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PictureNot looking so good at the finish line! 4:24:18

Dublin Marathon,  I swore blind never again. Infact I told everyone who knows me, “if you ever hear me saying I am doing another marathon have me committed.”

I meant it! I had never planned to do another marathon. My last one was horrific. I hit the wall at 10 miles and literally dragged myself around the next 16.2miles. I ended up sitting in a wheelchair when I crossed the finish line and hadn’t even noticed my shoe was covered in blood. My blood! I had gotten blisters that burst and rubbed.

If all that wasn’t bad enough I puked my guts up too. In style of course! I was in a taxi on the way home. We moved less than 50 feet when I shouted for him to stop, I could feel it coming, from the depths of my body, a pressure hose just waiting to be switched on. Clinging to the railings of the College of Music, (on a very busy Chatam Street), I hurled goop all over the place. It was a mixture of gels, Lucozade, jelly babies and banana. Dribbling from my lip, down my brand new finishers jersey onto my blood soaked shoe. I swore to myself I would never put my body through this again. Dublin City Marathon was now officially done,  dusted and off the list.

Yet here I am, two weeks today to my third marathon! Two years later, the pain is still very much in the forefront of my thoughts. I am terrified I  will go out too hard and too fast again. I worry that I will hate it and most of all I am wondering will I actually finish it?!


How did I get here? I got talked into it! Persuaded in fact! Everyone who knows me knows I don’t do things by halves. It’s all or nothing. A small group was formed.  I think they were hoping I would motivate them and help them with their training. Between the jigs and reels that didn’t happen, people dropped out for various reasons, some waited till the last minute to sign up and some of us just got on with our training.  Here we come, Dublin City Marathon 2015 when 3 of us will line up at the start and put all our training to good use.

So what have I done differently this time around? What lessons have been learnt from two previous Dublin City Marathons?

  • I’m not stressing about a finish time. I will finish when I finish!! I know roughly how long it will take but I am not nailing myself to the minute or a second. If I manage a sub 4 hours I will be delighted, honestly though, if I finish without being sick as a dog I will be over the moon!
  • I have changed my running technique, I went to a coach and learnt how to run! Efficiently and correctly. Every run is different but I try as much as possible to remember my coaches tips and implement good posture, even when I am hanging!
  • I eat solids when running. I have to! I am always hungry. Sure, there’s gels, water, electrolytes etc but I need food! I eat dried apricots and dates, homemade flapjacks, fig rolls and bananas. It sounds like a lot but really it is just a nibble here and there. It’s my comfort food. If I don’t have it I panic. Even if I don’t eat it,  just knowing it’s there stops me being anxious! You would eat on a four flight so why not eat on a four hour run!!
  • Vaseline is my best friend! Let’s be honest we all get a bit of chub rub!! Arms and thighs are the obvious ones for the ladies but I also find all around my sports bra too. ‘Lash it on’ is my phrase of the day! Not forgetting my feet too, it does help prevent blisters.
  • Raising money for charity is part of the day. My last two marathons were for the Irish Cancer Society. This year I decided to run for LauraLynn Children’s Hospice. I think no matter how small your contribution, raising a little something helps to give you focus. It can be a stern reminder on tough days to keep going, sponsors are technically shareholders after all. Mostly though, it gives you a jersey to wear with pride on the day. A great reason not to stop, a badge of honour and pride in yourself; that you have done something for someone else because you wanted to.
  • Enjoy the crowds. They have taken the time to come and support you, give them a smile! Lift your head now and again and give them a thumbs up. Read the signs they have made for you, take the sweets they offer you. They may not be running it but they are what makes Dublin City Marathon so great. It was voted Best International Event at the running awards after all.
  • You get a medal no matter what. Everyone gets a goodie bag. The finish line is the same whether your first or last! Soak it up, it’s your moment of glory.
  • Plan your party!!  You know you want to! Even if it’s just a bag of chips and an early night, do something small to commemorate your big day!
  • With two weeks to go there is absolutely no point worrying about your milage. It’s done. Rest, taper, eat and let your body recover. You have a big day ahead. You’re well trained, you just don’t know it! You will pull it out of the bag on the day. It may not be pretty, it maybe horrific like my last one, but one way or another you will get around. So shut up legs!
I definitely will not be doing a fourth marathon! Happy to do halves, reindeer runs, three legged races but this will definitely be my last marathon. So I plan on enjoying it, especially the start line. I am looking forward to lining up with my friends, taking selfies, soaking up the atmosphere and knowing that for one last time, I just have to get around in one piece!


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About the Author:
Sinéad Kennedy is a Physical Therapist, Yoga Siromani and Pilates Instructor, based in South County Dublin. She treats and teaches people from all walks of life, including many athletes, especially cyclists, runners & golfers. Recently featured in the Irish Independant, FIT Magazine, her Yoga 4 Cyclists class has gained notoriety.
A keen cyclist and proud member of Orwell Wheelers she has completed numerous cycling events including La Marmotte Sportive.  Sinéad has also completed two Dublin City Marathons, numerous Adventure Races and Half Marathons. She is currently training for her third Dublin City Marathon.(2015)

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