Saturday (Midnight), 22nd June, 2013 - 44.3km Le Cheile Midnight Marathon (5:24/km)
Saturday (1:00pm), 22nd June, 2013 - 42.5km Le Cheile Royal Canal Marathon (6:26/km)
This was an unexpectedly very busy weekend for me. I had planned to do the Le Cheile track marathon in Leixlip and had my eye on doing the canal marathon the following day but that was very much dependant on how I felt after the first. This only paints half the picture however. For the full story, the tale begins on Friday afternoon...
I ran into car trouble after going to the shops to buy a few supplies for the marathon(s). When I returned to my car it simply wouldn't budge - not even a peep out of it. I subsequently learned that it was the electronic steering wheel lock that was jarred. I spent the next two hours trying to work out how to get it fixed and eventually when I knew what was required I was told it was too late on a Friday afternoon and that I'd have to wait til Monday to have it towed to the garage! Cost of tow = €50. Cost of repair = either €120 (80% chance) or €1,000 (20% chance). Not a good start to the weekend!
I returned home by foot and decided I would need a few hours sleep in advance of running through the night. I ended up sleeping for about two hours and then it was time to pack my stuff and hit off on the bike to Leixlip. It was now 10pm when I left Santry and even though there was a bit of rain en route things were going well. Then I was passing Lucan when I got a puncture on my rear wheel - just great! A quick Google Maps search and I was informed it'd take over an hour to walk the remaining 6km to the Le Cheile track. As I was walking I texted Anto and Eamonn who were both doing the event also. Luckily Anto was still with his phone and offered to call out and collect me. I was so lucky because if I had to walk the rest of the way I'd have missed the start of the marathon as well as having the extra mileage in my legs when starting out. Thankfully Anto had me at the track with half an hour to spare to race start. After what was a stressful day all I had to do now was run a marathon around a 400m lap through the night...and this was supposed to be the easy bit??!
With ten minutes to go before midnight the organisers made a few short announcements and then introduced all the runners to their lap counters - poor unfortunate souls who volunteered to stay up through the night just to count how many laps we were doing! Each counter had 5 runners to tally for and my assigned lap counter was David. A quick hello and then we were lined up at the start.
|We should be in Coppers by now!|
David: Got ya John.
And that was it! I'm pretty sure there weren't many times when our brief lines overlapped as in fairness to him he was on the ball every-time.
The early laps saw a lot of people pass us out as the excited energy was used up. I had no target in mind apart from leaving myself in a position to be ready to go again 11 hours later. After about 10 laps (4km) I found myself pushing on a little bit. I was careful to keep the HR in a very relaxed 'recovery' zone but thankfully the pace was increasing at the same time. By now I was lapping around sub 5:20/km and this lasted for 50 more laps. I briefly flirted with the idea of aiming for a 3:45 finish time but soon dismissed this thought and refocused on the main goal of finishing strong.
|That's what 95 laps of a track does to your Garmin profile!|
Overtaking on the inside
Very happy with this my only issue now was how to get home, or at least get a bit of kip somewhere. Luckily I managed to get a couple of hours on a couch and then a lift home to my place. By the time I got home it was almost 7am so after fixing the puncture on my bike I hit the hay but knowing that I'd have to be up again so soon I couldn't fall asleep. This all meant that I was up out of bed again by 10am - 6hrs after the marathon finish and with just two hours sleep on a couch - and managed to arrange a lift from a friend to Leixlip for round two at 1pm!
My lift to Leixlip was running a bit late so we drove straight to the race start itself at Furey's of Moyvalley. Soon after the bus load of fellow marathoners arrived. There was 12 of us who ran through the night and three newbies. I was in good spirits as I was waiting and, apart from a little stiffness in the muscles, generally I was still quite fresh all things considered.
|We ran a little to the left, turned and then a lot to the right!|
The first few kms to the turnaround point was easy enough going but the wind was primarily in our faces. The gang quickly strung out into a group of 6 of us with a few ahead and a few behind. By the turnaround point I was plodding away quite comfortably so I found myself gently drifting away from the group of six.
I passed through Enfield after 17km where Brendan was present again with bottled water. Then halfway came at Cloncurry Bridge where I met Jarlath with water, jellies and bananas. Really great organisation from the lads! We changed onto the right bank at this crossing and 200m in the distance I saw the G5 who had slowed to a march as they were taking on food. I thought I might be able to catch them up but by the time I was 100m from them they picked it up to a jog and soon the gap started widening again. The second half of my run then became a trade-off between little walking breaks and running. I was now consciously using this as practice for Belfast. It really hit me for the first time around here that even though I was physically in a good state (The knee was still a 4/10 and hadn't gotten any worse) all desire to stop and walk was purely mental. I was allowing myself a walk of 500m or so every 3km. I felt that was a decent trade-off between remaining in good shape and getting to the finish line.
Not long after this I found myself on probably the toughest section of tow path - the grass hadn't been cut low in this location so more care had to be taken in case you stepped on anything in the undergrowth that might twist your ankle. Around here was when the rain first arrived. Torrential downpours which lasted about 15 minutes, there wasn't even a decent tree to take shelter under! By the time it passed my shirt was saturated so I changed it for my jacket as I was also beginning to get cold now. This exchange worked a treat and before long I was snug again.
|Finishing times for Marathon #2.|
I had a brief chat with Brendan before stumbling the 200m to the clubhouse for a much cherished hot dog and refreshments and a chat with the G5 who had finished about 15 mins earlier. Happy with a good days running under my belt, I got a lift home and all set for an evening of lazing on the couch. Before all that though reality reared it's ugly head again when I discovered that my incapacitated car was now clamped to add to my misery! All that could wait 'til the morning however as this evening was to be a stress-free zone!
Sunday, 23rd June, 2013 - 8.9km Recovery run (5:36/km)
Thought I'd sleep like a log and I suppose I did for a while but by 7am I was awake and couldn't get back to sleep. Again I was feeling remarkably ok and managed to do a few chores around the apartment in the morning, before trying to get the clamping situation sorted out. I won't go into the detail here but if anybody would like to hear me rant about NCPS for a couple of hours giz a call!
I went out for a run in the evening though and the sore knee from yesterday was still prominent for this run. I thought my pace was a little quick but the garmin disagreed and suggested I was actually going around 5:30/km pace. It felt much quicker but I guess my mind was comparing it to the trail run rather than normal speed ranges. From halfway around my 8.9km loop the knee started to get worse and for the final two km it developed into a pronounced limp (6/10) so I was happy to eventually get home. I'll give it a short run-out today but if it is still as sore then a bit of run-free recovery may be required.
For now though, it's back to the real world and dealing with bloody car troubles!
Note: All photos by kind permission of Rory & Peter Mooney.
Week 25 Summary:
RTW: 5 from 7 days