Popular running events

– March 2011 – March 2013 –

When I decided to create this website, one of the main purposes was to include my experiences and projects about sport. The goal of this first post is presentation and memory.

From very young, cycling was one of my top hobbies. Firstly, ridding a MTB; and from my fifteens, a road bike. If I have to be honest, the frequency of my cycling outs was quite irregular. During fall and winter, I hardly ever rode. On the opposite side, during summer, I took the bike almost every other day. For me, this seemed to be coherent: I had tons of free time and weather was great.

Looking at that period, I think this lack of regularity was the seed to find another outdoor activity to do along the whole year. Running was the selected one.

I started to run in a regular manner around September-October 2010. By regular manner I mean at least twice a week and almost always every week. Besides the above reason, I thought running could help me to recover the physical shape I lost during University years and also gain some relax after daily work.

Along the following months, I verified these two suppositions were true. I felt lighter and healthier, and whatever minimal job issue I had, it disappeared during running. Moreover, I discovered running could fulfill the competitive spirit I couldn’t experience during my youth and, above everything, I had fun training and sharing impressions with friends.

So, which could be the best popular race to debut?

First popular races

As every time you do something new, at least in my case, the proximity of the first race arose lots of feelings: excitement, enthusiasm, doubts… There I was in a cold and sunny morning of mid March 2011 in Xinzo de Limia. The race was a flat 10K, divided in two laps, some streets paved with stone and great atmosphere. The start, faster and tidier than I supposed. During the first 15-20 minutes, good sensations, chearing people… After that, people continued supporting, but I noticed I’ve been running above my possibilities. Consequently, second lap was slower, heavy legs and low pace. I entered in the finish line exhausted.

The overall time was the expected one. I had fun and would repeat the experience. However, I needed to learn how to regulate the effort along the whole race. Something I didn’t achieve during most of the following races, where passion and desire were stronger than mind.

Some weeks later, I ran the Vig-Bay, a half marathon with linear course, some slopes and breathtaking seaside views. Highly recommended. For this race, among many others, I didn’t participate to do my best. I ran to share the experience with friends. Thus, a comfortable pace allowed me to enjoy the race and appreciate aspects you don’t take into account in those races you try to reach your limits. Honestly, the reward when running with friends was at least the same, if no more, than when finishing in notable positions.

In June, and after a participation in a triathlon event, I ran two short and quick races of 6 and 8 km, respectively in Lugo and Vigo. The featured image for this post was taken during the latter one (San Juan’s day).

Next month, I took part in the Ponferrada Half Marathon. The race consisted in 2 laps and had a couple of particularities which attracted me: night course (start at 10 PM) and close to my hometown. The weeks before the race weren’t too much productive in terms of sport: lack of regular training, going to some summer parties,… Anyway, I was confident to set a good result and conclude the season. I’d do my best.

I started too fast, probably at a 10K pace. Wrong one. Runners for the half marathon and for the 1-lap race were mixed and I didn’t notice distinction in the numbers. No excuse. I went with the second leading group many kilometers but that wasn’t my race. Around km 14, I had more desire to quit than to finish. I can’t say I enjoyed last 7 km but I finished. Exhausted, dehydrated, empty and several other feelings I prefer not to remember. I got an average pace of 4 min/km, which was the target I had in mind. However, the way to achieve it wasn’t the right one.

Joining the Universidade Vigo Athletics

In September 2011, and after a summer with few running sessions, I joined the Universidade Vigo Athletics. I was looking for people to train and go popular races. This option was the best choice. On the one hand, I was working in the University, so the training logistics would be easy. On the other hand, since I’d studied there, somehow, I wanted to give back the effort the University had put during my education. Running would be my way to do it.

First trainings and races were so much fun! Between October and November I participated in 3 races: Vigo+11 (11 km), Pontevedra Half Marathon and San Martiño (10 km). I really had a good time running with friends and not paying much attention to the watch.

Next move was in early December. During the Cangas 10K I’d try to get a sub 36’ and go to the Lugo Monumental (also a 10K and 2 weeks later) with a preferential number. The race conditions were pretty ambiguous. Very flat course at sea level vs. five laps with its couple of 180-degree turns per lap; weather not extremely cold for that date vs. a probable downpour approaching. First 2 laps were under the expectations: running at a good pace and raining cats and dogs. During 3rd lap, pace started to decrease and heart rate to increase. I felt I wasn’t prepared to run a 10K under 36’ yet. I took the easiest way: quit at the end of this lap. This is something I regret having done.

Don’t know why I behaved that manner. I suppose it was because I focused on a target I wasn’t capable to achieve. However, that morning I lost the overall goal for what I’d been running the previous months: enjoy the races.

Anyway, I went to the Lugo Monumental 10K, had fun running over the Roman wall and finishing in a quite good position. Nevertheless, something wasn’t OK in my left leg. Last weeks, I’d been training with some stress in the thing. This sensation was confirmed during the climbs of the race.

As Christmas was approaching, I decided to see how issue was evolving. I did some easy runs without any pain. However, when I tried to push harder, the problem appeared. In  January I started physiotherapy during six weeks. After that, specific exercises in the gym and soft running during a couple of months, taking part in the Vig-Bay Half Marathon and Cuvi 10K. The season ended the first weekend of July in the Cambados 10K, where I recovered good sensations.

The injury showed me how important is to do a correct stretching and focus on particular muscles when notice some stress. Moreover, I learnt it’s preferred to stop training or decrease the intensity several weeks than not able to run during several months. This sounds very easy to say but, I think for beginners as it was my case, it’s difficult to realise until you face an injury.

Running the last races

2012/2013 running season started with short trainings of 6-8 km. Before going on vacation, I had signed up for the Porto Half Marathon. These first runs would check sensations and overall physical condition. It’s amazing how you loss shape after several weeks of inactivity. As I only had a couple of weeks before the race, I tried to run as much km as possible, even if the speed was low. At the end, I remember the preparation was around 120 km.

The day before the race, I went to Porto to pick up the number and take a walk-tour. The run course passed through beautiful roads on both banks of the river Duero. The profile was almost flat. I ran at a good pace during the first 14 km. After that point, I felt the lack of training and reduced the speed considerably. At the end of the race, I was glad to check I placed common sense before final result.

Next popular race was in late October. I had special excitement to run the Santiago Pedrestre 12K. Probably one of the top5 in Galicia, the last 2 km were running through the old town. Course was pretty hard, with steep ups and downs and some tricky turns. But the impressive quantity of people, both running and cheering, made the race easier.

Last months with the team were wonderful. I remember with affection that period. Even if the training was tough, primarily due to the cold and heavy rains during winter and the bad conditions of the training track, running again the Cangas 10K, Cuvi 10K and Vig-Bay Half Marathon was worth it.

It’s complicated to summarize 2 years of good experiences in photos or in a post. In an attempt to do that, I’d like to share with you the following picture:

Collage_running_2011_2013 Ivan Marote

Photo collage about my running activities during the period March 2011 – March 2013. Such a good time with friends!! Most of the photos are from www.correrengalicia.org

Since then, I’ve been running through dirt roads and easy trails once or twice a week, without any specific training or any race in mind; just for fun. I did also an excursion around Peñalara and took part in the 1st stage of the Ancares 3 trails. Let’s see how things evolve in the future.

Thanks everybody who made possible all these superb moments.

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