Saturday, November 9, 2019

The mountain of pain!

Firstly, I have some rough plans for 2020 already including doing the Dublin Marathon because I got a priority entry. So that's one event booked for starters.

However, the first event I'm planning to actually do and have also booked is the Ballyhoura Moonlight Marathon Challenge in January.

Given this is a trail marathon with 1000metres of gain I figured I better start doing some trail running so with that in mind I returned to do the Slievenamon Circuit.

I used to regularly run the Slievenamon Circuit especially before my first 100mile back in 2015, it basically follows the fire road around the base of the mountain but it is very challenging in areas and comes in at over 744metres of gain over 12miles.

So last Sunday myself and Paul decided to do the circuit, for him its no bother as he regularly runs it but for myself, it was a different story altogether given how long it was since I last ran it.
For something different Paul lent me some trekking poles to run with.

First thing first, the trekking poles made a noticeable difference and made the climbs far easier as I knocked between 1-2minutes off my best time for two of the harder sections.  I'm def planning to pick up a cheap pair of them for next time I do the circuit.

However, they didn't stop me rolling my left ankle twice, on the second roll I also fell and overall my legs took a real beating.

So due to this I ended up doing easy recover runs for the rest of the week and while they did help loosen things up my ankle still wasn't right so I decided to take Thursday and Friday as rest days to leave it finally heal up.

For now, I'm going to give the harder trail running a break and I'll start back properly once I've done the Waterford Half Marathon as its just too disruptive to my training for the legs to take the beating they've taken on Sunday.

Running this week
Sunday: 12.58miles @ 12:42min/mile
Monday: 3miles @ 8:58min/mile
Tuesday: 3.65miles @ 8:25min/mile
Wednesday: 3miles @ 7:52min/mile
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 3.35miles @ 7:27min/mile & 3miles @ 7:00min/mile

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The week of heavy legs

Took an easy week last week and no matter what the legs just felt awful heavy and the required effort for the pace I was doing was just not as expected because of this.

For the most part as the legs didn't feel right I did next to no running, however for Saturday instead of doing a LSR for 18-20miles I opted for a faster 13.1mile distance at a easy pace on a hilly route.  

The hilly route in question is Callan to Kells and back view Newtown, the Newtown road is a challenging run back but its a enjoyable route as the roads aren't very busy and I always enjoy running through Kells Castles.

Planning for a harder week next week.

Last weeks training was
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 6miles @ 7:48min/mile & 3.5miles @ 17:41min/mile
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 13.1miles @ 8:15min/mile

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A man with a plan!

So I'm finally settling into some sort of routine after many months out of routine and its about time too! I also have some plans finally too!

Over the past few weeks I'm consistinately doing between 35-45miles per week which isn't a bad weekly total, my pace is also gradually improving and to help with that I've picked a goal for December.  I'm going to run the Waterford Half Marathon and I'm going to aim to beat my PB of 1:29.

It's perhaps a big ask and the last time I tried this last summer I managed just over 1:30.
To get an idea of how capable I am right now I did a 13.1mile distance last Monday and managed it in 1:35, not a bad time for a training run with effort. It wasn't all-out effort but I felt it none the less.

So my plan over the next few weeks is to rebuild my endurance first and then work on upping my pace, in preparation for the half marathon I also have some plans for:

17th Nov - Stook 10mile
23rd Nov - Long Way Round Mountain Run
7th Dec - Waterford Half Marathon

Is doing a mountain run of 9miles my best plan whilst training for a half marathon...properly not, but I always really enjoy the event and I like to support South East Mountain Rescue who organises the event.

Last weeks training was
Monday: 13.1miles @ 7:16min/mile pace
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 2miles @ 8:33min/mile pace
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 6miles @ 7:52min/mile
Saturday: 8miles @ 7:06min/mile
Sunday: 17miles @ 10:56min/mile

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A little run around Iceland

I've been busy as of late as I've been on holidays, for something totally different myself and Grace went on a cruise to Iceland at the start of September.

