I wouldn’t have gotten this far without…

I wouldn’t have gotten this far without…

You!

I can hardly believe that this is it. 32 weeks of training and now about to embark on the final run. 

Scarey biscuits. 

There are so many people who have made this journey so special. People who didn’t laugh when I signed up, people who have waited at finish lines for me, those who endured the endless blog posts of my ramblings. The list goes on. 

But before I take to the start line there are a few bodies I have to thank especially. This has taken me a few days to write as I keep ending up in floods of tears as I’m just so grateful to be lucky enough to have such people in my life.

Michael

It would just be thoughtless to not have him top of the list. OK Dublin was his idea and it’s all his fault.  As always though he continues to indirectly open doors for me to an even better life just when I think things couldn’t get any better.

His support and encouragement, although underhanded mostly, has been above the call of duty as a husband. He’s ran at my painfully slow pace for serious milage so I’d company. He has come back for me at races so I don’t give up most notably at my first Half in Lisburn when I needed him more than ever. He has also endured the extended verbal version of the blogs as I go over every last thought of every run. 

Not once has he told me to catch myself on or to give up on the marathon idea. He’s ran baths for me, never extensively complained about the need for a new watch, trainers, socks whatever sports paraphernalia I fancied that week to “improve” my performance. 

Let’s be honest he’s a saint and I already know how lucky I am as he’s held me up through more things in life than I’d like to mention. I just find it amazing that this time 7 years ago we where preparing for our wedding and here we are about to embark on our first marathon.

Selena

It all started in the shop, the grumpy girl on the till and her acknowledgement of the poor critter just in from her morning run on route home. Turns out that that job just sucked all the joy out of her as she has since lighted up. ..A LOT since she changed jobs

Now it’s a daily fix of Selena in my life that has added motivation, grounding and a friendship for life. If I ever thought I had a twin…it’s her. Similarities are uncanny and creepy at times. 

Thing is she always said I had everything a runner needs. I’m still not sure what that is, but I like being referred to as a runner. She’s my go to girl for clearing up those running questions you don’t want to ask publicly. ..like is it normal for your pee to be florescent when taking berocca, sort of questions. 

She knows exactly what I need to do, keeps me in check, brutal at times which I appreciate and know is with love and even came out and seen me through my 17 mile run. She writes the best motivational poems and reduces me to tears with them. Although she does come across like a hitler to the untrained eye, behind the assertiveness is a friend who is caring,  supportive and a special angel in my life. 

Caitriona

It all began at Slimming World. Come on do Tollymore 10k. There’s a selection box. Bet she wishes she never suggested it! 

Every runner needs a running buddy. I’ve got the best one though. Not only does she run and own the back of the pack with me, she keeps me in craic and isn’t afraid (anymore) to go along with my mad ideas. As they’re always an adventure of some sort.

OK she may not be a fan of my mid race singing or dancing, but she loves my ponytail (the way she locates me in a race). She is more relentless than me and determination that would frighten you. After giving in to 3 weeks of torture, she finally agreed todo Lisburn half with me. From there it hasn’t taken too much to twist her arm to do longer races and longer runs…a marathon may soon be on the agenda me thinks.

I will run Dublin like Caitriona is going to beat me, as that’s what the trainers say. Thank you! 

Forever at my side in training and in battle. I’m ready for a Country after DCM with her after a wee 1 mile because we’ve earnt it! As long as DCM doesn’t kill me.

Lauren

The wee woman who in the early day of marathon training listened endlessly to me on Friday mornings going on about strategy, plans and general thoughts on righting the world’s wrongs. Friday’s haven’t been the same since she left for England. Though she is keeping me busy with revisiting my degree and therefore invaluable in keeping my brain focused on something else than the marathon.  

My number 1 blog follower without a doubt and can’t wait to get her back at Christmas for Kilbroney 10k and maybe I’ll not have to drag her off her sick bed this year! And hopefully she can fit in a winter trek up the mountains. As I have so so so SO much to tell her about the marathon.

