Monday, 28 December 2015

Portumna race report on milestone run!

You know when you eat too much over a couple of days and go to bed later than usual and have one or two more drinks than normal? How you just want a few days off to get over that? Well I found an alternative therapy that only takes one morning!!!

27/12/15, 7am! Off to Portumna!

It's called Trail Marathon!

You get up at 6.30am on the 27th of December. Have a cup of tea and a couple of mince pies or muffins. Get into the car, drive to Portumna (the long way around Lough Derg because of floods between Borrisokane and Portumna). Join up with about 100 others who overindulged on food and drink. And run a 43.2K Trail Marathon in beautiful Portumna Forest in mucky and heavy underfoot conditions!

Remember from June this is the place where I dislocated a bone in my ankle that had to be popped back in for me to finish the race. So wits and focus were needed to keep our balance on paths with mud, rotten leaves, puddles and streams of water. Actually a tree had fallen on the original course but thankfully the excellent Race Director Ray O'Connor had an alternative route measured out so we were asked to complete 16 laps of 2.7K. Which made it a Trail Marathon of 43.2K. 1K longer than your standard Marathon.

There are too many people and things that made this yet again an unforgettable day so apologies for forgetting some if I did. If you run Marathons and you want to be part of something bigger than just the running of them, join Marathon Club Ireland. What a privilege yet again to meet all these wonderful people who truly make each other grow as human beings, support and love each other unconditionally and really know how to make Marathon running like one big party.

Action Pic by Mary Mockett. Thanks Mary.
 
Thanks to Ray as Race Director; Valerie our wonderful Chairperson; Vincent THE man that keeps us all in check and makes sure everything happens when and as it should; Brian, Maryse and Maura for the sweets, Jaffa cakes, bananas, coke and water during and sandwiches tea and soup after; Shane for the mulled wine after. Team Kerr for being there and lifting us all higher again. And all fellow runners for your support, smiles and encouragements.

About 4hrs33mins were needed to finish Marathon number 16 of 2015!

16 in 2015 done!

That's 9 more than my previous record of 7 in 2014. The intention for 2016 is do as much running as I love with a direction of 20 races of Marathon distance or longer! This will get me to the #50at50 touchline!

With support from all these wonderful people that is going to be tough but feasible.

1 day at a time, 1 mile at a time, 1 smile at a time!

My year review is due Friday! Until then have a wonderful week!!!

Patte xxx

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Them thar hills. A Cork salute.

It's no secret. I love Cork City. The people are immensely genuine, they have a real 'of course we can do that for you boy' attitude, the city centre seems to be perpetually alive, there is a vibrant food scene. They have a distinguishable lack of pretence and often no need for comparison. They are just Corkonians happy in the knowledge they live in the nicest place on Earth. (Their words by the way!!). Jamaica might be nice, 'but it's not Cork like'.

I was there from Thursday to yesterday on a retreat to do some uninterrupted work on a book I have been threatening to write. I finished the layout of the Chapters, wrote the introduction and started on the 1st Chapter. It's under way now, unstoppable. I also managed to publish and promote my first workshop for 2016. It's on Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/do-more-of-what-you-love-workshop-tickets-20071833394

Anyway as if it's needed here's another reason I love it. Within a few hundred yards of anywhere there is hills. And I don't mean inclines nor mountains, I mean proper hills. And I love running hills. I went up Summerhill North to Saint Luke's then a left turn up the Middle Glanmire Road through Montenotte towards Mayfield Industrial Estate and through Mayfield (Roy Keane's stomping ground) on the Old Youghal Road back to Saint Luke's and out for a second lap up the Hill.



Cork would look small and insignificant but completely lit up from the top. Because I prefer running in the dark. That's something I discovered recently. I really enjoy the solitude and peace that comes with training in darkness. I suppose even though I am a people person and an extravert I need my space too and find that from running so the runs at night make sense to me.

And remember when you find what you love doing, do more of it. And then more again. And find a way to share your gift with the world. I love them thar Cork hills and I love running them in the dark. Expect me back soon.

Sunday the 27th (that's only 5 days from now oops) we are hopefully heading to Portumna Forest in droves with Marathon Club Ireland for our final club Marathon of 2015. My 16th of 2015. So looking forward to that. I can already feel the hugs and love.

Have a wonderful festive few days, Miles with Smiles.

Patte xxxx

Monday, 14 December 2015

The secret is daily engagement.

We are at that time of year where people start setting goals. What are we going to do in 2016? Goals to most people are targets to reach. A lot of people understandably have survival goals. Paying the bills, passing the exams, getting a new job.

Others go further and want to loose weight, give up cigarettes, make the football team. Or add financial goals. A new House. Personal goals. Starting a Family.

A few even write them down and fewer still create vision boards.

A lot will fail. As they do every year. Goals don't work for me and a lot of my clients either or they work sporadically and are limiting. Why?

Two things spring to mind.

One, most of us set goals that are well within our limits. Within our comfort zone. There is no real joy in achievement and therefore motivation is lower and when obstructions come our way it is easier to cave in and do it next year! It wasn't that big a deal anyway!

Two, goals always position themselves in the future. They are a distant aspiration. We are living for a future achievement. Even when we plan we plan for the future. We never live in the Now. If and when we achieve there is not much joy other than a momentary sparkle because we now crave the next buzz, the next goal.

In both instances we might miss out on joyful living. And joy, fun and happiness are what we crave daily.

What I have tried to do for the last 2 years with running is to set intentions based on my core values of 'Joy' and 'Peace of Mind'. It is my intention to run as many marathons as I can enjoy and train as part of my peace of mind flow. And I do this daily.



I set figures that are based on these intentions to get a general direction.

Last year the figures were 6 marathons and 1,000 miles. I managed 7 and 1,188 miles.
This year the figures were 12 marathons and 2,015 miles. On December 14th I am at 15 Marathons (1 more booked) and 1,958 miles (with 18 days to go).

Marathon number 15 for 2015 in Sixmilebridge

These intentions and direction are less limiting. By doing every day what I love doing I got more done than I thought I could. Clients who try this are reporting similar overachievements.

Intentions and direction based on core values. Then daily I do what I love doing most to the best of my ability. So every day becomes joy! Every day becomes achievement. Every day is a peaceful step in the direction of the intentions.

And if you have a bad day, you know the next one is probably going to be better.

The secret is simple. It is in daily engagement with your intentions. In a fun, joyous way.

There, I said it! And the beauty is that it is for everybody!! Yes, that's you too!

Feel free to try! And let me know how you get on! Don't set your usual goals for 2016!!! Set intentions, direction and find daily joy!

Miles with Smiles!!

Patte xxxxx

Monday, 7 December 2015

It's a Clonakilty Special!

