I was always quite active but was certainly not a runner. In fact I was pretty sure I didn’t even want to be a runner. Then I broke my leg very thoroughly in a skiing accident in 2002. The doctor casually mentioned that there was a chance that I wouldn’t walk properly again – before he put in a long pin through my tibia, attached it with 4 nails and connected my fibula back together with a metal plate (yes I still beep going through airports!).
It was a long painful recovery and I remember telling myself so many times that if I could just get my leg back to normal that I wouldn’t take it for granted. After what seemed like a very long time I finally got rid of the cast and crutches and could start swimming. That was the only thing the doctor would allow, but I was so glad to be moving again I went as often as I could. Very gradually the strength came back into the leg and I could start back walking and running. It was really starting from the very start. Building up to running 5km is really the hardest thing you will ever do. Mary says this often and its very true!!
Mary did me up a plan for working up to a half marathon and in 2007 I did the Connemara half marathon – running & walking and then in 2008 I ran the Achill half marathon. I really enjoyed those half marathons and did think to myself that maybe I would be able to do a full marathon? Unfortunately injury struck later that summer on my knee and I had to give up the running for a few months to recover. Back to starting from scratch again!!
Forget the Gym classes and organised runs really helped keep the motivation going this time. I came in to see the 2011 FTG marathon girls after their marathon and was just amazed how they could be so happy after running for so long and getting drenched into the bargain! I started to think again that maybe I had a marathon in me. I decided that 2012 would be the year.
I signed up to the FirstTimers Marathon Workshop with Forget the Gym and started the training. Mary’s schedule looked daunting but with the group of us all in it together it was very doable. There were always people around to do the runs with in the evenings or at the weekends. The support made it a great experience. Unfortunately injury struck again – I made it to my 18 mile training run but then my knee gave out. I was raging – all that training – and so close to the marathon!! Mary’s advice kept me positive as I worked with a physio to get the leg back in working order. Unfortunately it wasn’t in time for the Dublin marathon that year, but it got me back running / walking the 12km in Beaujolais – vino therapy!
Seeing all the girls I had trained all summer with finish the Dublin marathon was a great motivation to try the marathon again. I signed up for the Paris marathon, followed Mary’s plan and ran it in April 2013 with a big group of Forget the Gym girls. It was an amazing experience. Everyone was nervous excited and I was worried about my knee but it all went great on the day. Paris was an amazing achievement and I was so glad I had finally done my marathon!!
It was a long road to getting marathon ready but all the support from Mary, Aoife and Lorraine from Forget the Gym made it possible! All the pep talks, advice, great company, early morning runs, jelly baby bribes, classes and workshops got me there in the end. Now I can’t stop. After Paris a group of us signed up for the Dublin marathon and went through all the training again. I really enjoyed that home marathon. All the lessons learned from the Paris marathon and the improver marathon workshops with Forget the Gym meant that I took over 20 minutes off my Paris time and smiled (almost) all the way around.
Dublin Marathon 2014 anyone??