Many thanks to Eoin O’Brien for putting the race report together and to all the individual contributors.
Getting the family onside and gearing them up for the training was the first thing so once my husband and kids were onside, training began seriously in May/ June but also due to family commitments most of the long runs were done alone. That’s where being a part of a club was a great social part of my running and training and got me to run faster than I have since I was a kid! I had never done farlek training or sprints and it was great to see that I actually could so it was great for building confidence in my running. It was lovely to chat to other people and see where they were at with their long runs and compare and try to keep up with distances and times, this gave something to aim for in my own long runs.
Shin splints (maybe due to over training/ footwear) put me out of the half marathon, a week before it took place. I was devastated as that would have been my first run as a part of a big crowd as I’d missed out on the 5 and 10 miles due to hols and being too late to enter. This was something I regret as on marathon day it was a bit of a shock running in such close contact with so many elbows! Although I’d run with people on Tuesday/ Thursday night at the club it was nothing compared to the environment of the marathon. So that would be something I’d do next time (ha, ha, yes I am thinking of doing another!)
A good Physio is gold dust, although he told me I couldn’t run the half (I didn’t want to hear that) and then knowing me well enough booked my follow up appointment on the morning of the half marathon as I harbored hopes of running it despite being told I’d be on crutches for 6 weeks if I did. But I did what he said and recovered enough to run a 13 and 22 mile in the 3 weeks leading up to the marathon, enough to make me feel I had a chance of finishing it if I gave it a go. Unfortunately I missed out on the long runs with the club during this time and if I had another go at the marathon I’d make sure I’d join those as it’s a lonely business on the day and I reckon it’s more fun to have company for at least part of the way.
Ignore any aches or pains in the week before the marathon if they are new. I had terrible back pain for the week before the marathon, which I suspected might be all in my head due to being terrified of running the marathon and it was, not a bit of it since!
On 28th October it was great to meet up with Sportsworld people before the marathon started, just seeing a few friendly faces subdued the nerves a little. The atmosphere was great in the crowd between the 3.40 and 3.50 pacers, everyone was ready to give it their best and wish the best for all the runners around them. I felt really strong for the first 12 miles. My husband and I had made our plan for his support points the night before and these rendezvous points kept me going as far a mile 16 when he had to collect the family so they could meet me at the finish. Crumlin road was where the going got tough and I took my first gel at 12 miles, not a second too early, seriosly needed that sugar.
Mile 15-16, doubts started invading my poor brain, despite the amazing support and I was shouting at Ryan for a gel so much coming up to Terenure the bloke running beside me was shouting at him as well! Miles 16-18 I just forced myself to keep running, my calves were seriously cramping around here, but I was afraid if I stopped I wouldn’t get going again, I just kept thinking I had to meet the kids at the end. Having my name on my t-shirt also gave me the encouragement I needed, I couldn’t very well stop when people were shouting my name, I’d just have disappointed their cheering effort! Thanks to Breda for my gel before the hill and the encouraging words, that carried me the next couple of miles. It was when I got up the hill (that I didn’t realise I was running up because I was so in my own world of pain) that I realised I might do it, I might really finish it and from here on I just kept putting one foot in front of the other cheered on all the way by amazing supporters. I tried to acknowledge the supporters, especially the kids for their enthuasiasm and the extra roar you get when you do shows how much that means to them.
Thanks to Tony for running with me for a mile or so and making me laugh despite the situation and then it was the last 2 miles, the longest 2 miles ever and the never ending finish line. A big thanks to the steward who stepped forwards and shouted that the finish line was 50 metres away (I couldn’t see it). The roaring supporters towards the finish held my family but to be honest I didn’t see any of them, all I could see was the finish line, then I was across it in 3.46, 12 mins faster than in 2010, older but faster!!!
Now I wonder what I could do the next one in if I stick with the club and the training plan provided….
Then it was finally out through the goodie bag/ t-shirt area to the family who had supported me through it all and back to reality, 3 kids wanting to get picked up at the same time and no amount of blisters can stop them and who’d want it any other way.
Training had gone very well, but due to time constraints because of work & college I was mainly training on my own, getting down to the odd club session when I could, following a training plan from “Advanced Marathoning” by Pfizinger and Douglas. After a decent run in the Athlone 3/4 I reckoned I was in with a shout of a time of around 3.15. I had done my first marathon earlier in the year in 3.38.
I was well hydrated, and well rested on race morning. Time for action. I walked the same walk I would do any Monday morning to my office just off Merrion Square, but this time, instead of the same tired faces on the daily commute and irate motorists along the canal stuck in traffic, I was greeted with a calm scene of like minded runners descending upon Fitzwilliam Street Lower on a beautiful crisp Autumn morning.
