IN WHICH MONTHS OF TRAINING ARE NEARING AN END, AND WE CAST A COLD EYE ON THE DUBLIN MARATHON COURSE, PLUS AUTUMN THROWS UP A FEW GOLDEN MOMENTS…
Well, that seems to have come around fairly quickly.
My mate and I have been training for the Dublin Marathon (how do you know someone is training for a marathon? ‘Coz they’ll tell you, obviously…) and although it seems like a lifetime ago when we kicked the whole thing off, here we are, at taper time.
This week has one decent run amongst the small stuff, which is a 16k tempo run, but that’s about it, and then next week is really just about keeping the legs moving. Then it’s off to the RDS in Dublin to pick up the important stuff on Friday, and then just sweat it out for one more day.
The weather has defintely taken a turn down Autumn way, which is about right, in fairness. And with the first of the Atlantic storms peeling some of the bronzed leaves off the trees, along with a hailstorm of beech nuts, running on some of the woodland paths in St. Catherine’s has been an interesting (noisy, and challenging) experience.
This time of year often throws up a few spectacular sunrises, and so far, we’ve been treated to some good ones.
And sometime it also throws up oddities like this one…
Are we ready for Dublin? I think so. I suspect most runners are mild hypochondriacs in some shape or fashion. I’m not actually a bona fide hypochondriac, I just mean it in the sense that, when you are making final preparations for a race, you suddenly develop twinges in your calf muscles, aches in your quads, and your knees begin to sound like they’re playing a backing track to the The Rime of the Ancient Mariner…
It’s very important to ignore all of these signs and symptoms, as – for the most part – they are in your head. And not in your legs. Of course, sometimes they ARE in your legs, in which case, you still ignore them. Unless you are married to a physiotherapist, in which case, let your partner ignore them instead…
So. Dublin. We will see you shortly.
Incidentally, below is the official route profile.
You will see a peak at Mile 22. This occurs along Roebuck Road, and is know affectionately as Heartbreak Hill. Having done Dublin about a half-dozen times, I can see how it’s earned its reputation but in reality, as you can see from the profile above, it’s not the biggest or longest climb on the route. Indeed, in simple terms, you could say Dublin is a series of three climbs, and that the last of them (Roebuck) is the shortest.
The first is climbing north out of the Liffey Valley into Phoenix Park, then you drop back into the valley again at Chapelizod, crossing the Liffey once more at mile 10. The next dip is when you drop into the Dodder Valley at Milltown around Mile 20.
The reason Roebuck Road earns its monicker is not because it is a steep hill per se, but that it arrives rather cruelly between Mile 21 and 22 when many folks are running on empty. Some marathon days it’s a massacre; there are bodies everywhere, and this is all the more evident the further back in the pack you are. And I’ve been there. I’ve seen runners just stop dead in their tracks, eyeballs popping out, and that’s it. The smell of freshly cooked goose is everywhere. And it’s nowhere near Christmas…
Roebuck Road. Where dreams go to die.
Well, okay, that’s enough of that. With the training Mark and I have done, we should sail up Roebuck with plenty to spare, and hopefully bring it home with a big finish.
But did I tell you I have a twinge in my knee? I do. Honest.