‘Why don’t you just run it easy?’ Frances asked me, ‘sure aren’t you’re fit enough, even without the proper training?’
And that was all it took.
I had booked a marathon shortly after Dublin 2014. It was to be a European weekend break away with a spring marathon that resembled Sevilla mixed in. I had failed in Dublin but if I continue the training I could come back just as strong in Barcelona. But it didn’t happen in the end. I just didn’t have the dedication, the discipline or the stamina to get the training off the ground again. I needed time to recover from Dublin, mentally as much as physically and getting stuck into a winter full of intervals, tempos, hills and long runs was not the tonic I needed.
However, when I booked the marathon, myself and Frances had also booked flights and accommodation so while I may have relented on the training we weren’t going to give up on the trip. And this is what it would have been - a lovely relaxing sight-seeing trip except for the fact that there were more than a half dozen marathon runners on board, all wearing old Asics, Mizunos and New Balance; all with that same slight gaunt expression on their face; and all having the look of excitement that goes with pre-marathon running. If this brought me down a little, then the question of a fellow passenger on the way to immigration, “so what time are you looking for?” mistaking my running runners for participation dropped me a little further. And sensing this Frances then suggested I “just run it easy.”
So what to do when you decide to run a marathon last minute?
Go to the Expo and get your race bib and t-shirt, which you in the absence of any other technical top or a Saw Doctors t-shirt will do you for the race.
· Be grateful that you came over wearing your race runners and a pair of socks that you’ve trained in before.
· Buy a new pair of runners that you can wear coming back.
· Buy a pair of shorts.
· Don’t take advantage of the kindness of your loved one by hijacking the trip and saying we need to be in bed by eight. Instead do everything you would normally do on a sight-seeing trip to Barcelona such as walk up Las Ramblas, visit La Sangrada Família and have a nice meal that evening.
· Don’t expect support from your loved one along the route except for maybe the very end.
· Drink water at every stop and take on food whenever you can.
And I did, even getting to stop briefly at the end to give Frances a kiss before lifting the pace home and getting in a shade over 3 hrs 30.
Barcelona Marathon – 3 hrs 30 mins 03 seconds.