The world of running has brought to me all sorts of embarrassing moments. You know those sort of lasting memory type moments, that thanks to media can come back to haunt you at any google search. And Oh man, I have many.
Around 2002ish, I was admittedly in decent shape and agreed to work as a Rep for Nilke Sports Ireland and promote the Women’s Mini – Marathon. Great I thought and an opportunity to work with a great hero of mine Sonia (first name basis) (O’Sullivan). Now bear in mind, I was a 100m hurdler, where if I was asked about a 10km run I would become winded on the thought. My 10years + experience of track running and personal training etc it was thought I would be the woman for the job. So with this gig I found myself in one of their main stores ( Nike) on Grafton Street, leading a’ meet and train group’ for the big event at the end of that month. I went through stretches, gave out nutrition advice. Job done I thought and it seemed to go down well. When the Nike lady said off you go with the team, Sonia ( first name basis for my pal) has laid out the track, my jaw hit the floor. I had to go. How could I not. I was the lead for this promo. I was wearing the kit after – all! So down Grafton Street we went, 50 or so ladies, me and Sonia (my pal) into Trinity College Green, where a route had been laid out by my hero. ‘7-8km will do’ she says,’ for the first run’. ‘Ah yeah, grand’ I’d said. I lied. 2km in, maybe most I’ve ever done, I slowly felt my face turning all shades of pink / red / purple even. She chatted with ease and then started with the open ended questions. ‘Yes’ I’d return or ‘No’ when appropriate. I was bordering rude and turning more red on exertion. So with my best efforts took the longest breaths in, and I just about exhaled a full sentence. This went on for a full kilometre. I had to switch tactics, get out of this. ‘I better check those at the back , ‘ Ah we all have to start somewhere’, I nodded to the few at the back. Those ladies were my saviours. With a few moments respite, the back few caught up with me. But of course, it wasn’t too long before Sonia (best bud) was coming round and looked like she was going to lap us. Taking another long deep breath ‘You take the front group’, I said and ‘I’ll stick with these ladies’ I get out on the exhale.
This went on for 5 laps! On return to the store at the top end of Grafton Street, I put on my best prancing performance for the crowd and ‘chatting’ to Sonia was met by the Press for the photo – section of this ordeal . Standing side by side with Sonia, I’d say my 5’ 3” athletic frame is more hench than the lean and toned limbs of Sonia’s. The camera man urged us to do a stretch pose. Why I chose to do a single leg quad stretch, expanding my huge quad is beyond me. Our picture made front page – of course it did!
Thanks to my running career as a semi – professional athlete in my 20s, I have many, oh so many of these embarrassing memories. Sure I can look back and laugh now? Nope, still too raw!