Tara

In this together.  Look how far we’ve come Tara from random friend in the computer to about to tackle a marathon. 

I recall the marathon conversation on snap chat.  Thinking about doing Dublin…aye Michael said he’s doing it..sure why don’t we do it! 

It hasn’t been an easy road to Dublin for you but we all have a different path to get to the same destination.  Those last 26.2 mile though is the same and I can’t wait to see you as I come towards the finish line, a sight I’ve seen many times throughout the past year. You’ve seen me through some tough times and some tough races. But we’ve made it and nothing is going to stop us now.

Shane

The only person in the world who can tolerate me at 7am in the morning – fact!

Wednesday mornings have been spent at the gym being put through my paces. There have been times that I’ve walked out of the gym on him and times I’ve nearly been sick. I have spent countless days in agony because of him but it’s all worth it.

Thankfully since minor injury 6 weeks ago we’ve laid off the legs and moved to me not being able to lift the milk out of the fridge some days. 

I will hear him in my head during Dublin telling me he has faith in me, like he does every week when we’re trying to get those 50 more metres on the rowing machine or extra 100 strides on the cross trainer to beat last week’s target. Sorry you can’t do Dublin but you’ve been an invaluable piece of the puzzle and I can’t wait to get back to you trying to kill me ..I’ve missed leg day. (Not really) 

Dermot

Well wasn’t he just a random addition to the list. But seriously the first night I was roped into a session by Dermot it lashed out of the heavens as we done hill reps up and down the back way of Maginns. Funny I had my first encounter with vodka up the back way too and we’ve become besties- Dermot better hope that things dont go the same way as the vodka relationship  But seriously…

Taking to the second set of sessions I was determined I wouldn’t let this scarey running man win. Turns out…he isn’t so scarey but by God he knows how to get the best out of you. 

So as the weeks went on and he failed to kill me in his Death By Dermot sessions, I actually learnt a lot about running, my form, having my style critiqued and most importantly I wasn’t alone in how I felt when I ran.

So I guess I’ve a lot to thank him for and also for entertaining/enduring my sometimes distracting behaviour.  However a hug from Dermot is now mandatory at each session and wish him all the best at Dublin too. Even though by the time I’m finished he could be home and all doing his recovery run around Kilbroney but more likely in the pub. 

Caroline

I remember seeing Caroline post that she was doing the GNR and VLM to raise money for The Miscarriage Association. Thinking to myself at the time …wow she is absolutely bonkers. Only crazy people run that long. As she took to the line to do the GNR I was only getting into running. 

By the time she crossed the line in London, I took myself out to push my own limits as I couldn’t bare to track her on the live tracking. I hit my first 10miler that day. When things got tough I thought of Caroline in London and everything her run meant to her. 

She made running accessible to me. Made me realise that you can do a marathon and not be a professional athlete. She met me at my first race in Tollymore  (a bit hungover) and waited for me to finish before having to dash off. It meant so much to me. I hope before the year is out or in 2017 we line up together at a race again. 

The MAC crew

I don’t even know where to start here. It deserves a whole blog piece of its own. There has been no better decision I’ve ever made than making that move to join Murlough AC, even if it took Selena and Caitriona 5638288171 times of asking me before I finally joined. Shouldn’t play so hard to get!

Everyone from the super fast to the mountain runners, the injured to the ones just out for the craic. EVERY ONE  has been fabulous. Always supportive, always encouraging and most of all always inclusive.

Joining a running club is scarey, especially if you are someone like me who isn’t particularly fast. But I found a home and a family in Murlough. Not only do I never be alone in a race or training, I’ve always someone to turn to, someone to laugh with and someone to hug. 

The faith they have in me is something I have never ever experienced and it is so overwhelming. I know I can be overexcitable, talkative, hard to listen to and darn right annoying but they make you feel loved, wanted and appreciated. 

I’ll go out on Sunday and take to the start line, proud to be representing the club. I know I’ll probably be the last to cross the line for the team but they want me in that team and make me feel a part of it. Even if it’s going to take me at least 2hours longer than some of them to finish. 

