If you were one of the 20,000 people who took part in the Dublin Marathon on Sunday, a hearty congratulations and pat on the back is in order.
And if you have no other choice but to work today instead of sitting around at home and nursing your aching limbs, we feel your pain.
Whether you were a marathon first-timer or a veteran, however, you'll be aware of the rollercoaster of emotions that you go through on those 26.2 miles. Below, we've summed up some of what most Dublin marathoners felt on Sunday morning.
You're at the starting line with thousands of other people in your wave, waiting for the gun to go off; everybody is chattering excitedly/nervously and the always-funny announcer is insisting on yet another Mexican wave. YOU'RE OFF! The first mile is fantastic! The amount of people lining the streets around Leeson Street, Christchurch and along the quays as you head into Stoneybatter is brilliant. You can do this! YOU'RE RUNNING A MARATHON! No turning back now.
The run through the Phoenix Park is graaaand. The weather reports, with all their talk of strong winds and heavy rain, were way off; sure this is only a bit of drizzle. The noise of the crowd as you run through Castleknock village at mile 7 gives you a lift. And then….
You hit the first big(gish) hill around mile 10, heading from Chapelizod into Ballyfermot. Oh god. There are 16 more miles to go. 16 miles. You're not even halfway yet. Your legs feel heavy and like you're wading through mud. It's way too early to hit the wall. It wasn't like this in training. Maybe I should have done more training. Probably shouldn't have had that big slice of Victoria sponge yesterday, either. WHAT'S HAPPENING?! This is horrible.
You can't stop now, because that would be both mortifying and self-defeating. You're just going to have to keep going. You hit the halfway mark at Crumlin, but why does everyone around you look so fresh? Panic sets in. Why the f**k did you sign up for this? You obviously haven't put enough training in. Should you just stop? You can't do another 13 miles of this… and there's another St. John's Ambulance crew looking rather tempting up ahead…
You hit mile 16 around Kimmage; well, at least you're seeing a bit of Dublin. Oh god, there's still ten miles to go, though. You're actually afraid of what the next hour and a half might hold. You've never felt like crying more during a race.
If ONE MORE F-ING PERSON says 'nearly there', you're going to turn around and slap them with their annoying hand-clapper-thing. 8 MILES IS NOT 'NEARLY THERE', so don't lie to me, elderly lady with the Jaffa cakes. You're also really angry at yourself. Why are you putting yourself through this when you could be doing any number of other things at this moment – preferably in the pub/sitting on the sofa eating crisps/in the cinema/in bed. Why did you think this would be a good idea?
Time for a reality check. In truth, this race would be a whole other level of awfulness if not for the people who've taken time out of their day to stand on the side of the road in the rain and clap and offer words of encouragement, jellies and Jaffa cakes to the runners. You vow to be one of those generous people holding a motivational sign at next year's marathon (because you're sure as hell not doing this ever again).
That goes for the numerous people that you pass (and who pass you) pushing a friend or family member in a wheelchair, or running in memory of a loved one, or for a charity. What the hell are you complaining about? You're lucky enough to be able-bodied enough to run a marathon, so suck it up, biatch.
Right, 5 miles to go. You've conquered (alright, walked) that horrible hill in Milltown at mile 20 and there's only the notorious 'Heartbreak Hill' at Roebuck Road to go, in terms of really tough bits. The mantra kicks in: t-shirt, medal, beer. T-shirt, medal, beer. T-shirt, medal, beer. They're within your grasp. You've got this. In less than an hour, you'll be able to sit down and you start making deals with your legs: 'get me to the end and I'll never make you run another mile, I swear.'
You turn left onto Merrion Road and know it's a straight line to the finish from here. Only 2.2 miles to go. You can run for 2.2 miles, right? It's soooo close, but your legs feel like they're on fire, from hip to toe. You can feel numerous blisters rubbing against your socks and your lower back is killing you. You swear you'll never complain about being in pain again. Well, until tomorrow, at least.
You can see the finish line! The sight you've been visualising for the last however many hours. THANK F**K. As you're cheered across by complete strangers, there's really no other feeling like it. You've completed a marathon - and no matter what time you did it in, no one can ever take that away from you. Winning a medal or trophy with a team is undoubtedly fantastic - but this time, you're the one who has slogged it out for 26.2 miles and put in the hours upon hours of training over the last however many months. Just you. You're proud of yourself as you collect your medal and t-shirt – and then hobble to the pub ASAP for some re-hydration, stat.
Congratulations to everyone who did the Dublin Marathon 2017!