A Spring marathon? In Barcelona? Preceded by two weeks of renting a flat and working from there? Dialling into conference calls from a sunny roof terrace? Reviewing documents over fabulous cortado? Carmen at the Palau Musica? All the tapas you can eat? Now that's my kind of marathon taper and carb load!
I'm training for my first 100 miler, in April, so a March marathon was never going to be speedy - the goal was to insert it into the ultra training schedule so I could run a big city, well supported marathon 'on tired legs'. Not shredded legs, but not well-rested. And then let the crowds pull me round, and all I have to do is rein in the Need for Speed (and consequent failure, injury and risk to the 100).
So: first thing....I've got one helluva base. Last year's running streak topped out at 2409 miles. Sweet. It would have been more though if I'd not had a bad bronchial infection in Dec. Then I had the same again in Jan and in Feb. So this meant I did just a lot of LSD and some hill reps for 'marathon training'.
Not at the same time you understand.
Including one of these:
Then more running in Barcelona than I would normally pre marathon. The town has some splendid views:
But they come at a cost:
And thus, since my legs were falling apart just from some running and a ton of touristic walking, I confirmed with Spencer, Ted and Max that I should indeed take it a bit easy on myself with three days to go, so some light unfinished church sightseeing
and some great but oddly named food:
and then the excitement builds!:
Roads being shut down
Expo firing up (a really amazing one!) - on nice soft carpet too: MUY EMOCIANADO!
and then the big day:
THE START: 20, 000 of us at Placa Espagna
My plan was for steadiness throughout - not get carried away at the start but not go hard for any negative split at the halfway mark.
Decent heart rate drift, during hilly course:
And despite heat and hills, I think I did ok!
Not my fastest but not the intent. I got through it. CONSISTENTLY EVENLY PACED. On less than ideally rested legs, and with some proper recovery, the 100 miler attempt should still be ON!
And the only thing, the only mantra I had throughout this marathon was this one word:
And so I ENJOYED ... while I endured.
and thus, I heartily commend to you Barcelona in March. Not too hot, despite the soaked kit above. Amazing crowds, great bands on the course, and superb organisation.
and the OJ is cheap and everywhere
Gracias, Barcelona - marathon #21 was a pleasure to run with you.