Georgia and I had 4 friends come with us to Barcelona for moral support and to do some sight seeing. We left Granada early Friday morning and arrived in Barcelona by early afternoon. We arrived at the hostel and were greeted by some of the nicest staff I have ever met in a hostel since being herein Europe. John and Valerio were super accommodating, cooked dinner for the entire hostel every night and gave the 7 or so marathon runners free breakfast and lunch the day of the marathon. I literally paid for no food the entire weekend and was very well fed. We were about a 15 minute walk from the start line and the night before the race we met 3 German guys, two of which were running the next day. They were super fun and we ended up walking to the start with them and then later that night I went out and celebrated with them (as much as you can celebrate when you are as tired as we were). It was fun to share the experience with other runners.
Barcelona is an incredible city that I will have to revisit. So much distinct architecture and a mix of cultures. The marathon course took us through the entire city, by the beach and around most of the major land marks. It was an absolutely gorgeous day with perfect weather. I didn't get many good pictures but my friend Katelin took some great ones.
The day of the race we woke up at 6am Barcelona time to eat breakfast (12am EST/ 11pm CST) with the Germans. The hilarious part was that the night before the race was daylight savings time here in Spain and everyone was freaked out about missing their alarms..but we made it.
Then we got suited up and headed for the start line around 8am in Barcelona time. I actually wasn't nervous until breakfast the morning of. When we reached the starting line we then had to find our 'box' to start the race from. They divide the start line into colors according to the time you think you will finish in so they can stagger start the race. We were looking for the blue box. Well, somehow we ended up in the very front of the blue box. As in security guards pushing you backwards front of the race. I still have no idea how that happened. It was the craziest feeling to be standing in front with the open road before me. When they finally let us go I had to keep myself from sprinting out because I was so excited. The next four hours were filled with lots and lots of running, hydrating, gel packs and encouraging words. Georgia and I lost each other at the end for a little while. The last 2k were up hill and it was the most mentally challenging thing I've done in a while. People were stopping and walking like crazy which was so tough because at that point you are so close to the finish line. But I made it, without walking or stopping. After crossing the finish line I thought I was going to pass out. Couldn't breath b/c I was crying/laughing so much. Then they had us wait in line to cut our timing chips off our shoes and then another line to get our medals. It was a terrible waiting process but I survived. Totally worth every bit of pain. Training was so fun. I hope that this won't be my last marathon. Here are, as always, a few pics from the weekend!!
The signs that John and Valerio put up for us
my 'i'm-about-to-run-a-marathon face'
the start...on Saturday before the race
me, Georgia, Roland and Jean-Marie
BEST. PIC. EVER. thanks Katelin (beginning of the marathon)
last 100 meters. I think.
fist pumping. finish line
after it was all said and done.
this is what i wanted to do right after..
Valerio! he had a surprise lunch ready for us at the hostel after the race.
magic fountain (that's the name). light show accompanied with disney movie soundtrack
Park Güell in Barcelona. Entrance looked like Candy Land.
Sam! I didn't have a group pic
a very magical looking place
This weekend was one that I will indeed never forget as long as I live. What an experience it was to train for the marathon and then to finally get to run it. And to run it in Barcelona. What a gift. So thankful for everyone who high fived me today, wrote on my facebook wall, sent me emails, and supported me the whole way. Even though my legs feel like they have a thousand tiny knives in them i'm walking (ok waddling) around Granada grinning ear to ear. What a incredible feeling.
Also..in 3 days I'm off to Germany/Prague for 10 days.. What an incredible time in life!