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"And why do we fall Bruce?"

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  • Monday 16th September

    Day off after previous days LSR.

    Tuesday 17th September

    8 mile General Aerobic run. Accumulated a bit of off time at work so managed to get this done and dusted at lunch time. Lovely day out. Did this at an average of 8.45 min/mile.

    Wednesday 18th September

    9 miles with 5 individual 1k intervals at 5k pace. I dread these runs! Always start these intervals too fast and am hanging on at the end of them and today is no different! Strava tells me there is a new 1k record there (3.43) so there is that!

    Friday 20th September

    Enjoyed the break yesterday. 12 mile general aerobic run today but can't squeeze it in anywhere until after coaching the local u8 team which is a session in itself! Head off with the hi viz and small light in the hard shoulder of N5 (safest place at this time of the evening). Nice easy type run done at an average of just over 8.45 min/mile. Have some Strawberry milk when I get home for a change, its nice but won't be replacing choc milk for the rest of the plan!

    Saturday 21st September

    Up early just to get a 5 mile recovery run out of the way before another day trying to get the garden in some kind of order! Take it nice and handy as I know what's on the menu running wise for tomorrow. Do the run at an average of over 10 mins/mile.

    Sunday 22nd September

    18 mile run with 14 miles at MP. The main problem with this run is I haven't settled on what MP actually is! I decide to work off just under 7.30 mile based on my HM few weeks ago. Not a great start to the day as I sleep through the alarm meaning I'm going to miss most of the rugby later. Take the first 2 miles nice and easy and then straight into the heavy stuff. The first 7 miles is fine and I'm there or there about with target pace. The second 7 miles are faster than I should have pushed it and end up about a minute under target time. Feel reasonably comfortable at the end of mile 14 but I'm acutely aware that 12 miles is still an awful long way from home!


    Bought a new pair of Saucony's online from RunHub during the week and added in a couple of Maurten gels to try them out after some of my fellow 18 Novices raved about them. Texture is very different from my go to Hi5 versions but found them a nice change. I remember the 4th hi5 gel being really sickly sweet at DCM last year so might go with 2 of each to mix it up for DCM19.
    13th week of the plan done and dusted but the first one where I found a couple of the runs to be a bit of a slog. Had a bit of a head cold at the start of the week and just felt a bit tired/lethargic late in the week. Definitely going to be putting more work into going to bed way earlier for the next 5 weeks and cleaning up the diet.




  • Tough decision to make regarding target time for DCM but at least it's a nice decision to have to make. You could do a 3.20 and enjoy a comfortable enough day or go sub 3.15 and really work for it

    Training seems to be going really well for you so unless you decide to for sub 3, we won't be seeing a copy of your race report in the Novices thread next year :D




  • Cheers T! The only plan I have at the mo is running miles 2-7 with the handbrake very much on and taking it from there, my plan has a lot of gaps as of now :pac:




  • You have super training done and no doubt the demons of last year will be well banished. To be honest I think your plan with missing bits is the best plan. I'd agree with the handbrake well on through miles 2-7 but I'd add to keep it slightly on until maybe Bushy Park and then decide your plan of attack for the last 10 miles




  • Tuesday 24th September

    Head out at lunch time for 8 miles with 5 600m intervals at 5k pace. Lovely day out for a run. As usual I'm starting to feel it for the last rep but manage to get it done in line with the pace of the previous 4.

    Wednesday 25th September

    A day off work today but its one of those miserable misty mornings out. Take my usual route along the main N5 for an 11 mile general aerobic run where I manage to keep it pretty consistent and finish up just under 8.45 min/mile.

    Friday 27th September

    Handy lunch time run of 4 miles with 6 individual 100 metres stride intervals. I didn't read the book properly so ended up doing this too fast when it was meant to be a recovery session :rolleyes:

    Saturday 28th September

    The run I was most apprehensive about this week- 10 miles but including a 10k time trial in the middle. Head off early in the morning to be back for the rugby (great decision :(). Take the first 2 miles handy before starting the session. The first half goes to plan but I didn't realise I had the help of a tail wind until I turn around at the halfway point and head for home. God this headwind feels like a storm even though I know full well its light enough. Starting to suffer for the early pace now and I'm already starting to bargain with myself about leaving it as a 5 mile TT! Tell myself to cop on and get it done as if I cant finish a 10k what chance do I have when the going gets tough in DCM. Never raced a 10k before and I have a new respect for the distance now! Anyways Strava tells me I've set a new PB for the distance coming in just under 41 mins. The only other observation about this run is that a small minority of truck drivers are prats, I'm sure that buck that blew me out of it while driving behind me fancies himself as a real comedian!

