I spent most of the week recovering from and thinking about the race, of course. I am immensely grateful for everything the RD and his team did. There can't possibly be any money in this type of event; they are doing it purely for the love of it. If there was one criticism, it would be that they should reserve the seats at the prize ceremony for the athletes. I was standing at the back initially and got dizzy. I suspected low blood sugar and drank a can of coke, but that did not help. I literally held on to the wall or I would have collapsed there and then, until I managed to grab a seat. I am not exaggerating. 90 minutes after the race, just as I was about to enter our apartment, I fainted. Niamh had seen me wobble in the lift and tried to help but I brushed her off, apparently, passing out a second later. After coming round I managed to crawl into our bedroom and into bed with my last ounce of strength; it took a while for me to move again. It wasn't low blood sugar, just complete exhaustion. I had felt fine during the race, but as soon as the adrenaline wore off I was spent.
I spent a significant part of the next 36 hours asleep, uncomfortable during the first night but better the second one. Usually I am ravenous after a race but this time my stomach seemed to have shrunk. I could only eat very little at a time, but made up for it by eating at least 10 times a day.
My knee was quite painful for a day or two but settled down eventually. My right foot was badly swollen. For 3 or 4 days I did not have an ankle. This has mostly gone away now, but there is still some swelling left, I still can't see my metatarsals. I have big chafing marks on my stomach from the pins and near both elbows where the end of the t-shirt must have rubbed against my skin, something I hadn't even noticed during the race.
I cannot go without writing a special thank you to my crew, Jo Fearon. I really think I had the best crew of the entire field, including the elites. Plenty of times during the race I saw Eddie and John standing next to their table. In contrast I never had to stop, and that kind of thing does add up over 24 hours. While it is perfectly possible to run this race without a crew, it is not possible to run your best race that way. Jo was worth a minimum of 10 miles, probably more.
I keep looking at the official race report and it still hasn't quite sunk in. "Eddie Gallen tried to go with the Austrian but had to settle for third." That's an international runner they're talking about, and little old me! To his full credit, Eddie always remained nice and friendly on and off the track even though I'm sure he wasn't too happy with the result. He is a true sportsman.
I'm sure the miserable conditions worked in my favour. I overheard John saying "who would train in weather like that". Well, actually, I do. I always run before work, no matter the weather and I have run in heavy rain and wind more often than I care to think about. This is Kerry after all. Last weekend I got the rewards for that.
Eoin Keith was particularly complimentary. He told me how impressed he was with my début, and later stated that he thinks I have found my natural distance and that it would be interesting how I can build on that. The one problem I have with that is that they seem to expect me to do it again! And why does my natural distance have to be something that hurts quite so much!
Frank Shorter once said you cannot run a marathon until you have forgotten the last one. For me, that applies to last week's race. As long as the struggle is still as vivid in my memory as it is right now, I cannot see myself do that again. I am very much aware how quickly we forget, but I'm not there just yet.
- 14 Jul
- 5 miles, 44:34, 8:54 pace