The First Pancake

Some things are inevitable, no matter how hard you try or how many different ways you attempt it, the first pancake is always destined to fail. It’s never round, Its uglier than the rest, chewier and burnt on one side. pancakesMiles are like pancakes – the first one is always a disaster. The first mile is a liar and you should never trust it, joints creak, lungs rattle and feel like they are bursting out through a burning throat, legs feel like lead and ankles ache. It just doesn’t feel right. You’re too hot, too cold, too tender  …. You should still be wrapped up in a warm bed or sitting comfortably on the couch watching Netflix. Your body is screaming at you to reconsider this decision, because the first mile is lasting an eternity. The first mile tries to convince you to stop and turn around. It doesn’t matter how fast or long the run is, the battle and the inner monologue is very real and not just for you, it’s the same for everyone. Even veteran runners still suffer stiff muscles, ragged breathing and self-doubt at the start of a run. Is it because the legs aren’t warmed up yet? Has the brain not released the powerful endorphins yet or has the body not caught up with the mind ? Yes, it’s  all of the above! And this “first mile plague” is possibly what keeps a lot of people from running in the first place.  Am I really a runner? Do I need the toilet ….. should I turn back? Why am I doing this?

Before a run the body is usually in a reasonably restful state, you should never expect anything good from the first mile of a run. It will either be slow, feel awful or both. It takes some time for the brain, heart, lungs and muscles to accept that they are going for a run. They need time to start working together and respond to the increased demand of the running muscles for energy. Physiologically the respiratory muscles and lungs have to work hard to pull in more oxygen, the heart has to pump more oxygen rich blood to through the blood vessels which open up and widen to allow more oxygen get to the screaming muscles. It’s an amazing process and it doesn’t happen instantly, it takes in and around ten minutes.  But after 10 minutes the breathing settles, the rhythm is found and runners settle into a comfortable pace and with the first mile behind you the rest of the run can be enjoyed.  The strange thing is that even though we seem to just accept that in the process of making the perfect batch of pancakes the first one will always be a mess,  with running sometimes we fear the first mile so much that we don’t start. With pancakes, we accept that failure is an important ingredient to success, so the next time the first mile is winning the argument just push on a little more to the other side of mile one and by the end  you’ll wonder what you were complaining about. Nobody remembers the first pancake.

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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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