This time last week I had resiged myself to not being able to race Dublin this year, having picked up an injury the week after the Cork to Cobh 15 miler. It had completely halted my running for a full 2 weeks and when I finally did try to run seven days out from the race, I noticed that the original problem was still causing discomfort. To make matters worse I had now caused pain other in my other leg by doing other forms of training in an attempt to maintain soe fitness. I had been generally struggling to string together any consistent training since the Lakeland 100 for a host of different reasons and my body was clearly now telling me I needed a break. However I was travelling to Dublin anyway to cheer on my brother, Eoin who was tackling his first marathon and I packed my gear with the intention of hitting the hills of Dublin and Wicklow at some stage over the weekend.
I called to Eoin's place on Sunday afternoon to take him over to the Expo and Registration in the RDS, and to collect race packs for Ray, my boss and his friend. So I said to myself I may as well collect my own nmber and some of the useless stuff they throw in race packs. As soon as I walked in to the RDS and saw so many excited and anxious runners, my mood began to change. I began to convince myself that one ore race this year couldn't hurt and I could start my break from the 1st of November. Never have I chopped and changed my mind so many times in the space of 24 hours in my life. But the Expo had now made my mind up for me and I decided to give it a las and pick up the peces afterwards.
I cycled in to Pearse Street early on Monday morning and met up with 200 other Gardaí all running in matching singlets and black ribbons in memory of the late Garda Ciaran Jones who tragically lost his life in the flooding the previous week, while trying to help stranded motorists. It was a poignant moment as we paused in silence to remember him before we set off for the start line.
The weather was strangely mild and the rain had somehow held off for the moment at least. I knew it was going to be a difficult day but I was just glad to be able to line up, especially with the company of so many colleagues at the front of a huge group of over 14,000 runners. I had hoped to get over the line in 2.45 befoe I picked up the injury but I now decided to run as I felt at a particular moment and forget about pacing and I think it was a wise decision. When I felt god I tried to run at a decent pace and when I no longer felt good I ran as fast as I could. After 5 miles my calves had begun tightening and I knew that whatever else happened during the race, I was going to be walking funny for a few days after this one.
I went through halfway in 1.25 and was feeling ok. It was a strange feeling running along and not really caring about the time on the clock, as the priority became just finishing and still being able to walk afterwards. The support along the way great, considering the weather, and every so often we would turn a corner and be met by large crowds shouting encouragement. This helped to take my mind off the pain, as did the various halloween costumes on view by other runners and supporters alike. By mile 18 I noticed that I didnt seem to breathing too hard and I felt I should be able to up the pace. But for some reason my legs just didn't want to do it. They refused to go any quicker and I just had satisfy myself with keeping them moving. The last 2 miles are always really enjoyable in Dublin as the crowds grow in strength and the streets narrow, creating a great buzz of excitement and it serves to push you on for the final few hundred yards.
I crossed the line in 2.52.36 and immediately the Rigor Mortis set in. I hobbled through the finish area and met up with some of the lads who had all run really well and were buzzing with excitement. I then caught a glimpse of Grellan being wheeled in to the medical tent. He looked to be pretty shot and it was then that it dawned on me that he was wearing the Eagle club singlet instead of the pacer's gear and must have been in close to the 3 hour mark. So I figured he must have gone for the Sub 3 afterall. Great stuff!! I asked one of te medics if I could go in and check on him but she politely told me where to go. Anyway he was fine and probably fancied a free ride through the finish area!!
After I collected my gear, I made my way back to where my parents, cousin and my brother's girlfriend were standing. We were ready to cheer Eoin on for his run in to the finish. And he didn't disappoint as he came in under the 4 and a half hour mark to cap a very enjoyable day out in the Capital.