Dublin Marathon Impressions

First of all, I just wanted to thank everyone for sending their well wishes, whether it be via facebook, the runGuelph.com mailing list or text messages and Twitter. (We’re a very plugged in group it seems).

This was my first international marathon and my second marathon. I’ve done a few halfs in the last year but nothing compares to the effort of a full marathon. My plan was to beat my time from the year previous which was 4:10:02 and ideally I wanted to go below 4 hours.

Traveling definitely tires you out even though you may not feel it after a couple days, everything impacts the second half of your race. I stayed with friends which was as close to staying at home as you can get when you’re away. John and Siobhan did an amazing job of feeding me and making sure I was entertained during my visit.

I found it very difficult to sleep the night before which is extremely rare, I can usually get to sleep without even trying. It compounded any nerves that I was feeling because I couldn’t sleep so that panicked me more, which made it harder to sleep, and so on.

The morning of the race, I was actually very calm, I guess I got all of the being nervous out of my system the night before and since I was already packed and ready to go there was nothing to worry about. Plus by that point, you just have to adapt, you can’t worry about what’s happening at that second.

The drive into town was perfectly executed, John navigated the best path and Siobhan wheeled us into town right on time and I just had to make my way to Krista & Chris’ hotel so that I could drop off my luggage. At this point I was just very excited that the race was close to happening.

Since it was a bank holiday Monday (that’s actually the formal name for the holiday) the streets were quiet except for a bunch of runners walking around to the start line with their Adidas bags on their backs. The Race kit came in a very durable plastic bag with nylon cords to pull it closed and a place to put a sticker with your bib number on it so that you could check your bag. Very well organized just like everything else having to do with the race.

We prepared by putting on some Canadian flag and maple leaf temporary tatoos and made our way down to the race start.

Pre-race Photo

The race start coral was blocked off to begin with. At first it almost looked like we were going to have to start on the side street we were instructed to follow to get to our start point, but then as it got closer to the race start, they let us file into the wide street and we could see the big balloon arch of the start.

It was then that we saw the pacemakers (instead of our pace bunnies) who carry big helium balloons so that you can easily see where they are and it doesn’t add any weight to the pacers. Another thing we thought was cool.

The cannon went off and we were on our way, I ran ahead very solid and I was doing very well until about 19km or so when the sun came out and lit up the course. I don’t run very well in the sun, it slows me down almost immediately. I had been told, and figured that based on the weather we’d seen in Dublin that this would be temporary sun, but no such luck. The sun combined with the slow rolling hills made me slow down considerably as the run got harder and I got tired.

With Roy, Krista F and Krista L’s help I had selected a Canada sleeveless T-shirt to wear and I’m very glad I did. During every stretch of the race there were always people lining the course clapping and cheering, especially at turns in the course. Every time I ran by a group of people I would get “Go Canada!” cheered at me. It makes for an amazing motivator when you’re feeling slow and defeated. The only problem was that it seemed that each time I past the crowds it would be during a walk break which is exactly what Roy told me had happened to him in the States during one of his races.

The crowd along the course was amazing, very supportive and there were just so many of them out there for every stride.

Ballygowan was the drink sponsor and they had 300mL water bottles on course at the water stations with big comforting banners to indicate that they’re coming up. Though I’m sure it was wasteful, the water bottles were fantastic to have because you can run with them for a while instead of flimsy cups which spill all over you and end up not really helping your hydration.

Post Race with Oscar Wilde

In the last kilometre or so, I popped on some more Green Day and Living End songs that have quick tempos and ran through the crowd as best I could until I hit the 400m mark where all that last effort caught up with me and I started to feel faint. I didn’t want to risk getting pulled off the course so I walked for another couple hundred metres and guzzled more water so that I could make it through the finish line which was in sight. Picked it up yet again and crossed the line feeling like complete crap. Running is amazing. My final finishing time was 4:25:09. (4:27:09 gun time)

The best part of the destination marathon was the after party. We headed down to Temple Bar, an area in Dublin filled with pubs and restaurants and we had a fantastic night talking to runners from all over the world. We met people from the Netherlands, Wales, Germany and the Carolinas in the US. There were a couple guys there who had actually run a marathon in Wales on Saturday, a marathon in Essex on Sunday and then they had just finished Dublin that day. “Never again” they said.

I think I need more marathons under my belt and to decrease my personal best time before I decide to travel for another marathon but the experience was great. Thanks again to John & Siobhan for making a home for me, Krista & Chris for making room for me to stay with them and everyone for the worldwide support team.

Finisher!

Author: Ian

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