10 Personal Moments That Have Made Me Realise That I’m Proud To Be A Runner
Yesterday’s post about my regrets as a runner was negative, spiteful and depressing. I’m in much better form today! I ran my 3rd ever sub 2 hour half marathon at 5am this morning, so I’m feeling great.
Here is a slightly more positive post (than usual) about 10 good moments that have helped define me as a runner.
- Deciding to run the Belfast Marathon in Prague and actually completing it – I made the pledge to run Belfast to try to impress a cross-eyed ginger girl during the Prague Bar Crawl. It was an odd setting to be making such a life changing commitment. I hadn’t been feeling well all week. 17 days of non-stop drinking across Europe tends to kill your health. The day before I came up with the idea I accidentally powdered my underwear in the Hard Rock Cafe in Old Town Square. I was finishing off my meal in the restaurant, when my stomach started cramping and I realised that I needed to go to the toilet immediately. I got up from my table, ran as fast as I could towards the toilet but got stopped by my waiter who must have thought I was trying to run away without paying my bill. I tried explaining to him the urgency of the situation, but he couldn’t understand my broad Ulster dialect. That’s when shit happened. At the time I was humiliated but recovered soon enough after I got to the bathroom, cleaned up and flushed my undies. I let bygones be bygones. Anyway. Back to my original point. It’s not often I carry through on drunken bets, but I came through with flying colours this time around. I completed the marathon in 5:00:56 which I was disappointed about as I wanted to go sub 5 hours on my first marathon. Still. A success?
Shit went down here, quite literally.
- My early first runs up to the train from work – By the month of November 2010, I still hadn’t ran outside until I had the idea of jogging up to catch the train station, which was half a mile from work. Those early runs may not have been long distance-wise, but they proved that I could run outside. At the time I was struggling mentally with the transition between treadmill and outdoor running, so any distance at all was an accomplishment. From those 0.5 mile runs I gained the confidence to run home from the gym which was still only 1 mile. But my distance grew with my confidence. And I haven’t given up.
- My run on the morning of the Dublin Marathon 2011 – After a bout of madness in Barcelona, I missed the Dublin marathon. I could have given up there with the embarrassment of ‘wasting’ 16 weeks of training. Instead of quitting I went out and ran 4.3 miles that morning and it immediately improved my outlook on the catastrophe.
- Finishing the Great Scottish Run 2011 – This was only my 2nd ever half marathon finish and it ended a run of not showing up for races that I’d already entered. The day of the race was a fucking nightmare. I’d planned on running with my Camelbak but it leaked in the hotel room and in the elevator on the way down to reception, leading to an elderly couple to believe that I’d pissed myself, just as the Lucozade Sport trickled down my running trousers and into my shoes. The run itself was uneventful, but it was the first time I truly enjoyed a race. Suffice to say, that day ended a lot better than it fucking started.
- Going sub 2 hours in the Dublin Rock N Roll Half Marathon – Yes it may have taken 15 attempts, but I finally achieved it!
- Taking 15 minutes off my marathon personal best in Belfast 2013 – The Belfast Marathon took place only a month after the Paris race and I went into the race wanting to prove that I could actually do better at the marathon distance. Like with my last two Belfast attempts, I hit the wall at mile 20 but came back, recovered and broke my previous best by 15 minutes recording a 4:37. Then I went on holiday immediately after the run to Crete and ate full English breakfasts with cocktails for almost every meal.
- Convincing myself that running was worthwhile after giving up on it in ‘forever’ in June 2011 – If I’d given up for good and returned to my binge drinking and kebab hoarding ways I’d be back up to the same weight I was in 2009 by now. Thank fuck I came to my senses.
- Recording my first ever sub 9-minute-mile average run back in May – This was such a breakthrough for me at the time as I’d struggled to even get close to a 8:xx min/mile average at any point in my running up until that point. Without that run I wouldn’t have had the confidence to go to Dublin and record my first ever sub 2 hour half. On the night before the first ever sub 9-minute-mile run I remember almost choking to death on a fucking Pot Noodle. I was that shocked by my near death experience with ramen that I envisaged the headlines…
- Conquering the local hill for the first time – I’d walked up the Knockagh hill many times before when I was younger and it always left me short of breath and hurtling like hell for days afterward. I’d encounter runners on my walk and think to myself ‘shit! that guy must be super fit to run on that incline!’. Then in the spring this year I accomplished the impossible. I nailed it. It was a tremendous feeling and it sparked a love of hill running that has continued to this day. My legs are much stronger now because of it.
- Completing the Great North Run 2012 after losing my timing chip on the starting line – I had to run for 13.1 miles knowing that I wasn’t gonna record an official time. I didn’t enjoy the race, but I loved the madness of the weekend with my good friend Paul who is running the GNR this year again for the MS Society.