    Sunday 29th September

    Felt fine all day after the 10k TT the previous day but when I wake up early for today's 17 mile LSR I can definitely feel it! Another dark miserable morning but it's an enjoyable run around very quiet roads where I meet or see absolutely nobody! The tired feeling in the legs doesn't take long to pass and I'm able to knock this run out at just under 9 min/mile.


    So that's September out of the day, heaviest months running I have ever done coming in at 225 miles. Looking forward to the coming week its another 50 mile plus one culminating in a 20 mile LSR on Sunday which I will be doing at my local GAA club's 3/4 marathon in Tarmonbarry. Hopefully I remain disciplined in a race and just knock out 9 min/mile, that's the plan anyways!!


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  • Tuesday 1st October

    A 7 mile recovery run with 6 100 metre stride intervals. Handy enough run on tired legs done with the hi viz and light, finished up with an average of 9 45 min/mile.

    Wednesday 2nd October

    Another night time run of 10 miles including 4 1200 metre intervals. Took the first 2 miles nice and handy and then started into the intervals. Knocked the intervals out just over the 6 min/mile mark. I didn't set up alarms so the only tricky bit was trying to look at the watch with the light I was holding to see had I got to the 0.75 miles each time! Glad to have that one out of the way!

    Friday 4th October

    An 11 mile general aerobic run done after a work meeting around some quiet back roads. Did it at an average of just over 8 30 min/mile and felt comfortable throughout with the exception of running by a house with a little terrier who followed me for 50 metres always barking non stop from a constant distance of 3 foot behind my ankles, I hate when they do that! No sign of him for the homeward journey though.

    Saturday 5th October

    A recovery 4 mile run done as soon as the missus got in from night duty. Lucky the way it worked out cause it was an absolutely horrible day afterwards.

    Sunday 6th October

    Due to do a 20 mile LSR and this fitted in perfectly with my local GAA clubs 3/4 marathon in Tarmonbarry. Just short of 300 runners for company doing my training run. For whatever reason I always find the start of races not quiet intimidating but something just below that, I always feel like the sole donkey in the gathering of thoroughbreds before The Grand National! I start at the very back as I want to keep the early part nice and easy. This works a treat as the first 4 miles are on one of those back roads with grass growing in the middle of it where I have been doing all my weekend long runs. This is different though as 3 people running in a line talking means you are effectively boxed in until you come to a field gate where ya can stride into the verge and out again to pass them.
    Think I have been over doing the hydration the last couple of weeks as although I only have a pint of water with breakfast and use the toilet just before the race starts I have to stop before we are even 4 miles in! One of the advantages of a countryside event!
    After this I spend the next 10 miles slowly making my way through the field, nothing major just keeping the paces in the 8 35 to 8 50 bracket. Have to say it feels great passing people at this stage who are breathing heavily while I'm feeling fine. 6 miles from home I'm starting to get bored though as people from the half marathon start passing me by but keep it disciplined and stay on pace. Distract myself for small bits by chatting others runners. Had intended upping the pace of the last mile to 7 30 range to see if it was in the legs at that stage, felt fine so ended up just straight racing it at full pelt and felt great doing so.
    Cross the line just under 2 47 which I was happy with, had aimed for 2 50 which I would have been bang on time for only for racing the last mile. Strava remembers the course from last year and kindly tells me I'm getting slower. I was actually just over 20 mins slower than last year to show how stupid and reckless I was training for DCM18, ya see Skyblue46 I might actually have learned something :pac:

    That's the last of the 50 mile plus weeks in the plan. The coming midweek runs don't look too bad but have another 8-10k TT followed by a 16 mile LSR at the weekend and after that its taper time!




  • You're a far stronger runner than this time last year. Nail down your pace strategy in the next couple of weeks.




  • Oh you've learned everything you needed to. You're going to smash this one.




  • Tuesday 8th October

    An 8 mile run including 5 600 metre intervals at 5k pace. Legs felt surprisingly fresh after the 20 miles on Sunday. First 4 intervals were tough though into a head wind with the last one on the turn around being an awful lot easier. Please let it be a calm day for the big one!

    Wednesday 9th October

    A 6 mile recovery run. Ah there's the tired legs from the weekend. Bit of a slog this one but finish it up at an average of 10 mins/mile.

    Thursday 10th October

    Trip to the physio for a general rub down on the legs. Calves, hamstrings and glutes are all on the tight side but nothing of major concern. Must concentrate on using the foam roller for the next 2 weeks. I tell him about the bad cramping I experienced last year and he recommends drinking tonic water for the 2 days before the race. Anyone?

