When I opted to stay at home and mind the kids I decided that I needed to do something to make sure I didn’t go stir crazy, loose my rag with the kids and also get any fatter than I already was. Not that I was obese or very heavily over weight but at my age I need to start to keep an eye on things and try to lower my cholesterol.

So having no money I opted to try and get out running 2-3 times a week. Initially it was to run 5K. My aim last year was to run 5K in under 30 min and to be able to run the SVP 5K in Drogheda. And I did it, the next challenge I set myself was to run the Boyne 10K in May.

At Christmas I was asked by my sister-in-law to be a stand in for her in case she couldn’t run part of the Belfast Marathon on the 5th May.

 “can i put u down as a reserve for a relat in the marathon? prob wont need u tho”

I thought grand sure the 10k on the following weekend and the longest length I’d have to run would be 7.5 miles in the marathon. A sure if I’m still tired after the marathon leg I can take the 10K at a nice easy pace. Ok my wife wasn’t overly keen in me abandoning her for 2 days in the course of a week to go off for 3 or 4 hrs running. She thought it was a bit too much for me to be taking on.

So after completing the SVP5K in 28:37, I was pleased with myself and registered for the 10K. I then discovered that the 10K was not on the 11th May, it was on the 4th May, the day before the Belfast marathon. Bummer. but sure hey, she “prob wont need u tho”

SVP5K

Ha ha, At the start of March I hear the great news that my sister-in-law is pregnant, by the end of the month I was now running the marathon. The blooming 10K would have to wait for another year.

Belfast Marathon

As Monday approached I was looking forward to it. I had my target time 1hr 15 for the 7.5 miles and I brought the boys up to Belfast with me as my Mum and Sister-in-law could look after them, swapping roles for the day.

As part of a relay team I got the bus up to my starting point, me and a few ‘000 others. There was a great atmosphere, we chatted, had a bit of a laugh, watched as the elite runners pass us within an hr. Some had been roped into doing 2 stages, others nervous about having to take on this one. The comment on everyone’s lips was “so you drew the short straw!”

Hillview

Stage C, was the longest 7.5 miles, mostly up hill a part from 2 sections, a short distance down to the Antrim Road, and another from the Antrim Road down to the Shore Road. The Antrim Road section, the longest bit, was virtually a constant 15deg hill the whole way.

I tried to stick to my target pace 6 min 30 per km to finish the 7.5 miles in 1 hr and 15 min. And you know what… I did it 12.04 Km in 1 hr 15 min 4 sec. I was chuffed, average pace 6: 14 per km. When I got to Gideon’s Green and still had a bit of puff left, so even though I’d handed over the baton I thought I’d give the next 6 miles ago. Jimmy, the guy I’d handed over to had planned to do the next 6 miles in an hr. So I though I might be able to catch him and if all was going well I’d finish the last section as well. Alas pride comes before a fall and around half way along the next 6 miles my legs started to give out. I could run for a bit and walk for a bit. I started hoping that Tomás wouldn’t wait on me to finish with him when Jimmy got to the change over, if I didn’t catch him first.

When I got to the change over I was relieved to discover that Tomás had gone, but then I had to decide what I was going to do; run on or get the bus to the finish. As I reached the end of the change over I spotted my dad. “Do you want a lift?” he asks, with a tinge of regret and a lot of thanks I said “yes”. Getting into the car I stopped the App monitoring my run. Another 8.49 km in 59:22 with an average pace of 6:59 per km. Surprisingly decent, but with wobbly legs I knew I wasn’t fit for any more.

We went back to the house, picked up the youngest and then headed over to the finish line to join with my brothers and collect Aidan as he’d travelled to the finish line by bus and I had the car seats. So we went to the finish line, got soaked, collected our T-Shirts and headed back home for a shower and some food. The total time for our team was a respectable 4hrs 58 min and 40 sec for a team with only a bit of training over the last 5 months.

Porridge

A day later I’m still tired, legs are very sore with “marathonitis” I struggle getting up and down the stairs. My youngest, having been abandoned for most of yesterday and the night before is more clingy than ever and wanting up all the time. Which is just painful, the other pair have for some reason decided that today would be a great day to start jumping on to my knee to sit on.

But in-spite of the pain and the tiredness, I am feeling the buzz. I ran 20k in 2 hrs 15 min, by my reckoning that decent.  I know Ray Darcy was offered a good deal of money if he could finish his own half million half marathon in under 2 hrs, and he trains a lot. The buzz from running the streets, getting people out offering sweets, drinks and fruit, shouting and cheering us on was fantastic. I’m hooked, I started looking today at another race to do. There is the Dublin Marathon in October, but there’s no relay teams. There is however some warm up races, 10 kms and a half marathon. The Belfast half Marathon is in September which is rather tempting.

I have to admit it I’m infected with the marathon bug, the buzz that you get from running and entering races. It’s not the winning for me that counts its the taking part, the setting my own goal and meeting it or beating it. So my next target, is 10K in under 1 hr, and hopefully the half marathon in September.

The kids seem to enjoy themselves as well, although all the walking and excitement was a bit much.

Tired Kids

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