Well I was going to Blog a review of 2017 in December but somehow I ran out of month before I had managed to put finger to keyboard! So I thought I would write a brief review before writing of my Feliz año Nuevo in Espagne!
Well 2017 was a year of ups and some downs, here’s a brief lowdown! I managed to complete a further 6 marathons taking my tally to 48 marathons/ultras so I am certainly on target for my 50 before I am 50! I had my first DNF and did what many dream of during a marathon; I walked off the course at mile 12 and went to the pub! It was the right decision at the time, and I will be back in Brighton this year to avenge, but it did mean I then had to go and run around Milton Keynes a few weeks later just to prove to myself that I could still run a marathon! I completed my first 2.4 mile sea swim successfully and without being kicked in the face nor stung by a jellyfish as part of the Long Course Weekend (an Iron Man distance over 3 days)! I had to withdraw from the next day 112 mile bike ride as I had not managed to get the training in and that distance around the hills of Tenby you cannot blag, it still grates me, but I am not beaten yet so I’ll be back this year! Of course I did complete the marathon the next day! I finally achieved a course PB in Snowdonia with the best flying finish of my running career! I also joined the singledom community, was diagnosed with asthma which I am still on a learning curve with and also diagnosed with possible arthritis in my hands but have more tests to follow on that one! A year of highs and some lows but in the whole scheme of things a good one!
So to my Feliz año Nuevo in Espagne! I have gone on numerous fantastic trips with Running Crazy but never New Year in Barcelona until this year or do I say last year! It was a bit of a whirlwind tour with just 2 nights there but near enough 3 full days to explore. I arrived at the hotel late morning on Saturday 30th December and went straight out to explore Port Vell Marina before going on my Gothic Quarter Walking Tour which I loved. In the evening it was time to meet the rest of the Running Crazies for our pre-race meeting and for the handing out of our race numbers and the race goody bag which included a fabulous long sleeved technical top; all the goodies before you even race! We then sojourned for dinner before partaking in a refreshment or three in a local Spanish hostelry, well hydration is important!
The next morning it was New Year’s Eve and time for my Gaudi Walking Tour which again was fascinating and finished at the Sagrada Família Basílica where I was going to walk back to the hotel from, but in a moment of clarity decided to take the metro as it was a good 40 minute walk and I did have a 10k to run/race that evening! After finding a perfect spot in the Santa Maria del Mar square I had a delicious lunch of Garlic and Chilli Prawn Linguine washed down with a lovely glass of wine; well when in….Barcelona! I then did put my feet up for an hour and hydrated with water before our race rendezvous. The race started at 5.30pm so we were meeting at 4.30pm to get the metro together down to the race start. There was a fabulous atmosphere at the race start and I must say the Spanish love an inflatable arch; the finish straight had about 6 arches! In the starting pen the excitement escalated as did the music volume, the clapping and cheering! Then the countdown, flames out of the top of the starting gantry and we were off and boy was it fast; well we were all in the 40 – 45 minute pen!!
I was running with one of the other Running Crazies, Graham, as on the day we were similar paced and it would certainly be more fun to run it with someone and take in the atmosphere. It did feel at times we were being steam rollered as the pacers and their entourage went past us but we managed to keep a good steady pace. The course is predominately flat, runs along the seafront, past our hotel before looping back with great support all along the way, with some great fancy dress costumes too! Just before we passed the halfway point we saw the first firework go off; 1st male finisher and then a few minutes later the 2nd firework; 1st female finisher! We were still keeping a steady pace but it was getting harder now; training for hills and not speed was starting to take its toll! Then finally the finishing stretch and the first of the never ending inflatable arches; 6 arches later and arms held high we crossed the finishing line. Certainly not a PB but a respectable 56:45 for the day. Spanish races are predominantly men running and this race was no exception; there were 9,455 finishers and out of these there were only 2,568 women and I was 1,077th out of the women! It was quickly back to the hotel to get ready for the New Year’s Eve shenanigans; I’ve never had to eat 12 grapes, one on each dong of the bell, at midnight, and also make a wish at the same time!
New Year’s Day and the tradition of a swim on this day was upheld! After a little Google I found there was an organised event at midday on Sant Sebastià beach with about 400 happy bathers. It took very little persuasion for Elle and Ken to join me, Graham and Mandy decided they’d spectate! The organisation was excellent and for just 3 Euros we could use all the amazing facilities at the CNAB Club Natació Atlètic. The beach was packed with expectant bathers and of course there was music, chanting, clapping and an inflatable arch!
At midday we charged into the sea; it was freezing but actually warmer than Cornwall and Wales had been in previous years! There was lots of laughter, a little swimming, the realisation you had parts you didn’t know existed and then it was time to get out! Standing on the beach was much warmer!
We then joined a queue, we weren’t entirely sure what we were queuing for but we knew it was a drink of some kind! Then the aroma hit; it was Chicken Soup! The best soup ever! What a giggle!
I then spent the rest of the afternoon taking in more sights, before retiring for a late lunch of Tapas and Rioja, after which it was time to make my way to the airport and home! What a New Year!
So that was the year that was! What will 2018 hold; watch this space!
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