If anyone reads this who has never entered a marathon before, i beg of you to consider it, think about it, break it down into achievable goals, but do what you have to do, to make it happen. The Dublin City Marathon is truly a fantastic event, the support is just unbeatable and yes i know the nice weather helped, but the buzz created by the people on the side of the road was unforgettable. Running through any of the village centres like Castleknock, Chapelizod, Dolphins Barn and especially the finishing shoot of the last km was a fantastic experience, even when really suffering. It is i imagine, the closest thing us amateur sports people get to feeling what professional sports stars feel in front of big crowds.
How would i do, after my somewhat scarce training plan and keeping up my football while training? I set out to try and see, could i complete a marathon without suffering too much? A reasonable goal i thought and one i should be able to manage.
I started out lovely with a nice easy pace. I had no watch but the 3hr 30 pacers were always near by so i had a fair idea how i was doing. I didn't come close to "not suffering" as the last 15km were pretty brutal. This was my first endurance event in 5 years and i had forgotten how much it hurts. The pain is so real, back aches, legs stiffening, stomach cramps, a savage mental battle as you are so aware of getting slower, and slower and slower.
I was near enough to 3hrs 30 after 35km but struggled so badly, that the last 7km were a long slow walk / jog and finished in 3hrs 45. Not bad considering, but still not close to my goal of not suffering.
The marathon is a fantastic distance that catches gombeens like me out everytime. I am crippled by an ego like most of us males and it makes going slow enough early on in the race something that just seems out of my reach. I am always interested in improving my pb time and also would love to run a marathon, achieving my above goal. My immediate instinct was to see if i could run 42km next week at a slightly slower pace to see how far i could go before the hurt came (see, total gombeen) as a learning experience. Of course common sense or maybe a look from my supportive wife put that to bed.
I am now of course the proud owner of the number 5 yellow OSAAT marathon band. It's taken a long time to get to number 5 but i think the next 5 and the blue band might not be as far away. I have got a little bit of hunger back for running and even if it is not as competitive as i would like, i am enjoying it all the same.
Thank you to all those who came to say hello at the expo, bought the band, showed me their bands from previous years and had kind words to say about the product. Thank you to my fantastic club mates in the Athlone-Moate running group who made training a pleasure and of course my family who came up to support me during the race.
I am not sure what will happen going forward..... but watch this space!