I feel grateful, privileged and humbled.
Grateful for the support of family and friends, grateful to be a member of such a giving and wonderful club as Marathon Club Ireland, grateful to have met the 2 members of Marathon Club UK.
Privileged to be able to run multiple Marathons, privileged to stand at the side of a lake in the middle of Connemara at 10.30 am in anticipation of the start with a couple of hundred fellow running enthusiasts (I know some of you have another name for us and that's fine :) ). Privileged to be able to drink from the positivity fountain that long distance runners seem to replenish naturally. Privileged to feel alive rather than exist.
Humbled by the beauty and force of nature as we ran by living lakes, snow capped mountains and thousands of sheep. Humbled by the giving nature of fellow runners and supporters. Humbled by the strength of my own body. Humbled that from this I take away an understanding of life, it's purpose and it's infinite possibilities.
That's 4 in the bag!!
The forecast was for torrential rain in the morning, the clouds on Saturday evening looked ominous, the atmosphere at number collection nervous. This is a tough race and inclement weather can make it really tough particularly on some of the climbs and most definitely on the 'Hell of the West' Climb from miles 22 to 24. Last year saw runners being blown sideways on that mountain by very strong winds.
It just shows how useless worry is because when we woke up on Sunday morning there was only blue skies and abundant sunshine. What to wear? Was this going to last? I decided to trust the hourly forecast on my phone which indicated good weather for the day and dressed appropriately. The sun was on us the whole way round the course, so much that I needed water to cool down the head and neck on a few occasions.
I had been diligent in looking after my 2 injuries in the week leading up to the race and it showed during. The pain was definitely bearable and although it shot into my right knee as I was compensating while running that too was bearable. I think I'm just getting better at pain management. I am aware that with endurance running pain is inevitable but also that it is almost always temporary.
I ran the first half in 2h07, the second (far hillier) half in 2h08. Steady running, steady pace, even managed 90% run up the 'Hell of the West' climb resulting in a PB for Connemara of 4h15.54! What helped was the great camaraderie and the chats along the route with fellow runners. This course is mainly ran in nature with very little houses on it apart from Leenane village at half distance. So it's great to run a couple of miles with someone while chatting. And you know I looove talking right??!!!
Actually, I ran the Wall!! :)
After yesterday I'm seriously considering to partake in the Ultra (39.3 miles) in the next few years and probably will as the course is just too magical not to. Anyway the result is Marathon number 4 of the 12 Marathons in 12 months for Gorta Self Help Africa is in the bag and number 5 is now less than 3 weeks away. And it is a home run!!! Bring on the Great Limerick Run Marathon. I need you all either running, collecting or cheering that day!!! For me that means 48-72 hours off now and back in training Wednesday or Thursday. Not because I have to, because I get to and can :)
More info on sponsoring opportunities, sponsors and more stuff like that in my Friday BLOG!
You can sponsor me with €12 (€1/marathon) or whatever you can/want to give on http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015