The trip was due to take in:
- Bristol, England
- Fore Islands
- Reykjavík, Iceland
- Ísafjörður, Iceland
- Akureyri, Iceland
- Seydisfjordur, Iceland

We made it to Bristol just fine but due to an incoming storm front our visit to the Faroe Islands was cancelled and instead of spending two days getting to Iceland we instead spent three days at sea with 6 metre swells which was not the most enjoyable experience as the ship was rolling a lot which didn't make for the best nights sleep!

Reykjavík, Iceland
We eventually made it to Reykjavík and took in a few sites, as we happened to be staying overnight I took the opportunity to get out early and do a 13mile run as a tour of Reykjavík.

While not a particular "pretty" city it (in comparison to many European citys) it was a lovely experience as Reykjavík has a nice network of footpaths and cycle paths around the city that aren't just next to main roads. This made the run a far, far nicer experience as the city is very heavily dependent on cars sadly.

Sun Voyager Sculpture on the sea front

View of the seafront from near the airport

Ísafjörður, Iceland
Our next stop was Ísafjörður which I also had some free time to get in a run. Ísafjörður was the furthest point up north that we went and while weather wasn't great the views and trails were really enjoyable and it was just a shame I didn't have my trail shoes and much more time to get in some of the trails.

As it turned out the trail I choose ended at one of the many tunnels around Iceland that go through mountains so I couldn't have gone any further,

Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Our last stop in Iceland was Seydisfjordur, there's not a lot in Seydisfjordur but it's still a pretty place with lots and lots of waterfalls nearby. 

I got in my final run during while I went just 100metres off the road and I discovered yet another waterfall.....if you like waterfalls Iceland is certainly the place to go!

Overall Iceland was really enjoyable and I'd love to go back and do a road trip in the future.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A little bump on the way to a routine

No sooner had I thought things were going well and I hit a slump,
Last Thursday the 22nd I went out for what should have been a 17mile LSR, however 2miles in I just wasn't feeling it and running was really an effort and the legs didn't feel right at all so I ended up walking.

Not to write the entire plan off I ended up walking from around mile 2-3 all the way to mile 11 when I finally got home,

Took two rest days after that and rolled my legs on Saturday and on Sunday morning things were starting to feel so much better and I managed a fairly respectable paced 3mile run on Sunday morning before work.

Monday was my day off and I had to get the car serviced and the timing belt done so I dropped the car to the garage and then ran the 7miles back home, saved me getting somebody to collect me and I pushed the pace on the route even though it was hillier then my usual routes!

Tuesday was back to another 7.5miles in order to collect the car from the garage, much harder when you've worked the day and your legs are tired from pushing the pace the day before.

Thursday: 11miles @ 14:18min/mile
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest
Sunday:3miles @ 7.10min/mile
Monday: 6.41miles @ 7.10min/mile
Tuesday: 7.57miles @ 7.38min/mile

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Getting back into a routine!

It's been ages and I still have some race reports to post (have to finish them!) but I figured I really need to get back into a routine with this running lark.   The past few weeks I've been fitting back into a morning run routine, its involved getting up at between 5-6am depending on my work start time but I feel better for it so its worth it.

Currently I have no races planned or booked and due to holidays and other commitments September isn't workable so I'm unable to do any of the half-marathons I'd otherwise like to do next month, I also didn't have much luck getting into the Dublin Marathon this year.   But I will still get some very different running in come September so I'm looking forward to that (more to follow on that)

The lack of a more structured running routine and lack of focus due to lack of races is very much missed so I really need to change that, not least because of put on a few lbs which I could do without.

The past few mornings have been fairly good and I even managed a 11mile run, at the weekend to shake things up a a little and to make a change from running on my own I decided to opt to join Kings River A/C on their long run last Saturday, it was certainly enjoyable to run with a group again and to run a route I hadn't done before so I'll likely join them again for future runs.

