Month: March 2016

Change is afoot

We are constantly growing and spreading our wings.

Who we are is defined by so many factors. I have spoken with many people about their inspirations, reasons for choosing a certain path and most importantly where they get the drive and energy to continue to strive for better.

I’d like to think that by now at 31 I’ve been through the mud and somethings I’d never wish anyone to experience. Yet I wonder what defines me.

Running has gave me an outlet to settle my inner battles in the wake of a huge battle that consumed my life for a long time. I am the crazy person who runs past you talking to herself or even with tears running down their face. I’m a very emotive runner and the littlest thought can spur me on or stop me dead in my tracks.

Yet in amongst the tears and the talking to myself I find peace and relax. Every step is one more step than I’d ever thought I’d manage.

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Tonight I stepped out of my comfort zone. I have ditched Slimming World and joined a Running Club. I have a lot to be thankful to Slimming world for, friendships, great craic and of course weight loss. However with a Marathon in the near future and my love for running growing, Michael and I joined the local running club for support as well as a new focus. So an investment so to speak for us both. He has spent every Tuesday night in watching the kids for 3 years..its about time he got out.

Thankfully it was a local run, sadly at that fecking lake! Grrr. I managed a lap without stopping and running with a lady who was running my race pace as her easy run pace. So for me it was tough but really enjoyable 

So change is afoot. Change to my Tuesday night routine, change to my training and change for the better.

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Planning ahead

Actually running the marathon I assume is the easy part and that is why now over 200 days before the event I’ve found myself sorting out hotels and childcare.

Where do we stay, do we drive, how long do we stay, when do we need to be in Dublin and most importantly … what do we do with the kids.

Currently there are 4 of us taking on Dublin Marathon. Michael, my husband and Thomas and Tara.

Strangely this couples friendship has blossomed from running. Tara, a friend of a friend, was super encouraging in my very early days of running and promised to meet me at my first ever race to make sure I wasn’t on my own even though we barely knew eachother in real life. What rapidly grew from that gesture is a friendship which feels like it’s been growing for years, not months. Also it has hit my bank account hard too in race fees as together we have completed 4 races so far this year and have the Team Relay for Belfast Marathon and of course talked eachother into thinking Dublin was a cracking idea.  Without fail she meets me at every finish line and has a collection of sprint finishes from me on video.

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This is us before the Born 2 Run, Winter Series, Antrim Castle race 2016 when I got my first sub 70 10k

There are very few moments of the day that go unnoted between us via various forms of communication and we love that our husbands have formed a running bromance and take themselves out for long runs and encourage eachother to push further. It’s just nice to know, in a world where many people are bitter and self absorbed, that there are still people who are genuinely nice and who get joy out of seeing other people succeed and do well. Tara is the personifaction of the latter.

So on Saturday the phone pings…Tara has signed up!  I’m not allowed to actually sign up to the Marathon yet as well the money is better sitting in my account than that of the event organisers.

Cue the beginning of what the hell do we need to sort. We have to be in Dublin the evening prior and with an early start on the agenda a hotel for the Saturday night is a must. Also it’s a long drive home so maybe a second night staying somewhere is a good idea too.

Obviously prices are inflated for the marathon weekend so was delighted to get the Travel Lodge in St.Stephens Green for a reasonable price, its not like I’m going to sleep much that night as I’ll be nervous but excited.

The debate on what to do the night of the marathon continued. Do we fork out for another night in Dublin or do we find somewhere where we can chill.

Cue booking the Carrickdale Hotel and Spa. Where we’ll get a great feed, chill out and ease tried and sore muscles in the hot tub. We’re very good to ourselves. Even better that it was a complete bargain at £62 and technically brings us half way home.
It’s Michaels birthday and our wedding anniversary as well as *hopefully* having completed our first marathon, so why not!

So we may not all be booked to do the marathon yet but you can rest assure that we are well sorted when it comes to travel and accommodation.

Tick…another thing off the list.

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Friday Funday… Good Friday shenannigans

I’ve a friend…shocking, I know. I’ve a few good ones actually.

