Saturday, January 1, 2011

Japi Niu Llia

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! (I scheduled this post to appear at 00:00 on the 1/1/11 - don't think I'd be sad enough to be posting to my blog at a time like this! In fact, all being well, I will have just popped into my mouth the last of the grapes which are customary to swallow in time to the chimes of the clock striking 12 in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid and will, as with every year, be still struggling to down a mouthful of bitter grape seeds.)

Can you find Rob?
Every New Year's Eve, all across Spain, people take part in a race called San Silvestre. In Madrid alone 30,000 people run the 10 kilometers from Real Madrid's Bernabeu stadium down to the sports stadium in Vallecas (hence the name San Silvestre Vallecana). The question as always is, what colour will it be this year? (Last year was pink...)

In previous years, athletes of the standing of Paula Radcliffe have competed (and won, of course). This year we have no less than Zersenay Tadese, the 2009 World Half Marathon Champion (he'll no doubt be crap at 10k haha). There are two races: the international edition for which you have to qualify (with a time of less than 38 minutes in 10k) and the popular edition in which the other 29,000 people run. There is still fierce competition to win the popular edition - the winning time is usually just over 30 minutes... But the spirit is more of a huge street party with people dressing up and as many people coming to cheer on the runners as actually running. This year I got a qualifying time for the international edition but, as it was not in one of the three or four officially homologated races, I was not eligible. Instead I've decided to run in the popular edition wearing a dressing gown, boxer shorts and slippers. (By the time you read this, I will already have run - watch this space for a photo...)

2010 has been a great year for me, particularly in my sporting endeavors. I "only" broke my elbow falling off my bike this year and - touch wood - have not suffered any other injuries. I managed to get personal best times in 10k, half Marathon and the Marathon (my coach set himself this goal last year which, for him, was something of a taller order). I even made it on to the podium in one race! (OK, it was only a race at work but there are 6,500 people working on my campus so it's not too shabby.) I did my first duathlon and my first triathlon (a half Ironman, no less) and I completed the Madrid half Ironman distance event (half Astromad) which is touted as being one of the hardest in the world. I also finally figured out how to control my nutrition, both during races and in training.

Any New Year's Resolutions? I don't tend to believe in them as my experience has shown me that, if you need an external impulse to do something, it typically doesn't get done. However I have decided to stay off the alcohol and hard drugs ;-) until I cross the finish line in Brazil at the end of May.

Happy New Year to all of you and see you in 2011!


  1. In fact there were 35,000 people running this year (crammed into the same space). There was a great atmosphere as with every year. It was definitely worth dressing up - I got a lot of encouragement from the crowds lining the streets, as well as from the other runners, most of the telling me that I had a pair of "huevos". Unfortunately, my carpet slippers were not the best running shoes - I had to do a little gallop every so often to jam my feet back into them and, after a few kilometers, I noticed some pretty annoying blisters brewing on the soles of my feet. By the last few kilometers I was having trouble running but it was worth it. I did the slowest 10k time I've done for years but that's not really the point of the race; its virtually impossible to get a PB when there are so many other people in the way. Its a great way to ring in the New Year... Here's to 2011, may it be as good as 2010...

  2. PS: It was blue this year
    PPS: An official photographer got me to pose with my original footwear just after crossing the line. Hopefully the photos will make it onto the offcial San Silvestre DVD although, as I pointed out to him, the slippers were a bit of an anti-Nike statement... I'll post the photos here when I get them.

  3. hi rob. it was great fun yesterday! u have a really nice blog. we are daniel and fernando, the guys u met at the end of the race, talking about the ironman stuff. u can contact with us via e.mail or
    it would be nice to change experiences and preparation. hope to keep contact!

  4. hola chicos
    me alegro que hayáis encontrado el blog. ya os mandaré un mensaje, así que estaremos en contacto.
    un abrazo