Monday, October 29, 2007

My First Marathon

I finished it under 4 hours, and right now I'm very pleased with myself!

I've posted some pictures on Picassa:-
   2007-10-29 DUB Marathon - Canon
   2007-10-29 Dublin Marathon - Mobile
The Canon ones were taken by Paula using Mum & Dad's Canon Powershot A410, the mobile ones I took myself (while running) using my pretty low res Samsung S400i (same phone I wrote the blog entries from).

The run was very good, the weather was nice (some complained it was too warm, but I was too cold for the first half), the route is flat enough also, there's a last big hill around the 20 mile mark then it is mostly down hill. The facilities and organisation was great, despite more than 11,000 entrants! Runners from all over the world, but I noticed a lot from England, Germany (and other parts of Europe) and the USA.

At first I ran a bit fast (though it felt like I was really going slow), and I got to the five mile point in under 43 minutes. Big mistake, but I made a better effort to pace myself after that. It didn't help that I broke my stop watch some days ago and hadn't gotten around to getting a GPS watch or phone as per my plan. I started to feel a bit sore in my hips around half way but it got better. Then around 18-19 miles my legs started to stiffen up (dull ache + heavy feeling), this got gradually worse. At 20 miles though I was feeling better than I had been on my 20 mile training run also I was 4 minutes or so faster at about 2:56 and my dodgy left knee wasn't complaining. So I had reason to be happy at that point. Really the pain started to get worse about 21-22 miles, I'd say I slowed down a fair bit. I had some adrenaline to spare at that point (to my own surprise) so I used the lot. Miles 23 and 24 were just HARD, I plodded along trying not to think. Then being in the city for the last 2 miles with the crowds helped a bit. I couldn't remember where the end was and started to get disappointed when I went around every corner, "are we there yet?". I can't describe coming around the last corner on Merrion square and seeing the finish line just about 100 yards away, the joy!

I had a lot of help on this Marathon and I should mention some of the people behind it:-

  • The Crowd! All very nice people and all very supportive! They gave me no end of encouragement and handed out lots of sweets and biscuits (mmmm Jafa cakes...)
  • The other runners - polite and helpful and fun to run with!
  • Kevin O'Sulivan (Brighton) suggested I put my name on my shirt, it was a great suggestion and a lot of people were shouting "come on Mark"!
  • Spailpin wrote a hilarious post in which he described me, optimistically I think, as a cross between Arkle and a Cyberdyne Systems T-101 (Terminator). I was thinking about that around mile 22 when it was starting to get very very hard. Specifically I was thinking about the scene in Terminator 2 where he routes to a new power source. I was needing one myself. The things nerds think while in duress! What I really needed then was a laugh, so thanks Mr.M!
  • Swedish pop duo The Knife gave me a much needed adrenaline buzz, I just hummed "Heartbeats" in my head at the point I needed it most.
  • My brother, Kevin, gave me plenty of advice and encouragement. In fact he helped with most of my training. The most useful advice was not to overdo it at the start and take it easy. Not followed 100% I'm afraid but at least I knew it was a problem and got it under control.
  • The staff and management of OpenJaw Technologies helped also with their generous contributions and lots of verbal encouragement and sometimes just verbal humour - specifically JL wondered aloud if there was a sanity clause in my contract. (A pity about the showers not working, but not their fault!)
  • Everyone who sponsored me for MS Ireland also helped me a lot, not only with the sponsorships but their helpful comments, check them out. I think by the time I collect on all promises we'll be looking at about €1100, a fantastic contribution. It helped me also, thinking I might be doing something useful (Marathon running is quite a selfish activity otherwise!)
  • Various people sent me encouraging notes and text messages and voicemails, apart from my family, including: Jorge in Oslo (who also helped me keep up with my training on business trips), David & Audrey, John Barry in Paris, and family members too numerous to mention from both Ireland and Brazil!
  • Aidan and Tom for running it also - I didn't see you on the day but knowing you were trying it helped. Hope you both got on OK!
  • My support team - Paula, Joe & Phil - who travelled far to be with me on the day, Paula from Madrid, and managed to watch me run past at three or four points along the way and were there with cloths and refreshments at the end.
  • ... and most of all Andrea - waiting for me at home - who put up with mornings and nights I was out pounding the tarmac - and encouraged me all the way - and re-enforced me with lots of love!

Sorry, I'm making it sound like I won the Olympics! It was a personal victory only. An added benefit is that I lost about 10kg / 22 pounds / 1.5 stone over the last 6 months. I'd better keep up the running, but this week is for rest. Now I'll have a nice dinner in La Strada. Back to work tomorrow!

I did it!

I finished it in 3:56. Beat 4 hours!

Thanks for all the support.

I'm feeling ok now. Last 4 miles were painful. I'll write a more detailed Blog later.

19 miles

Feeling a bit rough. Thanks Kevin for the name tag idea, its working.

Half way

Feeling ok. Hips a bit tight.

Dublin city marathon

Dublin city marathon
Originally uploaded by

On the run

Just home through 10K mark. Phoenix park. Lovely day. Feeling ok.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Not long now...

In case you have missed the earlier blogs, emails, etc., I'm running a marathon tomorrow morning starting 9am. Right now, I am feeling very, very nervous. I'm not 100% sure I'll sleep tonight, or how my stomach will be tomorrow morning (always been my weak point).

Anyway, several people have been wishing me good luck on facebook and via email, voicemail and text messages. Also, Spailpín Fánach gave me a great write up in his blog. I really appreciate it and would like to thank you all!

I know some other people running, including Aidan Haran from OpenJaw and Tom Rourke (old friend, ex-Irish Life), so maybe I'll have some company!

The marathon running isn't entirely pointless, so far, at time of writing, I have raised about €970 for MS Ireland, €670 of which is online ( and another €300 or so has been promised by work colleagues. Tom and Aiden are also doing their bit for charity, Aiden for the Parkinsons society of Ireland and Tom for Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin (donate online)

Thanks to everyone who has sponsored me, or anyone else, it really helps both our motivation and the charties involved.

My next blog will probably be post race, so I'll let you all know how I got on.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mona Mark from Morph Thing

Andrea found this site where you can upload an image of a face and morph together with others you upload or celebrities. Morph Thing ( it is called.

Essentially you can create some visually bizarre cross breeds and answer questions like "what would I look like if I were a Japanese teen idol?".

I decided to see what I'd look like if I was the model for the Mona Lisa. [Disturbing Image Warning]

Mark Lenahan and Mona Lisa Faces Combined Together -