It was easy to forget about my timing problems as I'm running by Trinity College, the place Bram Stoker grew up, and all sorts of other beautiful places. As I see the first mile marker, I remind myself my goal is slow and steady. I spend the next mile going deliberately slower. I didn't even look at my pace until around mile 4. Surprisingly and a little concerning, I was under the pace I needed to be at to finish under 5:30.
Mile 4 also started the part of the race that was in Phoenix Park. This is easily one of the most gorgeous parks I've run in. Two other things happened at mile 4. I turned on my ipod for the first time, and I finally felt warmed up. Feeling pretty good, I ran through most of my intervals miles 4 - 10. I was also still pacing to finish under 5:30. Which is great, but I didn't put much faith in my projected time at this point. I was sure the end was going to kick my butt.
The spectators were awesome!! They yelled out "well done" as we passed them. It was great. It helps that I love their accent so it was fun to hear the whole time. There were lots of kids along the course giving high fives and a few really great kids with fruit and cheese.
I was under the false impression that the course was flat. It was definitely not flat. They even had signs printed and posted as we were going up the hills. However, the hills weren't as bad as they could have been. Strangely, it was kind of a nice break to go up and, especially, down.
The race course was awesome. It was beautiful. And it helped that I was (mostly) unfamiliar with the course. I think the new things to see around every turn made great distractions. Before the race, I was sure by the end I would swear off ever doing a full marathon again. But I actually had the exact opposite feeling. I'm excited to plan my next marathon. And maybe someday an ultra marathon.