Rock N Roll Lisbon Half Marathon

Rock N Roll Lisbon Half Marathon recap 
rock n roll lisbon half marathon medal

I had heard so many good things about the Rock N Roll running events so when we were deciding whether to run Amsterdam or Lisbon on October 18th I was pretty excited when HB chose Lisbon. I let him decide because he is the one running the full marathon and well – I’m just doing the half,  ha!
 
There was a severe thunderstorm with some flash flooding the day before with more wet weather predicted for the next day. I started having second thoughts when I heard the heavy rain falling early on Sunday morning. I dreamed of sitting in a warm cafe close to the finish line sipping on hot coffee and silently cheering HB on. 
 
Who am I kidding? I’m a runner and we run rain hail or shine. 
 
Lisbon trams
 
HB started at 8.30am and my race was 10.30 am. Each race starts in a different location and the half began on the Vasco de Gama bridge which meant we had to travel separately. 
 
I was a pro at the Lisbon metro system now and I had planned to leave at 8.30am. I had just finished my breakfast when I heard the neighbours leave and I looked out of our upstairs terrace window and saw he was also on his way to the HM. I wondered why he was leaving so early at 7.45am 
 
I got dressed and decided to leave half an hour early as it wasn’t raining. I step outside and boom torrential rain. I donned a garbage bag as a makeshift poncho and ran down the slippery wet cobblestone streets to the underground metro station. 
 
I’m so glad I left earlier.
 
It was a 40-minute train ride and then a 20-minute line up for a compulsory shuttle bus ride that would take me to the start line. No one spoke a word of English, but it was clear that everyone was excited and ready to run. 
 
vasco de gama bridge
 
Next I had a 20-minute walk along the bridge to the start line. The 4km runners were also on the bridge and for about 12,000 runners there was probably 20 portaloos. Men had it lucky with stand up urinals everywhere. I stood in line to do a wee for 40 mins and missed the start of the half marathon. I didn’t care, the wee was more important. The state of that portaloo will be forever etched in my memory. 
 
I exited the portaloo and took deep breaths to get rid of the stench. I  started my Garmin and took off with the 4km walkers. It took some time to get past them which was frustrating, but the views for the first 2 kms as I ran down the Vasco de Gama bridge were stunning. 
 
Vasco de Gama Bridge

Vasco de Gama Bridge

 
That’s where the idyllic views stopped. The rest of the run was up and down highways and through the industrial parts of town. Occasionally, you got a sneaky glimpse of the picturesque coast, but it wasn’t anything like the course description had stated online which is a shame because Lisbon is incredibly beautiful. 
 
And the hills, so many hills from the 3km point right until the very end. I didn’t stop once though and I even took sips of water on the go which almost resulted in dry drowning and lung aspiration. 
 
At the 8km point I had almost had enough. I was getting hot and the run was quite boring and there was no-one to chat to along the way. I saw HB running strong on the opposite side of the highway and shouted out to him. It took a few attempts to get his attention but his huge grin when he saw me fired up my spirits immensely. He was at the 37km point of his marathon by this stage and he too looked like he was just about done. 
 
I wished I could cross the highway and join him on his run to the finish line.
 
I started to run past some people as I wanted to get this run over and done with and at 9kms there was another long climb to get over. At 10kms, I looked at my Garmin and saw 56 mins and I knew a PB was out of the question. At this point at the Gold Coast Half Marathon I was 53 mins something. 
 
This half marathon was nothing like the Gold Coast, it was hard, hilly and hot. 
 
We turned around and headed back at 12 kms for the final 9km run into the city. Runners were dropping to the sidelines like flies. It was getting quite warm and it was just before lunchtime so most likely the warmest part of the day in Lisbon. 
 
I was grabbing water bottles on the go and pouring them down the back of my head. Whilst the temperature was probably about 18C it was humid and it was hard to maintain a solid race pace. I’ve never had to pour water on my head during a race before, not even in Darwin. 
 
17kms came and went and the lady next to me dropped to the floor screaming out ‘MEDIC’, her friends were with her to help her out and I think she just needed rehydrating so I kept plodding along up the next hill. 
 
lisbon half marathon
 
19kms and there was another bridge to climb as you entered the city and the home stretch was almost in sight. The cobblestones were back and they HURT like HELL. 
 
Finally, I turned into the finisher’s chute with the last km to go and I sprinted all the way to the finish line. I grabbed my bling and a bottle of water and I could not wait to get out of there and find my husband. rock n roll lisbon half marathon recap
 
 
I finished in 1:58:05 and it was a long way off my Gold Coast PB of 1:55:40 and I was left feeling slightly disappointed, but I knew I could not have pushed myself any harder. I was happy that it was my third sub 2 hour half marathon for the year though. 
 
The first thing I said to HB after I found him was ‘Do we really have to do this again next weekend?’. We cooled down and caught the metro back to our apartment.
 
lisbon half marathon race review
 
There was no runner’s high for either of us. We came home had a shower and went out to celebrate with tapas and sangria. 
 
Sintra Palace Lisbon

The next day the DOMS hit me hard and I knew I had run a hard race. We also had booked an all day walking/driving tour to explore Sintra so it was the perfect opportunity to walk off the lactic acid. The DOMS had all but disappeared by the time we hit up Barcelona a couple of days later. 

Would I run this race again?

No, the rock n roll part of the race consisted of several amateur bands along the course and definitely no finish line concert as promoted. The half marathon start time should be earlier than 10.30am when there is cooler conditions. 

But the bling is pretty ACE! 

 
 

 

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