Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Back again

I knew I'd not been blogging for a while but didn't realise it had been over 2 weeks... I guess life just kind of got in the way!
It's been a busy couple of weeks both work and life wise, but it's been fun too. We left for Barcelona early last Thursday morning - 5am early! Flew via Luton and arrived in a rainy Barcelona mid afternoon. By the time we got off the train/metro and headed to hotel the rain had stopped so we had a pleasant wander through the city, a nice dinner and back in bed by a respectable 10:30pm
Woke late on Friday morning - 8am which was a pleasant surprise, and when I opened the curtains, the previous night's clouds were rolling away and the sun was shining. We had a gentle 4.5mile run along the old harbour to the beach stopping for coffee and pastries on the way back, what a lovely way to start your day :-) John's knee held up well so things started to look a bit brighter on that front too. After a shower and change back at the hotel, we headed up to the expo to pick up bib numbers etc. Sun was splitting the pavement by this time but it was still airy and about 12C which bode well for race day although the forecast for Saturday was rain. Picked up numbers and the nicest race shirt so far, except that John's shirt was blank! We decided to take it back on the Saturday after the Breakfast run. Rested up in the afternoon for a couple of hours then people watched and drank coffee before meeting friends who had flown in from England then another nice dinner & some vino tinto del casa.
Saturday morning's sky was also azure, (the heavy rain seemed to have fallen overnight) with a bright sun blazing down as we headed up to the marathon start for the Breakfast run. Almost 2000 people from all nations gathered together to run the last 4.195 km of the Olympic marathon course which we did last year and finished at the Olympic stadium, it's a lovely run up the hills with stunning views from the top. This time the course started off the same but the route altered and we passed boys playing rugby, children getting horse riding lessons and ran through a tunnel which was also a climbing wall! We were a tad perplexed about the change of route until we crested a small rise and realised we had reached the stadium and were about to enter the tunnel - what an emotional moment, to be running through this very quiet almost ecclesiastic space imagining what it was like for the Olympic athletes - you enter the tunnel from sunshine and supporter noise to absolute peace and cool air - it's quite eerie - then you turn a corner and there's a bright light and more noise, and it was noisy enough for us it must have been awesome when the stadium was full!!
To top it off, you have to run a lap of the blue track and the finish arch stands where the official finish line was, it's a tremendous track for running on and just an incredible experience. It was a truly magic moment!
After spending a wee while absorbing the atmosphere, we headed off down the hill - on the conveniently placed escalators to partake of the breakfast part of the Breakfast run :-)
Successfully changed John's shirt for one with the appropriate markings and then spent another hour or two (and some Euros) in the expo before we joined our fellow runners for the free pasta lunch - which was very good.
It was Carnival weekend in Spain so we wandered back down into the city stopping to watch a parade of children in fancy dress with drums, stilt-walkers etc. Rested for an hour or so then headed out for another quick bite to eat and to watch the parade of floats which lasted a couple of hours and was spectacular. Back to hotel, race number pinned on and kit sorted for the following morning then off to bed. Race report to follow in another post :-)

1 comment :

  1. Interesting thing about the Barcelona Olympic marathon is that it was won by a Korean and there were no Africans in the top 10 which is just incredible compared to today's races.

    It seems to have been a slow race as well by today's standards, but when you see the hill they had to run up to get to the stadium combined with the 27degree heat it is hardly surprising.

    Running through the tunnel was phenomenal, but not all the Olympic men's marathoners got to do it. 25 of them DNF'ed and another 4 or 5 were directed to an alternate finishing line because the marathon was just before the closing ceremony and those who ran slower than 2:45 weren't able to finish in the stadium because the ceremony was on.