I Ran with Ray

There are different kinds of fitness, depending on your preferred element or sport…I think from the first moment I touched water I knew I was home…riding waves, diving deep, swimming, bodysurfing, paddling, you name it, if it’s got water, if it’s in the sea – I’m there!

There’s also a lot of talk about the importance of cross-training…so mixing it up with other sports so you can be better, stronger, fitter, faster at your sport! Yoga for flexibility, balance, peace of mind and inner calm, boxing for heart thumping, energising, power, release…some of my friends even go dune-running, yep, up and down big sandy mountains… I enjoy running down the beach to get to the surf, my ‘warm-up’ or 20m beach flag sprints at Surf lifesaving but that’s really all about explosion and tactics…actually running for the sake of running I never really got into it. My feet hurt, my legs got too heavy and the environment was all hard surfaces. I used to jog every now and again with music plugged in to clear my head. Now surfing is my de-stressor while I try and get this thesis written up…

So when I got a phonecall from Pamela at Today FM asking if I’d like to join the Ray D’arcy show in Sligo who are running around Ireland with Spar at the moment encouraging people to join Ray for 5k, and hearing all the people buzzing about it on the radio I thought I had to give it a go!

After a good surf chat with Ray and crew I still didn’t feel ready to step out of my element but what the hell, there was such a huge crowd gathered at the start line the buzz was infectious – kids, Mums, Dads, full-time runners and first timers…This was my first organised run like this.

[with the lovely Mairead Farrell and witty Will]

We took off at fair pace. The rain and snow held off, the sun peeked out. The course took us along the Garavogue river and I followed the lovely Mairead Farrell’s bright organge runners as I hadn’t a clue how to pace myself.

Oddly it was the 3-4k that was the hardest, when my legs felt heaviest…before I recognised the homeward stretch and the excitement builds at the thought of that finish line and you forget about your tired legs. When you spot the finish line ahead you take off and I don’t know if it’s a magic portal or what but when you cross the threshold, cross that finish line, an amazing sense of euphoria fills you. Your pulse is flying, your cheeks are burning, your legs already stiffening…it’s not like the rush you get from surfing, the shock of adrenline after making a big wave, it’s more like a slow and steady release of endorphines…and I still have a little smile hours later, even if getting up and down the stairs is a bit sore…

[with the man himself, post-5k :)]

When I dive back into the sea, I’m weightless again but I can understand the attaction of land and the power of your own two feet a little better now too.

Thanks Ray and gang for a great day and pushing all us first-timers. I think I’ll work on my 5k time before I think about any longer distances! And see you in the sea next time!