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Sub 3hr Race Report Thread

  • 25-03-2020 10:42am
    Registered Users Posts: 2,118 ✭✭✭

    As we find ourselves with no races on the horizon for the foreseeable future & taking a retrospective look at sporting events seems to be en vogue right now, I thought it would be a nice opportunity to take a look at some of the many race reports that have graced these pages over the years.

    I'm going to start a Sub 3, Sub 3:30 & Sub 4 hr marathon thread, but if folks think of other times/distances then fire away with a thread for those too :)

    I think that, if possible, we'll keep the thread for reports only and save any comments for that posters log (where applicable of course).

    Also, I know that I've read a raft of race reports on various logs and threads from posters who are on a sabbatical, so if people want to hunt down some reports from yesteryear and throw them in, I'm sure it would make for good reading.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,118 ✭✭✭healy1835

    Healy 1835: Limerick Marathon May 2018

    So the race itself.....The only prep I did for race itself was to have a glance at some previous years threads on the event. Having been a regular visitor to the Gaelic Grounds over the years I was familiar with the couple of drags towards the end, and tbh I wasn't too bothered. If I over procrastinated about Rotterdam, then I definitely did the opposite here.

    After a trip to the physio and chatting with Sean we had put my Rotterdam crampfest down to poor hydration; both pre race and in the race itself. As an extra precaution and to err on the side of safety I resurrected the Brooks ST5 racers to give me a little more support. I didn't think it was the Adizero Adios that contributed to previous issues but I couldn't be sure..... So I wore the ST5's for both of the sessions I completed in the weeks leading up to Limerick.

    My training partner signed up for Limerick once I told him I was doing it. An absolute hero of a friend......said he'd help me as much as he could (he ultimately ran a 3:06, his sub 3 exploits in Rotterdam still very fresh in his system no doubt). The third amigo in our Rotterdam group also signed up as he presumably didn't want to feel left out, but also felt he could improve on his 3:55 that featured a 2:10 second half. So we set off down to Limerick with no idea of what to expect......
    I had made sure that my water, electrolyte and carbohydrate intake was spot on leading up to the day itself.

    Race Day:
    Left Newbridge about 6:30. Porridge, Brown bread and a banana for breakfast and brought some High 5 Energy source and a bottle of water to sip during the journey. Got to city centre about 8, parked in Sarsfields barracks which was handy. Down to the square, still feeling like the whole situation was a bit surreal. The weeks and months spent thinking about Rotterdam was a stark contrast to this!

    I'd no big race plan. We said that we'd aim to negative split, take it out slow and then dial it up. If the sub 3 pace group was moving steadily then we would jump in. If it wasn't we were prepared to run by ourselves.

    Km 1-5 (4:23,4:21,4:17,4:05,4:22): 21:28

    Pretty sedate start to proceedings. Stayed about 10m behind the sub 3 pace group for most of it. Pace was very easy and this suited my plan. Had broke a high 5 zero tablet in half and brought it with me, So I popped it into the first bottle of water at 5k.

    Km 6-10 (4:20,4:19,4:12,4:18,4:15): 21:24: 10k 42:52

    My partner went for a whizz just as we went onto the stretch along canal at about 6k. When he went I pushed on a small bit and took up residence in the 3hr pace group. There was about 16 runners in it at this point. I just sat at the back and got pulled along. The guys at the front seemed to be happy to run along side the pacer so I didn't feel guilty for taking a free ride. Got to 7k and I figured the pacer was about 25 seconds down on sub 3 pace but I really wasn't too pushed. I figured he'd make it up later and when he did I was going to make it up too. I'd no splits written down or pace bands. I knew most of them anyway but it was a good indicattor of how relaxed I was.

    Km 11-15 (4:10,4:15,4:15,4:16,4:17): 21:13

    Partner didn't return to me until about 12k, just before we left the industrial estate and headed into UL. At which point he lasted about 2k and then had to whizz again! That was the last we would run together. Still at the back of the pace group, still coasting along really. Didn't like running over the Living Bridge in UL, nor running across the quad? area in front of the library. Nice area but not built for marathons

    Km 16-20 (4:15,4:11,4:14,4:13,4:13): 21:06: 20k 1:25:11

    Nothing of note here. Still at back of the pace group. The leading lady was in it so we (she) were getting plenty of cheers. Sun belting down but feeling very relaxed and in control. Wasn't getting ahead of myself here. The plan was simply to stay with the pacer. If I was still there after 20miles then I could begin to think about sub 3.

    Km 21-25 (4:14,4:11,4:00,4:05,4:15): 20:45

    Went through halfway at 1:30:05 But I wasn't worried about this as I knew the pace had upped after the initial slow start. Once we hit traffic from the half and the relay
    pacer hit the turbo boosters! Granted it was downhill, but 4:00 and 4:05 Km's put the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons and by the time things levelled out there was maybe 8 left in the pace group. I'm still feeling good but am no longer sitting at the back of the group now. Right up beside the pacer now.

    Km 26-30 (4:09,4:09,4:12,4:13,4:10): 20:53: 30k 2:06:49

    I'm now coming to terms with the fact that I'm in the middle of a marathon in Limerick and a sub 3 is firmly on the cards!! I'm really bouncing along now. The group has whittled considerably and there's maybe 6 of us left now. I'm telling myself that in less than an hour I'll be done so let's leave it all out on the line.

    Km 31-35 (4:10,4:20,4:11,4:13,4:18): 21:12

    So now I was in the mix. All I wanted from this race was for my body to hold up and to be presented with the chance to bring it home. We're back into city now and there's only me, the lead lady and a couple of others left with the pacer. About 32k, my left foot had developed an absolutely horrendous blister just on the inside of the ball of my foot. It has now split, along with one on my toe and my left shoe now has a red tint to it it's uncomfortable, I'm not going to lie. But there's not chance that a blister is going to derail things.

