The Challenge...32 Marathons, 32 Counties, 32 Days
Gerry and Ken's Blog...
Some photos, comments and updates from each day's marathon are up on our Facebook page! Check it out here...
Marathon 9 - Kerry
I (Ken) had thought that the marathon yesterday in Cork was a tough old slog, taking me a little over 7 and a half hours to complete. My spirit was tested to a whole new level today though. To give a brief background, over the last few days my lower left quad has been in a bit of pain (knees are both fine thankfully). I now realise that subconsciously I have tried to take a bit of the pressure/weight off the area by changing my stride ever so slightly. What has happened though is that this change has meant that I have over-worked other parts of the legs – first the calves, which then became tight and then, because of this tightness, the muscles in my lower shins which have started to get progressively sorer.
My initial plan today was to walk the first mile to warm up then start into a jog. I soon realised however that I was looking at a long day of walking ahead. We were lucky with the location though – if I was walking at least I had the scenery of Killarney National Park to distract me!
My cousin Simon came down from Cavan to join me (having run his first ever marathon with us in Dublin!) and he was great company, helping the miles to pass by.
Unfortunately the shins started to get progressively tighter and by mile 13 my pace had slowed a lot and I had asked Grainne, our chartered physio for the day, to call out to the course to try to give me some relief. As I was on her table, eating a delicious plate of fish, spuds and rice, Gerry crossed the line beside me to finish in 4:21. He was looking strong and feeling good. After waiting around for a few minutes to meet some of the other runners he headed off for a dip in the lake and I started into mile 14.
From here on the soreness in the shins got steadily worse. Pretty soon I was stopping every 100 metres or so to try to stretch them out. My walk turned to a hobble and each mile took more than 25 minutes to complete. The finish line seemed almost unreachable at this rate. By this stage my brother had joined me. With 2 laps (of the 6) to go my mother joined in, and on the last lap Kevin Whelan, the CEO of the charity, and Peter, his son, joined in…so at least I had plenty of great company.
These last 10 miles were the toughest I’ve ever done. At one stage I got such a dart of pain that I thought that, despite my head, my body couldn’t go on.
With 2 miles to go Gerry came back out onto the course with Jacinta, his girlfriend, to cheer me on. Even in the spills of rain the emotions were pretty high. 9 hours and 6 minutes after I started my GPS watch hit 26.2 and I had another marathon done – my toughest day ever on my feet.
My father had the camper van ready so I was whisked away to Limerick. Noeleen Burke, our Mullingar-based chartered physio had travelled down that evening and was waiting in the hotel bedroom with a table set up ready to work on the legs. After an hour of wincing on the plinth I was ready for the hay – until she told me that there was an ice bath ready for me… so at 12:45 am I lowered myself into that for 10 minutes. I was so tired though that I started to doze off in the water, despite its coldness. Another physio session awaits at 7:30 am!
< Back to main Blog page >