My name is Lyall Guiney. I am a pretty average runner living in Galway, Ireland, originally from Cork, and a member of Athenry Athletic Club. I started to run because of a drunken bet made at a house party in Lahinch on 17th March 2007. Two friends of mine (James T. Curran and Neil ‘Old Man’ Hanley) placed a bet with myself and one Padraig Curran that they would beat us in the relay event in the 2007 Cork marathon. Padraig and I lost the bet (and how!) but I kept up the running and ran my first full marathon in Connemara 2008. I also completed the 2008 and 2009 Cork marathons. My times over the longer distance were dismal, however, and I started to yearn for a mere modicum of athletic success.
After Cork ’09 I had an epiphany in how to approach running – just enjoy it! Summer 2009 saw my marathon PB come down to 3:38:23 – finally, something I’d call respectable. Then I uploaded this blog and wrote my first entry after running a new half-marathon PB of 1:25:50 in Longford on the 30th August. For the next eight weekends I went mad, running a race almost every weekend including a half-marathon, the 15 mile race to Cobh and three full marathons including the Dublin marathon. The latter brought my marathon PB down to under 3:20. To that point, July to October 2009 was by far the most successful and most enjoyable period of my running life.
For months afterwards, however, I was plagued by Achilles tendinitis in my right foot and was forced to defer my 2010 Connemarathon Ultra entry until 2011. By May 2010 I was back jogging and, after finally shelling out for a physio in June, I was back in full training by the middle of July. I ran the Galway City marathon at the end of August and finished as 1st Galwegian male, thereby winning a trip to the 2010 Chicago marathon. I ran that, then followed it up two weeks later with the Dublin marathon, which took my PB down to a highly respectable 3:09:00.
2011 was up and down. I ran new PB’s in the Ballycotton 10 mile, Bantry half-marathon and Cork marathon despite inconsistent training. But then just twelve days after Cork, the 50k ultra in Portumna brought me back down to earth. I had a very poor experience and struggled hugely after about 35k. Trying to run two marathon distance A-races in less than a fortnight took a lot out of me, both physically and psychologically. I barely ran at all for the rest of the year.
The big difference in 2012 has been my attitude, mental focus, and belief. My training has not been amazing by any measure, although the focus has been on quality over quantity. Peak mileage since the start of the year has only been about 50 miles per week, and generally less than 40, with some weeks null. However I once again set a new PB in the Ballycotton 10 mile, blitzed the Galway 5k series (a high of 3rd place in the Dangan leg) and smashed out my first sub-3 hour marathon in Cork. I pushed hard in all these races, harder than I’ve ever gone before, focusing on the result and ignoring the pain. I believed I could run the times, and so I did, exceeding my own expectations. As a result of these races I now have some soft PBs (8k, 10k, half-mara) and will work to bring these down over the rest of 2012 and into 2013, as well as running more and more marathons.