“You can’t control the past, you can’t control the future, you can control your attitude, effort and performance in the moment”.
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Apart from running, one of the other sports that I enjoy most is American football. I regularly
tune into the NFL on Sunday nights to watch the weekly action. My favourite team is the
New England Patriots and I’ve followed them since I started watching the sport during my
college days. They are coached by Bill Belichick, whom many believe to be the greatest
coach of all time in the game. Belichick’s success rate is phenomenal. He has won a
combined eight Super Bowls (Championships) as a head coach or assistant coach. His
quote above is one of my favourites and it is something that I always try to remember while
I’m running. I try to get the best out of each run. Sometimes that might be a slog for a few
miles, or other times a long run might feel like a walk in the park, as long as I have the right
attitude and effort then I’ll be happy. Belichick is also known to be a meticulous planner and
leaving no stone unturned in the preparation of his team.
Planning is something that is vital when it comes to marathon training and the marathon itself. With that in mind, I planned out
how to run The Great Railway Run last Sunday. I decided to use the race as a trial for the
Cork Marathon. I would run it at marathon pace and use the same clothing, gels and runners
as I will use in June. I even ate the same breakfast as I will eat in the morning. I wanted it to
be as close as possible to the day itself. The course offered the ideal preparation, with the
flat first half of the race and the hilly second half mirroring the Cork marathon course closely.
As I live in Carrigaline I got the bus to Cork in the morning, and met with my Eagle
clubmates Karen Bevan and Ruairi Egan for a warm up. After meeting a few more Eagles
and taking a club photo, the race was soon off. I slotted in with the 2 hour group under the
watchful eye of expert pacers Dolores Duffy and fellow Eagle member Alan O Brien.
My race plan was quite straightforward, stay with the group for the first 10 or 11 miles and try to kick
on after that. Plan B was to stay with the 2 hour group all the way to the finish. Thankfully the
latter plan wasn’t needed. I felt great for the first 10 or so miles, Karen, Ruairi and other
Eagle members Mike and Andrew were all in the group and the miles rolled by. I decided to
attack the hill at Rafeen and I was able to keep a good pace from there to the finish line. I
was delighted with my time of just over 1 hour 56 minutes, my plan worked out but I was
most happy with my attitude, effort and as a result, performance on the day. Like the races
I’ve done in previous weeks. The organisation was again superb. There were plenty of
stewarts and volunteers dotted around the course. With many junctions and turns along the
route, huge credit must go to everyone involved in getting us all home safely. The water
stops were plentiful and very well manned, and while the course is challenging over the latter
stages, it is perfect preparation for Cork.
We had a marathon leaders meet up post race as Joanne, Rachael and Ruairi O Hagan, all ran excellently on the day. The party-like
atmosphere and fabulous spread at the finish line rounded off a great morning. Well done to
all involved in what was an excellent race. I wasn’t the only member of my family who was
While I was busy running the race, Lorna was busy at home organising a
party. You see, I celebrated a significant birthday on the 17th of April, and to celebrate she
organised a lovely afternoon at home with family and friends. Lorna wasn’t done yet, she
had one more Belichick like plan up her sleeve. She surprised me by booking a few days
away in Malaga and a few rounds of golf to go with it. So by the time this gets posted, I will
probably be on a golf course around Malaga somewhere or else getting in some much needed warm weather training. The full week leading up to my birthday was almost festival-like.
Even the gang in work got in on the act as the Marty Party got into full swing!!! So while
I am another year older, I can honestly say that I don’t feel older. One of the perks of my
marathon training is that I have more energy than ever. And a perk of turning 40 is that I get
another 5 minutes to try and get a Boston Qualification time. But that’s a plan for another
day, in the meantime I’ll enjoy some running in the sun.
Enjoy the week ahead and happy running.