The truth is that I am a little late with the story of the Marbella half-marathon. It has been more than two weeks since it was held and I haven't told you anything about it. Well, it is never late, but I didn't want it to be joined with the story of the marathon that I will have to write in a month's time.
It wasn't a race that I prepared thoroughly, but I did have some desire for it. It's the second time I've run it and I wanted to destroy last year's time (2:15 on the 2014), which wasn't going to be difficult at all, especially since I arrived at it with a 1:45 MMP in Malaga.
As I was saying, it's not a career I've prepared. In fact, the week before I was on vacationSo the previous training was quite diluted, and that week I didn't get out of the preparation that the coach has for the marathon, which is the big goal of the year, so no rest before the race.
The start took a few minutes, because as you can see in the image that opens the article, even some of them started from further ahead of the starting line. And what happens when that happens? Well, if I place myself in a zone that I consider correct for my race time (about 5th or 6th row), but then there are other 5 or 6 rows ahead of the line, the start becomes chaotic. Of course, those who place themselves in front to start at a pace of 6:00 min/km do not help (neither do those who start behind with the intention of going under 1h25m). And with about 2,500 athletes gathered there, the truth is that the start was quite overwhelming. The normal in this type of race.
In spite of that, I did not do badly, completing the first kilometer in 4:45, in the predicted time and below the maximum pulse rate (165 ppm), but jumping from the sidewalk to the road and vice versa, looking for a place to run comfortably and playing some stupid ankle sprain.
The most demanding part of the race was shortly after, with the climb from the market to the bridge, with a fairly steep slope for just over 300 metres. In this part it was time to relax a little and not worry about the times, because after reaching the bridge, a long descent began through the streets of downtown Marbella until reaching the main avenue, Ricardo Soriano, where he could make up for the time lost earlier.
By the way, I have absolutely no comment on my bib number .
To leave the centre we had another small slope, more accessible than the previous one but longer (about 500 metres), which would take us to the promenade, which is almost not abandoned during the whole race. Until we got here the route varied with respect to last year's, from that point onwards it ran along the same route as the previous year.
We were already 4 kilometers away, there was a good plain until the next small slope so it was a good time to think about stabilizing a comfortable average pace, especially after the climbs and descents that, as you get lost, make you lose the cadence and average pace and when you want to realize you have lost 20 seconds that then it is difficult to recover.
We quickly reached the first refreshment point, located at kilometer five and the same place where the finish line is located. So we bottled some water to cool down a bit and continued on our way. We were grateful for the drink, as it ended up being a very hot day (28º average temperature).
In my attempt to be a model citizen, after drinking two or three shots from the bottle, I wanted to put it in a trash can. There were already quite a few on the floor, so I was going to try to be civic. I spotted a trash can and without stopping I threw it. As you can imagine, being on the move, I didn't calculate the strength and distance well and I missed the shot, with such bad luck that the bottle was taken by a boy who was watching the race. So my attempt at civility was left in a bottle by a boy. The next one I'll throw on the floor...
Soon we left the marble area and reached the alvero part, famous for being the route of the first stage of La VueltaFor that occasion it was swept and cleaned up, and it has remained that way (some sand has accumulated since then, but not much) until today. That means harder surface and potholes on the road, but being one of my usual training areas, nothing I didn't know more than that.
After a short but intense climb, we got to the main road, where the second refreshment post was located. Before arriving I prepared my gel, salts, etc. It was clear to me that I had to continue training the refreshment post, because this previous search made me slow down my pace significantly, going down to 5:40 min/km... That is, a pace one minute slower than the one I had until then. I was awakened by the fact that I was overtaken by the 1:40 hare, which we had overtaken when we reached the alvero area. So we had lost all the advantage we had gained and when I looked at the clock, we had gone from a final time of 1:37 to 1:41 (I had a data field with the calculation of the final time).
Taking advantage of the descent to Puerto Banús I tried to recover my rhythm a little, but I was already next to the group of the 1:40 hare. Although for this race I didn't have a time goal (I just wanted to control my heartbeat and base it on sensations), going below 1:40 was the idea that was hovering around my head.
I varied the plan, and would simply let the group pull me along. We passed the Puerto Banús stretch behind the group. As we left, I began to feel the fatigue. I was feeling good, but my legs were starting to get heavy. Little by little, the 1:40 group was getting away from me, at a rate of about 5 seconds per kilometer. But I was carrying the twins like stones, there was nowhere else to scratch.
When I stayed behind that group I did it with the idea of taking a tactic similar to the last half-marathon I ran, in which I pressed from kilometer 15. And here I would try a similar tactic. Arriving at the last refreshment point I repeated the procedure of looking for gel, salts, etc. At the refreshment point I take water, isotonic, orange segments, along with my gel... Of course, I choke trying to get so many things into my body and again, unbalanced cadence, slowed pace and I fall about 20 meters behind my partner.
There are 5 kilometers to go and I'm carrying the loaded twins. I know that I have a few meters to recover and I change, again, my tactics. Instead of squeezing the last 5 kilometers, I would leave it in the last 3, because I didn't see myself with enough strength in my legs to do the last kilometers under 4:30 min/km.
When I reach kilometer 18, the distance is maintained, I have not cut a single meter, but the thing does not give for more. And the pulsations are going through the clouds, passing the 170ppm.
Well, I wait to get to the marble walk to give the squeeze. And when I get there, the situation is the same, or worse. I can keep up the pace, but impossible to increase it.
So I decide to continue as well as I can and do the final sprint when the last meters are missing.
There are only 500 metres left, but I'm totally beaten at a rate of over 5:00 min/km. Taking advantage of the crowd's pull I give the final push, seeing that I could still get under 1:40, entering with this face in goal.
Ending time 1:39:38. Five minutes less than my best brand achieved in Malaga and one donkey less than in this same race last year (I'll let you do the subtraction).
After regaining strength at the final refreshment and receiving a medal, all that remained was to walk back to where the cars were with the feeling of having emptied myself. Satisfied because regardless of the final time I knew I had given it my all.
You can see the summary of the race on Stravaand you also have all the details in the full career chart.
Next stop: XXXV Valencia Trinidad Alfonso Marathon. Only one month left.
And with that... thanks for reading!