Totally relaxed as we set off, I soon settled into a decent rhythm and enjoyed the crowds going up O’Connell Street and onto the North Circular Road. As we entered in the Park my legs were now nicely warmed up and I was feeling great. I made sure to acknowledge any shout I got from the crowd with a smile and little fist pump. Good Sportsworld support here. I went through 10k in 46.33 about 45 seconds ahead target…grand, I said to myself, I can allow for a bit of slippage on the drag up the Walkinstown…as the path continued to take us out of the park I had noted a headphone wearing chap in a gold singlet beginning to bug me….constantly zig zagging, breathing heavily, music blaring, cutting me off, just being a general race annoyance. I marked his card, he won’t be beating me.
We left the park to be greeted by a wall of noise in Chapelizod which gave me goosebumps. Wow, the support was incredible. This was great. Smiles all around, a few high fives, and I soaked in the atmosphere. Down the South Circular Road, through Dolphins Barn to more incredible support, but now we were running into the wind. Not to worry. I dropped the pace a tad and let myself fall into step with a group that were behind me so I just blended in for a while. I crossed the half-way point in 1.37.21, again around 30 seconds ahead of target. All going well so far, perhaps a shade too fast though, we shall see.
Now we were onto my favorite part of the course, from Kimmage through Terenure & Rathgar. As expected there was great encouragement to be had here, running on home turf. Great Sportsworld support. Feeling great here, 17 miles in, everything going well. But it wouldn’t be a marathon if there wasn’t any suffering. As we turned into Clonskeagh I started to notice the aches and pain. Calves, glutes, hamstrings, thighs, all tightening up.
Now it became a grind and the pace began to slow a tad , it was a matter of gritting the teeth and hanging on now. I took solace from passing my gold singlet nemesis from the park who was bent over double, dry retching. (Drawing strength from the pain of others is only acceptable in a race environment!) Many others had stopped to walk so I reassured myself that it was perfectly normal to be feeling the effort here. As we turned towards the dreaded Roebeck Hill, we were greeted with an amazing scene : Michael Jackson blaring out of the loudspeakers, thumping bass, cheerleaders, crowds roaring, the works, fantastic, I practically danced up the hill saluting the crowd. Well done organisers for this section.
The last 5/6 miles was all about hanging on – the crowds never stopped encouraging us runners and the many, many shouts of “Go on Sportsworld” really helped to keep one foot going in front of the other. Eventually crossed the finish line in an absolute bundle, with a time of 3.17. Delighted with how it all went and will be back for more punishment next year. Thanks for all at the club for the support along the way.
My marathon journey began in Lanzarote in November (thanks Breda Browne for suggesting we do Marathon 2013 & rope Ann Higgins in for the craic). Unfortunately Breda bowed out due to injury but Ann and I soldiered on. Marathon morning was a relief when it finally came round after a very anxious taper week (I’d really hoped to enjoy that week but it doesn’t quite work out that way).
Ronan, Ann, Brenda, and I started out together, caught up with Nuala at mile 10 and stayed as a group until around mile 17. The atmosphere from kick-off was amazing. O’Connell Street, Phoenix Park, Chapleizod, Inchicore, Dolphins Barn, Walkinstown were noisy and fun and we felt like we were part of something really special. Then we came to Terenure and that gave us something to really smile about (yes Gavin Finlay you’re allowed to smile at this part!). Excitement levels in our little group were at fever pitch.
Heading into Rathgar and Milltown we began to get a little bit more subdued. The hard slog began in Clonskeagh. The hill on Roebuck Road didn’t seem too bad. OK you’re over the worst I thought. Then I saw the worst. I’d done this hill before why did I not remember it! The music and support dragged us up that hill and then it was mind over matter for the rest. Merrion Road was a bit quiet and Brenda was getting away from me until super-supporter Maura appeared & then we were treated to some Eoin Encouragement. Just in the nick of time. He shouted at me to get back up to Brenda. Not until he said he was going to take a photo did I really put the foot down. I’m not one to miss a photo op!
Passed mile 24 in a blur and then it was dig deep to stay with Brenda, I chased her all down Grand Canal Street and onto College Green. We passed Myles who shouted ‘4 minutes’. I just had to keep chasing Brenda. Nassau Street was as exciting as I’d imagined it would be and I tried to take it all in. Brenda was really belting it now and crossed the line 4 seconds ahead of me. We did it, Brenda said, before the pukefest began and then David Trimble passed by on a stretcher bound for the St John’s tent. All drama to end a very exciting race.