    Km 36-40 (4:22,4:22,4:29,4:22,4:18): 21:53: 40k 2:49:54

    I figured that I had about 50+ seconds in the bank at this stage bit I knew that the finish had a sting in the tail. The lead lady dropped about 37k and it was just me left with the pacer now. He left me about 39k on the approach to the Gaelic Grounds and put about 15 secs on me. I was tiring now and doubts were beginning to creep in. Sure a 3:01 or 3:02 would still be a good result etc. Passed my partner on the opposite side of the road as I left the Gaelic Grounds. His shout of encouragement really spurred me on here.

    41k to finish (4:29,4:13,0:52)

    In no man's land now. I'm tired and digging deep, but I know that it's there for the taking. There's no way I'm going to let this slip. The legs are aching, my foot is throbbing and in bad shape but Its all manageable. All my training has brought me to this spot and it's time to seal the deal. I summon whatever reserves I have and pull out the last km (4:13). My fastest km since #33 and badly needed at that. 200m out and I know I have it. I've been closing steadily on the pacer for the last km and he's in my sights now, about 20m ahead. Cross the line and I'm pumped. A million different emotions pulse through me at the same time. Sit down, collect my thoughts, wait for my training partner to come in. Once we meet it's pretty emotional. We've both been in each other's position over the last month. Turns out I've ran the exact same time that he ran in Rotterdam, we have a good chuckle at that!

    Finishing Time: 2:59:45 (25 second negative split )

    So 2 and a half years after I ran my first Marathon at DCM 2015 I've ran a sub 3. It seems like I've been running for longer though. It's given me a lot, helped me through a couple of tough spots and given me so much. Onwards and upwards, looking forward to the next challenge

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,340 ✭✭✭TFBubendorfer

    That brings back happy memories! :)

    It's a very old race report by now but I still think this was a) one of my best races where I got as close to my potential (at the time) as possible and b) one of my best race reports. :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,965 ✭✭✭aquinn

    That brings back happy memories! :)

    It's a very old race report by now but I still think this was a) one of my best races where I got as close to my potential (at the time) as possible and b) one of my best race reports. :)

    I really enjoyed that, thanks. What a finish.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,220 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    aquinn wrote: »
    I really enjoyed that, thanks. What a finish.

    +1. It’s a classic, good to read it again.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,068 ✭✭✭BeepBeep67

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos

    Great Limerick Run Sunday 5 May
    Plan: 3:05
    Actual: 2:58:50 Can't stop grinning when I see that

    New Years Eve 2018 I had spent 15 hours on my own in hospital to cap off a frustrating year. I had tried in vain to build a base of fitness twice, only for injuries and illness to kybosh plans. I was discharged mercifully just before midnight and walked the 2 miles home, listening to the fireworks cracking above. I was fragile mentally and physically and deeply unhappy.

    The following day, a calm early spring Tuesday, I entered the marathon and ran the first few of some 900 miles on the plan (more on another post). 18 weeks later I toed the line of the Great Limerick run with my run buddy, Niall.

    Ok, he sure was nervous but now he was late! Had he bailed? It could not have been a more perfect running day, crisp and chilly blue sky and barely a breeze. Niall appeared around the corner jogging and we walked down to the start area, both nervous and excited. Went through the plan. 3:05 is happy days PB for him and good for me too. He has blown up enough times at Limerick. 7 minute miles he said. Just under, I said and we shook on it. We eyed up Dermot in a red Dooneen singlet and a red 3hr pacer balloon. Red for danger! After the Mayor and Regeneron VP speeches we were on countdown.

    Giddy Start!
    Miles 1-3: 6:44, 6:50, 6:42

    Straight away we took off and the pace was hot. Niall immediately called to relax but I said it will settle after Hyde Road. It was cold and we needed to warm up after standing around (as if 26 miles were not enough to do that!), Niall wasn't buying it but grumbled an agreement. I met Caz and the kids at Lidl at the base of a hill we would face three times. She had my white running cap but I chose not to take it, a decision I'd begin to regret at mile 15. Mile 1 (6:44) was a quick opening but the hill would surely slow us down. The 3hr group were starting to form a bunch ahead of us.

    By mile 3 we were downtown and onto the flat riverbank. We were 20m behind the 3hr group but thought they were moving too fast (6:50, 6:42)and we needed to settle down. I knew Dermot was a solid pacer and that group were in good hands, but we had to let them go.

    The Pit Stop
    Miles 4-6: 6:59, 6:57, 6:54

    During mile 4 (6:59) we settled to a more sensible pace and drifted back from the 3hr group. Running through Rhebogue we noticed a large gap back to the 3:15 group and just a few runners between, closer to the 3:15 gang than us. Niall and I were even more grateful for each others company at this point. Problem, I needed a whizz. I waited until I had a chance just after the 5 mile (6:57) mark on a downhill toward the Dublin Road. It was quick, maybe 10-15secs but I lost a fair bit of distance on Niall now who was 30m behind the 3hr group.

    I emerged from the tree and looked back at an empty road. The 3:15 balloons hadn't appeared around the corner yet but Niall was already onto the Dublin Road. Hmm... decision... to slowly reel him in over the next mile which was a tough one, or just go? I went! 200m speed tempo to jump back on. Niall was surprised to see me back so soon and held up a little to let me catch my breath. The 3hr group pushed out to about 50m over the next mile (6:54) up the long drag passed the UL main gate. It was along here we ran over the 10k timing mat that was not 10k. It was closer to 9k. We took our gel and laughed at what people following the tracker must have thought! 39 minute 10k... crazy pace lol

    The Elastic Band
    Miles 7-11: 6:39, 6:51, 6:49, 6:55, 6:58

    We both knew the course and I suggested an elastic band approach to the 3hr group. We didn't consider ourselves part of the group but I wasn't letting them get away too quickly. If the band stretched out we would use a couple of opportunities to hold or reel it in a little. If it snapped and the effort to chase hit the red zone, we would back off and settle back to 7 minute miles. The straight mile down to the roundabout in the Plassey Tech Park was the first opportunity and a (6:39) closed the gap back to 30m. We saw Sergio striding away to the win a mile ahead of the rest.