Lauren has come into my life like a breath of fresh country air. Although a few more years younger than me than I’d like to admit, I couldn’t see life without her. A bundle of unending energy, something you wouldn’t expect of a student in her final year. With drive, motivation and a sense of adventure which would scare Bear Grylls yet refined enough to be a hot contender for the Down Rose 2016.

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What started out as a wee walk to pass an hour every now and again has progressed into the blind leading the blind through the various tracks and trails of the Mourne Countryside on what is usually a Friday..hence Friday Funday.

Today’s hike was roughly planned. We knew where we were starting and knew roughly where we’d finish. However the middle bit was a bit blurry.

I woke to clear blue skies and the excitement when I could see the mountains from my window. Not a cloud in sight and for once I thought..yes this is it. A day to scale a few peaks and admire God’s country from the top of Northern Ireland.

The Yellow Bug pulled up outside my house at 7.30am and with our packed lunch we headed to the foothills.

Up we climbed to Hares Gap…followed by a drone which was creepy. The air was still and skies still blue. However that was soon to change. We opted for the lower route across the Valley as we knew it had a path and as we were getting to where you could see right into the reservoir the mist descended and what are normally stunning views where engulfed by it.

After a good few km we locked eyes on the summit of Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland highest Mountain. We had both been to the top a few times but the excitement as we caught a glimpse of the tower on top glistening in the sun there was only one way we where heading…and that was UP.

My heart broke as we began the final ascent and the mist which ruined the views across the valley an hour previously had completely taken over the mountain. It became cold, dull and felt like walking through a wind tunnel. Sheltered only by the Mourne Wall.
The pull in the back of your legs was burning and as you climbed on…you felt that reaching the end was never going to happen.

In the distance we seen the tower, beside the tower was a man beginning to get undressed (free strip show) sadly it was just to change into dry gear. I felt it extremely fitting for it being Good Friday to recite a biblical quote of “my god my god, why have you forsaken me”
As although we knew the end was near and the suffering was going to end shortly…the surroundings, the weather and the struggle was still to be endured. Maybe not on the same scale as Jesus in his dying moments on the cross but still sort of reflected the pain and mild anger within us.

The sighs of relief from us both I am sure could be heard for miles around. We made it but.

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Yip could see no more than 10metres! Not the 360 degree view we were expecting or quite rightly deserved.

Sure if the sun had shone we wouldn’t have been able to procrastinate the whole way back down and for the rest of the day essentially…actually I think I can moan about it for a while.

Anyway 4.45mins, 14.5km and over 700m gained in elevation later, we grinded to a halt at Nugelato where we shared the most immense chocolate egg with ice cream and covered in badness.

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So today…Friday Funday from the top of Slieve Donard. I had 4.8km on my training plan today…think I can tick that off as well and truly complete.

Already Overcoming Challanges

Already Overcoming Challanges

Where I live is any trail runners paradise. At the foot of the Mourne Mountains, with unending tracks and routes through numerous forests.

CS Lewis claimed the Mournes where his inspiration for Narnia and even multi award winning Game of Thrones use the surrounding area as their base for shooting their show.  I do realise how lucky I am, I open my curtains every morning and take in the breathtaking view. However I have one place that I can never enjoy running around.

Castlewellan Forest Park has an unendless amount of routes and track to follow however it is most famous for its Lake. The Lake has been that place I was unwillingly dragged around as a kid, schools forced you to do sponsored walks around it and half the country visits it on sunny days. It’s not that it’s not pretty, I’ve had some awe inspiring moments around the lake, it’s just not as exciting as the other wee paths that lead off it up the hills that I usually detour off to avoid doing an actual lap of the lake.

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Which brings me to today…

Run 2/127

The training plan had stated another slow run, 7.2km. So where to run so I don’t over do it. Ah the lake is 3.6k…twice that is 7.2k. ….The lake, the one place that just doesn’t make running enjoyable.

