A half marathon is always 21.1 kilometres, but some of them seem longer than others. The inaugural Dublin Rock 'n' Roll half marathon, held yesterday around Dublin city and Phoenix Park, was one of my better races in recent years. The event was also the Irish National Half Marathon Championships, so I was running against some of the best in the country in my age group. I placed seventh out of about 23 with a time of 1:53:56. (The first four place-getters all had times under 1:50.) This race and the Reykjavik half marathon of last August (1:53:38) are my best efforts since the Brooklyn half in May 2009, when I ran 1:50:09. It was terrific to run the race with my mate Marc, who had only ever run around 10K. He finished in an excellent time of just under 1:56, which had been our goal time. Marc and I met in Santiago, Chile, in 2011 and caught up in Limerick last November and again this year. After the race we went out for brunch at the very funky Foam and then to see "Only God Forgives" at my favourite cinema in Dublin, the Irish Film Institute.
On Saturday morning I ran a 5K race up at Malahide, a half-hour train ride north of Dublin, in the grounds of a castle. The race was across fields and through woods, all on paved paths, and I was pleased with my 26:26 finish and first place (out of five) in my AG.
My challenge now will be to do enough training to retain the fitness I've built up over the past two months in New York.
In Dublin I'm staying in the apartment on the Liffey, right by Ha'penny Bridge, where I stayed last year. I like the location, if not the noisy crowds that hang about at night on the street below my windows. But I'm just across the river from Temple Bar, the nightlife area, so what do I expect?
I've been tying up some work loose ends before I head off for a bit of a holiday with my old friend Sarah, who arrives in Dublin tomorrow. We last caught up in May 2012, when I visited her in Canada and ran the Vancouver half marathon.
Readers of this blog will find me very predictable: in my spare time I've been seeing films at IFI ("Breathe In", with Guy Pearce; and "Paradise: Hope") and eating gelato. It's true...
I also went to see the musical "Hairspray", which was fantastic. Tonight I'm taking the culture up a notch and going to the Gate Theatre to see "A Streetcar Named Desire".
I like Dublin a lot. It was nice to run through parts of the city and Phoenix Park where I hadn't been before. I need more free days so that I can explore it more widely, but that will have to wait for another visit.