I’ve Turned 30! Reflecting On Achieving My Goal Of Running 5 Marathons Before I Hit The Big 3-0.
After missing the Dublin Marathon 2011 because of a psychotic break in Barcelona El Prat airport in October 2011 I was left feeling small, humiliated and embarrassed.
To go through 16 weeks of training for nothing was a huge setback especially when I’d only started running in the previous year.
I’d been talking about the Dublin Marathon for months on end to my friends, yet there I was lying in bed at home after my return from Barcelona thinking that I could read the New Dead Sea Scrolls that were being projected from my mind’s eye onto my bedroom ceiling.
It was the closest I’ve ever come to stopping running altogether and lapsing into full blown insanity.
Luckily I got up on the morning of the marathon and decided to try again. I put the missed marathon behind me and aimed to just go outside and record a few miles.
I recorded 4.
It felt like nothing compared to the 26.2 I was meant to have ran that morning but at least it was something and I was moving in the right direction.
It was after this run that I set myself an audacious target to try to keep running interesting.
I would try to run 5 marathons by the time I hit 30.
At the time this was laughable. I barely survived the training for my first marathon.
Now I’d missed what was supposed to be my second marathon.
I couldn’t fathom running even running 1 more marathon at this point, but I tried to take my mind off the task at hand and concentrated on doing something practical.
I focused on running more often and trying to stay on my legs for longer when I was out there.
Over time it worked.
I was still very frightened and not at all optimistic about hitting my target
To achieve my goal of 5 races I had to run 4 more marathons in the space of just 2 years.
My 2nd marathon was in Belfast again in 2012.
It wasn’t a great race and I nearly drowned in the rain. But I got through it.
In 2013 I didn’t look back.
I ran Paris in April 2013 and I messed my race preparation up entirely, crashed somewhere around mile 17 and still finished with a personal best time.
I did Belfast a month after it and it was a much better experience, knocking another 13 minutes off my best time.
Then came Dublin in October. My fifth marathon.
It was my best race experience to date and I felt like I’d made up for missing the marathon. It was an important race as I’d officially hit my target of 5 marathon races.
Then came Vegas. It was a bit of an abortion. I nearly died on the finishing line.
But I got through it and it was my 6th marathon to date. I was 22 minutes slower than I was in Paris but I pulled through again.
What I’ve learned from achieving my 5 marathon goal
- You don’t have to play a perfect game to achieve what you want to achieve – You just need to keep working towards it and take practical steps to go where you need to go. Keeping positive really helps here.
- Too often we let the fear of failure get in the way of us trying something new – It’s better to go out there and fail hilariously than to just sit on your ass and not have fun. That’s why I don’t regret running the Titanic Quarter 50k and finishing last. The Vegas marathon may have been a difficult experience but I learned that I have the resolve to pull through when the going gets tough.
- You have the ability and character to hit your goal – There will be times where you’ll doubt yourself. The key is to continue to improve bit by bit over a great period of time. Eventually you’ll have progressed to such a point that you’ll no longer recognise yourself.