Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Limerick Women's Mini Marathon

Sunday of the bank holiday weekend my lovely sister, Orla, and I headed into The University of limerick for the Limerick Women’s Mini Marathon. I didn’t feel in any way prepared for the run but I still wanted to take part as I missed getting out and running in races. The buzz, excitement, anticipation and nervousness are just some of the things that I had missed. This race was my first since August. It’s hard to believe that I had let myself slip so much but life just has a way of passing you by, without even realising.

The Route

The conditions for the race were perfect, in my mind anyway. The day was cool but not cold and there was a slight breeze. At one point I felt a very light mist. The sun was out but it didn’t over heat us.

The race started at the side of the Sports Arena within the grounds of UL. We then ran back down past the Library, out the main entrance, at the 1km mark then taking a left onto the main road. We ran along this road, with 2 inclines, for 2km, until we reached the Vistakon entrance, turning around and running back in the same direction up until the 6km mark. There was a water station at the 5k mark and just after this the 5k merged with the 10k.

At this point we turned right, onto a laneway, running around to the back of UL. We ran over and back the river Shannon, passing the student buildings along with the Science and Irish buildings. Weaving our way through the buildings, all the time being directed by very encouraging stewards, we eventually made our way back onto the main entrance. The 9km mark was just outside the UL library. Running back towards the Sports Arena, we turned left and ran around the back of the building before turning into the track. The last 200m was ran on the running track. 

My 10K

The 10K race was due to start a 12pm with the 5k kicking off at 12.30pm. Registration was open from 9.30am so Orla and I met at 10.45 and went to collect our race packs, with personalised numbers (Unfortunately mine has disappeared, which I am disappointed about) and our t-shirts. The race pack was filled with goodies including water, an isotonic drink, a galaxy bar, a cereal bar, and vitamin C sachets, as well as lots of leaflets. Once we had this sorted we headed back to the car to get ready. The t-shirts are probably the nicest ones that I have received so far, as you can see from the images.

As usual, before the race began, we discussed our thoughts. I was nervous as I was feeling under-prepared, so was Orla. We both decided that we would only do what we felt was right. We walked down to the Sport Arena, where there was a group warm-up taking place. We stretched and prepared ourselves for the race. We ran together at a slow and steady pace, chatting occasionally. I am not one for chatting when I run as I find that it messes up my breathing. I know that in time, with more training, I will figure this out but for now I like to pop on my headphones and run to the beat of the music.

When we passed the 2k mark and it was at this point that the front runners were already running back towards the 5k mark, in the opposite direction. We both agreed that it would be fantastic to be as fit and fast as these runners. Their running seemed to be effortless, although I’m sure that it wasn’t. Upon reaching Vistakon at the 3.5k mark we turned around and headed back in the same direction. It was at this point that I really began to struggle. I ran until the 5k mark, just after the water station, saying goodbye to Orla, as she ran on, and I walked the next 1km.

I walked to the 1k mark ran to the 7k and then walked until the 8.5k mark and ran the last 1.5k. I honestly didn’t feel that I could have ran the full 10k. I just wasn’t prepared. Orla did run the full 10k and was waiting for me at the finish line. I honestly thought I would be disappointed with my effort and timing (1 hour 13 mins, my worst yet for a 10k race), I’m not. I am happy that I participated and completed the race. I am happy that I ran a full 5k before walking. I am genuinely happy that I got up on the bank holiday Sunday and took part in a 10k race. This time last year I would never have believed that I could have done this. I would have rolled over in bed and allowed myself to be lazy for the day.

This race was exactly what I needed. I don’t know what has changed but I feel like I have gotten my motivation back. Maybe it was the buzz but also it may be from seeing 3 people that I know, complete the Dublin City Marathon. I feel like my running is definitely going to improve and that my motivation and drive is exactly where it should be. My hunger to do well, get fit and improve my times is back and it feels like its stronger than ever. For one race, that I didn’t do particularly well in, to give me this much motivation, I can only imagine what each new race will do for my confidence and self belief. I am loving this feeling and this is why I run, my positivity is back up and I want it to stay that way.

Race Organisation

The race time was changed at some stage after I originally registered, however this was not an issue as the organisers posted regular updates on the facebook page and emailed on numerous occasions. The correspondence was always very clear and we were never in any doubt as to where we needed to go on the morning of the race itself.

The process of collecting our numbers, t-shirts and race packs was extremely fast and very well organised. Firstly we collected our numbers. I forgot to print out my ticket but the girl that assisted me was so helpful. She told me to open up my emails and give her my race number and then she was able to give me my race number. Next we were given our race packs and then our t-shirts. It was like a conveyor belt and a well organised one too! I can’t speak for everyone as I don’t know if it all ran as smoothly as that but my experience was good. Overall there were so many people along the route cheering us on and also guiding us on the correct route to take.

Thumbs up from me, to the organisers, on a well organised and executed event.

Event images are available here.
Event times are available here.

What’s up Next

I am so excited for this coming Saturdayas I will be taking part in the Halloween 5K Dash in Ennis, link here. This event is being organised by the organisers of the Run Clare Series, so I have no doubt that it will be amazing! As it will be Halloween fancy dress is optional. I haven’t yet decided whether I will dress up or not but I know that it will be a great race regardless.

Before I sign off I just want to say a huge congratulations to Mary Folan-Ryan, Marie Barry-Murphy and John Quinlivan on successfully completing the Dublin City Marathon. Well done to you all and to every other participant, you should be so proud of such an amazing achievement!