Highlights since my last blog:
I completed the Clonee 10k. I followed my “return to fitness’ training plan and stuck to my run 5 minutes, walk 2 minutes strategy. I was absolutely delighted to finish it (though in fairness, I always find that if I get to the start line, I’ll get to the finish line – I hope I haven’t jinxed myself now). I was what you would call the final finisher – isn’t that a much better way of looking at it than saying “I was last”? I had a great time. I met some other back markers, and we exchanged encouragement as we jogged past each other. There was the lovely Ruth McElligott from Tara AC who was completing her first ever 10k and had run every step, accompanied by her friend and fellow club member Michelle McHale. I also met Lucan Harriers stalwart Josephine Dignam, who went on to win second place in her age category – way to go, Josephine.
At the 7-8k mark, I was very definitely in last place and the legs were tired. It was by far the furthest I had run since last January but I knew I’d finish and was happy with my overall running and walking paces. As I passed the 8k marshal, I thanked him for volunteering as he cheered me on and called “Keep going, you’re doing great” to which I responded “I’m doing it!” with a triumphant punch in the air. An elderly gentleman with him called out “And sure you’re not working yourself too hard either”!! What?!?!? The cheek!! I said nothing but I was fairly hopping mad – I was working my flippin’ butt off, and had done for over an hour at this stage, and he had no idea what I’d done to get myself to this point. However, I held my tongue and my indignation was quickly replaced by laughter, consoling myself with the fact that I must have made it look easy, in spite of the struggle.
Just before absolutely everyone had passed me out at the Clonee 10k. The lovely Ruth McElligott running her first 10k race with her pacer Michelle McHale on the right, and Josephine Dignam, 2nd in her age category in the red singlet. I’m quite used to having the ambulance close by for my runs – somewhat reassuring that they’re keeping an eye on me. Thanks to Claire Clifford for the photo.
I saw Ruth and Michelle finish ahead of me and being greeted by their fellow Tara AC club members. The ladies very kindly immediately turned around to cheer me home and see me over the finish line. Hugs and congrats were exchanged and we were all very proud. I had completed the Women’s Mini Marathon in 1:27ish, having mostly walked it. I was hoping to finish Clonee sub 1:20 and was delighted to cross the finish line strongly, sub 1:15. Absolutely thrilled and saw some of the Tara AC people with their gorgeous medals around their necks.
Unfortunately, I was quickly informed that the medals had long run out, but not to worry, I’d get it within a week or so. I don’t mind telling you, I was terribly disappointed. Finishing a race can be an emotionally charged situation, and on this occasion it certainly was for me. Yes, I know, there are more important things happening in the world, but just at that moment this really mattered to me. Again, I held my tongue and started the walk back to the race headquarters, hanging back behind
the others, trying to get it into perspective and not be too hung up on it. Then, the lovely Gerry McHale (husband of Michelle whom I’d met on the run) turned around and just handed me his medal! I hadn’t said a word, he just gave it to me,despite my protestations! I was so touched. Then, back at race headquarters, the race organiser apologised that there were many more participants than expected – actually a great thing for running and for Dunboyne AC. At that, many Dunboyne AC club members just handed in their medals to be distributed to anyone who didn’t get one. This was so touching and so sportsmanlike. I was able to give Gerry back his medal and claim one of my own. The Dunboyne athletes would more easily get theirs at their club in the following days. Thank you to everyone who gave in their medal. You made a lot of people feel much better about themselves and the running community in general. Well done, Dunboyne AC. And the medal is massive!
On Saturday I was collecting and aunt in Longford and took the opportunity to head down early and do a spot of parkrun tourism. I was warmly welcomed at Longford parkrun by Kevin and his crew.
They’ve got to be the friendliest bunch of parkrunners I’ve met, and that’s saying something ‘cos parkrunners everywhere are very friendly. Again, I adopted a run/walk strategy and finished my parkrun in 36:16.
Post parkrun refreshments in Moments cafe in Longford town – a great spot
Longford parkrun’s Event Director, Kevin, admiring my 50 T-shirt. Only 12 more to go to get the coveted black 100.
So, I can use this to gauge my post illness progress as follows: parkrun progress:
4th June: 45:26 – Castletown parkrun 18th June 41:39 – Griffeen Valley parkrun
25th June 39:06 – Waterstown, with all of its gentle inclines, and the morning after Kilcock 5k which I did in 36 minutes flat
2nd July 36:06 – Longford parkrun, 2 days after my Clonee 10k.
So, accentuate the positives. Definite progress being made.
Unfortunately, an old hip flexor strain is playing up a bit on me. I have no trouble with it when running, but the nature of my work and associated leg movements (sounds mad, but waaaayyyy to long a story to try to explain) is such that a long shift leaves me with a very painful hip. So I am on physio’s orders not to run at the moment. OK, so it looks kinda one step forward, two steps back.
But I view this as a minor hiccup, on top of my health glitch, both of which will pass and leave no lasting consequences. I followed the physio’s stretching instructions for a week, and am now on a strengthening plan with a view to being ready for the Carton 6k Trail race on 28th July. I really, really want to do this one. It’ll be my first trail race. Carton is very local to me and I have wanted to run trail for ages. And Dunboyne AC are providing another great medal. I love my bling. I consider it validation for the work that I put into getting to a race’s start line and finish line.
So what else can I do when my physio tells me not to run, that I cannot do the Clontarf 5 Mile that I was so looking forward to? I go to my local parkrun and walk it! I walked it last week with the help and support all the way round of the lovely Eleanor, Tail Runner. This week I walked it again, and knocked over 5 minutes off my walking PB of last week.
So, accentuate the positives again. I’m seeing the benefits of my stretching and strengthening plan, whereby my hip didn’t hurt me at all this week. I’m also conscious of my work practices so that I’m not straining it on an ongoing basis. I got fresh air, exercise, support and encouragement of parkrun colleagues. I have the satisfaction of knowing that I’m still doing everything possible to improve my respiratory and muscle fitness, and I continue to clock up my parkrun towards the big
- Sure, it’s good to be able to do it.
Teresa ‘Accentuate the Positives’ McCarthy