At the finish of Dublin Half Marathon, a brochure was given to me… And sweating and with my foggy sight… I thought, ufff… they don´t know what they have done! Mountain race by Wicklow Mountains, the mountains located in the South of Dublin city. There was a date for next challenge: October 6th. It was a race staffed by Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team, Run the Line, with distances of 13 and 28kms.
The weather, the week before, was really horrible, and I believed as impossible to run that kind of race, but the week of the race, the good weather came back as a miracle to be in Ireland, because of this, I filled in the long distance race, 28 km. I had never run that distance, but after my great performance int the half Marathon, and looking forward to going to the mountain, I knew that I could achieve it. Furthermore, the reference of my brother-friend Carlos, who had got to finish the hole Marathon in Los Lagos de Covadonga (Picos de Europa, Spain), pushed me more to share with him that experience of mountain trails.
After surprising to my work colleagues on Friday`s pint, and with the support of my Santander´s friends and my girlfriend in the distance, the day arrived. Spectacular day. The best day since I had arrived to Dublin. I woke up earlier than a normal day, and the sun began to rise. More than one hour of bus and tram for crossing all Dublin from the North where I live to Tallaght in the South, where the start was settled to going directly to the mountains and to complete the track of 28km of mountain trail to the finish located near Ballycullen, in the East side of the mountains.
Around 50 crazy people were there. The staff not very complex, because of this, the race was more familiar. In the queue to get the number, I spoke with an Irish man discussing about the race. Clothes choice. I had the backpack full of clothes, but after asking to some redhair Irish mates with naked white skin legs, I decided to give up all kind of warm clothes and to run in long sleeves t-shirt. I only had long trousers, but I could have run in shorts, because the morning was very beautiful. Far away, in the horizon, the mountains were waiting for us.
10am o`clock. Start, ready… go!! People start calmly, the truth is that everybody was here to enjoy. I didn´t want to force anything, and step by step I keep a comfortable rhythm. Without to want it, I was in the 13th place. The approaching to the mountains was around 7km by asphalt paths, but it was by a very beautiful area near a river and with many trees, until we arrived to two artificial lakes. I began running by a runner, but my crazy head made to me to continue ahead to get the next group, where a girl was. I caught them in a little climbing and also I escaped of them. What do I do? Should I wait for them? Running alone is boring… At the end I waited for them, but forward, I saw another lonely runner and I told me, come on, I am going to be his company. This efforts of going and coming are dangerous, you know well Pablo, but I like to enjoy these moments in the races. I caught the forward runner, who became in my great friend of the challenge. Karl was his name.
When I achieve catch him, he asked to me my name. The man ran bored and I was delighted to talk with him for the kilometers go ahead. He was tall and kept a very good constant rhymth, the same as me, so we understand us very well. We were talking during the first asphalt climbing. While we were climbing, I told to Karl those landscapes reminded me a lot to my dear land Cantabria in the north of Spain. It was like I was in one of the valleys between the Caracol and the Braguia gap, everything green and grass between trees and little country houses. We share some meters with the girl of before who passed us. She suffered at the climbings but she flew when the path was plain. While that, karl and me running in the same way keeping our rhythm. Enjoying, we were passing kilometers talking about children, girlfriend and wives.
We went out to open mountain, bogs, as my friend explained me. Very wet soft areas and in front of us the first refreshment. Following the recommendations of my friend Carlos, I stopped to drink water and to eat the first of many bananas I ate during the race. There were sweets too, and I taught a lot to eat after, because maybe I would need them. Turn left and we went inside a nice forest. We went out and we crossed an ancient forest by a lonely and magic terrain. I was enjoying a lot. More turnings crossing roads and looking at between the trees the Dublin views. The true mountain arrived. We continue getting kilometers and suddenly, when we were running into a dark forest path, Karl alert to me what I had in front of us. A deer in the middle of the path looking at us. In less than two seconds it scaped into the forest, but in that moment I had time to remember all my mountain friends, overall the guilty of I was there running this race, and to think of that I was becoming real another dream. What a great race, incredible landscapes and looking at wild animals.
I should be the 17th kilometer… but I remember that to see the deer was the last euphoric feeling of the race. A few minutes later, I began to have problems to follow to Karl, and some seconds after… I lost his steps… Oh oh… Another runner came behind me, and I followed his ‘wheel’ when a long descent started. This is going to be tough to my feet, I thought. But surprisingly, the feet plants were perfect during all the race. Although the knees and the ankles suffered a little bit. Long distance already runned.
Second refreshment and there, it was the end of running. I stopped to eat and to drink a lot. I wasn´t very strong… and I had to eat well, but to go out the refreshment, a little path awaited for us. As beautiful as tough. To walk… that the biceps start to complain… This was the last time I saw Karl in the race. The suffering had begun, and the kilometers were infinites. Long climb to exit to a hill. A wood path with nails for the ice crossed all the edge to reach the little peak. Many people started to pass me. Dublin views were spectacular, but I am focused into restarting to run, stretching my muscles and to keep a slow running. Impossible. I started and I stopped. Legs didn’t run. After a little descent and a rock climbing, a long part was coming crossing all the edge until the Three Rocks. Really nice with Dublin at left and Wicklow Mountains at right. I thought that it was the most beautiful part to do it running, the pendt wasn´t tough and the path was very funny. But impossible. I was one of those zombies that the more diesel runners always eat in all the race endings. The positive thoughts didn´t run this time. Today the mechanic failed and the kilometers were too much.
Km 23… still… The I remember the sweets I had caught in the first refreshment. I believed I had taken a lot of them, but they weren´t enough. The good thing of going walking was that I could stopped and to take some picture and enjoy the landscape, although, I was suffering a lot. Las climbing, last peak. Fair Castle between Two Rocks and Three Rocks, 530meters of altitude. The hikers which were walking around there supported me when they saw my face. It helped me a lot. I couldn`t do anymore… only continue and finish.
I shouted: CIMA!!! (Peak), and Dublin, Howth, the sea and the mountains were witnesses. A volunteer of the staff told me that I had ‘only’ 4kms descending to go. Agonic. Miraculously, the third refreshment appeared. Great. I drank water and I toke two bananas and two bars of chocolate. So I was all the descent eating. Two girls from the 13 kms race caught me, and ashamed I tried to follow them… Really sad, but I couldn´t keep their rhythm. I arrived to the last turn at the same time my GPS told me that we were in the 27th km. Last kilometer. I passed the girls and I spoke with them. I don´t know how but I achieved to keep a decent running and suddenly I saw between the tress of the beautiful forest the glory of the white arc of finish that appeared as the heaven’s door. I achieve the goal, and smiling… I crossed the line!!!
Karl waited for me during many minutes ago, and said to me Congratulations! We discussed about the race with his friends and after change our clothes, we went to Glenncullen to drink a pint which we had deserved in Johnie Fox Pub. I started to recover and to realize what I had achieved. 28kms of mountain trail with 1000m of slope in a little bit less than 3 hours of race. I was really really well, and overall I had enjoyed as I had dreamed. I rested all the Saturday evening and all the Sunday at home. Great race and great experience in Ireland Mountains. In some months I will achieve the next challenge, come back Cantabria, my land, my home, as the dreamed finish, and as today, I will shout:
I crossed the line!!!
Pablo Martin Sarobe