Tag Archives: race

San Silvestre 2015

Fifteenth participation (1) in the popular San Silvestre Vallecana on New Year’s Eve.

The team this time was composed by some 8 friends (Nacho, me, Pablo, Maicol, Carlos, Sara, Jaime and Alicia):

This year, we finished the race with a sprint over the last 200 meters, after having been joking about it all along the race. Even with that last rush, we added some more seconds to our record: this year it took us 1h12’17” to complete the 10km.

The time in this race is the less important aspect of it. As always, it is a pleasure to share a run through the centre of our home town with friends to give a healthy, funny and colorful farewell to the year. Be sure that next year we’ll be there to laugh, jog and beat our time!

(1) I took part in it for the first time in 1998, when less than 5,000 raced in it, and have always participated (not always inscribed though) except for 3 years (twice I spent New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands and other time I was injured).

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Boulevards de Colomiers 2014

The race “Boulevards de Colomiers” (10km) is a classic of the return from summer holiday session in Toulouse area. This is the 3rd time I have run it. Last year I already wrote a post about it. I then broke the barrier of 45 minutes for the first time and made a personal best. I have since broken the “barrier” twice, setting new PBs.

This time I came to it with more or less the same preparation as last year, as I am following the same training plan, but I have not softened the training schedule to accommodate the race and thus I knew my legs would feel rather heavy.

Classic picture with Andrea before the race.

Classic picture with Andrea before the race.

I started ahead of the 45′ pacer but was caught by him around the 5th km. I then let him go away some metres, as I was not feeling my best due to the heat. In the last kilometre I catched him again and took some lead in the last 400m, being able to finish just below 45′ of net time, 44:49 as per my Garmin, about 20″ slower than last year despite the heavy legs (45:02 official gross time).

I quite happy with th result, being the 4th 10k race in a row under 45′.

Running the first km.

Running the first km.


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San Silvestre 2013

Yet another year running on New Year’s Eve the popular San Silvestre Vallecana.

This year we had some newcomers to the community: Maicol, Alicia, Almudena and Ubaldo with friends (1) and Nacho managed to run again.

Jaime was running his 15th San Silvestre in a row. Impressive!

This race is a tradition that can hardly be matched (2), that is one of the reasons why I try to spend every year New Year’s Eve in Madrid. Again, we had talked a bit about dressing some costume or preparing something for the race but we did not.

This year my second half of the race was less fun than other years. Just after the kilometre 3 I let myself lag behind our main group to join two of our runners to talk a bit. At the km 4.5, not seeing the rest of the group, I decided to go ahead again in pursuit of them. After some 2-3 kilometres running a bit faster (~5’05″/km) than we normally do in this race (~6’30″/km) I realized that I had overtaken them without seeing them. What do I do now? Wait for them? Run softly till the end? Finally, I tried to run moderately fast when the crowd permitted (very difficult in the last 2 km).

I crossed the finish line alone, something which I think had not happened to me in over 10 years… and hopefully the last time.

Final time: ~1h00’51” (best time I have managed in ages, departing at the back of the pack).

(1) Though compared to last year we missed Pablo, Juanma and Abraham.

(2) In 2013, during the honeymoon I run the Bay to Breakers in San Francisco, which in essence is very similar. Except that it is not on New Year’s Eve and there is much less of a crowd cheering the runners.

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Trailhounet (Gruissan)

Last weekend Luca and I went to Gruissan, a small village by the Mediterranean sea. I must say that in winter time it is not very lively (not by a night at least). One of the reasons for coming to Gruissan was to take part in the trail “Trailhounet” (18km), one of three races that would take during the weekend (the others covering distance of 25km and an ultra of 50km!).


Trailhounet circuit around Gruissan.

Trailhounet circuit around Gruissan.

I have often mentioned that running trails through the country side feels different from running on the asphalt of city streets. However, at some points the slopes in trails get too steep to run up, or too dangerous to go as fast as possible on the way down. This time, the circuit was covered to a great extent by small stones and rocks, this made it even more challenging and painful.

Profile of the race.

Profile of the race.

Let me share a couple of pictures from the start and the arrival:

Start line, using for the 1st time the new sweat band with the flag.

Start line, using for the 1st time the new sweat band with the flag.

Last sprint.

Last sprint.

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Fail moments in running events

Some of you may have seen the following picture:

Fernández pointing Mutai the finish line (source: Calleja, Diario de Navarra, via El País).

That is Spanish athlete Iván Fernández Anaya letting Abel Mutai win after the latter had stopped thinking the cross was already finished.

This kind of situations do not have always the same ending. See the video below:

After hours running, and coming to an end the poor guy in the lead takes a wrong turn off the route and is overtaken by 3 runners, not being able to retake the lead.

When I watched these situations I always thought “How can this be possible? Is the guy not seeing the road, is nobody telling him the coming mistake on time?”.

Now, I got the answer. Some times shit happens. I had today my epic-fail moment.

I was going to take part in the race Course des Rois, in Villemur-sur-Tarn, over 10km. I ran it last year so I was acquainted with the route, installations, etc. Thus I paid no much attention to the specific rules of the race.

I knew that the race started at 10:05 (*), so I warmed up beforehand. Then removed some clothes, drank some water and went to the start line. And started.

After some 300 metres I noticed that I was surrounded by many teenagers and middle-aged women instead of a big pack of middle-aged men, who are the average popular runner. Then I wondered: “am I running my race or the 5km one?”

At 500m I stopped and asked a volunteer from the organization: “is this the 5k or the 10k race?” to which he replied “I don’t know” (!!). Then I asked the next woman coming, and she confirmed that it was the 5k one!

