I stood on the platform of Joanic metro station in Barcelona — cool as ever — well in time for reaching my morning appointment. It was an ideal moment for reflecting on the important questions in life — such as — where is my life headed?
After staring at the metro map for a few moments I realized that I had little clue about how to answer the question. I knew I was headed for the Velòdrom d’Horta. I did however not know where it was exactly nor how to get there by public transport.
My cool disappeared. I left the metro station and ran home. I consulted a map. I was back on track. I knew where I was headed and realized that I would not be able to get there in time using public transport. It was one of those plan B moments.
I jumped on my bike and started pedaling up the hill — up to the Velòdrom d’Horta. Applying some creative interpretation of traffic signals and stepping hard on the pedals, I managed to reach the Velòdom just in time to catch my breath before the start of the Mitja Marató Parc de Collserola — the Collserola half marathon.
The race started and I jogged along at a comfortable pace up the slopes of the Collserola mountain range. I started again to reflect on the important questions in life — such as — where was my life headed?
I had just about formed the question in my mind when the answer came to me. I was going nowhere. I had reached a point where the race left the wide gravel road and continued on a narrow forest path. The path was congested and the runners were queuing.
For the next few kilometers the race moved slowly along the narrow path. There was a mixed traffic of people running the half marathon and people walking the full marathon. The pace alternated between walking and slow jogging.
I cannot say that the slow pace caused me any great trouble. In fact, I was quite happy to take it slowly and being able to blame it on something other than my suboptimal physical form. What more can one ask for?
The race progressed and the congestion disappeared. I was forced to do some running — at least on the downhill parts and the moderately steep uphill segments. Although I had no external parties to blame I took it easy on the steepest uphill parts and allowed myself to walk.
The race continued over the Collserola mountain range, down to the Vallès and back over the hills. I felt good during the entire race and was even fairly cool during the last few kilometers.
When I crossed the finish line it did even occur to me that I would not mind doing a few kilometers more. This is certainly something that has never crossed my mind before at the end of a 21k race. Maybe if was the fresh Collserola air. Maybe it was the result of the long distance hikes I have done this summer.
I finished the race in 2 hours and 36 minutes. By far my personal worst when it comes to running 21k races. However, since this was my first half marathon in mountainous area — if the Collserola mountain range is not a bit short of a proper mountain — I will mark this time as a personal best in 21k mountain races.
During the morning I never really got to reflecting on the important questions in life — such as — where my life is headed. Then again, I don’t think they are so important after all. Que sera sera — whatever will be will be. At least I can say is that my life passed through some interesting paths this morning.