Finally, a marathon without stupid human tricks. I have said many times before that I am going to run a smart race only to bullet out of the start to crash and burn and drag myself to 26.2 using the death shuffle. Not this time.
We took 6 people to Ireland including 3 runners. I watched the weather forecasts daily for the two weeks up to the marathon. After training in 85 degree weather, the anticipated cool temperatures were going to be welcomed. However, with past bonking experiences, I know how cold the death march can be if dressed inappropriately. The dilemma was to dress for the bonk or not. When we arrived in Ireland, we quickly learned that forecasting weather there was a bit of a joke. Each day it was sunny, windy, rainy, gusty, cold and warm for variable amounts of time. Only the duration was in question. By the grace of God the day of the marathon was perfect for us Floridians. 55F and mildly sunny.
I wore light Capri's and a light long sleeve running top. My shoes were Brooks Launch with Injini toe socks. I carried a gel flask with 5 scoops of orange Perpetuem mixed with minimal water, a 20oz water bottle and 3 Hammer gels. I finished with 1/4 of the Perpetuem left and 1 gel left.
There were 12,700 runners. We lined up in the 4:30 and over shoot so it took a while to get to the start. That was fine given my history of rocket starts. It was slow in the beginning secondary to crowds, run/walkers and narrow street combination. During the first 5 miles there were intermittent slowdowns and surges. I tried to not zigzag and I watched not to surge beyond a controlled HR of 158bpm. I had determined on long training runs that HRs greater than 160 or so would put me close to lactate threshold. The high 150s would be a potential danger zone. My Garmin was ahead about .2mi so I was off on splits a lot but seemed to be holding about 10:30 seven miles. I hit the half at 2:20 feeling good. I called to family at the finish to let them know all was well. At mile 17 felt a little belly rumbling so I backed down on the Perpetuem and water amounts. I checked in with Carol and Tom who were behind me doing a 2:1 run walk They were also doing well. I kept the frequency constant taking Perpetuem every 20 minutes in the form of sips with 3 sips of water. Mile 17 to 19 was a downhill grade that felt great. I kept waiting for the wall but still felt good. I was also anticipating a big hill at mile 20 but it turned out not to be too bad. I knew when I reached the University of Dublin, it was just a run into town. I started to feel a little confident that this might just be my day. When I hit the expo building mark I got excited because we had walked there from the hotel two days before and it was a nice walk. I was able to start pushing the pace a little and still felt good. As we came into town the crowds and noise grew. It was great to see Addie, Cathy and Howard at mile 25 felling good and pushing. They made it back to the finish as I was able to kick in at 4:36, a PR tie.
My two running partners were spectacular or brilliant as the Irish would say. They took videos and pictures and they ran/walked to a first marathon time. They finished holding hands despite many injuries along the training period. They are the definition of what a positive attitude and motivation can accomplish. Hats off to TEAM JOULE for a great marathon voyage.
The crowds were great. The organization also great. The coarse was a nice variety of rolling hills. The weather was spectacular. Dublin was a great destination race. Thanks to all the Irish for being so hospitable and friendly. It is truly a great country.