The Dublin City Marathon is today and it’s no ordinary day to stage it. You see today is the 595th anniversary of one of the most famous battles of all time. On this day, St Crispin’s Day, in 1415 the forces of England met those of France on the field of Agincourt. Outnumbered by 5 or 6 to 1 by the French (interestingly it’s French scholars who point more to greater odds) the English led by Henry V recorded a memorable victory thanks to the effect of the longbow.
But sod the history, you’re all here just to hear Kenneth Branagh gives the Crispin’s Day Speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V. Let’s do this.
If you see someone looking like this, give them a sweet.
Lots of runners, not just me, will need your help on Monday. Here’s a breakdown of how you can help out runners on the Dublin City Marathon course on Monday.
Sweets are good for you
Runners/walkers in the marathon will be in need of nourishment from around the time they leave the Phoenix Park, about 8 miles into the race right up until the finish in Merrion Square 18 miles later. If you live anywhere between there and the finish, and it’s a big area, then you can help them get to the finish in one piece. Go out and buy a bag of wine gums, jelly beans or jelly babies, easy to chew sweets that are made of sugar. Then go out on the course and when you see someone who looks worse for wear, offer them a couple.
Many runners will turn down the offer but plenty will be glad to have the help. All of them will be grateful you made the effort. Well okay not all of them, some people are just gits but don’t worry about them.
Cheering is pretty useful too
It’s going to be a long day for everyone on the course, even the fast runners, and that will make it mentally challenging. That’s why it’s so important to have as many people as possible out on the course to cheer on those participating. The mental boost of having some random stranger cheering you on is oddly effective and can help a lot on what looks likely to be a cold and blustery day.
A quick note about gel packs
Most of you reading this will have friends doing the race. Some of them might use gel packs instead of sweets. That’s grand and if they ask you to hold them for that’s super. That said if they don’t ask you to and you end up on the course wanting to give them something I recommend getting sweets. Aside from being pricey, gel packs take time for runners to get used to using and there’s a reasonable chance your pals might not find they are adjusting well to them as they would like. Also if you miss your friends, it’s much easier to share sweets with other runners than gel packs.
Where you can help
A map and course video of Monday’s race can be found here. It should give you a good idea of where you are in relation to the course.
As a veteran of 4 previous Dublin City Marathons I can tell you that while your help will be appreciated everywhere, there’s nowhere it will be more appreciated than in the stretch between Dartry Road and Foster Avenue. This three mile stretch is the toughest part of the course for most participants so if you live near there it would be great if you could get out there and cheer for participants.
To give ball park times of when runners will be going through there, 4 hour runners should hit this stretch around 11.30am and be finish it by midday, 5 hour runners will get into Dartry a little after noon, while 6 hour plus runners won’t hit this stretch until at least 12.45pm. The longer the race-target time the tougher it is to estimate arrival time so allow about 30-40 mins difference. Yes it’s a huge difference but it really is that tough to judge.
Thanks to everyone that gets out on the course tomorrow, it should be a great day.
The people that brought you the Transatlantic Challenge and the 500 mile Malin to Mizen Walk for CF are back. Where the Kilkenny Hurlers failed, Emmet Ryan will succeed. October 25th 2010 sees the start of the Drive for Five.
Those of you who are familiar with our efforts here, which see me and usually some of my mates do something that involves a lot of running, are aware that we’re always trying to come up with new ways to suffer in order to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland.
As some of you are aware I’ve quite the fondness for the Tipperary Hurling team, in no small part because of my father, and I was delighted to see Tipp stop Kilkenny’s bid for 5-in-a-row in September. Unsurprisingly this campaign takes inspiration from that effort. Here’s the challenge as formally set down by John Craddock, the man I defeated in the Transatlantic Challenge:
Emmet Ryan has exactly 12 months in which to complete 5 marathons starting from the morning of October 25th 2010 in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland.
