Thursday, 6 September 2012

A True Professional

"Tom thank you. True professionals. Fantastic service, sound lads. Hope ye enjoyed it"

Text message from Ken (Dingle Marathon Race Director) to Tom (Lead singer with Tommy and the Pacemakers - big up around Sixmilebridge).

It's been a while since I last posted. I've had a proper blogging holiday. I haven't had much to say really as all was quite on the running front, with the Dingle marathon being my first event since pacing Waterford at the end of June. My calf injury following Waterford, while not very serious, kept me from doing any proper training, with a total of 160 miles under my belt for the months of July and August. Half of those miles were in the two weeks leading up to Dingle to ensure I would have the endurance needed - my longest run of 19 miles the week before did not instill confidence. I had anticipated getting in some decent speedwork following Waterford and trying my luck with the shorter races over the summer, but that was not to be.

I made up for the lack of running by switching to the bike, covering 1,120 miles in July and August - more than for the previous 12 months. The lure of the bike took over for a while and my lack of running didn't bother me too much. I hope to put my bike legs to good use in the upcoming Rebel Tour in two weeks. The receding daylight and my recovering running legs are likely to reverse this trend as we head into autumn.

I headed down to Dingle with Ian (racing the half) and John (pacing the full) stopping off in Anascaul on the way for a "Pacers Meal". We were originally booked into a holiday home in Anascaul which was later changed to Dingle (within walking distance from the start/finish). Tom had already booked the meal in Anascaul and was reluctant to cancel. The Anchor Inn in Anascaul is unique to say the least - there were 3 dishes on the menu, no desserts or tea/coffee and we were told there was no toilet for customers (although I managed to find one). Another guy went in search of a toilet and ended up in someones front room. Tom never did tell us how he found the place - maybe it was the only place in town that heard of served pasta.

As for the marathon itself, I found it failry tough at times as my legs had just about enough endurance training to get me around the course in the time required. I wore lightweight racers which put more pressure on my calves. My main concern was that my calves would tighten up, cramp and force me to slow down. At times I felt that I was no different than those around me - who is pacing who? - a fine line.

I ran the first half with Shane, the 1:45 HM pacer. There was a 1:30 pacer, but there was no sign of him in front of us as we started. He went flying past us about a mile in, with 2 runners just about hanging onto his coattails (He had started well back the field - a rookie mistake ;-).
I had a group of about 7 or 8 runners at the halfway stage. We had a cushion of about 40 seconds which I said I would get up to 1:40 to 2:00 over the downhill sections before mile 21 so that we could drop the pace by  about a minute a mile to get up the worst hill on the course, extending for about 1.5 miles. We needed every second of it as the 1:50 cushion I had at the bottom of the hill was whittled down to 5 seconds by the time we passed the 23 mile mark (Dropping the pace to over 9 minute miles did not make the effort any easier). I had to concentrate the effort over the closing miles to pull back a few seconds per mile to have a 30 second cushion at the end. One guy, John O'Leary, forged ahead from the top of the hill coming home in a PB time of 3:27 (He was delighted when I spoke to him after the race). I ran with 2 guys over the closing miles, counting down the remaining minutes, with all three of us crossing the line together - Clock 3:29:47 (Chip 3:29:33) Glad to be finished, my latent fitness just about getting me around the course in the alotted time. I was even hobbling around for a while afterwards as if I had run a marathon.

Handshakes Allround

John O'Leary Celebrating his 3:27 PB


  1. you're back. good to see you running and blogging again. hope the autumn is kind to you. all the best

  2. Dingle is a very tricky marathon to pace. If you can do that on the back of minuscule training it tells a lot about your base fitness.

  3. Good to see you getting over your injury and nice pacing.
    After the Rebel Ride what are your plans for next year?
    More ultra races or a big marathon?

  4. enough pacing more racing!!! i sense some pb's in the offing.... :)

  5. Good to see you've recovered from the blogging holiday Grellan. Nice pacing job off the biking training. You *have* run a marathon - hobbling is normal!

  6. Thanks For pacing us through such a great course. Perfect training for Dublin me hopes :-) you really took the tricky part out of it for the 3:30's . Thanks John O