Well that was good. My ‘test’ run back to town from Howth ended at Sutton DART station after an appalling few miles around Howth peninsula. After struggling up the hill from the harbour I reckoned I’d find a rhythm coming off the summit. But it went from bad to worse and I simply couldn’t continue.

I’m neither proud about that, nor embarrassed. I’ve had too many runs like it where my body just won’t respond. For example, both my marathon starts in Cork in 2007 and 2008 where I bailed out at around halfway. A lot of runners would say that I ought to ‘man up’ or ‘HTFU’ – a great triathlon acronym that I’ve recently come across! But in Cork, wouldn’t you think that I would have battled on if I could have? Especially on the second occasion where I was distraught to realise I was failing for the second consecutive time. The tank was simply empty.

Conversley, it was a year ago today that I completed my one and only marathon in Longford. On that occasion my body gave the thumbs-up and I completed the 26.2 miles without a single walk break. However much I’ve tried to analyse the peaks and troughs of my running I’ve come to no conclusions as to why I can float along some days – seven days ago for example, and why the handbrake stays firmly on like it did today. What I’m not going to do is struggle on when my body is not responding at all. This is a different scenario from battling fatigue where you expect it to occur – during track sessions, tempo efforts, during the latter miles of long runs. If it is clear from early on that there’s nothing there then I’m not going to fight it.

So unless I have a really good week then I can’t see me toeing the line in Blarney on 12 September.

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