The heat of Lisbon

Back in February when looking for a race to do in October we looked at maybe a trip back to Amsterdam for the half was the best option. We then came across Lisbon Rock n Roll and we quickly changed our minds and now this was the one to do. We hadn’t been to Lisbon before and it was €20 to do. Sure you couldn’t go wrong. Flights were booked and then it was time to forget about it for a long time. Of course with the 1st half of the year being a write off for me this was quickly turning into my A race of the year. Having broke the 40 minutes for 10km a couple of weeks beforehand I was finally back in good shape and feeling confident. We had a look at the weather the week before and then realised that this may not be an easy day. But it was still going to be fun in the sun.

We were up early on the Friday to fly to Lisbon from Dublin. Perfect flight and soon made our way to the apartment. It was very fancy and in a great location close to the metro station and easy access to the expo and race from there. After we took a stroll around Lisbon we went for a short jog to loosen the legs. It was a slow steady paced jog but unfortunately for me with about 4km in I seized up. I got a striking pain from my glute into my back. It was a slow slow jog back to the start. I stretched it out and hopefully was only pains from sitting most of the day. We went and got food and settled in for an early night.

Friday night run

Friday night run

Saturday was about the expo. We headed up there and were met with a huge queue. We decided to head to the pub and watch the Liverpool v Man United and get some food. Standing in the queue might have been more entertaining. We were reading comments on facebook of people waiting 3 hours to get into the expo so we were in no rush to join the madness. After a stroll around the shopping center we eventually decided to join it. It was 57 mins from when we started queuing to picking up the race number. A quick stroll through the expo and off we went. Just like everyone else there we were surprised to find that we had no safety pins for our numbers. We joined many others in the search for them in the shopping center. Luckily we found some and then headed back to the apartment. Food and some time in the pub was called for that night. I think I may have eat 2 full chickens, I got a bit excited when ordering but it was good food.

Expo Queue

Expo Queue

Calorie Loading the night before

Calorie Loading the night before

Race Day

Alarm was set for 7am. And we needed that alarm as Joe and myself slept well. Kev had already left for the full marathon and I didn’t even hear him leave. We jumped on the metro and we followed everyone else to the change over and then on to our final stop. We were met with huge crowds when we got there as everyone was waiting to get on the buses to the bridge. We stepped outside and soon realised that there were no queues outside and we jumped on a bus straight away. What felt like a marathon in itself we finally got off the bus and made our way through the crowds to get as close as we could to the front. We didn’t succeed here and there were 1000s in front of us when the race started. It took 7 minutes to get across the start line. But now it was time to put the head down and go for it.

Calm before the start

Calm before the start

Not looking too happy here

Not looking too happy here

A long way to the start line

A long way to the start line

The Race

Putting the head down and going for it was impossible. As the crowds was crazy and with no waves it meant you and so many people in front of you who were at walking pace. I was in and out and around, stop start, slow down speed up, all to try and get out of the crowds. I knew this was a bad idea and normally I’d take the hit at the start but I’d have been there forever if I waited for it to open up. It was just before 5km before we started to come off the bridge and it was a nice downhill curve off it. It wasn’t possible to take the shortest possible route due to the crowds so I had to take the turn wide. Not long after this was the 1st water stop and the only band I remember seeing. Unfortunately this is where the course excitement ended and it was just a large industrial area for as long as I could remember. Maybe it was the mix of that and the intense heat but the wheels started to come off and very rapidly as well. After moving along steadily for 8km my pace slowed but was still under 5 min km up to the 11th km. But then on the 12km I had to give in. I slowed to a walk before stopping completely. I was trying to decide would I walk off or continue. Eventually I convinced myself to use it as a training run and jog it out.

The long drag to Marquess of Pombal Statue

The long drag to Marquess of Pombal Statue

It continued to be slow miles until we got back into the center. I stopped to get a layer of sunscreen put on to me and I knew one of the hardest parts of the course was to come. This was the long drag to the Marquess of Pombal Statue. I stopped at the water stop and a couple of times on the way up. I had nothing and the long drag took it out of me. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other knowing at the turnaround I’d be on the home stretch. Not long after the turnaround I saw Joe on the other side. I gave him a shout and then I realised that was a bad idea. It wasn’t long before he joined me, I gave him the motivation he needed. He ran a more consistent race than me but having him there gave me that extra bit of energy. Our pace increased on the downhill and we were pushing each other the whole way. Neither of us wanted to to give an inch. We were passing plenty along the way. Which made change from the previous 8 km. We were getting close to the end and just before the line I had one final push in me and finished in 1:48:03 and Joe just behind me.

At least I got the medal

At least I got the medal

It was definitely the hardest race I had done and was grateful for the ice pop after to cool down. It hit 33 degrees out there and I didn’t race to the conditions. After hanging around the finish line for a while it was back to the apartment to shower and cheer on Kev to the finish of the full. Fair play to him. I jogged some of the last km with him. Total respect to him for finishing it.

Jogging with Kev

Jogging with Kev

We were hungry

We were hungry

After the race we took a trip to Castelo de Sao Jorge. Great views of the city and helped distract from the disappointment of the race. The walk up to it definitely worked the legs even more.

Castelo de Sao Jorge

Castelo de Sao Jorge

Views of Lisbon

Views of Lisbon

The Good

  • Lisbon is a really nice location and I’d like to go back
  • The race was cheap to enter
  • Getting around Lisbon and to the Expo and to the start buses was easy
  • Good atmosphere in the center of the town

The Bad

  • The Expo. Both the mess up with the queue and the lack of anything happening there
  • No safety pins
  • The long trek to the start line on the bus
  • The time it kicked off. Due to heat the heat it should have started a lot earlier
  • No waves – why ask for predicted time if nothing is going to be done with it
  • The middle portion of the race was boring and through industrial part of town
  • For Rock ‘N’ Roll I don’t really remember any bads
  • Water station to spread out in the heat

Verdict

Would I do it again, no. But there are supposed to be other races in Lisbon that are better run. I would definitely go back to Lisbon but for a global brand to get so many things wrong really surprised me. I know for sure many people will not be back supporting this race

1km Splits

1km Splits

Course

Course

Posted in Sport.

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