Limerick, Friday January 23rd 5pm. We set off in the dark direction Tullamore. I just had a Dioralyte solution to rehydrate as I am still not recovered form the food poisoning earlier that week. I have never felt less ready for a long distance run, let alone a Marathon. Half way up the road I realise I have not said a word and that's not me. I'm anxious.
Tullamore, Friday January 23rd 7pm. Staying in familiar surroundings sounded like a good idea so I booked the Tullamore Court hotel where I have stayed numerous times. The rooms are excellent here and I always sleep well in them.
Tullamore, Friday January 23rd 830pm. When in Tullamore you have to go to the Captains Table. It is an Italian restaurant in the town that not only has superb food, it also has some of the best customer service I have come across and the (Turkish) owner is a true charmer and gent. My first hot meal since Tuesday. Pasta Carbonara and a Vanilla Crème Brulee with copious glasses of water. Excellent dinner!
Tullamore, Saturday January 24rd, 7am. The 2 dishes last night were creamy. Silly that, Patrick!! Not the fault of the food but I still I wake with stomach cramps and irregular bowel movements :) No breakfast other than a banana, 2 chocolate chip muffins, a bottle of water, a dioralyte solution and some bowel regulating medication.
Tullamore, Saturday January 24rd, 8.15am. It's +1 outside the Hotel and we need to scrape ice of the windows. It's going to be a cold start.
Lilliput Adventure Centre, Lough Ennell, Westmeath. Saturday 24rd, 9.10am. It's -2 at the Start line and the early 8am start (Marathon Club Ireland have an early start at their races to accommodate those who have to travel back long journeys or will take more time) has been delayed until now because of ice on the roads and conditions not fit for running.
Lilliput Adventure Centre, Saturday 24rd, 9.50am. It's time for us to start. It's still below Zero and there is still ice but in patches and the sides of the road are clearing slowly. There is 120 doing the Full Marathon today covered over both starts and 40 doing a Half marathon. We have a small loop of about 2 miles and then 4 loops of roughly 6 miles. There is a 1.5 mile off road jeep track we cover each way (making it 3 miles per lap) and that will be the longest part of each lap and morally the hardest in Laps 3 & 4. The good news is that this is a Marathon Club Ireland Marathon. The women and men of this Club are the cheeriest most positive can do people in this country, FACT! The encouragements are endless and from everyone involved, regardless of speed, seniority! What a Club!
There is food and drink stations at the finish line and half way at the jeep track. I settle in a rhythm of coke and sweets at the finish line and water and sweets at the half way mark. I manage to run the first 20 miles and then walk/run the last 6. The reason being is that the icy roads, great camaraderie and easy going chat took my mind of the stomach cramps I had for the entire race. As tiredness set in after 20 Miles so did the cramps make a great comeback. So Ice settles a stomach, there you have it!
Big thanks to Vincent Guthrie, race director! To all at Marathon Club Ireland, this is the best organisation ever I have been a member of, you are all awesome! To Maura Coppinger, for all the support, driving and looking after me!
Limerick, Sunday January 25th, 2pm. I set off for a 5 mile recovery run as the training and preparation for the 2nd Marathon on February 28th begins NOW!
You can donate for my chosen charity, Gorta Self Help Africa on http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015