So, I’m at the start line with 8,500 other competitors all thinking the same, get through this and maybe the marathon is doable on the 31st of October 2011.
The excitement at the start line is fantastic, everyone really looks like they’re here to enjoy the run.
I see Eammon Coughlan (Olympian and World 5,000m champion) before the start and just seeing him gives me some inspiration right before the OFF!
Off we start and I’m soon heading past the famous Phoenix Park monument, the first few minutes of any run is hard going. My training has gone well so I’m confident of getting around the course. One mile down and a quick look at the watch and it’s taken me over 8 minutes, it’s been slow as the crowd is huge and is taking it’s time in filtering out along the road ahead. Running is gripping the nation and I can see why. This event is about getting out there and embracing the freedom of running. Plenty of smiles to be seen all around and the spectators are out in force. It’s great to see. Thankfully the weather is holding up too!
2.5miles in and we pass the ordanance survey offices and I know the route from here is pretty much downhill for about two miles so I begin to just slightly up the pace. My whole plan for the day was to use this event as a stepping stone to kick start my long training sessions for the marathon.
The pace picks up again on the downhill between 3 and 4 miles but I hold back and don’t get carried away. It’s a long run and I don’t want to get over exert myself too quickly.
We hit the 4 mile mark and I begin to climb up the winding roads before we’re on the downward slope of the Military Road. The legs feel good but again I don’t want to get carried away so I just keep in my zone.
We have a small climb before we come onto Chesterfield Avenue where I stop and have a drink along with an energy gel. I’m 40minutes into my run and the body is holding up well. I pass the world record holder for running backwards Garret Doherty (Donegal) and I have a quick conversation with him (something along the lines of… “is he winding me up!”) before moving on. Hat’s off to him as it’s some feat running the half marathon backwards – it’s difficult enough going forwards! But, it did give me an idea!!!
I move on and head up Chesterfield Avenue and around the Monument before heading back down towards to city. It’s not long before we turn left and move up the back of the Dublin Zoo (probably where we should all be doing this run) and onto the long North Road, we get to the Aras and I take another gel. Once I get to the 10 mile mark I know it’s all downhill from there until the 12 mile mark. I again refrain from getting carried away and keep to my plan of just keeping to the one pace all the way round.
I pass the 12 mile mark and I still feel good so I decide to just open the legs slightly, we then hit the hill on the way to the finish, it’s a real test but I feel strong all the way up. I get to the top and ease off and get back into my stride. I pass the 800 metre mark and I can hear the MC encouraging people to get in under the 1hr 40 minute mark, I still hold off. Then I get to about 500 metres and I just go for it, full speed ahead. The legs feel great and I’m moving well, I really push hard as I want to get in under the 1hr 40minutes mark.
I cross the line and look at the watch, my heart rate is at 187! But more importantly my time is around 1hr 38mins. I’m delighted; I’ve knocked 4 minutes off my previous half. I feel great and I’m excited now about the marathon. Roll on the 31st October 2011!!!! J