I had the most amazing time running Dublin! Wonderful atmosphere, super support the whole way around the course, just a total blast!!
Dublin fell only 6 weeks after Sydney marathon, and truth be told I barely covered any kilometres in training that whole time. It took me a month after setting my PB in Sydney before I felt semi-normal again, had one week of good running, and then a week of taper. My longest run was 10 miles - much much less that I would normally want to run before a marathon. But I wasn’t worried, because Dublin was not going to be a race, or even an accidental fast-run like Sydney. I even had a plan to make sure I didn’t go crazy with the speed: dress in costume!
I ordered from Amazon: an orange tutu, orange fairy wings, orange shorts (worn over black ones), 3 pairs of orange socks (the first ones were the wrong colour, and then I couldn’t decide between the next 2), orange arm sleeves, orange lipstick and a length of orange ribbon. This combined with my orange ‘Julia’ shirt, orange sportsbra, orange nail polish and orange Nike Lunarglide 7s meant I was dressed head-to-toe in my favourite colour - and ready to run.
Three guesses as to my favourite colour
The Dublin Marathon takes you all the way around the city - first west to run around Phoenix Park, then looping to the east before heading in to finish in the city centre again. Most of it is through not-that-interesting residential areas, but this meant that there were lots of people standing outside their houses cheering all the way.
My race plan was as follows: 10km/h for as long as possible, and then 27/3 or 18/2 or 9/1 run/walk split as necessary for the rest of the race. By my calculations I would come in somewhere around the 4:15 mark, and this time was wearing my watch to make sure that I stuck to the plan. I also put myself towards the back of my green start group (3:35 - 4:05) to make sure I wouldn’t go out too fast.
Our wave was due to start at 9:10, so I was a bit surprised when we started walking forwards at ~9:03. As it turned out, there was still a distance to cover by foot before the startline, and the pens were simply a method of reducing congestion at the start. On the way I saw Emma from Advent Running (who went on to set a PB!) and gave her a quick hug.
Because of the long walk to the start, I barely noticed that I had now officially begun the marathon. My pace was gentle, the wings were nowhere near as much a nuisance as I had expected, it was all good except… my orange shorts kept falling down! It was super annoying - I could feel them creeping towards my knees and off my butt and must have pulled them up 3 or 4 times before deciding to ditch them with a mile run. Goodbye £6 ‘Adidas’ Amazon shorts - you were orange, but you sucked.
Come on, favourite colour: two guesses left
Now less orange, but much more comfortable, I set off again along the course. The whole way along I felt in control, and the experience has blurred into one memory of running and waving and listening for people cheering my name and smiling and generally ignoring the distance.
I cannot express just how amazing the crowd was on this course: every few seconds there was someone yelling out ‘GO JULIA’ and between the large crowds of people every few hundred metres there were still people dotted about calling out, clapping and cheering. I was also in a fabulous mood & would convince the crowd to cheer more loudly as I ran past by waving my arms around - that plus the orange fairy costume definitely got people going! It was a truly magical experience.
I came through the first 10km in 59 mins (almost on target, yes!) and then the next in ~57 mins (not bad!) - and had not stopped once other than for the shorts incident. In fact, I really didn’t want to stop at all - I had found a rhythm & was quite happy sticking to it. That the water stops were providing water in bottles was also a great help, as I didn’t need to worry about spilling it everywhere.
My boyfriend Sye was waiting just past the 20km mark so I stopped and hugged him for a minute. I nearly missed him in amongst all the cheering at the point where he was standing! but glad that I did. We had a quick chat and he topped up my lipstick (very important!), and then I ran off again. Through the halfway point in ~2:04.
“You’re looking rather swish” a lady says as I run past. “Why, I feel swish” I respond.
The worst point of the marathon came between mile 19 and 20 - that mile dragged on forever. I did manage to convince myself to stick it out until mile 21 where there would be a water+gel stop and I could take a quick walk break. (Of course, the stop actually came at mile 21.5…). Upon walking I could feel the ache in my legs to remind me that I was indeed running a marathon, but after a minute I was back running again with less than 5 miles to go.
Past 22 miles I was felt like I was gliding along. I was having such a blast with the crowd and there really wasn’t far to go now. I even remember thinking to myself that I didn’t want this run to end: I could have happily continued on for many more miles if people were going to continue shouting out and cheering as much as they were.
Last guess! My farouite colour is…
I managed to reach my arranged meeting point with Sye (25 miles) at exactly the time I had said to him, but couldn’t find him in the crowd! That lead to some hectic side-to-side scanning until I eventually located him another half-mile down the road. Another hug, more lipstick and now there was only a kilometre or so left in it!
The cheering had been insane the whole way around, but that final stretch was something else again. With blue carpet underfoot I ran and waved and then jumped over the finish line: Dublin Marathon complete in 4:08:23!
ORANGE! (BTW - this is definitely the way to cross a finish line. Sorry Vinitz, you need some practice)
All in all it was an incredible event in a super friendly city. I fell asleep still hearing ‘GO JULIA’ playing over and over in my mind. I felt easy and comfortable in my running, and although it was the slowest marathon I have ever run, it was also one of the best experiences ever.
10/10, would recommend.
Dublin Marathon gets two thumbs up from me!!
New bling bling woop woop