Dublin Marathon 2022
Sunday 30th October saw me run the Dublin Marathon. After the typical disappointment of not receiving a place in the London marathon through the ballot it was good to quickly put that behind me by having to focus on running 26.2 miles.
My journey to running this marathon has been a long and uncertain one and if I’m honest there were times of doubt that I’d be able to do it. Last year I tore my medial meniscus, and after seeing a consultant and being told there was a 100-week waiting list for an operation I feared I might have to stop running altogether. But I saw Laura at Physio Form and we decided to concentrate on a course of rehab to strengthen the knee and legs.
After several weeks I returned to gentle running/walking. It was almost like starting out again on a couch to 5k programme. Very small progression to begin with but several weeks later I was running continuously for 30 minutes. By the end of last year, I was running some decent volume again. It had been a long slow road to get there but I was relived and thankful to be where I was without the need for having an operation.
In the new year I booked in for Dublin but then started to have general knee discomfort with both knees. I think it’s a sign of my ageing body! So, my running was very stop start but I still decided to go ahead with Dublin and in the last 2 months I’ve been able to train consistently, but only running 3 or 4 times a week. I have not trained to anywhere near previous volumes for a marathon but did at least manage to get two 20 mile runs in.
This would be my first road marathon in three years so of course I had to treat myself to a new pair of race shoes. I wanted to avoid a carbon plate shoe as I didn’t think 26.2 miles in them would be that good for my knees and I wasn’t going to be chasing a fast time. I therefore decided to go for the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3, the nylon plate in it would be a bit more forgiving than the full carbon version. And I just had to order in the subtle pink colourway!
A 6.40am flight out on Saturday and we were in Dublin at 7:40am and on the bus to the marathon expo at 8.05am. Race number collected, and we got an Uber to the hotel to see if we could drop off our bags. We got to the hotel about 10.30 am and walked up to the check-in desk and the lovely chap just checked us in and gave us our room cards! I couldn’t believe we could get into the room so early but it meant we now had the rest of the day to chill. Also, the hotel was literally round the corner from the start/finish, superb planning by yours truly! I was running Dublin with a friend who was running his third marathon, Dublin would be my 17th. I was unsure of what goal to aim for if any. Maybe aiming to just complete it and hope the legs and knees hold up was the sensible option. Even on the morning of race day I still wasn’t sure how I was going to tackle the run. I had said I would pace my friend to see if he could beat his personal best from London the year before. He wasn’t expecting me to and said he was happy to run on his own.
I considered doing my own thing as I was meant to be starting in a wave before him, maybe aiming to come in under 4 hours. In the end I moved down a wave to start with Scott and said I would start with him to get him at the right pace and to stop him going off too fast. As we settled into the race I decided to stay with him. This lasted up to 17 miles where he started to drop off and told me to go my own. So, like any good friend I left him to it! I can hardly say I put the hammer down but did pick up the pace a little. I hoped stretching the legs out would alleviate the stiffness I was feeling but to no avail. Miles 20 to the finish felt tougher than they should have as I had felt comfortable for two thirds of the race. I finished in 4 hours 38 minutes and a few seconds.
On reflection, I’m not bothered about the time as I sacrificed most of my race to try and help Scott and that was probably the sensible thing to do for me with it being my first marathon after the injury. In that context I am extremely satisfied to have completed marathon number 17. There wasn’t enough training mileage in the legs for me to have run faster but I am encouraged looking at my Strava data as my heart rate was in zone 2 for just over 50% and zone 3 for nearly the rest of the race. Oh, and the shoes were great, so light and they really make you want to run faster. Other colours are available!
Dealing with a serious injury can be hard to cope with, both physically and mentally. Setting small goals helped me and being determined and disciplined in your rehabilitation is crucial. Don’t deal with it on your own, seek out professional help with a physio if possible as you will get a more structured programme to get you back up running. Yes this body is ageing but I am carrying on running and I can still call myself a marathon runner. Right where shall I go for number 18!
Thrive Fitness & Nutrition