So I originally signed up for Barcelona the day after going out to support the Yorkshire marathon. I’d done all the training for it but unfortunately picked up a hip injury around 2 weeks before the day leaving me hobbling around. Seeing the runners on the day made me really want to complete a marathon.
Training second time round began roughly around New Years day after a couple of months off. This time round I decided to not follow a plan but made sure I got the long runs in and did more cross training in the gym to build strength in fear of provoking another injury. With a skiing holiday also taking a week out of training I had cut it a bit fine but managed to get 2-3 long runs in before the day.
With the race on Sunday 15th March we flew to Barcelona early Friday morning getting to the apartment 11ish giving us loads of time to look round the expo and do some sightseeing. This was great but by the end of Friday my legs were aching loads and I could feel the niggle in my hip coming back which was worrying! Also going out for food on the Friday night included a “large” glass on sangria which turned out to be 1 litre which I had to only have half of. Anyway lessons learnt from Friday meant that Saturday was mostly spent sat down and I felt back to normal for Saturday evening.
Luckily our apartment was literally a 2 minute walk from the start line. There was a great atmosphere at the start and it was so busy I had to separate from Rob and Chris about an hour before the start to go to my slower pen. When I got there I thought I’d put my timing chip on the wrong way round and spotted someone else who had done the same. I ended up chatting to her and found out she actually lived in Leeds not far from me and goes to Roundhay park BMF! So having someone to chat to on the start line was great as it took my mind off being nervous.
The start and first few miles were quite relaxed I just tried to pick a pace which I found comfortable and that I could stick to. I thought “I’ve done 20 mile runs before so getting to 20 should be fine it will just be the 6 afterwards which will be the unknown territory”. However this was not the case! I got to the halfway point and saw the time I was on was 2hr 12 so if I was to get sub 4hr 30 I needed to keep to the same pace. I also decided I didn’t want the 4.30 pacers to catch up with me! From this point onwards I started to struggle and it felt like hard work. The course was so good though I generally managed to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the support and music.
When I got to 20/21ish miles it was still hard work but it felt do-able. However getting to 22 miles the pain really kicked in and I just had to hope for the best. I was running at the same pace but every step was painful. I knew I could slow down but then I also knew how hard I’d work for it – I’d flown all the way to Barcelona to do this marathon so I wasn’t giving up! I battled on through and luckily there was so much support on the course which was great and I also spotted James Bell from the club run past who could see I was struggling so gave some encouragement which helped. Crossing the finish line in 4hr25 was amazing – I’d not set a time goal but I’d kept to my original pace with the first and last 5k being about the same so I was really pleased. The course itself was fantastic and we couldn’t have asked for better conditions and being in Barcelona to celebrate afterwards was great. I’d definitely like to do another marathon with the aim of a pb – and preferably an international one!