SOS FITNESS RUNS ‘DUBLIN MARATHON’ 2016
It all started at the beginning of the year. Having been inspired by other running members achieving their dreams and smashing their Marathons goals. Some of our group decided it was their time to believe in themselves, push their bodies into a place it had never been before and set themselves a challenge to run a MARATHON.
It didn’t take long to decide on DUBLIN MARATHON which was on 30 October 2016. This would allow to train over the summer months and also allow time to get our minds around the challenge ahead.
SOS FITNESS RUNNING GROUP is a small unique running club which prides itself in fantastic camaraderie, friendship, team spirit with a can do attitude. We meet every Sunday and spend most of our runs up in the hills on the West Coast of Scotland. This is where we train on our mental and physical strength. Running in hills boosts your confidence improves your fitness and physical capabilities and technique to help us believe in ourselves. We work on positive minds, setting realistic goals and motivate and help each other to allow us to be the best we can.
Before we knew it 10 of us had signed up for the event. That was it we had committed however as a team we all knew we would help each other achieve this Grand Challenge.
The marathon distance is daunting so choosing the correct training programme was very important. One that would suit all and included out busy lifestyles but also accommodated other cross training . From past experience I opted for a three-day threshold, allowing cross training, HIIT training. This helps to build a solid foundation of fitness stamina and strength.
Training for a marathon running 3-4 times a week is an effective strategy and works well when you fill the gaps with strength/cross training. This will help to prevent injury and fatigue from over training.
SOS TRAINING GOLDEN RULES
PLAN AND PREPARE
COMMIT TO THE TRAINING
EAT AND SLEEP PROPERLY
IF IN PAIN STOP AND REST
The journey was a long one and required a tremendous amount of patience time and sacrifice (not only from the runner also their families). We had our highs and we had our lows. Illness, injury, holidays prevented us from following the programme to the book. However, the programme was designed to accommodate the unexpected deviations from training and we managed to catch up.
This was it, the weekend was finally upon us. One of the hardest parts of Marathon Training was getting to the start line Injury and illness Free. Nine of us had made it to this point, what a fantastic achievement in itself. We had worked so hard throughout the Summer Months, our families, social life and free time had all suffered the effects of our Marathon Training.
Accompanied by our fantastic Support team (who we are all so grateful to, travelling and supporting us the way they did), we all travelled to Dublin. The nerves, excitement, dread, fear of the unknown was all starting to creep in. Staying Positive, continue to believe in ourselves was certainly our priority.
Eeeeek the excitement of registering, getting your Race Number and goody bag made it all start to get a bit real. This was it, no going back. Our strong team of 9 will be running a Marathon the following day. For most this was their first marathon. This time last year they never imagined they would be capable of running this distance. It truly is amazing what you can do when you believe in yourself. We were doing this!!
Race Day was finally upon us, with the additional hour added to our day, we didn’t have too early a start. Some of us were well rested others didn’t sleep a wink. This is expected the night before a big race, that’s why it’s so important on the build up to your race to get lots of sleep.. The adrenalin kicks in and helps you around.
No one was running for specific times, we were all wanting to enjoy the experience and get round in one piece. The thought of that medal and glass of prosecco was our motivation.
19500 Competitors had entered the race, the start line was buzzing people rushing around trying to find bag drops, correct pen areas for starting. Everyone raring to get going.
Laura and Gillian had a different starting pen so we said out good byes, good lucks and they were off. We made our way towards our staring area. On route having been told this was the last toilets to the start line. Bad move as we were in the queue for over an hour. We were all passed the point of no return and had to go to the loo. Our start time was 9.30 on the race had started. A stress none of us needed, unbeknown to us the start line was approx. another mile along the road. It was not a great start to this experience however we were all calm and knew our time didn’t start until we crossed the line. However having at the back of your head that you were now going to be running over 27 miles was not a great feeling.
We were not alone a lot of people were behind us doing the same thing. Crossing the start line we were on our own Team SOS, we looked around wished each other good luck and we were off…see you on the other side.
The atmosphere was electric the crowds were immense and very enthusiastic motivating us on our way. The Irish certainly know how to make you feel welcome, it was fantastic. Having your name on the front of your vest is a great tip, hearing your name being shouted out from the crowd is a brilliant feeling and it certainly gives you that boost. The weather was lovely, maybe on the hot side, but we were very lucky.
Running a marathon can be a lonely experience, so setting a plan in your head is a good way to keep you focused. I was lucky to have my husband running his first marathon by my side. We decided to break the race into 3 stages of 8 miles with the last 2 miles being free miles (where the crowds with help us along).
