Friday, November 27, 2009

Great Video

Great Video

Takes a while to load but worth the wait ....










This is me ---------------->>>>>






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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Why has my belt shrunk ?

It has been very quiet the past few weeks training wise, in fact, it has been quiet generally.
The problem is that I'm enjoying the freedom of a reduced training schedule far too much.

Last weekend as the rain lashed against the windows I spent most of Saturday and Sunday stretched out on the sofa reading novels and watching mind numbing TV.
To make matters worst I was also eating total crap, tasty but not good for the waistline.

I haven't bothered to renew my gym membership yet so I get to lie on for an extra hour and a half in the mornings.
On the plus side I have had some evening runs in the dark but that came to an abrupt halt when the weather turned so bad that the volume of debris blown onto the roads made it too dangerous to run in the dark.
The torrential rain caused puddles that are rather uncomfortable to run through. A minor complaint, I know, when you see the massive damaged caused by flooding through the country recently.

I'm trying to justify all this laziness by saying that I need recovery time after the Dublin marathon (yeah, HTFU) and I'm working out my training schedule for next years events, although why that stops me running after work I'm not sure.

On a completely different matter, one of those "things" in "Training, Events & Things"
I recently went to the opening of Woodlands Falconry at Rathwood in County Carlow, a venture undertaken by a very good friend of mine Tommy Byrne.
He has been a falconer for many years and was earning his living as a scarecrow, when he decided that there was a need for a top class birds of prey centre in Carlow and he was going to set one up.
After many months/years of meetings and discussions, a huge amount of research, the scouting of suitable sites and the total collapse of the Irish economy (not his fault) everything was in place for the business venture to officially start.

Helen McInerney from Nationwide arrived early to film for a January issue of the show.
A group of press photographers came next.
The real excitement started when Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan made her appearance. Saoirse posed for photos with various birds and then, to a rousing cheer, she performed the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon.
Tommy and crew had put on a fantastic spread of food and wine, the weather gods smiled and the large crowed enjoyed the festivities.

I have to say that this centre is well worth a visit for anybody with even a passing interest in wildlife and of course there is the opportunity to have your photo taken with a Golden Eagle....



Owl photo by Nathan Byrne aged 7

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's next

Over the past few week I've been wondering what events I should plan for in 2010.

At this point I hope to be attempting:

2 Marathons
Edinburgh Marathon
Dublin City Marathon

3 Adventure races
Wicklow Adventure Race
Gael Force
Achill Roar

5 - 6 Cycling sportives
including but not exclusively
Wicklow 200
Carlow 150
Sliabh Bloom Challenge
Humpy 100
Sean Kelly Challenge

Various shorter running races,
including the Adidas series
I also want to try some mountain races next year

God knows what else !!
I'm toying with the idea of trying the Liffey Descent if I can get in enough kayak training

In conversation recently with my friend Sean he quoted one of his previous managers "We can do anything but we can't do everything".
I have had a fantastic time since I was talked in doing the Dublin Marathon in '08. I think my introduction to road running was a little unusual in that my first road race was a marathon but since that first run I've fancied having a try at anything.
I'm having the problem now of having to prioritise, I want to do everything, I really, really want to do everything but what can I fit into my lifestyle?

So, the bottom line at the moment is that I will target the marathons as priorities but I will fit in the adventure races as a close second. What I mean by that is that I will not have an easy week before or a recovery week after the adventure races but I want to push hard during the events.

The cycling sportives are extremely enjoyable and made all the more so by having the chance to train and take part in these events with one of my best friends, Big Al Mc and they are invaluable training for the adventure races.

The mountain races will help with the adventure races and if I can work it right they will also help with the marathon training.

The next step is to put together a training schedule that will suit my goals and lifestyle and hopefully inprove my fitness and results.

As for the kayaking, well, that's something I just want to do.......




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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Crookstown Motorway 10k

At times I wonder what goes on in my head when it comes to sports goals.
Just 12 days after a tough run in the Dublin marathon I fancied my chances of a - by my standards - fast 10k run. I don't know why I thought I could do this, I had a 2 week taper before Dublin and only ran 5 - 6 easy runs after, none of these were more than 4 miles, also my nutrition hasn't been the best, I haven't weighed myself lately but my belt is telling me all is not well.

I arrived at the race by a rather circuitous route having failed to read the directions properly, for awhile I feared that I would be too late to collect my race number but I needn't have worried, I certainly wasn't last to collect a number.

After a warm up it was onto the start line. The race started about 10 minutes late and although the weather was cold, wet and windy I was ok as I wore an extra t-shirt, track top and hat and only took these off seconds before the start.

I ran the Adidas series in the Phoenix Park earlier this year, this consisted of a 5 mile, a 10 mile and a half marathon. I managed to run each one of these better than the last so maybe this is where my inflated opinion of my ability to run the 10k faster the the 5 miler came from.

The first mile was bang on target but even at this early stage I knew that I wasn't going to sustain the pace. I dropped 12 seconds in the second mile and a further 19 in the third.
The turn around point was along a gravel track, across a bridge and back down onto the opposite side of the motorway. There was a timing mat at the half way point, I hit this at single seconds over 22 mins.
A sub 45 would still be possible if I could maintain a decent pace and not drop more that 1 minute more that the first half.
To be honest I didn't think this would be possible as I was feeling tired and when I hit the head wind on the exposed road I reckoned that was the end of a sub 45.
I was passed by a number of people in miles 4 and 5, I didn't even attempt to hang on to any of these runners, I just kept trying not to drop too much more pace.

With just over 1km to go I was overcome by a wave of nausea, this was completely out of the blue, I still can't explain the cause but the result was that I discovered that a concrete motorway dividing barrier is the perfect height for me to lean over. I resumed running for another few yards and had to stop again.
I lost numerous places stopping like that and I tried in the remaining km to regain some of these lost places.
Within sight of the line I closed up behind another runner, I was very much in a world of my own but he caught my eye when he started to speed up so I couldn't pass him. I had one of those will I, won't I moments but the thought of a sprint at that point wasn't worth the extra place... maybe next time !!

I crossed the line in 81st place at 45.42.
I am disappointed with the result but comforted slightly by the fact that I was not fully recovered from the Dublin marathon and if I wasn't forced to stop I would have at least hit the sub 45.
Oh! nearly forgot it was also a PB

It's a real pity that that race was a one off.




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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lazy days

I've done very little since the Dublin marathon except eats loads of tasty - bad for me - things and drink a few delicious pints of Guinness

I can already feel my belt getting tighter ....Ohh dear !!!

I did absolutely nothing on the 2 days following the marathon - except walk like John Wayne - and on Thursday I went for a very gentle 3 mile run.
I did this run just after dark, a first for me. I had always considered the idea of running along unlit country roads to be the realm of nutters. Reading the blog accounts of Thomas who regularly runs in the dark encouraged me to have a go. To be honest the jury is still out on whether it is just for nutters, although lunatics may be more appropriate as apparently it is fine to run in full moonlight.

It was raining as I headed out, with my bright yellow jacket and head torch - I only used the torch to flash at cars as there was still enough residual light to see the road surface - I even put a reflective armband on each leg in the hope that they would make me more visible to motorists, these only lasted yards as they just kept slipping down my legs and annoying me.
The run turned out to be remarkably pleasant, despite the rain, but in fairness it was still very mild, so I would expect it will not be so easy in the cold weather.

Sean (yes, Sean the sub 3 marathoner) came to visit for the weekend so some extra pints were had (all Seans fault ;-) ). We had a slow, gentle run on both Saturday and Sunday. These were run at a very relaxed pace.
I do all my training alone and I suppose that at times I enjoy the solitude but those runs at the weekend were all the more pleasurable for the good company.

I will try some more after dark runs this week to prepare, well to be slightly more prepared for Saturdays 10k run at Crookstown. I am looking forward to finding out how much the marathon has taken out of my legs

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

and then the wheels fell off ...

The Dublin City Marathon was not one of my finest events this year.

The day started well enough, I arrived in plenty of time, the weather was perfect and although there were over 12,000 people there I even managed to bump into my friend Sean.

