Dublin Marathon 2014

Woke yesterday feeling excited about the marathon but with an agony mouth full of horrible mouth ulcers. Had my porridge and walked the 30 minutes from my friend’s flat to the start in Fitzwilliam Square, was very warm. Was really looking forward to running: so wonderful, all the runners gathering at 7:45, the excitement in the air, smell of muscle rub, pre-race tension. My sore mouth was getting me down but I reminded myself of all the long runs I’d done over the summer and that it was my legs I was running with, not my mouth.

I thought of what Oscar said on the day of Loch Ness mara: you’ve done all the hard work, today you can just enjoy it. He’s so right(of course).

I queued for 20 mins for the toilet and made pals with 3 lovely Irish runners(great banter). They each had a full face of make-up on, very glamorous(I wondered what they’d look like after 26.2m) and they were ridiculously nervous cause it was their first mara, tried to reassure them.

The race started with 14,000 runners at 9 sharp. It was a warm day(17 degrees) and somewhat windy at some points as well. I was focussing on setting off nice and slowly and wanted to replicate Belfast this year(8:40s in first half, 8:30s in 2nd half). Was thinking of Chi’s words:keep focussed and run strong. Kept saying it to myself.

Fairly early on in the race we ran through enormous Phoenix park for quite a few miles. Was beautiful, lovely trees, enormous and ancient(almost as good as our own Pollok park trees). Loved that park

The race seemed to have a huge amount of European runners and I ran with a handsome man(such beautiful eyes!) from Naples for a bit. I have a terrible tendency in marathons to talk utter mince and after a mile or so he shook my hand, looked into my eyes, wished me ‘buona fortuna’ and sped off. Wee shame.

The crowds were brilliant, so loud, so supportive, as busy(in some places) as in London. They were so kind, shouted ‘fair play to ye!’ and ‘you’re grand!’ and their support really kept me going.

My Dublin pal Kirsti & her daughter Ruska surprised me by shouting me on at mile 13, it really spurred me on(they are quiet and self-reserved Finns, to see them quite excited and enthusiastic was completely out of character for them but a real boost for me)

After halfway somehow it all went wrong and my dream of a Belfast-like negative split started to slip away. I felt weak & sick and my stomach was so sore. Even to keep going felt like a struggle, never mind speeding up. I really had to dig deep for my inner strength. I think perhaps I need to be less silly and more sensible and start taking gels(yuck!) in marathons? 4 wee milk bottle sweeties maybe just not enough.

I also felt so over-heated & parched, the sun was actually quite hot at some points. I was constantly pouring water over myself and felt like my head was a great big huge red tomato. I was wondering why people run marathons, such a daft thing to do!(was also reminding myself how fortunate I was to be able to run marathons, there was a wee bit of an internal battle going on)

I saw a woman at the side who’d dropped out and she looked so devastated as the 1st aid folk fussed around her, her face completely crestfallen. I didn’t contemplate dropping out but I did have a very strong urge to walk. Forced myself to keep running(at a ridiculously slow pace, all that I could manage)

The race did not go to plan but the crowds and their fantastic support kept me going and the finish line at Merrion Square was a joy to behold.

So my 5th marathon of the year was my very slowest, 3:59. Crossed the finish line and retched violently for ages, my stomach so sore, the poor lovely Irish marshalls must’ve thought I was going to throw up on their feet! Was instantly shaky and v shivery and had to go to 1st aid for a blanket. Forced myself to rise from the chair in the 1st aid tent(it was a real effort). Walked slowly back to the flat. It took 50 minutes but helped with the stiffness, I think.

Dublin – a GRAND marathon, great course(apart from horrible hill at mile 22) and wonderful supporters. Just didn’t run it as I hoped. Och well, there’s always next year. If I’m ever able to run again.

By Lucy

Photo by William Murphy / cropped from original CC BY-SA 2.0