The challenge was delivered in unusual circumstances (watch out for the video at the weekend) and I swiftly accepted the wager. It’s quite the feat as I’ve only done 5 marathons in my entire life. In order to help make the journey that little bit easier I’ve got some friends to help along the way. We’ll announce each stage of the Drive for Five over the coming months but the first race begins on the opening day of the challenge when I take to the streets of my hometown for the 2010 Dublin City Marathon.
Joining for this opening crusade through the streets will be campaign veteran Gareth Murphy who overcame a leg injury to put in a fine showing during our 2007 campaign. Gareth is back for 2010 and we’re delighted to have him on board for the first race.
To explain for the newbies, we don’t run these races just for the craic. Don’t get me wrong, they are great craic, but if we can help a good cause then let’s do it. Since we started in 2006 we’ve supported the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland and we’re delighted to be helping them again this year.
The Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland is a voluntary, non-profitable, charitable organisation. It was set up in 1963 to increase knowledge and awareness of CF and to give advice and support to people with Cystic Fibrosis and their families.
Cystic Fibrosis (also called mucoviscidosis) is Ireland’s most common life-threatening inherited disease. With 1100+ CF Patients, Ireland has the highest proportion of CF people in the world. Approximately 1 in 19 people are carriers of the CF gene and where two carriers parent a child together, there is a 1 in 4 chance of the baby being born with Cystic Fibrosis.
This is a cause worthy of your support and we’re going to give it our all to make this year another success. We’re taking donations through our ridiculously easy to use MyCharity.ie page which can be found here.
About the layout
As you can see the page is still very much built around last year’s successful Malin to Mizen 500 mile challenge. We’ll be adjusting it to look a little bit of a mix of that campaign and this one but please bear with us for now.
“Wow. You are going to die when the marathon comes around,” said John Healy. He said this after I told him of how shattered I was last night. After the Ireland-Italy game we walked back to the city centre. Healy, who weighs about 2 stone more than me, had to slow down for me as my legs simply couldn’t keep pace with him. Yeah, things have gotten weird.
A series of events over the past month and a half have combined to throw my warm-down from the walk and re-preparation for the marathon into a state of chaos. It’s not that I’m so tired that I can’t keep going, far from it, but my leg muscles have withered such from lack of use that I’m simply not able to keep pace with even relatively slow friends.
So here we found ourselves walking to Madigans on O’Connell St for a quick post-match pint. I left after the first one as I had to get to Ken Hynes’ 21st in the Long Stone. Once again Healy walked with me. Once again I had to get him to slow down. Within an hour and a half I was fading fast and had to retire, not arising until noon today. This rather excessive level of fatigue prompted John’s rather stark response.
Of course it’s nowhere near that bad in actuality. As it stands I can still go quite substantial distances without feeling tired, I just tend to do them a lot slower than normal. The lack of training will probably kill my shot at a PB this year as with 15 days to go to the race I now have to enter the tapering period, when light running is the maximum I can allow myself. Amusingly a light run would be more than what I managed in most of the past month so essentially it’s just continuing what I’m doing now only with the addition that I cut out the booze and eat healthier.
How this will all affect the time I post is anyone’s guess. A PW, or personal worst, is highly unlikely as even with the slower pace I’m still in far better shape than the post-hernia recovery state I was in when I did a 7 hour 45 minute time in 2006. My personal best of 6 hours 32 minutes is more possible but still fairly unlikely.
A more realistic window is somewhere between my other two marathon times of 6 hours 49 minutes, from my first Dublin race in 2000, and 7 hours 15 minutes, from 2007. As I plan to run no less than 6 miles, and hopefully a full 8, of the Dublin course it’s reasonable to think that I’ll be inside the slower of those times. The catch will be in the walking miles I post. It’s a near certainty that my walking miles will be slower than those I typically post. This may be compensated somewhat by my slowing less as the race wears on than I typically did in past marathons.
Either way it should prove a decent challenge, but nowhere near the challenge that one Gerard Fay from Drogheda is taking on around the same time.
