As I crossed the finish line, with squelching feet, an aching body and clothes dripping like a leaking tap, I wondered if it was a half marathon or a wet t-shirt contest that I had just completed?!
Sunday was the Great Limerick Run and I participated in the half marathon along with my sister, Orla.
It literally was a day of 4 seasons. The day started out pretty cloudy and by the time the clock struck 11.45 and we began our 13 mile run, the sun was out and it was a glorious day. I actually got a lovely colour in my face and by the time that I was running down Clancy Strand, past the Curragower Pub, I had the sleeves of my t-shirt rolled back. It was just beautiful and Limerick City looked amazing!
Now I'm not a fast or experience runner so for most of the half marathon participants they were well finished before winter decided to arrive. In the last 4 miles I was caught under 4 torrential downpours. My runners were water logged and all my clothes were sopping wet. It was so hard to run with such heavy feet and wet clothes. Running into the rain was like running into a shower of bullets and the wind (although somewhat refreshing) was like a wall trying to stop me from reaching my goal of falling over the finish line!
I did it though and recieved my bottle if water and refreshments and fab medal!
My Half Marathon
I set out on this running journey back in January never having any idea that I would try my hand at a half marathon! When I think about it I know that I must have been mad be cause training wise I was no where near ready for it but I still took it in. It was only in a moment if extreme madness that I signed up for it but it's all for a great cause!
Over 13,000 other participants took part in the Great Lumerick Run. There were a number of events including a 6mile, the half and full marathon. The buzz was just amazing as Mr Motivator, Richie Clifford, and his Zumba crew got the crowd warmed and hyped up for the event ahead.
The atmosphere was electric with everyone full if excitement and apprehension. I, however, was a bag of nerves, as I normally am, but I was so nervous that I had a lump in my throat and my eyes began to water. For me it's always a mental as much as a physical battle and I doubt myself and put way too much pressure on myself. That's just me I suppose!
Orla and I said goodbye at the start of the race, because she was aiming for a particular time,it suited me fine because I've gotten so used to running with nothing but my headphones!
The first 2 miles and last 2 miles, more so than at any other stage along the route, were so well supported. The buzz just lifted me and spurred me on! It was great to see such fantastic support. The traffics was horrendous though and I feel bad for anyone stuck in it!
The route itself was fairly flat apart from an incline at the 2 mile, 5 mile and 8 mile markers but they were nothing to major. The incline at the 5 mile marker at The Crescent Shopping Centre was probable the hardest but it was nothing that I couldn't manage. I've ran races, lily the Pakie Ryan Memorial Run, with worse inclines.
I found it very tough on one occasion, so much so u began to upset myself! When we passed the 7 mile mark we had to run over Sarsfields Bridge and then took a right into Clancy Strand. This was, for me, where my mental wall beat me down. It was because I knew that I probably had 45-60mins left to run but I was facing the front markers on their final stretch, it totally trained me and I lost my motivation. The crowd cheered so loudly but I realized that it wasn't for me or those running next to me, it was, in fact, for those athletes breai g the end if their journey. This was such a low point for me, a beginner attempting somethingso enormous in my small little world.
I ran for 7 miles and walked 1/2 mile and ran 1 mile after that. It was tough because by the time I hit the 9 mile mark and rounded the corner at the Gaelic Grounds, the rain felt like a shower of bullets hitting me and the wind was so hard to run into. It was at this point that the 6 mile runners started to pass me out. This didn't help my mental state AT ALL and at that stage I just wanted to fall down and cry but I knew that if I walked/run I would make it to the end!
My sister finished ahead of me and her fiancé met her at the finish line. At that stage the rain was pouring down so the took shelter in a doorway while waiting for me. The great thing about it all was that there was a tracking facility so the guys knew approximately what time I would reach the finish line. This facility was brilliant! It saved them from getting even wetter and colder!
I decided that I would try taking an energy gel during the race (I actually too 2 of them) because I had heard that they are great to boost energy levels and I knew that I'd probably need it. I had heard mixed reviews though, with some people saying that it would give me an upset stomach whereas others said that they were great. I decided that I would try them so at the 3 mile and 6 mile I took one and they definitely helped me. I was only sorry that I didn't have 2 more to help me get to the finish line.
I crossed the finish line in 2hours 45mins 58sec. Am I happy with that? No because I wish that I could have ran the whole thing and in a much better time but I have to keep reminding myself of what I have achieved. I will aim to do another one but only once I am more ready training wise.
If I never do anything else in my life I can always say that I completed a half marathon and that in itself is a great achievement regardless of the result. Oh yes and I stopped traffic in Limerick city (well me and 13,000 other runners!!!).
Until the next time, always remember to be:
Dee-Termined To Glam & Glow