The Dublin City Marathon
Yesterday was terrific and I fear I have developed marathon fever, for despite the pain, I dribbled on to my oldest friend last night how much I was looking forward to next year. I was drunkish though, so it might have been the hooch talking. Certainly this morning I couldn't run from here to the kitchen and the outside of my right foot is so painful I can't put my full weight on it.
Anyhoo, yesterday. I got up at the crack of 6:15, a mythical time of still darkness. I had a bowl of Ready Brek and juice while the paramour made me coffee, toast and rashers. Then I went back upstairs and proceeded to get into a flap as I lost one thing I'd previous had in my hand after another. I put down a pair of socks, only for them to disappear and then I couldn't find my running trousers, the same ones I had laid out the night before. Yes, that sort of a flap.
Eventually we left the house and got into town too early. 7:20. I sat in the car wittering and worrying about needing to wee.
Sitting about was making me twitchy so I kissed the paramour bye and made my way to Bewleys for said wee, and then over to the starting line up at Fitzwilliam Street. I was first one in my group, but after a while I was joined by two ladies from Dubai who were freezing in their tiny running shorts.
I got to stand around in the cold for another hour-shrinking my bladder further, so that by the time we began to run I was bursting again. I was amused to see so many black bin bags on folk, some customised and really surprised to see people tossing away their fleeces and gloves and what not. Astounded really. I had on a light running jacket and I tied that around my waist.
The need to pee became a pressing issue and unlike the chaps, I can't do it against a wall. Fortunately a very nice hotel on Pearse Street didn't bar its doors and me and about twenty other women availed of its pristine bathroom, so much nicer than the portaloos.
Lighter, I began to enjoy the run.
I have to say, I have never seen Dublin so beautiful as yesterday. The autumn sun lit the leaves on North Circular road. The old red brick Georgian houses were never more lovely. The park looked like a movie set. It was really stunning and I spent the first half of the race taking it all in and feeling incredibly fortunate. And what a reception we got. There were people out everywhere clapping, cheering us on, handing out biscuits and jellies and sliced oranges, there were kids lining the roads with their hands out for high fives, there were home made signs and whistles and bells and clappers. It was terrific, (except for the man in the Celtic top wearing a devil mask on Parnell Square. He scared the shit out of everyone and it was funny to see the starling like swoop of runners as they crossed the road to avoid him)
The second half was tougher, but easier in another way as I was on home turf. I stopped into a pharmacy in Rathgar to buy painkillers as for some annoying reason my hip was bothering me and I was fighting a cramp in my left calf. I gobbled two anadins, drank water, stretched the muscle out and cursed. But after another mile it was no better or worse so I resolved to ignore it.
I had said all week long to any poor sod who would listen that the first eighteen miles would be the marathon and the last eight miles would be my Sunday run- this 'logic' is what I used to convince myself. But let me tell you, the last 8 was no Sunday run.
At 22 miles I had pains and aches. My chest was beginning to get sore and I had chafing under my bicep. Also my hamstring was beginning to whistle at me now and then. People were starting to drop off and walk. I met a man who was bleeding badly from what looked like a shredded blister. I gave him a plaster from my fanny pack and wished him luck, but damn, his foot looked like minced meat and he still had another four miles to go.
There is no gimmick to beat the wall, no trick or way around it. This is where your training comes in and any mental strength you may possess. You've got to dig deep and get on with it. So I did just that. I was muttering under my breath about how I didn't believe in walls and stuff, I also began to sing the mashed potato song to the tune of Falco.
Rounding the corner onto Nassau Street was thrilling. Everyone was clapping and screaming us on. I came up behind a chap who was walking and for some reason I cannot fathom ( I'm not normally so forward) I tapped him on the back and said, 'Come on man, we're almost there. Let's finish how we started.' He nodded and forced himself off into a run and we ran down the last 300 Metres together. I believe I even whooped when I rounded the corner and saw the finish and when I crossed it I was grinning like a loon.
The man and me exchanged names, shook hands and went off to collect our medals. We're bound by an identical time now and it's all a bit groovy.
Then I met the paramour and we went for a pint. I wore my medal on the outside of my coat. Yes, I am that nerdy.