This weekend was a Race Directors nightmare. Lots of visitors coming to your race from all over the world and country. Lots already in situ and a storm warning. Monitoring the situation 24/7 with just a handful of people because this is a family event, not a corporate machine. Talking to emergency services and GardaĆ­, driving the course continuously to check it's status.

On Friday evening around 11pm I was party to a conversation between organisers and GardaĆ­ were everything was still expected to go ahead. At 6.30am Saturday the incessant rain had caused roads to flood and all routes were deemed unsafe for a mass event. They had to cancel the event last minute.

I feel for them. The love they put into the event is a genuine love for running and runners alike. They do this because they love the area and it's people too. Testimony to that the successful race at Courtmacsherry in July with Team Hoyt and Team Kerr.

I feel for Bob, Ia and all at Clon Crew. You have our support and we are looking forward to the rescheduled date. We know you care deeply and it is up to us to show you how much we care. Time to Find Ourselves! Thanks for everything and see you soon!!!!


No sooner was the race cancelled but MCI pulled together as a group to show what we are all about. The hugs, love and words of support were heartfelt. The medal presentation for runners who had achieved milestones was full of stories of courage, personal triumphs, real life challenges and a deep routed love for running, each other and the Club. There were 25, 50 & 75 Marathon medals. There was Derek Mackessey who received his 100 Medal and T-Shirt. 100 Marathons is an aim for most members and Derek is a superb ambassador for the Club and race director of the Back to Back in Limerick. There was also Jimmy Nugent, full of energy after 200 marathons.

I have said this before yet I will say it again and these words are not said lightly. Marathon Club Ireland right now is the most exceptional bunch of people I was ever privileged to be part of. The genuine care for each other and those around us that are less fortunate comes naturally. Couple that to the natural grit, determination, stamina and 'let's just do it' attitude of long distance runners and you have the recipe for something really, really special. I feel so humbled and privileged to be part of it.


And we had some Christmas Party on Saturday. All the energy that wasn't left on the road was left on the dance floor. I nominate Aaron, David and Sandra Kerr for a special mention. their dedication, togetherness and positive attitude is teaching us all how to be better people.

If you have done 1 Marathon or more and you want to become part of THE Irish running Club just apply to join the Club. You will definitely not regret it. You can get the form on http://marathonclubireland.asocion.com/membership-renewal-form/

Running wise I waited until about 2pm on Saturday and found a 3.5 mile route that was safe to run and did 2 laps in howling winds and rain. I'm sorry if that upset Teresa Mannion :) When we got home Sunday I went for another 7.2 miles because the love for running is deeper than circumstances.

I'm now at 1,915 miles for the year and if you remember apart from 12 Marathons in 12 Months my second intention was 2,015 miles in 2015. 100 Miles to go in 25 days. Weather permitting well do-able.

And with the special Clonakilty spirit behind me it will be a pleasure to run them.

Miles with Smiles :) Talk to you Friday.

Patte xxx

Monday, 30 November 2015

Reflections as we head to West Cork this weekend for Clonakilty Marathon.

I think it was early 2013 that the idea came up to run 12 Marathons in 12 Months for Charity. I was getting in the comfort zone of running 1 or 2 marathons a year and had done 6 in total. That's an achievement by itself. Yet it was getting routine.

I continuously keep telling people to try and extend their comfort zones so practicing what I preach I went looking inside for a destination. It became 12 in 12 in 2015.

I went on a very pleasant and rewarding yet sometimes tough and painful journey, running 4 Marathons in 2013 and then setting out to do 6 in 2014 and ending up with 7. I was tired after the 7. The idea of adding 5 was daunting.

So I learned from the 2 years, adapted my training. Adapted my nutrition. Adapted my sleeping patterns. And poured an awful lot of love and energy into the event. I ran the 12th in Tullaroan in September this year and adapted the total to 16.

I have the privilege to run in this landscape on Saturday in Clonakilty!

It's November 30th today and in 5 days I will run Marathon number 16 for this year on the 'gentle slopes' of West Cork around beautiful Clonakilty. AND I have booked a 17th in Portumna on December 27th!!!!!!

I must say to my initial surprise that this year has been the easiest running year so far. Yes I picked up shin splints and dislocated a bone in my ankle along the way yet they became side notes during a fabulous year of running.

I have found a second family with Marathon Club Ireland, kindred spirits with whom I always have a wonderful time. I have ran with Team Hoyt and Team Kerr, two awesome and awe inspiring bunches of people. I have seen parts of Ireland from an angle you can only truly appreciate on foot. Two courses I remember particularly enjoying where Tralee and Connemara.

Running with Team Kerr and Team Hoyt in Courtmacsherry was the highlight of the year so far!

I have so much to be thankful for this year. Thanks to all who supported me and thanks to everyone for being there and being you.

This is not the end of the journey. It is a continuing journey. My intention is to reach the 50 Marathons total in 2016 (Clonakilty will be number 33).

My other intention is to run 3 or 4 Ultra Marathons in 2016. Something I haven't done before and that scares me. In a good way!

Right so, where's the map? It's road trip time. How do I get to Clonakilty again?

Miles with Smiles and have a fabulous week.

Patte xxx

Monday, 23 November 2015

How to practice proactive living!

One of the first things I read this morning on my social media was a quote. It read: 'Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.'

It is a quote that can be understood to try and move people towards changing their reaction to events and take control of their lives. And that our reaction to events is 90% of what makes our future better.

Don you agree? The more we take control of our reactions to events the more we will take control of our lives. And by taking control of our reactions to these events we will be in control of our future. To make it better. Or less painful.

Let's examine this. There is Stuff that happens and then there is a Reaction. Inevitably the 2 together lead to a Result.

Someone cuts you off in traffic on your daily commute (Stuff). You beep the horn at them and get upset (Reaction). They flip the finger at you and drive on leaving you getting angry. You offload at work to a colleague and respond curtly to an email with a 'stupid' question. (Result).

According to the saying we could change our reaction. Let's see.

Someone cuts you off in traffic on your daily commute (Stuff). You feel upset they nearly caused an accident but decide to let go and continue to work. (Reaction). You arrive at work and have a coffee discussing the game with your colleague and respond to the email with the 'stupid' question politely yet with a slight undertone of sarcasm. (Result).

Sounds better already doesn't it? So it works then.

Someone cuts you off in traffic on your daily commute (Stuff). You ask yourself how sitting in this traffic every day is helping you with the intentions you set and decisions you made about your next work related step. (Reaction). When you get to work you greet all your colleagues, respond kindly to the email and during lunch start looking up how you can do what you want to do workwise from a location that doesn't require you to sit in traffic. (Result).

The last way is a proactive approach to life. An approach that flips the equation around. Set intentions and make decisions on what you want from life and adapt your reactions to those and then setting your own results as the 'controlled' field.


In other words try and set the Results and adapt the Reactions to lead towards the Result. The Stuff will continue to happen at a rate of knots but will somehow be less important than it was to both the Result and the Reaction.