I went to the sub 3.30 pen early enough so that I was close to the start line. As the starting time drew closer all gaps filled as competitors pushed towards the front. This was the first year that pacing groups were organised, the pacers were going to wear large balloons, these were visible floating somewhere close to the start line and with a few minutes to go they could be seen moving back through the crowd but not before one of the 3.30 balloons floated off into the sky.
I noticed the guy beside me keeping a close eye on the balloons, he had a worried look on his face and I said to him "I bet you're looking for a 3.30"
"Yeah" he said "and it's too packed to get back to them"
I was thinking the same myself and I'm sure I also had the same worried look too.
I did manage to get back to the pacers just before the race started.

It was a mad house at the start, trying to keep with the pacers while avoiding runners running at various speeds made for an interesting first mile or two.

When things settled down I started to find a reasonable rhythm but noticed that my calves especially the right one felt tight. It's not unusual for me to feel some discomfort for the first 5 miles of a run so I was sure that I would feel better after the 5 mile marker. Oh, how wrong I would be.

Through the Park, Chapelizod, Kilmainham, on to the South Circular Road and towards Dolphins Barn I was holding the correct pace but I just didn't feel right. It's hard to put my finger on it, I just felt "heavy" for want of a better word, no spring in my step. Even at this early stage I was thinking that I would be struggling later but I was hoping that maybe, just maybe I would find a nice rhythm and cruise to the finish.. Yeah, right !!!!

See my mam, dad and son at Dolphins Barn was brilliant and in a well planned move I collected some gels from my son.
Along the Crumlin road, a section many people hate, I found it ok as it used to be home territory and I was looking out for familiar faces (didn't see any) it passed the time anyway.

I had a chat with a guy who was doing his 8th marathon and was striving to get an elusive 3.30.
We parted company along Walkinstown Road just before the 13.1 mile mat. I was to see him several time during the remaining miles, I know that he didn't get his time, hopefully he'll get it next time. My time at the 13 was bang on and I was still within yards of the yellow balloons.
Fantastic crowds along the route, Walkinstown roundabout was packed with cheering supporters.
Heading along Cromwellsford Road I was flagging when I heard my name called by Seans wife and son, that perked me up for a bit. I met my mam, dad and son again on Kimmage Road, another boost.

Miles 14 to 17 saw me drifting off the pace group. I was annoyed to be drifting but just couldn't seem to muster any extra speed to close the gap. I was still hoping for a second wind and some extra power to my little hairy legs.
The water station in 17th mile (I think) was the cause of a first for me, I grabbed a small bottle of water a drank about half of it in two gulps, not a lot of water to drink but within a few hundred yards I had to run across to the park wall and puke, eventually dragging myself upright and rejoining the runners. My first mid-race puke. Way Hay !!
I was amazed to find that I had only dropped 30 seconds for that mile.

Up to mile 19 I still had a chance of hitting my target time .......and then the wheels fell off.....
The last 6-7 miles were pure hell. Somewhere before the 20 mile mark I just stopped running. I had been trying to convince myself that I didn't need to walk, that I had run the full marathon last year without a need to stop so I wasn't going to stop now, then I was walking, another first in a race...

I wanted out of there. It I was on a training run and felt so bad I would have stopped and gone straight to the pub (only joking, I would have showered first). I knew I was getting slower and slower. I didn't care about a time now, the only thing I cared about was getting to the finish line. The one thing that I was sure of was that my name would not be followed by a DNF.

There was a water station in mile 24-25 again I started to walk. Just walk through the water station, it'll help you run to the finish !!
I was still walking way after the tables. My head was really up my arse, it took a major effort to start running again. I have read race reports and forum posts about the fantastic support all along the Dublin marathon route and especially in the last few miles and I was very aware of the number of people but they meant nothing to me at that point, all I could think about was getting to the finish.

At last the finish in sight, a banner on the way said 400m, just one lap of a track to go. It was a long track.

I crossed the line over 8 minutes slower than my target time and I have to admit that I was disappointed at the time, however on reflection I think it was a lesson learned.

I'm planning my next move and at this point I think it may include a marathon early next year.

Another marathon .........My legs are still sore .... I must be a nutter............





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Monday, October 19, 2009

Words for Marathon Runners...

For anybody running a marathon, especially Dublin on 26th October.....

Good luck....

When you stand on the Start Line, you join the club.

When you stand at the Starting Line, you earn your membership.

Millions dream of being where you are. You are no longer a dreamer. You are a doer.

Thousands more started a training programme but never finished.

They started with the same enthusiasm (or more than) you.

They started with more or less the same physical gifts or disadvantages as you did.

They had no more and no less reason to be successful than you.

But somewhere along the way, they lost that enthusiasm. Somewhere on the road or on the track or treadmill, they decided that the rewards just weren't worth the effort.

They decided that they could live without finding their limits, without challenging their expectations of themselves and without taking a hard look at their image of themselves.

You didn't.

If you're standing at the Start Line, you've not only accepted the challenge, but you've also beaten back the demons.

You've conquered your imagination and self-imposed limitations. You've gone further, got stronger and become tougher than you ever imagined.



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Sunday, October 18, 2009

A seed is sown

I was looking through the Internet one evening last week and ended up on the Boston marathon website. I don't know why I went to their site, just following a link or something like that I guess. Looking at the required qualifying times, I had previously thought that by my standards they were way too fast, I was astounded to find that if I hit my target time for Dublin that I would qualify for Boston.
Boston, hmmm !!! The seed was sown......

I must admit I would really fancy running Boston.

I really didn't know whether to mention the Boston idea here but then I thought, "why not, maybe it will push me a bit harder"
My target time for Dublin was set, in my head, many months ago.
It is substantially faster than last years time but something within my capabilities or so I thought.

With one week to go I'm suffering total taper madness, among other things my sleep pattern is gone to hell and I'm feeling tired most of the time, the complete opposite to what I should feel.
I don't remember last year being like this, maybe next year I'll need to look back on this to remind me of the madness.
The fact that it has a name or many names, taper blues, taper madness etc, etc. doesn't make the doubts and niggles any easier to deal with.
I'm wondering about the wisdom of a low mileage programme, the blisters on my left heal, the quad injury, my 10 mile run today didn't feel as easy as it should have been, 10 miles, ONLY 10 miles, for gods sake it should have been a total stroll in the park at this stage. It goes on and on.

I don't want to sound like a total moaner but I'm hoping that by keeping a record it may help for next time....if there is a next time !!

I know once the race starts everything will fall into place and I would like to finish my Dublin marathon report with ..... It was easier than I expected .......... (is that tempting fate?)


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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Last LSR .. Well sort of..

Last week was fairly uneventful, it finished with a 20 mile LSR, the last long run before the Dublin Marathon, although I will run 15 miles this coming weekend. I would still regard 15 miles as a longish run but with the 20's finished it feels like a break.

My Garmin 405 went nuts after about 8 miles, stopping and starting on its own. It drove me mad and messed up my pacing and distance for a couple of miles, luckily I had measured the course by car the previous evening.

Although the pace was slow I found that I was tired for the last 5 or 6 miles but I was pleasantly surprised to find my pace hadn't dropped towards the end.
Now all I have to do in less than 3 weeks time is run a lot faster for 6.2 more miles.... Oh dear !!!

The doubts are starting to creep in. I was reading a thread on boards.ie where people were listing their PB's and I noticed that a good few of them with similar half marathon times either had or were aiming for a marathon time 30 minutes slower than my target time....doubt no.1
The knees were a bit sore... start of an injury??? , A few sneezes .... is that a cold ??? Tired ... is the nutrition ok ???? Me bleedin' watch is fucked... etc. etc.
All silly things but although I've taken part in numerous events throughout this year, in fact way more that I originally set out to do, all the training has been geared towards the Dublin marathon.

Can I take nearly 3 weeks of this mental torture? ............. YES, YES I CAN......

On another note I've signed up for the Crookstown motorway 10k on the 7th November (2 weeks after the marathon :-0 )




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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Adidas Half Marathon, Phoenix park

I arrived to Dublin under less than ideal circumstances. I had my first ever visit to a physio on Monday. Tuesday was a hard session of 400's and a 40 min spin session. Wednesday was an easy run but I did absolutely nothing on Thursday or Friday because of soreness in my right leg.



