Friday, 16 March 2018

The Battle of Clontarf - On a Wednesday morning in March.

I love the Promenade in Clontarf. It's Dublin, but not really. It's on the coast, but not really. It's a calm place, but not really.

I has it's own feel. The people in the shops and restaurants and businesses have a distinct different swagger than those from say just one Dart station away at Connolly. It feels cosmopolitan and yet removed from suburbia or inner city at the same time. You get an idea that you are moving away from one way of life to another and you're kind of in transitional mood.

On one side Connolly, Tara Street and Pearse. On the other Killester, Raheny, Sutton and Howth. Oh Howth, I so want to run your Summit again soon, just for fun 4 times!

On Wednesday morning about 15-20 of us gathered for another edition of an East of Ireland (EOI) Marathon Series Midweek Marathon. I did this route before and enjoyed it every single time. Simple route, 8 times out and back from the wind monument to the wooden bridge. As flat as a crepe, pancakes have distinctly more undulations than this route. And if you wish a mixture of tarmac and grass. Plus the friendly banter of all EOI events.

I ran there in the sun and I ran there in the rain before. And it is always a tad breezy. Even in Summer :)

Another thing to enjoy that morning was the friendly faces of fellow midweek marathon treat (Liz Morrin's words) lovers. Too many to name in case I forget one but you know we hugged it out before starting.

Before the Start with Collette O'Hagan, Teresa Bradley Taaffe, Maighread Ryan and Philips Miles :) 

8 am. Off ye go! Our warmly dressed Race Director Frank McDermott lets us off the leash.

Well, off the leash. Within meters it becomes clear this is going to be energy sapping. The out bit of each lap is into a very, very stiff wind. I'm actually keeping the training pants and jacket on and a hat and they won't come off for the entire run. The wind is joined by a steady lashing of rain which soaks us right through on the first lap. Struggling run to the first turning point and then wind in the back to the 5K-ish mark at the start.

On Lap 2 a lot of us started walking into the breeze which is getting stronger. These are seasoned Marathon runners and they are walking after 6K!! We're in for an endurance test. At the back end off the course the sea is crashing over the wall onto the promenade and we all get drenched several times. A lot of us start taking cover on the grass beside the path but that has been soaked too. On Lap 3 the promenade at the back is now flooded and the grass is our alternative.

Flooding on Clontarf Promenade

Normally this is weather I thrive in. Today is different. This is becoming too much like a walk and run. And the fun is ebbing out of the event for me. So I decide to drop to the Half Marathon and call it a great training day. I used to continue on runs where the fun ebbs yet since I started living intentionally and putting joy and love for all I do first this has changed.

The decision is doing a Half and enjoying every minute. Instead of persisting to the Full and spending 2 hours surviving mentally. It is these things that took my mojo for a while recently. The feeling of having too.

Now I am free and secure in the understanding and awareness that in running as in many other parts of life, I don't have to. I love to or want to. Yes to those. But have to, nope; them days are gone.

So with a big smile on my face I finished lap 4 and 21K. Soaked to the core, but happy in the knowledge that one I have the mojo for running firmly back and two I know when to say yes and when to say no.

The Battle of Clontarf Anno 2018 was glorious, wet, windy and above all fun. Thanks to all my co-runners for your greetings, hugs, encouragements, smiles and company. Maighread Ryan, Elizabeth Morrin, Collette O'Hagan, Elaine McAnulty, Deirdre Dolan, Vanessa Armstrong, Teresa Bradley Taaffe, David Brady, John Chapman, Zaldy Peralta, Charles O'Duffy, James Kelly, Greg O'Beirne. Apologies to any I forgot, the wind distorted my memory.

Next adventure this Sunday the 18th I take part in the Tralee International Marathon organised by Tralee Harriers AC. See some of you there. I'll blog on it midweek.

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