On October 27th I ran the Dublin Marathon for the second time. Last year, I’d went out quite a bit too fast, and felt I left a sub 4:30 after me as I faded badly in the second half to come home in 4:53. I was determined not to make the same mistake this year. Training had gone well, and I had a lot more mileage under my belt this year, having completed two ultra marathons, and numerous shorter races in the past couple of months.
I travelled up to Dublin the night before the race with my sister Hazel, who was also running this marathon for the second time. All my preparations went well, and I woke bright and early the morning of the race, and got to the start line in lots of time. I met up with quite a few of my Born To Run club mates at the start line, and everyone was in great form, and keen to get going.
Once the gun went for our wave, we were off, and conditions, while a little humid, were very good.
But I knew within 2 miles of the start that something wasn’t right. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I just didn’t feel good. I felt weak and lacking in energy, and the pace, which should have been easy for me, felt too fast. I hoped it was just early stage jitters, and I would come out of it.
By mile 5, I knew I was in deep trouble. I had no strength in my legs, and was way off pace. By mile 6, I was seriously considering dropping out. I knew it was going to be a bad day for me, and that I was going to suffer, however, I decided to press on as far as I could – I’m just not the dropping out type, and I promised myself I’d go until I couldn’t go any further, and only drop out if I was in serious medical difficulties.
The next few miles were very unpleasant – I felt like I’d run an ultra and was being asked to run it again. I had long since lost my pace group, and was constantly being passed by other runners.
I put my head down and pushed on as best I could. I made it to mile 13 before I had to stop for a walking break, and that’s pretty much how the second half of the marathon went for me – I’d run a mile or two, at a slow stumbling jog, and then have to walk a half mile or so.
I eventually stumbled across the finish line in a time of 5:38:18 – my second slowest marathon ever (since my first ever marathon!), and even slower than Tralee last year, which I ran with a dislocated hip.
I was at a loss to figure out what was wrong with me at the time, but subsequently I think I figured it out. In the days that followed, I developed a bad chest infection, which ruled me out of the Sixmilebridge Ultra, which was to be my next race, and sidelined me from running altogether for weeks. I’m guessing that this was what sapped my energy for this marathon. I suppose I’ll just have to chalk this one down to experience, and get ready for the Tralee International Marathon in March 2015.