Ever since I ran the San Martiño 10K in November, I made it a personal goal to participate in at least one race per month in a different city. In December, my friend, N, and I went to Madrid for the 5K Carrera de Papá Noel and in January, I decided to check out a new Galician city, Lugo, and participate in its 10K race.
Unfortunately, during the week leading up to the race I caught a pretty nasty cold and had to miss a few days of work. I was weak and exhausted and just walking to and from the bus stop to go to work took away all of my energy. I went to see a doctor and she recommended that I stay inside and not participate in the race. Running could be dangerous for me and could cause me to pass out.
The doctor’s advice worried me a little, but I was also eager to see Lugo and participate in the 10K I had been training for for more than a month. I knew that I was capable of running at least part of the race, so I decided to make the trip to Lugo with my roommate.
We arrived on a Saturday morning around 1pm and dropped our things off with the girl we were couchsurfing with, another Pennsylvanian living the dream in Galicia. We explored the city for about an hour and then met up with our host for lunch at a traditional Galician restaurant. For about 9 EUR per person, we enjoyed heaps of meat, salad, fries and beer. From that moment, we knew we were going to enjoy Lugo, considered the most economical city in Spain.
After our delicious savory lunch, we decided to look for something sweet to end the meal. Our host, E, led us into a new bakery nearby that claimed to have the best cupcakes in Lugo. Anyone who knows me or follows me on Instagram knows that I have a problem with cupcakes and I just can’t say no. Fortunately, this bakery’s cupcakes were excellent. If I ever go back to Lugo, I know where I’ll go for breakfast!
Both L and E were tired after lunch and decided to go back home and have a nap. After a week of being cooped up in my apartment with a nasty cold, I surprisingly had loads of energy and decided to take a walk around the city. I started on Lugo’s Roman Wall and walked a lap around the city. Before going to Lugo, I didn’t know that it was the only city in the world completely surrounded by a Roman wall. Many people take walks or go for runs around the wall every morning. It’s a great place to take in the scenery of the city. Little did I know, I was walking in the exact spot where I’d be running the race the next morning.
Although the rain and cloudiness made Lugo a little gloomy, I still had a nice time being outside and walking around the city. When it started to rain heavier, I went inside Lugo’s Romanesque Cathedral to seek refuge.
Once the rain let up a bit, I continued my self-guided tour around the city and made my way towards my host’s house. Our plan was to meet up, get ready and check out Lugo’s bar scene. Since I had my race the next day, we decided not to stay out too late. Unfortunately in Spain, this is never an option. Especially in a city like Lugo, where drinks are cheap and every one comes with both a tapa and a pintxo.
Pintxos are small finger foods that often come with drinks. They can be anything from a piece of ham on bread to hefty chunk of Spanish egg and potato omelette. Tapas are bigger than pintxos, and they are usually an amount of food that is suitable for sharing. These tend to be more creative dishes, but can also be as simple as patatas bravas, or spicy potatoes.
We spent our night drinking beer and sampling a wide variety of pintxos and tapas. Some were traditional Spanish dishes, like paella-style rice with vegetables. Other ones we had were home-style favorites, like pasta with creamy mushroom sauce. And we even found some more exotic tapas when we went to Lugo’s only Mexican restaurant, where we enjoyed tacos made of homemade corn tortillas.
Saturday night was a lot of fun and I enjoyed spending time with my roommate, our host and her friends from Lugo. They were a fun group of people that I hope to see again. However, I knew I needed to be responsible so I decided to go home early at 2AM. After all, I was supposed to run a 10K race the next morning.
I woke up the next morning, exhausted, but determined to at least attempt to run the race. After a quick, last minute breakfast of tea and muffins at a nearby bar, I went off to the starting line and did some stretching.
There weren’t a lot of people, only a few hundred, but most of them seemed to know each other. I stood there, awkwardly, until a man started conversation with me. He was from Lugo, but lived in A Coruña and just came to town for the race. So apparently I wasn’t the only one who came to town for the race.
Despite being very tired before the race started, once they fired the gun I felt my legs take off. All of the energy from the people around me was contagious and was what pushed me through the entire 10K race. Also, running on top of a Roman wall is kind of motivating, too, in its own way. How many times can I say I’ve done that?
I had a few moments when I considered walking or just leaving the race, but I pushed myself until the end. When the finish line was in sight, I entered into a full sprint and felt relieved to finally be at the end. Although it wasn’t my best time at all-I finished the race in 63 minutes-I felt even more accomplished than after I finished my previous race, which I ended in 59 minutes. Despite my doctor’s warnings, I was strong enough to run 10 kilometers and I enjoyed every minute of that race.