This was always going to be a really tough one. It was only a few days before this triple did I start to consider the effect of running successive road marathons like this. My legs only slightly stiff in the morning I went into McDonalds for 2 egg and sausage McMuffin meals since it was the only place that was open that time in the morning.
It was really cold which was perfect except for the hanging around at the start that is required for big city marathons. The last time I'd done a big city one was last year in Dublin, I wasn't used to the crowds or constant cheering.
I didn't know what sort of time I was going to do today, I guessed somewhere between 3.30-4.00. I wasn't really bothered to be starting near the back, it would give me a chance to warm up a bit. Making the usual mistake of forgetting something, a theme of this weekend and the whole of my running life generally I had forgotten to bring a watch. Throughout I had no idea what pace I was running and it felt good not to care.
The first mile was how I remembered marathon starts from the days when I just did a couple a year, blocked in and barely jogging for the first few miles. It must have taken 15 minutes to reach the 1 mile marker and that was after the whole crowd stopped within half a mile because of a bottleneck.
The route Dublin takes in nice and uncomplicated. You start in the city centre, run into a park after about 4 miles and come out after 8 and then you run through the crowded streets of Dublin, pass a few castles, nice bridges and walls and then back to the finish in the centre.
Normally when I am on the 2nd/3rd/nth day of of multi-day I expect that the pain in may legs will go away after a few miles. The first few are always slow but then everything fades and I can start running normally again, if a bit slower. The fatigue near the end comes as usual and is often worse than when I was fresh at the start, however I can normally get through just fine.
Dublin started no differently, the first miles hurt then when I was in the park everything felt better. I was still in crowds and keen to run past as many people as possible including a couple of Serpie ladies. The period between 5-10 miles I felt like I had done nothing all weekend and it was great. I was looking forward to the remaining 16 miles.
As soon as I got to 10 miles I felt like I'd been done in with a cricket bat. I was reduced to a slow shuffle with more than half way to go. This was the earliest I'd ever hit the wall.
Rather than let it get to me I took it as an opportunity to experience a marathon like most people do. I just jogged around in the crowd of runners and enjoyed the different selection of comments you get from the spectators. Whenever you are (near) the front of a marathon you don't often get much support and the comments are "you are looking really good" and "keep it going" etc. Now that I was about 10000th in the race I was hearing things like "You can do it" and "you are light as a feather". I definitely was not as light as a feather and I was fully aware that "I could do it".
And so I did, plodding around in 3.51. I was pretty pleased with just getting around and managing to do the last mile much quicker. It made me think of the Spartathlon in which I'm likely to be feeling like that with 100 miles left to run. Good practise for road racing.