In the beginning of this year, I was invited by Caser Expat to run he half marathon in Madrid. I was excited and terrified at the same time: The half marathon of Madrid!!!
In october 2013, I ran my first half marathon of Valencia. I had to walk for several kilometers and I promised myself to run the next one completely till the end. When I heard it would be Madrid, I got scared. Conquer the hills of Madrid. My objective #runMadrid. This would be my challenge.
We had a Twitter contest with Caser Expat. Rosa del Toro won a dorsal for the race, transportation and the accommodation in Madrid.
I met Rosa on the train to Madrid. She is a passionate runner too. It was really nice to meet her and to share our running experience. The hotel was really close to the Retiro park, where we would start the half marathon the next day. We left our bags and went for a late lunch. Rosa is a sports nutrition expert, so she gave me some good tips. After a siesta, we were expected in the Calderon Caser theatre. We saw this hilarious Monty Python show.
Later that evening I met these great people from Valencia/USA chicsouffle and nothmngwysspain in this nice Italian place La Tavernetta. We ate very tasty homemade pasta. Walking home from the restaurant, I just realized again how beautiful Madrid is. I love this city and didn’t want to go to sleep. Good that I did.
The next day, I woke up early and took some cereals at 6 o’clock. I took my time and got myself ready for the big race. We met the guys from Caser Expat downstairs, in the hotel lobby. After a little warm-up and some photos, we were ready.
Starting in a slow pace, we left the Retiro park. I was feeling good and started my race happy. I enjoyed seeing the 22.000 runners running along the streets of Madrid. Everywhere I looked, I saw runners. The first 8/9 kilometers were uphill. I expected it would be worse. After kilometer 10 we went downhill. This was a relieve and it helped a lot, to gain some energy. I drank some water and took a gel.
The team fell apart and we all found our own pace. The Retiro park was in sight. A lot of people cheering at the sideline and I felt they were helping me in the last 5 kilometers. I saw Atocha station and I knew, I was close. I turned around the corner and the first thing I saw, was this steep hill, an ambulance and someone lying on the floor in tinfoil. I felt scared and in one split second I thought, I’d better stop running and start walking. I saw a lot of people who did so, but I didn’t and I ran all the way up to the finish. I was so HAPPY I did it and I am proud of my time: 2:09:36.
The Caser Expat team met again at the finish. We conquered the hills of Madrid.
Caser Expat, thank you for this experience, that I will never forget!!!