|Myself and Diarmuid Normoyle in triumphant mood at Marathon end.|
*My son Luke more interested in his lollipop! (and rightly so!)
Rain and wind greeted all runners at the start line as we left the Wetlands to take on this mammoth task. Full and half marathon runners set off at the same time with the half marathon runners doing a 13.1 loop and the full marathon runners completing the same task twice! I was fortunate enough to have my good friend and running companion Brian (who was competing in the half) to accompany me on the first ten miles which helped enormously as the headphones stayed in the pocket and the company helped me come to terms with what were tricky conditions on a difficult course. The large crowd at the start helped break what was a strong gale heading out towards Blennerville for the first two miles. A tricky hill in Ballyvelly was negotiated with ease and then onwards we went up Caherslee which was also overcome without difficulty, but it was early days!
The road to Fenit saw the wind come into play again but after these two miles were dealt with and after a 1.5 mile climb at the Kerries was overcome,we had a lovely downhill slope at Ballyvelly to enjoy. It was here that I wished Brian the best as he kicked on for the last three miles and a very impressive half marathon time! I was still quite comfortable heading back in the canal, behind the Rose Hotel and passing the half way mark at a time of 1:48. with a PB still within range!
|Myself and "pacer" Brian in jubilant mood at the finish line!|
It was on the Ballyvelly climb second time around that I met my brother in law Peter with some well needed gels that gave me a kick to take on Caherslee for a second time.
It was on the Caherslee climb that my coach Joe O'Conner gave me another well needed pep talk which enabled me to psychologically get in the zone for the punishment that was to come.
The long Fenit Road was horrendous as the strong westerly gale again came into play. After two tough miles into the breeze, I had to negotiate a hard 1.5 mile climb again and the sight of my wife Daire and kids Ellie and Luke at this stage was just the emotional and mental boost I needed to get through what was going to be a very tough last 4.5 miles!
After the relief of the Ballyvelly downhill, I also was relieved to find the wind to my back as I head from Blennerville to the finish line. The body was still moving at this point but the mind was beginning to doubt itself. Then came Joe's reappearance and his support as I struggled over the last two miles. His constant encouragement (and giving out!) gave me the strength to struggle on through another strong breeze on the last mile to cross the finish line with my daughter Ellie by my side in a new PB time of 3:39:30!
To say I was happy was an understatement but the body was so drained that I just hit the deck surrounded by family and friends unable to move a muscle! To come through such a tough course under those conditions and post a PB was so satisfactory but would've been unachievable without the support I've had from my family and friends from day one, a fantastic training programme and support from Joe throughout and the support I received on the day (thanks Mark for the water on mile 10!)
I would also like at this point to congratulate all runners on the day on completion of whatever distance on a really tough day for running, but especially all Nisus members who posted PB's on the day - Diarmuid (who finished in 3rd position), Maurice, Dan and Deirdre!
As my marathon training is now complete, I will now take a break from blogging about it! I still have a twitter account however @ https://twitter.com/marathonlog so feel free to follow.
Thanks to everyone who has read and supported this blog and I hope that it was as helpful (in any way) to you as it was to me!