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Finally Breaking the 4-Hour Barrier

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On Sunday the 13th of May, I ran in the Kildare Marathon. It was only the third time this marathon, which starts from the world famous Curragh Racecourse, had taken place.

My preparation was to put it mildly, less than ideal. The previous weekend, I had run three marathons in as many days. On the second of these, in Limerick, I had come tantalisingly close to breaking four hours, missing out by just a few minutes. I managed to avoid getting injured, but my legs were completely swollen the whole way down and my feet wouldn’t fit into my shoes for two days afterwards; it took the whole week for them to return to their normal size. So naturally, training was pretty unpleasant that week!

Also, there is a rule of thumb when it comes to marathons. It’s usually left unwritten but most runners seem to agree with it, and that is that one should always try to get plenty of sleep  … and should definitely never EVER go out partying the night beforehand. So to cut a long story short, I went to my rather fantastic friend Meghan’s birthday party and ended up getting somewhere in the region of two to three hours sleep that night.

I regret nothing!!!

Also, I hadn’t really followed my diet plan at all that week. I had a forty minute drive the next morning to get to the Curragh Racecourse and got a sandwich with a gatorade from a petrol station on the way there. I hadn’t even thought to buy more gels, so I only had the three that were left over from the previous week. Finally, it was a swelteringly hot morning, and it would only get hotter as the day wore on. So to sum up, I was expecting nothing special.

I ended up surprising myself. The full route results are uploaded here; I started off with the 3hr45min pacers and kept them in sight for as long as possible, although I eventually fell slightly further back. At time of writing, the main details that stick out for me occurred during the last four miles as we were coming into Kildare town. Hills were run that normally would have been walked, all the gels and water had long since been used up, and to put it delicately, there was some stomach unpleasantness towards the end.

The first four miles were fun, the last four – not so much…

When it comes down to it, finishing under four hours is simple – you just can’t stop running. You can briefly stop for water but that’s about it. This is obviously easier said than done but I think the fact that I have a worthy cause to run for does help. Also I have wonderful friends that love and support me, and think that what I’m doing is good. You wouldn’t believe how many tough spots that dug me out of, it makes all the difference in the world.

Next marathon is in Portumna on June 16th.

Final time: 3:56:53

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16 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mammy no 2 #

    Amazing what a good steak, a lot of red wine, and a comfy bed can do for your motivation Ollie. And of course, one amazing Birthday Celebration! We are so proud of you my friend, as a certain (almost) famous fair-haired young lady would also have been! (Remember she is with you every step of the way)
    ps. Colm says you forgot your PAINTBRUSH,CELOTAPE, ETC ETC……………..
    Lots of love see you soon
    your adopted Mammy

    May 26, 2012
  2. You freaking ROCK!!! Awesome job!

    May 26, 2012
  3. intrepidtraveller #

    You legend you, keep up the good work! x

    May 26, 2012
  4. Thanks Janet, will do :) xx

    May 26, 2012
  5. Awesome time, well done! :-)

    May 27, 2012
    • thanks, well done in Edinburgh, that medal is brilliant and disturbing in equal measure :D

      May 29, 2012
  6. Brilliant – well done!! I wonder how much time I waster stopping during my marathon…? I guess you need to buckle down and get on with the running rather than messing around with gels by the side of the road. It’s worth bearing in mind for next time, anyway! I hope you’re enjoying some recovering now!!

    May 28, 2012
    • If you’re training for a duathlon, I’m guessing you’re doing just fine! Definitely enjoying some recovery time, next one isn’t until June 16th

      May 29, 2012
  7. Well done on beating the 4 hour mark. :-) I raed about your feet being swollen too… a good tip is to lie with your back on the ground, bum at the wall and legs vertical, let the blood drain out of them. I’ve got quite a few tips on recovery and planning for long runs on my blog, use the search bar or (enter ‘recovery’ for example) and theres a good one about carb loading too :-) ‘enter ‘carb loading) or check out the menus for more x x Good luck for the 16th June. Lorn

    May 29, 2012
    • Thanks Lorn, checking it out right now. Both legs were pretty much swollen the whole way down :D Almost back to normal now though, have a few training sessions done this week

      May 29, 2012
  8. rae #

    I think what you are doing is great. Thanks for stopping by my blog.:) I know how you feel about reaching a new PR goal. I can’t imagine to get my marathon under 4 hours.
    I hope race recovery is going well.

    May 30, 2012
    • It’s doable, as one of the guys in the club said to me, just put the head down and keep going! Have you done the Tower of Terror race yet?

      October 24, 2012
  9. I can only imagine what that must have been like… Great job!!

    June 11, 2012
  10. Thank you :)

    October 24, 2012

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