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Dublin Marathon 2012!

Posted Oct 30 2012 3:23pm

I left it on a bit of a cliffhanger last time, as I had succumbed to illness and things weren’t looking great for the race. I spent 2 days in bed, the first unable to eat anything, the second I managed a few rice cakes and equally bland food! I was dehydrated, had a crazy fever- body temperature went from 101.2 to 93.5 over 24 hours, aches, chills, and my stomach was totally off. I continued with the bland food over the weekend, and added in some probiotics and aloe vera to try and settle my stomach. Finally on Sunday it seemed to be back to normal, so I was hopeful for race day although not ideally prepared!

The day before the race I went on a coach trip to the Wicklow mountains as my family were visiting, it was stunningly beautiful despite the weather, and we had a little walk along the way which stretched out my legs. I brought some oatmeal with me to eat for lunch, and then for dinner I had half a mini kuri squash, some corn on the cob, and some brown rice mixed with coconut oil. Read Bland Carbs.

I got a fairly decent nights sleep which was suprising as I thought I would be more nervous. I woke at 6.45am, showered and had a pre-race breakfast of oatmeal with a banana and a tbsp of coconut oil. I got my gear together and we headed off at 7.45.

We caught the Luas into town and it was already pretty busy when we got on, we continued to pick up runners along the route, until it was absolutely jam packed with people! We arrived at St.Stephens Green and headed towards Fitzwilliam street and the start. I said goodbye to my family and headed off to the portaloos.

Ready to Start

The start area was quite chaotic, there was over 14,300 running the race, so as you can imagine it was pretty busy! The portaloo queues were outrageous and there were only about 15 in total, there should have been 10 times as many. I decided to stick it out, and after about 45 minutes, I managed a quick pee and had to run to get to my wave start, I was a little behind the 4.15 pacers who I wanted to stick with initially as I knew I would have to have a few toilet breaks which would leave me a little behind that pace.

Wave 3 (4.15plus) set off 17 minutes after the first wave, but it all ran to time and on schedule. I had my iPod but didn’t use it for the first few miles as I soaked up the atmosphere and amazing crowd support.

The first few miles took in the city centre sights as we passed Stephens Green, Nassau street, Trinity college and crossed over the Liffey to O’Connell Street. My parents and boyfriend were around the 2 mile marker and I managed to see them despite the masses of people on and off the course! The first few miles were relatively flat and passed uneventfully.

It was unbelievably cold and I had forgotten to bring my gloves with me, fail! It didn’t really warm up throughout the race, and it was damp, heavy and misty for much of it. My fingers and hands were very very cold for the first few miles, but they did get better as the race went on!

We headed into Phoenix Park at the four mile point, for 4 lovely miles, it was pretty flat throughout, although the long Chesterfield avenue section was a bit of a monotonous one. I turned my iPod on here as the crowds thinned out, and I needed some inspiration!

I got my fruit snack bars (like a fruit winder/leather) out of my Camelbak at mile 5, and I proceeded to eat 6 of them over the course of the next 10 miles. I had filled my Camelbak with 1 ltr of coconut water and 1 ltr of water and I made sure to sip some every 15 minutes. I went through 10k in 1.00.30 as I tried to keep the 4.15 pacers in my eyeline.

We exited Phoenix Park around mile 8 and headed back out onto the roads.

Longitudinal Profile

Now I was prepared for HeartBreak hill later in the race, but for me Mile 9-10 was an absolute killer! It was a really sharp severe slope that I hadn’t been expecting, and it hurt like hell! There was a nice flat section that followed and one spectator shouted “Don’t worry there are no more hills for a while” which definitely helped!

My family were at the mile 10 point which was lovely and helped to spur me on. My mum asked if I was ok and I said “Yes, but I’m freezing!”. The support was great here as it was all along the route, they had Spar cheering stations set up outside of every Spar shop, playing music, with loads of people cheering you on!

Mile 10- Feeling good!

The next section was pretty uneventful, a few gentle, undulating inclines, some flat sections too. I passed the half way mark in 2.10.32, which was only a minute behind my Cardiff half time from last year and 8 minutes off my PB. I think in reflection I took the first 13.1 miles a little too hard, especially considering it was supposed to be the hardest part of the course.

I felt pretty good throughout and was enjoying it, soaking up the crowd support, high fiving kids and laughing at some of the posters “Run like it’s a zombie apocalypse!” “Chuck Norris never ran a marathon” “Because 26.3 would be crazy!”. I just can’t emphasise enough how amazing the support was the whole way around the course, the amount of people who came out on a freezing cold Bank Holiday Monday to cheer everyone on, and the many who offered sweets, water, fruit, cakes, biscuits along the route were just fantastic.

