I still can’t believe that a) I went to Portugal for 10 days and b) I ran a half marathon there. I’m still totally in shock!
Half Marathon #17 was in a foreign country people!
Our flights over to Portugal got delayed so unfortunately our trip got off to a bit of a chaotic start. But the important thing was we made it there in time for the race. We were up early on race day to catch the shuttles to the start line. The start was on the Vasco de Gama bridge so all the participants had to be taken there by bus. The last bus left 1.5 hours before the race start, so even though it didn’t start until 10:30 am we had to leave by 7:30 am.
The shuttle pickup went really smoothly considering the amount of people there and after about a 25 minute ride we were on the bridge and ready to run. Too bad we had to wait another hour and a half to start. Oh well, at least we had some great views from the bridge.
When the race started we made our way down the bridge and headed into the city of Lisbon. The weather in Lisbon is usually perfect for running this time of year, but this year it was unseasonably hot. Pair the 90+ degree temps with a 10:30 am start, loads of people, no shade and you end up with a pretty uncomfortable Meghan.
As excited as I was about the trip and this race, it really wasn’t my favorite race. There were some logistical problems (standing around in the sun for close to 2 hours, lack of water), the course was definitely not “fast and flat” like advertised, and it was WAY too hot. About a third of the way through the race I was thinking about throwing in the towel. The main reason I didn’t, in all honesty, was because I didn’t have a clue how to get back to the apartment. Sad, but true.
After a very long, hot, and frustrating race I ran down the red carpet (I must admit that was pretty cool) and across the finish line into a beautiful square. I was so happy to be done and receive my medal.
We enjoyed some tasty frozen treats while sitting by the water while I tried to re-hydrate. The lack of shade was getting to me, but the waterfront location made a perfect backdrop for some post-race pictures.
This race was definitely a new adventure for me. This year hasn’t been the best as far as running goes and the cards were definitely stacked against me in this race. But I just keep telling myself that I just needed to finish. I just needed to get to the end of the race. I could collect my medal and move on with my awesome European adventure. The race may not have been great, but the vacation as a whole was AMAZING.
So am I glad I went to Portugal? Hell yes! Am I glad I ran my first race outside the US? Definitely. Will I do this race again? No, no and no.