Laura reminded me that I have yet to write a post about completing the Dublin Marathon the Monday before last.
I think I am still getting over it. I completed it in a sedate four hours forty nine minutes and nine seconds. I write it out completely to give you a sense of how very long it felt.
I had to walk some of it and that upsets me slightly. I would have liked to run it all but my knees simply weren’t co-operating.
The morning was bright and cold. A storm that had been threatening over the weekend decided to go and rain on England and Wales instead so we had fine weather and only a slight breeze. In fact the conditions were perfect for running (once we got started and warmed up).
I normally run alone but I got talking with some others while we waited for the starting whistle and jogged along with them. We had settled ourselves near the 4:20 pacers (you stick with them if you want to run the marathon in four hours and twenty minutes). When the race started we were all swept along in the tide of people. It was great. I felt very positive at the start of the race, sort of nervous and excited at the same time.
The first two hours of running were really great, but then my legs started to get sore. I managed to run for another hour. I started seeing other people stepping off the road to stretch and thought maybe I should do that too, but it was a mistake as I found I couldn’t start running again. I walked as quickly as I could and walking didn’t hurt.
The crowd were fantastic. The organisers had cleverly decided to put our names on our race numbers so people would call them out if they saw someone who needed a little encouragement. It sounds soppy to say it, but it was very moving. You really feel on the rack running a marathon and when people call you out and cheer you it feels like an act of infinite kindness.
Especially towards the end of the race there were so many spectators and they are all calling out I really found myself longing for an empty stretch of road where I could stop and have a crafty walk. A fellow runner told me to run on my toes it would be easier on my knees, and so I was able to first run a lamppost walk a lamppost and then return to proper running at the end. If it weren’t for the crowd, I would have walked the last six miles, but I probably only walked four miles in the end.
I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll do it next year. I probably will because in January I will be appalled at myself again and the horror of the day itself will have receded a little.