STAGE 1 (MILE 1-8)
At mile 1 ½ our support crew were waiting for us cheering us along, this was a massive boost and certainly helped us relax into the run and focus on the distance ahead. I normally take a couple of miles to settle into a run, so this timing was just perfect. Due to our late start we were certainly leading from behind and we were passing lots of people along or way, which was great for our confidence. There is a lot of dodging and weaving through the crowds during this stage. Getting your head around being passed by men wearing wacky costumes: batman, superheroes, Eiffel Tower, Buzz lightyear, Woody.
At mile 3 spectators shouting to you that you’re nearly there…..REALLY??
The drink stations, which there were plenty of, were starting to becoming potential death traps. The discarded bottles, orange peels, gel wrappers piling up on the road.
STAGE 2 (MILE 8-16)
Things start to change during this stage – this part is where the work starts to kick in, it gets harder the legs start to get heavier. Your constantly focusing on pushing to get a good time at the half way point. There is a big focus on fuelling/drinking and getting gels on-board. I noticed lots of inspirational quotes on boards throughout this part of the run which was fantastic and inspiring.
Seeing old men with signs on their back saying it was their 30th Dublin Marathon. Guides running with blind runners, service people wearing combats boots and Bergen’s, families running pushing their disabled children was all totally inspiring and overwhelming to watch. The crowds were still spurring us along music, bag pipes all helped us along our way.
George and Edna were waiting for us just before mile 13….what a fantastic support boost. Knowing that our friends were in the crowd shouting for us is truly the best feeling ever.
STAGE 3 (16-24)
Everything changes from this point- this is a surreal feeling people are now starting to walk, collapse, injury creeps in. Cramping up at the side of the road, exhaustion and lots of sense of humour failures, tears and snot. There is an eerie silence here (everything seems blocked out). The hard works kicks in, the battle of the mind, how much do you want this, why did I do this, who’s idea was this, I don’t even like running, in fact I hate running, I’ll never run again, and so on.
Between now and the end you really have to dig deep and find a strength you didn’t even know you had, your inner strength/heart to help you through.
The race itself was very hilly, something we were all used to and an advantage to us all. There were so many people giving up on the hills. The crowds start to become a blur, even though your surrounded by thousands of people you done even care. You start to crave certain things, at mile 18 a girl taped me on the shoulder and handed me a small tin of coke. My initial instinct was no thanks, however I quickly changed my mind and I’m so glad I did. It was delicious and I felt the effects instantly in my legs.
For many people around mile 19 you hit the wall, this is where your glycogen stores are gone and you feel totally exhausted. This was where our support team was stood waiting patiently for us coming along, with supplies of fruit.. The orange was delicious thanks Tina. It was fantastic to see our friends in the crowds motivating us along, it was magical. For me this is the best place for anyone to be waiting for you as it is certainly one of the toughest parts and truly pushes you along for the last bit.
2 FREE MILES
The last two mile went on forever, it was tough no matter how loud the crowds were cheering. We were told the last 4 miles were down hill (what a lie ha ha). We battled through, digging deep, trying to find that strength. The end was in sight, we were nearly there>
I was running with Steve the whole way, we helped each other around. The first half Steve pushed me then in the second half the roles were reversed due to lack of miles in Steve’s legs. I was so proud crossing that finish line with my biggest supporter and rock and ecstatic we both made it.
The crowds got louder, smiles beaming across our faces…we were finished. This was my third marathon and by far the best I had felt.
Laura and Gillian had a fantastic race running together. This was Laura’s first and Gillian’s second, both running fantastically.
Iain had a fantastic first half of the marathon, in the second his knees which had been great all training, started to play up. First of many marathons Iain well done.
Allyson, Kristeen and Cally all ran together motivating and helping each other around. Fantastic girls first marathon for Allyson and Cally and second for Kristeen (smashing her time). Crossing that finish line mum and daughter must have been amazing. Well done the three of you, great running.
Charlene our wee machine was running her second marathon and had a fantastic run. Confidence was down at the start due to resting an injury however it paid off as you had a brilliant run, without even looking like you had broken a sweat.
Running a marathon is one of the toughest things you will ever do, you push yourself mentally and physically. You find a strength you never knew you had in you. I am so proud of every one of you.
The hard work, pain the misery we all endured was worth it the second you cross that finish line and you get your medal
You are all MARATHON RUNNERS
Thank you for allowing me and SOS FITNESS to be part of your journey.
So what’s next?
Gail Losh xx