After the disaster that was the Wexford Half Marathon a week earlier, I was more than a little anxious boarding my plane to Madrid to run the Rock’n’Roll half. I had a week to rest my legs and more importantly to get my head back in the game. In my opinion if you are not prepared mentally then you are wasting your time showing up in the first place. As is typically Irish I met a friend on the plane also headed over with a gang of her Sloggers to Joggers crew. My visit was going to be a flying one. Arrive Saturday morning, straight to the expo to pick up my race pack, check into hotel and then stroll around the city before running Sunday morning and then home again on Monday.
It was warm the morning of the race and after going to the bathroom about a zillion times (anyone else do that before a race?) I made my way to the start line which was at Plaza de Cibeles. There were three races taking place on the day. A 10k, half marathon and a full marathon. The half and full were starting together on opposite sides of the road and there were literally thousands of us eager to get across the start line and make our way to the finish. I purposely decided to take it easy and go at a steady pace. I didn’t want to get five kilometres in and have to pull out. The shame would be too much and I’d have to get a job in Madrid and live there and that’s a lot of hassle.
To be honest after about an hour of running I was doubting whether I would be able to finish it or not. There were slight tingles in my legs but I wasn’t sure if they were mind playing tricks on me or if my shins were acting up again. I took a few short walk breaks, conscious not to push myself too hard and risk an injury. I also had a little mental chat with myself which basically consists of me telling myself to stop whinging, enjoy the run and get across the finish line. I actually got quite an unexpected boost at the point in the course where the full marathon runners were veering off to the right and we were going straight on. There was an involuntary applause from all the half marathon folk to wish the full crew all the best. Pretty much everyone (myself included) handed over bottles of water to those nearby who were doing the full. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you cannot beat the running community for sportsmanship.
I was glad when I spotted the finish line in the distance. We were wrapping up in the stunning surrounds of Retiro Park and the sun was splitting the sky. If you do happen to be visiting Madrid and fancy a run, it’s the perfect spot to do it. I have to admit I was thrilled to be finished and despite my legs being a little tender I had a smile from ear to ear.
Madrid is a gorgeous city to visit and probably a little overlooked in favour of the likes of Barcelona. After finishing up the race I did what all self respecting runner does, I spent the rest of the day enjoying the sunshine drinking wine and talking about wonderful I am to have run the half marathon. Oh and of course wearing my fancy running bling. Don’t judge I had to run for over two hours to earn it.
Time wise I didn’t set the world on fire coming in at a chip time of two hours twelve minutes but I was more than a little thrilled I didn’t have a repeat of the disaster in Wexford. Despite running relatively well and finishing my feet were a little worse for wear so after Madrid I took a running break for a few weeks (well 3 weeks). Next up is the Clontarf half (3rd time doing it) on July 9th but I think I might need something in June to keep me motivated and get me back into action.