Seems like an age ago now so I’ll have to see if I can remember all the gory details.
Well when I got to week 7 in Jon`s training plan my body was starting to complain and by week 8 I was starting to break down, my plantar fascia to be precise. So with very little running over the next two weeks and a few visits to the butcher of pimlico (who’s a physio in case you were wondering!) I was hopefully going to make it to the start line. On the evening before the race I was walking round the city with my parents and with my foot feeling slightly sore, I was beginning to question my sanity and wondering if I would make it round the 26 miles the next day! and that if I did I would be retiring from marathon running because my body wasn’t up to this malarky.
So after a good nights sleep I was as ready as I was ever going to be. We took the park and ride into the city centre as the main roads would be closed off for the marathon and also this would ensure us a quick getaway back up the rocky road to Dublin. So we lined up at the start line with blue skies above, which was the last thing I had expected. At 9am we set off, 1500 marathon runners along with 600 relay teams and would be joined 2 hours later halfway round by about 2000 half marathoners.
Cork is quite a hilly city but they’ve managed to route the course in a way that avoids any serious ones. So I bedded in with the 3.30 pace makers running quite comfortably but every now and then would feel a twinge in my foot which was a bit of a worry. Around mile 4 we started to head out of town running alongside the river Lee with the sun beaming down. At this stage it got quite congested around the pacemakers so I went ahead a little bit. After about 7 miles in I was starting to feel quite comfortable and this was also the stage where it got quite boring running on a duel carriageway and then through an underpass going under the river.
A few miles later we were runing near the river mouth with the sun still shining and was thinking I should have put some sunscreen on before. The forecast was for a dry day and in Ireland a dry day and a sunny day are usually worlds apart! So taking care to take on enough fluids and chomping on a nak’d bar I made it to the halfway point in 1.44.54 and at this stage had forgotten that there`d been anything wrong with my foot.
So now I was flying and started to up the pace slightly which I would pay the price for in the last few miles. We started heading back into the city centre and apart from the crowds getting bigger it was pretty uneventful up until mile 20 when about 15m after a water station two young whipper snappers racing each other on their relay leg, clattered into me knocking my water cup out of my hand but at this stage there was only one direction I was going in! This is one of the reasons I don’t like marathons which have relay teams but I guess it has to be done to make it viable for the smaller races.
So about mile 23 I was starting to pay the price of my cockiness earlier as my legs turned to lead and I just wanted it over with. Another disheartening thing at this stage is that I was starting to get overtaken, even if it was mainly by half marathoners. Then at the start of mile 26 the pacemakers passed me and I thought I’d blown my chances of a sub 3.30. I just gritted my teeth and plodded on oblivious to the crowds that were quite big as we approached the finish. So with the finish line in sight I had a quick glance at my watch and clocked 3.28 and for the last couple of hundred metres I tried to sprint which at the time probably looked like a gentle jog. I crossed the line in 3.29.36, exhausted, sunburnt but chuffed.
As soon as I got my breath back I knew I’d be doing another one, definitely not this year and where? to be decided. London? See you down the track!