Every year, I try to do a few new races and events around Ireland to keep things fresh, to find some fun new event and to ensure I do at least one event that pushes me out of my comfort zone. Last year, it was my first ever triathlon. Then, it was my first olympic distance triathlon, which quite literally had me a long way out in the deep sea at Carlingford, Co. Down cursing and swearing out loud while I momentarily (there were multiple moments…) genuinely believed there was a good chance that I was never going to reach the giant yellow buoys tauntingly bobbing in the distance. This was not comfortable. I was not comfortable. I was a bit scared to be honest, but I was so delighted when I bound out of the water (ahem…) that I actually would’ve been a happy woman to finish the race then and there. I achieved something that was tough, scary and which I didn’t know I could do. But that’s just the thing isn’t it? If it was easy or something which didn’t demand much effort, you wouldn’t get anything out of it.
This year, I wanted to see if I could do 2 marathons within one calendar year. I know that for a lot of people, this would not be a big deal and that there are many runners out there running many marathons, ultra-marathons and multi-marathons during the year and I bow to you, I do. The running year, for me, typically involves building up mileage gradually from February/ March, participating in a collection of road races of all distances from 5km to half-marathon over the summer/ autumn and then finishing off the season with the Dublin Marathon at the end of October. This year, I thought I’d see if I could fit in a second marathon in June/July. Confession time: when I initially started to plan this in my head, it was shortly after last year’s Dublin Marathon and I was probably suffering from a shade of post-marathon disappointment/vengeance. I fell short of what I had wanted to achieve that day and was itching to run another marathon and have another go at Mr. 26.2.
The marathon running options for June/July in Ireland turned out to be somewhat limited, until I came across a multi-marathon event – the Stone Mad Ultra Marathon. Complete with claims to be Ireland’s only multi-marathon event, this event takes place over 2 days in July, with competitors given the option to create their own 2 day race challenge. For the nutters, you can choose to do a marathon on the Saturday and then a second marathon on Sunday. For the ultra-nutters, you can do an ultra-marathon both days and for the people who are only half nuts…well you get the picture. Or you can mix it up. Entirely up to you! I signed up for the marathon on day 1 and then a half-marathon on day 2.
Beep beep. I get an email into my inbox this morning: “StoneMad 2015 will now be hosted as a one-day only race.” Awwwwww…. Part of me (mostly my legs) is flooding with relief right now that I will not, now, have to run a half-marathon the day after running a full marathon. But I am a bit bummed as I was looking forward to just seeing if I could do the two days and to just take part in a multi-marathon. I’ve been psyching myself up for this for weeks, to the point where now the first thought in my head is that it’s just a marathon that I’ll be doing that weekend. So, I guess, in a way, that’s worked out great for my mentality when it comes to running a marathon because now when compared with taking part in a multi-marathon, it will seem like it’s just a marathon.
Did you believe me? No, me neither. Look up the dictionary – “Nonsense”= “just a marathon”. It’s not what I originally thought it was going to be but it will still be a marathon, a day out and a new race I haven’t tried before and I’m looking forward to it. 3 weeks to go!