The last time I took part in a half marathon was April 2016 in Madrid. A year is a long time to be resting on your laurels in running terms. It was a combination of factors which kept me idle. Some were of my own doing and some were due to injury.
Time however has a habit of slipping by so quickly. In the year since my last half marathon I lost motivation. I used to do long runs on Saturday mornings with my running buddy Roy (below). I loved them. Getting up early and heading to St. Annes Park or Malahide Castle or the Pheonix Park for 8.30 in the morning was fun. By the time 10.30 rocked round we had finished our run and there was a sense of achievement for the weekend. That routine alas was broken. I spent way too many Friday nights drinking, which meant there was no way I was getting out of bed on a Saturday morning. I also spent a bit of time injured and working with a physiotherapist. Thankfully I’m just about mended.Starting over is tough. The once easy 5k run takes more effort. The enjoyable 10k is more of a struggle and the once relatively easy half marathon under two hours is now a thing of the past.
There is another not so wonderful side effect of turning into a lazy booze hound who no longer runs. Weight gain. Yes its pretty obvious. Do no exercise and eat and drink for Ireland and you are going to pile on the pounds. I gave both eating and drinking a really good shot and excelled at lying around doing no exercise. The result, the cuddly reclining Buddha below, taken just before the Wexford half marathon.
Let me tell you I wasn’t as relaxed as that after it. I hadn’t put in a lot of training so I knew that it would be hard. I decided in advance I would do a mix of walking and running with a goal of finishing it in about two hours thirty minutes. Way longer than my best time of 1.56.
My running buddy is currently in great shape and has put a lot of work into his fitness. Rather than run a head and get a decent time he offered to take it easy with me and keep me motivated along the course. It makes a huge difference when you are starting over to have a running buddy who spurs you on.
The result for Wexford was just over my goal at 2.32 but it was enjoyable and that is really what matters with running. If you are not enjoying it then you are not going to do it. We walked, we ran, we chatted and we crossed the finish line at the exact same time.
For my first run in a year I’m going to say it was a pretty good start and it has me determined to do better going forward. I have the Clontarf half marathon in July coming up and am aiming to push the fitness levels up for that. All going well I’ll be shaving at least twenty minutes off the Wexford time. Now I need a training plan to shed a few of these extra pounds (stones) because lets be honest, its less weight to run around with !