Sunday, June 13

Cork City Marathon Report

Mixed Emotions and a fair bit of pain after my first marathon on Monday last.
I am still trying to work it all out and today I am able
to walk with only a little pain and stiffness.
The last few days were painful - from my feet to shoulders , all muscles seemed to be complaining about the stress placed upon them.

Up until Monday last my longest race was a 10k and I was`nt sure if I had what was required to race a marathon, but, now that I have done it the satisfaction is huge.

As I managed to pick up injuries from racing hard in the past I did'nt race since the XC back in November. I had planned a half marathon or 10 mile but or one reason for another I did`nt make them..I find it hard to pay 20 to 50 Euros to enter a race unless I am going flat out /full effort. If not, I`ll just go training..

So,the Race..

I had decided to go with John D and the 3.15 pacing group and the plan was to basically see how it panned out and kick on at mile 20 if I felt strong.So, my time goal was anywhere between 3.09 and 3.20.

We started behind a lot of runners (mostly relay runners) so once we passed through the starting mat there was a lot of bobbing and weaving.
The pace seemed a bit quick - maybe John is trying to get a cushion already?? Message to self - "First few miles are always a bit difficult
till you find your rythmn".We had some open road now and our group of about 14 was going along nicely.
First 5 miles we were on target with a 30 second cushion. The next 5 miles were into the weather but I felt ok and we had a good bunch of
runners,and we shared a chat and a good laugh at times.In and out of JL Tunnel and heading for my local routes around blackrock and mahon.
Just after the sliproad I was looking for Fiona near Mahon (she was to be there with a banana) but I could`nt see her anywhere.
I wanted to offload my sunglasses as well and did`nt want them in my side pocket for 26 miles..I kept them on for the first 5 miles and figured they would help me in the wind but the rain was a pain in the hole!
No sign of Fiona, I shrugged and took my first Gel,reckon she slept in..

I am feeling ok at this point in the race but I have absolutely realised that it would have been foolhardy to go off any quicker, already I am reckoning that to finish with the 3.15 balloon will take all I can give to this race. After Blackrock Castle we are into the wind and rain and I
know the halfway point is not far away.I am at the front of the Group with John D - feeling good - laughing into the face of the storm. We turn back towards the city and go through 13 miles in 1.37 - on pace.
We are on the old railway line now and as we pass Blackrock Station I spot
Fiona and her sister Sinead. I grab the banana and throw her my sunglasses - Sinead has a Gel for me but I miss it - I have 2 more on me anyways..

Around the 14 mile mark I start to feel my right calf a bit, I don`t
like the tightness and I try to get my left leg to do a bit more work and give my right a break. The pace seems a bit quick now - probably just a bad patch I tell myself.Just stick with the Balloon at all costs - don`t get isolated - stick with the balloon.
I run through the "bad patch" and I am so close to the balloon
it is constantly smacking me in the head! We have a good bunch of about 12 guys and 1 gal and I get chatting to a few. The camaraderie is great and a good distraction form any negative thoughts. We share water and food.
One runner (a Boardsie who goes by the name DustyBin)
re-joins our group.He had to take a pit stop and is relieved to be back with us - he tells me he had to run at 10k pace for 2 and 1/2 miles to catch up. Fair play to him. I tell him I am feeling tight but not too bad.

Next few miles are bit of a slog but I have told myself to get to Mile 20
and it`s only a 10k left. At mile 19 I know I am in a bit of bother - I am worried the calf could seize up and I donno if I should stop and stretch or keep plugging away. Both Hamstrings are also getting tight. I relax,check my breathing (it`s ok) and just tell myself to dig in ..
It`s a Marathon after all and it is proving to be Tough !
I spot Fiona and Sinead at a bus stop.."HI.."

We get to Mile 20 and my next target is the County Hall - I am sure that if I can get that far then the final few miles to the finish I will be helped along by the crowd.

I remember a tough mile uphill on the Model Farm Road, I am suffering now and I drink water,energy drinks,I take a gel..anything that may help.
Body is sore and stupid negative thoughts are coming in.."Bollax to it - Don`t lose that fuckin Balloon". We go downhill and onto the Straight Road,In the mist and rain I can just make out the county hall. I am just behind John D and his balloon. Our group is down to 7 or 8 - some are gone ahead and a few have dropped back.I am struggling now and running v low on energy, body is cramping up.."stop and stretch?? c`mon - get to the county hall".

I am hangin on but slowly the 3.15 Balloon slips away,I am feeling a bit woozy really tightening up - before I know it I am stopped to stretch it out.I get going again and pass mile 24 and head for town.
My pace had dropped to I am guessing 9 min pace and I am pissed off to be passed (mostly by relay runners).I up the pace a bit and catch up with another marathoner and run with him for a half mile
but I can`t maintain it and have to stop again and stretch.
Another stretch and I jog on. I am getting great encouragement from the crowd and as I turn for Patrick Street the race announcer is calling out my name on the tannoy - cool !
Bless myself and Cross the line in 3.22.37. Our pacer John Desmond is there to congratulate me - fair play to the man. I make it to the massage tent and get a big hug from Fiona and Sinead.

I am tired and emotional,proud,disapointed,happy and in pain.
I try to keep moving and we head back towards my car - cramps come and next thing i know I am on the ground screaming in pain. John Quigley comes to my rescue and stretches the legs for me - thanks John !
The Marathon is truly a big test of mind and body,those 30 seconds I spent
crying into my towel at the finish are testament to that!

The 2 days after the marathon were fairly painful - a massage helped and
now almost a week on I am feeling good again, ready to race again in a few weeks hopefully.