10km: Cursa de la Mercè 2018
Updated: Dec 22, 2018
September 16th 2018: One week after the pretty disastrous experience in Poblenou, where I managed a 61.5 min 10km but with intense pain and effort, I jumped on the metro with a couple of friends to run the 2018 Merce race from Placa d'Espanya. With the 10km race in Poblenou and a couple of midweek runs, I was more prepared for the Merce race.
The race was very well organised as is the norm for most races leaving from Placa d'Espanya. I was running without a yellow chip, so was defaulted to one of the final departure groups. Which in a race like La Merce, is perfect as most people are running (rather than walking).
Many of these races feel the same after a while......swing right down Parallel, swing left to reach back up to Gran Via, down to Arc de Triomf, and then start making the way back to Placa d'Espanya.
I decided to try to hit a 60 min finish, so ran beside the 60 min pacer for the first 6km. However, we kept hitting sub 6 min kilometers, as you see below from my Garmin tracking, and I wasn't sure how she was planning the 60 min target. The conversation was definitely happening, people were pointing to their GPS watches and talking to her, but not being fluent in either catalan or spanish, it was difficult to follow and focus on the run. SO I just focused on the run.
Around 4.5km I was slighly ahead of the pacer, until I made the fundamental flaw from the prior week's race again today: when we reached the refuel station at Arc de Triomf, I poured water over my head. SUddenly my body went sluggish and I really struggled in the 6th km. The pacer passed me and made some headway (approx. 50 metres) before I could respond. I tried to make pace but at this stage, the only concern was getting across the finish line - 60 minute or not.
And this is where the GPS watches can really throw you off when you are running - my watch hit 10km at 57 minutes on Parallel, in the final 500 metres or so of the race. I finally crossed the finish line at 61 mins 2 seconds with 10.57km on the GPS. I was disappointed not to make the 60 minutes but also came away with my lesson learnt - no more pouring water over my head to cool down.
Refuel Stops: 1 refuel stop at 5km at Arc de Triomf. Paper cups of water. It seemed there was a shortage of water...runners were queuing up at the large water dispensers. But this seemed in error, as there was water in cups closer to the Arc
Inclines: There are very slight inclines in a number of locations, but the main incline is in the final 500m or so running up Parallel to the finish line.
Course Design: This was a single loop of 10km, with the only doubling of route on Parallel.