Our 3:30 time secured and in the bag. Never thought I had it in me but Myles said I did and Brenda made sure we got it!! Thanks to Myles & Emily for the amazing encouragement & dedication and to all the brilliant support from club members on the course. Not sure what I’ll do now without my marathon training buddies to bond with, it was great fun, maybe we can do it again….next time Breda Browne you’re togging out too.
“But we’re alive!” At around 11:50 on Monday, 11 minutes after finishing the Dublin marathon, a seasoned elite marathoner uttered these words to me in the physio tent. They struck a chord big time. Feeling disappointed with my time, which was a few minutes slower than planned, those three words reminded me what running is all about; what this challenge was for. Being alive. Running a marathon is not like racing a mile, or indeed competing in the ferocity of a winter cross-country. It is so much more than that. It’s almost like life in miniature. A microcosm of human experience. Your entire life telescoped into 26.2 miles. And for me on 28 October 2013, into 159 minutes.
Highs, lows. Bliss and depression. Clarity and confusion. Confidence and doubt. Ecstasy and torture. Strength and weakness. They were all there. And that was just the training! Ah no, the race, and life, too.
The marathon is a cruel mistress (ask my wife;)). A risky investment of time, discipline and commitment; not to mention the demands on your physical and mental energy. Four months, a third of a year! That’s more than a season! All for one race. Almost 1,200 miles logged to race 26.2. Sometimes you would question the sanity and rationality of it. The training was gruelling at times for sure. Some of the sessions were nothing short of brutal, bordering on the masochistic. Try this punishing 21 mile session for size: 2mile E pace + 5miles T pace + 5mins E pace + 4miles T + 4mins E + 3miles T + 3mins E + 2miles T + 2mins E + 1mile T + 2miles E pace. (where T = tempo/threshold; E = easy).
When I first looked at the Dr. Jack Daniels marathon plan back in June I thought it was insane and resembled a mathematical equation. But I trusted it to get me race-fit and so launched into it along with Phil, Paul and Damian. Yes it was tough but it was profoundly transformative.
The horrific weather forecast never materialised. A good thing. Although a part of me was looking forward to racing in the rain. My favourite weather for running. I thought dark and stormy conditions would be appropriate too given that the Bram Stoker festival was on and Oíche Shamhna was nearly upon us. Pathetic fallacy anyone? St. Jude the Hurricane the meteorologists called it. The patron saint of lost causes. On Marathon Day? You couldn’t make it up. As it transpired the weather was, for the most part, glorious. Gusty in parts, particularly the bleak drag coming through Crumlin which literally ‘winded’ me, causing a stitch whose roots lay in that glucosesyrupozade rubbish that I foolishly sipped in Chapelizod at mile 7. The damage was done here I suspect and I never recovered. No offence to Crumliners but the idea of removing this section of the marathon route is most attractive.
However, the halfway split was bang on so the confidence was given a little boost. But mentally things were beginning to go pearshaped. This wasn’t in the script. A stitch of all things! FFS. Approaching the Terenure area I should’ve been psyched, with my family and the club out in wonderful support. But all I could focus on was the stabbing pain in the left rib. Feed off the encouragement and battle through this was my mantra through Fortfield Road. Before the race I was really looking forward to this section but sadly I just couldn’t absorb or enjoy it. Externally I may have looked “fresh” but internally I was anything but. Special mention here to Mike O’Grady, who on Templeogue Road kept shouting at me for almost the entire stretch of that lovely springy tarmac.
The last third was a psychological battle as much as a physical one. As we all know, distance running requires you to befriend your thoughts. The good, the bad and the ugly. Embrace them, then let them float away. The tidal wave of ruminations can drown you and destroy your race. And as the pace slowed and several runners passed me through leafy Milltown and Clonskeagh, the mental demons returned. I pulled through. Somehow. The slowdown was upsetting but not catastrophic. Sure, the hoped-for time was out of reach at this stage, but I knew if I could cruise home through D4 it wouldn’t be the disaster I foresaw back in Crumlin.
The sound of the lead women approaching at mile 25 injected a little boost. A negative thought whispered: “Shoulda paced with them in the first half you fool!”. Ah, give me a break I replied. My first half split was conservative and sensible, I believed. Not conservative enough, as it turned out. At least I could finish in the top three female;) The sight of Trinity College, that ‘dull, grey and sullen brick in the heart of the city’s ignorance’, as Joyce would have it, was a relief, if anything. The fantastic crowds here were far from dull and sullen. The cheers and support of Dublin, here and throughout, were inspirational.
Grafton. Nassau. Leinster. An Airticity chute. Merrion Square. A clock. The line. There.
