The weather was perfect for running in Barcelona cool and mostly overcast with a light breeze. The course was perfect too, inclines and descents were very manageable. Thew first 5 km felt a bit tough as I tried to get on pace - my mouth was dry which is a sign of under hydration I sorted this out by taking on plenty of water at the first water station. First 5km in 21:20 - only 20 seconds behind target pace. From 5 to 10 km I felt great 10km in 42:25 - still 25 seconds behind pace but I wasn´t worried. The average Garmin pace was in the mid 6:40s right where I wanted it to be. There was a long incline at about 14 km where my pace dropped slightly but so did the pace of those around me. Just before the top of the incline an acute pain shot up my right calf and I knew immediately that the game was up - no chance of a sub -3 hour run today. I limped on and just before the 15 km mark I stopped and applied my 1 sachet of bio-freeze to my calf (I was saving this for the inevitable cramps after mile 20). The bio-freeze helped a bit and as I was now on a gradual descent the pain eased. I had initially thought of throwing in the towel and walking to the nearest metro station (i had €3 in my belt- premonition?) but i´m no quitter and decided to run on and see if thing would improve. While the pain was manageable it was only so at my revised (naturally selected) pace of around 7:30. I ran the rest of the race more or less at this pace - shuffling up the inclines and resuming normal service on the descents and flats. As there are a few out and backs on the course I could see Pat ahead. He was flying. He was about 4 minutes ahead of me at the half way mark and 7 minutes at mile 18.5 so he was well on pace for the sub 3 hour. My revised plan, to keep me some way motivated, was to come in ahead of the 3:15 baloons and for a few miles I thought of my Amsterdam finish where I wanted to beat my worst time - I wonder could I beat my best time (3:08:58). I was there or thereabouts and to cut a short story even shorter I finished in 3:10:26 - a respectable time for a bad day in the office I suppose. Pat had a cracking race but preliminary results put him 10 seconds (Fu#ki"g hell) over the elusive 2:59:59 - 3:00:09 Chip & 3:00:19 Clock (some prelim results were posted in the baggage reclaim hall). Although he´s convinced he passed under the clock in 3:00:02 which would give him the sub 3. So there might have to be a recount and he may still get elected. Either way it´s a fantastic time. And there´s always the fact that he beat me, which should remove a very large monkey from his back. Adrian, being a part-time runner, had a sub 4 hour target, which he beat by another tight margin of about 10 seconds ) He´s hovering around the computer waiting for the website to dish out the results so that he can light up the hamlet cigar he bought for the occassion. Time to sign off and visit some of the sights before catching a flight this evening. Adios Amigos.
Dutch letter box, Texel
10 hours ago