Apologies for the delay, I’ve been meaning to sit down and write this up for ages. The only upside of this for you is that I’m struggling to recall most of this so you’ve a shorter report to read than my usual race ramblings.
This was my first attempt at racing the marathon distance. I’d heard good things about this race and had the company (albeit a few thousand folk ahead) of my good friend Michael Geoghegan of Portobello Running Club.
Training had gone well and I had lots of time to mentally and physically prepare for this race pushing myseld further with each run every week. Nearer the time I was a little ‘maranoid’ about catching a cold or slipping on wet leaves, but fortunately I was injury free and ready to run. It’s an odd thing marathon training and I wouldn’t normally write so much about the pre-race preparation but it really is all consuming but in the end I found it quite a good way to discipline and manage my work / training time.
Anyway to Dublin…
Milling around at the start juggling nerves, an anxious bladder and excitement I was accosted by Bob Sheridan of Cosmic Hillbashers who was delighted to meet a Westie. He told me this was his first marathon too so that helped me to stay calm. I’ll admit when the gun went off I got a bit caught up in the enthusiasm of other runners and the crowd and I shot off. Partly the streets were jam-packed and winding so I was keen to create some space and not trip over any dozy iPod wearers but excuses aside… I did run much quicker than I had planned to, which I think was down to said bladder so at mile 4 I stepped off for a quick wee… Or so I thought… You can never stop when you want to…
Back on course we worked our way past the Zoo (the chimps were howling with excitement at us) and through Phoenix Park. And from then on the ‘undulating’ course was indeed as the organisers had advertised it. From here on it was all plain sailing, I did tire but I was enjoying myself and the crowd were ecstatic and cheering the runners on throughout. Around mile 20 I knew there was a ‘heartbreak hill’ at Roebuck Road so I had it in my mind to be ready for that. Luckily one Irish runner who was behind me shouted encouragement for “the Westies, this is your kind of hill!”, which really helped push me up it. Where he had the energy to shout I don’t know?
Six miles to go and I did slow, which was probably for the best, it was unfortunate to see runners fall by the wayside but I was determined to finish. As the suburbs began to merge into the city I knew there wasn’t long to go but my brain and legs just weren’t co-operating at all. Steadily I kept going, when at mile 25, Catherine Stewart, of Kilbarchan and a former GUHH comrade, whizzed past me. I think she had taken a steady approach to the race, unlike my fast spurt and fizzle out way of tackling it.
I can’t really remember much near the end but I was utterly relieved to cross the finish line at 03:40:07.
A wobble here and a wobble there, a medal around my neck, a decent t-shirt and a goody bag. Not too bad for a morning’s work.
I’d definitely race a marathon again; looking forward to which one I’d like to try next. Although a slower steady strategy would have to be adopted I think. Any advice from other Westies would be much appreciated!