See here? That`s my MARATHON t shirt!



Yeah, and it looks even better when I`m in it. Yeah, right!

Janathon Day Five. And, even though this whole exercise every day thing is a brill idea, I was having doubts my ability to tog out and do the business today. But my marathon t shirt came to the rescue.

Dublin City Marathon Oct 2012 was my first marathon. I`m hoping it`s the first of many and boy, was I just thrilled to get the T. That said, it`s not the most practical piece of kit. It`s black(what were they thinking?) and, since all the other small and medium people beat me to the finish line, my T is extra large. In fact, I`ve been sleeping in it for ages because it`s ideal nightwear.

But we`ve a strange winter visited upon us here in the Emerald Isle.With temps hovering around the 10 degree mark, base layer didn`t seem justified today. Yet, I needed sleeves… Time to go running in my nightie…

Revisited yesterday`s mile long track and whey, hey, the Saturday crew were out! Men, guy, young studs were everywhere looping that loop, my loop. And some were sporting marathon Ts! Well, I could barely contain myself. Off came the fleece and I sprinted confidently to the starting line. Happy, at last, to be among my peers, my colleagues in sport, my fellow marathoners! Men!

Everyone made way for me of course, once they`d spotted my magic T.  I  couldn`t help but notice an awful lot of very admiring glances. Some may indeed claim, that I ran more quickly and assuredly and, indeed posed more obviously, while clad in my marathon colours. They exaggerate, surely. But yes, I `ll admit, I wore it with pride.

Not that my distance was awe inspiring, mind.

Dragged myself off the pitch after three mediocre miles. Only nine hundred and eighty something more miles to go in this year`s thousand mile challenge!

I remain convinced, that I wouldn`t have run as many, nor so proudly, if I hadn`t been wearing my marathon T.

Have you got a favourite T?




Boxing Clever Day

Christmas 2012 014Nomnomnomnom…

And that was only round one. I went back again, Oliver style, for more. Yep, gotta say, Christmas dinner is my all time favourite dinner. I don`t think I`d get tired of it even if I ate it every single day. No, I won`t put that one to the test though.

And yes, I was rewarding myself. Didn`t you know? I am an athlete, after all. I need my calories.

Ah yes, I run two days in a row and suddenly I am back in athlete mode again. Still, I deserve something after today`s run. Five miles in the pissing rain. C`mon, I must get extra points for running in the streaming rain. Extra calorie allowance, even. And for pushing on to do even more than I`d set out to do. I`d say that would entitle me to at least one thousand more calories, no? I ate them anyway. Cue pic of empty Lily O`Brien chocolate box….

I faffed about in bed this morning. While most of you would be happy to sleep, or whatever else you get up to in the sack. I was conducting some serious research on my android.

I found this. I`ve been meaning to log everything. Two years of running and I`ve only fragmentary evidence of me following any sort of training regime. Ok, the proofs in the body, but still…

I`ve thought about pen and paper. Oh and that dang Garmin I`ve yet to hook up. I`ve even used Runkeeper for a while but it kept crashing. And that was only when it stopped insisting on spreading my stats globally.

But Fetcheveryone has got pretty good reviews.Especially on Lazy Girl`s blog. Which is another good blog to dig around in itself.

Haven`t had time to investigate all of fetcheveryone. But the general idea is that you register, then throw in your times/distance every time you run. It keeps a record and spits out your stats any which way you want. Yep and it doesn`t just log your running, but also your swimming, cycling and tri stuff. It`s enough for me to hear that it`s a stat geek`s paradise for me to register and promise to root around there a lot more.Oh, and there`s a heap more stuff in it too, like race reports, an injury forum, and it`s all free.

Cue more bedtime with my android.

But back to today`s run. Yep, pissing rain. It put me in mind of last year`s Raheny five mile. Dang, but that was one stream of constant rain. It was a major help that the thing was so damn well organized and that everyone was so good humoured. But I distincly recall feeling so crap during it that I did not care about the seaview, or the brave people who cheered us on. I just wanted it all to end. Desperately.

I know I notched up Raheny for next month. Now, I`m not so sure if a January race is on the cards at all. Or even necessary.As I pounded down by the ramparts this morning, I had a serious think about next year`s goals. It has to be anything that gets me to a 4.15 marathon and a sub two hour half. Nothing else matters really. I`m all about endurance, not speed, so the shorter races won`t work for me. I know I can stay in the game. I know parkrun in Malahide, for example will give me the race buzz for nothing. I don`t actually need to sign up to everything in sight like I did last year.

So, over all good day. I learned a little about my targets, found a new way to log things. And justified laying around and eating.

Hal and Brooks and Me

Hal, Runners and Medal

Cheap and easy. No, not the best quality in a man or a woman, but its certainly one of running`s greatest attractions.

You can run in any old pair of shorts and top, really.Yep, layers on for winter. And yep, lycra`s better for reasons I might even be bothered to go into in another entry. And, if you`re a woman, or a certain kind of man, then the right sport`s bra is totally essential. But I`ll have to write a whole new entry for that one as I haven`t time to take pics of myself in the correct gear right now…

Anyway, here`s the real must-haves. Presenting THE book for any would be marathoners-Hal Higdon`s “Marathon”. It comes chock full of advice from the master coach himself and, best of all, marathon running plans for runners at any stage. From week one to week eighteen, he`ll tell you how much running you`ll need to do and at what pace.

