For the last few years September has been the month I go on holidays. This year was no different as I headed to Lanzarote for 2 weeks R&R from the 5th to the 19th. I sampled excellent food, found a genuine Belgian Beer Bar, read some books on NLP, happiness and running; and met with some friends. Good times.
By the way, nobody brews beers like the Belgians. And that is not open for discussion! :) You haven't tasted real beer until you sampled a Trappist beer. There are only 10 Trappist beers in the world and the vast majority are Belgian. Beers like Rochefort, Orval, Chimay, Westmalle, Westvleteren and Achel. In La Casa Belga on Playa de los Pocillos they had them all. And I tasted (you drink these yokes slowly if you want to walk home) most of them. Accompanied by portions of cheese covered in celery salt. Great stuff. When you get a chance to try these anywhere, go for it!
The Belgian Trappist family.
Another thing I did differently is that I went for a daily 10K at the warmest part of the day, some time between 11 and 1. Daily meant daily. 14 times 10K in 14 days holidays. And I did a good bit of swimming too. Which contrary to running is a lot easier in 35 degrees. ;)
Anyway I got back to Ireland and looked at the running calendar. First race marked on it was Run Galway Bay Marathon on October 1. I missed this race last year as I covered the beautiful route of Brussels Marathon. Did 6 more 7 to 8 mile training sessions in the 2 weeks before it to get ready.
We travelled on the Friday evening to avoid getting up at silly o'clock as the Full Marathon race was starting at Nimmo's Pier in Galway at 8.30am with a 10K at 10.30 and Half Marathon at 12.15. Found the Adare Guesthouse easily enough in what for Galway was light traffic. Went on a recce and by total accident discovered Deli La Tasca, a Spanish Tapas Bar on Dominick Street Upper.
Deli La Tasca in Dominick Street Upper.
Next time you're in Galway do yourself a favour and pay this place a visit. I know this blog seems to be all about food & drink. But I love those too and the running bit will follow soon :) Really though, this place is ran by Spanish lads and they know their stuff. Had Iberico Ham Croquettes, Spanish Veggie Omelette and Spanish Meatballs washed down with 1 A.K. Damm beer and 1 Alhambra Reserva 1925 beer. Absolutely divine. When in Galway, go try for yourself.
To the event now. Got up at 7am to get ready and have some breakfast. We were registering for the Full on the morning in the huge Marquee on Nimmo's Pier. That's one plus for this event already. The possibility of registering and collecting your number on the morning of the event. Not only that but there was food, tea and coffee for anyone taking part. Well done to Ray O'Connor, race director. That scored major points on my happiness scale.
Got the cuppa and so it was time to meet the family, the Marathon Club Ireland family. There was about 40 of us assembled Saturday morning to take part. And what a pleasure it is to meet up each time. I hadn't seen a few of the members for months and yet it felt like just hours had gone by. The connection is real; full of love, friendship, care and jolly good fun!! I love being part of this wonderful group. On top of that we had Team Kerr at the event together with a couple from the Netherlands, both promoting inclusion for wheelchair assisted running.
Ray O'Connor assembled us all before the start to give us a wee pep talk and encourage all the first time Marathon runners. Once again a nice touch for a big city Marathon. Totally put at ease by all this we started around 8.30am on a foggy, fresh morning. Soon the sun would pierce through the fog and add an Indian Summer feel to the rest of the day's running. The views from the Prom at Salthill and the rest of the Bay are stunning to say the least. Add to this scene the very cheerful Galway people shouting plenty of encouragements as they had al fresco breakfasts outside the Cafe's all along the Bay.
Running is high up on my Happiness scales (Thanks Mary Mockett for the pic)
I ran with several people I know from the Club throughout the morning. I'll forget plenty so apologies for that but I distinctly remember running miles with Pat Torpey and Kevin Murphy. Stopping to say hello and give hugs to my tagging partner Theresa Grimes. And Meadbh O'Leary. And Mary Hanly. And Valerie De Burca. Meeting the effervescent Tiger O'Flaherty. Spotting Sheila Masterson donning the Mayo colours. And her fellow Mayo long distance runner Geraldine Cawley. Of course Rachel Stokes and Eamonn Egan were there from Kerry Crusaders and Simon Hallissey, Jim McNeice and Brian O'Se from Born To Run Tralee. My Limerick pals Michelle Burke, Liz Leonard, Paddy Mockett and Katie Sheehan. Brenda Francis was there. Mandy Prendergast. Aidan Hogan. Got a shout out from Gerry Duffy. Mirko Warnke and Wojtek Musial. Maighread Ryan and Rebecca Carroll. Paul Hogan. Colm Fearon. Alan Gorski. Rita ni Riain, Suzy Taylor, Valerie Fogarty and Tena Griffin ran with Team Kerr. Got my picture taken many times by our resident photographer Mary Mockett. Shouts of encouragement from our resident supporter Maura Coppinger. To many to name them all. So sorry if I forgot you. One big family at one big happy running event! If Carlsberg did Saturday mornings ....................
After the race with Liz, Brenda and Geraldine.
Enjoying the complimentary alcohol free Erdinger with Paddy, Katie, Alan, Brenda and Geraldine
Photo Wall pose with Rachel Stokes, winner of the Ladies Marathon!
Thanks to these people and the immense work of all the volunteers, marshals, water station staff and the sugar fairy lady at the sweet stand I was able to stay in tempo for a 4.05-4.10 time (not that times matter) until Mile 22 and then the not Patrick weather and a couple of blisters slowed me down a tad until I reached the finish line in 4.20. A few firsts. First time doing 20 Marathons in 1 calendar year. First Galway City Marathon. And the counter now stands at 53 Full or Ultra Marathons.
If you do what you truly love, you will do things beyond what you thought possible!!
Keep running, miles with smiles!
Paddy Le Belge (thanks to Colm Fearon for the new nickname). xxxxx