Exactly? one year to the day since the idea was suggested 9 Harriers stood cold and shivering at Penzance bus station ready for the off. On Saturday morning the weather was cold but at least dry as we had one hell of a wet and stormy night the night before.
Jer, Andrew? and myself were looking to get the elusive Good For Age sub 3.15 time so we could be sure of our 2012 London place and Tammy, who had been training really hard, looking for sub 3.50 for the same future plan.
Janet had got a real good return fare deal for the community bus to get us all to Newquay for our 12.30 flight? – security at Newquay is no different from any other airport, so please tell me how Jer wasn?t arrested for the strange white powder in his hand luggage? We all knew it was carbo load but I?m sure security didn?t! Sam had great pleasure in removing his belt before going through the x-ray, looked like that Levi 501 advert in the launderette
We boarded the plane and within an hour touched down at Dublin, Andrew had arranged for taxis to collect us and take us to our hotel, The Jury Inn, Custom House. All went very smoothly and perfectly to plan. Checking in, Jer and Janet, Ian and Sue somehow blagged a newly refurbished room on the penthouse level 6th floor whilst the others slummed it on the first and second floors, Tammy in with Yvonne and Andrew, Phil and Sam all shared a triple.
To be fair the hotel and the rooms were excellent value for money – ?87 per room per night with full breakfast as much as you could eat (this suited Sam as there seemed to be no filling him ? so the 3 lads had a really good deal!)
We quickly dropped our bags and headed to the Dublin Marathon expo ? I decided to use the maps function on my iphone ? MISTAKE! Within a couple of hours I?d had a text from Orange advising me I had already run up a ?30 bill!
Expo was small and uninteresting, apart from the fact that Sam was being pressured into a new pair of orthotics, he was even told to go walkabout and come back later ? when he discovered they were ?350 a pair he nearly choked (so did we) the euro to pound exchange rate was 1 to 1 so although everything was in euros it was easy to convert, everything was so expensive ? for example the balance bands that seem to have become popular were going for ?38 each, I got mine off ebay ?for ?2.50!
Numbers were coloured coded according to the time you had put on the entry form, so Jer, Andrew, myself and Phil? were in pen one at the front (as was anyone below 3.30) Tammy, Yvonne and Sam were in green, pen 2. One interesting feature of this race, that I haven?t seen before was the timing chip was incorporated into the number ? I hope the timing mats would pick them up being pinned on your shirt as opposed to your ankle.
Back to the hotel, wash, quick change and out. We found a great little Italian, fed us all quite reasonably ? and I did succumb to a couple of glasses of red, and a cider, oh and a Guinness at a ?local? pub ? we were ushered from the saloon bar into the lounge with great haste! Early night and back to the hotel.
Sunday we had decided against the organised breakfast run, so Andrew, Jeremy, Sam and myself met at 7am for a mile warm up, 10 x? 80 metre strides, 1 mile cool down ? my god it was cold, ice on the pavement and the wind was cutting! Back to hotel, shower and all meeting at 8 for a huge breakfast.
A quick recce of where we had to go for the start and baggage in the morning, only 15 minutes walk, sorted! Hotel was in a good position.
Today (Sunday) we planned to do the sightseeing thing. A 15 euro bus ticket for an hour and half tour, hop on/off all around Dublin, great value for money as it can be used for a full 2 days, visits all the places you need to see, lets you jump off when you like, and only a 10 minute wait to catch it again from wherever you are ? The Guinness Factory was on the route! Out-voted we didn?t go in!! 15 euros, never mind, next time perhaps.
A little bit of shopping, and bargain of the day, 2 pairs of woolley gloves for a euro ? 50p a pair, it was so cold we all chipped in and bought a pair to wear in the race the next day, when it warmed up we wouldn?t mind throwing them.
We decided to eat in the hotel that night as we didn?t want to traipse around looking for somewhere, food was ok but nothing special, pasta for most of the runners and early to bed.
The hotel had kindly agreed to start breakfast at 6am ? porridge, toast, cereal, and if you really wanted full Irish breakfast!
