Thursday, 28 October 2010

Dublin Marathon 2010

The conditions could not have been more perfect. Cool, bright sunshine and practically no wind. I got to the start line with plenty of time to spare and got much closer to the front that I have traditionally. The race began a few minutes late and we were off down Fitzwilliam Street and over O'Connell bridge in no time. Congestion this near the front was relatively minimal. On North Circular road, about four miles in, I took my second gel; I took one fifteen minutes before gun time.
Shortly afterwards we were in the Phoenix park, which initially involves running up Chesterfield Avenue. This is a gentle uphill gradient. A left turn onto Furze road and I was soon past the 10k mark in a little over forty-two minutes and right on schedule.
Anticipating the hill towards Ballyfermot from Chapelizod it always pays to allow your pace to increase for the next two miles through the park down the Glen road and out the Chapelizod road. These two miles elapsed in 06:34 and 06:38.
By now I was also convinced the mile markers were not very accurate. While a 'Garmin mile' is never the same as a statute mile, the Garmin was bleeping ten to fifteen seconds before I actually passed the marker - either that or the Garmin was on the blink. I put this thought to the back of my mind and kept going.
By now the sub three hour pacers, who had gone out rather fast were just ahead of a group of us and as we approached the half-way point we passed them. At mile fifteen I took another gel, the fifth of the morning and encountered a little bad patch. I resolved to suppress any negative thoughts and knuckled down. The next few miles were very uneventful and I spent much of it concentrating on the sub three pacer sign appendaged to the signlet of the pacer and his little group that joined the few people running around me. This is probably the toughest part of the course and is quite undulating with a small hill and then a larger hill on Roebuck road on the south side of the University College Dublin campus. I negotiated this part of the course better than I have done before and ran an even effort, evidenced by 06:40, and 06:39 mile splits sandwiched between 06:49, 06:46 and 06:53 mile splits, taking me into the last 10K.
As we crossed the UCD flyover I began to dare to believe that my goal was achievable. At this point last year I had to stop and stretch out my cramping hamstrings and I felt pretty terrible. This year I felt strong and confident I could knock out another 06:3x mile if necessary. However, I elected to keep knocking out 06:4xs and hope the wheels didn't suddenly fall off.
Coming up Merrion road and beginning the final 5K, things got a little tougher but not significantly so and was what you would expect to experience in the last three miles of a marathon. I was pleased to knock out three consecutive 06:50 splits to take me towards the finish line.

Photo by Crossing the bridge at Upper Grand Canal street just short of the twenty-five mile mark. No. 2506

Barring a disaster, or my paranoia about the Garmin being correct, I knew I was on for achieving my goal. As we rounded the corner onto College Green I felt a couple of mild cramp spasms and was unable to increase my pace. However, otherwise the final 06:50 mile did not feel any more difficult than the previous identical splits.

Throughout the race I had my Garmin set to display current mile split projection and split average HR. I always display these two pieces of data, reasoning that if you look after the mile splits the overall time looks after itself and I never know exactly how long I have been on a course until I cross the line. Consequently, I was surprised and delighted to see 02:57:xx on the finish line clock as I approached. My Garmin paranoia was unfounded!

Photo by Kim Forsythe: Quarter of a mile remaining and delighted!

I crossed the line in 02:58:05. Absolutely delighted!


Paudie said...

Brilliant run and well done. Well deserved.
Tell me do you find the gel 15 minutes before hand helps? Also were you worried when you put in the 6:34 mile early in the race? No fears of too fast to soon??
Once again well done. You cracked it.

Grellan said...

For such a major achievement Westley your post title and opening paragraphs are very subdued - as if it were just another day at the office. Congratulations - fantastic achievement and very solid pacing througout. All the more amazing on the back of Berlin.

Westley said...

Paudie, Grellan, thanks for the congratulations.

Paudie, I am not sure about the gel. I think it possibly did, or perhaps it's just a placebo. However, I think taking a total of seven over the course definitely helped. I planned to run that mile in 06:3X as it's downhill and if anything represented a slight reduction in effort.

Grellan, I did not want to give away cracking sub 3 in the first couple of paragraphs; reasoning it might make reading the post a bit more interesting. Yep, I got away with racing two in a month. Not sure I'd recommend it though. ;-)

Thomas said...

Brilliant! Well done and yes, I'm jealous. I didn't think you would be able to pull that one after Berlin, I'm even more impressed under these circumstances.

Westley said...

Thanks Thomas. Yes, I was concerned about racing two three weeks apart. I think acknowledging the foolhardy challenge it was allowed me to mentally relax and take a 'what have I got to lose?' approach, which might have helped.