The day we were all anticipating so much arrived on Monday of last. It’s hard to believe it was 8 days ago already. Preparation was perfect but the day itself was very rainy and Irish. I see this as an advantage however. Less heat means less struggle (ultimately this proved to be completely untrue). I decided to concentrate on gels only for the entire race because let’s face it. Fuel is fuel. It doesn’t have to be in different forms. If anyone disagrees, by all means please leave a comment. The more the merrier.
For the first few kilometres there were a few hills and a significant amount of bottling up which was frustrating. It’s very important not to worry about losing time here. One should turn this positive by thinking at least I’m not starting too fast. We made our way up Patrick Street, down to the quays and through Stoneybatter. It was all a very nice change. We then entered the Phoenix Park which obviously cannot be omitted, being the epicentre of all running activities in Dublin. It was at this point that the first gel was demolished as the rain blew into our faces.
Then one of the highlights of the race was Castleknock. The atmosphere is fantastic here. The legs were still fine at this stage but a long way to go. Not much of a mental test………………………….yet. Approaching the Phoenix Park again and then Chapelizod (also giving an unreal atmosphere), things were still fine. I had lost a good amount of time when thinking about my goal of 1:50 ish for halfway. The halfway point in Crumlin arrived and I had been popping gels but I did feel tired crossing the line.
Up towards Walkinstown and Terenure I was greeted by my friends (who had spelt out my name in A4 sheets of paper – I couldn’t help but laugh. Gas crew.) I had felt a hint of cramp here and thought it was an absolute carbon copy of last year when it started. Practically the same step. It held off for now. Following on to Rathgar and Milltown…………………………………………bang…………………….cramp and it was both calves at the same time. It’s turning into a big problem and getting very old now. Between here and the end of Fosters Avenue it was constant. Then there was constant stopping and stretching. They always say and I completely agree that stopping is your worst enemy. I could not agree more.
I was running low on energy but if cramp just stayed away I could soldier on a lot more in the 4th quarter. The willpower was also fading here and knowing the last 5 or 6 miles were going to be I was not in the mood to care about the 4 hours anymore. The exact words in my head were, “if I don’t get 4 hours, what’s gonna happen? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.” It’s about time I stopped putting so much pressure on it. It’ll happen when it happens now just finish this.
It turns out that stopping because of cramp possibly affected my energy and enabled me to get into a habit of it. Travelling up Clonskeagh Road I stopped and felt an arm come over my left shoulder. I turned to my right and hydration levels were severely questioned when I saw Sonic the Hedgehog offering some words of support. Actually, did that really happen?
After this it was a case of stop start, stop start to the end. Trudging through Ballsbridge, the following were some of the words shouted at me.
Go again Bren come on brother.
DON’T STOP. KEEP GOING, KEEP GOING.
Go on Bren you look great (hilarious words shouted by my friends Aine and Alex. I looked a wreck).
We finally reached the home stretch leaving Ballsbridge and running up Mount Street. At this point my parents and Sister were shouting at me. “GO ON BREN.”
All in all another fantastically well organised event by the Dublin marathon organisers. Now for a well earned break from it all. In my head I’m happy to get a new PB of 4:05.05 (knocking 57 seconds off). I’ll take it.
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