    At the roundabout before the huge windmill we settled to catch our breath up the long mile pull to the turn at the gate. I recognized a Limerick AC runner giving it guns on the other side of the road but only realized it was swashbuckler too late to roar at him. It was nicely distracting watching the relay runners chase each other and we were at the turn before we knew it.

    The next 4 miles back around UL and onto the riverbank averaged 6:53 and we still hung 30-40m off the back of the 3hr group.

    Miles 12-14: 6:51, 6:56, 6:45

    We had planned to go through halfway on 1:32 but according to Niall we were damned if we did and damned if we didn't! Last year he went through in 1:32 and lost his way in the thick of the half marathon crowd for 2 miles and never got it back, finishing in 3:10. Any faster than 1:31 and we were risking the 3:05. I thought the elastic band would snap on the pull up through town or on mile 14 up the hill by the Barracks. The opposite actually happened. We found ourselves slowly closing the gap to the 3hr group and were just a few seconds behind them going over the halfway mat. Perhaps it was the adrenalin from the support in town which was building. Shouts for Dooneen (I wore a Dooneen singlet too).

    Halfway split: 1:29:57

    On the Barracks road we shortened strides but I could sense Niall's concern over my shoulder. We had been chatty for ages but the work had begun. We were 2 minutes ahead of schedule and a minute over best case scenario. We looked at each other and kind of went oops! But significantly for Niall at least, we were ahead of the half marathon start and a clear road up the hill. We still didn't bridge the gap and held a 30m distance to the 3hr group but close enough to hear Dermot's (the Pacer) calls and advice on breathing, strides, pumping the arms etc.. He was great.

    Mile 14 up the hill was (6:45). I started to share Niall's concern. Had we blown it? It was getting warm and I felt the sun and sweat on my forehead. For now, the heart rate checked out in low Z4. Working.

    Self Talk
    Miles 15-17: 6:38, 6:45, 6:39

    Up Rosbrien Road the next chance for the elastic band to break was the hill by Old Crescent Rugby Club. However this is very familiar territory. I shortened the stride and pumped the arms up the hill and for the first time actually caught the back of the pace group. We descended into Dooradoyle and to my surprise there was Caz and the kids at mile 16 and she had my running cap. Woohoo! The suburbia support was excellent and I got a bit excited on mile 17, reminding myself to breathe, shake the arms down this hill, shorten the strides on this bit etc.. Only I was saying them all out loud! Before I knew it I had a couple of bodies grouped around me.. eh wrong red singlet lads

    The loop up around Dooradoyle brought forward the best possible mid race scenario for me. I had visualised many times being at the top of the hill in Dooradyle with the 3hr pacer in sight at the bottom, within a minute. Except it wasn't a minute, we were now in the 3hr group!

    Teeing it up
    Miles 18-20: 6:46, 6:45, 6:55

    We were motoring back down the Rosbrien Road. The fabulous support really helped on the hill back out of Dooradolye. I had eaten my 3rd gel and drank another H5 caffeine tab, that I dissolved in a bottle. We were right in the pace group now but Niall was at the back. I kept checking on him and he would grunt or say "yeah". I was a bit concerned that I had lead the charge into the 3hr pace group and if we blew up it was on me, but he was still there.

    The hill by Lidl to Punches for the 3rd time hurt and it didn't end until you were around the corner and over it onto O'Connell Avenue. We lost a couple here, thankfully not Niall. Running back down town passed mile 20 I felt great. The heart rate was low 170s, top of Z4 but we were into the last 10k and we had made our bed. We were going to hang on for as long as we could. Worst case scenario was now 3:05.

    Enter the Red Zone!
    Miles 21-23: 6:45, 6:48, 6:47

    The crowds in town were great. On Henry street I actually ran beside the Pacer and another Dooneen runner was just behind us. Loads of shouts for Dooneen and this was the 0.5% boost for representing a club. I felt strong and was even tempted to push on but very quickly binned that crazy idea. It was still a lonnnng way to go. Mile 21 through town and across Sarsfield bridge was fab. So much support, crowds out at the riverfest on a sunny day. It was really uplifting. (6:45) for mile 21 and the Pacer said we had a little bit in the bank. All good!

    Mile 22 (6:48) was similar pace but harder. The beginning of the North Circular Road. On one hand it was only 4 miles to go but on the other, it was maybe the hardest 4 miles on the course. My heart rate was mid 170s, Z5, red zone, pain cave and I ate my last gel too soon. They are heavy GU gels and I had practiced taking them with no water in training. It was quite warm now though and my mouth was sticky. I finally got the water just after the 22 mile mark and washed my mouth as well as dumping water over my head. Exactly why I wore the cap. The shade from the sun and to stop water running into my eyes.

    Mile 23 (6:47) was tough. A long pull around the back of the NSS. I had a tinge of cramp in my left quad but for me, sub3 was on now. The 3hr group was originally a group of 25+ that we were unsuccessfulky avoiding was now a group of 10, including a couple of half marathoners. This exact mile was the last mile of many of my MP tempo workouts which really helped now. I was used to hanging on for this mile. Again I had visualised in traing that if the sub3 came into scope I originally planned to stick with the pacer until Mile 25 and the Gaelic Grounds hill was done and then go. However the left quad now concerned me and for some reason I just started pushing ahead of the pacer at mile 23...

    Torture and Pure Joy
    Miles 24-Finish: 6:39, 6:52, 6:54, 1:38 (400m @ 6:35)

    Mile 24 (6:39) I was now running scared but didn't look back. I emerged onto the Ennis Road ahead of the pacer! The legs felt strong but my left quad was still concerning me. I pressed on, passing a few downhill passed the Gaelic Grounds. I turned the corner by Supermacs and looked at my watch when it beeped for 24m. 2:43 and change. I remembered clearky the moment in Connemara 8 years ago when I did the same after climbing the hell of the West. It was on 2:45 then but it was flat into the finish and I missed the sub3. I had over a minute extra now but two bloody hills to do!