This is another insight on what gets me to run more than I did before. Stuff (Weather, Workload, Parties, Matches, Urgent Emails, Phone calls) still happens. Decisions and Intentions (12 marathons in 12 months in 2015) were set. This brought along daily implementation of 5 to 6 runs a week and increasing my weekly mileage from 35 at the start of the year to about 45 now. 11 months later I am at 15 Marathons instead of 12. And I have 2 more booked. (Result).

This requires a small paradigm shift in thinking yet it works for me and it has worked for my clients in all areas of their lives. What do you think?

Do you prefer to get Results proactively or reactively? The choice is yours.



Miles with Smiles: 42.56 miles in training this week after a Marathon the weekend before!! 1,849 miles so far this year and on course for reaching the 2,015 miles in 2015!!

Have a beautiful day!

Patte xxx

Friday, 20 November 2015

How Madonna helped me with my issue with goal setting.

Those who read this blog regularly know of my personal aversion to goals. I have nothing against them as useful tools for others by the way. They really work for some people. They hardly ever worked for me.

Even though they were SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time based) goals, and aligned to my values, and good for me, and I could picture them. And all the other good stuff that no doubt works for some people.

It wasn't working for me. And when I was hitting the odd goal or target, the satisfaction was very short lived. I often wondered what was next before I even got there. And the getting there was cumbersome. It was peppered with phrases like 'If I want to achieve I HAVE to' 'for my next step I HAVE to' 'Patrick, you can't go to the party, you HAVE to'

It took me a while but eventually I just accepted the fact Goal based living wasn't for me AND also accepted that there was nothing wrong with me NOR that anything needed fixing!!

Was there another way of figuring this out?

What do I do when I get stuck? I like to flip things around and look at it from a different perspective. What different perspective can I look at in relation to Goals for life?

And then this line came into my head from my Life Coaching diploma course about 8 years ago: 'Everything you want is on the other side of fear.'



What is on the other side of fear? Joy. How can I make this joyful? By making every day towards my achievement joyful. What is more important, the achievement or the joy? The joy.

That understanding that the every day joy of doing something will lead to natural achievements was an aha moment for me. It is possible to achieve while enjoying the steps towards achievement. In fact the steps become primary objectives and the achievement secondary.

Here's a summary of how the conversation went in my head:

'Let's do this!!

Hold on, how will I know I have achieved?

By doing what you find joyful every day and checking in at the end of the day if you did!

So all I need to find is what I enjoy doing and then do that and more of that as often as possible?

Yes, how does that sound?

Brilliant! Yet how will I know I have achieved?'

I got stuck again. I was looking forward to doing what I love more often but needed a solid reason to back me up for days it wasn't going great. (And there are those, less often now as I do more and more of what I love, yet they still exist).

So I went looking for answers. I went looking within myself for answers. I know I have the answer somewhere. Flip things around. New perspective. MMMMMM.

A lyric from a Madonna song popped into my head (Yes, I know. My head is a weirdly wonderful place). It is from '4 Minutes', a duet with Justin Timberlake. The line goes: 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions'.



Flip that around. What if intentions are turned into decisions and the decisions get broken down into daily segments? All I need then is to set the segments to a level I enjoy and Madonna's your Aunty. (Bob's your Uncle didn't seem the right thing to say here).

And that's how the whole world changed for me. Find what you love doing most. Set intentions of where you would like to take this. Make decisions based on the intentions. Set daily segments you enjoy.

That's what I did with running. The Ultra's for next year, getting to 50 career Marathons in 2016, the run to Brussels & Back in 2019. They are decisions based on my intention to stay fit and healthy while doing what I love with running. So now every day I set segments I enjoy. Whether those are a 10K run, a 13 mile run, a veggie meal in my favourite veg restaurant or buying a book on ultra running. Whatever it takes to make the journey about love and enjoyment.

And that is the single most important reason I am at 15 Marathons this year when the initial 'goal' was 12. It came naturally. In the Flow. Joyful, happy and loving it!

My business is next. I have set an intention and made a decision to assist change in 5,000 peoples' lives in 2016. I have found ways to segment that so I will enjoy every minute of it.

Simply because having joy and fun in what you do leads to better results. For the future, yet more important in the NOW!

What about you? Any luck with goal setting? Want to try a different way? Thanks for reading and feel free to get in touch!!

Miles with Smiles and Love to you all!

Patte xx




Monday, 16 November 2015

(Twenty)Sixmilebridge Marathon Report.

Every year Mid November the slightly bonkers (in a very good way) ladies and gentlemen of the excellent BMOH AC in Sixmilebridge, County Clare run a superb running event known as the Eddie Murphy Memorial Run.

The organisation is great, the volunteers numerous and good humoured, the bling class too. There is a Double Marathon (52.4 Miles), a 30 mile, a full Marathon (26.2) and a Half Marathon (13.1).

Here's the twist that makes this race unique. It is run on a 1 mile loop through the village with a hill half way through the loop. In other words yesterday was 'Hamster Time'. :)



An injury last year meant I ran the Half Marathon in 2014. I enjoyed it. So I returned this year to do the Full Marathon for number 15 this year and number 32 in total. Upon arrival at 11am the Double Marathon runners were on the road for 4 hours already, the Marathon walkers had started at 9am and the 30 mile race was just starting.

Our race was due to start at Noon with the Half joining us at 2pm. That way there are always runners on the loop which is really encouraging when you are climbing that hill for the umpteenth time.

My utmost respect goes out to everyone who took part yet to those who did the 30 and 52 mile races I say thanks because you are part of my inspiration to check how long I can go and I am including some smaller ultra's in my race schedule for next year as a result of watching you.

A couple of things of note. 1- Vincent Guthrie was MC for the day and stood at the Finish Line with a mike and talked incessantly, encouraging everyone completing another loop by name and making us all smile. Brilliant stuff. Thanks Vincent. 2- Multiple Long Distance Running in Ireland is a family of about 500 people (educated guess) and when we meet at the races it is like an extended family. The support, good humour, positivity, energy and love is all encompassing and infectious. For me it is the best possible way to spend a Saturday or Sunday and I am so privileged and humbled to be part of it. Amongst them Marathon Club Ireland rocks solid!!

And that is yet another reason why I have trained myself to achieve a level where right now I can do this in average every 3 weeks without taxing myself too much.

The race itself was a combination of chatting to and running with lovely people. I was also lucky enough to run 2 laps with Team Kerr. TEAM KERR is an assisted running team from Northern Ireland, consisting of Mum (Sandra), Dad (David) and the main man Aaron!!. Their main aim is to promote assisted running and inclusion for all. They have the first Hoyt Running Chair in Europe and hope to inspire others to join their community and even come out with them for a run/jog/walk. These are truly inspirational people. They pushed their son inclusive of wheelchair up that hill 26 times. Amazing. It is an honour to know them and share the roads with them.