You see! It can happen! There I was, running another race.

Luckily I noticed only 500m into it 🙂 Then I went back running moderately fast again, as I didn’t want the start of the 10km race to catch me in the middle of the two!

Fortunately in my case there were no cameras to make further fun of me! 😀 But see below the record of the GPS:

Fail: wrong start with the 5k race.

Fail: wrong start with the 5k race.


(*) My 10km race was indeed starting at 10:15am; if I had just read the rules of the race…


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San Silvestre 2012

One more New Year’s Eve running the popular San Silvestre Vallecana.

Year by year we’re creating a small community: Jaime, Pablo, KikeJon, Juanma and Abraham.

Compared to the last year, this time Gonzalo and Nacho could not run. Though the fact that the latter couldn’t, made it possible to have the great pictures he took of the rest of us in Calle Alcalá. Enjoy them:

Kike, Jon, Pablo, Abraham, Jaime and I (picture taken by olemiswebs).

Pablo, Juanma, I, Abraham, Kike, Jon and Jaime (picture taken by olemiswebs)

Jaime was running his 14th San Silvestre in a row. Impressive! I was doing my 12th (I missed three along these years: one due to injury and other 2 being in NL). Pablo must have done around 5, Kike 3, like Juanma (?), this was the second for Jon and Abraham, I believe. But they’ll complete many more.

Numbers… the time was ridiculous: 1h7′. As usual it was impossible to run, and this time we had to fully stop twice in Vallecas due to runners’ traffic plus the long pause to make the pictures. I cannot attach the route as at the beginning of Xmas time I forgot my Garmin watch in Toulouse (Kike, Jon, if you read this, please, could you attach the records in the comments?).

Commenting on the difficulty to run in that race nowadays: I remembered our first San Silvestres back in the ’90s. Already then it was difficult to run, especially in Vallecas. I tried to find the results from the first one I ran and I couldn’t, but I found those of the 2nd, in 1999, already with Jaime. We then finished in around 55′ to 56′ net time and positions around 3,500 out of less than 5,000 finishers… about one tenth of today’s figures.

Due to the strike of underground metro workers, this time we came back from Vallecas to Jaime’s flat, close to Retiro… adding up some nearly 4km after the race.


PD: In last year post, I wrote that Luca wanted to have spent the past Christmas in some sunny island… well, one more year Madrid and its San Silvestre got it :-D.


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Berlin marathon

Last September 30th I completed the Berlin marathon together with my friend Serna and brother Jaime. This was the second marathon we ran together (the previous one being Paris 2012). The sixth one I ran.

Jose, Jaime and I in the runners’ fair.

The morning of the marathon I published a post in which I explained how I arrived at it in terms of training: I suffered an injury about 1.5 months prior to the race which didn’t allow me to practically train during the last month. Previously I had been training well and accumulating many kilometres.

My bib number for the race:

My Berlin Marathon bib number: 14028.

You may see the route of the marathon and my performance as recorded by my Garmin GPS here:

My Berlin Marathon Garmin records.

I started with a bracelet with references for a 3h40′ marathon, 5 minutes lower than in Paris. My plan was to start at that pace (5’13” per km) and keep it until I could. I was expecting that I would not be able to run the whole of it and that I would have to walk in case the Achilles tendon was hurting again. If that happened the later it occurred the better. Thus the faster I could go at the beginning the better for having to walk less distance at the end.

I did the half marathon in slightly above 1h47′, better than in Paris and was still feeling OK. Though at km 23 I started feeling hard to make kilometres under 5’20” (lack of speed endurance work and series in the last month)… I started to think of managing the margin I had built.

Finishing the marathon (km. 42).

However, 5 kilometres later I started to feel the ankle getting harder and some cramps in the quadriceps of the right leg (lack of kilometres and long runs in the last month). I then decided to slow down, otherwise I would have to start walking soon (when you get these cramps, the following step is feeling the muscle like a rock and not being able to run… experience from marathons 1 and 3).

From then on I clocked 6′ per km, then 6’20”, 6’35”, 6’40″… but I was still quite happy as at every kilometre I was making the numbers in my head: “if I keep this pace, I can finish in 3h53′ “, then “3h55′ “… I finally clocked: 3h57’48”, but at all times I knew I could complete it and that I was going to be under 4 hours, thus I just kept on running and smiling.

See the analysis of Garmin records by kilometre below. You can see how the pace was at each stage as I explained it above.

My Berlin Marathon running pace per km (mm:ss).

Two more pictures to complete this post: my finisher diploma and the detailed street map of the route.

Berlin Marathon detailed street map.

Next stop: Maratona di Roma, 17th March 2013.


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Highland Games (Handicapping)

We all have heard the concept of handicap applied to golf. That is a way of levelling off the game by adjusting net score to each player skill.

Markinch Highland Games programme

During our last holidays in Scotland, we attended to the Markinch Highland Games. Apart from weight throw games, pipe demonstrations and traditional dancing contests, one thing especially caught our attention: the application of handicapping to athletics races.

Runners of different ages (or simply speed) were competing together starting at different points to compensate for their different skill. Let me show you an example. Take a look at the roster of participants in a 800 metres race below.

The number at the left of the names is the bib number, while the number at the right side of each name indicates the handicap. Even though this was a nominally 800 m race, no runner completed 800 m. The fittest runners started 35m ahead of the 800 m starting line, while the least fit started 190 m ahead. That is, some ran 765 m while others completed 610 m.

800 m Open Handicap roster

This clearly makes the race more attractive to spectators, what I am not so sure is the opinion of the fastest in case he or she cannot recover the 155 m lead of the slowest during the race…

Highland Games race

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