7.30am, out the door and onto the start, the baggage, portaloos and changing were all in long (shaded) streets than ran off at 90 degrees from the start line. The conditions were perfect, clear blue skies, no wind and a crisp freshness in the air. All of us appeared well hydrated as we required many trips to the turdi (Andrews plural of Turdis) we all wished each other good luck and made our way to our start areas.
BUSY! Everyone lined up in a very long street, Jer, Andrew and myself made our way as close to the front as we dared, about 50m from the start line, right in the middle. It was at this point that my bladder decided it needed emptying! No way out, I managed to find an empty bottle by my feet, lifted it to my shorts and inconspicuously, so I thought, looked to the sky and began. Upon finishing, I was just about to put the bottle down when Jer wanted to share the experience! Mid flow the crowd decided to surge forward, poor Jer, his new gloves!
From this point on the report I can only go from my point of view ? apologies – Still 10 minutes to go, we discussed gels and hydration, I was going for my first gel at 8 miles, then at 15, and anymore on feel, I had 4 on me, I intended to take on water at all but the first water station (every 3 miles) my time goal was to get a sub 3:15 to get a Good For Age place at London, being so disappointed at missing out by 37 seconds at this years race. My plan was to go through 10k in about 44 mins, half way at about 1:35, 20 miles at 2:25 and hang in there till the finish, to come in just under 3:15 ? average pace needed to be about 7.24 a mile.
The gun went and I started my watch (not from the start line) first mile 8.04 (better than London! That was 9.52 due to the crowds) here was Janet and Sue, cheering us on before they went shopping! I decided to try and stick with Jer and Andrew for as long as I could, this worked well as we all worked off each other and ran as a triple for the first 6 miles, Jer suddenly dropping back and disappearing (he?d gone for another wee!) very soon he caught us up again (a 6.30 mile from Jer) and we went through the 10K in a little over 45 minutes ? on target
Just before the half Andrew and Jer had started to pull away by about 20 yards but I was bang on target going through in 1:35 ? mile 16 was bad, stomach cramps and I needed a wee, I stopped at the next portaloos, quick wee and back out ? an 7.53 mile ? oh no, pace was dropping. A tap on the shoulder and there was Jer, having to make a portaloo stop of a longer nature! Within minutes he?d sped off into the distance, shouting ?come on, just think of it as a Wednesday evening run with Ronnie?? the next 5 miles were painful, stomach cramps and pace was hovering around 7.50 a mile ? too slow ? my buffer had gone as I went through 20 miles a few minutes over 2:25 ? 6 to go!
I managed to pick the pace back up, even managing a sub 7 mile, a mile and half to go and there was Sue and Janet screaming at the top of their voices to get a move on ? they knew it was so close, Jer and Andrew had already ran through. Into the last mile I need to do in under 8 mins to be sure.
PANIC!! No crowd barriers, now if you can imagine the Tour De France on the mountain stages where the crowds fill the roads with just a single track for them to follow, it was like that!
I could see the finish in the distance but couldn?t get through, runners were 2 abreast and I was stuck behind! Elbows out, here I come, if I get tripped up it will all be over, everything went in slow motion as I could see the large race clock tick over 3:14 and I still had a way to go! SPRINT!
I crossed the line and the race clock said 3:14.27 I had done it. I knew there would be some off that as I did start my watch before the line ? Grinning, shouting ?yes yes yes? I then proceeded to be sick! Sorry that always seems to happen nowadays after a hard finish (don?t stand near me at the finish of any race) Jer and Andrew were waiting just the other side of the finish line ? we all shook hands, congratulated each other, discussed how much Guinness we were now going to have and picked up our goody bags.
OK back to race point of view. Goody bag, I thought was poor, remember this race was ?65 to enter. Nice long sleeve technical shirt, good looking heavy bespoke medal, red shoe bag, 2 bottles of water, cereal bar, bottle of shower gel (ladies!) AND THAT WAS IT IN MINE ? I think Andrew and Jeremy had a little more, such as jaffa cakes and sports drink.
All 3 of us walked to the baggage area to change and wait for the others. It wasn?t long before Sam appeared, shivering, he was cold! We helped/shielded him as he completely stripped off out in the open (it must have been really cold Sam, if you get my drift!) helped him dress and off he went to find a space blanket to wrap himself in (not 4 hours ago he was telling us how completely useless space blankets were!)
