Saturday, June 07, 2008


Marathon running is not a beauty contest, and the photos are yet another proof to it. I actually like one or two of them, but the rest ... have a look.

I was completely unaware I was being photographed before the start, but when I saw the result, I had to laugh. Niamh commented I look like a Greek God. Personally it reminded more of someone else.

And if you ever wondered what I look like when I get a cramp just before crossing the finishing line, here's your chance to find out.

Surprisingly, some photos look ok; unsurprisingly, some don't. What struck me is that I seem to have a tendency of leaning slightly towards my left side. It's something I have seen in photos of other races as well, but I am complete unaware of it when running.

Browsing through the results I came up with two things. Firstly, I ended 15th in the 35-39 age group. That sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Secondly, I counted the number of finishers who were ahead of me at the halfway mark, but finished behind me, as well as the other way round. The result (I might have missed one or two, of course):

Marathon runners who overtook me between halfway and the end: 0
Marathon runners who I overtook between halfway and the end: A whopping 47!

Wow. It was an incredibly satisfying way to run a marathon, but I do have that niggling thought in the back of my head that I didn't run it optimally; I still had too much left in the tank at the end. I probably could have run a bit more aggressively in the first half, and eeked out another minute or two. But I try to ignore that voice. Marathons can be brutal, and it's better to be a little bit too conservative at the start than too aggressive. And the sub-3 would never have been on the cards anyway, and I'm not overly concerned about the fact that I might have been able to run 3:08 instead of 3:09.

One more thing I realised (and the Alien Lizard spotted it too) is that the Yasso 800 workout before the race had been spot on in its prediction. I'm still not entirely convinced that it is a good predictor, but it did work that one time, and it is still a good workout in its own right.

On Friday night before the race Niamh found me working on the training plan for Dublin this autumn. With the Cork marathon being on Monday, she wanted to know when the training for Dublin would start, Tuesday maybe? (That woman knows me too well buy now). I got slightly defensive and mumbled something about recovering for 2 weeks and then taking stock, but she was right of course. Dublin is a mere 20 weeks away, and I'm already anxious to get the training under way. But don't worry, even with the quick recovery I will be careful. The plan is to take it very easy this week and next, and the real training will not start until I feel well and truly up for it. I have finished reading "Brain Training for Runners" and will incorporate most of the things suggested in there, including drills, hill sprints and core workouts, some of which I was doing already anyway. I've got a few alterations to the printed schedules in mind, I want to include back-to-back workouts in the shape of a tempo run followed by a long run with a strong finish the next, and I've added a few miles to some of the weeks, especially the early ones. I'll take stock after a few weeks of training, and re-evaluate. But I'm getting slightly ahead now. There will be at least one more week of pure recovery. I felt really good today, there was not an ounce of stiffness left in my legs.

7 Jun
5 miles, 41:30, 8:18 pace, HR 139


  1. Hi,
    My analysis was clumsily done but for the record I was 63th at half way and finished 50th overall. 4 people who were behind me at halfway gained places on me at the end. Still, happy with that! Well done on managing to keep anyone from gaining on you, thats some achievement. They took long enough posting the pictures up. They are a bit steep too if you were interested in getting a full digital set, for instance (60 euro).
    Mick dot Hanney at ireland dot com

  2. I liked that Brain Training book too. Glad to hear you'll recover for at least another week. Planning is the fun part, isn't it?

  3. Thomas,

    I'm a little behind hand here, but I wanted to add my congratulations to you for a superior performance! Well done!

  4. You didn't quite get the pose right, but not bad David, um, I mean Thomas.

    Experiencing a strong second half is good for the mind. A slightly stronger first half in Dublin and 3:05ish is surely possible.

  5. Glad to hear the recovery is coming along nicely. On to the next one!

  6. Great photos thomas!! and by the way I have that nagging thought after all my races :( but but I'm begining to think that is all I'm capable of. You on the other hand have more than...

  7. Feeling good at the end of marathon is so much better than crashing and burning at 20 miles because you took off running a 5K.

    You had a well paced raced and buried a ton of runners in the 2nd half who probably wish they had followed your strategy.

    Great set of pics.

  8. Hi Thomas,

    Just ran across your blog and will continue to read. Good race recently, look forward to seeing your results as you approach and break 3:00!


  9. That's not a bad testament to your marriage when Niamh compares you to a Greek God.

    I found "Brain Training" very good also. Enjoy the planning.

  10. Just stumbled across your blog site here. Congrats on your finish, you sound just like myself, 9 marathons done, I started out at 4 hours and my last one brought me down to 3:03 in Ottawa, Canada on May 25th 2008. I shaved 4 minutes off my previous time, but more than that, I did not fade at all near the end. So much so, that I had a one - minute negative split.
    I live close to Toronto, Canada now but was born & bred in Dublin, Ireland, and get this, dont hold it against me, but I grew up in Ballybrack!!! I read the entry about the prick in the garage, God, I laughed my arse off!

    Keep up the good work, we can and will break 3 hours. I found the difference for me this time was the advice I got from a doctor/athlete friend of mine, who suggested that my fuelling frequency during a marathon should be increased slightly because of the fast pace I am trying to maintain for 26.2m. It worked for me, although everyone has different fuelling habits. Personally I find that because of my low body-fat ratio, I tend to run out of gas if I haven't been eating right.......Food for thought, right?


    I dont have a blog site, but am a part of the Barrie Roadrunners blog site.

  11. Thomas,

    You look totally relaxed whilst running a sub 3:10. You make it look so easy! :)

    Congrats on gutting out a great marathon time! You should be very proud.

    Thanks for all the encouragement over on my blog. You're very kind with your thoughts.