in running

Dublin City Marathon 2010 Report

another year – another marathon! 2 down and one can only guess as to how many more marathons the knees have in them – hopefully plenty!
Someone recently described the marathon as being the closest an adult gets to reliving the anticipation and build up of Christmas morning. The combination of nerves, excitement and severe lack of ability to sleep the night before really do bring you back to a child like experience.

Thankfully, this years Dublin Marathon report was just as successful as last years and that person was wrong – it’s far better than Christmas morning.

Seeing as it’s a little over a week since the marathon finished, all aches and pains have subsided and one can now almost contemplate thinking about next year.

While I’ve only run 2 marathons, something tells me that there are many aspects of running a Dublin marathon that will never change no many how many of them you run:

  • the wonderful excitement and sense of camaraderie of standing amongst 13,000+ other nutjobs who have all surfaced before 06:45 on a Bank Holiday Monday morning all knowing that this is the climax of months and months of sacrifice, hard training and commitment
  • the first 13 miles will always make you wonder why you trained so much in the first place – sure isn’t this a doddle
  • miles 18-20 will quickly remind you why
  • miles 20-22 will make you dig deep to ask questions of yourself
  • miles 22-24 will make you question your own sanity
  • miles 24-26 are those bitter sweet miles when you’re so close but so so far
  • the final .2 really does matter

Monday 25th October was another glorious autumn day – just like last year. The weather Gods are clearly fond of this marathon – any why wouldn’t they be. Dublin of autumn day when the streets are closed to traffic and filled with it’s most generous and supportive citizens is a beautiful sight to behold. A heard a number of international marathoners chatting afterwards who seemed to be taken aback as to just how good the experience was.

So to the race itself. Having ran sub 4 last year I was determined at a minimum I was going to repeat that. My training this year hadn’t gone quite to plan and early year ambitions of running a seriously fast pace had long disappeared. I had however managed to keep running reasonably consistently over the year and had trained well the last few months with only a few minor niggles so 03:45 was the target.

Once again I decided to stick close to the pacers for the race. Folks if you’re considering running Dublin next year and you’ve never run a marathon before I have only one piece of advice – stick with the pacers – they will get you home.

The gun went at 9 on the button. The route was largely unchanged. I really great part of this years experience was being able to take in more about the race, the crowd and the sights second time around. Less worried about staying upright and more about enjoying the whole experience!

I lovely run around North Dublin peaks with the passage through the Phoenix Park which was truly magical. I’ve ran many races in the park but today it just seems to shine in the chilly, crisp autumn air. The steam rising into the crisp air from the long and winding marathon pack was a sight to behold – although it doesn’t read that way writing about it now!

Cheerleaders were out in force again at their usual spots and had brought a few more souls willing to give up their warm beds on a bank holiday. Thanks a million to you all.

Despite a couple of mini scares with tight muscles in knees and thighs at various points around the course the body behaved itself impeccably thankfully. I never let the pacers beyond my sight but stayed well back so I could run my own race.

It’s also funny how bits of the race you remember taking ages flew by this year and other bits which you had almost glossed completely over in your mind feeling like 5 mile extensions to the route.

Despite the leg muscles getting very tight and weary after 21 miles, I maintained pace with the pacers and cardio wise there were no problems – in fact breathing pace was very comfortable. I think for my next marathon I’m really going to have to up my training mileage to get the most out of the legs in the final 6 miles to improve overall times.

Once we hit Grand Canal Bridge it was time to up the pace and see if a few seconds could be knocked off the 03:45. The pacers must have also been thinking the same thing because they were also hammering home! Eventually I caught them just outside Trinity. I thanked the lads for effectively acting as my guides for the last 03:40 mins and they told me to pass them – I didn’t need to be asked twice – foot down again!

I would also wager that the final few hundred yards of a marathon should be the stuff of deep medical research to ascertain just exactly how so many physically and emotionally broken people can sweep all that to one side and be reincarnated as Usain Bolt look a likes for the final stretch. Honestly, bottle that stuff and you’ve got a winner.

So in the end I slipped in under the 03:45 to finish in 03:43:12 which I was delighted about. A few days of acute leg pain and a bit of a post marathon cold which is now fading away are a small price to pay for the immense sense of completion when you finally cross that line and can finally tell your legs to stop running.

Time to rest a bit….. and then to plan the next one……