A LETTERKENNY-based teacher is appealing for help to raise money for Donegal charities after being picked to represent the county in the Dublin marathon.
Linda Sweeney, from Meenacross near Dungloe, only ran her first 5k in February.
And when Spar ran a competition for a representative from each county to get specialist training, donegaldaily.com and you, our readers, got right behind her and Linda was picked.
She’s certainly getting support from far and wide. From home around Dungloe of course, from Letterkenny where she teaches at Woodlands National School – and from Cranford/Milford where she now lives.
Here she tells you about her progress – and hopes you will support her in raising funds for Donegal charities:
So far it has been an amazing experience.
Our trainer is Karl Henry. I am currently following a 16-week training plan to prepare for the Dublin marathon which is 11 weeks on Monday! I have to do 4 runs a week – a recovery run, an interval run, a hill run and a long run. This week I am doing 23 miles in total but this will increase to 39 miles as the weeks go on. I am enjoying the runs but I find the interval training tough. I will be calling on my husband and a few of my friends in Woodlands NS to help me with these and push me.
We are getting fantastic help from our nutritionists Paula Mee and Eimear Walsh. They are really supportive and if you have any queries they email you back almost instantly with a wealth of information. I am allergic to wheat, aspartame and MSG and they have taught me so much on how to manage my diet better. This will help me for the rest of my life not only through this challenge. I feel much better and have much more energy.
All the Spartans are following individual food plans. some of us have to lose weight and some have to put on weight and every one of them is doing fantastic and doing their county proud. I have another half stone to lose so I hope to have it off by our next training day in September.
As well as receiving expert advice on fitness and nutrition we had the opportunity to meet Olympian runner Catherina McKiernan who gave us tips on how to run to avoid injury. We also met with Caroline Currid a psychologist that worked with the Kenyan Olympians this year. She was absolutely brilliant and coached us how to prepare our mind for the marathon to avoid hitting the wall! All of our pictures and profiles were in Irish Runners Magazine and also in Fit Magazine that comes with the Irish Independent every Thursday.
The other Spartans are an amazing group of people and we all get on great. we are like a support group for each other which is great on a day that you dont feel you did your best or a day you are finding it tough because you are tired etc. We are constantly taking a hand at each other about something. They are all great craic and each and every one of them are doing brilliant and I have no doubt that we will all cross the finish line in October.
So far we have completed a 5-mile race and a 10km race in Dublin as part of the Dublin Race Series. I ran the 5-mile in 50:31 and the 10k in 60:34. Our next race is on the 25th of August in Phoenix Park and it is a 10mile race. We will then be running a half marathon in September and the full Dublin City Marathon in October 26.2miles!
I try to do as many local races as possible but sometimes it is hard to fit them in around my training plan. I did the run in 40k around the Bay and the Waterfall 10k in Cranford recently both of which were great events. I will be doing the semi skimmed Mooathon in Kilmacrennan in September however I have 20miles to run that day so I will have to do an additional 7 either before or after the race!
I have to write blogs weekly on the Spartan challenge page. Some people have left some lovely encouraging comments and I have also got some lovely emails. This support and encouragement really keeps me going so it would be great if anyone who gets a chance could leave a comment on my blogs. you can follow my progress and blogs by logging onto spartan.spar.ie/blog/author/39
I am collecting sponsorship for the marathon. As I am running this marathon for Donegal I wanted to make sure the money stayed in Donegal so i am raising money for MS Ireland Donegal Branch and the North West Cancer Group as i believe these are two worthy charities. I will be putting sponsorship cards in businesses in Dungloe, Cranford and Milford and Tobins in Letterkenny have kindly offered to put collection boxes on each till. If anyone has a business and would be interested in taking a sponsor card or sponsoring me they can contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would like to thank everyone who has supported and encouraged me so far as I couldn’t do it without your help. I would also like to thank my husband, family and friends for listening to me as I talk about nothing else at the minute!!!
And Donegal Daily of course – for helping me get there in the first place!