 
The wonderful Team Kerr

It was also great running through the Finish Line every mile and get the crowd support. And yes there was wind and wet conditions. And yes climbing the same hill got to my head after 22 miles but it didn't defeat me. I looked it in the eye and left my fastest ascent for the 26th visit.

Thanks Carl Ashley for the Finish Line pic.
 

So I finished my 15th Marathon of the 12 Marathons in 12 Months challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa. You can donate to the challenge here http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015

I will hopefully return to Sixmilebridge next November where it is my intention to tackle the third distance in my 3th year there, 30 Miles!

Those who are good at counting know that 3 weeks from now is the weekend of December 5th and 6th. That's my next Marathon. The 6th edition of the Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon. There is a 10K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon all around the 'gentle slopes' of gorgeous West Cork and you can still register for those at http://runclon.ie/

We also have our club end of year party that night so Clonakilty better prepare for an invasion of love, laughter, positivity and the endurance of hardened long distance runners.

Miles with Smiles, a Life of Passion and Love.

Patte xxx

Friday, 13 November 2015

Is success in achievement or in doing?

Most people I meet are target driven. Whether it is the target of an impending holiday, the target of raising the children through the leaving cert, the target of making the team, the target of growing the business, the target of paying the bills etc.... etc....

So we should not be surprised to see Success equally measured against targets. The flash new car, the holiday travelling Route 66, the mortgage paid of, the dream job, the professional sports career, the children in college, the Million Euro turnover in business etc.... etc....

And yet....

I meet so many of these 'successful' people who are not happy. They want more. They want bigger, better, easier, more relaxed, quieter, promoted, further, faster. And when they achieve, they already want something else.

The moment they arrive at a destination it has become a mere stopping point for the next want.

So they never arrive, and never will. Yet there is always a want to arrive. And that's where the system breaks down.

If you go back to all the targets we mentioned before, you will see the achievements itself are all brief moments in time. As mentioned before we are already thinking of the next moment before we arrive at this one. Let's now look at what happens to the time we spend en route to those moments! Actually most people I talk to mention 'have to' a lot.

I have to study. I have to work harder on the business. I can't make the party as I have to go training tonight. I have to make them understand the leaving Cert is vital. I have to work overtime to get that project out the door.

I have to, I have to, I have to. How does that sound when you hear it said 3 times in a row? Does it sound like a chore, something you are not really looking forward to?

And therein lies the anti climax. You hate getting to the point you 'have to' get to in order to be successful and then when you get there it never lives up to the expectation.

There is an alternative I know of. It consists of finding what you love doing by trying loads of new stuff in your life. When you do find something you love doing, immerse your self in it. Do more of what you love. Then make a decision of what direction you want to go with it. Let that decision exist on its own. And then do every day what you love to the best of your ability.

What if we measured success in doing more and more of what we truly love? Every moment in every day that we do what we love, we are successfully living. How does that sound?



Honestly, what does that daily success sound like compared to a success driven by brief moments of material or positional gains? What if by doing what we love each day, we got better at it each day? Just 1% better. That's more than 3.5 times as good in 1 year! Like it?

I know what I choose. I am removing goals and targets from my life and replacing them with decisions based on what I love. Then I set the direction I want to take these decisions to. The fun and living is in implementing these decisions on a daily basis doing more of what I love.



That's how I got to 14 Marathons so far this year. I am loving my running that much every day that running more than the target of 12 in 12 became a natural result. Unforced, in the flow. Out of love. In each day, in each moment. This weekend I'm running the Eddie Murphy Memorial Marathon in Sixmilebridge on Sunday for number 15. Lovely people, lovely event!

What about you? What do you love doing? What if you became 1% better at that each day from now on? How would that change your live in 1 year?

Have a wonderful weekend filled with stuff you truly love doing and is good for you!

Patte xx



Friday, 6 November 2015

A different way to look into the future!

I was reminded yet again this morning that what I 'impose' on people continuously, holds massive truth within it.

Everything in a human's life happens in one day, and in that day it happens in one moment. Live that day and that moment to the fullest of your ability and you shall be 'free-er' than most.

And in those two sentences lies more than just a quote or a life mantra. It also helped me to release myself from the 'Goal' driven agenda. Because all goals live in the future. And I'm not sure I want to live constantly in the future. Not that there is anything wrong goals as such. I believe however that there is an extra layer or level to this.

I now make Decisions based on a few small yet vitally important criteria:

1- Is the decision congruent with my core values?
2- Will I love implementing the decision?
3- Is it good for me?
4- Has it the potential to make other people's lives better?
5- Is it in the few things that I know I am good at?

5 times Yes means go ahead whether I think I'm ready or not.
4 times Yes and 1 No means I look whether the sacrifice is worth it and for how long
2 times No or more is No!

Whatever gets the go ahead then gets implemented daily, weekly or monthly. At whatever rate required. And the emphasis stays with the love of regular implementation of the decision. Not with the target.

If the decision is value based, I love doing it, it is good for me, others benefit and I'm good at it; I will feel less attachment to the target. The target will meet and reinvent itself! One Day, in One Moment.



That's how I got to the decision to attempt the run from Limerick to Brussels and back in 2019 via Dun Laoghaire, Holyhead, Dover and Calais. 5 times Yes! 1,170 miles of Yes!

I'm going to have some fun implementing everything around that every day from now on!!!

Every Day, in the One Day, in the One Moment I am in!

Patte x

Monday, 2 November 2015

Do you love yourself enough?

I love this Mark Twain quote: 'Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.'
 
 
 
As my awareness levels grow steadily through the practice of conscious self love I find myself at odds with the majority most of the time. Not because I have a desire to be at odds, rather because I have a desire to 'be more like me and be less like you'. (I poached that last line from a Linkin Park song 'Numb'.)
 
Self love and taking care of self is not counterintuitive. In fact it is part of our self preservation instincts. We have however been conditioned to make it feel like it is counterintuitive. It is seen as selfish. And selfish is bad. Right? Or is there 2 kinds of selfish?
 
I love myself. (I can see your reaction to this as I type it, ye are a funny bunch!) I love myself enough to do just the things I love doing as much as possible. And more of that each week.
Carrie Bradshaw agrees with me :)
 
I love myself enough to live a life that is destined for continuous learning and for contribution beyond myself. Learning to become better and helping others to become better.
 
Not better in the sense of richer, faster or more successful. Better at loving themselves and doing more stuff they love.
 
It is my premise that if more people re-individualised their care, our world would become a better place to live in. In contrast to the globalisation of the economy and the collectivisation of society.
 
I am for reintroducing the individual as the pillar of society. Individuals that love themselves enough to do more of what is truly them. And in that way help others at truly being themselves.
 
That's why I love running. It is part of what I love doing so I'm doing more of it. 61.66 miles last week. That's 99.23 kilometres. Not because I planned to do that much. But because I love myself enough to do more of what I like.
 
