Happy Runniversary to Me!

​What is a Runniversary? Well simply put, a Runniversary is celebrating a running milestone anniversary. Today I am celebrating it being 1 year since my first race.

This day last year I took my very nervous self to Tollymore. With me I had a pretty hungover Michael who was going to run with me, we lasted to 7k before we parted ways as we were headed for divorce. I was meeting Jackie and Tara in the car park and I was also going to share this race with Caroline who was beginning her road to VLM and slimming world buddy Caitriona. 
Seems on arriving at Tollymore there were many others I knew who done this running thing. 
And as we set off there was no turning back…and that was the start of it.

So with too many 10ks to recall, 4 half marathons, 1 full marathon and a whole lot of miles covered in the middle, here I am still running.

I’ve had a rough few weeks. Lost my running mojo totally and then still fighting a cough which just isn’t shifting. But I’m not one to give up that easily and theres a selection box up for grabs so the same incentive that got me to Tollymore…got me to Kilbroney.

Given the state I was in I knew normally I’d have gave the race a miss but I wanted to mark the runniversary and of course make the miles on a tough course as prep for the Cracker on the 27th. 

First though, as in any relationship, he had to run first. So off we set with the kids to Kilbroney Park Run for Michael to get a wee jont out. Rónán insisted that he wanted to run and luckily as it’s a 2 lap course we agreed to let him run a lap and then Michael could push on.

 In fairness I knew he wouldn’t slow Michael down that much. And I wasn’t far wrong as they finished the first lap in just over 15minutes. Still a sub 30 performance from Michael after having company on the first lap was impressive and after he finished we packed the kids up and he took them home. 

He wasnt the only 1 who took on Park run on Saturday. Caitriona in all her wisdom thought doing Park run and then the Kilbroney 5k was a good idea. I personally thought she was mad! But each to their own. I guess too many hills is never a bad thing.

As Michael and the kids set off, Caitriona and I headed for pack collection. The 5k seemed so appealing at that moment as I continued to cough a lung up. 

But never one to shy away from getting value for money from a race I stuck with the 10k option. With the introduction of the 5k to the Run Forest Run events, had seemingly hindered the number of slower runners in the 10k. So I knew I’d be flirting with last place. For the record I came second last!

Off we set and surprisingly felt great. Steady 11.30 minute miles over the first 2k as the pack thinned out. As I reached the first of 2 big climbs I recalled the thoughts I had last year when I done the same race. “I’ve to do this twice.” Knowing what lay ahead beyond the forest I took her handy and was met by marshal extrodinaire Wendy at the turn. 

As I began the climb I was passed by so many of the friendly faces I’ve seen over the year at various races coming back down the hill. High fives galore and shouts of encouragement from everyone. The festive spirit was captured by the majority of participants and more so by those on the down hill…us on the uphill struggled to stay upbeat. 

As I came back down the hill it was only natural that I was going to be passed by the front runners on their second lap. And there they were. Some looking comfortable as long strides took them down the hill and others who’s faces encompassed the determination and pain of pushing yourself to the limit.

I always wonder what it is like to be fast. It doesn’t look to be super enjoyable at times but I’m sure it’s great to be finished a lot sooner than everyone else.

On the second lap I had gained company and as we faced the double hill again it didn’t seem so bad. As always the marshalls where supportive and encouraging. 

As I passed the Park run start line I knew that I didn’t have far to go and that I could just go for it. Then I thought to myself that I felt like I could go on a bit longer. After struggling to get to 6 miles the thought of stopping was making me sad and feeling cheated. 

However there was the medal and selection box waiting on me and knew then 6 mile was enough for 1 day.

I crossed the line strong to shouts of support from an whole array of people who seemed to know me. I looked down at my watch and stopped it. In fairness I read the time and it didn’t bother me. I had aimed to go out to beat Minnowburn which I had done. I also was aiming to maintain half marathon pace which I nailed so I didn’t care it was well out of my 10k PB and also 4 minutes slower than the time I got last year. Achievements in running do not have to be specifically about being faster.

I had pretty much coughed the whole way on the way round but it was such a beautiful crisp morning in a fantastic park which just made you smile being there. That is what makes a race. 

OK it’s a bonus if you can get a faster time but it doesn’t define how you feel about a race.

Have I found my running mojo…well it’s still missing in action however I have regained the appreciating of being able to run, being blessed to have so many unbelievable new friends this year because of running and feeling optimistic about the year ahead. Now if only I could find a way to get rid of this cough, find my voice and get back out there, I’d be buzzing! 


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