To set some background, I had severe asthma from 6 months old, and was always ‘wrapped’ in cotton wool as a young child, and arguably still am!! Now I am happily a 37 (nearly 38) year old, husband to a wonderful wife and an ‘energetic’ three year old.
I originally started writing this blog to talk about the trials of marathon running with a young family as Rosie (the energetic three year old) had just been born. However after taking up triathlons I have widened the content slightly to include cycling, running, triathlons and general ‘guff’ that goes round my head in terms of these sports.
When I first floated the idea of running a marathon I was met with a number of statements from parents such as “why would you do that” and “don’t be silly”. This made me even more determined to do it. I completed my first marathon in 2006 and to be honest it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Two weeks before the marathon, at the end of my 20 mile run, my achilles was incredibly sore and I could barely walk for two days. After trying to run short runs and failing, there was a possibility that I wouldn’t get to the start line. However I saw a pyhsio and with his help I ran for the first time in nearly ten days three days before the marathon. Before the marathon started, I got the words of encouragement from my now wife and the slightly negative statements of “stop if it hurts” from others. One thing I don’t do is stop. All runners will keep going until they have to put in to the back of an ambulance, I know this isn’t the right approach, but most runners are a little bit mental. I remember reading about Sophie Raeworth from BBC collapsing 2 miles from the end of London marathon 2 years ago, being put in to an ambulance or St John’s Ambulance, coming around after being treated and getting back out and finishing. Thats what runners do. Anyway, the first marathon went fine till mile 18 until the two weeks of inability to train came back to hit me, plus I had probably gone off a little bit too quickly. The next 8 miles it was simply a case of keep putting one foot in front of another, I wasn’t stopping. I managed to cross the line in 4hrs 19mins and 10 seconds. I didn’t care, I had finished.
I realised very quickly that I had the bug and wanted to push myself even more and I have now completed 15 marathons with a personal best of 3hrs 14 minutes in Dublin 2013, finally breaking the 3:15 barrier and over an hour quicker than my first marathon.
I started taking part in triathlons in 2014 taking part in my first sprint triathlon and from there I got the bug. In the same year I took part in my first Olympic triathlon, in 2015 completed two further Olympic triathlons and then made the big decision in 2016 to complete a 70.3 Ironman in August 2016.
The 70.3 Ironman was a massive challenge, basically 16 weeks of training for the event, with in reality two years of training prior to that getting familiar with triathlons having completed my first one in 2014. If I am honest, I love the training. With marathon training I always looked forward to a day off, I think was the constant running. However with the triathlon, every day was different, if you didn’t fancy running you could cycling or swim. You had the plan for the week and you could put it in as you wished. Even though I loved training it wasn’t easy and there were a number of weeks especially towards the end of the training plan and coming close to the race, I was getting very tired and constantly hungry for sugar. Training weeks were 10 hours and more each week, with some weeks going to 14 hours as I was doing an extra training session at lunch time.
On race day, I loved the experience and the event. Part of me kept waiting for something to go wrong but it didnt. I finished my first 70.3 in 5hrs 22 mins. Now for the next challenge!