    Friday 11th October

    4 mile recovery run with 6 100 metre strides. Did this on the way home from work. Took it nice and handy and no carry over effect from the rub down.

    Saturday 12th October

    10 miles including a 4 mile TT. The plan had the time trial down as 8-10k but thought this might be a bit on the too much side. Felt a 5k was a bit short so settled on 4 miles. Took it nice and handy for first 2 miles and then straight into it. It was still not quiet bright so kept having to hit the light button on the watch for the first 2 miles to check my pace which was kinda annoying. Splits were 6 32, 6 33, 6 19 and 6 19 so was happy enough with that effort. Back home in time to have breakfast while watching Kipchoge make history, what a man!

    Sunday 13th October

    Up and out for a 16 mile LSR in the dark. Took a gel and one of those caffeine shot things (had abstained from coffee the past week to feel the full effect). Legs felt sluggish for the first 4 miles but felt a pick up after that but might have been a placebo effect! The side effect was the feeling that I may need a toilet break soon from about 10 miles in which I definitely don't want to experience in Dublin! Have one left so might try it again next weekend but don't think I will use one for DCM as its probably over complicating things and I don't want that nagging doubt in the back of mind about needing to find a toilet! Finished the run up a tad below 8 45 min/mile.

    An extra rest day is built into the plan for the coming week with 32 miles to be done across 4 runs. Have followed the plan's mileage up to now but think I'm going to take a mile or 2 off some of the runs. Wednesday had an 8 miler including 3 1 mile intervals at 5k pace. Not sure about this one yet, might change it back to 3 miles at MP instead.




  • Tuesday 15th October

    6 miles at General Aerobic with 8 100 metre strides. A late evening run in the dark. Felt comfortable throughout and finished it at an average of 8 15 min/mile.

    Wednesday 16th October

    7 miles including 3 1600 metre intervals at 5k pace. Took the first 2 miles handy and then started into the first interval. Had the advantage of a decent hill to start so got through this one handy enough. Doing the recovery I remembered that the small lane I was on was flooded further ahead so I wouldn't be able to do the planned loop. Second interval was a lot tougher without the hill! Third interval again started on the crest of a nice long hill so ended up doing this one way too fast. And that's the last of those intervals in the plan I'm glad to say!

    Friday 18th October

    A lunchtime run of 4 miles with 6 100 metre strides. Another nice and easy run out a quiet country road. Done at an average of just over 9 30 min/mile.

    Saturday 19th October

    The plan had this down for a 12 mile LSR but like the other runs this week I took a bit off and did one last run along N5 into first roundabout outside Longford town and back home again (I know every bit of this road at this stage!). Took a caffeine mini shot thing beforehand but only effect I noticed was having to pull in for a pee stop at mile 3 and again at the very end of the run, so needless to say I'm not using it for DCM! Took this one nice and handy and finished it at an average of 8 40 min/mile.

    Monday 21st October

    A 5 mile recovery run in the late evening. Very cold out so had a long sleeve top and a wooly hat on for this one! Done at an average of 10 10 min/mile.

    Tuesday 22nd October

    A 6 mile run including 2 miles at MP. Managed to squeeze this one in after work before I got home. Took it handy for first 3 miles and then upped it to a planned pace of just over 7 30 min/mile (I don't have a PMP in my head yet so kept it at this). Ended up doing both miles a bit quicker than this pace but it while I wouldn't describe it as a slog it never felt as comfortable as it should have been. Beat myself up over this run for a few hours afterwards as it was a real dent to my confidence and had me questioning why I'm even bothering running on Sunday! Eventually told myself to cop on that we all have bad days and I had been doing an awful lot of cross country walking in wellingtons the last 2 days which wouldn't have helped the legs. Trust the plan and your training but a bit of doubt remains!

    I'm working from the desk for the rest of the week so hopefully that helps taper freshness really kick in and just 2 very handy runs to do tomorrow and Friday before the big day. God its getting close now!:eek:


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  • I think this is completely normal J, it's safe to say at this point that the feelings of doubt will always be there, no matter how hard we train. There's no question that you have what it takes!!

    My tempo run today felt all over the place, which was down to nerves mainly, I think. Well, I know it was because my heart was beating like a f****d clock.
    It's going to feel very different on Sunday, the crowds, the race environment, the atmosphere, everything that goes with it.
    Everything will just fall into place. :)




  • Tuesday 22nd October

    A 6 mile run including 2 miles at MP. Managed to squeeze this one in after work before I got home. Took it handy for first 3 miles and then upped it to a planned pace of just over 7 30 min/mile (I don't have a PMP in my head yet so kept it at this). Ended up doing both miles a bit quicker than this pace but it while I wouldn't describe it as a slog it never felt as comfortable as it should have been. Beat myself up over this run for a few hours afterwards as it was a real dent to my confidence and had me questioning why I'm even bothering running on Sunday! Eventually told myself to cop on that we all have bad days and I had been doing an awful lot of cross country walking in wellingtons the last 2 days which wouldn't have helped the legs. Trust the plan and your training but a bit of doubt remains!

