After a day of complete rest on Sunday-I actually barely moved from the sofa!-I felt ready for race day. I have to admit I was quite nervous for this race, it was my first since the marathon in October and I wasn’t sure if my body would hold up after my foot injury a few weeks ago.
I felt well rested on Monday morning although a bit anxious about when to eat, as the race was at 2pm. I usually run in the morning as my energy is best early in the day, I hadn’t trained at that time either so wasn’t sure what to do. In the end I settled on a snack of a homemade energy ball and a few spoons of brown rice to keep hunger at bay.
I had a leisurely morning and then ate breakfast around 11.30, I cooked up 1/2 cup of gluten free pinhead oats in homemade almond milk with a heaping tbsp of chia seeds, banana and coconut oil stirred in afterwards. I got ready and we headed out at 12pm.
Catching the Luas into town was insane, the platforms were all so busy, and we were like sardines, but we got in no bother. I went to the toilet in the Stephens Green shopping centre as I thought the queues would be better than the portaloo’s. I had 2 homemade energy balls, a sip of coconut water and said goodbye to Nick around 1.15 as I headed for the start pen.
It was all very well organised, you had to have proven race times to qualify as a runner/jogger etc so it split up the field and meant we didn’t have walkers in the way. It was an extremely hot day-I’d say hottest of the year so far-so I sat down at the side of the pen and tried to relax, the sun was energy sapping so I tried to keep cool with some water the marshal’s were giving out.
Considering there were 40,000 running the race, I was very close to the start line and was across in probably 30 seconds or less from the gun. It all went off smoothly and on time. The beginning-well to be honest the whole race-was very congested, you had to be very careful not to trip over anyone, or anything and it was hard to keep a steady pace when you are weaving in and out and trapped behind people, also going round corners the whole field seemed to come to a stop and we had to walk to get round!
I am not a good sun runner, I find it extremely draining and I instantly regretted not bringing my visor as the heat was intense. I tried to run in the shade whenever I could, thankfully the first 3k was down leafy avenues so there was some shady areas. I was so happy to see the first water stop at 3k, I grabbed a few cups, sipping a small amount and just throwing the rest over myself to cool down, I felt instantly better for the next 1k or so. The hardest section of the race was when we hit the end of Merrion Road at the 4k mark, we were in strong sunshine with no cloud or shade cover for the next 4k or so.
There was an out and back section on Stillorgan road which meant you could see signs for the water stop at 7k while you were at the 5k mark-painful! You could tell a lot of people were really suffering in the heat, there were a lot walking by this point. The thought even crossed my mind, but I am stubborn as hell and just knew I needed to push on to get to the finish.
My pace dropped a lot around the UCD flyover section, it was just too hot, I was really struggling with the heat and I wanted to stop, I thought if I just continued however slowly it would be better! I was so relieved to see the water stop at 7k. The water stops were volunteers filling cups as you passed, I actually had to stop and wait for water to be poured so I walked for a few seconds as I made sure to actually get some of the water in my system as well as all over me! My garmin auto paused at this point and I didn’t realise until a few minutes later that it hadn’t started up again- annoying!
The support was great along the route, but particularly the last few kilometres where there were big crowds. I felt rejuvenated after the water stop and really strong as I pushed on for the finish. The final segment of the race was actually the same as the end of the marathon so it was like deja vu! I knew I was going to be outside of my goal time, but I just decided to push on as hard as I could for the last segment. My lips tasted so salty at this point, I just knew I had to reach the end.
I crossed the line around 56.47 so I knew my time would be a little under that, all I could think of was water. I walked straight through and got my medal and then it seemed like an absolute trek to the water stop! It could have been much closer to the line but I guess it meant the finish area was less congested this way! I felt so drained, I needed to find shade and something salty!
I met Nick after the race, had a banana and a nakd bar as well as some coconut water with Viridian’s sports electrolyte mix. We headed to Cornucopia where I proceeded to demolish the health special- green juice, raw carrot + avocado soup, green salad with chickpea salad + sprouted bean salad, flax crackers and raw pates. I was so full after about half of it, but pushed through to finish! By this point it was 4 o clock so it was a combination lunch/dinner!
I was wrecked when we got home, just tired more than achy or anything. The sun is so draining. My official time was 56.30, although I missed my goal time of sub 55, this is still a new PB, and considering there was a field of 40,000 and it was not fast running conditions I was pretty chuffed.
I couldn’t believe how hot it was, it wouldn’t have been so bad if we had had some nice weather previously to train in, but this day was totally out of the blue and I found it so tough. I am slightly worried about my next race which is the Rock n Roll half in August, although the start time I presume will be more sensible than 2pm. I know this is Dublin, but really 2pm in June is not clever!!
Overall it was a good day, I had trained hard, felt strong and I feel like I could have given more if the weather conditions had been more to my liking! I treated myself to a 4 euro bar of raw chocolate by LoveChock which I ate yesterday evening. It was mulberry and vanilla flavour and it was amazing, it had quinoa in it to boot! I would not normally even buy chocolate, and certainly not for 4 euro, but I felt I deserved this yesterday as I have had my eye on it for a while ha!
I’m not too sore today and I went to a gentle yoga class to stretch out. I will be putting in a couple of easier running weeks this week and next when I am on holiday and then starting serious training for the rock n roll half!