Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Ray D'Arcy's LauraLynn Half Marathon

Ray D'Arcy had started a challenge at the start of the year, to run a marathon every week for the entire year, and of course to collect money for the LauraLynn children's charity while doing so. Since I cannot think of a more deserving charity in Ireland, I signed up for it.
Deer in Phoenix Park
Spotted on the way to the start
Covering a distance of 26 miles in a week isn't exactly a major challenge, so for most of the year I was just ticking along. I did a few more challenges alongside that one, most notably the East Of Ireland last person standing one, twice, which always went on for weeks and, as per usual, I was too stubborn to pull out when I should have and went on and on and on. In fact, during the final week of the second challenge I ran over 120 miles - and I did not even realise it until a few weeks afterwards when I accidentally checked my logs on Strava!

Anyway, I had long covered the entire 52 marathons and at the start of December Ray organised a half marathon in Phoenix Park for everyone to take part, rather than just long lonely mile after lonely mile. Bizarrely enough, I had not run a half marathon for over 10 years, while running dozens of races both longer and shorter.

Of course I had not trained for that. I had taken it rather easy after the Eco Trail, reconning that my body was better off with some rest rather than jumping back into training. I had barely gone over 10 miles on the weekends, so this was actually my longest run in a while, not that I was worried about the distance - I sure was not in there for a decent time, though. As a direct result of my lack of preparation I did not even try to go for a time, just jog the thing, collect the medal and t-shirt, an go home. And that's pretty much what I did.

Covid restrictions had lifted for December to allow the run to go ahead (and I am not aware of anyone getting infected there, not that I have much insight), which must have been the greatest question mark, and at 9 o'clock we assembled at the start line. I was very much towards the end of the field, not just because I had no ambitions regarding time but also to avoid the crowded masses further ahead. Once we go going it inevitably meant weaving around God knows how many other runners for the first mile and eventually we settled in position and just go on with the rest of the race.

Phoenix Park is quite hilly and it definitely was not a flat course, not that it compared to my previous one on Valentia Island in Kerry. I just took it even easier on the uphills, and made up for some of it on the downhills. The course design was a bit strange, basically 4 loops, getting ever smaller. The first loop brought us all the way to the other end of the Park, the second one cut back at halfway and the last 2 ones were smaller ones of the Tom Brennan New Year's Day 5k, albeit going the other way. It meant you actually passed through the finish after loop 3 with almost 2 miles yet to go, and I'm sure there were some that "forgot" to do the final loop. I had definitely erred on the slow side of pacing myself and with one mile to go I had still plenty in the legs and went a bit faster for the last one, not that a 7:30 mile was in any way impressive (I used to comfortably run a minute per mile faster for the entire distance, not just the finish stretch). Ah well. Getting old sucks. I think I may have mentioned that already. My time was just over 1:50 - almost half an hour slower than 10 years ago. Yeah, getting old definitely sucks!
The End

After crossing the line I collected my medal and there was nobody there to chat to, really, so I just went home. A bit of an anti-climatic finish, which goes with a bit of an anti-climatic race, I guess. Still happy to have done it. Thanks to Ray D'Arcy for organising it, and of course, most importantly, for collecting a seven-figure sum (!!) for an outstanding charity.

1 comment:

  1. No plans for races in 2022. I would have thought you would have some plans already? anyway stay safe Thomas.