    Mile 25 Torture (6:52) was awful. On the first quiet hill up towards Thomond Park the left quad started to cramp. As a result, as I pushed, the left hip flexor over fired to compensate for it. My left foot was jamming my blistered toes into the shoe and it changed what was a decent stride for 24 miles into something more resembling the hunchback of Notre Dame. I was dragging my left quad up the hill. 2 lads I passed on the Ennis road came passed me again. To my horror the pace dropped too, 7:05, 7:20 and I thought I had gone too early. To make matters worse I looked back and there was the 3hr pace balloon not 40m behind me! I hit a low point thinking I had blown it but during the minute of mental torture I turned right. The hill was done! Ok come on Mike, don't give it up!

    I managed to lengthen the stride a bit to sort of relieve the quad back down behind the Gaelic Grounds. I didn't notice the support or who was on the road around me, it was complete focus. My heart rate was in the low 180s. I don't even hit that on short speed intervals. I was deep inside the pain cave. I shook my arms loose and took a few deep breaths before facing the Gaelic Grounds hill. I psyched myself up for it. I didn't care who passed me as long as they were not carrying a balloon! In fact despite me thinking I was going backwards I was actually passing people on the hill. I was suffering though. Pure and simple and struggling mentally. Then I looked back and the pacer was closing on me. I tried to think clearly amidst the pain. My left quad and hip were in bits but the cramp was low. If I could just latch onto the pacer as he passed I could hang on to the finish. He said he had something in the bank right?

    Again while this battle was going on in my head I reached the top of the hill. My heart rate was 186, near max, but I just kept pushing. Mile 25 clocked (6:52) which surprised me. It felt slower. I didn't lose as much as I thought. I just had to hang on! However, sure enough a red top appeared on my right and my heart sank. It was my lowest moment of the race...

    800m to go and as the red top passed me I realized it wasn't the pacer singlet, it was Niall!! I rejoiced!! Somewhere on that hill he had been the last person with the pacer. Everyone else either fell off or pushed on. Finally after 14 marathons and many sub3 near misses and tears, Niall suddenly believed he could do it and left the pacer. He was eyeballs out and motoring so I latched on, somehow picked up my stride rate and followed his feet for 400m past the Maternity Hospital and onto Sarsfiield bridge.
    Mile 26 (6:54)

    400m to go and I knew too that I was going to get the sub3 today. The noise from the support on the bridge was simply brilliant. I even had some shouts from familiar faces. My quad was on fire and the pain was real but I just had to hold it together. I saw some poor guy on the final corner leaning against the railing cramping. That was nearly me, but not today.

    200m to go and I didn't have Niall's sprint finish but I was still running at 6:35 pace to the line. The noise was amazing, the time on the clock even better. 2:58:50!!

    Niall and I embraced like sugar crazed kids behind the finish line. Pure Joy. We could scarcely believe it. We were sub3ers! Beyond our best expectations The second half was 1:28:53 a negative split of 1:07! That was a first for me too. Just a perfect day. Credit to Dermot Kearns the sub3 pacer too, he was just solid throughout.

    In terms of placing I was
    #74 at 10k,
    #65 at 20k,
    #49 at 30k,
    #33 at 40k,
    #32 at the finish.
    #20 in my Age Category

    I collected my bag and we headed to the Lock Bar before the masses for a burger and some sub3 beers. Boy were they good! I walked the 2 miles home alone, listening to the festival atmosphere around town, enjoying the sunshine and feeling great mentally and physically fit. I was a very very happy man.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,235 ✭✭✭Abhainn

    Some great reads there guys from great athletes

    1st Sub 3. Dublin 2009

    Part 1 -

    Part 2 -

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,165 ✭✭✭AuldManKing

    My 1st Sub3 was a fairly 'mechanical' effort - no drama for a change (apart from TBL doing a runner :) )!

    My 1st sub 3 attempt was a different affair - those 36 seconds.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,991 ✭✭✭Itziger

    Great idea. I've read a couple already and will read a few more later. I'm going to do something a small bit different. I originally posted a Race Report on Boards but I first met online runners on another forum, a much smaller one - and a more irreverent one where anything goes. I'm going to copy and paste my report from there. Some choice words may be edited and I hope the Mods don't give me too much stick A few references may be lost but sure, what harm. I'll do it in two pages cos it may not fit.......

    Ok, 3 days later, wife is out, youngest lad is away and I'm sitting in bed with laptop and wine. Report time!!

    I won't go into the whole shagging story but ye know that this running lark has been going now for about 10 years and the marathon stuff for 6. After a tough introduction in Rotterdam(n) in 2010 I at least had a target to aim for. 3:32. Fast forward and I'm entering Cork earlier this year after lots of ups and downs on the way. Time has come down to 3.03 but not without bumps and bruises. 2016 was a wipeout on the 42k front cos of health and injuries so there was a kind of sense of, can the boy still do it. He's a week short of 52 and the PB is from 18 months ago. Shorter times in 2017 haven't been much. Has the moment gone, has the sub 3 dream passed me by?

    Sure, there's only one way to find out!!! Partly inspired by some on here, I'll avoid naming individuals till the temptation becomes too much, I sign up for my hometown marathon, and find out that there are course changes soon after. Terrier (see!!), the ould bollix, is quick to point out that 'the new bits will cause havoc in the full' and me in the middle of prep. But that prep has gone quite well and while I'm not exactly brimming with confidence I do know that the pieces are falling into place for a decent effort.

