Euro Trip Recap–Spain

We weren’t in Spain for too long. We got there Saturday morning and went straight to the Expo after dropping off our luggage at our hotel and left the next day a few hours after the race.

But, we did do a little sight seeing so here are a few pics ๐Ÿ™‚

I mentioned in my race recap that there was a long line at the Expo:

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It wrapped around there towards the right of this pic. It moved along pretty quickly so in about an hour we were inside. The expo was actually quite large with a lot of vendors. I made sure to stop by one of my faves ๐Ÿ™‚

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After the expo, we headed back towards the hotel to grab a bite to eat. We took the metro and while we waited, I saw this advertisement:

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I teach Shakespeare’s Macbeth (it’s my second favorite Shakespeare play) and thought it was so cool to see this play being done in Spanish. I would have loved to see it!

We got off near our hotel and walked a few blocks to it. Here’s a view:

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The streets were really crowded; it kinda reminded me of New York.

We ate at a nearby restaurant and was shocked that my beverage of choice, Coca-cola, was 8 Euros ~ $10+ dollars!!! For ONE CAN. It turned out to be like this at most places which really saddened my heart. Even water was expensive at around 5 Euros a bottle ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But even though buying a coke broke the bank a little, I had to. I thought of it as a souvenir ๐Ÿ™‚

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Once back at the hotel, my husband and I decided to check out the roof top. The view:

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We decided to take the stairs back down to our room ๐Ÿ™‚

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We called it a night soon after and the next day, on our walk to the start of the race, we did a little more sight seeing. We passed a bookstore and I saw this:

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You might have heard of a little series called The Hunger Games. It was so cool to see it in Spanish–and for some reason, reading the title in Spanish madeย me giggle.

We reached a main cross street on our walk and came across the main post office.

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On our hike to gear check, we found that it was in side Parque Madrid–Madrid’s main park. It was absolutely stunning. The bushes were manicured, the trees were lush, and there were gardens and statues throughout. It was also very big!

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We were at the airport a couple of hours after the race headed to Italy so there wasn’t a whole lot more we were able to do. I kinda wished I had carried my phone during the race because I was able to see a lot of the city in 13.1 miles. I’d like to return to Spain someday and spend more time there. I want to visit other cities too–Valencia, Barcelona, and maybe Seville. Regardless, the time we did get was so much fun. I loved being able to talk to the locals and really get a feel for what it was like there.

And the race. The race was awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

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–Have you seen a play or movie or read a book in another language? (one of my favoritest foreign films is Life is Beautiful in Italian)

–Would you pay $10 for a coke? What outrageous prices have you encountered in yourย travels?ย 

Next stop, Italy!

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Rock n Roll Madrid, Spain 1/2 Marathon Recap

What a week!

I’m so happy to be back in the states! Traveling is so much fun but there truly is no place like home ๐Ÿ™‚

We left on Friday afternoon catching a 12:30 flight from Phoenix to Dallas, TX. From Dallas, we flew out at around 6 p.m. to Madrid, Spain where we arrived at 10:30 Saturday morning (1:30 a.m. Phoenix time). From the airport we took a taxi to our hotel in downtown Madrid.

My husband and I speak Spanish fluently so we were able to communicate with our driver easily and sparked up a good convo with him. He was actually a runner! He asked us what our times were and when we answered, immediately told us we had a lot of work to do–his 1/2 marathon PR was 1:25!!

When we arrived at our hotel, we dropped off our luggage and headed out to find the Expo. After consulting a map, it seemed like taking the Metro was the way to go. My first Metro experience!

The Expo was a happening place and we had to wait in line for about an hour to get inside. Once we did, it was easy to get our bib and race goodies.

I learned that their size medium is actually a U.S. small lol

I learned that their size medium is actually a U.S. small lol

We hung out for a little bit but we were starving so we headed back to our hotel. We ate at a restaurant nearby and then walked around downtown for a couple of hours before we decided to head back to our room and get a good nights rest. We hadn’t really slept since the night before!

We managed to immediately crash as we were pretty exhausted and woke up around 6. The race started at 9 a.m. so we had plenty of time to get ready and walk the mile to the start line. When we got there, we noticed how there wasn’t a whole lot happening and wondered where all the people were at. We walked around for a while and then decided to drop off our bag at gear check. We looked at our map and realized it was about another mile away near the finish line! We immediately bolted towards it–it wasn’t an easy warm-up run either with hills along the way. (A preview of what awaited us). When we got there, we saw that this was where everyone was at; gear check was packed! We hurried, dropped it off, and headed back–it was getting close to go time.