Is that enough pre-race excuses - no, wait. I have more - I ran a couple of miles warm up with Sean, although the pace was slow I kept feeling that I needed to accelerate to keep with Sean and I could feel my right knee, not sore but knew I had a knee, if you know what I mean.



I had set my Garmin for 7 seconds per mile faster than McMillans calculations. I find it gives me something of a psychological comfort zone and the mental calculations during the run can pass some time.



The first mile was faster than target but that seems to be normal for me. The next few miles were comfortable and just a few seconds faster than target time. In the 3rd mile I could feel the soreness moving along the outside of my right thigh.
In the 5th mile I managed to swallow a gel and some drink.



The 7th mile included the first hill, I checked my watch at the Magazine and noted 30 seconds in the bank. I lost 20 of those on the climb, this was better than I expected. I continued to slowly drop seconds after the hill, up to the sharp turn at the football pitches, along the narrow path and back on to the tarmac.



The soreness in my right leg had moved along to my hip and groin and at this point I felt that I was slightly dragging my leg.



Heading towards the 10 mile marker I was down to 2 seconds ahead of schedule. I knew it was only a matter of yards before I went into minus figures. That happened at the water station where I noticeably slowed to try get some water into me.



Heading into the Glen is was at minus 20. Because of the cushion of 7 seconds per mile I had given myself I knew that barring a total collapse I should hit the McMillan target. I glanced at my watch a few hundred yards later and nearly freaked when it read minus 46 seconds. How the fuck had I lost so much time so quickly. I kept checking the watch and noticed the time was dropping rapidly, I guess the overhanging tree had caused the problem, thank Jaysus for that.

I put my head down and tried to keep to a good rhythm climbing the hill out of the glen. I was at minus 30 seconds when I came out of the glen.



I was delighted to see the 12 mile marker. I was somewhere between minus 20 - 25 seconds here.

Right that's it Chris, stretch out your little hairy legs and get moving, only 1.1 miles to go.

I was steadily chipping away at the time and with about 400m to go I switched over to the clock setting on my watch so I could check my actual time. I had actually passed some people in the last mile, something of a new thing for me.

I feel that I crossed the line in better shape than the 10 miler. I remember gasping for air after the finish of the 10 but although I think I finished the half marathon much faster I felt so much more relaxed. The only downside was that as soon as I started to walk I found myself limping quite heavily.
I noted afterwards that I had managed to make up the lost time.....by 1 second !!

I'm sure if I look after myself properly over the next 4 weeks I will be ready for the Dublin City Marathon.


I have to mention the efforts of my friend Sean, who cracked out a personal best to keep him on target for DCM with the sort of time that I will never even get close to.... Well done Sean




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Monday, September 21, 2009

A wasted week

I fully expected to be tired after the Achill Roar adventure race but I didn't expect something close to exhaustion.

On Monday evening I went to the gym to sit in the jacuzzi but it was out order for a while so I went in to do a few minutes training to try to get some of the soreness from my legs.
I ended up doing 40 mins hill programme on the treadmill and 30 mins med/easy on the spin bike, probably a little too much after the weekends efforts. At least I had the jacuzzi to look forward to. When I finished my session the damn thing was still not ready !!!! OK then a shower and home. On the way out the door to head home one of the girls calls me "hey Chris the jacuzzi is working now" AHHH FFS.

I was too wrecked on Tuesday morning to do any training and Tuesday evening was birthday pints with the lads so no training on Wednesday.
I attempted 4 x 1600's on Thursday but gave up after less than 10 mins. I had absolutely no energy, the auld pins just wouldn't move, again on Friday morning I felt like I couldn't lift my head off the pillow, absolutely no chance of running today.
All in all a totally crap unproductive week so far but a least I had Saturdays 20mile LSR to look forward to.
I was feeling more energetic on Saturday morning. The run was not as comfortable as it should have been but I remembered a terrible 20 miler in training for Dublin 08 and I probably wasn't 100% after such a poor weeks training so I reckoned I could cope with one bad one.

After about 12 miles I noticed a soreness in my groin that got progressively worse. I struggled on to Clonegal just 5 miles to home, here I stopped for a drink an a gel. I seriously considered calling someone to collect me - how many friends can you ask to put a smelly, sweaty runner into their car -but anyway I decided to push on. I was worried about aggravating my groin strain but also worried about the psychological issue of not finishing 1 of only 2 20 milers in my programme. I hobbled/jogged/walked the longest 5 miles of my life eventually making it home.

Sunday was 40 miles on the bike in beautiful sunshine and with good company. No major soreness just a slight discomfort in the groin. An enjoyable spin.

Monday morning I started a gentle jog on the treadmill but could still feel the tightness in my groin. Thoughts of missing the half marathon on Saturday or worse still the Dublin City Marathon in a few weeks time haunted me, prompting me to pay my first ever visit to a physiotherapist. Turns out that an previous knee problem was having a knock on effect on my leg. The physio says I'll be pleasantly surprised.
I'll know tomorrow morning :-)



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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Roar.ie

All people who partake in sports know about the ups and downs, about the good days and the bad days and you try to minimise the bad days. You try to plan to be at your best for any given event, you look after the nutrition, the rest, the training plans and all the other variables but sometimes it all just goes to shite.

I was so looking forward to roar, after enjoying Gale Force so much I wanted to have a go at another adventure race and roar looked good to fit the bill.

We had driven the 5+ hours to Achill on Friday evening and I pitched a tent while Kevin and Franzi hit a B&B. I had a relaxed and relaxing breakfast and with plenty of time to get my gear ready on Saturday morning, the only thing that caused me a delay was the several attempts to pin my race number to my jersey. I know it's probably a bit anal but I wanted the number straight and between my backpack straps, hey, what can I say, I'm a Virgo..

Pre race was all very civilised and well organised, the bikes were dropped to well marked racks and we then had a pre race brief that filled us in on the the pain we would shortly encounter.

I had the pleasure of running the first leg to the kayak transition with Kevin, we had agreed to do the kayak section together. I reckon that we hit the water in mid position and although I had trouble keeping up with Kevin's extremely high cadence at the start and had the occasional clash of paddles due to my mistiming, we picked up a lot of places. We literally ran into one of the few single kayaks with only a few hundred yards to go, we totally fucked each other up, yer man in the single got totally annoyed and was moaning but I reckoned he should have gotten out of the way as a single is easier to steer than a double. I guess I didn't help matters when I put in a stern rudder on the wrong side and drove the moaning fucker 90 degrees sideways (I swear I didn't mean to do that). We had made up loads of places and if the course was longer I reckon we would have been 1st out of the water.

We hopped out and dragged the kayak back to land.....

This is where is all started to go downhill... well almost.. it took another mile or two before I knew for sure....
Running along the beach my legs felt like they weighed a tonne, I could feel every step. This was not going to be a day for gracefully gliding along (not that I could ever be classed as graceful) I briefly toyed with the idea of cutting back to the main road and walking back to the car but the thoughts of DNF after my name on the results sheet would haunt me for a long time.

I walked long sections of the uphill - as did most others - I lost plenty of places and I was wondering to myself if I should push harder or just keep steady away. I noticed that many of those that passed me were only a short distance ahead and not pulling away into distance so steady away it was.
I did say that I hoped to see a lot of those that passed me on the bike section and so I did.

A short downhill was followed by a flatish section to a flag and then uphill again towards the masts. After the flag I was able to see back along the route and I was delighted to notice there were still plenty of competitors behind me.
The downhill was not as difficult as Gael Force but I still managed to lose more places here. I really need to work on this mountain running thing !!! The sun was beating down and I was out of drink for the descent. All I could think about were the 2 drink bottles on my bike. I want my bike.... I WANT MY BIKE.
The final miles of the run were torture, the bog was bad enough but the stones were murder, it seemed worse than running in soft sand. I managed to get into something of a rhythm on the beach but it was too little too late.

