It’s been over a week since my last post – it would be an understatement to say that I was a little distracted last week thinking about the looming marathon. I hope to get back to posting recipes this week as my stiff and sore legs recover. The good news is: I did it! I ran a marathon yesterday. Here are a few photos from the weekend, taken by Matt, the most supportive hubsy on planet earth.
Here I am, looking nervous, realizing that I’m really going to run a marathon in 2 days. A few weeks ago I had a dream that it was the day of the marathon and I had forgotten to pick up my race number! I didn’t forget.
The race organizers advised us to wear a garbage bag to the race so you can just take it off and throw it away at the start and then you don’t have to check a bag. I biked to the Luas (a train) and took that into town. I decided not to bike all the way in to the start because I didn’t know if I would be able to bike home afterwards. I’m really glad I didn’t bike all the way in!
It was really busy on the Luas and at the start. I planned to get there early so I would have time to go to the bathroom and get lined up – but everyone else also planned to do this. I found the section where I was supposed to start and then went to find a toilet. There were some toilets on an adjacent street, but there were only 5 and there were already at least 50 people lined up! I waited in line for at least 30 minutes and made it to the starting line just in time. The garbage bag really did help keep me warm.
I started at the front of wave 2 – the section for runners aiming to finish in 3:45 – 4:15. I really had no idea how long it would take me when I was registering so I figured this time zone would be a safe bet. I’m glad that I was able to start right at the front of wave 2 because the crowd thinned out really quickly and I had lots of space to run without having to weave in and out to dodge other runners. It probably would have been slower starting at the back of wave 1. I felt really great at the beginning – it felt so surreal to finally be running the marathon. It was such a different experience to be running down the middle of the empty streets with no traffic – usually the city centre is packed with traffic. I tried to take it easy and not go too fast at the start; however, I decided not to look at my watch at all or try to keep track of my pace so I was just gauging it by how I felt. At the time it felt nice and easy, not too fast.
By the time I got to the 10 km mark in Phoenix Park, the clock read 59 minutes – I couldn’t believe I had already been running for an hour! But because I started in wave 2, it was actually only 49 minutes – I knew that I was running pretty fast but I still felt good so I just kept going. At the 10 mile mark I checked my watch just to see how fast I was going – 1:19! I did the 10 mile race in August in 1:18. I knew that I was probably going too fast. When I did the 10 mile race I felt like I was really pushing it and I didn’t feel like that at the 10 mile mark in the marathon so I decided to just go with it and not force myself to slow down.
It felt great getting to the halfway point – I still felt really strong and the clock read 1:45. If I could keep up my pace I’d finish in 3:30. After about mile 14 I started to get a bit bored, I find running and training for a marathon as much of a mental battle as a physical one. I knew Matt was going to be waiting for me outside of our house at mile 20 so I tried to focus on getting myself there. Miles 14 – 20 kind of flew by – I must have managed to think about something other than running. I was so excited to see Matt waiting for me. He took some pictures and handed me a water bottle and ran with me for a little while. It was nice to chat to him for a few minutes and then I waved good-bye and kept going. He headed into town to meet me at the finish line.
There was one small hill just past our house that I have run up a thousand times. I knew it was going to be hard but I slowly managed to get to the top. At about mile 21 my legs started to get really stiff and sore – I decided to briefly walk through a water station and stretch my legs for a few seconds. I started running again and it took everything in me to convince myself to keep running to the finish – I really wanted to walk. The last 5 miles were definitely the longest and the hardest – my legs did not want to go any further. I somehow managed to slowly finish without stopping to walk again. I was amazed by the people who were speeding up at the end to get across the finish line – I had nothing left – it was all I could do to just keep running.
I couldn’t believe the relief I felt crossing the finish line – I almost burst into tears – but managed to hold them back until I found Matt! My time was 3:39. I could hardly walk after finishing – I had to walk so so slowly to get around Merrion Square. Everything was sore and I was dying to sit down but at the same time I knew if I sat down I wouldn’t be able to get back up. I found Matt and changed into dry clothes and we walked to BoBo’s Burgers for a celebration feast!
Overall it was an amazing experience for me – I loved it! I can’t believe it’s over now – it feels like a dream now after the months of training and preparing. Even though I only missed qualifying for Boston by 4 minutes, I’m still really happy with my time. I went for a little bike ride this morning and tried to walk around a bit to loosen up my legs. I also had a nap this afternoon and now I’m waiting for the groceries to be delivered so I can go to bed. Back to my hospital placement tomorrow!