Before the race :)

A quick pic before the race ๐Ÿ™‚

My husband was in Corral 2 and I was in Corral 4. I hung out with him for a little while but then headed to my corral with about 10 minutes to go.

The vibe was really energetic. There were people everywhere! We heard the announcer start to count down and then the elites were off! It wasn’t too long after that it was our turn (It turned out that once they said “Go!” all corrals went. There weren’t actual wave starts). So with “Highway to Hell” blasting from the speakers, I began to run.

It was the typical crowded ย start. I tried navigating my way around people but we were pretty elbow to elbow. I hoped it’d dissipate after a while but it never really did. At mile 3, I was still bumper to bumper with people and knew that any chance of PRing was out of the question. It wouldn’t have happened any way because the course was H-I-L-L-Y.

Side note: There were no port-a-pottys. I mean, there were some at the start line but none throughout the race. Within the first mile, I saw a ton of guys just stop along the side and hang out with trees. It was crazy!

Moving on. Once I decided this was going to be a race that would challenge my hill limits, I set my focus on maintaining a decent pace. I wanted to stay in the 10:00 minute and under range and was able to do that with the exception of one 10:27 hilly mile.

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I slowed at each water station and was surprised by something else. They gave out bottles of water instead of water cups. I saw hundreds of people take one swig from the bottle and then toss it. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ It made me so sad to see all of it go to waste. When I got to the Powerade station same thing. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

At mile 8, the full marathoners separated from the halfs and it was only then that you had room to maneuver around people. Of course by that time I was too exhausted to even make an attempt lol! (Although I did muster up a 9:00 minute 11 miler.)

My new goal was to finish under 2:15 and I could tell that I was well on my way to do so, so I changed my goal to under 2:10. This would take some major mental strength but at mile 12 I knew that I had I gotten it.

I wanted to finish strong so the last half mile I picked up my pace to surge the last bit. Almost immediately, I felt my calves clench and felt intense pain shoot up my legs. It almost made me stop dead in my tracks but I told myself that I was SO close–the finish line was just right there! I forced myself to keep going and I did, grimacing the entire way. I knew that finish line photo wasn’t going to be pretty.

I crossed the line with a frozen smile at 2:08:26. I was incredibly happy with my overall time and pace (9:43) considering the raceย had started at 9 a.m. (midnight back home) and it being a tougher course than what I was used to. I met up with my husband and he did awesome finishing better than what he expected.

I was so exhausted the only thing I wanted to do was lay down. So I did. For like 30 minutes.

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This was only Day 2 of my trip and it was already such an incredible experience. Getting to run a race in a different country was something I only dreamed of doing and it had become a reality. I loved every minute of it. I loved that it was hard. I loved that so much about it was different than what I was used to. I loved that I got to share the experience with my husband. And I love that this will be a memory that will absolutely last a lifetime.

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I’ll be recapping the rest of the trip in the next few days ๐Ÿ™‚

–Have you ran a race in a different country than you live?

–If not, if you could choose anywhere in the world, where would you like to run a race?

–What’s the randomest/grossest/weirdest thing you’ve seen during a race?ย (Those guys peeing along the course was just crazy to me lol!)

 

 

Taper Time and PRO Compression Socks Winner!

I’m officially in taper mode as my European half marathon approaches. I can’t believe that on Friday we’ll be getting on a plane to Spain!

eeek! :)

eeek! ๐Ÿ™‚

Last week was 37 mile week! It seemed to accumulate without me even realizing it but oh do I feel it now. I took Sunday and Monday off to rest mi legs but will do my 6.2sday today and keep it chill.

Yesterday was such an emotional day. If you didn’t catch the Boston Marathon, youtube or find video highlights. It was absolutely amazing. I was able to watch it from the very beginning and even my daughter knew something special was happening as she took a break from playing to catch a glimpse of Rita Jeptoo making her way to the finish line.

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I know you all are ready for the Pro Compression giveaway winner! Thank you all so much for entering–this was my biggest giveaway to date!

Okay, here we go…..Congratulations…..JOY CHAMBERS!! You are the winner of a FREE pair of marathon Pro Compression socks. Check your e-mail for details from me.

Remember that everyone here is a winner. Use the code BLG14 fora 40% discount. Pretty sweet! Sign up for the Sock of the Month to get even more deals.

I hope everyone has a good day!

~helly

–Were you able to watch the Boston Marathon yesterday? What was most exciting for you?