Friday, 24 October 2008

Dublin half marathon

This took place in the Phoenix Park on 20 September. It was unusually warm. I believe it was about 20 celsius. The sky was pretty clear. Consequently, it was better than almost any day this 'summer'. I saw a few familiar faces from last year, especially the Tamar runners from Cornwall.

The first five and a half miles of this race are quite fast and the elevation is actually negative. Then it is two laps of three hills. Last year I did okay on the first lap of three hills but hit the wall on the second lap.

This year I decided not to hold back as much on the first five and a half miles. I calculated that you don't make it back from mile six on so I decided to put the hammer down a bit more than I did the previous week in Bristol.

First mile split in 06:38, second mile in 06:42. Mile three on 06:43 and at this point my heart rate was 175bpm. I little high at the time I thought but as it happened this was close to my average HR for the entire race. Mile four split was 06:35. I was beginning to wonder at this point if I was overdoing it. Mile five 06:36; then we hit the first of the hills at about 5.50miles into the race. That week I had read an article in the US version of Runner's World that advised slowing down at the bottom of a hill and maintaining effort rather than pace until you approached the crest of the hill, at which point it advised speeding up to build up momentum as you go over the crest of the hill. This also allows you to hit the flat again at a good pace rather than trying to build you pace back up again on the flat. This worked a treat and was the opposite of how I approached the hills last year. I also found that I passed runners before the crest of a hill that had passed me at the bottom. Additionally, once I passed them at the crest of the hill I never saw them again for the remainder of the race; a great vindication of this approach!

Mile seven split 07:06; mile eight 06:55, the second half of this mile flattening out again. Mile nine, 06:41 and mile ten 06:36. These two mile were the 'break' before the last three undulating miles of hills and a great confidence booster as it proved I has enough in the tank to take the first set of hills and respond with two fast splits, including my second fastest split of the race.

Mile eleven 07:02, which was the second 'lap' of mile seven and four seconds faster than the first 'lap'; another confidence booster. I was getting fast as the race went on. Mile twelve split of 07:02, seven seconds slower than the first 'lap' at mile eight. New PB not guaranteed yet! Mile thirteen 06:58.

At this point I had 0.1 of a mile to go but could not see the finish! It was a deceptive finish as it took a 100 degree left hand turn right at the end, you almost come through the finish leaning to your left and you do not see the clock until about 100 metres to go and it read 1:29:28 so I put the hammer down and went through the line in 1:29:52 with a chip adjusted time of 1:29:45.

Delighted with a new PB and I broke the elusive 1:30:00 barrier on a tough course. Interesting to know how I would have done at Bristol if I had not had the traumatic twenty-four hours before it that I had; especially so as Dublin is a tougher course. If, buts and maybes; I'll not worry too much on a day I got a PB!

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