Sun, Apr 28, 2013 - 42K - 04:21:12
Madrid Marathon 04:21:12
"Ánimo, ánimo, ánimo! Vamos, vamos! Venga, venga, venga!" These words are still ringing in my ears from today's run, one of the funnest marathons I've ever done. The runners and fans created an atmosphere that was as party-like as it was sports-like, one Spanish man even breaking into an operatic aria at 3K while running, followed by a round of applause by the nearby runners. I ran together with my new friend Roger, who I had met on the plane ride down to Madrid, until he had to take off on the 10K route and I continued on with the marathon. Then it was a tour through a residential area in northern Madrid, followed by a fun run back through the city. Right at 19K running past the impressive Palacio Real, my left knee started to hurt a bit but by 26K it had receded into the "general landscape of pain" and was hardly noticed again. My pace was quite constant today, even without a watch, I kept my pace within 4 seconds per 5K for the first 25K and within 29 seconds for the whole race. At 35K, we started into an incline which climbed 100 meters up to the finish line, which I handled the best I could and then finished strong. In all, an awesome experience, and my fifth fastest marathon: 
#01 2001-09-30 Berlin 05:01:50 
#02 2002-09-29 Berlin 04:57:15 
#03 2004-09-26 Berlin 04:04:02 <<< best 
#04 2005-09-25 Berlin 04:33:11 
#05 2006-09-24 Berlin 04:15:56 
#06 2006-10-08 Munich 04:27:00 
#07 2007-05-19 Luxembourg 04:40:10 
#08 2007-09-30 Berlin 04:14:28 
#09 2008-05-04 Hannover 04:45:32 
#10 2008-09-28 Berlin 04:15:45 
#11 2009-04-26 Hamburg 04:45:37 
#12 2009-09-20 Berlin 05:05:23 
#13 2010-05-16 Regensburg 04:22:55 
#14 2010-09-26 Berlin 05:01:04 
#15 2011-04-17 Vienna 04:36:52 
#16 2011-09-25 Berlin 04:31:35 
#17 2012-04-15 Paris 04:46:58 
#18 2012-09-30 Berlin 04:13:46 
#19 2012-04-28 Madrid 04:21:12 <<< today's run, 5th fastest 
Got out at 7:30 into very chilly air (3°C) and walked down Gran Via to the start: 
When I arrived to the marathon start early and handed my personal belongings bag to the woman at the truck that keeps it for you during the race, instead of writing my bib number on the bag (or their being a sticker for it already like at other marathons), she peeled a sticker that had a different number on it from a sheet of paper and then peeled another sticker off with the same number and put it on my bag. Seeing this introduction of second unique ID, red flags went off in my developer brain. And sure enough, as more people started to arrive and the lines got longer, a severe inefficiency developed: the simple process of handing in your bag grounded to a halt with hundreds of runners anxious to get to the starting line, the bottle neck being the speed at which poor volunteers like this woman could peel off stickers with their cold fingers, motto: planning is important 
Here's my new friend Roger, an American who I had met on the plane on the way down to Madrid and was so inspired at the idea of running around Madrid with 1000s of people that he managed to sign up for the 10K and we ran together for 6K before he had to take the 10K route to the finish line and I went on to run the marathon, very cool: 
Warming up for the run: 
Start of marathon number #19, always an exciting moment to start the 4-5 hour journey: 
It was very crowded and hard to run together, here's Roger informing me of his cut to the right: 
All bands were Spanish Rock-n-Roll bands: 
Caught up with the 4:30 balloons at 26K: 
At 32K, after a 6K excursion out into the Casa de Campo countryside, we reentered Madrid. This was the last picture I took as my battery was getting very low and I had to prepare myself for the 100 meter climb from 35K to the finish line: 
Here are my splits, Pete would be proud: without even having a watch, I kept my pace constant within 4 seconds for the first 25K and within 29 seconds for the whole race (a 5:40 kilometer is a 9:10 mile):