At last the bike transition.
I gulped down half a bottle of drink as soon as I got to my bike ....Ahhhh.....beautiful
I'm so glad that because of the fine weather we didn't need to carry waterproofs so I was able to fit all my mandatory kit into my jersey pockets and dump the backpack.
I took the first mile to get more food and drink into me all the while closing in on the guy ahead.
He really looked the part a full Caisse D'Epargne kit and a good road bike. I moved in behind him as waited for another guy in a yellow jersey to catch up. When he did I said to the guys "want to work together ?" They agreed so off I went. We were on a long uphill drag and I took a good turn at the front, after numerous elbow flicks and a few looks back yellow jersey moved to the front, a quick glance behind confirmed that Caisse D'Epargne had disappeared. I tucked in behind yellow jersey for a bit but he started to slow down on the uphill, I pulled ahead of him again and when I looked back shortly after he was gone.
I picked off a few more on the main road, I then turned right to head along the coast drive.
I was feeling sick at times - I guess the mix of food, drinks and gels didn't agree with me - but I had decided that I was not going to give up the places that I had made up so if I had to puke I was going puke on the move. It turned out that I was ok.

I reckon that everybody who turns up for a race has a good look at all the other competitors.
The potential to be intimidated is immense. This is why I believe that it is sooo important to look the part....
At the start Kev, Franzi and myself all agreed that a rather tall guy in a tri-suit really looked like a fit athlete and maybe a contender, it was with the utmost pleasure that I passed this guy on the bike section. As enjoyable as it was for me it must have been soul destroying for him to have a little, fat old bloke piss past him while asking " how's it goin' ..you ok ?"

I knew that there was 1 steep climb - a guy earlier on the uphill run said it was only 300m - I drew alongside a guy on the way up - I didn't want to pass him - and we had a chat on the way up and it made the climb easier to do it with someone else. We had to log in with our timers at the top and when he sprinted to check in first I knew his form. I let him go ahead on the downhill as I was as usual on the brakes but I caught him straight away on the next uphill, fuck him , I wasn't going to nurse him up the next hill.

Although I was having a bad day I had not been passed on the bike section, I had made up loads of places and was quite pleased with myself until a guy with a full Saxobank kit went past me on the steepest uphill after the time checkpoint.

When Saxobank passed me he looked fast and strong and I was impressed and thought that I would never see him again but he ended up only a few hundred yards ahead of me. At one point I sort of woke up and realised he was only a few yards ahead of me an I should really try to close the gap to make things easier for me but I couldn't be arsed so I just kept steady away.

When we got back onto the main road I was following Saxobank we eventually caught up on another two guys, I thought he would go straight past them but he slowed up... WTF.. I stayed behind - not on his wheel - but waiting for him to go, then one of the other guys sprinted ahead.. Ahh fuck it .. thats it , I'm going.. I drove on for the last 4 or 5 miles. When I passed a cyclist I expected them to grab my wheel but none did. I ended strongly and ran the last section to the finish line.
I ran to the spot to rack my bike, the bloke just before me racked his bike at an angle across my area, because we were at a end section I couldn't fit my bike, it took me awhile to get his bike out of the way. I ran to the finish line and discovered later that I missed a place by 3 seconds.

Because there was such a small field with loads of elite athletes I was really worried that I would not finish or would finish last. I have since discovered that I finished in the top half.. that is much better than I expected.. Again I can't wait for next year....

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This week is ROAR.IE

It's been a funny couple of weeks since the Gael Force race. I also discovered that I've been spelling it incorrectly in all my previous posts. (Gale...ooops !!!)

I've been trying to stick to my marathon training schedule but I'm finding the speed work difficult.
Also last week I abandoned a 10 mile tempo run after 1.5 miles, the 1.5 miles home were very slow.
I've reduced my carb intake and I think that maybe why I had no energy.

I had to split my LSR this weekend. I was due 18 miles but what I did was 10.3 miles with a backpack (change of clothes and cross trainers) then took 1.5 hours clearing up after the Tree Climbing Competition and did the 10.3 miles home. I hope the extra few miles makes up for the half way break.
I was getting a burning sensation in my right heel from the 6th or 7th mile on the out run. I rearranged my sock but it didn't really help. I changed into my cross trainers for the home run and experienced no further problems. I must check my runners...

I haven't cycled since Gael Force but I hope to get out for a few hours today (Wednesday) It's too late to do much before Saturdays race.
I can only hope that I haven't lost too much bike fitness.
Ahh fuck it, I'll be grand....




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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Roar.ie - Here we go again

I guess that I couldn't wait until Gale Force next year so I've signed up for this - Roar.ie

I also haven't posted the past two weeks training.

To be honest I couldn't be arsed at the moment. I may do it later

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Gale Force West Adventure Race

Gale Force Race

And so it begins. Standing on a beach with a bunch of other nutters, waiting for the off.
We are the second wave to go. There is a bit of banter but most people are bit tense at this point.

Away we go along the beach and up through the dunes to the tarmac road. Even at this early stage the group has strung out over quite a distance. The road takes a sharp left and continues uphill for a while. Cheering, clapping and shouts of encouragement from the next group at this point is a great buzz.
I knew that we would have to gain height but I was a little shocked to find that I was running back down to sea level.

Over a wire fence and onto the first off road hill/mountain.
Bog, running water, loose stones all combined to make this section hurt more than I would have liked at this early stage. I still managed to get some photos and another competitor offer to take my photo, fair play to him.


Here's the photo he took


A tight right calf was worrying but it seemed to go quickly as I wondered whether I was going to do the downhill on my head or on my arse. I was so glad that I have invested in cross-trainers as the surface was a greasy mix of mud, grass, rocks and water, the guys in road shoes were really having problems.



It was then onto a rough track, again the surface was shite but at least it was level (ish).
Running alongside Killary Fjord was spectacular. I managed to get some video here but it was mostly some blokes muddy legs and arse.
The track improved after a while and when a girl passed me I dropped in behind her and found that she was running at the perfect pace for me. We ended up chatting and this helped pass the last 3 or so miles of the run (thanks Debs). We also picked off plenty of other competitors on the way.

The kayak section was next, the arrival area had a timed out section in case people had to w
ait for kayaks. I made use of this to get some food and drink into me.
The kayaks were 2 man sit on tops. I partnered up with Debs for the crossing. She is a more experienced kayaker than me so she took the rear seat. Off we set across Killary Fjord.
I really had no idea what to expect from the kayak section. I had no idea how hard it would be, how long would it take or would I capsize and end up swimming.
It was much easier than I would have hoped we got into a nice rhythm straight away and sped across the water. The only disruption was from wake off a jet ski and that didn’t last long. Again we picked u
p a few places here.

Out of the water, drop the buoyancy aid and the paddle, on with the backpack and away again. Clamber up from the waters edge and onto still more bog. My shoes were full of water from getting off the kayak and stepping into the water but there was nothing to do but keep going and wonder if Gortex shoes were such a good idea after all. The run took me through bog, someones back garden and out their driveway (that was a little weird) onto the road to the Delphi centre.

I felt that I was comfortable with my running pace and I was reasonably fresh arriving at the
bike transition at Delphi.

I took my time at the bike transition, getting in some food and drink. I stuck a few gels and jellies in my pockets and started to head off, just outside the transition area I decided to stop and empty the water out of my shoes, I had a spare pair of socks in my bag, thinking of what was ahead I thought that it may be a good idea to change. As it turned out when I took my shoe off, although it was heavy and sodden, no water poured from it. I just put it back on and mounted the bike.


A pro looking chap on a decent road bike passed me just outside the Delphi Centre gate as I was taking some video. We had a bit of craic as he passed. I quickly caught up with him as I thought we may be able to work together but that went by the wayside when we hit the start of the hills and he disappeared backwards.

I had driven this section of road to Drummin twice this week, the first time without realising it was part of the Gale Force route, the second time I paid more attention.
I expected the long climb but what I didn't expect was the amount of competitors walking up the hill. I plodded steadily upwards passing plenty on the way. I taking a wild guess that this cycling stage wa
s the strongest part of the course for me.
I was dreading the downhill. It was narrow, grass up the middle, wet, covered in gravel and had a horrible drop off one side. I had visions of loosing control and crashing on it. What actually happened was that I got down without any problem, I was only passed by a few riders and I collected most of those almost immediately after the hill. I have to admit that I was delighted to have this hill behind me.
The following few miles were quite pleasant and I took several video clips and made a some phone calls, probably not the best thing to do during a "race" but I was clipping along at a good rate and feeling strong. The route hit the main road for a short while then turned left and was mostly uphill to the Croagh Patrick transition area. Again there were plenty of competitors struggling on the hills and a number of them we
re walking.

