Hello, Dublin!

Small Tortoiseshell butterfly on a Buddleja bush, St. Catherine’s Park, Leixlip

Well, it has indeed been a little while since we last met. That goes for both the Dublin Marathon, and you and I, dear reader.

The effects of Connemara are still being felt. After-shocks, you might call them, of the running kind. Not the seismic variety; more just heavy legs, niggly groins, grumbly knees and iffy Achilles. These are all highly technical terms most runners out there will relate to. And persons of a certain vintage…

So, yes; Dublin.

Mark, my running mate, has decided to eschew this annual event. (That’s not a word you get to use very often, so I thought I might dust it down for this blog). The perils of having a soon-to-be qualified junior doctor as your eldest daughter means you are going to be given all sorts of medical advice, sought-for or not. In this instance, not running a marathon has been the advice given, and heeded, and so, there is a ticket going a-begging. I’m not one for waste, so I offered to buy it.

My initial thoughts were that it was just too soon after the trials of the west, so I figured the wise approach would be to have a few runs and see how the legs were feeling. This I did, and over the last few weeks I have managed to get in some reasonable runs, averaging about 40k per week.

Truth be told, I am glad I am not feeling like this in the run up to a serious tilt at Dublin. I have ran this marathon many times now, and in the last two years, went under four hours both times, and at this stage in my illustrious* running career I feel I have made my peace with this event, and don’t really have much more I can do as regards times. Apart from the blindingly obvious, that is, which would be too improve my times… That would realistically mean reaching for a serious landmark time of, say, 3.30, which would require a hell of a lot of work, and may perhaps be beyond my reach.

It certainly isn’t something on the horizon anyway. There was never any plan for anything after Connemara for 2019. So Dublin is something of a tangent (albeit a 26.2 mile tangent). What I can say, though, is that what I lack in the legs department is more than covered in the lung capacity. The overall level of aerobic fitness is certainly a positive from all the long, slow training over the Summer. As I finish each run in the last few weeks, I simultaneously moan at the fatigue in the legs, and marvel at the rate of recovery in the respiration department. ‘Tis a thing of wonder, so it is!

So, Dublin, we have a date, you and I. It’s not a date with destiny. It’s just a run around the capital city. I am going to try and stick with the sub-four pack and see how it goes. I have nothing to lose, really, and less to prove. If the legs were feeling springier, I might have a crack at a PB, but as marathon runners will tell you, there are no places to hide out there.

It’s a shame the same cannot be said of world athletics at the moment, which seems to be under a constant shadow. The recent World Championships in Doha are just the latest milestone in a journey surrounded by doping, cheating and corruption scandals. They were forced to run their marathons at midnight to try and cope with the heat, and even then it was over 30 degrees with 80% humidity at times, and the women’s race in particular was described as carnage, with only 40 of the 68 runners finishing.

“The humidity kills you,” said Volha Mazuronak, of Belarus, who finished fifth. “There is nothing to breathe. I thought I wouldn’t finish. It’s disrespect towards the athletes. A bunch of high-ranked officials gathered and decided that it would take [the World Championships] here but they are sitting in the cool and they are probably sleeping right now.”

American Roberta Groner, who finished sixth, described it as “absolutely the most brutal marathon I’ve ever done.”

There were medical tents set up at the finish; a first ever for such an event. Lord Coe thought this was a marvellous innovation. I think it points to the blindingly fucking obvious.

Money talks, bullshit walks, as they say.

In other news, S and I managed a sea swim last month, which will probably be the last sea swim of the year.

D and S on beach

It was out at Sutton, at the Hole-in-the-Wall beach, as it is known, and we enjoyed the unseasonably warm day both in the sea for a dip, and out at Howth Harbour afterwards, where there are lots of foodie joints, markets, seals in the murky, oily harbour water, and photogenic trawlers to snap (that means ‘rusty’ in any other language.)

And so to finish: dogs. It was International Black Dog Day on October 1st. For some reason, black dogs are the last to be adopted in shelters, regardless of breed. Greyhounds are also probably the least likely to get picked too, so being a black greyhound is not such a good thing, I guess. We have two 🙂


* surely you meant ‘lacklustre’?

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