I was eating more sweets than a six-year old on Halloween. Who can focus on getting a good time or even running a marathon when at every corner there is an Irish person cheering and handing out gummy bears? A water bottle in one hand and a handful of gummy bears in the other while yelling at the crowds with my brother is how I will remember The Dublin City Marathon.
There are only four people who care how fast I ran the marathon (and I’m not one of them), so I won’t bore you with speed, pacing, time goals etc. The bottom line: 4:31. This one was different. This one was for fun. We planned it to be an adventure among brothers to see the country and throw in a marathon as a little icing on the cake. And that is what we did.
When I say run a marathon for fun I mean suffer for fun and leading up to the race it seemed as if suffering would include cold, rainy, windy miserable weather. We woke up early on Monday for the marathon at the house of our Irish friend Claire. She wanted to feed us a proper fry, a breakfast consisting of bacon, sausage, eggs, beans, and a tomato, but we insisted on having a piece of toast with jam and a bottle of Lucozade (The European Gatorade-type drink). We piled in Claire’s car and headed downtown. I traveled over to Ireland with my brothers Travis and Brett. Brett came to run the marathon with me and Travis came to support us and cheer us on.
Fifteen thousand people flocked into downtown Dublin and we were thankful we did not have to take the train or the bus into the city since we would have surely ended up far from the start. Claire kept us from chaos by dropping us off a block away from the start of the marathon.
It was chilly and drizzling with rain. We were ready to run an agonizing, depressing rain marathon. The thoughts of the chaffing alone almost brought me to tears. I couldn’t tell my brothers that the thought of a rainy marathon didn’t sound fun so instead I kept thinking of the IronMan champion Macca’s mantra to “Embrace the suck”. However an hour before the marathon the rain began to stop and cool clouds rolled in. The weather became pretty much perfect.
Travis was long gone by this time and Brett and I were surrounded be strangers, most of which were Europeans in spandex running shorts. It was still chilly and with 30 minutes before the beginning of the race we decided to duck into a cafe and grab a hot chocolate. You would think with over fifteen thousand runner the cafe would be packed, but it wasn’t we sat and sipped on hot chocolate and mentally prepared for the drama ahead.
Then we were off. The first miles we slow because we were weaving between people. Wait let me rephrase that… The entire race was slow because we are…. Well slow. But that didn’t matter. We spent mile after mile yelling at the crowds!
“Come on crowd. You got this! Only four more hours!”
“Looking good crowd. Looking fresh and ready to tackle more miles”
“Stay focused crowd!”
I wasn’t kidding about the gummy bears. They wear everywhere. What was also interesting was instead of cups of water at water stations mini water bottles were handed out. This helped the tendency to want to stop and drink. We could stay in stride and gooooooo.
We met a twenty-four year old Irish gal name Caroline around mile three or four and talked with her for miles. We were called loud Americans, which surprised me. We kept asking her where the Irish train since the roads are so narrow and have no shoulder at all. She had no real answer, but maybe it is a secret because the Irish are FAST.
I started to embrace the suck around mile 22. The marathon wasn’t extremely hilly, but they were rolling hills and my quads began to tighten up and cramp up a little towards the end. Then I literally started laughing at myself and thought “you pay to suffer like this… Get your money’s worth”. It was then that I pressed forward.
Sometimes you just run. You don’t think. You don’t plan. You don’t come up with a strategy. You just put one foot in front of another. I was alone yet surround by strangers. Brett and I loss sight of each other around the halfway point of the race. I was hoping to see him again, but by mile 24 I was thinking I may not see him until the end. I just kept running. The last few miles looked like The Walking Dead. People were in pain and were showing it. A lot of people were walking, but I kept on pushing forward.
Mile 25 was the highlight. Travis my youngest brother was there cheering me on and yelling at me. He spent the entire day walkin around the entire city of Dublin and catching the sites. In fact he walked over 13 miles before meeting is at the end. He took some picture and told me to keep going. It was awesome to see him and it was just the fuel I need to finish.
The crowds were wild and with one mile to go I decided to start picking people off. I started to count how many people I passed… 1, 2, 3,….. 10, 11, 12. And then 11, 10, 9… Yeah that wasn’t smart. Most of the people I passed ended up passing me again. I just had to chuckle and think of the finish. I crossed the finish line and was suddenly very cold, hungry and had to use the restroom right away. My legs were wobbly and tired. I need to warm up and get some energy back.
So I did what any Dublin Marathoner would…
I ate some more Gummy Bears. And suddenly I was ready to drive across Ireland with my brothers…. Well after that proper Irish Fry meal at Claire’s house.