Saturday, August 17, 2013

Half Marathon and trip to Ireland

My Half Marathon and Ireland trip
I ran in Dublin's inaugural Rock n Roll Half Marathon!!
But let's back up a bit to the beginning.
I decided to run this marathon last November. I was at my sister in laws for Thanksgiving and was reading that my friend was going to run in a Ragnar race and looking for a team. He was dealing with his own health issues at the time and I thought, "If he can do it, I certainly can!" So I said out loud, "I think I'm going to run a marathon." My sister in law laughed at me. That sealed the deal :) She did explain that she laughed because she thought I was joking since I have a joint disorder. :)
So I started training! I had lots of bumps along the way. I suffer from joint pain, my spine is collapsing on itself, I have numbness in my legs because my spine is pinching nerves that make my legs feel asleep, I have plantars fasciitis, and, above all, I just plain didn't like running.
At the peak of my training I cut my finger and severed an artery. I couldn't run until the artery healed. It took about 2.5 weeks.

And that's why you always leave a note. ;)

Then, a week and a half before the race, my Grandma died.

There was just not enough chocolate in the word that day.

Then, on a practice run to see if I could make the race in the allotted amount of time my toes started bleeding. This was a week after the run. My toe nails were shorter at the time. But they don't make my size shoe in a woman's shoe. . . :*(

We got to Ireland early so that we could adjust to the climate, time change and get over the exhaustion of travelling.


I brought my kids and my husband. My kids are excellent travelers, so I am never afraid to stick them on a plane for 8.5 hours.
My mom ran the race with me. She also has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type III--Hypermobility. It was great to get to experience this with my mom (even if I did leave her in the dust right at the start line ;)). Just kidding, Mom. ;)
So, allow me to tell you a little about this race. Last November when I started training, I was going from zero, nothing. Walking to the bus stop to pick up my kids was the extent of my exercize. I worked very hard. With the help of my wonderful and supportive husband, I was able to complete this race in a reasonable amount of time for my first half marathon. My husband would come home from work and immediately take over with the kids so I could go out and run before I lost the light. He was positive and encouraging.
Excuse the ghettoness in the background.
My mom and I got to St. Stephen's Green early so we could check our gear and find our corral. As it was our first race, we were confused by some of the behaviors, clothing, etc of the other runner. We were running with Elvis, woman wearing flame sequin bras, a family in kilts and a man wearing a woman's bathing suit and a long blond curly wig.  !!!!
Then everyone started doing a warm up and my mom said, "What are we doing?" I said, "I don't know. Just do it!"
The beginning of the race was kind of. . . anti climactic. They released everyone in 10 second intervals to keep the course from crowding. So they did the countdown and everyone was shouting and yelling and excited and then we just had to stand and wait. By the time they got to our corral, the countdown was not quite as enthusiastic.
The course was gorgeous. We ran along the Liffey, then past St Patrick's Cathedral, the Guinness Factory, then into Phoenix Park where the majority of the race was run. It was beautiful. I confess, I was often distracted during the run by the beautiful scenery. That is, distracted by the scenery when I wasn't distracted by men running past me in women's bathing suits.
By the time I got to mile four I ran past a few ladies walking. I turned to them and said, "Well, that was fun! I think I'm done now."
At mile 8 there was a hydration station and they gave us this Isotonic, blabbidy blah, grossness drink. It made me feel sick and then I had to run the rest of the way feeling like vomiting. I also felt bad about throwing trash on the ground since you just throw your cups as you run. Does anyone know what I am talking about??
There were bands playing at each mile marker. It was so fun!
By this time I was back on the south side of the Liffey and heading back to St. Stephen's Green. So many times throughout the race as I felt my toes bleeding, muscles spasming, keeping vomit down from that disgusting drink, I kept wondering if I would finish. I had sacrificed so much. My husband and kids had sacrificed so much in my preparation for the race. I just kept going, one step at a time.
The finish line was right around a corner. I turned that corner and right there were my kids jumping up and down for me! Yelling my name! And my husband recording me. And it was the best experience. It gave me that little extra umph I need to run through the finish line. Immediately after the finish line they handed us our medals and a water bottle and took pictures. It was amazing.
I am so glad I ran this marathon. Everything in my life has come naturally to me. I never pulled an all nighter in college, I often get new things on the first try. But this was something that did not come naturally. I had to work. I had to change. I had hurt and push and pull. And it didn't feel great most of the time. And to have completed the race was a huge accomplishment, and not just because I have a joint disorder and my doctors said I would never do this.
We hung out in Ireland for another week after the race.

We spent a lot of time in Dublin. Temple Bar was awesome. Lots of great music on the "Pub Crawl." And the Craic was mighty!! ;) jk . . .
We spent some time in Belfast and Cork at the Blarney Castle. And, NO, I did not kidd the Blarney stone. What can I say? I'm a giver, not a taker. I like to give more than I get and that stone was gonna give me somethin', for sure!

This was the dungeon. My kids are standing on some stairs that take you to a narrow passage that you have to crawl through. I stuck my camera light in a whole in the wall and it lead to a room. THEN I saw the spiders the size of my FACE and ran out of that faster than you can kiss a duck!! It was definitely an Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom moment.

This is looking down out at the grounds of Blarney castle.

This is literally looking down :) Straight down. There was a little wind tunnel. Hence the crazy hair ;)
This is the Blarney Stone.
And this is my husband kissing the Blarney Stone. No, he is not allowed to kiss me for a month. Everyone has been kissing that thing. Gross.
The legend of the Blarney Stone says that Cormac Laidir McCarthy, the builder of Blarney Castle, was in a law suit during the construction. He pleaded to the goddess, Cliodhna, for help. She told him to kiss the first stone he saw on the morning of his court appearance. He did, and was able to plead his case with great eloquence. He won his case. From that point, this stone was said to be able to impart "the ability to "deceive without offending." The stone was then incorporated into the construction of the Blarney Castle.
People would travel long distances to be able to kiss the Blarney stone and receive the gift of eloquent speech. But, I don't think there's any hope for my husband. (Side story-- I miscarried once. My husband came into the bathroom and said, "It's okay, when we get to heaven the baby will be there. It will be like finding $20 in your pocket." I sobbed! Then he said, "Sorry, you're right. It will be like finding $50 in your pocket." Hopeless. . .  ;)
So, What's next??? My son wants to see the pyramids in Egypt. It's not very expensive to travel there. I assume that has something to do with the lack of government control and growing civil unrest in Cairo. . . :) But maybe that will calm down a bit by the time we save up for the trip. I found a marathon that runs along the Nile. But that just screams Malaria to me. My friend went to Africa in college and was vaccinated for Malaria and still came home with Malaria! So we'll just have to think about this one. . . . .
My kids also want to do Kids Rock. They run a marathon by running in the weeks before the race. They record their distances each day or week, or however often they run. Then they run the last mile on race day. It's a really neat opportunity for them and a great way to get them involved.
Does anyone else run races? What races do you run? Rock N Roll was my first. I don't have much experience with races so I would love to hear of other races and learn more!! Leave me a comment and feel free to leave links to other races. I am very interested!!

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