    I fly into Cork on Sat morning and go straight to Bib pick up. First bloke I spot hanging around looking suspicious is the shiny new and incredibly thin TimeO himself. I congratulate him on his 2.59 effort in London (Hey, so it's net downhill, but I'm way too nice to mention that!) I have attempted to carb load a little more seriously this time around but I'm also conscious of eating fresh veg and the likes. A meal out in Blarney does the trick, quinoa, noodles, salad and the likes. Big chunk of carrot cake for the not so complex carbs to finish up with. Have a great relaxed afternoon and evening. Feet up watching the Derby, reading and catching the Champs League final. Decent enough sleep in the bedroom of my earliest years! and I'm up for toast (wholewheat) and so on at 6.30. I get into Patrick St at about 8.30. I'm more relaxed than in previous efforts for some reason. Chat briefly to Terrier and do a rudimentary warm up (short glorified jog with a tiny bit at pace). Line up, introduce myself to the pacers who seem very nice lads and tell 'em I once ran with the Barrs some 38 years ago.

    And we're off!! The first few miles are fairly innocuous and there's not much to report. I lose a gel and kinda regret having forgotten my cap. Otherwise all is good. Pace feels fine. But then I lose another ****in' gel and I have to remind myself to remain calm. In fact I consume one of the little buggers before I lose it and decide to carry the other in my hand. It's warm enough already and I begin to sip water and throw the rest over the unprotected head.

    The crowd with the sub 3 pacers are a decent bunch and there's a good bit of water sharing and the likes. First important moment I feel is the tunnel. I notice the drag but it's ok at this stage. The younger of the pacers is advising people to relax, roll the shoulders, take deep breaths. All good. In and around Mahon and onto the walkway by the water. Lovely day now and the breeze is manageable. There's one strange looking young fella running with us who is togged out in lots of fancy gear and has the most exaggerated bounding stride you've ever seen. He falls off the pace every now and again and then comes flying past us a bit later: weird, I think he finished around 3.20 eventually. There was no way he could keep that **** up!. At Halfway, 1.29.20 I believe. The new pacers come in (think Breaking 2) but the first two continue till we get back towards City Hall where they've got their gear anyway. As we'd formed a little bond with these 2 I was initially somewhat wary of the new lads..........

    So, the kms start to tick off. Pace seems to pick up a tad but so far so good. I knew this wouldn't last of course! Past the Idle Hour and Albert Quay/rd. and out towards the dreaded Southside.Now the sub 3 group had dwindled to roughly 12 or 15 from 25 or so earlier. The bump off the Link Rd is very short but also sharp and I know the Tory Top Rd bit is coming up. Sure enough this proves tough but I don't lose much time. Soon after though I begin to lose contact with the group, just a few metres like, but we have a long, long way to go. I get back on and we head towards College/Victoria Cross and that region. The support in the residential area has been good but I'm all about concentrating now.

    I take some flat Coke from my sister before we hit the next drag. I'd heard quite a bit about this Farranlea Rd section and as had been said, if it were in mile 5 you wouldn't take much notice of it but in mile 19 or whatever it was, you certainly do. It's around here that our group of roughly 10 becomes 8+2 and yours truly is in the 2 bit. Let the fun and games begin. The calves are pinging a bit and I think at one stage that they're going to ruin the effort. Thanks be to Christ they never fully develop. Maybe they don't need to though cos now the fatigue is hitting home and the breathing and stride are both becoming more laboured. I notice the bloke I'm running with but we haven't got the physical or mental energy to exchange one word. (Later turns out he's a Boards lad and we're now good buddies on Strava )

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,991 ✭✭✭Itziger

    Part 2........ to Finish

    Around km 34 one of the pacers drops back to us and his day's work begins in earnest. A lot of cajoling from now to Patrick St! I desperately want to get to the turn off Model Farm Rd and start the homeward stretch. I even find the energy to ask him how far to the Lane, 500 yards he says. Good. A slightly weird moment now as I see my bro-in-law, a former Cork hurler and holder of many AIs and All Stars. He's waiting at the last relay stage and I see the look on his face; it's not a positive sign. His look says, '****in' hell, the state of this fella'. It's true that I probably looked shagged here. I was struggling and the pacer's encouragement was really appreciated. He told us we were ahead of target and crucially I noticed the lads in front weren't pulling away. The big question is, would I have left them drift off over the horizon if I'd been on my own here??? Very hard to know. At the very least I'd have bled 30 seconds more making for a super interesting last km!

    Now the concentration is in full survival mode. Mind starts to wander a bit and the temptation to slow is there but I fight the bloody thing and I think this is especially where the home factor and the family factor kick in. I have loads of sisters, brothers in law, brother, nephews and so on supporting me. I know the Ma will be at the finish line too. I remember thinking on the Straight Rd, Jesus lad, this is the big chance. If you don't do it here and now there's a massive possibility that you never will. One tiny moment of humour as the pacer's balloon pops on a thorn bush in Inchagaggin Lane. ****, says he, before adding, ah sure ye know who I am by now!

    And then it's the Straight Rd. I had been desiring this. Breeze at the back, pancake flat, heading in the right direction. The emotion wasn't kicking in yet but I was swaying from confident to desperate every ten yards!Pacer was giving it some now all the time but wasn't doing our heads in either. Positive stuff with the odd 4-letter word to help us focus.
    I think it was about mile 24 when I first thought I'm going to do this. It's not that I was feeling good but I believe I realised that I was (just) capable of keeping this up for another 3k or so. Into the Mardyke, onto Sli Cumann na Man and when I hit The North Mall I knew I had it. Back in my college days, and they were many (1982/90), I'd almost always walk down the Rock Steps that bring you onto the North Mall. It's a part of the city I have always liked. I knew there was a km to go from there to finish and I had a rare look at the watch: 2.55 and nothing. Without looking at the pace I also knew that I wasn't going that slowly. Oh, man, I am ****ing going to do this once I don't fall or capsize or hit an oncoming vehicle or something.