*A word of thanks to Phil, Paul and Damian for the training comradeship over the summer. Respect and thanks as always to Emily and Myles for the words of wisdom and encouragement. Well done to all those ran. And míle buíochas to all the club members who lined the route to support us.
It was finally here, Monday October 28th 2013 the day I would run my first marathon and finish with a PB! Very little sleep was had as the nerves kicked in, but I was delighted that I was about to embark on my longest run to date. The training was done; my legs felt surprisingly fresh, I had never eaten so much pasta, buns and carbs in general over a weekend, it was now time to run the Dublin marathon….
There was such a buzz and sense of anticipation at the start line. What made the run so enjoyable and bearable was running the majority of the marathon with a group from Sportsworld; Anna, Ann, Ronan and Nuala. We were all chatting away and the atmosphere was electric and full of excitement especially when we ran through Terenure and received mammoth support from the Sportsworld stewards and supporters.
From about mile 18 I was running alongside Anna Delaney and the two of us were working off each
other which was fantastic. Not sure if Anna realised it but she was providing me with entertainment for those miles with her little bits of commentary like “Hill ahead” at Roebuck road, and towards the very end “Right, let’s finish this B”.
Mile 22 stood out for me as two of my friends were holding up a banner, it was half green, half red and it said “Your feet are hurting cos you are kicking so much ass!! Go Brenda!!” that made me laugh out loud ….oh nearly there now!!
Every time someone shouted come on Sportsworld I raised my hand and waved. This stopped from just before mile 24. At this point two of my friends ran alongside Anna and me shouting encouragement, my favourite being “Dig deep Brenda and Anna”. I remember seeing Niamh Flaherty for the third time (thanks for passing me gels and water Niamh!); her cheerleading had been infectious, except for this time! I pretty much went into cruise control at this point, my tummy was sore from all the gel shots I had consumed (I feel sick even thinking of them now!). I was no longer really feeling the marathon buzz and kind of just wanted it to end. The last 2.2 miles were tough as well as blurry but the supporters were amazing and I started to imagine the finish line and the clock above it, I really really wanted to see that
Coming around Trinity I didn’t see my parents or my friends who said they were all roaring at me but
then I remember seeing Myles standing out in the blurry crowd and him shouting “only four minutes to go”. Suddenly that was the nicest thing someone had ever shouted at me and it seemed so manageable. It was time to finish this marathon once and for all!
Thanks to all at Sportsworld for the training plans, tips, messages, encouragement and huge support on and before the big day, it was very much appreciated. It was such a memorable experience and day for me; I will honestly never forget it and wouldn’t change anything about it!
28.10.13 a date that had been in my calendar growing ever closer and bringing with it a feeling that
I was not ready , as I had only decided to take on Dublin in early August which gave me 11 weeks to
My mission was clear , find a group that were aiming for a 3.30 finish time and hope that I could
hang on to them , so I jumped in with the Sportsworld womens Marathon team and started on the
programme set out by Myles and Emily.
I kept to the programme (mostly) until I found myself on the startline on Monday waiting for the gun to go off. 9am and we were off ,the first few miles flew by and before I knew it we were coming near Terenure. We were running in formation when we hit the first Sportsworld controlled junction and for the next two miles the atmosphere was amazing , the support from club members and local
public gave us such a lift. By mile 18 I was really feeling it and had to let the group go , the last few
miles were a slog ( Thanks Eoin for the conversation) but eventually I could see the finish and all the
pain went away (briefly).
Later , when I got home and had relaxed I started to analyse the day and it suddenly dawned on me
that the actual race was only a part of the experience. What I hadn’t foreseen was the friendships
made along the way and the support from the club .With that in said , I would like to thank , Nuala ,
Anna , Ann , Brenda and Trisha for the company while running( I would not have done it on my own)
and Myles and Emily for the programme and support.
Now its time to take a week off , go on the Beer and let the blisters heal.
Until next year , Adios.
What can I say about my first marathon experience…it was a roller-coaster of emotions to say the least. I was an absolute nervous wreck in the days leading up to it with many a sleepless night and irrational mood swing to go with it.
On marathon morning I woke up early with nervous excitement that the day I had been training for had finally arrived. As the race started I couldn’t wait to get across the start line and get going. I couldn’t get my Garmin to set so I took off trying to time the miles myself, but to be honest pace just went out the window. I was totally lost in the atmosphere and excitement. I felt amazing and the miles just seemed to be going by so quickly. I was just loving running and seeing my supporters along the route. I was high fiving kids at the side of the road and just couldn’t believe that I was feeling so good. When I reached Terenure I got even more lost in the atmosphere. The Sportworld stewards and supporters were incredible. My family were there telling me how great I was doing. I was thinking that the next ten miles would be a doddle…how wrong I was.
