Barcelona Half Marathon 2024 Race Recap

When Brooks invited me out to Barcelona to run the half, I thought it would be a great opportunity to do a long run in marathon training. But then my training plan had it down as a race so with 24 hours to go, I decided to opt for the Brooks Hyperion Elite 4 (Brooks’ latest carbon plated shoe) and see what I had in the tank.

I thought I might just have sub 2 in the tank.

Turns out I had a whole lot more!!

Racing hurts. You’re pushing yourself beyond what feels comfortable, often both physically and mentally. And often when we haven’t done it for a while, it’s hard to put yourself in that place again. Instead it’s easier to play it safe, call it an easy run and stay at a pace that feels less demanding.

I’m so glad I didn’t talk myself out of just going for it on Sunday, although part of that was due to my inability to do mental maths on the run and work out what Sub 2 pace was!

Race morning was windy. The gusts had woken me up overnight but I tried to convince myself that it was my air conditioning unit but the swaying palm trees at breakfast gave it away. I swapped from shorts to leggings, worrying I would be cold during the race. This was a mistake as luckily the race course itself only had a few short patches running into the wind, otherwise it was well sheltered and warm in the February sunshine.

I wouldn’t recommend brand new shoes on race day, especially if you’re going for a PB (I did a 3.5 mile shake out the previous day just to check they didn’t rub!) but I will say the Hyperion Elite 4 were great straight out of the box and gave me no blisters or hotspots. I’ll do a full review once I’ve put more than the 18 miles I’ve run in them so far but first impressions are they felt light, smooth and bouncy but without the super pop of some other carbon plated shoes I’ve tried. They were ideal for my Barcelona race though!

The race start was a little chaotic with long queues for the loos (as is often the case) and I’m told a bit of a stressful bag drop situation. I walked past what seemed to be a holding pen for the next wave on one street and was kind of directed by a volunteer to my own start area. In reality I just found some other runners with the same bib colour and followed them.

I took a pre-race Precision Fuel and Hydration gel in the start corral and then we were off.

My first mile was actually my slowest at 8.49. I think part of the reason the race went so well was that I accidentally positioned myself with the 1.45-1.50 pace area and people were running that pace, I didn’t find myself weaving and could just run smoothly. In fact I felt like I was trying to pull myself back. There was a slight downhill within mile 5 and I clocked a 7.56 mile.

There were hydration stations at 5K, 10K and 16K – we all agreed we would have loved one or two more water stops on course. I took my gels to co-ordinate with the water stations, taking a Precision Fuel and Hydration gel as I would approach the hydration tables, then walk through the water station to ensure I finished the full cup of water.

Around halfway I realised I could definitely achieve my goal of sub 2 hours, even if I had gone out too fast and had to slow down. I didn’t slow down though and clocked all of my miles from mile 8 onwards between 8.03 – 8.27. It was after seeing the 8.27 min mile that I actually realised if I could pick it up just a little, I could finish in sub 1.50.

I kept pushing, with 8.16, 8.11, 8.03 registering on my Coros watch. I honestly think doing so many runs with the buggy (and often with the dog in tow too) has made running solo feel that bit easier. All I had to worry about was putting one foot in front of the other and ensuring I was fueling at the correct times.

The Brooks team had an awesome cheer station just after KM 20, and I pushed through, hoping that the final turn would bring the finish line into sight. I’m really proud that I ran the final 0.25 mile in 7.10 pace!!

Nothing about my training would have suggested to me that I was capable of a 1.49 on Sunday…but that’s why I don’t write my own race plans! Whilst I wasn’t running any miles at that race pace, I was doing faster, shorter intervals and then a lot of easy miles and am finally running consistently 4 -5 times a week again. I fueled well during the race (one gel pre race, then roughly every 5K), and wore fun fast shoes. There’s so much I know I can work on (including eating better pre race!) so it was SUCH a confidence booster for my BQ goal this year.

Thanks to Brooks for taking me to Barca and kitting me out. It was so fun to feel fast in the new Hyperion Elite 4!!

#Barcelona #Marathon #Race #Recap

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