    Across the bridge, we are reeling in a guy from the little bunch ahead and meself, the Boardsie and the pacer are still together!! Looking at the splits my last full km says 4.05 so I guess we picked it up a little bit. That would explain how we went from 30 secs in hand to 50 by the end. I notice the speed bumps but there ain't no stopping me now. Around South Main St onto Washington St..... Daunt's Square.... Patrick St. **** it them bends mean you can't see the finish line till the last 50 metres. The 'other' pacer has dropped back to us and slightly bizarrely kinda guides me home with his hand on my back, kidney area as you might move a partner into a room at a party!

    I hear some shouts and applause but really I hear nothing. I'm in a pure world of my own. I know it's done, heck I even see the clock saying 2.59.12 or whatever as I approach the line. I try to high five/shake hands with/fist bump the pacer but nothing quite works out. I manage a smile, a clench of the fist but nothing much else.

    And then I stop. I'm wobbly but ok. A few ask me if I need aid but I say no, I'm fine. I walk on and succumb to the emotion for a few seconds, a few sobs is all. I thank the pacers, congratulate a couple of runners and then I meet up with my Mam on the other side of the fence. Someone takes a pic.

    I think the most dominant emotion, not surprisingly, was relief. Relief and pride. I did what I had set out to do, knowing that I had tried and failed quite a few times already. What would another failure have meant? Would I have thrown my hat at this game.....But no, I had suffered but this time I had stuck at it. It wasn't too pretty but who gives a ****e about that! I'll try pretty next time around.

    Now, there's a lot more to say. A lot more I could say but I think I'll leave it at that. This thread and the merry band of brothers that have formed around it has meant a lot to me these last few years. I've learned a lot, made some friends and have been touched by the comments here since Sunday.

    Now, I'm going to have a drop of whiskey. Scotch. Good night.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,991 ✭✭✭Itziger

    Abhainn wrote: »

    How in the name of Bejaysus does a body run 2.47 on their sub 3 attempt?!?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,235 ✭✭✭Abhainn

    Itziger wrote: »
    How in the name of Bejaysus does a body run 2.47 on their sub 3 attempt?!?

    I had just failed year earlier in Berlin - 3:01:00, failed to take a gel last 5k but that was an improvement of 13 mins over DCM 08.

    So the fact that I did Conn ultra in 2009 where I prepared with back to back long runs and Half IM training in the summer helped DCM 09:)

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos

    Abhainn wrote: »

    So the fact that I did Conn ultra in 2009 where I prepared with back to back long runs and Half IM training in the summer helped DCM 09:)

    Hmm.. so the extended base we are all building at the moment will yield significant PBs :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 122 ✭✭spc78

    Hmm.. so the extended base we are all building at the moment will yield significant PBs :D

    We'll all come out of isolation after a proper base building period, brandishing new Alphaflys and the PB's will tumble!! But Nike will take 100% of the credit :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,383 ✭✭✭Laineyfrecks

    Itziger wrote: »
    Part 2........ to Finish

    I hear some shouts and applause but really I hear nothing. I'm in a pure world of my own. I know it's done, heck I even see the clock saying 2.59.12 or whatever as I approach the line. I try to high five/shake hands with/fist bump the pacer but nothing quite works out. I manage a smile, a clench of the fist but nothing much else.

    And then I stop. I'm wobbly but ok. A few ask me if I need aid but I say no, I'm fine. I walk on and succumb to the emotion for a few seconds, a few sobs is all. I thank the pacers, congratulate a couple of runners and then I meet up with my Mam on the other side of the fence. Someone takes a pic.

    I think the most dominant emotion, not surprisingly, was relief. Relief and pride. I did what I had set out to do, knowing that I had tried and failed quite a few times already. What would another failure have meant? Would I have thrown my hat at this game.....But no, I had suffered but this time I had stuck at it. It wasn't too pretty but who gives a ****e about that! I'll try pretty next time around.

    Now, there's a lot more to say. A lot more I could say but I think I'll leave it at that. This thread and the merry band of brothers that have formed around it has meant a lot to me these last few years. I've learned a lot, made some friends and have been touched by the comments here since Sunday.

    Now, I'm going to have a drop of whiskey. Scotch. Good night.

    Great report & Time D!

    My faith in humanity is restored ;)

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,991 ✭✭✭Itziger

    Great report & Time D!

    My faith in humanity is restored ;)

    Hehe, I always have a bit of a sob. Some say I'm human deep down.......

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,383 ✭✭✭Laineyfrecks

    Itziger wrote: »
    Hehe, I always have a bit of a sob. Some say I'm human deep down.......

    A sob & a smile... as a known smiler & sobber, i feel we may be kindred spirits haha

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,415 ✭✭✭Singer

    My body hasn't really been the same since this damn thing, but it was worth it - my sub-3 DCM 2019 report :) It features one or two references to other runners.


    An epic race report should have something deep and meaningful in it, right? A marathon race report is an opportune right moment to reflect on life’s bigger concerns other than whatever pace a session was run at and what podcast was being listened to on an easy run. Why run at all? What does it mean? I know that it’s good for me physically, socially and mentally but I don’t really have any answers to the existential questions. I do have a load of boring detail to write about the best race of my running career though, so I’ll just write all that up. There was a bit of emotion before and after the race but unfortunately for the narrative of this race report the race itself wasn’t very dramatic, although it was in the magnificent setting of DCM.

    This year I found myself for the first time with a set of race results that indicated that a sub-3 marathon was achievable and so I committed to going for it. Running a lot of miles and running the sessions from a half-decent plan at 2:55 pace seemed both achievable and the conservative way to go about going under 3 hours. Despite running relatively a lot of miles, my race times at 5k/10k have always been better than longer distances and this year was pretty much all 5k/10k type training. Tempo running was probably a weakness for me, and the Hanson plan seemed relentlessly focussed on this. The book and related blog posts provided enough wiggle room for commutes, extra miles etc. (though not occasional fast-ish parkruns). I did obsess a lot over the marathon for the last few months, which was good for motivation but probably bad for my stress levels. Bloody marathons.