Last 7 Days Of Runs:
20th August: 8miles @ 7.27min/mile
19th August: 3miles @ 7.59min/mile & 7.4mile cycle
17th August: 11.37miles @ 9.43min/mile
15th August: 11miles @ 7.42min/mile
14th August: 5miles @ 8.40min/mile

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Donadea 50km 2019 Race Report

First race of the year back on the 9th of February and I was all set...well almost.....I hadn't been feeling 100% the entire week before so I knew I was fighting off something but I decided I was doing it anyway as I've had this feeling before and I've been fine

Courtesy of Paul Daly
Saturday morning arrived and its about a 90min drive to Donadea Forrest so it was an early enough start to arrive with plenty of time and to register for the race start at 10am.

After not going to many races in the last few months it was good to once again see so many familiar faces and before everyone knew it it was 9:45am and time for the race briefing.   Now for those that haven't been to a race with Anto as the race director you are missing out.   The briefing is pretty straight to the point and no messing about, it boiled down to:

- No Headphones!
- No littering, use the bins!
- No headphones, if you use them you are disqualified
- Do 10 laps of the 5km course within 5hours and then fuck off home
- No headphones!

My aim for the day was to do the 10x laps and aim to do it in 4hours 30min or less.

We all started off at around 10:01am and at the start I was about 40seconds plus ahead of the 4:30 pacers on the entire first loop, but I started to slow down throughout the loop and by loop 2x I could see them right behind me.

All felt good initially but by loop 3x I had to stop for toilet break and I then lost the pacers and spent lap 4x chasing them.  The muscles in my left leg then started to get fairly tight and I knew this was going to be an issue.

I continued on and got chatting to various people but the day still didn't feel right and I was beginning to really feel the effort.   By the time I started hitting the mile 18 mark I knew I was in awful trouble and decided I had enough, I wasn't slogging it out for the remaining few hours/miles and I was calling it a day!

At mile 21 I called it a day and looked for Anto at the start/finish , Anto was happy got me to pose for a Loser/DNF photo and it was as simple as that, my first ever DNF.

Overall I managed a slower pace then I wanted for the race upto then of 9.14min/mile, further information can be seen on my Garmin of the race.

I didn't hang around once I dropped out and picked up my drop container I have left just after the finish line and I headed to the car.

The next day I got onto the physio (Bodymend) and arranged to have some dry needling sessions to sort out the IT Band and as always it did the trip.....but as always the sessions were far from pain free. They did the trick however and I was back running shortly afterwards.

Courtesy Of Antony Lee

Was dropping out the right thing to do?
It was a hard decision to make as it was my first DNF, I feel perhaps I'm less stubburn then I used to and I feel I put this down to trying to pack it in during Connemara 100 2017 race.   Prior to this race I've always refused to DNF no matter how much pain I was in and I was discribed myself as either too stupid or too stubborn to DNF.

None the less, it was the right thing to do. My right IT band wasn't in good shape and took a few sessions of dry needling to put right afterwards.  I

feel it also effected my running style as afterwards I ended up with another muscle injury in this month during a 30 mile training run prior to Connemara Ultra 39.3miles.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

First race of 2019

First post of 2019 and not long to go to my first race which is going to be Donadea 50km, this of course is a training race for my goal race in April which is Connemara Ultra (39.3mile) which I've not actually run since 2014.

My aim for the 50km is to come in around the 4.30 mark, I've not yet decided on what my goal is for April but aiming to beat my PB set back in 2014 one way or another.

I'm also toying with the idea of doing the Wild Atlantic Ultra (50mile) in May up in Mayo.  For the previous 50miles distances I've run I've come in around the 9.30-10.30 mark but the cut off for the WAU 50 is 11hrs so it wouldn't leave a very big margin for error for a DNF.

