As it had only been 4 weeks since I ran the Barcelona Half Marathon, it didn't seem too daunting to be returning on my own for the Marathon.
As we shivered in the tents at the start, trying to dodge rain showers, I heard my name being shouted......it was Seb and Craig on their way to their start pen......lovely to see familiar faces amongst the 18,000 strong crowd!
Whilst milling around before the start, another guy had mentioned that Barcelona was the only marathon in which he'd run a negative split, so I thought that the second half of the course might be faster than the first, so consciously steadied my pace so as not to get to the halfway point too quickly and have to pay for it later.
I have to say that I found the second half of the race rather tough, and it seems that I wasn't the only one. Looking at other people's 5k splits after the race, most of the field slowed down after halfway, so I actually maintained my position. A marathon is a long way to battle any wind, especially if you are not afforded shelter by other runners. The conditions were much more Scottish than Spanish, and I never once felt too warm while running. My shoes and socks became heavier and heavier as they got more sodden from the wet conditions, and I'm told that the strain was showing on everyone's faces as the race progressed. One of the toughest battles that I faced was with myself, as there was such a strong temptation to stop once I knew that I was no longer on target for the time I would have liked to run.
As an added sting in the tail of the race, the last few kms are uphill from the seafront, and you seem to be running up towards the columns of Plaza Espanya for a very long time without it ever getting any closer. I had remembered seeing the 42k sign as I was warming up, so I knew that when I turned that final corner, I still had a few hundred metres to go but eventually I made it, 86th overall and happily still as 4th lady.......1st European and 1st vet. I thought I was actually having auditory hallucinations when I finished, as they announced me as being Ukrainian, but I was back to being British in the results!