    The preamble

    I got very little sleep the night before. I couldn’t stop thinking about the marathon which got the adrenaline going and as time passed I was getting even more stressed about still being awake. I think I last looked at the clock after 3AM, and that’s after the clock went back. My alarm went off at 6AM but I was already awake, so less than 3 hours sleep which is far from ideal but whatever.

    I gave the kids breakfast, threw a couple of cans of beer into my bag, had a bowl of muesli, drank some fruit juice and had a beetroot shot. My taxi arrived just before 7, dropping me off at College Green. I love the buzz around town on marathon morning. I put on some Godspeed! You Black Emperor, walked up Grafton St. and started to get a little emotional. Thankfully I then met crockmac who had just hopped off the Luas. A couple of coffees were procured at Starbucks and we strolled over to an office building on the other side of Fitzwilliam Square where Crusaders and runners from Bray congregate. I met nop98 there and we exchanged well wishes and took a selfie After the obligatory club photo on the steps outside the building,I did a brief enough warmup with crockmac, which was just a slow km before heading to the pen and then a another two minutes of at the side of Fitzwilliam Square in wave 1. It wasn’t really much of a wamup but I didn’t want my legs to be completely cold at the start.

    I shuffled up kind of beside the 3:10 pacers but a bit behind the 3:00 pacers. I took my first ever Maurten gel just before the start, it was a little weird and chewy but no problems going down. Off went all of my sacrificial clothing items a good few minutes before the start as it wasn’t as cold as I was expecting.

    The amble: (6:43, 6:51, 6:58, 6:49, 6:48, 6:45, 6:44)

    It was unsurprisingly pretty busy and it was difficult to not get dragged along by the crowd. Running the racing line was not realistic for the first few miles, though I did avoid jumping around the place. I had the strange sensation of realising “I am actually running a marathon” and “I am actually running *THE* marathon that I’ve trained so much for”, and it was a bit surreal. I took a bottle at the first water station and drank it all. Soon after I met a guy from Rivervalley parkrun on the North Circular Road, pretty much the same place as I meant him last year. We chatted for a bit but parted ways on Chesterfield, as I was running a different line to him. He was targeting around 3:05 and was noting that the 3 hour pacers seemed to be fast. I got a few shouts on Chesterfield including from aquinn and a few club folks. From the first few miles my watch was already over 0.1 miles out from the official mile markers, I put it down to GPS madness but could have also been due to running long thanks to the crowds. I shoved another gel into me on Chesterfield, a Gu Double Expresso thing which was like eating a chewable coffee jelly. There were three sub-3 pacers ahead of me, the two running together were pulling off a good bit into the distance and one was a lot closer to me. As always, the atmosphere going through Castleknock was amazing, you get to feel like a real sports star for a minute and you’re still feeling good enough to enjoy it! I caught up with James and Catherine from the club just after Myos and we had a brief chat before I moved on. I knew they were both also going for sub-3 and were well positioned but I was running my own race and made no excuses when I moved on ahead.

    Klowning around (6:31, 6:32, 6:22, 6:48, 6:28, 6:36)

    I naturally sped up on the way back down into the park, but effort levels remained constant. I noticed that there was a guy in fancy dress just ahead of me. Really? What sort of joker has gone out at sub-3 pace in a clown costume, no doubt about blow up in any moment? Hmm, that looks like a Simpsons costume? IT’S KRUSTY_CLOWN!!! Instantly recalling that Krusty had posted on the DCM thread that he was gonna run around 3 hours and enjoy it, I put two and two together. I made my way over and reintroduced myself (I had chatted to him once a few years ago in McGrattans after my DCM 2016 DNF) and we had a bit of chit chat. He said some very nice and positive things about my sub-3 chances at the time, which may or may not have been true but coming from Krusty during the marathon gave me a good boost

    Generally though things remained fairly focussed and boring. I had to remind myself to look over the city skyline when running through the park. The effort level was locked in, and it was just a case of running the miles. I worked my way through the group with the lone 3:00 pacer and started to slowly play catchup to the group of two. Back on the Southside now, I slowed things down to a laughable pace going up the two hills under the bypass and rail line content to see everybody stream plod on past me. The support at Kilmainham was sensational and I was smiling a lot from there until after the canal. I was moving well and easily catching up to the pacers, and reckoned I’d pass them out by half-way as vaguely planned though I knew that they were going reasonably fast. Going up the Crumlin Road had a bit of wind in our faces so I was happy to hide in a group for a while. As we made it to half way the clock had 1:28:30 or so on it, though in reality my time was actually 1:28. A bit faster than I’d planned but I didn’t feel like I had done any damage for now. Some fatigue was starting to kick in and I realised that I was already well over what I had done at MP in training but felt nowhere near what I felt towards the end of those sessions. Maybe that training plan was on to something with emphasising running at MP when fatigued as a good way to train for a marathon.

    Movin’ on up: (6:48, 6:35, 6:29, 6:31, 6:28, 6:27, 6:33)

    Time to move into nosebleed territory, past the fastest pacers. Maybe it was because I was working hard and being all serious and stuff, but things felt a lot more focussed up here. I guess there were club women running for decent scoring positions and maybe more at stake. The crowds seemed to get a bit quieter the further I moved up, I guess the pace groups raise the atmosphere though there were fellow runners encouraging the crowd from time to time. The drag after half way was noticeable and I slowed down a bit, but once it was done with I clicked back into sub-6:40 pace without having to push things too hard. Around mile 16 effort levels started to noticeably rise, it was no longer as easy but I still wasn’t planning on slowing down as I wanted to take advantage of the few remaining faster miles. I was giving occasional shout outs to other runners who were running strong and did run with short lived groups but was generally hopping from group to group. At one stage a kid had a hand stuck out and I thought it was for a high five so I smashed my hand off of his, hurtling a jelly that was actually being generously tendered into oblivion. I was continuing to take water in at every station, and was munching a few “Margarita” flavour with electrolytes Clif Shot Bloks. Around mile 17 I took a caffeinated Maurten gel which went down easily which was basically the last fuel I took onboard (other than some Lucozade Sport at mile 22 which was spilled all over the place). It was great getting on to the road alongside Bushy Park which is just fabulous to run on with a nice downhill, but also soon afterwards I was on familiar territory and getting ready to attack the end. I’d stuck “2:07” in my head as being a safe time to go over the 30k timing mat at, so going over it in 2:05 an a bit meant that I knew that I was ahead of target. Honestly my math on the course was pretty dreadful, I wasn’t paying much attention to paces or figuring out where I was at. You’d think that with all the obsessing about the marathon that when running I’d be all over this, but I never bothered looking at the 3:00 paceband while running and just kind of focussed on… well, not thinking about much at all really.

