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 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

Bookmark and Share

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 :-)

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, September 13, 2009

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' 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....

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - Here we go again

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

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

Bookmark and Share