Date: September 26, 2021; 11 AM but it did not start until 12 pm
Distance: 13.1 MI
Place: Madrid, Spain
Weather: I dunno . . . prob low 70s F
Official Time / PACE: Let’s just say that I finished
Swag: Tech T-shirt, finisher medal, goody bag with gu and sunscreen
Pre Half Marathon:
If I do another international half or full marathon that crosses multiple time zones, I need to give myself at least 48 hrs before running the race. Then again, I probably should not have hung out very late the night before the race. More on that later.
The hubby and I took an overnight flight from NYC to Madrid and went to the expo straight from the airport since the expo hall was 3 subway stops from the airport. While the expo was pretty organized, I gotta say that I was a bit disappointed because I did not see much Rock n Roll merchandise; however, there was a lot of EDP (the co organizer) branding for the race. Normally, I would not care about this, but I really wanted to buy a 13.1 mi (sorry, I mean 21 km) mug as a souvenir. The ONE time that I was willing to spend money at a race expo, there was nothing that I really wanted to buy.
Then again, we did not spend too much time at the expo because we were a bit tired from the overnight flight from NYC to Madrid. So maybe that merchandise was in some random corner or box in the expo hall.
Y’all I really tried to be responsible in trying to get enough rest (especially since Madrid is 6 hrs ahead of NYC) before running the half the following morning.
Around 8:30 pm, the night before the race, I laid out my running clothes.
Ok so here’s what happened. We stayed in an airbnb with the hubby’s sister’s family (wife, husband, and two preteens) who traveled from the south of Spain to visit the hubby. Keep in mind because of the pandemic, the hubby had seen his family since our wedding three years ago. Also, one of the hubby’s friends who lives in the UK dropped by too. So there was a lot of work to coordinate meeting and feeding times, and the Spanish eat dinner pretty late in the evening. Also part II, the hubby’s other friend (the party animal), who used to live in NYC but now lives in Menorca, met us for dinner. Basically, we did not finish dinner until 11 pm. The party animal wanted to hang in Chueca, the LGBTQ+ section of Madrid, for post-dinner beverages. You know that I’m never the one to turn down a gin-based beverage. Long story, long, I did not get to sleep until 4 am.
Half Marathon Time:
As one might expect, it was fight to 1) wake up on time; and 2) not roll over and go back to sleep. That said, I powered through and made it to other start . . . hungover AF. The instruction book told us to be there at 10:30 am for an 11 am start, BUT the organizers were running late . . . really late. The hubby did warn me by saying nothing in Spain starts on time. I guess that I should have listened to the Spaniard and slept in for another 15 min.
Since I was super tired and hungover, my only goal for this half marathon was to finish . . . which I did – YAY. Overall, I found the course to be nice because it was fairly flat, and we saw some nice sights running through Madrid. Since I was irresponsible and hung out super late the night before, I was disappointed (but not shocked) that I had to walk quite a bit during the race.
While I understand the complexity of organizing a large full or half-marathon, I was very annoyed that the restrooms were not in the locations indicated on the map. As soon as we started, I needed to pee ASAP. No worries, the first rest area was located around 6K. Sooooo, yeah there was no rest area to be found. Maybe I was supposed to take a piss in the street. At least, I found one at 12K – PHEW. Using that rest area is kind what destroyed my time, not staying out till 3 am ;), because I had to pee AND take two poops. Huh, two poops? After pooping, I starting running again, then realized that I did not get out all of my poop, so I had to run (well, swiftly walk) BACK (about 800 m) to the previous rest area to finish pooping. Anyone who knows me knows that it is really hard for me to poop outside of home so pooping in a portapotty TWICE caused a lot of stress.
While running, I noticed that crowd participation was pretty limited. This could have been because of a couple of reasons.
-The full marathon started at 8 am. By the time the half marathon started, many of the elite marathon runners had finished or were finishing.
-Maybe marathons just are not that popular in Madrid. Unlike NYC and other major marathons, I did not really see many people wearing their medals or finisher T-shirts throughout the day after the race.
-We’re still in a pandemic. The hubby was telling me that Madrid had just fully opened up two weeks prior to the race.
-Also, where was the finisher concert and post-race beer coupons? Perhaps, this did not happen because of COVID, which I fully understand.
Perhaps, NYC marathons have spoiled me, but I was concerned that some of the major streets still had traffic moving on the opposite side of the road. What if one car or truck loses control and drives over the very small median onto the runners? There were certain portions of the race where runners where high-fiving drivers waiting at stop lights . . . too close for comfort for me.
Once I found the hubby and his family, it was tapas and beer time.
After saying our goodbyes to the family (they were heading back to the south of Spain), we went back to Airbnb where I pretty much crashed for a few hours, then hung out all damn night in Chueca . . . again. Actually, I take that back. We met up with the party animal to have some tapas and a couple of drinks with the plan to hit the sack early in the evening. After a few ciders from Asturias (the party animal’s home region of Spain), we were primed and decided to “club” in Chueca. We went back to the Airbnb, packed, and were off to the airport at 5 am for our Santander (the hubby’s home city) leg of our Spain trip.
-With a little more than 30 days before NYC Marathon, I know that my performance will be a hot mess; 2022 definitely is going to be my running rebuilding year. What, wasn’t 2021 was supposed to be my rebuilding year?
-As I’m getting older, I need more recovery time (at least 48 hours) running after from an international flight.
-I need to take better inventory of my running shoes in future.
- My sister in law: Kwame, your shoes are very damaged.
- Me: Oh, it’s just a small hole on the side of the shoe.
- My sister in law: No, I’m talking about the bottom of the shoe.
- Me after looking at the bottom of the shoe: *GASP!* I had no idea that my shoes were that worn down. Since I was resting my right foot on my left knee, she could see the bottom of my shoe.