So I had a brisk 700m walk to the lake (yes I literally live at the back of the park) and set my garmin. I thought so many times about veering off track into the hills but kept on course. The first lap took me 32 mins.  The only thing that kept me going through the second lap which was 2 miute quicker, was the fact I was meeting people from my previous lap and was feeling epic…hearing their thoughts of how impressed that I’d already passed them once. Even got a few comments to push on! I still ran like I was constipated as I was trying to stay slow and steady but I made it nonetheless again a minute quicker than plan had outlined.

So today was the first of many mental battles I have to overcome.

I conquered the lake…not once, but twice. A small victory but a victory nonetheless

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting started is the hardest bit…right?

People always say getting started is the hardest bit…I’m pretty sure that in my case, it’s one of the easiest bits of this journey.

As I heard Michael get out of bed and sneaking off to an early morning spin session, I rolled over in bed very aware of what my plans where today.

Run 1 of 127.

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So the all knowing App had planned the above. Let’s put this idea out there. I’ve spent the past 6 months working at getting quicker and I had to run over 2 minutes per km slower…I walk faster than that! So the challange was on!

I had planned a route in my head unsure of exactly how far it was but I was sure it wasn’t a kick in the arse off the required distance plus it started and ended at the gym so an immediate shower afterwards.

I swear I must have looked constipated or something as I tried to “jog” as slow as I could. So I was delighted that I was able to managed a 8.30 min/km in the end.

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The highlight of my morning was on coming out of the shower. I was getting my clothes out and realised I’d forgot to pack a clean bra. Being faced with putting my sports bra back on was horrifying but not as horrendous as having to walk through the gym and out to the car literally carrying my boobs!
Note for future…at least pack a jumper or coat!

Weigh in at gym was 90.9kg today

Who’s bright idea was this?

 

PhotoGrid_1458294785905So this is what lies ahead.

127 runs

Totalling 627.2 miles

In 32 weeks

All finished off by a 26.2 mile trip by foot around Dublin, in 5 hours 14min according to the My Asics app based on current pace. (It’s a liar, I’m certain of it)

 

Who’s bright idea was this!?!?

I’ll be honest, by the time I will be lining up at Dublin, I will have been running less than a year. Me a runner…that is something I never imagined I’d ever call myself. It was only 4 years ago that I tipped the scales at over 21 stone. With still another 2 stone to shift, however I can still class myself as being in the best shape of my life as it’s not that hard to compare.

So Dublin Marathon was my husbands idea, it’s on his birthday which magically happens to also be our wedding anniversary. Let’s just say that means I get presents on his birthday too and he has no excuse to forget the occasion.

At first I thought…wonderful, a day in Dublin wondering around the shops while he runs. Then the reality that maybe I could do it hit me and that was it. I’ve told people now that this is the plan, so I have to do it.

What better way to spend your wedding anniversary than pacing the streets of our nations capital without him! Several hours of peace and quiet…couldn’t have planned it better myself. Just for the record he is faster than me and the all knowledgeable app says his time is in the early 4 hours!  I’ll pick him up in the pub when I’m finished.

26.2 mile is a long way…its 2 half marathons, 4 x10k plus a little bit and 8x5ks. It’s hardly a walk in the park. I am happily working away at my 10ks coming in at 1.09 at my last race on Paddys Day. I enjoy running. I’m not fast and I procrastinate the whole way around but there is nothing that beats that feeling of being invincible as I cross the finish line. I am sure completing a marathon is the most epic feeling ever and I’m already looking forward to the challenge.

So preconditioning training.

I know a basic marathon training plan is 16weeks however I am going to attempt to knuckle down and put some pre training in. I’m signed up for a host of races including the Belfast Marathon Team Relay so every little helps.

I’ve doubled the training time to 32 weeks and this week I’ve to rein it in and gently cover my distances.  Of course my main focus is getting around this marathon in one piece everything else is a bonus.1935083_10153978190300797_5527223168469318407_nThis is me, last week, 17th March 2016 doing the Craic 10k in Belfast at approx 8.5km coming over the new Lagan Bridge near the SSE Arena

I would love to say I’m excited…but trust me the fear is real.

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