I racked the bike, dropped the helmet and went through the checkpoint, picked up a drink from stand and set off up Croagh Patrick "The Reek"


I was totally surprised to see Kevin just ahead of me, normally I see Kev at the start of a race then he disappears into the distance and that's the last I see of him until after the finish line.
I must have made up some good time on the bike.
Kev is half man half mountain goat and I managed to get some video of him descending on the loose rocks near the summit to prove it.
The options on the ascent were to head to the right away from the summit and take the less steep route to the pilgrims track or take the steeper, boggy route to the left. I opted for the more direct route
as did most other competitors.
The first section is soft, boggy and covered with heather. It is steep but soft underfoot. The fun really starts when you get on the pilgrims track. This is made up of a mixture of various sized rocks from pebbles to large stones and some dusty and extremely slippery bare sections.
I stumbled, slipped and tripped my way up, managing to stop occasionally to take video of the magnificent scenery


I eventually made it to the summit and here a strange transaction occurred. I turned into a tourist. I wandered around taking video clips and photos, I admired the view and I got some random person (non competitor) to take my photo.

This one here ---->

Islands in Clew bay in the backround

Eventually I got moving again. The descent on the pilgrims path was nuts, I don't know how some people managed to run down this without killing themselves. I slipped onto my arse on numerous occasions and was grateful not to fall head first at any point. It was easier once I got back on the heather section but I still didn't dare run until nearly back to the transition area.

I took my time getting back on the bike, it was nice to travel downhill. It was a short spin to the left turn that was the start of the track over the hill towards Westport. On way up to Croagh Patrick I had seen some of the first wave arrive at this point and immediately jump off their bikes and run the track. I figured they knew what they were doing so I did the same. While running along the track I was checking the surface. A case of "ahh fuck it I can cycle this" overcame me. Various stages of on, off and half on the bike followed. On some of the muddy sections I totally lost traction on the back wheel and pushed along one legged scooter like.

I was running one section keeping pace with a guy frantically peddling his mountain bike, he only went ahead of me when I stopped to remount my bike. As for remounting, it was a nightmare. I had swopped to toe clips for the event but the rough sole on my cross-trainers refused to slide into the clips which meant I had to try to lean down and use my hand to hold the clip. This is not really a problem on roads but I was travelling just above stalling speed all the while trying not to fall on my snot on the rocks and mud.

The downhill was too much for me - I nearly shit myself - back to running. I stepped aside to let 1 or 2 mountain bike pass, then I moved aside for another bike, a brief conversation ensued. It was something like this:

Cyclist: Thanks

Me: Jaysus, you're brave doing this on a road bike.

Cyclist: I hate running - ahh fuck, shit Ohh jaysus.

His last sentence was roared in panic as he slid sideways and weaved across the track. He did really well to stay upright, brave man.

Eventually it was out onto something that passes as a road in the west. I was nervous on the downhill bends as the road was obviously greasy and wet in parts with what looked like moss growing on it. I was slowly passed by a mountain bike here but I didn't care.

Out onto the Louisburgh to Westport road. What a brilliant moment, my wife and son were there to cheer me on. "Go on Dad, Go on Dad" A total buzz, I even managed a high five with my son as he ran along at full gallop. Good road and only a few miles to the finish - Way Hay - I went into road bike mode. As soon as I got wound up to a proper speed I lashed past that bloody mountain biker who had overtaken me a few minutes earlier - pass me would ya, take that - hard left and full pelt to Westport House.

I was alone along the last couple of miles. Small groups and individuals were dotted along the road cheering and clapping. It was great encouragement. I though I was Lance Armstrong - well without the drugs - unless yesterdays Guinness is a banned substance. Through the gates of Westport House, along the coned off path, I passed a few competitors here - not because I was flying but they were going slow - a steward flagging cyclists to slow down before a left turn, at this point I was expecting to take the left and pass over the timing mat. I was surprised to find a steward directing me to a bike transition area - Ahh shit another change to go.

Nothing different at this transition, I sort of plodded to a vacant spot on the bike rack and hooked up the bike. I started to run towards the finish line and then the vanity kicked in - bearing in mind that I don't have a head that suits a helmet - I returned to the bike and left my helmet and glasses there, must be photos at the finish line.... Sure enough after the short run on grass I was running towards the large inflated tent like structure that marked the finish line when the vanity thing kicked in again - raised arms or not, which would look better? A bit sad don't you thing. Anyway went with the arms up !!!! Crossed the line at 5.24.20 ish........

This was by far the most enjoyable event that I've been in this year. As it was my first adventure race I didn't know how to pace the stages. On reflection I could have made up time on most of the stages. I was worried about running out of steam but finished with plenty in the tank. I defiantly could have made better time if I hadn't stopped/slowed down to take videos and photos.

I'll know better for next year !!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pre Gale Force Race

I went for a run on Tuesday. My intention was to do a steady 5 mile run but I ended up doing just over 9 mile really, really slowly. I don't know why the legs wouldn't work, maybe it was the few pints of Guinness the night before - well, I am on holidays - or the tiredness from the Adidas 10 miler on Saturday or maybe the start was a little more hilly than I had realised but the old pins didn't want to move.

I was running along bohereens along by Croagh Patrick. The scenery and views were stunning. At one point I was chasing a sheep along the road - Oh Jaysus, that sounds weird - I could see the road heading up along the mountain towards a coll and got it into my head to keep going until I hit the summit. I stoped there to walk around for a while a did a little dry reaching (that's not good) before setting off for home.


Picture taken on run ---->




The last few miles home were torture.
I'm glad I got out and did the miles even if they weren't too much fun....



The plan for Wednesday was to head off for a easy 25/30 mile spin on the bike.

I awoke to the sound of rain beating on the window and howls of wind.

Once again I wondered how bleedin' mad I was.


With the exception of one 25 mile spin while on holidays in Dingle I haven't cycled more than 10 mile in one go since the Wicklow 200 in early June.

I headed out through Louisburgh and on to Delphi.

After a while the rain doesn't bother me too much but the wind, the wind is a bastard. From Louisburgh to Delphi the head wind was murder. My intention for the spin was to have an easy ride without using too much energy or hurting the legs, what happened on the way out was that I had to peddle even on the downhills.

Although the picture above doesn't do justice to the surroundings I was very aware of the beautiful area that I was cycling through.













I turned around a Delphi and headed back along the same route. The wind had dropped and the 30mph flat sections were all me !!!!!

Made it back in record time and again glad that I had made the effort to get out today....

Went to the beach PM to try some surfing but the red flags were out and we decided to leave it until another time..







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Monday, August 17, 2009

Adidas 10 Mile Race

Sometimes I wonder am I totally mad. These thoughts usually occur to me while running along some rutted, pot-holed country bohereen in torrential rain or while cycling into a headwind up a mountain, all the while dribbling snot and wondering if I’ll ever get the feeling back into my hands and feet. Then along comes a day like Saturday with the Adidas 10 mile run in the Phoenix Park.
I realise that I may be mad but so are at least 6000 other souls.
This run was the first one that I had an exact time target for – right down to the second - based on the McMillan running calculator.
So while stand in the crowd at the start I set my watch for 4 seconds per mile below my target, as little as 4 seconds per mile is, it gave me a physiological comfort zone. Just to demonstrate how thick I can sometimes be, it took me until into the third mile to realise that over 10 mile that would equate to a full 40 seconds.. Duh !!

There wasn’t the usual melee at the start and I found myself nearly 15 seconds ahead of target at the mile marker. I passed this point with my friend Kevin Birchall and fully expected not to see him again until after the finish (I did mention in a previous post that he is genetically enhanced)
At the 2 mile mark my time had pushed out to 20 seconds but I knew there were hills coming.

