“Flat Coke And Water” saved my marathon!

My training for the Dublin marathon started in August after gaelforce west was finished. I really had no intention of completing another marathon until I finished playing rugby,  but the challenge of going sub 3hours set by a co-worker and a small wager convinced me to take it on.

I’d been doing 25miles/wk of running for gaelforce so I had what I thought was a reasonable base of running fitness to build on. I had 8-9 weeks to get into sub 3hour pace. The pace needed for a sub 3 hour marathon is 6min 52secs/mile. I did most of my training at lunch time, around the phoenix park.  It was pretty easy to squeeze  45 mins of runnig in 4 times/week. these sessions were mixed – intervals,tempo,pace. i continued to play rugby on Saturdays and my long slow runs (LSRs) were done on Sundays …. in pain from the match before!!!!

About 4 weeks out I realised sub 3 was going to be tough ….. and required a lot more mileage and time than I was able to commit. My average training week was only40miles/week.  But I was finding it  hard to gauge my progress because most of my LSRs were done with some sort of niggle or impact injury from rugby and I wasn’t keen on giving up on my wager too easily.  The Marathon day was the first long run I started without a bruise or a niggle from a match and for this reason I decided to go out hard and see what happened.

The Start – So Like I said I went out hard – too hard for me. I put the brakes on after 5 miles as I began to realise  I had burned too many matches early …….. but the damage was done!! I had to try though. I ran over O’Connell Bridge like a big happy naive egit!!

Mile 1 7 min 08  Mile 2 6 min 52   Mile 3 6 min 55   Mile 4 6 min 59   Mile 5 7 min 05  Mile 6 7 min 14 secs

The Start Of DCM 2012

Half Way  – Reached the half way point in 1 hr 33 mins 58 secs. Dont let miles 7 -9 fool you my pace had slowed, these miles were downhill!! Mile 12 and 13 really showed I was slowing but not early enough! Met Michelle (my very understanding Wife) at 14 miles and took on some electrolyte drink.

Mile 7  7min 03 Mile 8 6 min 58  Mile9 6min 59Mile 10 7min 11 Mile 11 7min 07  Mile 12 7 min 29 Mile 13 7 min 25

Miles 14 – 20

I was being passed frequently by runners towards the end of this section and was battling hard to try and keep my pace at sub 8 min/ mile pace. I was hoping to keep ahead of the 3hour 15 pace group ………. yeah right…… they strolled by at 20 miles with most of them looking like they were on a 3 mile easy recovery run.  My head started telling me to stop …. to trip on an empty water bottle and be the victim of an unfortunate accident and hobble over to a paramedic!!

Mile 14 7 min 28 Mile15 7 min 29 Mile16 7min 42 Mile17 7 min 40 Mile187 min 42 Mile19 7 min 51 Mile20 8 min 13

Mile 21 – 25 – now my marathon began. Conversations in my head ” just walk it’ll be so much easier”. So my focus has now changed from doin a time to just finishing. Sub 3hour what was  I thinking!! Met my sister at 22 miles -took on some flat coke, but I was really starting to struggle here and had myself convinced to stop and walk when I was out of her sight, but remembered I was meeting Ger (friend) at 23 miles so had to keep running.  He gave me my emergency flat coke and water bottle and a kick up the arse ….. Im not sure which of them worked but it kept me going!!

Mile 21 8 min 12 Mile 22 8 min 14  Mile23 8 min 25 Mile 24 8min 35 mile 25 8min 28

Finish – There was no 25 mile marker …..or I didn’t see it but was hanging for the finish line. In my delusional state  I had messed up my garmin so I wasnt sure how far was left …or what time i was on for so I just concentrated on getting to the finish in 3hr 19min 59secs – wager lost but delighted!! Sub 3 hours will have to wait for another day and alot  more miles!!!

The Finish …. OOOuch!

2 thoughts on ““Flat Coke And Water” saved my marathon!

  1. Barry, I work with Michelle.i love the honesty with that post.its amazing what we put our minds and bodies through to get to that finish.pity I didn’t recognise u.i came in 3.19.10.we could have boosted each other along route.like u I’m searching for that sub 3 hr so limerick may bank hol is calling!!the tempo runs mid week are a great way to build mileage at pace.see u at the next start line…maybe Michelle will can be convinced to join u!!enjoy the recovery.jacqui dunphy

    1. Cheers Jacqui, I knew pretty early in the run I was going to struggle in the last 10 km but had to give it a go!! I would love to get some Mid week tempo runs in but still paying rugby so I ussually spend Monday – Wednesday recovering with slowish 10kms at lunch time!! A spring Marathon could be a good chance to go sub 3 Kildare (www.runkildare.com) is on May 15 – very flat but can be windy, very open!
      Congrats on the Team Silver – Brilliant!

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