I entered what would be my
first full marathon back in February, and nervously ticked the sub-4
hour box, thinking a good summer of training and maybe I could do it!
The training on the whole
went ok, I steadily built up my runs and managed an 18.5 mile but never
quite got around to that 20-21 miler I had planned…. However in the
weeks leading up to the race I was feeling reasonably confident at
getting round and maybe 4.15 or 4.30 would be a new aim!
However, two weeks before
the race I felt the dull ache of the ‘ganglion’ on my ankle which I have
suffered on and off for 2 years. Not too painful but on past experience
continuing to run on it becomes very uncomfortable. How would it cope
with 26.2 miles???
Training was tapered more
than planned and even replaced with a few low impact cross-trainer
sessions. I felt really nervous on leaving for Dublin and very down that
maybe I wasn’t going to be able to complete it and let down my sponsors.
However I decided that so long as I could walk I would finish it even if
it took me most of the day.
The morning of the race
dawned sunny but very cold, I packed my ‘pouch’ with ibuprofen gel,
tablets etc and even tied a warm top round my waste in case I had to
The atmosphere at the start
was amazing, a friend and her mum had entered the race as walkers and we
were all first timers and feeling nervous.
The cold had got to me by
the time we set off and my feet were numb for the first couple of miles,
couldn’t feel a thing! As I settled into the race at a comfortable 9.5
minute mile I started to gain confidence. The course was lovely and the
sun was shining, having done most of my running on my own in quiet
country lanes the crowds around me spurred me on and I couldn’t bear to
slow down or walk for fear of being left behind!
By the halfway point I had
a huge grin on my face, ibuprofen had taken any pain away and I now knew
I was going to complete this race and that a 4.15 goal was not
By 18 miles I felt like I
was flying, a quick look round at the pace of those running ahead of me
soon brought me back to earth – not exactly flying but by now I was at
just over 9 minute miles. On a downhill section (yes there were a few
hills – or maybe slopes?) I even got my phone out and rang my parents
waiting at the finish line to tell them to expect me in just over four
hours!!! Perhaps I was being a little over confident….I knew sooner or
later it was going to get tough. It came at 21 miles, those last 5 felt
like the longest ever. Jelly Babies and a Nutrigrain bar kept me going
and soon I was back in the city and the crowds were louder than ever
(excellent support most of the way round would recommend Dublin for a
I spotted my family at the
end and felt a little tear in my eye, not sure if it was relief or just
happiness and having finally completed my first marathon. On crossing
the finish line I looked at my time 4.09, good enough for me!!! Despite
two very nice St John’s Ambulance men having to remind me to breathe I
couldn’t stop smiling!
The organisation of this
race was superb, right from registration, which was done in minutes to
the facilities at the start and the finish. The support was amazing all
the way round and it’s a great city to visit (staying off the alcohol
pre race was hard going though!) Needless to say a couple were had