WOW WOW WOW is all I can say for the last race of my 12 half marathons! I have been to Barcelona before but I don’t think it quite compares to this weekend. Also – this will be a long and photo filled blog. Just to warn you lovely readers.
The initial plan was for me, My Dad and Lynda to all finish this weekend together which was an amazing idea, but the weekend plans were changed a little bit… to the best ever plans!
So Thursday afternoon I get a text from Aunty Lynda reading – “Your Grandad is coming to meet you in Barcelona. He is going to share with Steve & I will share with you”.
Now this was a really special text, I have never met this Grandad (my dads Dad) – well none of the grandchildren have apart from Laura on holiday. I was so happy to finally have the chance to meet him, I knew nothing about him and I was so excited!
Friday comes, 5am start, (why break the tradition of 12 early mornings on the last race weekend?!) we drive to the airport and catch our flight – which was 25 minutes late but I won’t hold a grudge about that. We meet Lynda at Barcelona airport, we had a slight issue with finding the tube so we just jumped in a taxi to the hotel.
The hotel was amazing for a quick last-minute book, well done Dad! We were waiting for Grandad to turn up so we went for a wonder and found where we picked up our race numbers, got a call and went and met Grandad Derek. It was quite emotional (even for me 🤖) we had a quick introduction, a quick hug and went on with the day!
We went to the top of the Arena to get our numbers, it had a nice little view but it cost us a euro to get up there so at least it was worth it. We collected our numbers, saw the route map and obviously took some pictures and made our way down to continue on the site seeing in Barcelona.
Now it wouldn’t be a family trip if something silly didn’t happen, We desperately wanted to see the beach, so we walked to the tube station and tried to work out where to go. As I had been to Barcelona before I kind of knew roughly what station we needed, but Grandad thought he also knew, and as he lives in Spain we trusted him – I just kept quiet and went along with it. 30 minutes later (the beach was not that far from us when we got on) we get off the tube and walk outside…no sign of the beach. So we start walking towards the direction of the beach on google maps and I realise we do not seem to be moving very far so I look how far the beach was…1 hour 20 minute walk away. So we jumped in a cab and went back to where I originally thought we should have gone in the first place – we didn’t actually make it to the beach in the end.
We walked up Las Ramblas to grab some food as we hadn’t eaten all day and we were so hungry after all our travels. We found a cute little restaurant and ate in there, Dad tried his first dish of tapas and all was good – and we ate lots. Whilst sitting at dinner Lynda gets a text from my cousin’s wife Emma’s sister saying she was in Barcelona and wanted to come and say hi. She also mentioned she was running the half marathon which everyone was a tad confused about but we went with it. We pin dropped our location and waited for her to come and say hello. The next thing we know Lynda’s son Chris and his wife Emma (my cousin and his wife) turn up shouting ‘SURPRISE’ and said they had planned this big surprise and was spending the weekend with us. It was the best surprise ever and I’m so happy and grateful they came!
The Barcelona crew
Day 2 was just as amazing. We decided to do the open top bus tour (me and Lynda love those) as Grandad was desperate to see the Olympic Stadium but first we went to a Contemporary Art Museum which was quite strange to say the least. Me and Emma raced through the galleries as we didn’t really understand what was going on and went and sat in the sun outside. Lynda was lost inside the museum, Grandad was having a sit down and Chris & Dad went to a record store.
We walked to the bus stop to catch the bus once we had re-grouped but bumped into the strangest street festival I have ever seen in my life. There was huge doll-like costumes, loads of noise and lots of children. We were stuck there for a good 15 minutes as Dad disappeared into an Elvis shop.
We caught the bus, finally got to sit down and sat up the top like proper tourists even though it was cold, but the sun was out so it was all worth it.
We took the route that took us to the Olympic Stadium and had a look round there, it was really impressive actually. You could just imagine the atmosphere created when the games were on!
We went round the whole route and went back to the start. At this point it was 6:30, everyone was cold and wanted to chill out before the race in the morning. The boys went to watch the rugby, Emma went for a wander but me and Lynda were desperate to stay on the bus so we went back on and went on a different route, at the top, in the dark and in the cold and were the only ones at the top! Proper proper tourists! But we were happy, we saw everything and met them back at the pub after we went round to see more sights.
We split from Chris and Emma to get some food to carb up for the morning and it was such a good meal I could eat it all over again 🍝
Back to the hotel we went, got everything ready and prepared ourselves for my last monthly half marathon!
The morning came very quickly, and the nerves started to kick in. My dad had the most amazing t-shirt made for me which was such a lovely surprise and I wore it with absolute pride !
Now, we didn’t plan our morning very well. We left on time, however we had no breakfast and for those of you that run half marathons you’ll know how important the breakfast meal is otherwise you starve (well I do anyway). So I was secretly panicking on the way to the start line thinking we hadn’t eaten yet, this is going to be a disaster but we found a cafe to grab a quick bite to eat. Not the conventional runners breakfast but it did the job 🥐
The start line and the atmosphere was just amazing, 17,000 people gathered in one place to run 13 miles it’s just madness and makes you realise you’re not the only crazy person! But it’s so amazing and the energy is addictive.
I knew it was going to be a good one because obviously we were in Barcelona and it was the last race. But I don’t think I could have predicted how lovely the course was. We had beautiful sunshine round the whole route which was a little bit too hot for my liking but I dealt with it and we ran past all the major sites.
I actually ran a lot quicker than I normally do, and hardly walked which is a miracle for me but it slowly went downhill near the 9 mile mark. It’s an absolute killer and that’s where the runner in me just isn’t there, I can’t shut off the pain.
We ran along the seafront which was just beautiful and up towards the Arc De Triomph which was our finish line, it was just incredible and I loved every single second of it.
Photo stolen from Lynda Watt..sorry 🙊.
Crossing the finish line was quite surreal, knowing that I don’t have to train like crazy anymore (not that I was towards the end, but I took it very seriously at the start) and no more worrying about when the next race is! But I cannot express how grateful I am for the support I have had on every single one of my races!
After the race we met Grandad back at the hotel, showered and went for some coffee before saying goodbye to him. The goodbye was quite emotional, we got him in a taxi and all waved goodbye. I loved meeting him and spending the weekend with him, it’s amazing to see where the family get their strange side from…because it is 100% him!
The rest of the gang went for some lunch before me and Dad had to catch our flight home. I really wanted to have a specific picture taken on the beach with my 12 medals that came all the way to Barcelona with me so we had to rush off which Dad was moaning about. Lynda came and managed to get a lovely photo – because I took it, no disrespect Dad – mine however did not come out how I had planned it to so I took another one at the airport 😂.
I mean, this woman is just incredible. Can we just appreciate how amazing she looks!!!!!!
So, this is it. Race 12 is over and I can’t quite believe it. Its been an emotional rollercoaster but we made it! And most importantly Lynda is stronger than ever and has made these runs, sweat and near miss break downs so so worth it. I love you Lynda Watt you are my absolute hero!
Thank you everyone who has donated to this amazing cause, I’m so close to my target and I’m hoping that I will reach it!