Ger got a mention back at the start of the walk when he completed a 24-hour walk around a GAA pitch in Drogheda, clocking up 95 miles in the process. Well he’s back at it, once again in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland, by doing the Dublin marathon course 8 times in 8 days. Over the course of the week before the race Ger will come down from Drogheda and do the full course every day, wading through all the human traffic, stopping at pedestrian crossings and whatnot, before turning up at the starting line on the 26th for what by that stage will seem like the far more sedate task of doing the actual marathon itself.
Just for a change of pace I’m going to stick in some seriously 80s electronic music. This is going out to Sam Libreri and Ken Hynes who both celebrated their birthdays this weekend.
EDIT: As if proof were needed that I’m a tad scatterbrained, I initially added this as a new page rather than as a new post.
Oddly menacing. That’s the best way to describe what I saw this evening at the Smithfield Luas stop. At around 7.30pm this evening three of the Joker’s hench-people came cycling, very casually, towards me. It was a trio of what looked like Spanish students all with face-paint, but of an age a little too old for it to look normal. The clown-like appearance was a tad disturbing, especially as all three had rather blank expressions on their faces. I boarded the tram and saw all three about a stop later, still casually riding along the path.
Well if nothing else it was a distraction from my body’s decision to start falling apart. The new surge in pain began last night at my school reunion. It was great seeing everyone out in the Conradh and had a good buzz talking to plenty of heads that I hadn’t seen for a good while. As we moved past traditional hours into lock-in time my back started to get at me. By the time I had finished my first pint after the bar re-opened I knew something was off and made my way home, getting in around 4am. Waking up at 8.30am was not part of my plans but hey, it happens.
In the afternoon my legs decide to join the uh-oh party. As I walked through Templebar I could feel the strength in my legs go, even more so my ability to control them and steady myself was limited. Indeed I nearly fell over a couple of times. While in Kate’s house I found moving to the table to grab a biscuit arduous. In short it was like a lazy Sunday only with way more aches. My legs were a similar mess going home and I’m now resting up watching the NFL putting them to as little use as possible.
With a press trip to Berlin ahead in the morning, yes I know some parts of my job rock, I’d rather not be spending too much time worrying about whether I’ll be dealing with pain durimg a hectic couple of days. More pressing than that is the knock-on effect on my personality. The pain and fatigue from the past few days has left me irritable. I’ve managed to keep it in for the most part and when I have lashed out it’s been wholly aimed at myself. Highly irrational as it is, it’s also hardly a surprising result of the situation. I just have to keep focussed and look at the postive aspect of how things have been lately, and there’s a lot to be positive about.
So with that in mind I’m going to put this video up and it’s going out to all my old classmates, 10 years after we left the old place.
I could very easily have been in a rather bad mood today. RTE confirmed to me that the slot I recorded for the Mooney programme won’t be airing at all, despite them dragging me into their offices wasting an afternoon. Instead I’m feeling pretty good and it’s entirely down to reading this article by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Ballard.
It’s worth reading in its entirety so I won’t give away any important info. It beautifully ties together the story of two separate games, 26 years apart, and one man’s odyssey from being paralysed in a freak off-the-field accident at the first through to the second which took place just last Saturday. If any movie producers read it they would be mad not to turn it into a big-screen production, it’s that good a story.
In life it’s easy to let things get to you. The knocks come and often you can blindsided and feel pretty crappy or angry and you don’t know where to direct that emotion. Feeling that way is fine, hell it’s natural and you’d be a robot if you didn’t. The important question you have to ask yourself is how do you respond after that initial feeling. Do you wallow, moaning and whining and generally not getting things done or do you dust yourself off, get up and get going again? The hard road is the latter, no doubt about it, but believe me it’s the better road for you. All the shit in life can eat you up if you let it and leave a bitter wreck behind. If you decide that you can take the knocks and keep going, then you’ll find life has a way of sorting itself out.
