Hi folks. So I decided lately to catch up on my posts seeing as it has been a while since my last one. I haven’t had a huge amount to update this year………………………UNTIL NOW. With the course coming to an end (and I get my life back), training and especially running had been at a virtual standstill until September. But the thoughts of watching the marathon were more than enough to sign up.
One thing, however that was continued all year were the strength and conditioning classes in the Dublin Sports Clinic. This greatly helped to keep the strength up and hugely contributed to a completely injury free year.
However, as I said, September hit and the miles were not put in. To try and put the mileage in and feel confident was going to be a tall order. It had to be done though.
So what happened?
Starting off with the regular half marathon outing, we got off to a bad start, barely making it home. The hill coming up Fosters’ Avenue proved particularly heartbreaking. Anyway, this was expected. A couple of midweek runs later and the confidence began to edge back. It wasn’t going to happen overnight so the key here was persistence.
By the 1st of October the 26km run to the Castleknock gate of the Phoenix Park and home again was in store. This was when I had nothing to lose so I joined a friend so as not to be stuck with my own thoughts for the entire process (enough to drive you to drink). Arriving home after about 2:30 the legs felt fantastic. BREAKTHROUGH!!!!!
8 days later it was the turn of the Athlone (or newly named “Irish”) 3/4 marathon. This was a tough day. Up to about 15kms things were ok and comfortable. Maybe it was the fact that the 26km was only the previous weekend but the legs were very sore at the end of this. This was a major setback, with a whole extra quarter to go in 3 weeks. Was this going to be a case of just get through it and enjoy? Nice bling though which is always welcome.
The next 3 weeks were spent trying to build the aerobic fitness, eating properly, drinking properly (water………………not you know what), stretching, foam rolling. All futile.
So the big day arrived and a very surprising calm came over me on Sunday morning. We were gifted a spectacular day so conditions were not going to be an excuse. Off we went and sure things were fine. First quarter…………………………alright. A little slow but sure g’wan. Up to halfway. Even slower and there’s a fair bit of pain in the legs here. Then on to my usual cheering zone in Crumlin with all my pals lined up to support. One mad friend in particular commenting, “LOOK AT YOU GO THERE! YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL. YOU’RE A BEAST”! Hilarious! I smiled. Dying inside but trying to look comfortable. Another friend decided to follow me about 100m metres down the road like someone you might see at the Tour de France trying to keep up with the cyclists (except this time it was all in good fun).
Anyway, I got sidetracked there sorry. We’re just getting to the “when things go bad” side of things. Essentially, the pain became unbearable very quickly. It continued through the quads to the back of the knee and hamstrings. The first of many many stops was made on the road up to Terenure (not even the 3/4 mark………………………feck).
From then on it was a tale of the worst pain I’ve had during a marathon so far and this includes the hills of Slea Head in Dingle and the 25 degree heat of Paris. Honestly the doubts were enormous as to whether I’d even make it to the finish. There was no way that was happening. So it did become a case just try and enjoy the atmosphere, which was electric as always. I swear the support gets better every year here in Dublin. It’s now the 4th biggest marathon in Europe behind London, Berlin and Paris.
Through Rathgar, Clonskeagh and Ballsbridge I still have no idea how I got there but I have spent the last 2 days very disappointed with it and analysing what went wrong. What did I expect? I hadn’t put in the miles. That was the key, but there is always pride at finishing.
So what was the lesson here? It seems like the most obvious one in the world but if you don’t run enough, forget it (I’ll probably do it again though 😆 😆 )
There are 5 medals in the bag now and I know what to do to improve so hopefully now there will be more time to show that there’s more to the bling. There’s a lifelong ambition here to do as many as possible. It’s not just a hobby. It’s way more important than that.
Thoughts are already concentrating on what’s next and it will be soon. Watch this space!