I took on a Roctane GU gel at mile 15, and I felt an instant burst of energy. I went through a particularly good patch at 15-16 miles where I was feeling great, the support around Bushy Park was amazing. I started to slow and tire from that point onwards. I finally lost sight of the 4.15 pacers, and just decided to run my own race and enjoy it!

I was planning to stop and pee at mile 17 but there was a queue and I didn’t want to stop for long. I also didn’t want to go too early as I knew I would have to go again, so I held off, and in the end I didn’t end up going throughout the entire race! I have the weakest bladder in the world so not sure how I managed that!

I started to break the race down into little sections, to get me through it mentally. So once I got to 17 I knew I was into single figures. I was also sipping water every 1.5 miles, so this was another thing that helped me to break it down into smaller chunks. I took another roctane Gu at mile 19 right before heartbreak hill to give me the boost to power through!

I knew I just had to get through miles 18-21 as it was pretty much downhill from there. At around mile 18 the 4.30 pacers passed me, I tried to stick with them, but I just didn’t have it in my legs. I was initially annoyed that I was going to miss my goal, but then I thought why am I going to push myself, and force myself to suffer for the next 8 miles when I can soak this up and enjoy it by running at my own comfortable pace. After all this may be the only time I ever get to do this! So I settled into my own comfortable rhythm.

My knees started to really hurt around mile 19, so I took every opportunity to run on grassy verges, as the concrete was just killing my legs! After mile 20 I was into uncharted territory so I told myself to gut out the last 10k. I passed 20 miles in 3.25.13, so I was still on course for under 3.30, but slowing all the time!

I was prepared for heartbreak hill at mile 21, so I didn’t actually find it too hard and just powered up it.

In the next few miles I started to get a weird twinge in my right calve and I kept thinking it was going to cramp- I’ve never had cramp so no idea what it feels like! I necked more coconut water and just tried to run through it, though it lasted a good few miles.  The Stillorgan road section was one of my least favourite sections of the course, running alongside a busy dual carriageway, not ideal!

At mile 22 I got some dates out of my bag and ate 1 every half a mile, again another tactic to break down the race into small chunks. At this point I was just holding on and gutting it out, I never reached a point where I thought I would have to stop and walk, I just carried on through-no matter how slowly.

I started to reach recognisable landmarks as we ran past the RDS where the expo took place at mile 23. The last few miles were pretty much flat or downhill aside from a bit of an incline on Grand Canal Street! I didn’t know where my family was going to be so I was looking out from them from mile 23 onwards so that also helped to keep me going!

I saw my family around mile 25, the streets were packed and I just soaked up the atmosphere and knew I was nearly there. I was feeling a bit emotional at this point but I held it together. The last mile and a bit seemed to last forever, but as we rounded the final corner I saw the finish straight and powered for the line!

I finished in 4.33.21, not too far outside my goal of 4.30, but most importantly to me I ran the whole thing, and I bloody loved every minute of it! I could barely walk after I finished, and I had a little cry as I felt a bit overwhelmed that 5 months of hard work was over, and I was a marathon runner!

I hobbled down to collect my medal and got a goody bag with a small t-shirt hooray! They were nice long sleeve tech tee’s although the small is still a bit too big but better than before! Apparently after 5 hour mark they had no small/medium or large so I was pretty lucky!

I had a little stretch and walked to the St John’s ambulance tent to get a foil blanket, the man was very helpful but was concerned that I didn’t have any clothes with me to change into-my parents had them just round the corner. I wrapped my blanket around me and hobbled off to find my family. I changed into some warmer clothes and we decided to get out of the busy city.

We headed to a local burger place that make a really good vegan burger salad, it’s really good as you can customise everything. I ordered that alongside a huge order of sweet potato fries and a gluten free beer. I wasn’t actually hungry as long races kill my appetite but I knew I needed to eat as it was nearly 4 o’clock! I spent the rest of the day resting, I had a bath with some epsom and seaweed salts to help my recovery.

Marathon Runner

I proceeded to have an awful nights sleep, I had a banging headache which started after the race and got gradually worse over the evening and night, I still have it a bit today but it seems to be lessening. I’m just loading up on the electrolyte drinks!

I also have extremely bad pain in my left knee, I couldn’t sleep as it was so painful, and I couldn’t lie in any position. When I injured my knee a few months back it was the right one, so this isn’t the same thing. It is so so sore, I have a compression bandage on it, and will just try to ice it. Other than that I’m a tiny bit sore- hamstrings and left calve in particular, but I had a 20 minute walk this afternoon and have had a foam roll. Hopefully I will get a better rest this evening before I am back in work tomorrow.

I will have a more reflective marathon post coming up in the next week or two, but all I can say for now is I loved every minute of Dublin, the support was amazing, no wonder it is known as ‘The Friendly’ . I’m not sure at this point if I’ll ever do another one, I need time to reflect, recover, rest and heal, and see where that leaves me. A break from running is most definitely welcome right now.



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