Gosh I sound like a right saddo. Though I know running would never be what it is now to me without them all. And for that I am so grateful.

And to my fellow DCM marathoner’s good luck and go and show Dublin what MAC is all about!

Everyone else

You all deserve a mention but this blog would be an epistle all by itself. So quick shout out to other important people and don’t give me jip if I forgot you. As everyone who has liked or commented on anything, I love you too.

Sinead, Nuala and Moira for the daily dose of keeping me in non running “normal” craic.

Rachel for always keeping my hidden insane side entertained and sharing cups of tea with me virtually all the way from Oz.

Micéal for his daily dose of love via Snapchat and unnecessary Snapchat stories on a night out as Johnny Bradys Groupie,swing dancing.

Brendan for just being him. He has been at the end of every one of my half marathons in the sunshine and rain waiting on me to cheer me on home. Means a lot to me. Plus he knows that you can never have too much ice!

Artie, the man with the magic hands which quite frankly create biblical miracles. I’d have written off Dublin if he hadn’t have worked religiously on rubbing out my kinks and keeping the legs fresh.

The crew at school run for entertaining me daily in my active wear and indulging me after a run. Especially Patricia and Connaire who’ve kept faith in me right through. (keep the future inlaws sweet 😉)

Auntie Tina & Maria for always looking out for me and being there when there was no one else in the family who believed in me. And well Granny Josie for all her prayers too- very important.

And of course my in laws, Karen,Shauna, Finbar and I suppose Liam too. Always encouraging and accepting my craziness and embrace it. 

But the big mentions go to…

Collette
No one has any idea what an important piece of the puzzle she is. Actually she is the board on which the puzzle is built on.

I’ve the world’s best mother in law. Collette has been ridiculously accomodating and supportive when it’s come to this running bug we both have.

It was her, who 2 years ago arrived into the house with the forms for me to join the Burrendale.  She seen something in me that I didnt see myself, even when I tipped the scales at 21stone. 

Always encouraging and beyond accommodating. From those first few spin classes to the marathon. Obviously with both of us running and 2 young kids it hasn’t been as difficult as it could be to fit in races and long runs because of her.

I’ll be honest I think the kids love when we say we are going running as that means they get to go to Grannys (and don’t forget Grandads). It’s kind of a double win for them, hanging out at the farm and a medal.

I’m sure she can’t wait until the marathon is over so that we can abandon the kids with Michael and go for good long walks with no plan. Where I’m sure she will hear about every aspect of marathon training. 

But I am forever grateful to have someone like her in my life. Who need’s a mum when I’ve got her as not only someone to watch out for me but a friend too. Michael loves you, the kids certainly love you and well I love you too. None of this would be possible without you, physically or mentally. 

The crazies aka the Grant Babies 

Well they are the reason I get up every morning. ..because they wake me.

I hope some day they’ll look back on this blog and see that hard work and sheer determination (and stubborness) can get you anywhere as long as you have the right attitude and the right people around you.

I know they’ll love this medal as much as the plastic ones they get at sports day and not really know just yet the work that had to go into earning it. But I live for pulling up the drive post race and seeing their excited faces as they come looking the bling 

They see going to the gym and running as normal and I hope that they take that with then through their life and not end up with an exercise phobia like me.

All this aside as any parent wants, I want them to be proud of me. Lead by example and hope that somewhere along the line my good habits rub off on them and you never know maybe someday I’ll be cheering them on in a race. If not we’ll do laps of the garden and use the medals we’ve amassed in the drawer.

And breathe …

That’s a long one. An emotional blog but although it may come across as I’m going to climb Everest and might not come back. I’m going to climb my very own Everest (although elevation at Dublin is pretty mild in comparison) but you know what I mean. Just wanted to say a huge Thank you to everyone for keeping me going, it’s become more of a journey for everyone than just for me. I know come Sunday everyone will be on the live tracking sitting by their phones awaiting me checking in. Don’t worry I promise I will as soon as I get across that line. Might even check in mid race, you never know! 

Love you all xxx

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