I was super excited, and grateful, to be invited by an ex work colleague to go to the Rock n Roll Lisbon half marathon this weekend. We went by private jet, and had a couple of days to enjoy the city as well, but I’ll write about that separately.
The race started in the middle of the Vasco da Gama bridge, and so to get to the start you had to take a mandatory bus, which was actually really amazingly organised. We also had to take the metro to get to the bus, which was fine, but very infrequent! Still, we got to the starting area on the bridge about an hour before the start, and so had plenty of time to chill, have our last minute snacks, and revel in the novelty of hanging out in the middle of a huge bridge.
The race started, and whilst it was warm, there was a bit of a breeze. We didn’t start until 10:30 am, and the temperature was predicted to rise to 31 degrees Celsius, but at that point it didn’t seem so bad.
I started off steadily, in line with my race plan of having the first two miles as a warm up. I kept my phone out and took a few pictures, and enjoyed the scenery.
After the bridge we ran down the huge exit ramp, which was so cool! It was very fun being able to run on these huge roads, especially coming from a tiny island. I picked up the pace over the next few miles, and got into my race pace of about 7:30 minute miles. Which was fine on the tree lined roads. When we hit the 10K mark, the shade disappeared, and the full heat of the sun was on us. And it was just too much! I listened to my body, slowed down, and made sure I grabbed water at each stop.
And then I got distracted at one of the water stations and forgot to pick up a bottle, and at about mile 11 started to feel a bit out of it. So I did something I’ve never done in a race, and walked for a bit, to the next water stop. I’ve literally never run in that much heat; my Garmin Tempe recorded 34 degrees, which is about 20 degrees warmer than I’ve been running in at home at the moment.
I managed to get running again after that, and plodded up the pretty steep about mile long hill, in the shade again, yay! And then it was just back down again, around a few corners and then into one of the main squares for the finish line.
And the best thing at the finish line… A Calippo ice-cream! Literally the best thing I had seen all morning. And somehow, once I’d finished, it didn’t seem so hard after all!
I ended up finishing in 1:47:50 (chip time, my gun time was 6 minutes slower) which put me 1307th overall, and 60th senior woman (gun time, I was 53rd by chip time) which I’m pretty pleased with. Whilst it was nowhere near my PB, the conditions were so much more extreme than I’ve ever run in.
The race being a rock n roll race, had live bands along the route, and whilst there were some, I was expecting more. And maybe more music playing in-between, along all of the course. Perhaps other ones are better… In any case, it was an amazing experience to be able to run such a big event, in a huge city!