I am writing this for those who like me don't feel like belonging to the current majority anymore. And to make the others think about it. Start loving yourselves a bit more and do more of what you like rather than what 'you have to'.
 
Have a wonderful day full of self love.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Simple strategy to get better at things!

Here's a really simple strategy to get better at things regardless of the area of life you want change in.

1. Try new things.
2. When you find something you like and it's good for you, keep doing it.
3. Immerse your self in that thing and do more and learn more about it.
4. Do More and expand your limits.
5. Keep doing it until you loose the love for it (that might be forever and it might be 6 months).
6. Try new things.



That's a neat summary of what I'm doing constantly. By doing this I discovered my love for Speaking and for Running. And I'm trying new things all the time. I want to try much more travel in 2016 and cookery courses and writing a book and reading more.

Life is an adventure. Live it that way and wander and wonder.

And when you find a thing you love there is new things in that you can try too. Like I'm definitely trying Ultra running next year. I'll let you know if I like it or not. And I would love to go on some trail runs.

Do with this strategy what you like; ignore it, change it, use it! All I know is it works for me and I have seen it work for others.

Running wise I'm in recovery week from Dublin. Just did 2 x 10K's since Monday's race. Today is rest day then tomorrow morning 9.5 miles and Sunday 13.5 miles. Because I want to find that FLOW again I got in Dublin. It was so pleasant to run on an empty mind. So peaceful and joyous.



Sunday 2 weeks on November 15th I'll head to Sixmilebridge for the Annual Eddie Murphy Memorial races on their 1 mile loop course. Did a Half Marathon there last year, doing Full this year for number 15 of the 12 Marathons in 12 Months Challenge. You can donate to the Challenge on http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Dublin Marathon Race Report - PB and negative split.

I remember that the first time I came across the Find Your Strong ad from Saucony the final line of it hit me like lightening.

'Maybe strong is just what you have left when you've used up all your weak'


To me that means finding the things you love and enjoy, and immersing yourself in them to become stronger and better at sharing those gifts with others. I'm trying to do this with a couple of things in life I defined as my purpose. And that leaves no time for your weak, the things you 'should be doing' but don't want to.

Personally this is all based on my success applying the principle to my lesser gift of running. I am not the fastest and won't ever be. But I love running and that love coupled with immersion is leading to natural results. Like this weekend at Dublin Marathon.

Arrived on Sunday in Dublin to meet Katie and Eoin who were running their first Marathon and live near the RDS so we walked to the Expo. Dublin Expo is the largest and best running Expo I have seen in my short Marathon career. It is also really well organised. This means I got my number in minutes. Heading back down the stairs I went looking to meet up with the others and saw the Clonakilty Marathon/Team Kerr/Marathon Club Ireland stand.

I have waxed lyrically before about all these people so needless to say that's the only stand I visited as I ended up spending about 45 minutes with them. The positive attitude of these people really is infectious. I am not one to live in the future yet Clonakilty Marathon on December 5th is looked forward to.

Anyway I digress. I was staying with Reg and Brian in Dundrum as they are very hospitable hosts and I can just hop on the LUAS to Stephens Green in the morning. It is always special to take the LUAS at 7am on a Bank Holiday Monday while it is packed with runners.

I met up with Aisling and Rob from Wheelworx by accident before the race and after a nice chat went to the Black Gates for the annual MCI Club Group Photo. There was 94 of us running it this year and the photo shoot always ends up in a reunion and group hug of sorts.

Went to the Start line as part of Wave 3 which in hindsight was the right decision for me. I started at the back of it with the 4h50 balloons. I love starting slowish and the natural pace of these runners would suit me for the first 2 or 3 miles which were tough as I had picked up a bit of a head cold.

I had broken the strap on my wrist watch so as we started I pressed the button and put it in my back pocket. I didn't take it out again until 400m from the finish. I think this helped with my race. I ran purely on feeling.

After the initial tough 2 to 3 miles I felt warmed up and as we entered the Phoenix Park I picked of the 4.40, 4.30 and 4.20 balloons and pacers. The 4.20 were the top pacers in Wave 3 and I would not see them again.

As we ran through the Phoenix Park out at Castleknock, back in and back out at Chapelizod I settled into a rhythm and was going past runners the whole time. This would continue until the Finish. The Wave 3 start really helped mentally. I obviously have some running ego left as it was massaged by passing people the whole way around the course.

Anything after Mile 10 is a bit of a blur. I remember the people I know supporting me at Miles 16, 20, 22 ,24 and 25 and thanked them since for that. I remember meeting fellow MCI'ers, meeting the inspirational Team Kerr and talking to a guy from Marathon Club Germany. For the first time I don't remember any hills or severe inclines. I can't even distinctly remember Heartbreak Hill.

I was in the flow. It is a nice place to get to. Running smoothly, as if it all comes naturally. Oh, there is pain too, but it seems to not matter that much.

With 400m to go I took the watch out of the back pocket and saw 4.01 popping up. PB in sight. Cue dash to the line and in at 4.02.13. A new PB by a minute and a half. Revenge for the 9 seconds I missed it by in Brussels.

No pics from race so after race selfie has to do :)

When checking the app later I found I ran the first half in 2.03.20 and the second half in 1.58.53. Negative split, sweet. What's more is that the last section from 30K to 42K was my fastest with an average below 9 minute miles.

One of my first thoughts after the finish line actually was that I'm ready to move to 50K and the odd Ultra from next year.

I seem to be getting stronger. At my age like!

I think it is down to me immersing myself in what I love doing in sport, work and spare time. Immersion in what you love brings results. It also brings mastery and that I can share with others. Something I firmly believe in. Nothing is worth doing unless you can make other people's lives better or make your self stronger to more efficiently help others.

Once again I go to that line from the ad: 'Maybe strong is just what you have left when you've used up all your weak'.

Next Marathon and number 16 of the 12 Marathons in 12 Months challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa is a mere 19 days from now in Sixmilebridge at the Eddie Murphy Memorial.

You can donate for the Challenge at http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015







Friday, 23 October 2015

Dublin is calling!

For the 7th time in 8 years (injury prevented me taking part in 2009) the October Bank Holiday weekend is Dublin Marathon weekend for me. I have not ran any race more often than this one. It was my first marathon in 2008. It will be my 31st on Monday.

7th Dublin Marathon, 14th this year, 31st in Total

The first 15 or so were always nerve wrecking events. Did I train enough? What was the weather going to be like? Have I packed everything? Am I sleeping enough? Am I eating the right food? How will I get to the start? Was that niggle going to act up? Etc Etc.....

I finished every single one of them though! I have so far never DNF'ed (Did Not Finish). And I started to relax in my running. Running became part of everyday life. It became a habit. Something you do in your day like taking a shower or putting on clothes. Something natural, unforced.

