of the road, I can see the first female runner Florence Kiplagat turning right…at her km16.5 or so…Yap! She is not one, not two but THREE kilometres ahead of me… Those lost twenty seconds from the start… 🙂 I like the stretch here. I feel the light tailwind pushing us forward. I see the 1:20-pacesetters and their followers on the other side… The thoughts are simple there… I want to be ON THE OTHER SIDE WITH THEM!!! Cannot see any female runners on the other direction for a while. OK, focus on your race, you! Tailwind is nice but the guys around me seems to actually slow down here. Heeeeeeeee what???? A group of 4-5 guys are passing me right before the U-turn towards km15. Just hanging along. Because there…is…headwind! NOT LIKING IT! Once again, and as in many other previous races, I could not get into a pack for running (there was NO pack there) and the guys are not necessarily helpful neither. Passing km15 a bit slower than planned, but that was expected by now. I get to a higher gear to hang with the guys who passed me. Have 3 before me (thanks for the wind-shield!) 2 on the left and one who annoys me as he is on my right but not really passing me nor running behind me. One of the guys before me is getting his foot into a long plastic stuff that was expected to be between two grinds. We (in the group) sees what is going to happen. We all cream at once. He fell right before me. I jump above him. Turning back and he is up already and giving a smile that all is fine. Wow! Hard-core guys here! And we are turning at the km16.5… which is the windiest street of the race. I can feel the wind blowing away my feet against each other from time to time. Deciding to keep it “safe” and ran right behind two tall guys. Which meant as well slowing down, but for a while it felt ok. After what seems to be 100km or so (1…), I got tired of this pace and I pass them. Where is km17 by the way? Have I passed it? Checking my watch, but it is a bit off compared to the km-signs. Probably 200m off… Deciding that km17 is way ahead of me. At least I won’t be disappointed if it some earlier! Beeeep! Km17 on my watch. Keeping on running. Turning left at the little roundabout… and here it is! Km17 has been reached! My brain is just having enough clarity still to get that it is 4km to go. Training last week was aiming to get those 4Ks at 16:30… Not a chance that will happen today! Less than 20 minutes is the best calculation I can do. Waiting for the km18-mark and the “terrible” little slope that so many were fearing apparently. Seeing it coming from a little while as runners are turning left ahead of me. And I was actually unsure of what I had read. Turned left and took this baby-slope on the top of the toes (yes, I let dudes passing me there…but their legs did not like the pace up and they were passed by little-me soon after 🙂 ). OMG this feels so good. Turning right and lightlight down. LIIIIIIKING IT SO MUCH! The final 3km were reached. Straight and flat. Hardly noticing the sea scenery, but honestly, I wanted to have this finished. Seeing double at a moment, two backs with the same tshirt, the same shorts and running, making me feeling like I must be completely off,… but nope. There WERE two guys there! And I am passing them.. Yooohooo! Cheering along. Passing people IS fun! Even better if it could be gals… Turning right. Almost final stretch. At least the km20 is right there. Can see it. Getting the final cheering from G. Woopwooop! A French guy caught up on me too with more cheering words. Feeling so good. Feeling so strong. Surely off my expected pace, but still it feels nice…. Until…as in other races… happens what I REALLY do not like… a gal passes me! There! On the spot! 1.1km to go! The French guy by my side encourages me to “take her, but not now. To wait until the final 600m-stretch”. Which I am planning to do… Steady…steady…steady….. Had watched the arrival of a couple of this particular race in Barcelona and how the race was won at the end by the final sprint. Took it easy until the final left turn. Accelerated progressively there. The gal noticed it as she was looking at me. Waited for the final 400m to push a bit more and pass her. Seeing all those air-arches in front of us…WHICH ONE IS THE FINISH LINE?!?!? Just push. As long as I could hold at least that pace. To the end. And there was another gal right before me. Another place to take! Yoooohoo! Pressing a bit more on those strong legs (which were…hummm…where exactly during the race?…) and pass her too and the final line was there…and the other gal got me by what?…half a second? 😦 Does not matter much. The clock was ticking right after 1:29, but having started after the gun, it gave me a nice sub 89! I am happy! The usual “where is the second half of the race”-feeling is right there. Waiting for me. The people around me appear to be tired. When I am not…
