Achieving My Goal Of Running 5 Marathons Before I’m 30-Years-Old.
Dublin will mark my 5th marathon and it’s important because I remember setting myself the target of running 5 of them before I reached 30.
It seemed like wishful thinking at the time, just another one of those ‘if I could do this it would be, wow!’ bucket-list things.
However since then I’ve turned my life around little-by-little and I’m now on the eve of my 5th with over 3 months left until my birthday.
It hasn’t exactly been plain sailing though. In the following post I’ll go back and talk a little about each of marathons up until present day.
#1 – Belfast Marathon 2011 – 5:00:56
As you already know I ran my first marathon in Belfast in 2011 in 5:00:56. It was a joyous experience in what was quite a difficult time in my personal life.
The 16 weeks of training were extremely tough. I followed the “Non Runners Guide To Marathon Running” book’s schedule and even then I wasn’t sure I could possible do it.
But I did!
After that first marathon, I couldn’t have imagined going through the pain of training again.
Then when I missed Dublin in the same year after temporarily going batshit insane in Barcelona, I thought my flirtation with long distance running was at an end.
#2 – Belfast Marathon 2012 : 4:54
After missing out in Dublin, I dropped into a rut again. The thought of continuing on with running seemed pointless. I was slow at the time, so I assumed that I was always gonna be slow.
Why bother trying?
Then it hit me, the only reason I fell out of love with running was because I found it difficult. I loved it when it was easy. It naturally followed that I could enjoy running again if I kept with it.
I dropped my pace, stopped worrying so much and put 2 fingers up to the people who tried to impose their own standards on me at the time.
So many first time marathoners never run again because they fail to meet their targets and assume that they just aren’t great at running.
Sometimes you just have to take a step back and do your own thing!
In early 2012 I was doing everything wrong from a ‘fitness’ perspective. I was running and gaining weight. I was getting slower. I went to Liverpool and ran a half marathon that I could barely remember at the time.
I finished Belfast in a disappointing 4:54 but the important thing is that I finished it and a total of 7 half marathons throughout the year.
#3 – Paris Marathon 2013 – 4:52
My preparation for Paris was woeful. I spent the weekend before it in Amsterdam and temporarily lost sanity thanks to a combination of space cakes and magic truffles off Damrak.
Thanks to the magic combo, I thought Samara from the Ring and Kim Jong eun were playing ping-pong in my hotel room.
I ate a block of President Brie and drank some Super Strength Lager the night before the Marathon as I was lonely as hell in a really shitty grey district in South Paris.
This experience taught me about the importance of fuelling. I brought no food or gels with me on the run. I naively thought the buzz from the crowd would be enough to see me around.
It didn’t. And I nearly missed my train back to London because of it.
It was a fucking shit experience.
#4 – Belfast Marathon 2013 – 4:37
This was the first marathon I enjoyed. I learned all of the necessary lessons from Paris and recorded a personal best of 4:37.
I knew after it that I wanted to run marathons more often.
After this marathon I went into a bizarre phase of running lots of hills and becoming very confident in myself.
Perhaps over confident. I entered and ran a 50km ultramarathon in September that took me almost 8 and a half hours to finish where I had to stop and shit in public twice.
#5 – Dublin Marathon 2013 – sub 4:30!
Training has went really well for Dublin, but I’ve been struggling quite a lot with depressive episodes and subsequent overeating in the last few weeks of my schedule.
My problems start at night time. I hate being the only one awake in the house. I’m constantly reminded me of my dad’s last few weeks at home after the tumours had spread to his brain. He couldn’t communicate properly at that stage and I just remember feeling terrified, hopeless and not really knowing what to do for him.
I still get that uneasy feeling and eat junk food to block it out at night.
I think everyone gets that uneasiness to some degree though whether it’s to do with relationships, money or their career.
It’s how you react to your unease that’s important. It’s not always the best idea to feed your face or to drink a shit load if your life isn’t going great.
At the same time, it’s not the end if you do give in now and again. What’s important is getting back up and trying again and doing what you can to make your life better.