Walking in Dublin

Two Mondays ago I was in Dublin for the Flora Mini Marathon 10K.

After nine years living here in the UK, I'm still not over the novelty of being able to "pop over" to a whole other country for the same price/time it used to take me to get from Canberra to my hometown! But it would be a sad, curmudgeonly day if I ever lost that sense of wonder. Even when wonder is really profound stuff like, "OMG Cadbury Tiffin! You don't get that in the UK or Oz!"

Unlike the Running Festival last month I walked this one solo. But I was in a crowd of 40,000 other women, the Mini Marathon being the biggest women's race in the world…

Approaching the start line... blue sky!

Approaching the start line… blue sky!

I also had company in spirit - Up & Runner Cels was over from Brussels to do her first 10K (and she kicked butt) and Coach Julia J was over from Modena, with some of her Italian runners. We hung out all weekend and I could say nowt but ciao. I need to work on my Italiano.

The atmosphere was brilliant. So many people were running for charities and had the names of lost loved ones on the back of their t-shirts. That wells me up every time; always a sober reminder of the fragility and randomness of life.

The race was divided into Runners, Joggers and thousands of wonderfully chatty Walkers. The pace was slow-going for ages – most seemed up for a fun stroll rather than to steam along as fast possible like a big ginger walking machine as per my own intention.

At 4km I had to ditch the number obsession after I accidentally switched off Walkmeter so I didn't know how fast I was going. My brain about exploded trying to add up the splits with my watch, so the rest of the race was just me and my feet and all those ladies.

I've fiddling with this post for almost three weeks now, flitting between feeling proud and emotional then feeling stupid for feeling emotional, because all I did was walk ten piddling kilometres. It seems so silly when my friends routinely run for miles, Julia just did another Half Iron Man; Gareth is about to cycle up some Alps. It also seems extra lame when I used to be able to run and haul up mountains and kick arse at kickboxing.

I got stuck on that whiny groove around 6km (why does this always happen in the middle of races? I guess the brain wanders): You're so slow. Why'd you get so lardy again? You did 14 minute miles in Moonwalk training, why didn't you appreciate it? My feet hurt. This sucks. I suck. I bet Julia is in the pub with a Guinness by now!

But emotions come and go like the tide. The trick is to let 'em wash over and keep walking anyway. As I got closer to the finish line the bleak thoughts were replaced by peacefulness at being in a foreign land on a sunny day in a happy crowd; bewilderment at the lady smoking as she walked along in a cancer charity t-shirt, and the fun of eavesdropping on some breathless on-the-go wedding planning:

So I've got my shoes I've got my dress I've done the invites too my hair? I'm not sure about the hair depends if Kelly is coming if Kelly is coming I'll get her to do my hair for free she's a hairdresser see but if she's not coming I'll have to find someone else to do it oh no I've not done the flowers yet…:

Here are some photies I snapped along the way:

Amazing cheer squad outside the Irish Cancer Society

Amazing cheer squad outside the Irish Cancer Society

You cannae beat a pompom!

You cannae beat a pompom!

Around halfway, methinks

Still chockers at the halfway point, with gorgeous streaky blue sky

I wanted to hug this woman at the 7KM mark

I wanted to hug this woman at 7KM

I finally crossed the finish line in 01:45:49, an average of 10.35 minutes per kilometre, which I was okay with considering the first three km's were a very snailish 15, 12 and 12 minutes as it was so crowded. I must've sped up towards the end there.

I felt fitter than I did in Bologna last month, with no knee or sciatic pain. That's the comparison I choose to make now, rather than dwelling on where I used to be years ago. Being part of that race, with so many women of all shapes and sizes and stories, reiterated the importance of celebrating and making the most of where you are, right now.

Walking can be boring but it's working and it's taking me some interesting places!

17 thoughts on “Walking in Dublin

  1. you did brilliantly. So happy it was a painfree experience. Progress progress…

  2. Well done. I’m supposed to be training for the next lag of the Camino de Santiago but hard to get motivated when it rains the whole feckin’ time.

  3. I think 10:35 is a fantastic pace!!! Great job, Shauna! I’m glad the weather was lovely for you!

  4. Congrats! I do that same thing, comparing my current athletic ability to how I was at my peak. It doesn’t do you any good though. I try to remind myself that I don’t live in the past or the future, just the here and now. I should just focus on that and do the best with it that I can. And it sounds like you’re doing pretty well!

  5. Wow I think finishing 10km is quite a milestone. I don’t know that I could do it yet. No matter how you finished, you set your mind to do it and you DID IT! Congrats! And just think, you get to travel to all of these gorgeous places while doing it. Lucky girl!


  6. hey half namesake! glad to hear you were pain-free this time around. last “run” i did was the historica 12k zazzle bay to breakers in san francisco and ended up walking the whole thing due the re-emergence of an old knee injury. it was a little frustrating but like you said, sometimes walking can be interesting as well and trust me, this race, known for its craziness, did NOT disappoint. in the end, even with walking the entire thing my oldest friend in the world and i STILL earned our finishers medal. mmmm…the taste of victory.

    your half-a-world-away pal,
    hailing from bee-you-tee-fal southern CA

  7. Congratulations on your time for the walk, your positive & supportive self-talk/self-coaching as well as this post. You are so back on track. I loved reading about your new adventures. Is it really that long since I waved goodbye to you and Rhiannon at Canberra Airport? Wow!

  8. Great job, Shauna, and a great race report, as well. I miss running so much, but I’m in absolutely no shape for it and have even let the daily walks dwindle this spring and summer (working a very physical job has taken the place of walking, but still … ) The job will be done soon, and I’ll be joining you in spirit as we walk on …

  9. It’s so difficult not to compare ourselves with others or our own achievements back then. You did great job in this race. I had to read this post twice before I realized your words “no knee or sciatic pain”. Wonderful!

  10. Well, I’m a bit late commenting here, but just wanted to give you a little high-five for completing that race! I deal with silly emotions too – and your comment about letting them wash over and just keep walking is a good way to think about it.

    And, walking in Dublin? *swoon* It’s a city on my list of places to visit. All those dreamy Irish accents? (I’m an accent lover, I can admit it!)

  11. Congrats! I especially love this bit: “But emotions come and go like the tide. The trick is to let ’em wash over and keep walking anyway.” I’m jotting that in my journal now as a collectible quote. Thanks!

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