09 October 2013

Em Lisboa: A Run Down the Tagus

Perhaps going on vacation the two weeks prior to a half marathon is the not the best timing (or, I guess in this case, signing up for a half marathon the weekend after returning from a trip!),but that is the way things fell for me this time around. Doing any sort of training meant wrapping things  up and starting taper while out of the country,including my longest run while in Lisbon.

Luckily, this is a great place to get that done. The topography is similar to San Francisco's,including some long,flat stretches. I woke up on Saturday morning, tired (we walked about 11 miles on Friday, then drank a lot,then I watched the A's game until like 4am),dehydrated, and determined together this long run over.

I set off right around sunrise, headed from the Bairro Alto towards the water. As much as I had wanted to get some hill training in,the prior day's activities had rendered this a less-than-desireable option, so I headed west (I think) from the Praço do Comércio along the Tagus (Tejo) River toward Belém. 

This is an ideal route for visiting runners -- it is flat and very straightforward, with little chance to get lost. On the outbound, head towards the Ponte de 25 April. The footpath is well marked... The only drawback is there is some cobblestone that makes running a bit uneven... In many of the cases, inlaid with the cobblestone are some flat stone details, which everyone competes to use. This makes the running a bit more comfortable. One of the nicest things about this route is that you can go almost any distance...From the Praço to the tower of Belém is somewhere between 9-10 miles round trip,but I think you could even further. 

The most challenging part, for me, anyway, was a stretch after the bridge but before the Padrão dos Decobrimentos...the cobblestone was severe and there was only one little strip, right on the edge of the water, that was flat. We all -- and there were a lot of runners out there, we're jockeying for that strip. One false move and you were tumbling down a steep sea wall and into the water. So, be careful!

Bring a euro or two with you, as well, to get water on the route, as there were no water fountains  as far as I could tell. There is a little store/deli along the waterfront, as well as a gas station about a mile before the Tower where you can pick some up.

This run along the Tagus was of the more incredible I have had the luck to do -- had it not been for the huge blister on my toe and the fact that the temperature hit about 80 by the time I was done, I would have liked to go a little farther...but, wow...it was something else to see. It was also fun to feel a part of the vibrant running community of Lisbon (the shirt I was wearing had a silhouette of the Golden Gate Bridge, older sister to their Ponte, so I got plenty of double takes and big smiles). Walking back up the hill to Bairro Alto may have been a bit of a challenge, but one well worth it!

(I also got to run by this party?rave?weird gathering of late teens/very early 20-somethings, who were still partying/starting to head home at 8.30am)

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