Approaching Milltown I started to feel a bit sick. Some friends were out cheering at the top of Milltown hill and that distracted me momentarily, however the sick feeling came back and I knew there was something wrong. I walked most of the way up the Clonskeagh road and then decided I needed to start running again, I made it down to the N11 and then I got the mother of all stitches and from there in to town it remained with me and I ran/walked to the finish line. I was so lucky to have some great support to get me to the finish line. My sister Sibeal got me back running for a bit and my boyfriend stayed with me from the UCD flyover to close enough to the end. Tony McGann played a blinder in Ballsbridge, trying everything to get me going and to get rid of the stitch, but it didn’t pass. Emily also had a few words of encouragement for me which kept me from dropping out.
In the end I got to the finish line, clutching my side, thinking that running the marathon had been the worst decision I had ever made. Thankfully, I can now say I am so happy to have completed my first marathon, even if it didn’t go the way I had planned!
Reflections on Dublin Marathon 2013
Marathon running is not fun. It is drudgery. It is a slog. There is no enjoyment in it. As the 16th century marathon runner, Thomas Hobbes said, “the life of a marathon runner is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and long…” I learnt a lot from Monday and from the four months of hard training.
If your warm up races are bad, your marathon will be bad. I had poor runs in Frank Duffy, the Dublin Half and the Athlone 3/4marathon. I thought it would come together on the day with the advantages of rest and proper pacing, but it didn’t. I went for the sub 3 on sheer bloodymindedness and stubbornness and failed. If I had aimed for 3’10”, I think my experience would have been far more enjoyable. As our coach used to say in Munchins, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Well, I took the shot and missed. Them’s the breaks.
When the wheels come off, they come off. I cruised, sauntered and sailed to Clonskeagh. Then, bang, like someone stuck a knife in my hip (That’s Limerick City…) Hobble over to the side of the road, singlet off over head, sitting on the kerb. Sub three hour pacers sailed by, Ruth Kelly looking comfortable in amongst them, Ruth shouts at me to get going. I can’t. This is horrible. F***. Why I am here? Don’t believe them when they say “there is no pain”. There is. Lots of it. Running a marathon is one of the most debilitating and intense batterings you can legally consent to putting your body through. Your body will either stand up to it or crumble and say “sod this”.
Get going again. See Breda and Jim at Mile 20. Roebuck Hill, not a bother, damage done, freewheel down Fosters Avenue, and then I hobbled around the last few miles, Eoin O’Brien cajoles and abuses me up through Ballsbridge, force feeding me gels and jellies. Aoife and Cillian are at Shelbourne Road with a bottle of lucozade. Goddamn heroes.
Struggled onto Merrion Square. Across the line. 3’09’57”. Get the medal. Get the tshirt. Get the gearbag. Anti climax or wha? Four months of slogging for that. Jaysus. There’s easier ways to stay healthy. I’m too young for this.
It wasn’t all bad. The support on the course was astonishing. I ran the Munich marathon last year. At certain stages in Bavaria, it was just Uncle Fritz and his dog watching in silence. In Dublin, there were hundreds of thousands on the course…coming up thru Chapelizod, Dolphins Barn, Milltown and the final stretch down Shelbourne Road…the hairs were standing on the back of the neck. Wearing a Sportsworld singlet is worth a lot especially rocking up Fortfield Road and down past Bushy Park. The sight of Paul O’Connell playing a trumpet in the middle of Milltown will remain for a long time. Myles Nugent, Maura Ginty, Eoin O’Brien, Aoife Brady and Cróna Brady have mastered the art of marathon supporting. They were everywhere on the course.
Finally, a word of advice – don’t stop to stretch in Ballsbridge. While kneeling down trying to coerce my hip to cop the f*** on, some random “supporter” decided what I needed was a jaffa cake and proceeded to stick it into my mouth without saying a word. I felt violated.
Well done to everyone who ran on Monday. Some great times, James Brady and Anna Delaney in particular. Thanks to Myles Nugent for crafting the training program for those of us shooting for the stars. My coming up short was down to my own limitations. Myles was a constant source of encouragement and guidance over the last while…and as he said on Monday, sure it’ll stand to you for the cross country.
Would I do another marathon? Will I f***. Life is too short for that craic. Goal Race for 2014…defending my King of Kilcommon 10k title.
Oh, look there’s a new email in my inbox. *Click*…”Congratulations Will Greensmyth, you were selected to participate in the 41st Berlin Marathon 2014″. Oh, for f**k sake. Third time’s the charm, right? Right?