That's what happens when you love something, it becomes natural. As I mentioned in one of my last blogs, when you let something flow you will get better at it and enjoy it more. So my mileage is up, I'm definitely enjoying it more, am relaxed about it and am thinking about Ultra running from next year as I am not the fastest but have a Forrest Gump kind of feeling about endurance running.

Starting with Ultra running next year like Forrest??

Unforced, natural, living the passion and embracing it. You can do that with anything in life. Your gift becomes a habit. And it keeps on giving and you can pass it on to others to enjoy.

So know I am totally relaxed about Marathons and it shows. I still totally respect the 26.2 mile distance yet there are no worries or nerves. Just anticipation of a fun filled day. Because Dublin Marathon is called the 'friendly' marathon for a reason. The citizens of the pale show their best side every year as they come out in tens of thousands to support the 15,000 runners.

I'm looking forward to it. Naturally. Number 14 of my 12 marathons in 12 months in 2015 challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa. See yiz Monday at 9 in Fitzwilliam Street and about 4 to 4.30 hours later in Merrion Square!!!

You can donate to the Challenge on http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015

Monday, 19 October 2015

Dublin, Sixmilebridge & Clonakilty. 7 weeks, 3 locations.

Goals can be self limiting. Purpose is unlimited potential. Therein lies the difference.

I made a decision to run 12 Marathons in 12 Months for Gorta Self Help Africa in 2015. The decision meant a change in sleeping patterns, food and drink intake, training and work schedules.

I needed to up my training and have naturally progressed this year from a starting point of 30 miles/week to 45 miles/week. Naturally as in I didn't plan this as my goal. It was simply finding the love for running in every single training run. Easing into only doing what I love. Dropping weights training and speed sessions and just run because that is what I love doing.

I am not advocating you drop weights and speed sessions as a runner. I am advocating that over time you do more and more of what you love doing most and drop doing things you don't like doing. That leads to being at one with yourself. At one with your natural instincts. And for me that has lead to now running 45-50 miles a week with ease. I know that my decision to slowly (naturally) progress to Ultra distances from next year will come as a result of that approach.

None of these are goals, but the result of daily implementation of decisions based on my core values and what I love doing most. Being in the Flow.


This will work for anything in your life; work, relationships, lifestyle, spirituality etc... Implementing decisions based on what you enjoy doing most and is good for you.

So when I got to my 12 Marathons in 12 Months in less than 9 months I wasn't finished as I would with a Goal. My love for running is stronger than ever, my life is better, mentally I am stronger. Why stop? Brussels became number 13.

And now over the next 7 weeks I am adding Dublin Marathon (next Monday), Eddie Murphy Memorial Marathon in Sixmilebridge and Clonakilty Marathon to the 2015 list. 3 more occasions to enjoy the company of fellow long distance runners doing what we love most. Getting lost in the moment together.

Here's a video of the Dublin Route for next Monday, bring it on!

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153689960213185

You can contribute to the Challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa on http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015

Monday, 12 October 2015

Sure if it was this easy....

Everyone would do it.

It has been a tough enough week training wise. The pep was not in the step. The lead up to runs was packed jammers with 'Should I not rest just 1 day?' 'Ah look it, just the one day missed won't make a difference' and other excuses such as 'my preferred running gear is in the dryer'. The legs were heavy. The joints were creaking. Enough excuses to write a procrastination book with.



But I got through it. I took Monday off after Brussels Marathon and then ran 6 days on the trot covering just over 46 miles. And I have 6 runs planned for this week as well. Dublin Marathon is only 14 days away.

How did I not give in to all the excuses???? Even for just one day????

Simples. Because of a very strong Why. And because of the love I have for running. Once the 1st mile gone it always turns out that running was the right decision.

Passion and Purpose. The 2 ingredients to make anything work for you. If you love doing something and you are doing it for the right reasons all that is left is immersion and action.

And living in the present. Taking your eye of maybe's, tomorrows and worries.

And that goes for anything in life. Do what you love for the right reason and immerse your self in that in every moment. That's called true living.

I have done that with running and am now doing it with work. What I love doing most with passion and purpose every moment.

In running my base used to be 25-30 miles a week. Then through following this process it moved to 35 miles a week. Now it is hovering around 45 miles a week. Without pressure, without forcing. A nice base to start thinking about Ultra's next year. And to get to 50 in '16. In the flow.



This week is a training week running wise, should be around 45ish miles. With a smile. In the flow. You see, it isn't easy all the time. But I'm getting better. At living in the now!

Have a purposeful week!!

Friday, 9 October 2015

How to recover without stopping.

I felt it on Tuesday. 48 hours after Marathon number 13 of my 12 Marathons in 12 months Challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa. http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015

I hadn't slept well on Monday night. I didn't sleep on the flight Tuesday, something I normally do with ease. I felt lethargic. Didn't enjoy my food.

Nothing major, just that this Marathon seemed to have taken a lot of energy out of me. Time to go in recovery mode. That used to just mean rest for a week or when I first started running a couple of weeks.

Now I know more. When you immerse yourself in something you love you will always learn. From others, from reading, from blogs, from video's. When you do things you truly love you will always be eager to grow and learn. Just for you. So you can enjoy it better. And to give back, to share your knowledge with others.

I know now that for me recovery; apart from steady sleeping patterns, recovery food and drinks; means keeping moving just slower. I used to stop running. Then it would take me a week or more to get back into the rhythm. Not anymore.


I keep doing the same distances, just slower. 1 minute/mile slower at first and then naturally recover back to pace. It works for me and it keeps the mind from overthinking the rest periods. Because stopping to do what you love is not easy. So it's best to keep going. Mind over matter with a bit of clever thrown in.

So this week I've done 3 x slower 10K's Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Hoping to put in another one this evening. 9.5 miles tomorrow morning and 11 odd miles Sunday. That'll bring up the 45 miles for this week while running in recovery mode.



I'm already looking forward to my 7th Dublin Marathon in just over 2 weeks for number 14 this year and 31 in total. It's where it all started in 2008.

When you find what you love, immerse yourself!!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Brussels Marathon Race Report. 13 of 12 done!

Brussels is where I grew up. I left it behind nearly 21 years ago and only return to it sporadically. I am a bit of a nomad. I know I would settle in lots of places around the world.

This time I returned to take part in my first 'foreign' Marathon as I ran all 29 of them so far in Ireland. This was also to be a bit of a celebratory race as I had completed my 12 Marathons in 12 Months challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa 2 weeks ago in Tullaroan and 3 months early. I have decided to keep running Marathons this year for the Charity to keep the funds they need coming in. And Brussels was the first of those.


The place for registration on Saturday and race start on Sunday is a spectacular building  called the 'Cinquantenaire' in the 'Jubelpark'. It was built to commemorate Belgium's 50th Anniversary of it's Independence.

Cinquantenaire in JubelPark is the start place.

