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Apologies if you read my blog and have seen this before, and I don't apologise for lifting it straight from the blog, it's hard work trying to write the same story twice! So hopefully you'll enjoy the report.<br><br>
As regular followers of my running will know, I have been focusing all my running this year on seeking that elusive 3:35:59 that will enable me to line up in Boston on a Monday morning in spring 2008, just weeks after I reach my 50th birthday. Actually, when I say all year I am somewhat exaggerating, as I really only started serious training in June, what with everything else that had gone on on the early part of the year. So a somewhat ambitious target of my BQ by Philly in November has been progressing along, and with a few hiccups along the way, I have been progressing in the right direction. I did post a reflection recently that I felt that Philly was about 6 to 8 weeks too soon for me, and yesterdays race would enable me to judge more accurately as to where my "Marathon State" actually is.<br><br>
Well, the day arrived and amazingly, given the summer we haven't actually had, it was a blue sky that greeted me at 7:30 when I arose from my slumber. The drive over to the Phoenix Park was uneventful and after collecting my number I walked the mile or so to the start, only to find that the race start was delayed for 15 minutes due to the numbers. I haven't seen the official results yet, but the tannoy announcer was saying that there were as many as 4000 running yesterday - have to admit it didn't seem that many, but if accurate that is an amazing turnout for the race, and a wonderful climax to the Adidas Series that acts as the Dublin Marathon Build Up.<br><br>
I was determined to treat this as preparation for Philly and attempt to run at Marathon pace, i.e. 8:15, and not make my usual cardinal sin of flying off too fast and then hanging on for dear life. There wasn't a gun or klaxon to start we just seemed to edge forward and then we were moving. The race was chipped, so I started my watch at the mat, and as far as official results may go, these splits are my watch times, so I'm hoping they will concur with the overall picture when released.<br><br>
The first mile was along Chesterfield Avenue, the main drag through the Park, a nice wide road with plenty of room to spread out. For once I wasn't having to run around people, I had started as near as I dared to the front, and hopefully not too many were weaving around me. The first mile marker was hit at 8:09, good pacing, just what I wanted, I hadn't got carried away. The sun was warm and the sweat was dribbling off me very early. I was glad to be running in my Club Vest, suitable vaselined and with my "stop-chaffing" shorts too. It felt very easy at this pace, but I resisted the temptation to speed up, even though I felt pedestrian at this pace, and with Mile 2 showing 8:20, life was good. Mile 3 was slower, 8:22, but then we hit a couple of down hill stretches and an 8:04 mile followed by 7:57 had me running nicely along the time zones.<br><br>
The next couple of miles saw the hills that had plagued me in the Frank Duffy Race a few weeks ago, and again, I realised that I would have to run these twice, with the second time coming at 10.5 miles into the race, but that was for later, this time I was taming the beasts - 8:18, 8:23 and 8:26 saw them defeated and back onto Chesterfield and the second loop. A couple more miles of 8:18 each (consistent), saw me hit the 10 Mile Mark in 82:35, only 5 seconds outside my target, but I did have those hills to tackle again.....<br><br>
Well, the good news is, they didn't defeat me, but they did slow me down. Even though I was running a comfortable pace, the long drags took their toll. I should put these hills into perspective, they aren't the Newton Hills, but they have made me suffer a number of times over the years, and humbled more than me, but today I was determined to pull my body through the couple of miles, I managed it, albeit with slow miles of 8:40 and 8:34, but mentally I beat my demons, and when I recovered I was able to glide home the last mile and a bit in 9:09 and cross the line in 1:48:58 - At least I think that was my time, I forgot to press the button when I looked at my watch!<br><br>
My thoughts on the race were positive, and a realistic assessment of where I am in my quest. The overall pace was 8:19, a touch outside my goal, and I did feel tired, and certainly not ready to run another 13 miles at the same pace just yet. I appreciate that Philly is still 8 weeks away, but I can't see myself quite managing to get into total shape by then, and as this quest has been about stepping stones and Philly is not the Last Chance Saloon, I will look at a 3:50 in Philly, and, not that I ever need an excuse to visit the US, I will target a January Marathon, possibly Houston, and try for my Boston time there.<br><br>
So who else might know a good January race somewhere warm where I can BQ?<br><br>
Liam
 

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Nice race Liam! I like your hill attacking strategy.<br><br>
Chevron Houston Marathon January 13th is a good one.<br><br>
steve
 

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Liam - nice job on your half. Have you run Houston before? If you have; you know it's a pretty fast course if the weather cooperates. You'll run a good one there. My My wife ran it last year and save for a bathroom break she would have set a pr. Enjoyed your report.<br><br>
ksrunr
 

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You're on the comeback trail Liam! The secret to another 13 miles at that pace is to be down to your proper running weight. Everything else is secondary. Good luck in Phillie! (Note the Canadian spelling!)
 

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Liam... I've given up my quest for 2008, I'm hoping for 2009 when I'll be 50.5<br><br>
Good job, as always. An inspiration for us old farts.
 

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Don't go to the ING Miami in quest of a BQ. I ran the half there in 2006 and was happy to be finishing at 13.1 miles. That was when the temperatures really started to rise. Plus there's too much humidity in the air anyway. Go west young man, to the desert southwest or So Cal in January for that BQ.
 

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Nice job Liam!! What an inspirational report that was to read. congratulations on a good time and good luck finding the perfect Jan marathon for you. I'm thinking West is the place to be!
 
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