Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Half Marathon!

The day was a tremendous success. The weather was fantastic, the course was well laid out, with loads of Marshall's along the route, and a large number of people were out to cheer on the competitors. There was a great atmosphere before the race, as the DJ played some tunes, and people gathered and gossiped, with the most recurring question being "how are you fixed?" or words to that effect. A large number of runners headed to the start on the Charleville road for the 12 O'Clock gun, and then we were off. The last 11 weeks had come down to this, I was determined to enjoy it and I did, heading off  with Robbie Connolly for the first mile at a little bit faster than I wanted to go. I slowed down and let Robbie off, even though I was feeling good. I got my pace under control, and had a nice comfortable run with Angela Martin, between miles 2 and 7, consistently running at 10:30 pace. As I passed the halfway marker, I decided to step it up a notch, and pushed on by about 10 seconds per mile, until the 10 mile marker, when I upped the pace again. I was still in control of my breathing, and my legs felt strong. I was getting a real buzz by now. I knew this part of the route quite well, and I knew I'd only have one more tough part of the course left, and then it would be a comfortable downhill run to the Stadium. I was keeping an eye on my time, and it was around the 10 mile marker, that I decided the 2 hr, 15 min target was achievable, so that was what I was aiming for. Ivan Dunne, who'd been a pacer during the race, was finished and had run back out the road, as part of his training for the Dublin Marathon. We met with about a mile and a half to go, and he turned and ran in with me. He asked what was my time like, and what was I aiming for, and then ran at the necessary pace, to get in on time. I found this useful, but I appreciated his encouragement even more. Ivan was telling me there was loads of people at the finish line, the atmosphere was brilliant, and I should enjoy the lap of the track, and finish strong, he also told me a joke which put a smile onto my already beaming face. I took his advice and finished strong in a time of 2 hours 14 minutes and 22 seconds. Margaret, (my wife) my two sons (Frank and Rory), my Mam and Dad,  my sister, Catherine and her husband, (Conrad) as well as Hugo's wife and children, (Dora, Eoin and Anna) were all out on the course cheering on Hugo and Myself. It was great to see them, which I did twice on the course and then again at the finish line. It's amazing how much encouragement you can get from hearing people cheer you on. It happened loads yesterday, and I'd never before realised how much that can help as you're going around.

The race was won by Gary O Hanlon in a time of 1 hr 12 min and 50 sec. There are loads of pictures on Tullamore Harriers facebook page if you're interested, I just nabbed one of the start, to show here. Ray ran a great race also, I'm sure he'll tell you all about it in his blog. I know he was delighted with himself, and with how the whole day panned out.  

The only mistake I made all day, was not doing a cool down, and stretching properly. I stood around for about an hour and a half, chatting, before going in for a shower. When I got home, I lay down on the couch to rest for a while, I was as stiff as a board when I tried to get up 30 minutes later. I asked my Sister, who's a doctor, if it would be too late for a cold bath to have any effect. Her advice startled me. Catherine said that a hot bath would work just as well as a cold bath, in terms of recovery. It's a pity she hadn't told me this 11 weeks ago, before I put myself through all those cold baths. Anyway, with that in mind, I went to the pool with Hugo, and spent some time in the Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, and it definitely had the desired effect, as I didn't cramp once all night, and moved freely from then on.

I met Bubbles in Lynch's at 8pm, We might be at the back of group come training on Tuesday night, but there's no doubt about who's going to be first when it comes to getting a drink. A large crowd from the Harriers came out, as we celebrated how well the event had gone. Most people were happy with their times, and Matty Mc Cormack was heard saying "It's like Christmas morning, everybody got what they wanted!" Ray and Myself had clubbed together to buy John a little gift as our way of saying thanks, so we presented that to him later on, and also thanked all the members of the Harriers for making the two of us feel so welcome.  Bubbles and myself also talked about what goals we'd set, but I think I've gone on for long enough in this post, so I'll fill you in on Tuesday about what's coming next. So, until then, Sl├ín.

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