Dearbhaile does Dublin

Hi Ruth,

Am a big RFBR fan and loved the many laugh out loud bits of your RFBR book!

Over the last few weeks, I have found your twitter posts very motivating on my (rocky!) journey to my first marathon last Monday (29th Oct in Dublin).

Here’s what I thought about to get me around the course– hope it gives you a chuckle or two!


Dearbhaile O’Hare

After 16 weeks and more than 600 training miles (that’s Malin Head to Mizen Head and almost back again), here’s 26.2 things I’ve learned from my first marathon…
1. It’s amazing what can be achieved in 16 weeks
A tiger cub gestation period is 16 weeks. This is the same amount of time it took me to drag my gluteus maximums out 4 times a week just to tick something off the old bucket list!
2. Stick to the training plan
…I can safely say, hand on heart, I didn’t miss even one of the (rest) days, and am an expert at carb loading (on a daily basis)!
3. Crowd support
…really does make you go faster, particularly when running alone on dark nights when the supporting crowd are drinking flagons of cider on the boardwalk, and hurling words of “encouragement” at you.
4. Pacing/stalking – what’s the difference?
When else can you run after/chase men for miles on end, while all the time heavy breathing, and (usually) they don’t call the cops on you?
5. Wogging
Prior to training for this marathon, my only experience of “running” at that point in my life was either for the bus, or the last round. I’ve now found my “race pace”, which I’d like to call wogging”– a pace somewhere between walking and jogging.
6. If I can do it, anyone can do it!
I am more couch potato than skinny fry – if I can do it, anyone can!
7. My womb did not fall out of me
Despite someone saying it might happen – it didn’t happen. The ole baby maker is still in full working order after completing the marathon distance.
8. Black toenails are like little badges of honour
…and black toenail polish is an essential investment for any holidays/weddings that are scheduled 3 months prior to the marathon.
9. Go faster stripes
Never apply fake tan the night before a race. Unless the look you are going for is white “go faster stripes” down the side of your legs to complement your black toenail polish at that family wedding.
10. Body parts that should not be exposed to chafing can, and will, chafe
Along with black toenail polish, Vaseline should be a girl’s best friend.
11. Never trust a skinny runner
“Arah sure you can eat anything. You are running a marathon”.
Running does not make you thin. Instead it’s like having tapeworm with an insatiable appetite. Who knew that chowing down on mars bars after a 16 mile run can actually make you put ON weight? If a runner can make spandex look baggy, then either they bought it four sizes too big, or know something I don’t know. Please share (the recipe)!
12. Undulating is a word to be feared
The word “undulating” should NEVER be used to describe a race route. When I looked it up in the Thesaurus (albeit too late as it was AFTER the torturous hilly event), words such as “heaving” and “rippling” were suggested. Better usage of the word “undulating” is for novels such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover….”her undulating (unchaffed) bosom”…
13. Irish summers
An Irish summer usually falls between April 1st – 3rd and Oct 12th-14th. Be sure to pack and wear sunscreen on those days. On all other “soft” days, be sure to wear waterproof undies. Oh and lots of Vaseline.
14. Nearly never won the race
“Come on, you can do it, you are NEARLY there”…is still ringing in my ears, 20 miles into the marathon. NEARLY??? There’s still SIX (undulating) miles to go.
15. True friends will tell you the important stuff
And if they don’t, buy a Ruth Fields book!
16. Gels
Drinking gels while running is likely to make the bottom fall out of your world, if you get my drift. Nuff said.
17. Fartlek is a real word
And it’s not what happens after trying gels out for the first time. Real-runners can say it without giggling. I still can’t.
18. Running buddies
Get some running buddies. Misery loves company. Plus fellow runners are a captive audience to listen to your rants. Family members tend to just think you are “just mad”.
19. Getaway cars
There is no graceful way to exit a Smart car after driving home from a 20 mile run.
20. Race face
99% of people manage to look all fresh faced and happy, with perfect hair and makeup, while crossing the finish line. I on the other hand end up looking like a greased up Quasimodo on the verge of a heart attack. And then there are those Marathonfoto emails reminding you that you can pay for the privilege of said photo. Practice your “race face” ladies!
21. Visualise
Hang a picture of the marathon route at your desk in work. Better still, hang the Quasimodo pic of yourself from Marathonfoto on your fridge – works wonders for the diet!
22. Maraphobia
Maraphobia should be a recognised medical condition. The week before the Dublin Marathon, I avoided all red-nosed friends, children and colleagues like the plague, and was one step away from sleeping in a bubble and buying a pet chimp.
23. Think positive
Positive thoughts will get you through the long runs. My particular favourite was thinking about not dying – this was reinforced on Marathon Day with signs saying “Look Alive, Morgue Ahead”!
24. Discover new things about yourself
After 16 weeks and over 600 training miles, I discovered that I need to get a new hobby!
25. There is no “I” or “ME” in MarathON
…but there is a NO. Practice saying it so you are ready next time someone suggests you sign up for one.
26. Stay hydrated
You will need it for all the tears of pain and relief shed at the finish line!
26.2 The importance of .2
Anyone that has ever finished a marathon knows that the official distance is 26.2 miles. For the non-marathon runner, never underestimate the significance and importance of .2. On crossing the finish line, for .2 of a second I actually contemplated signing up for another one.
Maybe it’s like labour; they say you need to forget the first time, to ever even contemplate a second time. If I am stuck down with a sudden bout of amnesia, who knows, I might see you all again at the start line in Oct 2013!

The Grit Doctor says:
Number 25 had me laughing out loud. You’ll be back for more Dearbhaile I’m sure of that.


One Response to “Dearbhaile does Dublin”

  1. Monjy November 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    I am crying with pride and laughter! Brava on finishing though I’d love to had seen your comments above had you not!!! Xx ps, I’m not ignoring your mail. Will get on it soon as! Xx

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