When I finished my first marathon in 2011, my overwhelming feeling was relief. No exuberance, just relief, thank god I do not have to run one more step. I met one of my best friends straight after and I remember hugging her, barely hanging on and whispering never ever again, am I putting myself through that.
Fast forward a couple of years and I'm lining up to start the Mourneway marathon to run 26.2 miles through the Mournes. You see your brain has an amazing way of making you trivialise past pain and suffering.
This is the only logical reason I can think of as to why, 18 months after opening Kaffe O on the Ormeau Road, I'm standing in Botanic Avenue opening the second shop.
You see once you decide to do a marathon; you tell anyone and everyone who will listen about the harsh winter training, the amount of carbs/fats/sugars you're eating, the lost toe nails (sorry non runners), the great runs, the awful runs and the PBs gained in shorter distances along the way. You see once it's out there, you can't go back and for me this was always part of my motivation. I know, I know, this is purely my ego talking.
Like the second marathon, the second Kaffe O came about more by chance and opportunity than any grand plan to spread the Nordic coffee story.
Opening the first Kaffe O was the hardest thing I've ever done- during the first few months I can safely say there were numerous times daily I wished I had never even set foot in Copenhagen. The first year of Kaffe O went in three parts...one part horrendous, second part bearable and at the end of the third part a bit of boredom started to creep in.
One of the things I struggle with most in life is restlessness. Now I don't know if I was born with it, but what I do know is that after my second kidney transplant in 2007 at times it has become all consuming. I wonder will the day ever come where I feel content. I say I long for contentment, but maybe this is just another thing I want to achieve, before looking for the next.
So, much like marathon training, before you know it, you're in to something you can’t back out of and the reality of being responsible for two premises, two sets of rent, rates, bills and employees is pushed to the back of your mind while you focus on getting through the last hard miles and just getting the place up and running.
The Mourneway marathon is a lonely marathon. I will never forget about mile 15 I was met by a friend with a bag of jelly babies and some water, and I wept uncontrollably when I saw my first familiar face.
I have an amazing husband, family, friends, customers and employees supporting me in the Botanic venture, but it's lonely at times too, very lonely. At the minute I feel I'm about mile 22 in the race, most of the race is behind me, but the finish line seems an eternity away. There have been a few tears along the way too and the pain and suffering associated with opening the first shop is still present, I've just done more training second time round and can cope with it better.
The one thing I have learned most from the opening the first shop is that nothing comes easy. I genuinely believe that being a runner really does help me drive Kaffe O. You see, I'm never happy, I always see room for improvement, I criticise my performance constantly, I'm always looking at new ideas and plans which may just help me improve and more than anything else, I know that if I want to succeed the only way to do so, is by pure hard work. Tell me a runner that doesn't fit that description.
I'll not lie, I'm tired, I'm really tired but then who at mile 22 of a marathon isn't. The race is really only just starting....
Ps- comes visit us at 73 Botanic Ave...