Monday, August 3, 2015

Rock N Roll Dublin: My Race Day

I had high hopes for this my Rock n' Roll Dublin Half. Sure, I didn't train very well and my eating habits were lackadaisical at best. But come on, I have done a few half marathons before so I should be fine right? I could still try for my sub goal of 1 hour 55 minute or even bust my PB of 1 hour 50 minutes? 

Sunday August 2
0630: Wake up, run to bathroom-- this can't be a good sign.
0720: After having a sensible breakfast of cereal and some fruit with my parents (who were over visiting and would be their first ever race they have watched) had to run upstairs to the bathroom AGAIN...
0729: ONE more trip... then I will be fine. Off to the race!
0732: Ok, seriously last one before go time. This is not good.

No it was not good, although the Irish powers that be held off on the rain for the duration of the race (it wasn't looking that way walking to the start), I could not shake this upset tummy. I am not entirely sure what caused the uncomfortableness, but I have a feeling it had to do with the drinks consumed the day before. I thought I would be fine as I stopped well before 2100 and was not drinking in fast succession, just slow and steady throughout the day. Guinness at lunch, Guinness at the Guinness Factory... more beers pre dinner and one drink at dinner. I wanted to blame the food, but in my heart of hearts I feel that it was probably the black stuff resulting in my current state.

Oh well-- nothing to be done about it, the gun has gone off and I had to start the lovely 13 mile run through Dublin.

I was doing pretty well pace wise for the beginning 10k-- I had my Garmin letting me know when I went above a 8:45min/mile pace as that was the slowest I wanted to go. However around the 5 mile mark I started to feel the rumble in my bowels...

I immediately thought of those photos of runners who went to the bathroom but skipped the bathroom part and just kept running. Paula Radcliffe has some doozy's if you want to Google Image search.

However, unlike Paula, I am not a World Class Athlete with records to break, and with my parents watching I decided it may be best to not defecate myself. Luckily the Rock n Roll logistics crew (AMAZING maps by the way-- anytime I have a scale chart I am pleased) had port-a-loos strategically placed so I was able to duck into one fairly quickly. However, this of course effected my official time...

After that I never really fully recovered. It didn't help that miles 6 and 7 were kinda boring and narrow. Phoenix Park was a welcome change of scenery, especially with the Irish Countryside looming in the distance. That feeling of joy soon turned to terror as there were some doozy hills right at the end.

I had all but blocked out my helpful Garmin vibrating to let me know that I was still going slower than my desired pace. Mile 7 was my last vestige of staying around my goal-- it was all going to shit (pun intended). I saw a woman being treated by medics and thought "I could just lie down right next to her and say 'when you have a moment' to them".

Below is the elevation chart with my mood...

That last hill, I sincerely thought of giving up. It took (what I felt) as every fiber in my being to keep going. I suppose this is the wall people always talk about. It was horrible. It was even more disheartening to see the 2 hour pacer pass me. He heard my audible swearing and encouraged me to keep up-- which I kind of did but not as closely as I should have.

That feeling seeing the timer on the last hundred meters or so is the 'do or die moment' for every runner. I decided I was going to try and up my speed and at least cross the line with the 2 hour pacer. Like a bulky freight train I gave it the beans, and I could feel my chest constricting-- I had so little left in the tank. I was urged on by the sight of my parents, my mom screaming wildly at me whilst my father looking the wrong way.

Bowels grumbling, chest heaving, I gave it the final push across the line.

My official time was two hours and 50 seconds. A far cry from my goal and actually it is my worst half marathon race to date. I feel it was a defeat in some ways, but in trying to find the silver lining I feel that this was the first race I did that I really wanted to give up but did not. One more race to chalk up to experience!

You can see the race info for me below. I hope everyone who raced enjoyed it-- it was a lovely day in a lovely city. I cannot thank the Rock n Roll team and all the volunteers. Maybe next time I will lay off the black stuff next time :D

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