    I done the exact same last week, 2 [email protected] pace and I was questioning myself but it all worked out on Sunday. For me anyway, feeling sh!te on the last few race pace miles is a good thing, shows there’s better to come . Trust your training as you say, it’s been top notch.




  • Far too many Batman quotes to throw in here, so I'll just go with one.

    I want you to tell all your friends about me.
    And...cue Danny Elfman





  • .


    A 6 mile run including 2 miles at MP. Managed to squeeze this one in after work before I got home. Took it handy for first 3 miles and then upped it to a planned pace of just over 7 30 min/mile (I don't have a PMP in my head yet so kept it at this). Ended up doing both miles a bit quicker than this pace but it while I wouldn't describe it as a slog it never felt as comfortable as it should have been. Beat myself up over this run for a few hours afterwards as it was a real dent to my confidence and had me questioning why I'm even bothering running on Sunday! Eventually told myself to cop on that we all have bad days and I had been doing an awful lot of cross country walking in wellingtons the last 2 days which wouldn't have helped the legs. Trust the plan and your training but a bit of doubt remains!

    I've only ever done a Pfitzinger half plan but the pace session the week of the race never felt comfortable for me, either. You've some cracking training under your belt, no need to doubting yourself. I'm looking forward to seeing how you go on Sunday.




  • All the best of running on Sunday J. You're in tiptop shape, probably even better than you realise. Don't get too bogged down in mile by mile splits, trust the body and take each stretch of road as it comes to you. Have a ball!




  • Best of luck on Sunday J. You've put in a super consistent block of training and I've no doubt you'll run a cracking race. Run well!




  • Best of luck J. Have a great day.




  • Best of luck Sunday J, still trying to figure if your a Longford or Roscommon man!! Run well!!




  • OOnegative wrote: »
    Best of luck Sunday J, still trying to figure if your a Longford or Roscommon man!! Run well!!

    Well he supports the Rossies anyway! :pac: I guess that means he deserves something good to happen on Sunday.




  • skyblue46 wrote: »
    Well he supports the Rossies anyway! :pac: I guess that means he deserves something good to happen on Sunday.

    Ah I retract the well wishes so!!!


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  • Hope you have a great marathon CBG!




  • OOnegative wrote: »
    Best of luck Sunday J, still trying to figure if your a Longford or Roscommon man!! Run well!!

    Ooohhhh you’ve hit a nerve there B! I get very annoyed when I tell people the village I’m from and they say Ah you’re a Longford man :mad: :pac:

    Thanks for the good wishes guys. B was right when he said in his own log before his HM that this really is a great community.

    Finished up my training with 4 miles on Thursday with some strides thrown in and 3 easy paced miles in the drizzle today at lunchtime.

    Am I ready?! I certainly hope so! Have really enjoyed the past 18 weeks training, sure it was tough at times but I’d definitely do it all over again. A shout out to Dealerz2.0 for introducing me to the plan. It was great following him and Treviso on Strava putting up the runs each day to keep myself motivated and on course.

    So I will toe the line this year with more mileage and quality and variation of training runs in comparison to last year. Training has gone great bar a couple of self inflicted hiccups with pacing. Having checked the scales this morning I’m also as light as I have been in years just from eating the properly and hydrating well the last 6 weeks.

    I’m going with Skyblue46’s plan from last year of going from the back of wave 1 a minute or 2 after the starting gun and running my own race.
    In terms of target time........I’ll throw my hat at this running lark if I don’t beat last years time! And I’ll prob be disappointed not to get 3.29.59 but it’s all on the day now!
    So I’m now off to listen to my favourite song........





  • Best of luck on Sunday J, will hopefully get to see you at the back of Wave 1 before you set off on your way. I'm sure if you pick the pace over the halfway mark and go way faster than 3.29.59. I'm hoping for 3.29.59 and you're a way stronger runner than I am.

    Yourself, Dealzers and I can discuss our next training plan over a few beverages in McGrattans afterwards :D:D:D




  • Back home in Roscommon (most definitely not Longford) now!

    Will do a report at some stage during the week but for now.......






  • Great result today J, super running from you, even if you’re a Rossie!! Should be super proud of yourself.




