Close to four weeks ago I took part in my first timed running event – The Belfast Marathon. At 34 years of age & thinking I had been fit all my life I was relishing the challenge! Full of enthusiasm I hit the roads daily, clocking up the miles to the tune of 30 per week. Then disaster struck.
Cycling at night & pedalling that would have done Lance Armstrong proud I suddenly found myself gliding through the air and helplessly watching the ground rushing up to greet my face. I was ‘took out’ by a kerb!
Walking like I’d soiled myself for three weeks & panicking slightly that the marathon was approaching in six I was contenting myself that, “I’m fit enough”, all the hard work’s been done in the past” & I would have the determination to see it through no matter what – after all it is only 26.2 miles, right?!
Full recovery made I hit the roads with full vigour, only to limp home 45 minutes later – pulled hip flexor! Two week’s out. After that I found it extremely difficult to get motivated to train & before I knew it, it was race day & I haven’t done a thing!
Someone once described me as stupid & stubborn, so not wanting to let anyone down I was still stupid enough to run with zero preparation & I was probably stubborn enough to finish it regardless of any thought to permanent injury.
What a feeling! Arrive at Belfast city hall, greeted by my friends who travelled up from Co. Wicklow to take part along with 20,000 others, each person running for their own reason & raising a tremendous amount of money for charity! My chosen charity was addiction NI who help people overcome drug & alcohol problems.
5,4,3,2,1 we’re off. We leave the city centre at 9am, the sun is splitting the trees & thousands of people are spectating & cheering, I feel like a proper athlete!
4 miles in, I’m breathing well, running well, feeling good I say to myself – who needs to train, this is easy!
6 miles – Knee pain, dull ache, wish I’d done more training!
14 miles – cant feel my legs, positive self talk completely out the window
18 miles – fell, just a feeble decline to the ground mumbling incoherent words
20 miles – Sat with my head between my knees & actually came very close to crying
24 miles – The supporters are out in their droves, encouraging, clapping, giving you the energy to continue on. Sometimes Belfast is on the news for the wrong reasons but on days like this you realise we have some of the best people in the world!
Its funny what will keep you going – fear. Fear of embarrassment, afraid of what your mates or family will say, fear of quitting. But the support shown by the people lining the route was a definite positive influence, to them I am most grateful!
26.2 – HOME 5Hrs 13mins later & in absolute agony I swear I’ll never take part in such an event again! An emotional rollercoaster! I have a renewed respect for anyone who takes part in marathons & big respect for the people who run it in under two and a half hours!!
So here I am, four weeks later & I’ve just committed myself to running an Ultra marathon for Addiction NI! Beautiful scenic route around the north coast of Ireland, 26th September 2015. Sure its only 40 miles….. right???