So this post brings me right up to D day - the Dublin marathon! I am very happy and proud to say that I ran the race and finished in 4 hours and 39 minutes - half an hour quicker than planned!
But the few days before the marathon was nothing short of a nightmare. For reasons I still dont know, my knee swelled up again and I was unable to do any kind of training whatsoever. On the Thursday before we flew to Ireland I managed to get in a Sports massage .The massage lady suggested that i rub cheese and honey into me knee, which sounds strange but must have helped as on Friday I was feeling better and more confident that I was going to at least get to the starting line on Monday 29 October.
On Sunday we went to the Expo to collect our race numbers and soak up the atmosphere. There were some massage beds there so I got a rub down which seemed to help at the time, but an hour afterwards my knee swelled up again! It got so bad that i had to go back to our apartment and put an ice pack on my knee to bring down the swelling, I was starting to think that i wasnt going to even make the starting line, which was stressing me out big time. It didnt help that lots of "good luck" messages were being sent to me whilst I was lying on my bed with an ice pack on my knee!
I woke up on Monday morning to find my knee feeling tip top and in perfect condition. Feckin' Amazing!! If i was to find something posative in the weeks injury, it was that the injury was out of the way and i was delivered to the race day in what felt like peak condition. BOOM!
The race was fantastic; really well organized and quite flat. The so called "heartbreak hill" that is an infamous hill at mile 20, felt like only a little blip. I was expecting much much more from this hill, and so when i reached to top and was told that was the end of the hill, i was like .- "Thats it"?? !!
I have never ran more than approx 20 miles so everything after that was uncharted territory. I kept expecting something to go wrong; my achilees to give up, knee to pop or to hit "The Wall". But nope; I felt strong the whole way round. And when I started to realize i was going to finish in under 5 hours I was even more happy with myself!
Coming back into Dublin, the crowds amassed even more and the atmosphere was picking up again. I remember listening to my ipod hoping for a classic song like "eye of the tiger" or something similar to take me home, but the last song i heard was "love is all around" by Wet Wet Wet!! Didn't even know that was on my ipod!! After that i just took the earphones out and listened to the screams of the crowd...
On the final 500 meters i bumped into my cousin Sheila who was also running. Mad! 15,000 people and you bump into a family member on the last bit of the race. :)
Aftwerards we went to the Porterhouse bar for a few pints of the black stuff. I have to say, i was feeling much better than expected. We met up with our friends and supporters Jon, Racheal, Sylvia, Garret, Maike, Lisa, Ben and Michelle and had a good few beers before heading back to the apartment.
Day after, legs were v sore but i was still beaming so all was great.
We are still collecting monies but right now I think the numbers are reaching the dizzy heights of approx 3500 pounds! Thanks to all who donated; it really means a lot.
There were so many people who helped me in getting to the end that race, but special thanks goes out to the following people:
Darryl, my personal instructor, for getting me fit and keeping me mainly injury free all year
Mike Hamlin for putting me back together when i was injured!
Mum, John and James Carolan for speaheading the offline sponsorship in Cambridge
Michelle, for putting up with me through it all
In the days after the race I have been eating and drinking a bit more than usual (to say the least!). As of Monday morning though, its back in the saddle and head down for more training. Some people train for a marathon and see that as the end goal, but this is just the start for me. The London marathon is already in the calendar and looking forward to many more............