“Starting to like Running!” Marathon Training Part 9

“Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world
And the seven seas,
Everybody’s looking for something”

As usual I start these posts with a song. This is from Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”. It’s an absolute tune and it sums up a few things. First of all how I’m feeling these days: fantastic. What drinking water and some exercise do for your mental health and wellbeing is frightening. Why is this fact not hammered into us in school, instead of theorems, those mathematical things that I have not used once since I left school! Also, when you’re a councillor everybody really is looking for something! But hey, if you enlist you must soldier right?


Rathvilly GAA and Slaney Rovers are having a White Collar Boxing Fight Night on the 4th of March and ya’ll should come! There’ll be boxing, beer and great craic!


GOOD POINTS: Although I had a good Christmas, a VERY good Christmas, where I ate and drank like a pig, I got back into the training as soon as possible and I was delighted that I hadn’t fallen that far behind. It taught me a lesson that I probably already knew but needed to understand. I’ll explain more below.

BAD POINTS: It’s extremely hard not to get down about slow progress. What my recent studies in Sports Psychology have taught me is that, progress is progress. Yes I used to play football but it doesn’t mean I should be able to keep up with senior footballers when I go running. If I feel good, if my times are improving, if I’m making progress, nothing else matters. It’s hard to learn to appreciate that lesson though.

Shane Byrne

He has made a couple of appearances in these posts so far but hose of you from the Rathvilly/Tullow area will know him as “Twinky”. Since late last summer Shane has lived with me in Williamstown and while I regularly have to put manners on him in a wrestle or two, he’s a good lad, and a welcome addition. He’s an awesome cook and his lady friend Melissa is better again, although I don’t have to wrestle her just yet.

Two days after my run with Barry-John Molloy I went with Shane. It was PISSING rain, an absolute shocker of a day but away we went. There were massive puddles to contend with and our feet were soggy and horrible after only a few metres. On our second kilometre Shane fell in a heap but being a hardy soldier he shouted at me to run on and he’d catch up.

His fall was absolutely hilarious. Like, you know when you don’t know whether to be worried or laugh but the laugh wants to take over? It was like that. He can be an angry man at times though so I ran on. In fairness to him he caught up in less than 150m and that was impressive.

With the heavy rain and his fall I was sure I would do a slower time than what Bar and I had done just two days previous but to my absolute delight I did 5km in 30.20 with Shane. It was like scoring a goal, if I remember what scoring a goal feels like! It was brilliant.

Since then myself, Shane and Melissa have become the proud owners of “Fitbits” which are fitness watches that track your daily steps, heart rate and exercise etc. Basically they are a single device to track all the things I was trying to track using three or four different apps on the phone. They are brilliant.

Melissa Broderick is a competitive fecker. To the point where you’d wonder how she’s not an olympian. We had a challenge to see who could do the most steps in a day. The American health society or some sort of group like that say that everyone should aim to take 10,000 steps a day. Some people will find that easy depending on their day job but anyway myself and Mel started this step challenge.

It began at midnight last Wednesday or Thursday and next thing the two of us were running around the house and up and down the stairs trying to get a head start. Next morning, when I knew she was sleeping I walked into Rathvilly to get eggs and milk to get a head start. Like a gobshite, when I got to the shop I forgot I walked in and I bought a heap of stuff. Came outside and had to walk all the way home with a massive bag of shopping in the spills of rain!

By the time Melissa woke up I was over 10,000 steps ahead. I thought she’d never catch me, she had a busy day on this occasion and I thought she wouldn’t find time for a run… but oh how wrong I was. By the time midnight came I was delighted with my 24,000 steps, I couldn’t believe it then when I seen she had 28,000. Sickening. But, fair play to her, she made it good fun.

The Christmas Period

I’m fond of a pint. I’m actually fond of a few pints. I love the craic that can accompany a pint or a few pints and I certainly enjoy the inevitable fast food that follows. Christmas then is pretty much a dream time, food everywhere and lots of it and plenty of celebrations and parties to eat drink and be merry!