  • Ya sandbaggin' genius!




  • juke wrote: »
    Ya sandbaggin' genius!

    Seemingly spotted running along Fosters Ave with a bucket & spade J!!!




  • Apologies to everyone for the excessive length of this entry, heck apologies to my future self too!

    “And why do we fall Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up”- Thomas Wayne.

    I don’t think it would be fair to start this report with a synopsis of the pre-race details of what I ate that morning and how I got into town! I’d love to start this report saying that I signed up for DCM2019 out of a pure love of running, or maybe that I see this as the ultimate test of mind and body, maybe even a noble cause of raising money for a charity close to my heart. Alas no, I had signed up as soon as I could after DCM18 out of a mix of anger, embarrassment, and self-loathing. I thought I knew it all, had ignored the advice in last year’s Novice thread about basic stuff like doing the long runs at a slow pace and made a complete balls of DCM18. When the going started to get tough I had capitulated, waved the white flag and said “No Mas” like Roberto Duran!

    Running in 2019 was better. I was no longer going out on runs with thoughts of maintaining a reasonable level of fitness, as an aid to nip any weight gain in the bud, or for general piece of mind. Instead I was doing it because I really enjoyed it but despite the improvements throughout the year the doubt remained.
    And so to training for DCM2019. On the recommendation of Dealerz2.0 I went with the 18 week P&D plan and its tough varying intervals at 5k pace and weekend long runs incorporating MP miles. Have to say I loved the plan, sure there were tough days but every run had a definite purpose and everything was geared to the end point. Who could have guessed that following a plan might be better than simply winging it! Each week I could almost feel my endurance and pace improving. 17 weeks in and despite the little whisper of self-doubt I felt ready. However, I had a horrible last week of taper which began with 2 miles at MP that included a very nice downhill feeling anything but comfortable just 5 days out from the big one. The last 2 runs at recovery pace didn’t feel much better and I was constantly second guessing whether or not my legs felt fatigued just walking around the office. I could feel my self-confidence draining in these couple of days so I posted on the event thread that my predicted time would be 3:29:59 (if asked before this I probably would have gone with 3:19:59), no sand bagging, I just genuinely felt that I had peaked too early and now I was on the down slope.

    And so “why do we fall Bruce?” Sorry but I don’t know if I could go through falling again so it really was time to embrace the fear. Sure I could balls up again but this time it would have nothing to do with my preparation and nothing to do with my discipline in the race itself. Just embrace your fear and conquer it........




    Pre-race
    Maybe embracing the fear had worked because I slept the whole way through Saturday night and woke up refreshed and without a worry at 6 am. Nice and relaxed breakfast of porridge and a pint of water with a salt tab in it before changing into my gear and I’m out the door after some Good Luck hugs and kisses from my wife and kids and promises to see them on Chesterfield Avenue later that morning. Very nice Uber driver then drops me at The Davenport Hotel at 7.20 (I might have played it a bit on the safe side when booking!). Anyway I’m in lots of time for a short stroll around and to get to the bag drop before a planned meeting with Mr.Guappa and coogy and maybe some of Mr.Guappa’s 2019 Novice gang. Well that’s what I had planned but security isn’t letting anyone through yet and it will remain that way for the best part of half an hour. No big deal, just stay nice and relaxed and embrace the fear! Distract myself in this time by just checking out other people’s choice of footwear! Eventually we are let through and I eat a banana on the way down to bag drop. Less than 45 mins to starting time so I slowly walk down to my wave and kill time by joining the longest toilet q available. Small walk around but I know I’m going to have to have a leak again so join up the longest q again and it’s just about my turn when Amhran na Bhfiann comes on over the tannoy, should I stay or should I go! I’m still doing my pre-race stretches when the starting gun goes but I’m not bothered and it’s my plan to let the crowd disperse and start off towards the back of the wave. Finish the stretching, ditch the old clothes (Oh its bloody cold!) and walk towards the start line before taking a Maurteen gel and small bit of water. People are going off in single file now and getting personal messages of support over the tannoy now but I don’t get one as a guy in an all purple ensemble must have forgot someone or something and baulks at the start line to jog back down the road! I start jogging before the line, start my watch, quickly bless myself and I’m into the race almost 4 mins after the start gun.

    Miles 1&2
    The initial part of my plan (I have only planned the first 7 miles and was going to cover the remainder by feel) was to run these first 2 miles at a quick pace to see how the legs felt and then back off for the following 5 miles. The advantage of starting at the back of the wave was that I was able to stay reasonably close to the racing line throughout the first mile. Some epic support in these opening stages for various club runners around me. Up and down the hill around Christchurch and I feel I’m moving reasonably well. It’s also a nice bonus that my watch beeps for each of these 2 miles only a few metres short of the official marker. Speaking of which these miles come in at 7.42 and 7.41 so I’m up and running so to speak.

