I should have known the Lisbon marathon was not going to be easy when we had to queue for 45 minutes to get into the Expo to collect my number!
My husband had been telling me the temperatures in Lisbon for the last couple of weeks so when he said, the week before we went it was about 20 – 21 I thought fine, no problem, but the week leading up to the marathon – Sunday 15th they started to rise to the point I told him not to tell me anymore.
Since this was a coastal run, I took some solace in the fact that there will probably be a coastal breeze, since I do not do heat, I am Scottish it takes me a week in the sun just to turn white!
As usual, middle of the night start, up at 05.00hrs out at 06.00hrs to get a taxi to the station to catch a train to the start in Cascais, at least the train was free, empty is was not. As we stopped at each station more and more runners squeezed in, thank goodness it was runners, generally skinny, and not a sumo competition we would never have made it.
When we arrived in Cascais it was still dark, but hot even then, so I knew this was not going to be easy for me, but I was still relying on my ocean breeze.
With only 7 toilets for about 7000 runners you can imagine the queues; at least the baggage was efficient.
Daylight arrived just as we were setting off at 08.00hrs to run a loop around Cascais then past the starting point to then follow the coast road to Lisbon, so I knew when we passed the start we would have done 8+ miles, this was the most uphill section of the race.
Having run the Rock N Roll Dublin half in August I was hoping to hear some good bands on my way round the course, although not as many as in Dublin, some were pretty good, some were passable and some were abysmal, so much so you had to speed up to get away from the noise!
I did not have a drink at the first water station as I thought it was too early, but started to get really hot after this bold decision, so decided I would take a bottle of water at the next and carry it with me, the sun came up and so did the temperature. I was still in control at this point, we had passed the start and were now heading out of Cascais towards Lisbon.
Usually I take it steady in the first half of the race and see what I have left in the tank for the second half, hoping to finish strong, by the time I got to mile 16, hoping to finish was my main aim!
I was taking a bottle of water at every water station and picking up a fresh one at the next, since by the time I had run with it for a few miles I could have made a cup of tea with it, by now the temperature was 29 – 30 and I was melting, so much for my sea breeze, I think any breeze there, was making it hotter.
It was utter carnage by this time, people were walking or sitting on the pavement, I really just wanted to finish and could not have cared less about the time. I am sure the statue of Christ the Redeemer was even laughing at the state of us, anyway the end was in sight and I did not die, as I thought earlier on in the race.
My watch was about ½ mile out and we were in the final 2k so I knew we were nearly finished (well I had been finished by about mile 18) the final 1k was downright cruel, we ran onto cobbled streets, my feet were not best pleased, and as I turned a corner there was a ballooned arch, ah the finish I thought, no chance, there was no timing mat and the spectators were saying go on, okay I thought, just another corner to go, round the next corner there were four balloon arches, ha I thought it must be one of them, we are still running on cobbles, but no again, another corner to turn, finally I saw the finish and FINISHED, in a chip time of 4.15.47 placing me 12th in my age group, 292 amongst the women, but none of that mattered.
In conclusion, the views were spectacular, but the heat was a killer, this truly was a War of Attrition!