Official time: 1:28:50 (gun time 1:29:15… Those stupid 20sec of walking to the start…)
AFTER THE FINISH LINE
Getting a hug from the French guy. He has a yellow BIB meaning he was good for a sub80 (!) halfmarathon. And today he arrived behind me. Not that tired as it appears like. Turning like and walking towards the Arc de Triomphe. Getting my medals and water and fruit and that’s it. Heading to the medal engraving tent and THERE I get my sub89-time. Nothing to really climb up to the roofs with, but still. Sub89 is sub89 😛
Getting on my yellow poncho. Feeling a bit cold. Finally finding G after having waited a bit at the alternative meeting point, when he waited at the original meeting point. Hugs, pics and the walking back home. Nice with long and hot shower. Resting my legs a bit. And then walking to the city center for some celebration food. Visit at the Sagrada Familia was nice to have to finish this day! Would have been even better with a hot and shiny sun…
Weather: 12.9°C Cloudy, Feels like 12.8°C, 13 kph E wind, 82% humidity – good weather conditions. Although the wind was not crazy strong, it did impact on the race. The grey skies were not much fun neither…
Food: breakfast (chia seeds + green mix + powerade + banana) @4:45am, red juice @7:45am, after: water, banana right after the race. Late lunch around 2pm (?)
During: little sport drink right before the start, gel @km10, 15, 20. Not really needed, but it was for training ahead of marathon.
Gear: NY blue singlet, SOC army blue shorts, arm sleeves black, neckwarmer (on the head after half way). Shoes delivered as usual. Did I write already that I just love them?…
Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky)
16/ OK, a bit higher than expected, but it was a race after all… The first 10km was not that high really. Probably 13/14. Don’t know how to get higher and really pushing for faster time here. Just falling into a comfortable marathon-pace is NOT the solution. More work to be done…
A few “after-race thoughts”
NOTE: Still subscribing to the “sub90-club” :-). A bit slower than expected, but making it is good enough for this as being a training race. Don’t want to be dead tired in a warmup race, right?
NOTE: Weather-wise, not really the best ever. Temperatures all fine, but the grey skies and the wind with them was not much fun. Barcelona… Hello?!?!? Sun should be shining and it should be warm!!! The wind was not a decisive factor for a slow pace, but was definitely not helping me…
NOTE: Time and place? Well, it did end within the range I expected, so should not be too picky…But yes, I am! The first 5K were too comfy and the 5K from 10-15km felt like slower than should. OK. I am satisfied. Next time will try to be all-in…or close to it.
NOTE: Warmup? Not much of it. But having my extra clothes on until close to the start were a decisive part of NOT freezing before start. Good with a little leg shaking before the race, but should have done slightly better/more probably.
NOTE: Drinking & energy during the race? As being a training race, I took it with the energy feeling I am expecting during the marathon. Took gels, but should have had sport-drink. All fine. Not sure extra energy was required though.
NOTE: Liking this race. Can definitely be on my “future race” list again. If Barcelona can guarantee no wind then, that would be great. Oh…and more sun too… Good cheering along the race (apart from quiet parts…but all races have such…), good organization, nice route. Highly recommending this race!
>> Loads of thanks for support and words of encouragement to be distributed here. Even though I kept this race a bit on low profile, it was great to have some people knowing about it 🙂 The greatest and most special thanks goes to G who came along, endured my pre-race mood, my race-morning mood and my post-race mood. Again, with such cheering on the side, one can do great things! A bit of easy run now, continuing the warming up and then should come the first big adventure for this year 🙂