As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, one of the things we had scheduled during our Ireland vacation was running in the Inaugural Rock ‘n Roll Dublin Half Marathon. I ran with my brother and sister-in-law.
Going into the race, I didn’t really have high hopes for beating my previous Half Marathon time of 2:13:00 that I set back in May at the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon. Over the previous couple months, I hadn’t really trained too hard (between May and August I didn’t complete a run of more than 7 miles) and, in the weeks running up to the Dublin Half, I was drinking and eating my way across the Emerald Isle. So, at the very least, I just wanted to finish and enjoy it, assuming that setting another PR was out of the question.To my surprise, I actually ended up beating my previous time by almost 6 minutes! Needless to say, I was pretty pleased with my performance. Interestingly, though, you can see the impact of my (lack of) training when you look at my pace through each mile.
Since none of my training runs exceeded 7 miles, you can see the drop off in pace after mile 7 or 8. After mile 7, you can see my pace dropped back to my previous half-marathon pace of about 10 minutes per mile. Fortunately, speeding up on the first 7 miles was enough to set a PR but it’s clear from this that training really does matter. I’ll need to pick up my game a bit for the next two half marathons that I have scheduled in the next two months.
Truthfully, the course could have been better. Almost half of the course went through Phoenix Park in Dublin. Phoenix Park is a beautiful park but, as scenery goes, the running became a little monotonous. Granted, Dublin may not be as picturesque as a city like Paris, but I would have liked it if the course would have gone past or through some other well-known areas such as Temple Bar, O’Connell Street, or Grafton Street. My guess is that since this wasn’t the “official” Dublin marathon and it was organized by a private organization, they may have been somewhat limited in what parts of the city they could shut down.
The Rock ‘n Roll Marathons and Half-Marathons distinguish themselves by having a band at every mile. This was only partially true. If I remember correctly, there were about 5 or 6 bands, mostly early on, and then a few where there was no band and music simply being played and there were one or two stands that were completely silent. A little disappointing.
There really was no crowd to speak of. After running the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon which is a major event for the city with massive crowds coming out to cheer on the runners, I went into this race knowing that the crowds would be smaller. And boy, were they! For much of the race, there was nobody cheering. I got the sense that the only people that were cheering were the race volunteers, the Garda helping to close the roads, and the few Dublin residents that happened to be outside at the time and notice a large group of runners.
So, while the race overall was a little disappointing, I realize that much of this was outside the control of the race organizers. On top of that, this was the very first Rock ‘n Roll event in Dublin so the event may grow in years to come. On a positive note, it was an excellent way to end an incredible vacation and I’m really glad I did it.