Next in was Tammy, not her GFA time but under 4 hours and a PB, she wasn?t too disappointed as we all know she had made big in roads into the 3.50 time she requires, next year she?ll have it I?m sure.
Phil Swiss next ? he was happy despite tripping over a speed hump and hurting his foot! His longest run being just 16 miles, I?d never seen him so talkative! And finally Yvonne, her legs must be really swearing at her! Cycling to John O?Groats and two marathons in less than a month! Her feet were already complaining as her blood-stained trainers confirmed the fact that once huge blisters burst they tend to bleed…………….a lot!
It came to light that Jer was not the only one who needed a turdis stop! But only Yvonne could grab a woman spectating outside her house and ask to use her loo! Yvonne tells us she even had to get more loo roll out of the woman?s cupboard! This combined with Yvonne falling over at mile 9 and getting a massive blister – Yvonne?s day could have been a bit better.
(The overall race winner Moses Kangogo Kibert of Kenya finished in a Dublin record time of 2:08:58, with the female winner Tatiana Aryasova of Russia also breaking the record in 2:26:13.? The Kenyan?s 26th mile split was 4 minutes 50 seconds!!!? That?s faster than most people can run just one mile without having already completed 25!)
We all walked out to the meeting area to meet Janet and Sue, made our way back to the hotel, ready to celebrate. A quick shower and back downstairs. Yvonne had suggested we take a short walk up the road to have a go in the Dublin eye. A ?ride? sightseeing big wheel affair similar to the larger London eye. The ?pods? fit a maximum of 6 people ? Sam P had decided his beauty sleep was more important so there was 8 of us ? Yvonne, Tammy, Phil and Andrew in one, and Janet, Jer, Sue and myself in the other.
In we climbed and soon the wheel was in motion ? Jeremy hates heights!!!! He clung onto the handrails really tight, the sweat was dripping off him as we climbed higher and higher until ? purp!! Whoops sorry about that says Jer! There we were about 200 foot above the ground, unable to open the door or the window and the air was turning green! I laughed my head off, Janet looked at Jer in disgust and Sue says she couldn?t smell anything! I found a button that turned on the aircon and the new Aviva stadium came back into focus! Classic!
Back to the hotel bar and the Guinness began to flow ? ?5.80 a pint tho! I hope we don?t ever join the euro! A few pints later and we decide we need to eat! Just up the road was an all you can eat Chinese buffet ? 13.95 euros ? off all 9 of us went and completely pigged out ? calorie replacement accomplished ? absolutely shattered we all go back to the hotel and are in bed by 9 watching Spooks (not together I might add)
Next morning, Tuesday, our last day, the taxi is due to pick us up at 11.15, at breakfast the complimentary newspaper has all the results and times, we celebrate even more as all our times improve as the chip times are printed
PB and GFA for Jer 3.11.36
PB and GFA for Me 3.13.59
Sam P 3.40.12
PB for Tammy 3.59.16
PB for Swiss 4.19.56
We all take a wander back into the shopping areas for some last minute gifts, get back to the hotel and check out ? taxi picks us up as planned and off to the airport we go.
Dublin airport is a lot bigger than Newquay! I?d say the duty free area is actually bigger than Gatwick ? Andrew, Tammy, Phil and? Sam manage to fit in a Burger King, Yvonne has a mooch around and Jer, Janet, Sue and myself decide to have a few last Guinness?s (or should that be Guini Andrew?!)
Our flight left on time and the South West Airways plane took off for Plymouth …………………. Plymouth!!! We had to first land at Plymouth, take off again, and 12 minutes later land again at Newquay.
IT WAS WINDY! We came hurtling through the clouds and dropped onto the Plymouth tarmac, and I mean dropped! It?s apparently a short runway and so this happens all time! A 10 minute stop and we?re off again, soon to be landing at Newquay. 4.15pm and our minibus arrives and home we go.
A successful enjoyable trip, excellent company, we had a laugh, had a great race, visited a friendly beautiful city and all came back safe and sound ? although a few blisters and aching limbs!
So what?s next? Well The Cornish Marathon is in only 4 weeks time and as for next year? Anyone fancy the Club La Santa 4 day running challenge in November?