    Miles 2-7
    We cross the Liffey and while I don’t notice any incline just yet I’m sticking to my plan and applying the handbrake ever so slightly. This is made easier by the fact that I’m running in far heavier traffic now. I’m not weaving but I am using the footpaths every now and then to clear blocks of runners whenever the opportunity arises. The one drawback of starting at the back of the wave is that pedestrians with zero interest in the marathon have been made wait for runners to pass before they can cross the road, patience must be wearing thin at this stage though as some of them are taking matters into their own hands and weaving their way across. Nearly come a cropper just before the 3 mile marker with an elderly lady stepping into my path, now that could have been a very short report! Pass the water station and the portaloo (my God the smell already!) and Mile 3 beeps in at 8.12. Up North Circular road and pass a guy supporting us in full Scottish kilt rig out. I’ve upped the pace slightly as I want to do these 5 miles just under 8 mins/mile. The road narrows coming up to the zoo creating a bit of a back log so a bit more footpath running along here and Mile 4 is in at 7.54. Now I’m looking forward to Chesterfield Avenue and hopefully picking out my gang supporting (my 6 year old daughter has told me that she is going to shout “Go Faster Dad” when I pass, not sure the Novice mentors would approve!). They got delayed coming in so instead of standing by themselves in a quieter part of the avenue so that I could easily pick them out they are instead in the throng of people at that last right hand corner before we head up the long drive. I would probably have missed them only for the giant poster they have brought along! Give them a wave and spend the next mile trying to figure out how my wife hid that thing in the car! Take a bottle of water and have a gel just before mile 5 ends and it comes in again at 7.54. I’m locked in at this pace now but while it’s reasonably comfortable I wouldn’t describe myself as bouncing along full of energy so I have no idea what’s going to be in store for the next 21 odd miles. See a good college friend of mine cycling up along the path beside us (his wife is running), give him a shout out causing him to wobble on the bike while looking around him but he spots me and gives me a shout back and pulls in at the exit gate to wish me well. Mile 6 is done in 7.51 and we are out the gate and heading for Castleknock. Pass the band on the right and down into the village where the support goes up a notch. Coming up to Myos pub and I do a quick scan for Applegirl out supporting but alas I miss her, around the corner for the final hill and mile 7 is done in 7.53.

    Miles 7 to Halfway

    Ok so that’s my planned section of the marathon complete, now I’m on my own. I know the next 3 miles are very welcoming with the downhill in them so my spur of the moment plan is to up the pace and race these as a training MP session and see how I feel come mile 10 and let that feel determine how I will race the remaining 16 miles. Not the best plan I’ll admit but it’s a plan! I start passing good numbers of runners but I’m obviously not the only one upping it as I’m also being passed by a lot of people. The first inkling that this may be a good day for me occurs when I start thinking this 8th mile is going on for an awful long time and take a look at my watch to see I’ve nearly 9 miles done instead. I finally succumb to a losing battle with my bladder and pull in behind a roadside tree for a quick wee stop (its only when Dealerz2.0 makes a joke of this in our WhatsApp group that I think of all the kids I high 5 from this point on. Sorry!). Out into Chapelizod where the support is again top notch, take a caffeine gel and some more water and mile 10 is done. These 3 miles come in at 7.12, 7.37 (wee stop!) and 7.17. A quick health check and everything feels good so on I go towards the first big test of the day St. Laurence’s Hill. Under the main road with fellow runners giving the obligatory Augie augie augie (I don’t know where they have the energy!) which lifts everyone’s spirits before the hill. Jeez I don’t remember it looking so big last year. Ease off and shorten the stride to make sure I don’t waste too much energy getting up it and it seems to pass quick enough. Support is great going through Inchicore and Dolphin’s Barn and I’m feeling full of running. Just passing over the canal and I hear a shout of “John, John”, ignore it thinking no way it’s me someone is shouting after but turn around after being touched on the shoulder and it’s a work colleague. He hasn’t been able to train much in the past month owing to a knee niggle but is looking good and will eventually finish in 3:37, somectime for s guy not far from retirement. We exchange the usual pleasantries people do in races about us both looking comfortable and he encourages me to move on and really attack the second half of the race. Miles 10-13 are done in 7.35, 7.17 & 7.23. Pass the halfway point in 1:40:31. It was at this point last year that I knew I was in big trouble. I do a quick mental check on myself, breathing is fine, legs feel good and overall I’m in a great place and can’t quite believe that half the job is done. Now can I go and do one of SkyBlue46’s much talked about Negative Splits.