The race is littered with 16th to 18th century buildings, runs through the Grand Place, tree covered Avenues and beautiful parks such as the 'Ter Kameren Bos' and 'Park van Tervuren'. It is a truly stunning course.

Brussels Grand Place is at Mile 25.5!

Another great plus of this Marathon is the military style organisation. I could not find fault with anything. I did not use the baggage drop so can't vouch for that but the rest was very well organised and marshalled. No queues for anything. Very friendly and efficient registration. Plenty of toilets on the course and 15 water stations with water, energy drinks, gels, bananas and figs. Excellent. And for the benefit of those who want to try it in coming years English is spoken by most in the organisation, including the volunteers.

The only thing I want to mention is the lack of support by the Brussels citizens. The course was virtually devoid of atmosphere and people except for some small pockets. And it affected the runners who were all very serious throughout the race. There was a lack of banter and fun. Or else I am simply spoilt with all the 'craic' and fun at Irish Marathons :)

Personally I thoroughly enjoyed the race. It is quite undulating with some 1 & 2 mile long drags especially those at kms 18 to 20, a short hill at km 28, a drag at km 30 to 31 and a killer drag from km 35 to 38 that made quite a few people crack. I have discovered before these kind of courses are my favourites and the same happened yesterday.

After an even paced first 10K in the excellent company of 2 runners from Teignbridge Trotters from Devon, I decided to pick up the pace a bit and surprisingly I lasted through to the finish in my second fastest Marathon ever and fastest of the Challenge in 4h03m53. Funny thing is my PB is only 9 seconds less and I wasn't aware at any stage I was this close! Funny how my 13th in the same year was one of the fastest. More does mean stronger if you do it right!



So that's it! Number 13 done this year and 30 overall. Flying back to Dublin tomorrow morning and then on to Limerick by road. I am working on some big projects I love right now and will be busy straight through to next year!

Running wise October Bank Holiday Monday is a tradition in Marathon running in Ireland and it will be my 7th time taking part in Dublin Marathon. This is 21 days away and will be Number 14 of the Challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa. You can donate to the Challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa at http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015 

Talk to you Friday for my next blog post! 

Do what you love on purpose with purpose!!


Friday, 2 October 2015

Greetings from Brussels!

This blog is taking me twice as long to type. The reason is that I am in Brussels, Belgium for Number 13 of the 12 Marathons in 12 Months for Gorta Self Help Africa.

For all the smarty pants out there it is not that Belgians use smokesignals for broadband nor that I consumed too many Waffles and Stella. :) It's just that I'm typing this on an AZERTY keyboard ;)

When I was compiling the list of races for the Challenge, Brussels Marathon was one of the first on it. I never ran a Marathon in my native country and it would be extra nice seen it goes through the village where the Mammy lives.



Landed at Zaventem (main Brussels Airport) yesterday Thursday lunchtime. Here's 3 slightly controversial and in jest observations since I arrived that will stop me from moving back to live in Belgium.

1- I prefer the colder weather and rain (I really do). It's October and early 20's in the sun here for feck's sake.
2- The food. I'm a food lover and if you are too Belgium will excite you. The food is rich, tasty, complex yet simply divine. Like yesterday I had a Trappist Beer soaked Rabbit Stew and on tonight's menu is Chicory wrapped in Ham covered in a White Cheese Sauce finsihed in the oven. See pic. I would gain weight living here so no good :)

3- Can all Belgians please take note. Irish people are infinitely friendlier. And I mean infinitely. I had spotted that when on holidays in France this year as well. I am privileged to live in Ireland amongst the friendliest of people you can meet anywhere.

On the running front I went for 6.3 miles yesterday to shake of the flight and took in some of the course doing so. Not flat this course but a few lovely parks combined with urban gems and buildings spanning several centuries. More about this in next week's race report.

Today is rest day, tomorrow Expo and number collection. Sunday 9am start at this beautiful place. "Cinquantenaire Park panorama" by Redvers - http://flickr.com/photos/redvers/1074888992/


This was built to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Belgium's independence in 1880. It is now also the impressive start line of the Marathon and where the Expo is held.

Right I'm signing off after a full hour of trying to get this typed up :) Talk to you Monday or Tuesday with the Race Report.

You can donate to the Challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa at http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015


Monday, 28 September 2015

It only hurts if you are doing it right!

The line in the title is my favourite response to the many questions long distance runners get about joints, knees, ankles etc.... It must be bad for you all that pounding on the roads, you will feel it in years to come, your knees won't last, your joints aren't made for this.

Followed by 'Does it hurt?' Cue response 'Only if you are doing it right'.



I am truly enjoying my running right now. It is actually a pleasure to go out 6 days every week and run. Last week I went for 10K's (6.22miles) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday was a busy day with networking so I skipped that day. Saturday I went for my usual 9.5 mile loop and Sunday I stretched it to a 15.2 miler. That's 49.58 miles this week.

I used to manage 30 miles last year and feel it. I was then focussing on getting 30 and sometimes 35 miles in every week. The less attention I'm paying to the fact that I am running, the more miles I seem to do.

I know this can be applied to other life situations. If you find something you love doing, you will do more of it when you let things flow. It's nature's way. Stop forcing things and let things happen. This letting things flow breaks boundaries, smashes preconceptions and allows the body and mind to relax and flourish. Just like nature does.

The 12 marathons in 12 months challenge is going on a trip this week. Thursday morning we are Brussels bound for Marathon number 13. That's another thing you get when you stop forcing stuff. 13 will fit perfectly into 12in12 :)



The next blog on Friday will come to you from the EU capital. Well from about 10 miles East of it, from a small town called Tervuren. That's where the mammy lives. And where we prepare for Brussels Marathon this coming Sunday!

Off to the country of Chocolates, Beers and Waffles!! All for after the race of course!!



You can donate to the Challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa at http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015

Friday, 25 September 2015

The Challenge continues and moves abroad.

So that's it then! 12 in 12 done. Promise kept. See you!

That's what life would be like if goals and targets were all there was. Building up to the goal or target and then when you reach it a brief moment of glory followed by desperate emptiness. Or the need for another goal or target.

One of the things I learned during my 2 year journey up to the Challenge and during the Challenge itself is that it was made up entirely of moments. I never felt like I had to go for a run. I felt privileged to be able to. I never had to do a Marathon. I felt humbled to stand at the start line because I could. This running lark has become a lifestyle, a part of my journey, my playing at life.

Therefore there is no end or no beginning, there is a continuing journey of moments. For as long as I can.



And that's the same with everything else in life. I do things not for targets or goals yet because I can and want to. At peace, filled with joy and utterly engaged with what I love doing.

So I keep running because I'm alive and I can. This week 4 days, 4 x 10 K. Beautiful, peaceful and enjoyable. Tomorrow I am considering roughly a 10 mile run and Sunday a 15 miler.

