Monday, 28 September 2015

It only hurts if you are doing it right!

The line in the title is my favourite response to the many questions long distance runners get about joints, knees, ankles etc.... It must be bad for you all that pounding on the roads, you will feel it in years to come, your knees won't last, your joints aren't made for this.

Followed by 'Does it hurt?' Cue response 'Only if you are doing it right'.

I am truly enjoying my running right now. It is actually a pleasure to go out 6 days every week and run. Last week I went for 10K's (6.22miles) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday was a busy day with networking so I skipped that day. Saturday I went for my usual 9.5 mile loop and Sunday I stretched it to a 15.2 miler. That's 49.58 miles this week.

I used to manage 30 miles last year and feel it. I was then focussing on getting 30 and sometimes 35 miles in every week. The less attention I'm paying to the fact that I am running, the more miles I seem to do.

I know this can be applied to other life situations. If you find something you love doing, you will do more of it when you let things flow. It's nature's way. Stop forcing things and let things happen. This letting things flow breaks boundaries, smashes preconceptions and allows the body and mind to relax and flourish. Just like nature does.

The 12 marathons in 12 months challenge is going on a trip this week. Thursday morning we are Brussels bound for Marathon number 13. That's another thing you get when you stop forcing stuff. 13 will fit perfectly into 12in12 :)

The next blog on Friday will come to you from the EU capital. Well from about 10 miles East of it, from a small town called Tervuren. That's where the mammy lives. And where we prepare for Brussels Marathon this coming Sunday!

Off to the country of Chocolates, Beers and Waffles!! All for after the race of course!!

You can donate to the Challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa at

Friday, 25 September 2015

The Challenge continues and moves abroad.

So that's it then! 12 in 12 done. Promise kept. See you!

That's what life would be like if goals and targets were all there was. Building up to the goal or target and then when you reach it a brief moment of glory followed by desperate emptiness. Or the need for another goal or target.

One of the things I learned during my 2 year journey up to the Challenge and during the Challenge itself is that it was made up entirely of moments. I never felt like I had to go for a run. I felt privileged to be able to. I never had to do a Marathon. I felt humbled to stand at the start line because I could. This running lark has become a lifestyle, a part of my journey, my playing at life.

Therefore there is no end or no beginning, there is a continuing journey of moments. For as long as I can.

And that's the same with everything else in life. I do things not for targets or goals yet because I can and want to. At peace, filled with joy and utterly engaged with what I love doing.

So I keep running because I'm alive and I can. This week 4 days, 4 x 10 K. Beautiful, peaceful and enjoyable. Tomorrow I am considering roughly a 10 mile run and Sunday a 15 miler.

Next Thursday I travel to the place I grew up in. Tervuren, 10 miles East of Brussels. To run Brussels Marathon on Sunday. Purely for fun and enjoyment. And it will be number 13 this year and number 30 overall. And I'll get to see my mum and sisters and my sisters boys. Lovely!

You can donate to the Challenge on

Monday, 21 September 2015

Tullaroan Race report. 12 in 12 completed in 9 months! What's next??

Something unusual happened on Friday evening. It wouldn't have been unusual 2 years ago. But it had been that amount of time since it last happened. I felt nervous the day before a Marathon! Strange. I didn't sleep that great either the night before. And then small things went wrong on Saturday morning. Couldn't find any Vaseline (calm down, it's needed to stop chaffing issues), the cat of the house had nestled himself on my tracksuit leaving a million hairs on it. It didn't all feel right.

A few hours later we drove into the car park of Tullaroan GAA club. Tullaroan is a village on the west side of County Kilkenny in the Slieveardagh Hills near the Tipperary border. I immediately spotted familiar faces. Mark Hilliard, Meabh O'Leary, David Toomey, Stephen Mooney, to name but a few. All running aficionados from our club, Marathon Club Ireland. All tension and nerves gone in 60 seconds. This club brings the best out in me.

The nerves, I found out since, were because of the finite nature this race represented. I had promised Gorta Self Help Africa that I would run 12 marathons in 12 Months for them and Tullaroan was number 12!! In 9 Months! It was the end of a challenge. I like moving forward and the end of a challenge makes me nervous. What's next, like???