    Halfway to Mile 20

    Ok next job is to get the long drag up Crumlin road done and out of the way. I start doing mental arithmetic at this point as a form of distraction. I’m feeling good and very confident I could now coast home and get that 3:29:59. If I stay strong and consistent I feel 3:19:59 is there for me and really pushing the boat out I have 181 seconds to make up in the second half to get 3:15:00. Halfway up the drag I spot who I think is Rossi7 and a couple of his clubmates on the other side of the road. They all look comfortable and locked in on their pace so I resist the urge to make an ejit of myself by shouting out his name in the hope its him and keep moving on. This mile comes in at 7:35. I’m feeling really comfortable at this stage and can scarcely believe that I’m 14 miles into the marathon. It’s at this point that I make up my mind that I feel too good not to make an attempt at 3:15. I decide to break the race into 2 mile block which I’m going to race and see how I feel at the end of each before deciding to keep going or to ease back and just stay comfortable for the rest of the race. There is still a bit of a drag on the drimnagh road so keep things nice and steady and wait for Walkinstown roundabout from where this year’s and last year’s mentors keep saying the course becomes you friend. I think it was just past Crumlin hospital where the DJ entertaining the crowd announces “here come the athletes hoping to get 3:30”; we’ll see Mr. DJ, we’ll see! Mile 15 beeps in at 7:24. The support at Walkinstown roundabout is class. The road narrows and it feels like the crowd are almost on top of you shouting encouragement. It really has a mountaintop stage finish in the Tour De France feel to it, all that’s missing is that guy dressed up as the devil running alongside us! It at this stage that I take another maurteen gel and up the pace to what feels quick but still comfortable and the mile beeps in at 7:08. It’s at this point that the word Easy comes into my head, this feels so easy. How am I feeling so comfortable after 16 miles or has someone played a trick on me. My mind begins to wander to what I’m going to do at the finish line. Ok Brain that’s enough of that bloody talk, we still have 10 miles to go and the marathon doesn’t like it when she feels taken for granted. Let’s see how the next 2 miles go first. I don’t actually remember much about these 2 miles other than passing what feels like loads of runners and it still feeling so comfortable. These miles both pass in 7:07 and another quick mental check on things still brings forward that word Easy. My next focus is getting to Milltown and the 20 mile mark in good shape. The road feels to be all downhill in this section and my pace increases accordingly. Through Terenure and it still feels like I’m flying. I take a bottle and put a salt tab in it around here and drink it over the course of the next couple of minutes. Coming into Milltown and my next focus is maybe spotting fellow 2018 Novices Juke, Huzzah, ReeReeG and Strawberry Swan. Hhhmmm maybe I should have asked them to be a bit more specific regarding where they would be as the place is heaving with support. I know they will have some kind of funny poster ready for the 2019 Novices but I’m not seeing it and pass through missing them altogether. Up to the 20 mile marker and look to the path to the left where the wheels well and truly came off last year and I first had to stop and then walk with cramps. You aren’t having me today! These miles have beeped through 6:54 and 6:51 so 3:15 feels a real concrete possibility for the first time.