Now I mentioned on my Facebook during the week that there are a couple of videos I meant to include in this blog that haven’t been posted yet. Today I right that in part by posting this one, which is dedicated to Niamh Nolan who is hosting a cystic fibrosis fundraiser in the Laughter Lounge tonight. It’s a comedy gig and it’ll help her and her pal Bernie go over to New York for the marathon. Best of luck tonight girls.
Ireland’s favourite freelance sports journalist Cóilín Duffy caught up with me to see how I’m holding up as I recover from the walk. In addition to giving the low-down on how I’m holding up we look at what happened the first time we tried to do this interview and preview the remaining events in this year’s campaign.
This post takes a wee while to get going but work with me here. While I was on the road my opportunities to go the cinema were limited, indeed the only film I caught during the walk was The Hangover. So last Friday I finally went to see Inglourios Basterds. During a particularly violent scene I turned to the person beside me and said “That happened to me once.”
While that was not so much an exaggeration as a flat out lie, it was to some extremely small degree a sign of what lay ahead that evening. As I walked home from Cineworld everything felt fine but about 10 minutes out from my house, at the bridge by the canal for those who have an idea of where I live, it started. The left side of my back starting hurting like nobody’s business. Fortunately I didn’t have that long left to walk so I reached the comfort of my couch soon after but this has been a recurring problem since the walk ended.
During the walk I had plenty of problems with my left shoulder-blade. I put this down to the problems with the strap on that side of the bag which I had to constantly readjust. By contrast my right side, which had a rigid problem-free strap, caused little complaint on the road and has caused none since. Once I finished walking I also finished carrying around the roughly 14kg of rucksack that had caused the pain so I figured things would ease up soon enough.
Unfortunately things haven’t panned out that way. My 4 mile warm down through the mucky rain last week caused a similar sensation of pain. Then came the much shorter stroll on Friday night. Yesterday saw the third such occurrence in a matter of days as I walked around 4 miles home from Croke Park straight after the match (oh and that was never a penalty).
All of these walks have been with aim of avoiding causing more damage. Prior to the walk I was advised to do a few warm downs in the couple of weeks afterwards so my body could ease into the change. Unfortunately the pain I’m enduring while taking these has reached a stage where even now sitting on a comfortable couch that part of my back is still causing me some distress. I will take action this week to try and rectify it as it makes sense to tackle these things quickly.
Other than that the physical side of the recovery process has gone reasonably well. I’ve readjusted into my regular sleeping pattern, which while never the healthiest at least brings back some regularity. Amusingly my feet are now blistering slightly after finally going a few days without being coated in Vaseline, which I used throughout the walk to avoid blisters. It’s very mild and should disappear within a couple of days.
Mentally things have been a little more sketchy to be honest. I got quite used to my own company and the fairly transient existence of being in a different place every night. Getting back to being in Dublin and around people has proven quite strange. Okay that’s one mother of an understatement, it’s been freaking weird as hell. I’m starting to get back into the groove now but don’t be offended if I seem a little off when you run into me.
On the whole things are looking up but there’s definitely still a long way to go in terms of both sorting out my head and body. The latter is probably a more time-sensitive. While I expect to be back and ready to rock in time for the Dublin City marathon next month, there’s less than three weeks until my planned return to action in the Dublin half-marathon.
That could prove problematic if my back doesn’t improve soon. I’ve held off formally entering until the picture is clearer. The half-marathon is pivotal to my plans for the full marathon as I need to get in some proper running. Since coming back from the walk I’ve simply never felt faster and would fancy my chances at at least doing my best time ever on this course if not a new PB altogether. Obviously getting my body in order has to take priority over this but it would be preferable if I could both get better and post a good time in October.
Tomorrow or possibly even later tonight I should have a video from the finish of the walk. For now I’ll leave you with a video that’s dedicated to Kate Rothwell who is off on Erasmus for the year shortly. She was a great help in getting me sorted with couchsurfing for the walk.