Martin’s Blog: From the Big Apple to a PB in the Big Cheese

September is usually a time for life to settle down. Life goes back to some sort of normality with kids going back to school. The silly season that was summer fades into the background and things regulate themselves. We were lucky enough to have one more hectic week as we headed away to the Big Apple for a few days.

New York is a city that I have always loved and this was my third time visiting. Lorna and I were there in January but this was Ella’s first trip. Watching her excitement as we saw the various sights was truly special and are wonderful memories for her to have. Between sightseeing, shopping and Broadway, I kept myself active by running around Central Park. The place is so unique. An oasis, slap bang in the middle of one of the most populated areas in the western world. It’s  difficult to believe that there were almost 9 million people around me as I ran amongst the trees in one of my most favourite places. No matter what time I went running, there were hundreds of other runners there, yet it also seemed so peaceful and tranquil at the same time. We also managed to rent a rowboat around the Lake in the Park and judging by Lorna and Ella’s reaction, it’s safe to say that I won’t be a threat to Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy or be writing any rowing blogs anytime soon.

Back on home soil training is ongoing, easy runs, sessions, long runs; the mainstay training for a marathon. Damian has been giving me a hand with coaching and advice over the last number of months and the benefits of having him in my corner are coming into fruition. I’m much fitter now and I have a few new PBs under my belt. I had one excellent session down in the Haulbowline park recently. It was a kilometre repeat session, one of those where my lungs and legs were bursting but it still felt great. The backdrop of Cobh, the water and the cruise liner exiting the harbour only added to it all. The park is ideal for these sessions. The path is marked out for 1 kilometre with signs every 200 metres and the surface is lovely for speed work. I felt like a kid running free, the wind off the harbour in my hair (my hair…as if!) My inner child had me running a race and I was rounding the bend with 200 to go at the Olympics. While in reality I’m out there on my own, my imaginary race has me among the pack and in my mind I always kick on to win.

I did compete in a real race over the weekend as I ventured to North Cork for the superbly organised Charleville Half marathon. The race was run in very difficult humid conditions, and for my efforts I was delighted with a new PB. Any race I’ve run of late there seems to be no escaping the heat, if the running gods are reading this can we please have normal conditions for the Dublin Marathon! I ran the Tramore Valley Parkrun the day before Charleville. The intention was to go there and stretch out the legs and run nice and easy. I found myself in the top 7 or 8 rounding the first bend. My competitive side then took over and I pushed on a little and to my surprise, I ended up finishing 2nd overall.

Looking ahead, I’ll be running the Farran National School 5km fun run on Thursday night. I’m looking forward to running in a lovely setting and the amazing spread afterwards. The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon is also coming around on Sunday. Both events will be enjoyable runs and will raise money for worthy causes. My fundraising link for the Mini Marathon is below if anyone wishes to donate, and thank you to all who have donated already. All in all a busy but productive time of late, it’s great to be out running in various places around the county and further afield. Roll on Dublin at the end of October!

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