Bank holiday Monday was my first time spectating the Dublin Marathon and I must admit it was a much more physically exhausting task than I expected!
The SO and a handful of other guys from the club were running so I had plenty to cheer for and although I promised to be there at mile 5, 20 and near the end I thought for some reason I was going to have a lovely relaxing day. I even left the house uncaffeinated as I was sure if mostly be sipping cappuccinos to stay warm. Ummm....not quite!!
As anyone with eyes may have noticed Monday morning was really windy with some misty rain. I was so worried for the SO (J) as a pb attempt didn't seem to on the cards on a day like this on a course as exposed as Dublin. Anyway, I tried to be upbeat on the drive in and the excited crowds on the Luas from Stillorgan were at least a distraction. Before I knew it I was saying goodbye to J and wandering towards the Abbey street to get the Luas......except the Luas wasn't running on this section. Eek!
At this point I realised I'd have to run 6 minute miles to beat J to mile 5 so I was going to have to adjust plans. I set off as fast as my legs would carry me towards the chapelizod gate as I knew the course comes out of the gate there at about 10 miles. A few miles later I arrived at the gates just as the lead runners had gone through....phew!!! I got my breath back and got busy cheering. Not that long later J came through looking like he was working hard but he didn't see me. I stuck around and waited for the rest of the club runners to come through, most looking comfortable and relaxed and giving me a wave or smile.
After this it was an uphill slog on closed roads back up to Heuston for a taxi to Milltown. This part was much easier logistically as the taxi was able to bring me right to the bottom of Milltown road and it was a short walk to the top of the hill....an ideal vantage point to see approaching runners. I was getting nervous now about J and how he was getting on after seeing him work hard at 10 miles. I started to chat to a pleasant guy on the hill as we watched and clapped for the runners passing by. Then in the distance I picked out a familiar running style and there was J coming towards me, running strong up the hill with a big smile on his face! I jumped in with him for a few yards as he came by and passed him a small bottle of coke and just told him he looked strong. He was totally with it and I knew then that the wheels were staying on today!
The rest of the Newbridge ac crew followed in fairly quick succession and I decided to run to the finish from there...taking a cross street to Ballsbridge that got me to mile 25 in very short order. I found a little spot for myself between the 800 and 400 signs and settled it to watch. This was one of the most inspiring parts of the experience for me. Seeing people coming towards the finish in all sorts of conditions....some with a smile. Others with a grimace or stopping to stretch a last minute cramp. The waves of cheers for everyone was overwhelming and I was moved to tears on several occasions, most notably when J passed by with 2:52 on the clock and I knew he was going to be well under 3 hours. I was sooooo proud and so happy for him. His finish time was 2:54...a 5 minute pb!
I waited near the finish for another half an hour watching more and more finishers pass by and then made my way over to meet J and shuffle him over to Sinnotts for a drink and something to eat. Stairs may not have made it the best choice but the proximity to the Luas for his rapidly tightening leg muscles was great!