Running friends make the good runs better and the hard runs easier

​Well it was coming…17 miles on the plan.

Again taking my legs to the forest park to procrastinate about how much I hate the lake, every lap. Its not like I’m short of routes, places or roads to run on. I just know mathematically how far each route takes and that if I am near death and need to make it home, I can roll down the back way. No need to panic about being miles away and getting a taxi.
This week was going to be tough, to me that meant a whole additional lap of that damn lake. Jumping a whole 2 mile seems scarey but it had to be done. However I’ve had enough of running on my own. Team MAC where on hand to literally hold my hand every step of the way. 

I do worry that my marathon training rants undermine those who are going out and doing really fast training runs. I know by the time I get to 3hrs into the run a lot of marathoners are finished 26.2. 

I am slow, I get there eventually but it is tough. I fear someone would enter a marathon based on the fact “Siobhan done it” it’s not easy, it is mentally and physically exhausting yet I still smile through the training..why…because if I wasn’t smiling I swear I would be crying no doubt. 

Caitriona led the support through the early stages. Let’s face it, if there is someone who has more determination and relentlessness about them..its her. With the plan to stick with me to 14mile to break the 13.1 she knew that it would take everything she had to get round. 

I don’t feel any pressure running with her. We are well matched as we both know when we are going too fast and both respect that when one or the other needs to gather themselves, it’s not a problem. 

The first 4 mile around the hills we obviously had the usual complaints of tight legs, breathing and general why the hell are we doing this. 

Getting onto the lake to begin the laps, I knew she was thinking the inevitable “I’ve 4 laps of the lake todo” it is daunting but after a while it strangely becomes a victory that you kept going for so many. Each lap is 2.5mile but years of going around it for family walks, sponsored walks with schools and now running it. It does get a bit monotonous and at times you want to blow it up.

A strong first lap went by followed by a second. As we finished the second, I spotted the brightly coloured top of Selena at the hut talking to my main man Frankie. We were at 9 mile.

Selena brought her desire to always take the perfect picture and beautiful singing voice to todays run. It takes a special sort of person to run with me and she appreciates my need to go at my pace even if it’s slower than her normal pace. Let’s face it she’s great to run with as she knows so much about running and happy to impart knowledge to help.  

So together the 3 of us ran yet another lap. With 2 more laps to go Caitriona took a break to refill on water and catch her breath. So the plan was run on, and catch Caitriona and let her do her final lap and we’d meet her after our 2 final laps.

My 13.1 came in at 3hrs and knew I was doing better than last week. So it felt promising. I began to have the mental fight with myself at around 15 mile about this is the furthest I’ve gone but Selena kept me focused and kept me running when I didn’t want to run anymore.

I seen 16 mile come and Caitriona had met us on the final straight of the lake so I knew I had to go on that bit more to make the 17. I kept myself going and strangely picked up the pace. However at that point, it was just a matter of getting it finished. A wee 0.2 extra round the lake path and back seen the watch clock 17 mile and the relief that it was done sank in.

So we did what any athlete would do after a long run…We got into the lake to cool the feet and look at the times and pace….well it seems I totally smashed it today, clocking 17 mile only 20 seconds slower than it took me to run 15 last week. 

So it just shows you how effective it is to have friends to run with. I don’t think I’d have got this far in running if I hadn’t joined a running club. It was even more for the times when taking it easy that your thoughts aren’t consumed by the doom and gloom, keeping things upbeat. 

I really enjoyed today’s run though. I laughed, I smiled, I had great friends sharing in the “fun of 17miles” but most of all I felt very lucky. Lucky to have people in my life who knew exactly what I needed and when, to get me through that run. 

Of course it was finished off with a pint of Avonmore 

So after my half an hour of euphoria it hit me…I’ve to find 18 mile next week. 🙈🙈🙈

A good filter hides how I really felt in this picture after 17miles

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