    Miles 20-Finish
    Not long after the 20 mile mark and some people in the crowd are telling us to stay strong that the 3:20 pacers haven’t gone too far ahead of us yet. Sure enough after another couple of corners I can see the balloons bobbing away in the distance. My next goal is to catch them before Heartbreak Hill. Mile 21 beeps in at 6:48 and it has that feeling that everyone else around me is running in treacle. I catch up to the pacers about half way through the following mile and have to slow a bit because of the train of runners following them. They really are a great bunch though as they are shouting encouragement at everyone in their group and getting them ready for Heartbreak Hill just ahead. I have my last caffeine gel out of my belt and ready for taking along with some water from the next station. Bit of a disaster that the next station is cups only. A lot of the pacer group move left for these cups so I’m able to overtake the group without delay although the road here is carnage with empty plastic cups. I cant use plastic cups without stopping and i fear cramps if i stop now so i plough on without water. My stomach is turning at the thoughts of one more gel so I just take half of it and avoid gagging before throwing the remainder away. I’m starting to feel first pings of tiredness here and start my internal Alfred Pennyworth mantra of “What’s the point of all those push-ups if you can’t even lift a bloody log”. HHHmm the mantra starts to sound a lot louder all of a sudden, jeez I’m actually saying it out loud! Up ahead is Heartbreak Hill and it doesn’t look half as big as I had built it up to be in my head. Attack it from the bottom but halfway up another runner steps across my path causing me to momentarily stumble and curse and I’m blocked in for the rest of the climb. This mile beeps in at 7.09 and I’m still feeling good. Balls to having a breather on Foster’s Avenue I’m all in now. I race down the hill and at towards the bottom of it I pass a German guy running in a Batman costume, this has to be faith! 6:48 for this mile and I’m heading for UCD. Thankfully nobody feels the need to shout out “just a parkrun to go”. I’m at the point of no return now having never ran further than this distance without a walk or a stop. Down past Donnybrook and I’m going to give it one more lift to take advantage of the decline down Nutley Lane. Look over to a tree on the right where I had to stop last year when both calves simultaneously cramped up and one of my thighs joined the party as I was stretching them out. Ouch! This mile is done in 6:53 and all of a sudden I’m taking the turn at Ballsbridge and preparing for the long straight home. There is a bit of a headwind to greet us at the turn and for the first time I feel really tired and I’m aware that the fuel guage is really pointing down to E and the red warning light has come on. Repeat Applegirl’s mantra of training to endure this pain and keep going. Eventually get to the RDS and the mile beeps at 7:06. Still over a mile to go and it feels like I’m really slowing down but the support along here is brilliant. I wasn’t going to write my name on my race number but the decision was taken out of my hands when I looked at my race pack, it’s a real help along here to keep me going. Every slight bend in the road and I’m scanning for the finishing area to no avail. Halfway through the mile and I spot a former GAA club mate a small bit up ahead. He was the Roy Keane of the team to my Quentin Fortune so this helps spur me on! I pass him soon after and we exchange words of encouragement. Eventually I see the light relief of the 26 mile marker ahead and this becomes my sole focus so much so that I pass my wife and kids and their massive poster without noticing them! The mile is eventually completed in 7:17 and I try to up the pace for the finish. It isn’t happening though as my legs don’t want to know. I’m eventually passed for what I’m pretty certain is the first time since the hallway point in this closing stage. I remember the training of not focusing on stopping the watch at the finish line but instead raise my 2 hands in sweet relief. Over the line and I’ve finished in 3:13:51.

    The second half of the race was the best Ive ever felt running any kind of race. Checking afterwards I managed a 7 minute negative split and passed not far of 1300 other runners from that point. In a nice piece of symmetry my finishing time is pretty much exactly my most recent HM time doubled with 10 mins added on!

    Post-race
    My most immediate priority is to slump over a railing just past the finish line and try to recover. This crap feeling in my stomach and legs is exactly what I wanted to feel though on completing the marathon knowing that I couldn’t have given any more. Eventually pick myself up and have a brief chat with my GAA mate who has also set a new PB. I waited around for a bit for Rossi7 who I knew would be finishing shortly but must have just missed him in the crowd. Get my medal which most definitely wasn’t going into my pocket this time and made my way around to the baggage area to check my phone and arrange to meet up with my wife and kids along with my brother and his partner. Still feeling a bit shook and nauseous by the time I had walked around back to the Davenport but felt loads better after a bowl of soup. The trade-off of having the kids along was that I couldn’t make it to McGrattans to check in with everyone (I don’t know how my wife worked the 3 of them around all morning!) but Strava was full to the brim with PBs so a great day all round.

    A year later and I had finally achieved redemption. I had finally raced and ran a marathon instead of finishing one. 18 weeks tough work had beared fruit. Embrace the fear and trust your training!

    I do all my runs by myself but I owe a debt of gratitude to my fellow 2018 Novices in the WhatsApp group who really are a brilliant sounding board and wealth of information. I would never have heard of the likes of Maurteen gels or even signed up to Strava without them. Big thanks also to SkyBlue46 who finally made me see the light on the true meaning of LSR’s and the importance of “easy” runs!! And also to the larger boards athletics community from whom I have learned so much from various threads and logs.

    TLDR.......

    DCM19 was less....



    And more.......





  • That's an incredible race pal, it really is. Believe it or not it means a lot to get a mention. The second half in 1:33. ..wow!

    Your dedication to eradicating 2018 from the record was exemplary. No doubt there is a sub 3 ahead, by quite some margin.

    Isn't it interesting that the MP run we had some banter about on Strava a while back actually turned out to be your MP...it wasn't a mistake, it was a very good indicator of where you were at.

    Stay with it, stay here, remind next year's novices of what you did and how. It will be invaluable.

    From the bottom of my heart I am so happy for you! Well done!!


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  • A truly great race and a report to match! I was hanging on every word. All credit to you for learning from last year, improving your training, and running an unbelievable marathon. You are an example in the best possible way. Fantastic stuff J.


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