The weather on the day was probably a typical mix for an Irish summer. The heavy rain stopped just before the start of the race and was followed by some sunshine. At some point during the run I noticed drizzle but I'm not sure when it started or stopped. There was also one downpour, people were commenting on it afterwards but in truth I hardly noticed it. What I did notice was the sunshine, especially towards the end, I felt extremely warm and momentarily considered taking off my T shirt. For the sake of everybody in sight of me I'm glad I didn't.

By the half way point I was 5 seconds behind time and I was worried that because I had lost so much time on the hills on the first lap that the wheels would come off on the second lap.
In the next 2 miles I picked up 16 seconds that was enough to make me feel like I could finish on target, barring a total collapse.

I would like to mention the young lady in tight black shorts who seemed to be running at the perfect pace for me, I followed her for about 3 miles and if I started to drift I would close the gap to her again. She slowed on the Magazine hill and I passed her I then followed a guy in an orange t shirt. He was at the right pace but his arse wasn’t as nice.

The last 2 miles, as expected, were something of a struggle. I may have been able to shave another few seconds if I tried to get passed the groups on the narrow footpath towards the finish but it didn’t seem worth the effort.

I’m very pleased with the day. I finished under target and thoroughly enjoyed myself, well except for the pain and the rain and the hills, other than that I enjoyed myself !!!!!!!!!!

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Week 6

Monday

45 mins on spin bike. 3 minute blocks. 10 x 1 min pushing seated, 10 x 1 min pushing out of saddle & 10 x 1 min recovery. Balance was warm up & warm down.
The auld pins are still a little bit sore from Saturdays run. I'm not really sure why they are sore, maybe it's just old age ;-)
Brought the bike so I'll cycle home.

Tuesday

4 x 1200 on treadmill.
Cycle to and from work

Wednesday

Today was to be a non running day. I really should do some cross-training but with just over a week to go to the Gale Force Race I wanted to get in some off road miles.


I drove to a local forestry track - part of the Wicklow Way - and set off for an easy paced few miles. Although I was taking it handy the hill were steep enough to make me huff and puff.


I stopped once to take some photos. This is one of me with the windmills near Shillelagh in the backround. ----->

Just realised the windmill are really hard to see... Ahh well


A nice amount of down hill on the return, thank jaysus. Ended with just over 5 miles.

Thursday

AM. 20 spin bike, easy(ish) 10 treadmill @ 14kph, 10 spin bike.

PM. Loaded up the backpack for an easy 5 miles. I had to put the brakes on after 3 miles as I was way too fast. - I've just re-read that sentence, ha ha, "way too fast" love it - I didn't want to be tired or sore for Adidas 10 mile run on Saturday. Plodded the last 2 miles home.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Marathon Training Week 5

Tuesday

Cycled home from work and then after dinner headed to the local grass track for some speed work.
My programme said I should do 10 x 400m and according to McMillan I should do them at 1.35.
Ran some warm up laps and set off for my first outdoor 400's.
After 2 laps I was wheezing like a heavy smoker.
I kept going for another few laps but my breathing was too bad to continue.
I really should have done some warm down laps but I was so pissed off that I just hopped on the bike and went home.

Wednesday

8k on treadmill. 38.39

Thursday

35 mins on treadmill 2 x 10 @ tempo

Friday

40 mins on spin bike
9 x 1 min pushing seated, 9 x1 out of saddle & 9 x1 recovery. Balance warm up & warm down.

Saturday

I was due to do 14 miles LSR but ended up doing 16 miles. The last 3 miles were the fastest but in fairness they were mostly downhill ....lol

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Oh Shit I'm in Trouble

With the Gale Force race less than 3 weeks away I went out for my first off road/trail/mountain run this morning.
Kitted out with my new Salomon running shoes and a small Berghaus backpack Kevin Birchall and yours truly headed for Glendalough.

I was telling myself that my cough had cleared up- yeah right !- and that this should be a handy 16k.

Well, wasn't all that positive thinking going to get fucked up.

Wheezing through the first mile of tarmac and track should have given me a clue that all was not well. In fairness the pace was a little faster than I would normally start a training session at, but still !

By the time we were into the second mile my right calf was painfully tight and a few stretches did nothing to relieve tightness. I pushed on for another while but the calf was getting worse.
I reckoned with Gale Force and the Adidas 10 mile race so close I wasn't going to risk injury so after a quick look at the map - I should have looked a bit closer - we decided that Kev would push on over Camaderry and I would return to the car and drive around to pick him up.
I went about 1/4 mile further along the track at a jog/walk and then did an about face for the return to the car.

Picking my way through the rocks and stones I risked an occasional glance at my watch and was really surprised at how slow I was descending. Another lesson learned, don't underestimate how long it takes picking your way over rocky ground, even if it is downhill.

When the track leveled out and required less concentration I had time to ponder why my calves had caused so much trouble. I guess it is the different running style needed to negotiate steep, uneven ground.
The need to place your foot in a reasonably exact spot means that you land on the ball of your foot rather that the more heel first style of road running (note to self- check out the Chi stuff). I surmised (I'm watching too much Law and Order) that the strain and stretch put on the calf by pushing uphill from the ball of the foot caused the tightness in my calves, especially the right one (I must be leading off more with the right) and the solution: MORE TRAINING.

I went to collect Kevin from the prearranged spot - this is where I should have paid more attention to the map - I ended up waiting at a car park beyond Glenmacnass waterfall, however, I should have been on a completely different road, eventually I realised and made my way to the correct place. On a positive note because of the delay Kevin managed an extra bit of running ;-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Week 4

The week so far has been a bit of a disaster.
I can't shift a chesty cough so the training has been very limited.
I've cycled to and from work and I've done a few miles on the treadmill and that's it so far.
I may be kayaking this evening so that may help keep things ticking over.

Didn't get out kayaking..

Managed a bit on the treadmill..

On Friday in did 8k in 39.50... not too bad considering I still can't get rid of this cough.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A week in Dingle

Sunday 19th July

We arrived at Dingle after dark on Saturday night. The plan was to get in a 12 mile LSR first thing on Sunday morning. I got some route suggestions from a few of the lads on Boards.ie.
I had managed to get an OS map from a late night garage, so with beer in hand (cheers Paul) I planned my route.
I headed off just after 7.00 on Sunday morning, it was lashing rain but warm.
The run took me along quiet country roads – although, I suppose most roads are quiet at that time Sunday morning – the hedgerows were bursting with Fuchsia and Crocosmia, the hills to one side and Dingle bay to the other, what a great place to run.
I took a looping route to Ventry and headed out towards Ballyferriter. Despite the weather I was enjoying the run, at what was supposed to be the half way point I decided to keep going for an extra half mile.
Although the return journey was back along the same roads, the views were fantastic and I was certainly not bored.
A most enjoyable 13 miler.
I had been kayaking last Wednesday and made the mistake of not wearing a baselayer under my wetsuit, so the only downside to Sundays run was the bloody nipples, I didn’t notice during the run but the fecking things are still sore… Ouch !!!

Monday 20th July

We went sea fishing this morning. It was great craic – I did see my breakfast twice – we ended up with a load of mackerel and Pollock. We’ll be living on fish for the rest of the week.

I went out for a spin on the bike in the afternoon. I took the coast road around Slea Head and through Dunquin, Ballyferriter and Feohanagh. The scenery was stunning and to make matters even better I had a tail wind for a good part of the journey.
Traffic was light enough, I’m sure it was mostly tourists in hire cars, the same mini bus passed me three times along the route.
I noticed a strange behaviour from some of the drivers, I don’t know if it’s a foreign thing but some of the cars hung right back, so when there was an opportunity to overtake the fucking eejits were too far away to do so. I didn’t mind but I would love to know why they did it.
On one stretch of road there is a downhill followed by a 90 degree left bend. As I approached the bend I took a wide line (car behind hanging back) to the other side of the road, jaysus, I’m glad that I did because as I reached the bend I was greeted by a river running across the road, now this was not casual water running down the hill and across the road but a mini river and the road had been paved with rocks/stones to facilitate this. I tried to pick the flattest, shallowest part to cross, although I was gripping the bike with everything possible, including gripping the saddle with my arse (well, that’s what it felt like) I fully expected to take a spill in the wet rocks, I’m still not sure how I got across in one piece.
The spin was only about 25 miles but was well worth it for the scenery alone.