    The end game: (6:35, 6:46, 6:36, 6:43, 6:49, 6:59, (6:30 pace))

    Not only was I tired, I was starting to get sore. I had some pain in my right quad which was grinding any positivity away. I wasn’t watch watching, more keeping myself in check with the runners around me, generally I had been moving through the field though this was starting to slow down. The splits look way better than they felt at the time, I was pretty much resigned to just trying to run at sub-3 pace and not bleeding any buffer time away. Coming up through Clonskeagh I made a move across a Raheny runner to keep on the racing line and got briefly given out to. It was probably a bit close, and everybody was getting tired. I apologised a couple of times and we ran beside each other along with some brief motivational chit-chat for a bit so I think we were friends by the end of it. Roebuck mountain was a fun bump that signified the end of the annoying minor hills. The downhill wasn’t great though as my quads were sore, so there was no massive speed up. As we got closer back to the city centre there were increasing numbers of Crusaders supporters so got more and more shouts which by now was very appreciated. Some negative thoughts started to pop up: Slow down to easy pace! Why not stop and take a break? The leg pain was causing a bit of suffering, I was able to recognise it a bit for what it was, but it was an tough, weary battle and I was starting to go downhill. Still though, it was hard not to occasionally smile and I started to get more shouts from club members including a particularly enthusiastic encouraging me to battle for every position as it was a championship race. Slowly, the end came closer and as the finishing gantry became visible I was able to pick things up a bit. I even got into the spirit of things and did some ludicrous arm waving and shouting. The clock was well under 3. I’d visualised this a lot so it was worth celebrating the moment and nobody would judge me for making an eejit out of myself

    Mid-2:55, jaysus. I didn’t run any surprisingly fast miles, I ran what I trained for, but it was still around the threshold of what I thought I could run. There was a fade towards the end which was disappointing but not a total disaster.

    The postamble

    Finishing a marathon is pretty surreal. Going from a singular focus at maximum intensity to nothing is like… now what? That’s it? You can’t anticipate the exhaustion and emptyness that occurs at the end before you recover from the race. There were plenty of smiles as I creaked my way up to the medal and had a few euphoric chats with strangers as if we were all on MDMA. I popped back over to the Cru building, got dressed and got my stuff together and then ended up drinking my cans of beer and some champagne out of paper cups with another club mate and his other half. I had a pint with some club folk before heading off to McGrattans where I was kind of drunk, but at least I remembered to eat this time. It was fun keeping up with the reaction on Strava etc. After I got home I couldn’t go to sleep until quite late as I was still quite wired.

    The day after

    My right quad remains quite sore, I’ve got a blood blister on one of my left toes and my right elbow is aching. There are other aches and pains, but I’ve been far worse in the past, especially after races like Run The Line. I might try a jog tomorrow or Wednesday and see what happens. I’m utterly thrilled with how it went and even though it was actually kind of boring and executional it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I probably could have run a little bit more conservatively and that could have made a difference towards the end, so maybe there were 30 seconds more that could have been squeezed out on the day. Pain management is hard though, and not something I really dealt with on the training plan. It doesn't help that my last race was way back in May! Still a good return on the training overall.

    I plan to spend the next few years telling people the way to run 2:55 involves doing loads of slow running in and around 9:00 pace. Future novices and sub-3 prospects will be sick of me bringing this up!

    The boring stuff

    Here’s my race by the numbers. That damn 40k timing mat exposes some serious time bleeding!

    Distance Time Position Predicted finish
    10k 42:42 911 3:00:09
    20k 01:23:39 639 2:56:28
    Half 01:28:00 625 2:56:00
    30k 02:04:37 450 2:55:16
    40k 02:45:54 389 2:55:00
    Finish 02:55:27 397

    Fuel wise, I had a bottle of Lucozade Sport finishing it around 45 minutes before the race. Then a gel before the start, a gel at 5 miles, half a pack of Bloks and another Maurten gel. I picked up water at most stations but didn’t bother from mile 17 or so. I had a mouthful of Lucozade Sport when given out on the course but didn’t slow down and it mostly ended up all over me. I ended up with three gels and half a pack of Bloks uneaten at the end, but I could also feel the sugar just sitting in my stomach and didn’t feel that topping it up would be useful. Last year I threw up a load of undigested gel gloop at the end of DCM so most of my eating was ineffective. I’m not gonna go full Enduro but in future I’ll probably stick to a minimal gel intake, and the Maurten ones seem like good candidates for this.

    Thank you

    Even though the vast majority of running that I do is solitary and mostly as boring commutes, it enables me engage into various communities (parkrun, Crusaders and here) is an essential part of my identity these days. I’m not competitive or anything, but as a hobby it’s very fulfilling. Of those communities, this one is the most influential and meaningful to me. I couldn’t have run anything like this without you all (including many former posters who will never read this), so thank you. This community is great to be part of. It changes, of course, but that's life. I wouldn't be half the runner I am without it.


    Ever since I read TFB’s first sub-3 race report many years ago, I’ve always wanted to write this.

    When I was brushing my teeth this morning, I looked into the mirror and saw a sub-3 marathon runner looking back at me :cool:

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,566 ✭✭✭djemba djemba