'Maybe strong is just what you have left when you've used up all your weak'
To me that means finding the things you love and enjoy, and immersing yourself in them to become stronger and better at sharing those gifts with others. I'm trying to do this with a couple of things in life I defined as my purpose. And that leaves no time for your weak, the things you 'should be doing' but don't want to.
Personally this is all based on my success applying the principle to my lesser gift of running. I am not the fastest and won't ever be. But I love running and that love coupled with immersion is leading to natural results. Like this weekend at Dublin Marathon.
Arrived on Sunday in Dublin to meet Katie and Eoin who were running their first Marathon and live near the RDS so we walked to the Expo. Dublin Expo is the largest and best running Expo I have seen in my short Marathon career. It is also really well organised. This means I got my number in minutes. Heading back down the stairs I went looking to meet up with the others and saw the Clonakilty Marathon/Team Kerr/Marathon Club Ireland stand.
I have waxed lyrically before about all these people so needless to say that's the only stand I visited as I ended up spending about 45 minutes with them. The positive attitude of these people really is infectious. I am not one to live in the future yet Clonakilty Marathon on December 5th is looked forward to.
Anyway I digress. I was staying with Reg and Brian in Dundrum as they are very hospitable hosts and I can just hop on the LUAS to Stephens Green in the morning. It is always special to take the LUAS at 7am on a Bank Holiday Monday while it is packed with runners.
I met up with Aisling and Rob from Wheelworx by accident before the race and after a nice chat went to the Black Gates for the annual MCI Club Group Photo. There was 94 of us running it this year and the photo shoot always ends up in a reunion and group hug of sorts.
Went to the Start line as part of Wave 3 which in hindsight was the right decision for me. I started at the back of it with the 4h50 balloons. I love starting slowish and the natural pace of these runners would suit me for the first 2 or 3 miles which were tough as I had picked up a bit of a head cold.
I had broken the strap on my wrist watch so as we started I pressed the button and put it in my back pocket. I didn't take it out again until 400m from the finish. I think this helped with my race. I ran purely on feeling.
After the initial tough 2 to 3 miles I felt warmed up and as we entered the Phoenix Park I picked of the 4.40, 4.30 and 4.20 balloons and pacers. The 4.20 were the top pacers in Wave 3 and I would not see them again.
As we ran through the Phoenix Park out at Castleknock, back in and back out at Chapelizod I settled into a rhythm and was going past runners the whole time. This would continue until the Finish. The Wave 3 start really helped mentally. I obviously have some running ego left as it was massaged by passing people the whole way around the course.
Anything after Mile 10 is a bit of a blur. I remember the people I know supporting me at Miles 16, 20, 22 ,24 and 25 and thanked them since for that. I remember meeting fellow MCI'ers, meeting the inspirational Team Kerr and talking to a guy from Marathon Club Germany. For the first time I don't remember any hills or severe inclines. I can't even distinctly remember Heartbreak Hill.
I was in the flow. It is a nice place to get to. Running smoothly, as if it all comes naturally. Oh, there is pain too, but it seems to not matter that much.
With 400m to go I took the watch out of the back pocket and saw 4.01 popping up. PB in sight. Cue dash to the line and in at 4.02.13. A new PB by a minute and a half. Revenge for the 9 seconds I missed it by in Brussels.
No pics from race so after race selfie has to do :)
When checking the app later I found I ran the first half in 2.03.20 and the second half in 1.58.53. Negative split, sweet. What's more is that the last section from 30K to 42K was my fastest with an average below 9 minute miles.
One of my first thoughts after the finish line actually was that I'm ready to move to 50K and the odd Ultra from next year.
I seem to be getting stronger. At my age like!
I think it is down to me immersing myself in what I love doing in sport, work and spare time. Immersion in what you love brings results. It also brings mastery and that I can share with others. Something I firmly believe in. Nothing is worth doing unless you can make other people's lives better or make your self stronger to more efficiently help others.
Once again I go to that line from the ad: 'Maybe strong is just what you have left when you've used up all your weak'.
Next Marathon and number 16 of the 12 Marathons in 12 Months challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa is a mere 19 days from now in Sixmilebridge at the Eddie Murphy Memorial.
You can donate for the Challenge at http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015