Tuesday 21st July

I set out this morning to do a 5 mile tempo run but I knew after the first few yards at the faster tempo that this was not going to happen today. My legs felt really tired, don’t know if it because of the Adidas 5 mile run on Saturday or not but I settled for a slow/medium 6.5 miles.
I got lashed on again, aren’t Irish summers great?
We had a surf lesson in the afternoon. That was a blast, we spent 2 hours trying to catch the right waves and stand on the board. I laughed for the whole time and even managed to get upright on the board a few times (not for very long). For the last half hour I was so tired that I was struggling just to hop up on to the board. I reckon that this counts as a good workout.

Thursday 23rd July

I woke at 4.00am this morning with a stuffed nose and sore throat, managed to doze for another couple of hours but didn't feel great when I got out of bed.
I was supposed to do a tempo run today but after a few minutes I realised that was not an option and settled for 5 miles at predicted marathon pace. The first mile was ok and the second was 10 seconds off pace but it was mostly uphill so I wasn't too bothered. It all went tits up after that.
My legs just stopped working and at the halfway point I stopped to walk around a bit and try to relieve the pains in my calf's and shins. The few miles home were a struggle and I didn't even bother to retrieve the info from my Garmin.

Went sea kayaking later this morning. That was great fun. We paddled across Dingle harbour and into some of the sea caves. We spent a couple of hours in the kayaks so I'm going to count that as a workout ;-)

Saturday/Sunday

I was to do a 13 mile LSR this weekend but both days I've had a sore throat and a bit of a cough so I decided to skip the run until I feel better.
I did manage 2 hours surfing on Saturday, hopefully that will help maintain some level of fitness.

Adidas 5 mile run

A dull and overcast day greeted the runners for the Adidas 5 mile run in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
I started from Sean’s house and we ran a gentle warm up of about 20/25 minutes around the park – I hadn’t realised how fantastic the tracks around the park are for running – we then headed for the start line.
Sean headed off to do some strides and I hopped over the barrier close to the front. I had made the mistake at the BUPA 10k of starting too far back – actually in the correct time pen - and had no chance of getting a decent time with all the fat arsed women blocking the road. This time I thought that I would be close enough to the start line that I may be one of the fat arses that people were trying to get past. In the 10 or 15 minutes before the race started every available space in front of me was filled with runners of all shapes and sizes.
A sudden push forward heralded the start of the race. Away I went zig zagging through the runners, giving out to myself for starting too far back again.
I checked my watch at about ½ mile and I was totally surprised to find that I was 15 seconds ahead of schedule at the mile mark I was a full 30 seconds up.
I knew that there were a few hills ahead so I was happy enough to be ahead of time at this point.
Mile 2 was still below target – another 3 seconds ahead – not too bad.
It all started to fall apart from mile 3 – 13 seconds over target.
Mile 4 - 35 seconds too slow – this section was mainly up hill, well, at least it felt like that…. no, no it really was !!
Mile 5 – 5 seconds too slow.
When I set my target time for this event I was looking for a PB of sub 37.07, this time was set at the Sportsworld 5 mile race a couple of months previously and was the day after the Mount Leinster Challenge, 140 km cycle including over Mt Leinster twice, so sub 37.07 was my out loud time…….my in my head time was sub 35…….. 34.59 would have been really good.
I finished up 32 seconds behind my “in my head time” and to be honest I’m a bit disappointed, although if McMillan is to be believed that time is good enough to keep me on track for the Dublin City Marathon – I hope he’s right………….

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Taper Week...Well, sort of

This is a strange week as it is the second week of my marathon training programme but it is also a taper (lol) week for Saturdays Addidas series 5 mile run.
Luckily the programmes are not too dissimilar so I'll take the best (easiest) options.

Tuesday 14th July
3 mile run on treadmill @ just sub 7 min miles.

Wednesday 15th July
40 mins tempo
2 hours kayaking

Thursday 16th July
3 miles easy on treadmill (11.5kph)

Friday 17th July
Some handy stuff on the treadmill and a bit on the spin bike

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Things

This blog is named "Training, Events & Things"

I started it mainly to put out my training schedule in an attempt to keep me honest.
This post is about one of the "things" and has nothing to do with training or events.

I was involved with Drimnagh Basketball Club for a good number of years. I lost touch with the club and a lot of friends when I moved away from Dublin.
On Saturday Drimnagh were playing in the Leinster final of the community games in my local town.

I haven't seen a Drimnagh team play for a long time. I arrived just after the game started and as I walked in I saw 3 players from the same team, one after the other dive for the ball, I'll tell you now that I didn't have to look to the bench to see what colour Drimnagh were wearing to know what team was what, the level of commitment in Drimnagh hasn't changed.

I lost most of my nails during the first game - the semi final - and I'm sure that I shouted at the refs far more than I should have. The funny thing about this is that despite the fact that I haven't been involved in basketball for years I wanted to jump in beside the coach and say "why don't you do this or why don't you do that"

Drimnagh won the semi final eventually and were set for the Leinster final.

Between games I went for a coffee with my son and an old friend, I have to say that the clock was turned back for that hour or so. I had a very enjoyable time.

Drimnagh won the final with style, some of the players stood out, they have the potential to become a force in Irish basketball.
The Drimnagh team were so well drilled and did the right thing at the right time so often that it is a testament to their coach(s)

I haven't been involved with Drimnagh Basketball Club for a lot of years but after Saturdays games I think that I will head to the finals in Athlone to support a fantastic group of players.

In all the years that I've been away from basketball, I don't think that I've ever missed it as much as I did when I saw those kids play on Saturday......................

Marathon Training Starts

This week was the start of my 16 week marathon training programme.
I've done a few runs, tempo, normal, long slow & recovery and some gym stuff, chest & arms.
I'm thinking that I'm not doing enough.
I need to do more mile and I need to get out on the bike for cross-training.
Let's see what happens..

Monday, June 29, 2009

Another week

Slow 6 mile run on Saturday (it wasn't really supposed to be that slow)

Monday a.m. gym... back session
For the past few sessions I have been doing sets of 10 for a change. I'll see how that works out.

Tuesday a.m.
I'm starting to sound like a broken record (need to find a new expression, nobody younger that me knows what a record is - it's like a CD but bigger) anyway, should have done 400's today but just can't seem to find the motivation to do them on the treadmill.
Messed around with a few intervals but got a bit pissed off when I realised that the fast part (1 minute intervals) that I was struggling with was actually slower then my 5 mile pace from the last race. How fucked up is that?
I really need to run these outdoors with somebody to pace me....

Thursday
Spending a few days in Rush.
It really pissed rain last night and for most of this morning. Apparently Dublin has been hit with bad flooding.
Waited for the rain to clear and headed out for a 40min/5 mile tempo run.
I put on a rain jacket but had to take it off at the turn around point, the heat was killing me. I struggled a bit at the faster pace but I was 20 seconds ahead of planned pace for the first run, that would have put me on my fastest race pace. Although I only lasted 8.5 minutes instead of 10.
I also slowed a good bit towards the end of the second fast section.
Hopefully I'll feel better about the pacing as I get more used to it.

Friday
Ran 6 miles at 7.56 pace and was struggling a bit. I know that at this point I couldn't keep this pace up for 26.2 miles.

Saturday
Thought that it would be a good idea to do a few miles barefoot on the beach. The sand was hard for the first couple of hundred yards and I was thinking to myself that this is not going to be too bad. Then I hit the soft stuff and spent the next 2.5 miles sinking ankle deep on every step. I was fairly tired when I got back to the car.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

LAZY LAZY LAZY LAZY

Thursday 25th June
I ran 5 miles last Thursday and have not done a thing since, except for a slow 10 mile cycle home from work yesterday.
I'm really starting to feel guilty.
Just over 3 weeks to the Addidas 5 miler.
Get the finger out you lazy sod...................

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Week commencing 15th June

Monday a.m. bit on the rower, bit on the spin bike.. That'll do... Oh! nearly forgot, cycled home from work.

Tuesday a.m. Should have done 8 x 400m, actually did 4 x 400m (slowly) and 10 minutes intervals at level 10....... Sat in the bubbles.....happy days ... cycled to gym and onto work...