Next Thursday I travel to the place I grew up in. Tervuren, 10 miles East of Brussels. To run Brussels Marathon on Sunday. Purely for fun and enjoyment. And it will be number 13 this year and number 30 overall. And I'll get to see my mum and sisters and my sisters boys. Lovely!



You can donate to the Challenge on http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015

Monday, 21 September 2015

Tullaroan Race report. 12 in 12 completed in 9 months! What's next??

Something unusual happened on Friday evening. It wouldn't have been unusual 2 years ago. But it had been that amount of time since it last happened. I felt nervous the day before a Marathon! Strange. I didn't sleep that great either the night before. And then small things went wrong on Saturday morning. Couldn't find any Vaseline (calm down, it's needed to stop chaffing issues), the cat of the house had nestled himself on my tracksuit leaving a million hairs on it. It didn't all feel right.

A few hours later we drove into the car park of Tullaroan GAA club. Tullaroan is a village on the west side of County Kilkenny in the Slieveardagh Hills near the Tipperary border. I immediately spotted familiar faces. Mark Hilliard, Meabh O'Leary, David Toomey, Stephen Mooney, to name but a few. All running aficionados from our club, Marathon Club Ireland. All tension and nerves gone in 60 seconds. This club brings the best out in me.

The nerves, I found out since, were because of the finite nature this race represented. I had promised Gorta Self Help Africa that I would run 12 marathons in 12 Months for them and Tullaroan was number 12!! In 9 Months! It was the end of a challenge. I like moving forward and the end of a challenge makes me nervous. What's next, like???

Anyway I was that busy catching up with everybody that all of a sudden it was 9.30am and we were good to go. Quick instructions by Race Director Vincent Guthrie and off we went. I mentioned earlier in the blog that Tullaroan is situated in the Slieveardagh Hills. I love hills. Well I love running up them, down not so much.

And I got plenty opportunity to run up hills in this race. We ran 2 loops of 13.1 miles and my guess is that 5 to 6 of these miles on each loop were uphill. Tough, unrelenting course. The small field for the 9.30 start (there was a 7am and an 8am start as well for the early birds) meant running most of the 26.2 miles alone. On roads in hills with little to no houses and no people out and about. This was as much a mental as a physical challenge.

Good news. I'm getting stronger both ways. Mentally the first lap was a struggle. I train alone but love to race in company. I had to go into training mode mentally and that took an entire lap. I came through the hills in 2h05 half way through. The second lap is a blur. I found myself in the zone and getting stronger as the miles went on. The finish line was reached in 4h14.

Lovely Tullaroan bling for number 12 this year!

I was happy with that because I felt I could have gone on. There was energy and stamina left for at least another 5 miles. I had this same feeling in Tralee and Cork earlier this year. It means that the more I run the stronger I'm getting. That's a pleasant feeling. And it means I have to try an Ultra next year.

At the finish line we had our usual celebrations. Every one in long distance running is so supportive of each other. In the Club we are all 1, regardless of speed or individual ability. We support each other in more than just running. We are each others second family. Congrats to Mary Hanly and Mary Toomey Roche on their 25th Marathon, Sheila Masterson on her 50th Marathon and Denzil Jacobs and Seamus Dornan on their 100th Marathon. Congratulations to Team Kerr (look them up on Facebook, inspirational people) for another successful marathon. We celebrated with buns, hugs and tea!

Showing off medals with Ultra & Marathon Runner Paula Wright from MCI!

So that's it. 12 Marathons in 12 months done. In 9 months. You can donate with confidence at http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015

A special Thank You this morning to Paul Flannery from Flannery's Bar in Shannon Street in Limerick for his generous and kind sponsorship of the Challenge. This is the place you will find me when I want to get a quality pint served with a smile!! Thanks Paul.



What's next? Brussels Marathon for number 13 in 13 days and Dublin Marathon for number 14 in 35 days. I have 2 more in mind after that and I will fill you in as we go. So please keep sharing this blog and keep donations coming!

What's next challenge wise. The clouds have lifted. I have a challenge in mind. For 2018 or 2019. It'll keep me going for the next few years planning and training. And reaching the 50 and 100 Marathon milestones while I do this.

Thanks to all of you for your support before and during the 12 in 12 Challenge. It is really appreciated and will not be forgotten. Let's make it a 16 in 12 year seen we have 3 months left :)

Friday, 18 September 2015

Number 12 of 12 tomorrow and how it came to be!

It was late 2012 and I had taken part in and finished 6 Marathons in 5 years of running. People were impressed with that. I was too, yet somehow knew there was more. I was enjoying it yet something was missing. I loved running and it gave loads back but there was a lack.

I am a Life, Purpose and Motivational coach. My continuous self development, studies, reading and research lead to an awareness for the need of growth and development. To see life as a journey, not a destination. In fact to see everything in the now, the moment.

However my conditioning through education, life and the world around me to a structured life is still present despite that awareness. And by balancing both I lead the happiest life I can. I combine my passions with a desire to contribute to the world and try to do that in a structured way.

All that to explain that I got an idea in late 2012. For me to move running from mere numbers to a lifestyle I needed a way to contribute and some structure. The idea of 12 Marathons in 12 Months came to me. It seemed scary yet somehow feasible if I immersed myself in it. I set 2015 as the year to do this. For a charity, Gorta Self Help Africa. Donations can be made on http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015

In 2013 I ran 4 marathons in 1 year for the first time. Limerick, Cork, Killarney and Dublin. It hurt, meant an increase in training but I loved it. It was becoming a lifestyle choice rather than a sport. Also in October 2013 I joined Marathon Club Ireland (MCI) just before doing Dublin which was to be my 10th marathon overall.


Pic from Mid July when I had 9 of 12 done!
 

So in 2014 I was going to try 6 Marathons in preparation for the 12 in 12. 2014 became my first year to overachieve. I finished the year with 7 and ran a combined 1,188 miles in training and races. I ran Tralee, Connemara, Limerick, Cork, Killarney, Charleville and Dublin.

Skip a beat to September 2015. I have done 11 marathons so far this year, 5 in 8 weeks in the Summer. Lilliput, Lough Derg, Tralee, Connemara, Limerick, Cork, Portumna, Waterford, Portarlington, Courtmacsherry and Craughwell. It hurt, meant an increase in training but I loved it. It was now a lifestyle choice rather than a sport.

Waterford Viking Marathon in June!
 

So tomorrow I attempt to run number 12. 3 months ahead of schedule. In Tullaroan, County Kilkenny! With 2 more booked for October, 1 for November and 1 or 2 in December. Because it is now a lifestyle! MCI are like a second family. I'm healthier than ever. I'm mentally in a very strong place. My business and personal life are benefitting from the above.

Find your passion, live in the now, change your vision on life to what you can contribute, commit and enjoy!!

You can donate for the Charity on http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015