Marathon number two was looming. I squashed myself in amongst the crowds in my wave. Right up until then, through all the training, I couldn’t decide if it was an advantage or disadvantage having done this once before. On the plus side I was stronger and fitter this year. I did wonder however, whether I had been better off in my marathon innocence last year, would knowing what lay ahead haunt me. I was anxious that I would reach Orwell Park and that the memories of the incredible whole body pain I had experienced last year would sneak up on me to muddle my mind and hamper my running. Thankfully, it turns out that experience, even a little, is a good thing. Running a marathon should never be easy if you are pushing your mind and body to perform at its best but knowing more fully what lay ahead on the day certainly lifted a particular element of stress from my shoulders. I ran as well as I could on the day and thoroughly enjoyed being with a small group of Sportsworld running buddies for a number of miles. The whole event was a magnificent experience.
Everyone in the club will no doubt have benefited from the phenomenal support along the route.
I say a word of thanks to every single person. Some particular highlights for me were, in no particular order;
Orla Jordan, Mark and Tony – even with pedal power, how did they get to be in so many places and always have something wise and helpful to shout?
A great friend Cróine – at Walkinstown with babe in arms shouting my name.
Louise, Stephen and Bowie – giving loyal support and of greater importance Louise had been a vital part of our running group as well as a logistics and hydration coordinator during training.
My Mum, still recovering five months after surgery standing on Terenure Road East (not on the pavement) shouting her loving support for me. There was my Dad a few steps after her with my bottle of sports drink at the ready. I was waving as much as they were. Afterwards they said I looked so happy as I ran…can you blame me, they had made everything possible and it all worthwhile.
Enda on Fosters Ave – when Sportsworld support had dribbled away a few miles beforehand, there he was, a reliable man, cheering me on.
Breda, Jim (and their son?) Brown – had been just before that point screaming like mad.
Maura Ginty – super yelling on Merrion Road.
Eoin O’Brien – he offered me water at the RDS but didn’t raise his camera to take a photo. It told me a lot about how I must have looked at that point.
Rory Flynn – another person who can appear at any point but this year somewhere around Grand Canal he made me laugh aloud, who would have thought I still had the energy. It was a joke about gels…you had to be there…and maybe being a little crazy after running 24 miles or so helped too.
My boyfriend – after I crossed the finish line and hobbled along with my medal around my neck I heard him call my name from behind a barrier. He had finished 43 minutes earlier but had waited around. I gave him the thumbs up “I did it!” I shouted, elated. I had beaten my time from last year. I was pleased. I was sore. I knew I was blessed to have been able to partake in such a great event. I’ll do it again one day.
“we,re all familiar with the phrase about a marathon been a 20 mile race followed by a 6.2 mile one. Never was this more than Monday last. On turning off fosters avenue on the Stillorgan dualler to be met with a strong wind all the way in, boy did that test the resolve. Every stride was sheer pain from there in with me promising that this was the last marathon ever. Cafe kylemore 2 hrs later over a coke and with the post mortem over the conversation turned to maybe Berlin or maybe Cologne or even Cork 2014. God we,re a fickle lot!
5 days on and the body still aches but that will go away and there’ll be another day I hope. Not so for our running colleague Ricki Savage who bravely made it over the finish line on Monday and should be in all our taughts.
Thanks for all the support along the way. Sportsworld runners were everywhere along the route and no Emily, the old vest is not for retiring just yet!!
I had done marathons before I joined Sportsworld but like a lot of people joining a running club you hold off on doing a marathon again until you are sure you can do the training and marathon right. But like a lot of things in life if you wait for things to be perfect you’ll never do anything.
So after being asked 100 times ‘ was I doing the marathon this year’ and after doing a few long runs to remind myself what was involved in the training I admitted to myself I wanted to do a marathon.
As tough as the training was and it was tough there is an enjoyment in the long runs, the stories you hear, the people in the club you get to know better and the sense of achievement in getting through seasons a few months before you could never of done.
Marathon day you tell yourself you have done the work, to stay positive and when you get to Sportsworld town at mile 15 you only have 11 miles left. For me the first 10 miles was fighting stomach pains I had never got before and when mile 20 mile came mentally I was gone, but I got under the 3hours, with 6 seconds to spare, there is a god.
I think the club marathon group numbers are returning to former glory years and I think it’s down to several people in the club getting people into running groups and training together as well as all the Sportsworld club members on the course giving support from mile 1 to 26.2
So dublin marathon 2014, you’re doing it right.
