Monday, 27 October 2008

Dublin marathon 2008

It was a cold but bright morning as I set off for the start this morning. I made it into work at 07:35, which is about a ten minute walk from the start line. It was a perfect place to get myself sorted and hang out in the office nice and warm before making my way to the start line.

Rather surprisingly we started bang on nine o' clock. I had delayed acquiring satellites on my Garmin until about 08:52 and it was having a little trouble acquiring the sats. I was almost taken by surprise at the start and as I shuffled my way to the start line it still had not acquired sats. By a great stroke of luck it acquired the sat about two seconds before I reached the start line.

I had not pushed my way as close to the start line as I usually do. As this was my first 26.2 I thought if I hung back a little the necessity of pushing through the crowd in the first mile would stop me going off too quickly. It was extremely congested and it worked, perhaps too well; a first mile split of 08:56. I believe this is the slowest recorded mile I have ever done since I took up running semi-seriously in June 2007.
Mile two was 07:41 and mile three 07:26. This brought me back nicely to approaching an aimed for first half average mile split of 07:35. Mile four 07:22, mile five 07:23. We were now in Phoenix park and it was a glorious morning to run in that location. The field had nicely spread out. Mile six, 07:36. I was now feeling very comfortable and finding it hard to discipline myself into not increasing the pace closer to my half marathon pace. Mile seven, 07:35, mile eight 07:17. Mile seven and eight were the reverse of the toughest part of the half marathon the previous month and I had to really hold myself back from going too quick here. Still sixteen miles to go.
Mile nine 07:12; mile ten 07:24, mile eleven 07:15, mile twelve 07:23, mile thirteen 07:31. As I approached the first half point my average split was 07:31, four seconds faster than target and I was feeling very comfortable. At this point I was wondering if I was under racing and resolved to pick up the pace a little and see how I went over the next three miles.
Mile fourteen, 07:17, mile fifteen, 07:11, mile sixteen, 07:15, mile seventeen 07:13. At this point I attached myself to two blokes with Connemarathon t-shirts and drafted behind one of them. Mile eighteen 07:07, mile nineteen, 07:04. I was getting faster as the race went on and was delighted with how I had approached it and a sub 3:15 was looking good.
At this point we went up a long steady hill along Clonskeagh road, and Roebuck road. I had heard this was the toughest point in the race. It was tough but not as bad as people think. Mile twenty passed in 07:22. I have recently, improved on hills and am delighted that at the half and today's race I always managed to pass many people on hills. I owe this ability to hill intervals on the treadie once a week and a US Runner's World article that advises you to maintain effort not pace on hills and slow down a little before you actually reach the hill. Then with about eighty per cent of the hill completed increase your turnover and power up over the crest of the hill, using momentum to allow you to get back into your pre-hill stride as quick as possible; it works a treat.
We now turned left onto the Stillorgan road and I was glad to see a very familiar sight of almost all my training runs-the Poolbeg powerstation towers; this brought out a little smile. However, the smile was wiped off my face when I realised we were running straight into a stiff enough headwind. Mile twenty-one, 07:19. I was dealing with the headwind pretty well.

During mile twenty-one we turned right onto Nutley Lane. It was when I strode onto the first speedbump without anticipating it that I realised things were taking a turn for the worse. My muscles did not react too well to this suddenly uneven surface and my left calf and hamstring gave out a little. Mile twenty-two 07:11, I was finding it sudddenly not as comfortable anymore but was maintaining pace very well. Mile twenty-three, 07:25, mile twenty-four 07:29. I was definitely slowing down and the miles I am quoting are 'Garmin' miles. In any race you do not take the most efficient 'line' and the weaving in and out between people and not going around the inside of some corners obviously adds to the distance. You will always run about 26.3.-26.5 in a marathon, rather than exactly 26.2. The time that was elapsing between when the Garmin bleeped and when I passed the mile marker was growing.

Mile twenty-five, 07:38. My hamstrings were getting increasing sore now and as we approached Fenian street I knew I did not have it in me to increase my speed again. I did however, use runners around me to insert a number of surges as they tried to pass me and I was delighted that I was able to fend off almost all challenges with the exception of three. Mile twenty-six 07:28, the surges had worked and as I came down Nassau street and turned right onto Merrion Square East I sprinted the last 0.2 and passed two of the three runners who passed me at about mile twenty-five.
I came home in a chip time of 03:15:53. I am very pleased with this and would have been very happy with anything sub 03:20. Not too bad for a first marathon; however, I have done five halves in the last year so while I it was my first marathon I was more race prepped than most first timers.
If I do Connemarathon next March I do not expect to do as well on a much tougher course. March weather does not appeal too much to me either. However, I will probably sign up for it despite reason saying otherwise! Then again, what has Marathon running and reason got to do with each other!

1 comment:

Thomas said...

You did rather well, and you certainly held up a lot better than I did over the last 6 miles.


Connemara is great, it's by far my favourite course. Don't expect a fast time though. Oh, and sign up early, it tends to sell out quickly.