So this was the first of three races in the DCM race series, building up to the marathon in October. I had taken Friday off from training to prepare for it, the weather wasn't looking good though.
Saturday morning we were going to pack up the family and all go to the park so the kids could watch the race, but with a gale force wind and rain it wasn't going to happen. So I set off on my own and got there about 9am, and hour before the start.
I sat in the car eating fruit and drinking water until about 09:30 and then did a warm up run of about 1.8k to the start line, or to be specific, the portaloos! There were lots, so I didn't have to wait long :-)
According to the instructions on the website, and sent out along with the bib numbers, there were three wave starts. Wave 1 for sub 40mins, wave 2 for 40-50mins and wave 3 for +50mins. As my previous 8k time was 36mins, I went into the back of wave 1. I soon realized that most of the crowd (runners/joggers/walkers) did too! As the race organizers said afterwards: "The fact that 3974 entries went in wave 1, 1782 started in wave 2 and 562 started in wave 3 did not help".
There was an announcer talking over the PA system pre-race, and I presume he was trying to keep people's spirits up etc, but saying that, "there is a tail wind the whole way around" on a loop course is just wrong.
Anyway I set my Garmin to a "quick workout" and set it for 8km in 35mins. Then I reset it to 40mins, so I wouldn't be putting too much pressure on myself - glad I did that now.
There wasn't a starters gun, but I did notice the front runners move off rapidly, so I guessed we had started! It took about 20 secs for me to get over the line, so I started my Garmin then. The narrow roads in the Phoenix Park made it pretty congested, and as there were a lot of people starting with wave 1 who clearly should have been in wave 2/3 it held up things considerably! It took me about 1.5-2k to get past the walkers/joggers that had started in front of me, but I was able to get my pace up to 4:30-4:20min/k, which was my target really. There was one water station about the half way mark and I took a cup, but I can never get the hang of drinking from a cup while running. I managed two small gulps and dropped the rest over my legs, which actually felt good and cooled them down.
Then came the real test: Kyber Road, 1km all uphill. I focused on keeping running, slowing as needed and not looking too far ahead. I went down to about 5:30min/k, but that should have been ok along with my earlier pace overall. I tried to give encouragement to people who had to walk, and a few of them started running again. At the top of the hill, the finish line was about 200m away and I gave it all I had, although I was tired from the climb. The clock said 39:32, but my Garmin said 39:20, which would be more accurate. I was disappointed with my time, but given the congestion and lack of organization in the waves it couldn't be avoided really. I got a cup of water, two bananas and my goodie bag and started to breath normally again. I was cooling down pretty fast and started to feel cold in no time, so I jogged the 1.8k back to the car as a cool down run.
Our chip/electronic timers were a part of the bib numbers, so when we crossed the start line my race time should have started. However, looking at the results page my start time and my chip time are identical, so I can assume that my chip didn't register when I started for some reason.
All things considered, if I had the chance I wouldn't run it again unless it was organized better. It is more time consuming to get a previous result from people and give a coloured bib number for each wave, and to get volunteers to police it correctly, but it means that people can run at the speed they wish (pretty much). Apparently there was a group of six women with identical t-shirts at the back of wave 1 that walked the majority of the race, at the start they were strung out across the road holding hands! I admire their solidarity, but that's bad etiquette (holding hands/taking up the road) and lack of organization (in wrong wave).
The signage should have been a lot clearer and hopefully the issues will have been ironed out by the time the 16k/10 mile race in the series next month.