The weather was a little blustry but otherwise ideal on Monday morning. The route was lined with cheering crowds and Sportsworld supporters stood out at all points on the route. I was truly amazed at the amount of Sportsworld supporters I spotted along the way. Considering the fact I was running with blinkers on, I seemed to have missed a lot of supporters including yourself Eoin!
My race was a big mixture, I set out at roughly the same pace I had ran Athlone safe in the knowledge I could run this pace for at least 20 miles… or so I thought. The race was lovely for the first 15 miles as you can see my smiling pictures all taken before this point. At approximately mile 15 my legs started to seize up just after Terenure heading for Rathgar. The cramps in my legs got worse as I continued so I ended up stopping about 5 times to try and stretch out the pain. I ran the last 8 miles in bits and even stopped to have a few tears and feel very sorry for myself at one point. I ran on knowing my sister was waiting at mile 24, she ran with me for half a mile and that gave me the push I needed to get to the end line.
So overall it was my best time so far for a marathon and probably my worst running.
I put down my race distress to inadequate rest the weekend before. I didn’t have enough water on board either. This was my fourth marathon and I had planned on it being my last but now I plan to run another one just to run it properly without stopping. I didn’t stop on my 2nd or 3rd marathon and I don’t my last one to be the day I had to stop.
This was my first marathon as a member of Sportsworld and it made a huge difference. The group training was amazing, it made all those miles a lot easier!
What a difference a year makes…
Last year I ran my first marathon.
Training maybe three times a week, often just two.
Mostly on my own as college was on the same nights as the club sessions.
I had been running for 2 years March to October.
Winters spent eating chocolate!
I had run every distance race wise before it, 5k, 10k, 5mile, 10mile and half marathon but nothing
could have prepared me for the full.
I aimed for 3.30, it took me 3.33.
It felt like 3 days.
If I had to describe it in one word?
People told me that when I ran through Terenure it would be one of the best feelings in the world.
I was dying by Walkinstown.
Terenure was just another stretch of punishment.
I didn’t so much hit the wall, more like repeatedly smash my face into it, over and over, for around 12
I could not believe what my brain and body was trying to do to get me to stop.
Everything from thinking my ankle was gone, then my back was in spasm, then I couldn’t stride more
than 12 inches…madness.
It took me 15 minutes longer to run the second half than the first.
I said never again, too much training, too much time, too much pain, lasts too long, not much reward.
After crossing the line I didn’t jog another step until last March.
Twelve weeks ago I still wasn’t running this years renewal.
Too many injuries,too many setbacks, missed the 5 mile in Phoenix through injury, wasted money on
a bad physio in Naas, missed weeks, not enjoying it.
I would do the rest of the race series this year and leave it at that.
So what changed?
Well elements conspired against me without me even knowing.
Colm from Mallow joined the club, as a fellow Corkonian we run together in most sessions and he
was entering it.
My buddy Pete was doing it again after a similar horror show to mine last year.
Another friend from Cork (aka Cork Gary) was running Dublin for the first time after two other
Then a new physio/osteo I went to bloody well fixed me, straightened my hips, snapped my back, released my twisted flexors.
I went from feeling like an old man when running to a teenager overnight.
I joined Gary O’Hanlons marathon training group on Monday nights in Ashtown with Pete and got a lot of technical advice on technique, form, pace, hill work, tempo runs.
I kept losing weight and getting faster.
I broke 20 mins for 5k for the first time.
I started training more than twice a week.
I ran 40.12 for the 10k in Dunshaughlin.
I had a rough 10 mile and even worse half marathon but then the childbirth bit kicks in.
When enough time passes you forget how bad something was.
So I found myself up at half marathon distance, I decided I might as well keep going as otherwise I might have to start from scratch in the future all over again!
I entered on the last possible day, just in case.
€98 is way too much to pay for any race, but how and ever.
One thing that always struck me about the Marathon race series is that there is a 10k but no 3/4 marathon.
The addition of the 10k seems utterly pointless as a step up in distance from 5 miles to just over 6.
But going from 13 miles to 26 in five weeks without a 3/4 is just nuts.
When I ran the half this year I did the first mile in 6.07 and the second in 6.14.
I didn’t know it then but my race was already over.
By the time I got to 10 miles and re-entered the park I had nothing left but fumes.
I had a good chat with Gary the following Monday and the penny dropped about pacing my runs.
Then myself and Pete decided to enter Athlone.
19.6 miles on country roads and hills and hills and hills!
And a plan to pace the race evenly with the 3.30 pacers,
Following Garys plan I didn’t take any rest day either of the two days beforehand (did 5 miles the day before) plus did a 10 minute warm up jog at 7am that morning.
We were late getting there.
No warm up.
Had to run through the crowd for two miles to catch up to the pacers.