And here`s the runners-Brooks GTS.I was a complete Asics freak until I switched to these. But hey, this is a case of one size definitely not fitting all. These suit me because there`s a little bit of support in them to compensate for my flat spogs.And they`re light. You`ve gotta get a proper shoe. No chainstore flat yokes.

With saying that, I`ve emerged with some foot issue from the marathon, so I`m going to take these runners with me to my podiatrist tomorrow and see what she thinks. I`m interested in the barefoot running stuff-as in vibram toed runners protecting my feet, not actual bare skin hitting the ground/glass/nails.

The yoke in the middle? That`ll be the Dublin City Marathon finisher`s medal. Ah, yes, a fine big clump of a thing to dangle of the car`s rearview mirror. It`s only there because of Hal and Brooks. Oh, and me of course.

But that`s a pic for another day

My 2012 Dublin City Marathon


I had no idea how fantastic the marathon would be, or how awful.

The weather was perfect. Cold and dry with just a hint of sun cracking through the morning mist. Fourteen thousand runners clambered into Merrion Square, stopping en route for a final caffeine buzz or toilet break. The organization was slick, given the crowds involved and, their attendant supporters. Baggage was collected and penned off quickly,  and stewards herded us swiftly into our respective wave corrals. We waited  for the gun.Boom! And we were off.

I tracked the 4.30 pacers. With one eye glued to their pink sails I could relax, find a comfortable pace and take in the sights and sounds of marathon. The rhythmic pounding of thousands of feet and the resonant cheers of the supporters were all that could be heard throughout the city as we made our way through the centre and out towards the Phoenix Park. That first glimpse of the Park`s Wellington Monument through the mist was one of the many uplifting city sights I was to view in our long ramble around Dublin.

The crowd,runners and supporters alike, cheered as we entered the park. Six miles were soon left behind us and there was a scramble for water and toilets. It seemed like every man in the race was peeling off towards the nearest available trees but equality issues raised a few eyebrows when some women felt they should do likewise…Eek!Not for me! I dived into the nearest available portaloo leaving the pink sails of the pacers to ebb away into the distance. Hmmm, yes,something I hope to avoid next year. Pacers don`t wait and I don`t have the kick to catch up.

We were soon streaming out of the park and downhill all the way along Sarsfield Road.. I marvelled at how well I felt, how beautiful the morning was and how the city unfurled her streets so swiftly before us:Inchicore running into South Circular Road and onwards to Crumlin.

And it was at Crumlin, I crumpled. My feet -broad flat Celtic spogaroos, at the best of times-felt like they had collapsed entirely. My socks seemed tighter too, so I pulled over to whip them off. More seconds lost as I struggled with laces.But at least my feet could breathe more easily.

I sucked on a gel as comfort food. Anything to distract my mind from the pain, threw on my headphones and thanked RTE 1 for some great running radio.

Drimnagh lead into Walkinstown and onto Kimmage. I particularly like Kimmage, a village of nicely tended gardens and pretty houses.The crowds were friendly and sympathetic too They were used to seeing runners struggle at this, the fifteen mile point and more and more of us were in pain or walking or both.

Suddenly I felt very chilled. The morning was cold to be sure, but over heating is my usual trouble when running so I hadn`t expected this. I realised I hadn`t taken much water at this point, and that I was possibly headed for trouble. Gratefully, I snatched a jelly snake from the extended hand of a smiling stranger and headed swiftly for the next water station where I gulped a bottle of water and sucked on another gel.

People in the crowd held signs aloft with messages such as “Sixteen weeks ago this seemes like a great idea” “You think you`re in pain? My arms are killing me” Anything that raised a smile. raised the mood and the pounding could continue.

Clonskeagh spread out luxuriantly before us. But we knew it had a sting in it`s tail:Heartbreak Hill awaited. I was beyond pain at this stage because by now my thighs were screaming at my feet They were tired carrying the clumsy appendages.I walked as soon as Heartbreak Hill approached, figuring it would be better save my exertions for later.

But the hill wasn`t as heartbreaking, nor as long as I`d anticipated. I clambered on again. I knew it was downhill for the next six miles into the city. Six miles is an eternity after running twenty though, so I brought my strategies into play for the home run. “Don`t think,run!” got me through most of those miles. And dedicating the final four to each of my children and my sister brought me past the RDS, onto Shelbourne road, Grand Canal street and down to the swelling cheers of the waiting supporters.

Michéal, a Concern charity runner tried to encourage me to run in with him. But he was gregarious and energetic and I had left both qualities in Crumlin with my socks. The lap of Trinity was difficult, even with the crowds shouting “C`mon Mum!” at the sight of my Mum emblazoned number. I smiled when I could but struggled, even with “Finish” in view.

Oh, but stepping over the line. seeing the chip timer and onto the walking chute brought a little shiver of excitement and disbelief.

I was home. I had done it. I am a marathon runner.