Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock N Roll Dublin Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
What an amazing experience. One I will cherish forever. I loved having the opportunity to run the Rock N Roll Dublin Half Marathon during our stay in Ireland.
My wife and I left New Jersey on Thursday evening and landed in Dublin on Friday morning. We spent most of the morning walking around the city and then stopped in race expo on our way back to our hotel. At the expo, we picked up our bibs for the 5K and I picked up my bib for the half marathon. We purchased a few shirts, including ones that had our names on them along with all of the other race participants. We took a few photos in front of the backdrops and made our way over to the Pacers table. There, I was told to expect to run 10-15 minutes slower than what I would run on a flatter course due to the steep hills that started around half way through the course.
The race had a brand new course this year due to the Pope’s upcoming visit to Phoenix Park, where the race normally runs through and ends. It was nice to talk to a pacer that had run parts of the course before for his insight. I was already made aware of this by another BibRave Pro (thanks Laura!) so I knew what to expect. She was a pacer too and sent me a message letting me know about the hills. It was such a huge advantage for me as I was able to mentally prepare for it properly.
On Saturday, my wife and I got up and ready for the 5K. We took a taxi over to the start and walked around a bit. I was supposed to be in corral 1 but dropped back with my wife. Even though she didn’t believe me, my plan was to run with her the entire time. I was looking to run this as fast as I could with the half marathon the next day. I wanted to do this with her. She pushed herself and ran a good race. I carried a water bottle that she used throughout the race. There were no water stations, so this came in key. She ended up beating me, so she’ll have that over me for the rest of my life.
On Sunday, I took a short walk from the hotel to St. Stephen’s Green where the race was running shuttle buses to the start. This was a really nice option and it ran smoothly. My wife was able to jump on one of the last shuttles over as the shuttle was open to spectators as well.
With my wife being there, I didn’t have to check a bag, so I was able to get right in line for the bathrooms. So, I have to mention this, the porta-potties there were the best I’ve ever seen. They “flush” haha. Sorry I had to mention that. Hopefully, they will become more popular in the States.
I took my time walking around and then relaxing for a few before I stretched. Then I made my way to the corrals and waiting for the start. Nice thing was I saw my wife before the start, so I knew I’d see her right at the start line and at the finish.
The race went off but I was in corral 6 so it took some time to actually start. The first part of the course took us along a city street that was a nice way to get the legs going. I was just taking in the sites and scenes.
During the race, we ended up running past the Guinness Factory twice (front and back), along with Dublinia where “KISS” was rocking out. I gave a high five to one of the member.
I made it a point to high five as many kids that had their hands out as possible during this race. This was a race I was going to have fun and enjoy. Really take in the landscape. I’ve ran too many races where I don’t notice half of the landmarks because I’m so focused. This was being used as a practice for the NYC Marathon.
The course was nice with some up and downs, crossing over small bridges until you got to around the 8K mark and you hit a steep incline of a hill. As I was going up it, I was looking at the leaders coming down it and thought to myself I’m more worried about going down it later than up it right now. I pushed through and ran the entire hill. I felt so accomplished at the top. I kept a nice pace, a smart pace.
The course had a few points where it was a bit tight as we were down to one lane. Everything worked out fine.
There were a few more challenging hill throughout the course that I ran up. I never stopped. It was a goal of mine. I knew about most of the hills and wasn’t surprised when I saw the inclines. The only one that caught me a little off guard was the last hill about 2 miles or so out from the finish. It was a bit steeper than I was expecting but I felt so good at that point. I felt strong at the end. I welcomed the challenge.
Around this point, there was a woman that was pushing herself, running a great pace that I decided to run with. She definitely helped me push myself for about a mile and half and then I took off. I felt so good. It was the first half marathon I’ve run where I felt strong at the end and not dehydrated at all. I ended up seeing the woman after the race and thanked her for pushing it.
I really enjoyed the course. It was beautiful. It was damp and wet but the weather otherwise was perfect. It was in the 60s. Felt refreshing versus the weather we had been dealing with in New Jersey.
I finished in 2:13:46 for a 10:12 pace. My watch had me at a 10:09 pace at a distance of 13.17. That is probably pretty accurate with the turns in this race and the amount of runners.
This race was a huge confidence boost as I prepare for the NYC Marathon. I felt comfortable at that pace and felt strong. We will see what ends up happening but this was the perfect race to run. The course was challenging but it was beautiful. I loved it. Hopefully, I’ll be back again to run it again.Loading Likes...