This time last week i was putting the final touches to my marathon preparations for the Dublin 2014 Challenge.  I only decided to run this one last month and my preparations were in disarray, however i was still excited and looking forward to getting another marathon under my belt.

The next morning i was up bright and breezy, to get some food in the system that would hopefully carry me around the 26.2 mile course.  A marathon is a great challenge, equally as physically tough as it is mental.  In fact i would say the split is 70/30 in terms of the mental toughness as if you set out a training plan and stick to it, you will get round.  The problem is actually getting your head around the challenge in the first place and then sticking at the training. After four years of doing all types of adventure races, thankfully my mindset at this point is quite good.

The race itself was tremendous.  Over 15000 runners this year, all shapes and sizes, every runner with their own story of why they were taking part.  You simply cannot fail to be inspired on marathon day, it gives you a great sense of purpose, health and achievement.  For me of course its extra special as when i was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis eight years ago, i thought i would be in a wheelchair at this point, so every event i do now i really do count my blessings and be thankful for my wellbeing.

After three hours and fifty eight minutes i pulled myself over the finish line, delighted to get to the end of what was a tough last few miles.  I suffered badly the last five miles or so as very simply i didn't train properly for the race, but that was a distant thought as the young lady very gently put my medal around my neck.  As i walked back to St Stephens Green, at times it was like a scene from Saving Private Ryan, as my fellow runners all hobbled, limped and struggled to put one foot in front of the other.

I have to say that i have done a few marathons in the last few years and the Dublin one is now recognised as being one of the best in Europe.  The team who organise this event are extremely professional and have everything down to a tee.  Lots of water stops, toilets and stewards which makes sure the day goes as smoothly as possible for the runners.  So well done to all involved in making this a spectacular event.

After the highs of a marathon, it is normal to feel a little flat for a while after, as if your like me your thinking already about your next challenge.  Well i already have my mind made up on that front as in the next few days i will be easing my way into IRONMAN training.  Yes i am going to be competing in IRONMAN FRANCE in June 2015, so i need to really get my head around this challenge if I am to finish alive.  

For now though i will continue to enjoy the feel good factor of completing Dublin and very soon, draw up a 6 month training plan for the big one.

If you are considering doing a challenge such as a marathon, i would greatly encourage you to commit to it now.  What are you waiting for? You will automatically gain significant health benefits and in general your overall performance will improve as you get into a structured training program.  Its a great feeling.

For me i have 2015 adventures nearly mapped out and the plan is to raise the bar on what has been a great adventure through 2014



Conor DevineComment