Before Christmas had really settled in I went for a run with Aerobics Jimmy. Remember him from my previous posts? Jimmy is a sound fella and I think we draw a lot of inspiration from each other. We both have tried every fad and shake and you name it to get healthy but we consistently fall off the wagon. Anyway he had been on to me to go for a run with him for a few days so one evening we set out from Askea church and ran down the O’Brien road, back down into town, out by Aldi, then Eire Og, Lidl and back to Askea. We finished at a sprint and I think neither of us wanted to lose and to a certain extent I think neither of us wanted to win by too much either, not that it was a race but I think we took a lot out of the run. Jimmy is a good guy.

That was one of the last runs I did before Christmas. From then on it was food and drink to beat the band. I kept telling myself I’d go tomorrow, I’d go for a run or a walk, but it was starting to feel like tomorrow was never coming. Then, the day after Stephens day, having been given a new pair of runners for Christmas I went for the lightest of light 3km jogs just down the road from my house.

It was painful to be honest. On the journey down the road I had thoughts like, “Ah you over did it at Christmas, you may start all over again” “Just accept it BOD, you were meant to be a heavy set fella, just get on with life”.

But then I got home and showered and I guess the endorphins kicked in and I started to feel good. I focused on the progress again. Ok I was back to a slow start, but I was back. That was the key. A couple of days later I was back up to my 5kms and while I haven’t quite got back to 30.20, I’m only about two days away from getting under that time even and that’s exciting.

I met an inspirational man along my Christmas travels. I arranged to meet my future sister in law, (If Jeffrey ever grows a pair!) Laura Brophy for a run in December. La is great, and she’s super fit these days, runs 5km in 25mins and she’s a determined fecker too. Initially we had a mix up in running venues but we eventually agreed on Rathvilllys walking track.

I got there first and I met this man:


That man is Sean Doyle from Rathvilly. Sean is a legend, certainly in my eyes. His three sons Peadar, Noel and Anthony are brilliant GAA men with a bag of medals between them and for years their mam was the lady who washed the jerseys in the club. Sean was heavily involved in the community in years gone by and he’s a great man. I was surprised to see Sean at the field in Rathvilly when there was no match on, cause Sean goes to a lot of the games. So we got chatting and he told me he’s just shy of 81 years of age and he comes down to the track and does a full lap. He said it’s the best thing the village ever had. Sean told me about the different limbs and joints he’s had replaced and said as long as your able to get up and walk why would you not come down and walk int he fresh air. It’s such a simple story, but I thought he was brilliant.


Anyway, moving on, I’m back into the training now and I am really loving it. Today was Monday and we had a council meeting that went on for ages, so I didn’t get my steps up or do any exercise really and I actually felt lousy about it, I haven’t felt bad about missing exercise for a long long time.

Late last week I went for a run with my brother Trevor. Trev is a gas man, I told you all before that nothing phases him. “Jases Trev I wrote off your car” was something I had to say to him in 2014 and while he must have been pissed off he just shrugged and taught my brilliant nephew Max to tell me not to crash his daddies car when I borrow it on occasion. It’s quite funny really. Trev has been doing a good bit of training and he has lost a lot of weight and become very healthy through Herbalife products. He has the will power and drive to stick to the plan he’s on and I admire him hugely for it.


Anyway, we went for a run last week and I could tell early on that I was holding him back, I kept with him or he kept with me, I’m not sure for the first 2.5km and then I told him to work away and he took on ahead. It wasn’t until 4km I caught him up, he had slowed to a walk because he’d been doing circuit training in work and had run 5k the day before so he was understandably tired. When I caught him up though I had opened up the legs and was moving at a decent pace because I wanted to finish strong. He tried to finish with me but after 100m he said “Jases you’re flying it now ya c**t” and he slowed down and I ran on. I don’t know whether it shows how poor my mental toughness is that I took so much from this, but you need to understand how rare it is for anyone to tell me I’m flying at anything, it was brilliant. Even though I know he’s way fitter and faster than me and I caught him when he was wrecked, it was a great buzz.

My last run was with Jeff and La the other day, they are both flying it, even if Jeff wintered well this year ha! He will not appreciate that one bit. I forgot to get a pic of the three of us, but maybe the next day!

My next big target is the Valentine Muckfest in Tullow. I was supposed to do it last year with Fintan Phelan and William Paton in a triple threat councillor challenge but in the end me and William pulled out, but this year I’m doing it regardless! Can’t wait!