I got a bit of a marathon craze this summer and between kayak marathons and running marathons I took part in 3 different events between September and October.
First up was the WWKC club race, the Lower Liffey race. I'd been out practicing in the wavehopper a good bit over the summer, but it was the first time I'd had to run any whitewater in it and the first actual race I'd done in it! I entered into Div 4 racing class and overall I did quite well. I was up against some K1 racing boats which were always going to be faster, but I was the second plastic boat to finish the race so was very happy with that performance.
Next up was the Dublin Half Marathon (road race), again my first ever running race of any kind so I was actually quite nervous that I'd end up embarrassing myself. With Daragh's (my Flatmate and an accomplished runner himself) I'd taken up running earlier in the summer and this was my first real test. I set myself a target of 1:50, nothing particularly demanding, but also a respectable enough time for someone who had never done running or even participated in sports (I always played in goals!) that required running before. The first half of the race went very well, and I was slightly ahead of target at the 10 mile mark. Unfortunately however I just ran out of energy for the last 3 miles and I slowed by over a minute a mile for each of those and came home in 1:55. Those last 3 miles were quite possibly the hardest thing I've ever done. I was very tempted to just give up. I just had to keep telling myself how close I was to both the finishing line and my target time. Overall I was satisfied with 1:55, I was hoping to be a bit faster, but I wasn't far off the mark I set for myself and it's a standard to improve from!
Me on the half marathon!
Then last up was the Liffey Descent last Saturday. This is one of the word's premier kayaking events and everywhere I traveled kayaking people would ask me about it. However I'd never taken part, so this was something I had wanted to do for a while. I'd done a bit of practice before and had good preparation with the Lower Liffey. Overall the race went well, I had targeted a top 20 position, but I far exceeded that with a 7th place finish and a time of 1:44 (again all in a plastic boat, slower then those which are normally competitive). However for me it was very much a case of what could have been. The e-mail brief we received prior to the race informed me that my class was to start in wave 4, however we actually went in wave 3. I wasn't ready and ended up some distance from the start line and behind everyone else in the class. It took me more then 5 minutes to even get to the start line (with the clock running during that). After that I had to negotiate slow boats all the way through the Jungle and it was only about 7km in that I got some clear air to race. Overall I'd guess I lost a least 10-15 minutes because of this error, a time that could have put me well in contention for a medal so it was very disappointing to have not got off well.
I also took a swim on Palmerstown weir, We were informed prior to the race that there was a tree in the centre line and we were to avoid that and go left, however upon arriving we were told to aim centre. I wasn't the only one to end up neither on the centre or left line instead dropping backwards into the hole. I've never managed to roll with wings before and this was no exception. Another 5 minutes lost and I was really left wondering where I could have been were it not for these two mistakes.
Myself during the race!
There was a few other DCU paddlers involved in the race as well! Club captain Alan came in an excellent 3rd, and improvement of over 10 positions from last year. New member Laura was racing in a canadian. Before the race I also had a chance encounter with a paddler who had just joined the club in the last week. He ended up wining the GP class making 3 of the top 10 members of DCU Canoe Club, a very impressive return for a small club, here's to more success in future!