Wednesday...p.m..... Same hilly 5 mile run as last week.. Felt alot better this time... nearly 30 seconds per mile faster, although in all fairness it's still very slow. I'll actually have to run the marathon 30 seconds per mile faster if I hope to hit my (at the moment) target.........

Thursday p.m. .... Running 40 minutes tempo, total of 5 miles

Monday, June 15, 2009

Week ending 14th June

This was a funny week.
Monday was a rest day after the exertions of a 200k cycle on Sunday.

I started a 10k training plan this week, well, I started 4 weeks into an 8 week training plan.

PM Tuesday I went to the gym with the intention of doing (as per the plan) 8 x 400m on the treadmill. What I actually managed was 4 x 400 and that hurt. The spin class was starting just as I finished so I had a go at that for 35/40 minutes and followed with 15 minutes on the treadmill for a warmdown.

On Wednesday I went for a hilly five mile run by Ballinavorta. It was the longest most painful run I've ever done. I thought that I would never get home. To make matters worst the pace was horribly slow. (am. Shoulders/traps)

Thursday was my first attempt at a tempo run. 10mins steady, 10 mins just below race pace, 5 mins steady and another 10 mins at just below race pace, finishing with 10 mins steady. Overall not too bad. (am. back)

Friday was a running rest day..... (am. triceps)

I cheated on Saturday. I threw some gear into a backpack and headed off to the gym by the long route. I set out for a slowish 6 miles and I hate to admit this but at about 3.5 miles I stopped and walked, I felt totally bolloxed, worse still I stopped my watch. Thats a first, both the stopping/walking thing and stopping the watch. It doesn't feel good !!
Chest/biceps at gym.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wicklow 200




This is Allen Mc and Chris Cassidy at the end of the Wicklow 200 cycle.


We look far too fresh........


The last 8 weeks of training, the hill climbs, the sore arse, the cold wet miles were all for today.

The number starts with a 3 when the alarm goes off. Ahhh Jaysus, why didn't I go to bed earlier. On the road for 4.30am, didn't see another car for the first hour until I hit the N11. Enjoyable drive, I really like driving on the quiet country roads.

The carpark and grounds of UCD are festival like with all the brightly coloured gear and gleaming bikes. I bumped into Orla and Gilly at the check in. It took only a few minutes to check in and then back to the car to have a cup of coffee and sort the bike and clothes for the day.

Clothes, clothes, bloody Irish weather, what to wear? The forecast is for heavy showers but no rain so far although the roads are still wet from last nights rain. Base layer? (is it cold enough) rain jacket?(will it be that rainy) Shorts or tights? Overshoes? Decision made, short sleeved jersey under long sleeved jersey (no base layer) shorts, 2 pairs of socks and overshoes (what a mix). Load up the pockets with bars, gels and jelly babies and off to the start.

We headed off with a group at a comfortable pace, it was a real mixed bag of all sorts. Racers, a few mountain bikes and one or two rotund people (guessed the large ones were doing the 100) The group stayed together until Enniskerry, well, until the hill after Enniskerry. It was going to be a day of groups forming and breaking up and other groups forming. There is a sharp downhill to Powerscourt and we passed a car stopped on the opposite side of the road with its wing hanging off. I'm not sure yet but I think that the damage was caused by a collision with a cyclist.
A short, sharp, lung bursting, leg hurting hill followed, was this a sign of things to come?

We headed towards Glencree and turned up to the Sally Gap. This is a long, steady climb with no real lung bursting bits, The scenery was amazing and it gave me a real buzz to see the line of cyclists snaking along the road to the top of the Gap, I even risked a few looks behind me as I neared the top, to enjoy the sight of hundreds of brightly dressed bikers cutting a ribbon like line through the greenery of the mountains.

The descent, well now, the descent that was a totally different kettle of fish. As I've said before, I'm not too fond of fast downhills, especially on unfamiliar roads, so I was going to take it easy all the way down. There were nutters whizzing past at high speed, I really expected to find the odd rider upside down in the ditch. Then, surprise, surprise we caught up with 2 other guys, they were actually going slower then me and Al, we stopped for a quick pee break and then, yes, you've guessed it we caught the same two guys again, I can tell you this made me feel much better.

The route went through Manor Kilbride towards Lacken, now something odd happened along this stretch of road, I don't know if it was the weather, the power bars or something else but I strongly suspect that it was secret formula "jungle juice". Allen, who is normally content to sit at the back of a group, decided he was going to pick off every rider in sight. At one point he shot past a group of about 8 riders, I got delayed for a few seconds and had to jump out of the saddle and sprint at full gallop to catch him (I want some of that juice). As we went along we were picking up riders and we ended up at the front of about 20 riders. Allen drove the train for a good few miles and we dropped the others on the undulating roads through Ballyknockan, Hollywood and on to Donard. Somewhere along this stretch Allen's back popped, I'm not sure but it may have been when he did another Superman to avoid a van on a fast downhill.

At 55 miles Donard was the first food stop, we really fancied a cuppa and food. It was an absolute pain in the arse, there was a queue of 30/40 minutes to get 1 poxy sandwich. We won't make the same mistake next year. There was also a 10 minute queue for water. I was lucky enough to find out about another tap on the other side of the yard and that saved us the queue. We also bumped into a few of the Boards lads, TinyExplosions had to retire at Donard as he popped his knee.

Just a few miles outside Donard we spotted a guy taking a pee stop up a side road, Allen decided that this would be a good place for him to go too. I stopped at the junction to wait, a line of car came along the road and two or three of them turned up the side road. The first car had a few women in it. I nearly wet myself laughing when I looked up the road to see Allen with his pride and joy in one hand and his bike in the other caught in mid flow.He couldn't have picked a more public spot to pee even if he wanted to.

Lazy Bastards is the best way to describe the group that tucked in behind us on the way to Aughavannagh. Not one of the fuckers was prepared to do any work. At one point I sat up, turned completly around in the saddle and said "feel free to come through any time you like" only to be met with blank stares. What really annoyed me about these lazy bastards was that most of them were wearing club jerseys so the knew the score. Enough ranting (for now !!) The long hill before aughavannagh broke up the group.

Down the hill, across the bridge and here we go !!!!!!!!!
The start of the two biggest climbs of the day, I suppose that this is what the day is all about. I never had any doubt that I could cycle 200 kms on the flat, the doubts were about the mountains.
I glanced at the computer, 74 point something miles.
Low gear, steady away and just keep grinding. The incline is steep for the first half but eases off (slightly) towards the top. For the second half of the climb I have a clear view of the road ahead as it sweeps off to the left, the strung out line of cyclists highlights the ever raising ground, but it's not as bad as it looks. Eventually hit the top, there is a drink stop with power bar drinks, so stopped there for a few minutes.
The descent into Glenmalure was ok, it gets a bit technical near the end with a few tight bends.

The climb from Glenmalure to the top of the Shay Elliott starts very sharply, Allen had a gear problem near the start and had to stop, I had slowed down to near stalling point when Allen called that he was going down to get re-started, no, no don't do that, I was determined that we would complete this climb together and if he didn't get started right away I was going to have to stop too. Luckily he got started, clipped in and we headed on up the big one.
It took a while, its a hard slog but we got there and here's the picture to prove it.


At the start of the descent to Laragh I had forgotten to put my glasses back on, so Al went ahead while I tried to take the glasses off my helmet with one hand while trying to gently pull the brakes with the other and all the while trying not to shit myself as the bike got faster and faster. Allen hopped onto a wheel and disappeared at high speed (he's getting far too brave, I'll have to watch him). I didn't catch up until half way to Rathdrum.

I think that picture on the right of Chris Cassidy was taken on the downhill to Laragh.........>>>>>>>

The food stop at Rathdrum was a lot more civilised, no queue for the grub and warm enough to sit outside on the grass.


<<<<<< This is Allen with his eyes CLOSED !!!

The last 40 miles were tough, plenty of hill and a horrible head wind. Ahh, enough shitting out of me.

It was great to see Eddie and his missus at UCD

Had to stop for a quick snooze on the drive home..........