Anyway I was that busy catching up with everybody that all of a sudden it was 9.30am and we were good to go. Quick instructions by Race Director Vincent Guthrie and off we went. I mentioned earlier in the blog that Tullaroan is situated in the Slieveardagh Hills. I love hills. Well I love running up them, down not so much.

And I got plenty opportunity to run up hills in this race. We ran 2 loops of 13.1 miles and my guess is that 5 to 6 of these miles on each loop were uphill. Tough, unrelenting course. The small field for the 9.30 start (there was a 7am and an 8am start as well for the early birds) meant running most of the 26.2 miles alone. On roads in hills with little to no houses and no people out and about. This was as much a mental as a physical challenge.

Good news. I'm getting stronger both ways. Mentally the first lap was a struggle. I train alone but love to race in company. I had to go into training mode mentally and that took an entire lap. I came through the hills in 2h05 half way through. The second lap is a blur. I found myself in the zone and getting stronger as the miles went on. The finish line was reached in 4h14.

Lovely Tullaroan bling for number 12 this year!

I was happy with that because I felt I could have gone on. There was energy and stamina left for at least another 5 miles. I had this same feeling in Tralee and Cork earlier this year. It means that the more I run the stronger I'm getting. That's a pleasant feeling. And it means I have to try an Ultra next year.

At the finish line we had our usual celebrations. Every one in long distance running is so supportive of each other. In the Club we are all 1, regardless of speed or individual ability. We support each other in more than just running. We are each others second family. Congrats to Mary Hanly and Mary Toomey Roche on their 25th Marathon, Sheila Masterson on her 50th Marathon and Denzil Jacobs and Seamus Dornan on their 100th Marathon. Congratulations to Team Kerr (look them up on Facebook, inspirational people) for another successful marathon. We celebrated with buns, hugs and tea!

Showing off medals with Ultra & Marathon Runner Paula Wright from MCI!

So that's it. 12 Marathons in 12 months done. In 9 months. You can donate with confidence at

A special Thank You this morning to Paul Flannery from Flannery's Bar in Shannon Street in Limerick for his generous and kind sponsorship of the Challenge. This is the place you will find me when I want to get a quality pint served with a smile!! Thanks Paul.

What's next? Brussels Marathon for number 13 in 13 days and Dublin Marathon for number 14 in 35 days. I have 2 more in mind after that and I will fill you in as we go. So please keep sharing this blog and keep donations coming!

What's next challenge wise. The clouds have lifted. I have a challenge in mind. For 2018 or 2019. It'll keep me going for the next few years planning and training. And reaching the 50 and 100 Marathon milestones while I do this.

Thanks to all of you for your support before and during the 12 in 12 Challenge. It is really appreciated and will not be forgotten. Let's make it a 16 in 12 year seen we have 3 months left :)

Friday, 18 September 2015

Number 12 of 12 tomorrow and how it came to be!

It was late 2012 and I had taken part in and finished 6 Marathons in 5 years of running. People were impressed with that. I was too, yet somehow knew there was more. I was enjoying it yet something was missing. I loved running and it gave loads back but there was a lack.

I am a Life, Purpose and Motivational coach. My continuous self development, studies, reading and research lead to an awareness for the need of growth and development. To see life as a journey, not a destination. In fact to see everything in the now, the moment.

However my conditioning through education, life and the world around me to a structured life is still present despite that awareness. And by balancing both I lead the happiest life I can. I combine my passions with a desire to contribute to the world and try to do that in a structured way.

All that to explain that I got an idea in late 2012. For me to move running from mere numbers to a lifestyle I needed a way to contribute and some structure. The idea of 12 Marathons in 12 Months came to me. It seemed scary yet somehow feasible if I immersed myself in it. I set 2015 as the year to do this. For a charity, Gorta Self Help Africa. Donations can be made on

In 2013 I ran 4 marathons in 1 year for the first time. Limerick, Cork, Killarney and Dublin. It hurt, meant an increase in training but I loved it. It was becoming a lifestyle choice rather than a sport. Also in October 2013 I joined Marathon Club Ireland (MCI) just before doing Dublin which was to be my 10th marathon overall.

