After the exploits of the Shine Night Walk Full Marathon over the weekend followed by the pleasures of a Ryanair flight home I only arrived back in Ballymena at around 3pm on Monday afternoon … surely I wasn’t going out to the club session three hours later?
I was and I did, and I’m glad I did.
I’ll admit to being a bit apprehensive about it. Would my legs work? Would my sore feet stop being sore? Could I even run after walking a full marathon?
Thankfully, the answer to all three questions was a resounding yes!
Opting to be sensible and going with the 30-minute group (I’ll step up next time, honest!) I took it really cautiously to begin with but after a couple of minutes I got into my stride and began to thoroughly enjoy it.
As normal we ran towards the climb at Princes Street, and I just knew what would happen. As we got our pep talk at the bottom (“It’s your run, your pace …” etc. – all sage advice) I remember to saying to someone that I’ll not be able to resist charging up it.
Sure enough, we turned the corner at the bottom and off I went. Someone shouted “Go Martin!” which made me smile.
I did have my sensible head on a bit. There’s a brief levelling off about 3/4 of the way up before a further little kick up to the top and it’s this kick that always catches me out but not tonight. I remembered about it so kept something back because I knew that getting to the top first meant I would have to turn back and join the rest of the group, effectively running to the ‘summit’ twice.
But my legs felt good, really good. As we came down the other side we were given the freedom to open our legs and run on to the roundabout a few hundred yards in the distance before turning back and, again, I couldn’t resist.
After that we ran back to the base, and I knew there’d be another little climb right at the end so I eased up considerably in preparation. That final run up Demense Avenue to the phone box outside the Leisure Centre is always a bit of killer at the end of a run, tonight I sprinted up it … it’s not far but it’s steep, but tonight I wanted to test myself again and I’m pleased to say I passed with flying colours.
After that I ran home as normal, albeit just to bring my distance for the night up to 5k rather than my preferred 5 miles. I might have done well and I might have surprised myself but I also didn’t want to push it too much.