27 December 2015

Are You Mad Running? - Cathy story

St.Brendan’s AC members share their personal stories and different experiences of getting fit and embracing new challenges in recent years.

Are You Mad Running? – Cathy story

Are you mad? Are you crazy? These are the questions that I’ve been asked lately, which always makes me giggle inside! Maybe they are right. Who knows?


All this running started 8 years ago in the gym to lose weight. I remember dreading that time to face the treadmill and being pushed to run 3k in 15mins. With the sweat pumping from all angles, 42km was never to be seen not to mention ran. But the more I did it, the better I was able to push through. And even though I was feeling tired, I also felt good at the same time.

I remember my first race was Dublin’s women’s mini marathon, June 2007. I was very nervous and honestly it was hell! I kept telling myself to drop out at 5k but then something took over and I would not give in. The after feeling was amazing. Receiving my very first medal and wearing it with pride. I did it and I knew that I could! That was it I got the BUG.

With 34 races of struggling with 5Ks and 10Ks, including 4 half marathons, over the next 7 years, it was time to take the plunge to move forward to run a FULL MARATHON.
Yes 26.2 miles around the streets of Dublin. Of course there was a voice like a cheeky minion in my head laughing at me saying I couldn’t do it. But I was determined. So before I could back out of it, I just signed up straight away. No turning back now.

With training four days a week on my own doing between 3-8 miles in the morning, I decided to join St. Brendan’s AC for the long runs which went from 16miles to 22miles every Sunday mornings at 8 o’clock. Body not even awake yet and I trying to eat a bowl of porridge that early, was torture enough. So under the order of Pat and his troops, Caroline and myself were put through our paces on the roads. 
There was good runs, very cranky runs and runs I couldn’t finish, but I enjoyed every one of them. Yes the training is hard, but once you push through the barrier of the new mileage the pain gets easier. The fun and good company on the road no matter what weather was like made training bearable. My diet would not have been exactly great. I could not manage a run if there was no mars bar involved, in fact on my long runs I always had to make a pit stop to the shop, for some, just to keep my energy levels up or so I thought. I depended on a sugar fix at every five miles, which is not good by the way!! But anything to get me around. 

First Full Marathon

October 26th 2014 Caroline and myself hit the streets of Dublin. I felt confident but nervous at the same time. The Streets lined out with people, atmosphere was eccentric. They even supplied mars bars, happy days!! I loved every mile and not a “wall” to be seen. It was absolutely amazing experience. That run meant so much to me, my very first marathon and to do it in memory of my late uncle made it all more special.

That was it, I wanted to do more, no stopping me now. Being part of St. Brendan’s AC was scary at first, but I was welcomed with open arms and under the advice of Artur Nowak and he stealing my mars bars, my running went from strength to strength. Plus joining a club of lunatics I fitted in well I suppose………. 

So 26 runs later including 6 full marathons, 4 half marathons and 3 stone lighter, within the year, (mars bars gone) including Dublin City Marathon again and knocking 50min of 2014, my next plan of action was the back to back (2 marathons in 2 days). I decided on this challenge, as something to push myself again plus after every marathon I did, my recovery seemed better.

When one is not enough

The first marathon was tough, a 2 loop of 13miles with good few pulls, weather conditions were poor, a lonely run and my pacing didn’t help. But 4hrs 8 mins later it was done. So it was into car, drive home and Epsom salts bath and back on the water and good carbs, plus I actually stretched, I know shock as stretching would not be my strong point….The following morning my body felt good, I didn’t though. I felt weak and couldn’t eat and felt nausea, was getting worried I might have to pull out. But I got there and I couldn’t wait to start again. With a different route of a 1 mile loop and a dreaded hill on one side, my second marathon started. Legs felt good straight away, until mile 10 they went dead. But the support on route was unreal. I met legends that day, ran with friends for a while, I walked when I wanted to, but I had so much fun, the pain eventually went. Mile 20 was there, 10k to go and found myself getting stronger. With 4hrs 12 mins it was finished. Second marathon completed. The euphoria was unreal. I set a challenge for myself and did it. I felt proud. Added bonus to be called back as I was leaving to be told I was first lady home in back to back. Woohoo!!

The FIT factor

I must say running for me has totally changed my life to be honest. Running has helped me to eat healthier, become a stronger person and hoping to be a good role model for my two boys. Heading out for a run for 4hours might seem crazy, but to me it’s a time I can think and a lot of problems are solved out in the road. The best thing is, I have met some amazing people in this last year alone through running that I’m honoured to call my friends. I don’t run for competition, nor do I run for time. I run for my own goals and if time is good, it’s an added bonus. I won’t lie running is hard and it takes up a lot of time, but in a good way and when you’re finished and have achieved that goal, than that’s what matters in the end. That and the medal of course!!!!!


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