Pic from Mid July when I had 9 of 12 done!

So in 2014 I was going to try 6 Marathons in preparation for the 12 in 12. 2014 became my first year to overachieve. I finished the year with 7 and ran a combined 1,188 miles in training and races. I ran Tralee, Connemara, Limerick, Cork, Killarney, Charleville and Dublin.

Skip a beat to September 2015. I have done 11 marathons so far this year, 5 in 8 weeks in the Summer. Lilliput, Lough Derg, Tralee, Connemara, Limerick, Cork, Portumna, Waterford, Portarlington, Courtmacsherry and Craughwell. It hurt, meant an increase in training but I loved it. It was now a lifestyle choice rather than a sport.

Waterford Viking Marathon in June!

So tomorrow I attempt to run number 12. 3 months ahead of schedule. In Tullaroan, County Kilkenny! With 2 more booked for October, 1 for November and 1 or 2 in December. Because it is now a lifestyle! MCI are like a second family. I'm healthier than ever. I'm mentally in a very strong place. My business and personal life are benefitting from the above.

Find your passion, live in the now, change your vision on life to what you can contribute, commit and enjoy!!

You can donate for the Charity on

Monday, 14 September 2015

12 in 12 completion on Saturday, will I do more???

I heard you missed me the last couple of weeks. I was away on holidays in France you see. Didn't I tell you? Sorry. I'm back though. From 28 degrees back to the lovely 'soft' days in Limerick. I missed writing to you.

I didn't miss out on running though. In fact I ran my 11th marathon the day before I flew out. It was a small (50-60runners) yet very well organised event between Craughwell AC (County Galway) and MCI (Marathon Club Ireland) with a beautiful spread of food afterwards. It was 8 laps of 3.3 Miles. I ran the first 4 laps easily enough and then ran the next 2 laps pacing with Sinead, who was in training for Dublin Marathon and was doing the Half but decided to run 2 more laps as a long run. Good conversation and all of a sudden you are 20 miles in :)

I then met Seamus Dornan and Derek Mackessy who are both closing in on their 100th Marathon and sauntered through lap 7 with these running legends. Time to finish off with lap 8 on my own which turned out to be my fastest. 11 Marathons done, 1 to go?

Marathon 12 is this Saturday. 6 days after the holiday. Doesn't sound like a clever plan! Yet commitment, passion and accountability know no excuses. Excuses are for procrastination addicts. That used to be me. No more. I have found love, peace of mind, passion and purpose in my running and my life. So no more excuses. Yes, I did enjoy a glass of vino with dinner on the holidays and a couple of beers at night. And the very good French Cuisine.

I also ran 12 of the 14 days I was away. That's my normal 6 day a week training schedule. On 10 of those 12 runs, I ran up a graded hill to Nice's old castle site.

Here's the view from the Top of the Hill to the Old Town where the runs started.

When I arrived into Shannon Airport yesterday, my luggage didn't. It seems now it was left in Nice. With all my running gear. So after filing some paperwork and getting home to feed the cat (neighbour looked after him for the 2 weeks) the first thing I did was go to Elvery's to get an interim pair of runners and socks and did a 7.2 mile run in gloriously wet conditions. Did I mention before I love Autumn and Winter running? :)

Anyway, I have done the best I can to prepare for NUMBER 12!!! Yes when I said I was doing 12 Marathons in 12 Months for Gorta Self Help Africa I was always going to keep my word. So this Saturday I am running number 12. 3 months ahead of schedule. With some wonderful running friends. With the amazing people of MCI. In a place I had never heard of. Tullaroan, County Kilkenny. Thrills in the Hills of Tullaroan with Vincent Guthrie as Race Director and all my MCI buddies.

I am concentrating my efforts on getting that done this week plus catching up on work and starting my new business model. But after that and from next week expect to get asked serious questions.

I need your help urgently!!! I want to get more funds for the charity!!! I will have done my 12 and am willing to do 4 or 5 more if I get sponsored enough!!!

So I will need your help with the fundraising. In the mean time you can share the link to my fundraising page

Commitment + Accountability + Passion + Purpose = Peace of Mind in Achievement!!