Despite becoming the first Irish athlete in over two decades to qualify for a world 1500m final Ciara Mageean hasn’t yet reflected on what was one of the fastest races in the event’s history.
Just don’t tell her coach Steve Vernon that!
“I haven’t and don’t tell Steve I haven’t yet, that’s on my plan of things to do,” jokes Mageean at the launch of Circle K’s “Here for Ireland” initiative.
“He’s asked me every so often, ‘Have you watched your race yet?’
“I don’t overly enjoy watching my race back, it’s not something that I, I have to say I enjoy doing but it’s a practice that Steve often has me doing so I can learn from them.
“So I’ll be watching all three races, I’ll be writing down pros and cons from them and learning from each.”
When pressed on why she doesn’t enjoy watching herself race, the County Down native admits she feels nerves watching back. However, the conversation quickly takes a turn as she regales stories of how her family help keep her grounded despite all of the success coming her way.
“I don’t know. I get nervous watching. I’m like, ‘I’ve done it, I don’t need to go back there’. I was like, ‘It’s done’,” she says.
“I’m like, ‘Is that what my face looks like when I run?’ My little sister sent me pictures the other day and you will laugh. My family keep me pretty grounded.
“My little sister Nuala is hilarious. She sent me a message saying, ‘My favourite past time is looking up photos of you looking dishevelled’.
“I was like, ‘Go on, send me a few!’ There’s one from a cross country race. She also likes to send me ones when I’ve fallen. It’s strange seeing yourself in those races, looking back on yourself.”
While the middle-distance running sensation doesn’t enjoy reflecting on the moment. The reasoning could well be down to what happens immediately after she has run her race.
The Portaferry native admits to regularly vomiting after each of her races. She jokes about having a sensitive stomach but really feels it’s a direct reflection of the effort she is able to spend each time she sets off in pursuit of glory.
“There probably is a psychological aspect there,” says Mageean.
“It’s something that has happened to me a lot. I do have the ability to run my body into the absolute ground and to cross that line knowing that I have given everything.
“It’s probably a reaction to the lactate I have produced. If I took a lactate test after a race I’m sure it’s sky-high.
“I think my stomach is a bit sensitive. I never get sick training, as much as I push myself I never get sick.”
With thoughts quickly turning towards the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Mageean is thankful for the opportunity to race in the World Championships in Doha and how the tropical climates can attribute to learning.
However, she admits that for those inside the stadium, the heat wasn’t a major factor due to air-conditioning. She does feel for the longer-distance runners though.
“I’ve never been to Tokyo. We were lucky enough to be racing in the indoor stadium in Doha and it was air-conditioned. I have to say that I didn’t notice anything during the race that would’ve ever put me off.
“The temperature inside was lovely and every so often you got a few nice gusts of cold air which was alright. But I do feel for the people having to race outdoors, the race walkers and the marathon runners because that’s a whole different kettle of fish for them.
“I’m not sure if the stadium in Tokyo is going to be air-conned or not. I could see them possibly exploring that after the positive feedback.”
Mageean admits that that next year’s games will be a huge milestone in her career but that she is going to have to adapt to the challenges that come when racing in tropical climates.
“Yeah, a big first for me out there. It was interesting like Doha was hard just even walking about. I’d say in the 10 days I was out there, I spent five hours outdoors.
“Everything was air-conditioned rooms which present its own problems because your respiratory track gets dry. My eyes were dry, I couldn’t see some days, I was like, ‘Why are my eyes so blurry?’ I thought it was old age.
“So it’s going to present its own difficulties but so does every championship and every place you visit has its own little unique qualities that you have to address so it’s going to be the same for every athlete out there and that’s it.
“Personally, I feel like if I dwell too much on that type of thing then you get bogged down. We’ll do everything we can in the preparations to get ready for it and then we’ll take those obstacles as they come.”