Over the last week or so, much of my attention has turned to the exploits of friends and colleagues as they have attempted their own 'firsts' in sporting achievements. It was around this time last year, as I followed the 2012 marathon diaries in FIT, that I set my target for Dublin Marathon 2013.
A colleague based in our company headquarters in Zaragoza asked me for some advice before his first 10k race, which he was hoping to complete in less than 50 minutes. I shared some nuggets of advice with him, but take no credit in his achievement of 48.19.
One of his first questions to me the following day was 'what do I have to do to break 45 minutes'. He's been bitten by the bug!
My manager has also completed his first triathlon recently. He and I have been comparing training notes, and he's been very supportive towards my training for the marathon.
Another colleague, based also at our Ashbourne plant, has taken to running to get fit. Paul plays a weekly five-a-side, but has found many benefits already by adding running to his routine, and this week he ran his first race in the Ratoath AC 5k.
I've been coaxing (as opposed to coaching) him to achieve his goal, and used this race as a recovery run on Sunday to pace him to beat his 25-minute target by 64 seconds.
There appears to be a growing network of encouragement and inspiration out there for people that want to get fit, with less excuses for not doing so. If you haven't done so already, then take this opportunity to set yourself a target, something small and achievable to begin with, and see if you can get bitten by the bug. It's rather infectious, and you might just enjoy it!
On Wednesday, I was due to do a recovery run, but our attendance at a wedding party meant this was an unscheduled rest day.
Pat Creagh and myself completed the 75-minute Thursday session on the track, which some people think is a crazy place to do almost 40 laps, but the track is flat and soft and is gentler on niggling injuries.
The 10-minute pick-up to tempo pace following a 50-minute pick-up to marathon pace was a testing session, but is now another ticked off on the chart.
In World Suicide Prevention Week, SOSAD's Drogheda branch had organised a 5k Run or Walk for Life With a Smile on Friday. I was hoping to use this as my recovery run, but couldn't do either on the day (a second unscheduled rest day this week!).
SOSAD is my chosen charity to benefit from my marathon run, and this suicide charity is now so busy that they need to move their headquarters to larger premises. It's alarming news in itself, but an unfortunate sign of the times.
This is another reason that we should all be encouraged to do some regular exercise, which is very good for mind and body.
Some people have asked me to repost the link to my charity page, so here it is for anybody that can offer even the smallest of donations: www.mycharity.ie/event/eoin _mcginns_event/
You'll see on the link that I have a couple of prizes on offer for anybody that makes a contribution, one of which is a prize for the person that guesses the closest to my finishing time for the marathon. This is the reason why I haven't (and won't) mention my marathon pace or expected finishing time in the diaries, until I hopefully get to the finish line on October 28.
I completed the 30k long run on Saturday with Pat and Gerry, but unlike last week, we had 4x5k pick-ups included this week. This session hurt a lot, particularly in the last pick-up, and I didn't have proper use of my legs again until later in the day.
We are now in a recovery week, in preparation for the half-marathon, so Monday was a rest day, followed by the week's only tempo session on Tuesday. This consisted of a 55-minute run including two 15-minute tempo-pace pick-ups.