When I think back to Dublin 2014 I can smile as I remember my friend offering me three types of drink as I came down Heartbreak Hill – water, Lucozade and some really fancy energy drink who’s packaging alone probably cost close to a fiver. I choose the fancy energy drink, which he had to open, which fizzed up into his face from the jogging beside me, which I then took half a mouthful before feckin’ it onto the ground and moving off barely giving a thank you. The wall does that to you.
I can look back and laugh but at the time it was the furthest thing from fun I could think of. I just wanted the end to come and to get out of there. To get into a car. To go home. Imagine that. Training for four months for an event that you only want to get away from! I mean, why would you bother!?
To add salt to my wounds, by the end my watch showed 26 miles a long way before the 26 mile marker and when I finally did see the end, as I got to it, dragging what last bit of energy I had to look decent for the final crowd I realised that the what I thought was the end was just a timer on a local radio station’s car. The end was a further few hundred yards down the road. It seemed like a mile and on seeing it I gave up all pretence of looking anything except utterly devastated.
3 hours 04 minutes and something seconds.
It was a terrible time to come in on. Very few people set out to break 3 hrs and 5 mins. As a result, so many of those who came over the line with me looked equally devastated. A bag of bones approached me talking to me but talking to no one at the same time, saying that he had hoped to break 2 hours 50 minutes and didn’t know what happened. I didn’t care. I hadn’t any sympathy for myself let alone someone else.
In the analysis of the race afterwards I would hear that many, many people fell short of the personal bests. The humid weather sapped many runner’s strength and the blustery conditions didn’t help matters. For me that wasn’t why I failed to break 3 hours.
Nor was it due to not sticking to my own plan and run my own race. Going off too fast at the beginning and gaining a minute in the first half worked exceptionally well for Quentin but didn’t for me. I resolved myself to doing my own thing in every race I’d ever run after that, but that wasn’t the reason I missed out on the sub 3. In the end it was down to me and not just being good enough on the day.
There are days when you are good enough, and there are days when you are not. Those days hurt. Dublin Marathon 2014 was one of those days.