The weather forecast had made for grim reading and viewing. Met Éireann, the Irish National Meteorological Service, had issued a Yellow weather warning for the Monday morning and afternoon. We were promised high winds and lashings upon lashings of rain. At the registration the afternoon before the race weather was the main topic with fear on most people's minds and tips on how to deal with the rain were plentiful.
I just remembered a particular Dublin Marathon where I had to remove my running shirt 3 times to wring it out as it got too heavy to wear from all the rain and actually running a couple of miles barechested. I still got there that day so I knew it would also work out fine in Cork. The only concern was the possibility of high winds in the wrong direction around Blackrock as that is an exposed part of the Cork City Marathon course.
When I hopped out the front door of Isaacs Hotel in McCurtain Street on the Bank Holiday Monday morning I bumped into 5 or 6 members of my running club, Marathon Club Ireland. Our group grew to about 20 around the start area on 'Pana'.
One of the benefits of being a member of this Cub (and there are 100's) is that these are all experienced marathon runners so all nerves are removed by the jovial atmosphere of people who have seen it all. It is best described as 'here we go again' and 'how's life with you'. If you have just 1 Marathon under your belt you can join and reap the benefits of their experience too. It is worth running your first Marathon just to be able to join and meet these 'lunatics'.
The rain and winds had the decency to wait until we had completed our first mile and had warmed up a bit. After that it was relentless for the next 25 miles with the density of both rain and wind increasing throughout. Luckily the wind in Blackrock was to our side. I settled with the 4.15 pacers for about 5 miles together with a Teddy Bear (a nice man dressed as one running for a charity). Then my running flow settled for something slightly faster than that.
I ran through Half Marathon in 2H03 and a fellow runner joked that it would be great to run the second half in the same time. Her words were prophetic as I continued to take energy from the weather conditions and seemed to be one of the only runners in my section keeping the same pace. This led to me finishing the race in 4h06, with a copy 2h03 for the 2nd half.
That's 6 marathons for 2015 in the bag of my 12 Marathons in 12 months for Gorta Self Help Africa.
I learned a few things from this race. 1- I looove rain and colder weather for running. 2- It suits me better to walk through water stations and have a calm intake of fluids and nutrition. 3- I really enjoy challenges and thrive in them. 4- I'm becoming a stronger runner at 49 :) 5- I am more focused now than I ever was (as I write this Portumna Forest Marathon is only 11 days away). 6- Most of the above 5 can be transferred into 'real' life.
Running is more than a sport, it is a lifestyle. Talk to you again on Friday.
You can donate to support the challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa on http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015