I struck off from Shankill just before 6. Thankfully this Friday morning was clear and bright so I couldn’t complain. I’d need a better excuse than the weather if my attempt was unsuccessful. I carried everything I thought I would need for the out and back effort conscious that I could get additional water at the public tap in Glencullen and the few streams that I would cross along the way. I had recce’d the route over the previous couple of weeks and was glad that I did. While it is very straightforward most of the time every now and then you can be left scratching your head wondering “did I miss a turn-off” so on the day I could switch off the route-finding part of my brain which was a comfort.
I knew pacing was going to be the key. Go out too fast and I would die a thousand deaths on the way back. So, with that in mind, what did i do…I went out too fast and I died a thousand deaths on the way back. I only took the one photo on the day at the turnaround point in Tallaght. When I removed my phone it was completely covered in Tailwind. They really need to make their sachets a bit more robust.
I didn’t want to be left with anything in the tank at the end so as I inched ever closer to Shankhill I kept asking myself “should I be trying to run this hill?” to which my body’s response was a resounding “No!!" The trail was getting busy at this stage so I was glad I had chosen a week day for the challenge because, with the good weather promised, I'm sure the trail will be much busier over the weekend.
Once I hit the high point in Barnaslingan on the way back I knew I was on track for a sub 8hour finish. I just needed to keep it rolling. The only nutrition I used on the day was Tailwind and Gu gels (not sponsored). Being someone who often suffers from stomach issues after 35 miles or so I am happy to report that I had no such issues on the day…well, not much anyway. The biggest area of concern for me was my footwear. I knew going into the challenge my shoes weren’t ideal. Who in their right mind uses a pair of Asics trail shoes? Regardless, I didn’t have the patience to wait until I had bought and broken in a new pair of shoes so sure enough my feet got a bit mangled but not too bad.
Don’t forget to stop your watch….don’t forget to stop your watch…don’t forget to stop your watch. I was completely done in when I finally hit the DMW sign in Shankhill. Really delighted to bring it in under 8 hours. All in all very happy with the day out. Beats sitting on front of the computer….but oh, my poor feet.