However, for previous 50mile distances I've either been using them for training for a 100miler or I've done the distance in the middle of a 100mile race so its not a great comparison, when it comes down to it I think I could pull of 9hours or less for this distance with race effort.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Long Way Round

Ticking along lately with my next big race due in Feb which is Donadea 50km, until then I'm taking it relatively easy.

Normally in November I try run Stook 10mile and in December I run the Waterford Half-marathon, but I've not registered for either and even if I wanted to Waterford is now sold out. Shame really as I do enjoy Waterford.

However, for the third year in a row I am doing the Long Way Round which takes place in Clonmel at night, for me its less of a race and more of just an enjoyable night trail run.   
At last years event I ran the course wrapped in Christmas lights and wearing a Santa hat, I also accidentally arrived at the start line very, very late and I was literally the last person to cross the start line so I was never going to do great with that sort of preparation.

The event is a fund raiser for the South East Mountain Rescue and for anyone that does hill walking or trail running I'd encourage them to come along, its a well organised event and a good laugh.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Kilkenny Medieval Marathon 2018 Race Report

Race day arrived on the 15th Sept and I headed into Kilkenny to do the Medieval Marathon 2018, although this race takes place only 10miles away from me as I've mentioned before I've never run it so I was looking forward to it.

I headed to race number pickup which was taking place just across from the very famous Langtons Hotel, collection was quick and it was good to see some familiar faces even this early on in the race.

One thing I've forgotten to mention is the night before race day there was an announcement that due to a large funeral taking place out in Church Hill area in Cuffesgrange the marathon route had to be re-routed as it would have created a safety hazard otherwise.  I'll get back to this later in the race report though.

The start for all the races (marathon, half, 10km) all started in the same location which was the CAS bridge, not a bad location as it was easy get to but it is a very busy area road traffic wise.

My aim for the day was somewhat hopeful, I was aiming to beat my sub 3:29 PB so I decided to head out and stick with the 3.30 pacers and speed up towards the least that was the plan.

Of course that was the plan and like everything I don't always stick to it especially at the start as crowds annoy me in races so for the start of the race I upped the pace to get ahead of most of the crowd, but by the time I hit the 3-4mile mark I met up with the pacers and I stayed pretty comfortable with them.

As we approached Cuffesgrange this is where the race route changed and I must say I was disappointed, partly because I knew the route off by heart and enjoy the route but also last minute changes are never good for people especially when it comes to races.   However, I fully agree with the reason for the route change as I'm local and was fully aware of the sheer size of the funeral taking place and the safety issues it would have represented to the runners.  

However I feel very sorry for the race organisers and I'm sure it created many logistical problems for them on the day including with stewards.

Due to all the changes instead of heading the route I'm used to running on we headed off on a different road and as the miles dripped by I dropped the pacers and headed off ahead of them as I felt comfortable.  This section of the course due to the route was an out & back (I'm never a fan of these!).

On the way back from the out-and-back I met the pacers and continued on, at this stage I was starting to feel the miles and when I reached the Kilkenny road (about 5 miles from Finish) I could see the pacers behind me and they soon caught up with me. By mile 22 the pacers caught me and very quickly I was dropped by them as I get a cramp in my left leg.

From here on it was a bit of a slog to Kilkenny City and it wasn't the most pleasant experience while I tried my best to try recover some sort of decent time out of the race.

Once I hit into the city the route took a lot of twists and turns and involved crossing some very busy roads which wasn't ideal. John's Bridge especially was very congested traffic wise and involved running between the cars in traffic to cross the road which I wouldn't expect to have to do in a race.

Coming up to Kilkenny Castle and the finish line was a little bit of a slog especially coming up from the Canal Walk but at least nobody was in the way, but once I reached the castle wall I started to meet people.  While most of the time these people seemed to get out of the way or at least be aware there was a race taking place as I passed the entrance to Kilkenny Castle a group of American's walked straight out in front of me and only for a quick jump out to the left I would have collided with them.

Shortly after I crossed the finish line in 03:40:22.

Not the PB I was aiming for but none the less I'm pretty happy with it.