The they were going at 8.35’s instead of 8’s.
So after mile 8 myself and some others pushed on a bit.
And every few miles we stepped up a gear.
At 16 miles I left the rest of them and sprinted up the hills home.
All 3 of the final miles under 6.40 running uphill.
Never felt tired, never hit a wall.
Revelation, start slow, and every four miles get faster, run quickest at the end, not the start.
It wasn’t an amazing time overall (2.38 which is 3.30 pace) but it was the most enjoyable race of my life.
Plus we spent the first 13 miles chatting and having the craic.
So distracted we had a half marathon done before we even knew how far we had gone.
Lessons learned in Athlone made a success of Dublin.
The pace plan I came up with for Dublin was thought of by some as insane as it went from 8 min miles at the start with the 3.30 pacers for 6 miles to 6.45 min miles at the end for 3hrs 15.
But you have to have a plan.
And this was mine.
It works for me.
And this time I was sticking to it.
Same build up as Athlone.
Ran Friday, Saturday and jogged 10 mins in the dark down Templeogue Road, 6am, the morning of the marathon.
The plan worked like a dream.
The marathon experience this time around was incredible.
The crowds were hard to believe.
The noise at some junctions was like a running through a football stadium.
Wearing the Sportsworld singlet helps a lot and every bit of encouragement counts.
It wasn’t all a breeze.
From Milltown on was rough at times but once I overtook the 3.20 pacers and tore up Roebuck hill the long runs paid off and I lasted home.
Finished in 3 hours18 minutes.
It was an amazing experience.
3 minutes outside my aspirational target but a 15 minute improvement on last year.
It wasn’t so much the time was the achievement but the maturity of the run compared to 2012.
I felt really proud for about half an hour, then I felt really sick for the next 20, if the race doesn’t get you, the aftermath will!
So what a difference a year makes…
The next adventure?
Well I have never done a cross country race…
Although from what the club mates tell me, I won’t be rushing out to buy the spikes just yet!
Advice I would give to someone running a marathon or training for any race?
2 or 3 days a week is not good enough. 5 days a week for the last six weeks minimum.
Train in a group
Don’t train on your own. You work harder with others and it’s a lot more social.
I gave up chocolate bars and lost around 20 pounds since March, helps a lot.
Mix up your training
You need speed sessions, hill sessions, tempo runs and recovery runs
You need lots of fruit and veg every day. Don’t eat take aways.
I take Berocca and Pharmaton every day.
Watch Youtube for American coaches giving tips on running technique and documentaries about marathons, very motivational.
Watch how good runners stride, how they balance, how they run on their toes and not their heels
I did maybe a dozen races this year before the big day. Keeps you focused plus races are what it is all about.
www.runnow.eu has some great articles, follow them on Facebook
The club sessions are good for training but for technical info. take to the internet or books
I have a set of goals I am going to achieve. Without goals or a plan you are not going to get them…
Sub 3.30 marathon – Done
Sub 1.30 half marathon (am 3 mins off)
Sub 70 min 10 mile (am 2 mins off)
Sub 40 min 10k (am 13 secs off)
Sub 30 min 5 mile (am 2.5 mins off)
Sub 20 min 5k – Done
Can’t imagine running without one
Pace Yourself to enjoy it
Star slow and build up speed throughout the race going fastest at the end
Last Lap fastest lap
Always finish the training session fast as that is the rep you will remember, not the bad one in the middle!
Always do a cool down lap
Find a good one, the faster you go the more you will need them
Jogging around for 5 to 10 mins is not a sufficient warm up for me. I have an extensive routine of exercises and stretches to stop myself getting injured. Do whatever you need to do, not what everyone else is doing. Don’t be a sheep!
I used to wear heavy Aasics that weighed a ton compared to the ones I got this year. Makes a difference.
I run two strides for every breath in and two strides for every breath out. Helps a lot.
Learn how to run up and downhill
Replace surges with increased turnover
Stretching after the run
I do about 15 types of stretches plus often use the roller after the shower. They are a good investment, around €20.
I use a 4:1 Carb to Protein shake. Take within 15 mins of stopping.
Marlay Parkrun 5k
I did five of them this year, best part of the week, 9.30 am Saturday mornings Marlay Park all year round, register free on parkrun.ie/marlay
If you want to do the Saturday and Sunday morning training sessions register your mobile number for the club text that comes put on a Friday. Send request through website
Those who train us and help out at the club do so for free.
Saying thank you regularly goes a long way.
So will I run another one? I don’t know.
The work required to get from 3.18 to 2.59 might just be beyond me!
To all at Sportsworld a big thank you.