The days are getting longer and the Connemara marathon and ultra draw closer. Race director Ray O’Connor hates to hear me say so, but Connemara is my second favourite race of the year. Despite its many wonderful qualities Connemara could never challenge the Dublin Marathon for my number one spot. I’ve run one or other of the Connemara races for many years and there have been both good days and bad, but even the ‘bad’ ones were really great. The only occasions on which I’ve found it difficult to enjoy the ‘Connemarathon’ was when I was too injured to take part and so had to contribute from the sidelines. Despite my ambitions to equanimity and non-attachment, I can honestly say that those non-running days were hard to manage.
Having said all of that, one of the wonderful things about running is that you get the opportunity to play in the same ‘cup finals’ year after year. If things don’t go well on any given day, you can retire from the battlefield as gracefully as circumstances allow and prepare to enter the ‘fray once more. Thankfully,I had a wonderful race in Connemara last year, despite not really having done the training I had felt was needed. I’m in a similar position this year, in that I feel distinctly under-trained for running the ultra but I fully intend giving it a lash anyway. The Connemara ultra has developed into one of the top ultra distance races in Europe and it’s a privilege to be able to line up even if my preparation hasn’t been ideal.
Training has been real hit and miss affair for me over the last couple of months. After the 24 hour race in January I got back on the road after only four days, but then broke down almost immediately and was out for the guts of three weeks afterwards. Since then I’ve had three weeks where I ran over 80 miles but another where I had only 24 on the clock – no rhythm, no pattern, no matter really I suppose.
After Connemara my race schedule is a small bit crowded to say the least. I’m entered in the London Marathon the week afterwards and then two weeks after that I’m pacing three-hours in Limerick. Shortly thereafter I’m booked in to pace three-hours in Cork and I’d also hope to do one of the Portumna races in June and the Longford Marathon or Ultra in August.
Looks like it could be a busy summer.