On Christmas Day I bought myself a present. No it wasn't a PS4 or an iPad (although if anyone does want to buy me something, I'd love either please and thank you!). I bought myself entry into the 2014 Connemarathon. From today, I have 14 weeks (99 days) to get ready and I am so excited.
Connemarathon describe it as follows: The popular sport of long-distance running is transformed for runners and walkers in the dramatic setting of mountains, glacier lakes, rugged green-brown landscape which winds in and around the challenging mountain wilderness of Galway in the west of Ireland. The course meanders past bogs, hills, lakes, and the Twelve Pin mountains rising up over the great expanse of Killary Lough, through the quiet village of Leenane, around the Maam Turk Mountains and all the way back up to Maam Cross
Over 3,200 people will descent on Connemara on April 6th 2014 to take part in either the Half, Full or Ultra Marathon. Personally speaking, I love Connemara and not that I'm biased or anything (apart from The Burren), I think its the most beautiful places in Ireland. I remember when I was travelling around New Zealand thinking "Wow this is so amazing". Then I realised that we have the same sights at home, we just don't appreciate it as it's on our doorstep. I'm so looking forward to this, although the course profile is scaring me a little.
This is going to be a whole different ballgame to the Dublin Marathon for a number of reasons. There will be very little/no spectators. There will be a lot of ups and downs. I don't know anyone else doing it. I won't have Phil or Brad to fall back on for reassurance. Also as it won't be my first marathon I won't be able to rely on the same "Cmon John prove yourself wrong, you can do this!" I did back in October.
Its only now looking back at my training for Dublin that I realise how much I enjoyed the training aspect of it. I loved following a plan, going out and marking my runs off my training plan. I loved the increase in dinner sizes. I loved those long runs that completely drained me. On the plus side, unlike training for Dublin I'll hopefully find the evenings will be getting longer.
This marathon is part of my 2014 goals (I'll post about them later this week) but as I have said before, I feel so lucky to be looking at this not as a task but rather a challenge. Marathon Number 2 - here I come!