• The Umbrella Mom

8km: Barcelona, Carrera de la mujer 2018

Updated: Dec 22, 2018

November 11th 2018: Celebrating 12 months since my first run in a number of years. It was joining the Carrera de la Mujer (Women's race) in 2017 with a friend that relaunched my running. That day, I told my friend 'Look, I'll jog maybe the first 1km or 2, but then I expect my injury will appear and I will need to walk, so you can go ahead then'.

Having got an injury in my short 8 week running career in 2014, I hadn't been able to run since without it stopping me fast in my tracks after a few hundred metres or more. However, this didn't happen in the 2017 Carrera de la Mujer, which I had simply joined to show solidarity. And now the rest is history as they say: the injury didn't come, I kept pushing forward, and I crossed the line after running the full race, fueled by excitement and the lasting fitness from all those 7am starts in spinning class before we left Ireland.

2018 when we arrived we knew what to expect after our 2017 experience. This run is all about solidarity (against gender violence) and fun. Don't attempt to get your usual pace, or a faster pace. It's simply not possible unless you somehow push yourself to the very front of the start line. We were in the circa 40 minute section, and quickly discovered we were surrounded by walkers. So you take the race as you get it, and start your GPS once you actually start running.

I now wisely know to order a spacious t-shirt, so was wearing a Medium and it is actually now one of my favourite running t-shirts. Maybe not looking so cool for the long distance runners (I have hit 25km this week as I prepare for my first marathon!), but a great colour (luminous pink will assure you are seen by all traffic!) and it is a really great, relaxing fit. As usual for the 10kms locally, I didn't need to use any facilities as had just left home 1 hour before (a quick hop on the L1 to Placa Espanya) and I am not sure how they manage toilet facilities for so many runners - as we totalled 34,000 that day!

As we passed the start line, we were walking, and walking slowly. There was nowhere to run, so we just relaxed and went with the flow. Then we noticed some people exiting via a barrier, so we followed, and soon we were running down Parallel (GPS started!). However, as the race turns and you prepare to hit Gran Via, it was up and down kerbs (oooohhh - just waiting for an injury) to avoid the walkers. Once we finally hit Gran Via, the road widened and it was possible to run.

The race was great, it was fun. Plenty people, cheering spectators, music and drums en route. And a beautiful day.

And herein I made a rookie mistake. While I checked the weather forecast (dry, no rain, so do not need running jacket), I stupidly wore my underarmour on top and a neck cowl, thinking it was going to be cold. As it hit 21°, I can tell you I was seriously overheating!! It slowed me down somewhat, but I gave the final push (helped by the cheering crowds) as we turned from Parallel for the final climb to the finish line on Carrer de Tamarit to reach Av. de Rius i Taulet.

I find it unusual that a fun run would push to such an incline in the final couple of hundred metres, but a great challenge to get to the finish line.

Acknowledging I started my GPS around 100 metres after the start line, the GPS still clocked 8.35km (avg pace 5:52/km and total run just under 49 mins). Looking at Strava, all runners clocked a few hundred metres over 8km. As a 8km race, again, either the GPSs are all incorrect, or we should be hugging the street corners to not clock up extra metres to reach the finish line in optimal time.

Will I be back next year? For sure, if I do not need the morning for training for a bigger race, I will certainly run it for solidarity with women across the city....but I'll arrive around 8:15am and get closer to the start line so it is a more enjoyable run (and not a hop up, hop down kerbs for the first 1km). My recommendation for this race: go, relax and enjoy the experience - and forget about your race times.

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