Monday, December 29, 2014

Almost there!

I'm just short of my 2,000miles target after last weeks runs, but by tomorrow the 30th December I'll have completed a 15mile run to bring me over the 2,000miles target, it's a little bit behind when I wanted to but its still a nice improvement over last year.

By comparison my previous years miles were:
2013: 1,651miles
2012: 1,512miles
2011: 956miles

Year on year I've upped my miles so its nice to see progress each year, I'm aiming for a big enough increase in 2015 especially with the 100mile event on the cards.

On Christmas day before the days events got underway I got out the door first thing in the morning for 8miles, it was nice and cool in comparisons to last weeks frankly mild mornings which I found too warm.

I got one or two odd looks from people as I ran by houses around 8am out in the middle of the countryside, including one kid who was out playing with his Christmas present as I ran by his house. Sure what else am I going to be doing on Christmas morning before all the events kick off? :)

I had hoped to do more miles between Friday - Saturday but between work and later nights I couldn't drag myself out of the bed in the morning any earlier then I did.

Last weeks runs broke-down as:
- Monday: 8miles @ 7:35min pace
- Tuesday: 1.41miles @ 17:36min pace
- Wednesday: 4miles @ 8:00min pace
- Thursday: 8miles @ 7:18min pace
- Friday:5miles @ 8:37min pace
- Saturday: 4.39miles @ 24:56min pace (walking)
- Sunday: 3miles @ 8:33min pace

Weekly Total: 34 miles
Miles This Year: 1,989 miles

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Upping the mileage

Last week I decided it was time to up the miles again with the aim of getting closer to mid to late 40's instead of once again having under 30miles done in the week. I'm wary of the drop in weekly miles as I need to start heading into training for the Thames Path 100 in May so more miles are badly needed.

On Tuesday I headed back to Slievenamon for my first 20mile trail run (Garmin link of route) on the mountain, this time I ran 10miles out and 10miles back along the loop rather then finishing the entire loop which is around the 17mile mark.

Very low cloud cover throughout most of the run and I must say I found the last 5miles hard going, without a doubt 20miles of trail where I need to leap from one rock to another or over boggy ground is far far harder then 20miles of road!

When I was at mile 19 I found the entrance to Kilcash wood which I never knew existed before, from what I can make out on Google maps this wood must have at least 7-8miles of trails in it. So that's something I plan to explore in future.

A quick search on the net however does bring some bad news about Kilcash woods, Coillte plan to clear the entire wood by 2016 and from what I observed on Tuesday they may have already started this as they were doing an awful lot of logging at the furthest end from Kilcash.

On Wednesday morning my legs felt awful heavy...but then I guess 20miles of leaping from rock to rock and over streams will do that, I still headed off for a very easy 5mile run.  After the run though I found my right ankle was bothering me and it hurt a bit.

As my ankle wasn't feeling any better on Thursday I decided on a rest day as I didn't want to chance making it worse by doing another run.  Come Friday I decided on a very easy 10mile run which started at 9:30min pace but I gradually upped the pace as the miles went on and the ankle wasn't bothering me, I finished the run with the last mile at 7:00min pace.

Overall its not been a bad week, but abit annoyed that I fecked my ankle abit on the Slievenamon run. But I suppose that's part and parcel of trail running and running on such rough terrain, it was just bound to happen at some stage.

Less then 40miles to go to 2,000miles this year.

Last weeks runs broke-down as:
- Monday: 3miles @ 8:54min pace
- Tuesday: 20miles @ 11:54min pace
- Wednesday: 5miles @ 9:33min pace
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: 10miles @ 8:14min pace
- Saturday:Rest
- Sunday:7miles @ 7:56min pace

Weekly Total: 46 miles
Miles This Year: 1,963 miles

Monday, December 15, 2014

Recovery

After the Waterford Half Marathon I took it easy for the first part of the week and then upped the pace towards the end.

On Tuesday as I had the day off work I decided to do something different so I did opt to go up to the summit of Slievenamon for a change, it was seriously windy though so in order to try not get blown off the track I ended up walking most of the way up. But I was able to slowly run down (again trying not to be blown off the track!).

 On Saturday I took park in my second Kilkenny Park Run and it was a pretty cold afair, I was only starting to warm up by the time I hit the finish line. I likely would have set a better time only for I was almost late for it and I didn't get a chance to warm up before the run.

As of this week I have less then 100miles to go before I finally hit 2,000miles for 2014. It's a little later then I had planned but its still more miles then I ran in 2013. So happy days :)

Last weeks runs broke-down as:
- Monday: 5miles @ 8:55min pace
- Tuesday: 5miles @ 14:03min pace
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: 5miles @7:25min pace
- Friday: 5.25miles @8:44min pace
- Saturday:Kilkenny Park Run 3.18miles @ 6:44min pace
- Sunday: 5miles @8:45min pace

Weekly Total: 23 miles
Miles This Year: 1,912 miles

Monday, December 8, 2014

Waterford Half Marathon 2014 Race Report

ts that time of year again, its time for the Waterford Half Marathon!

It may not feel like the flattest course in Ireland but for me I've always managed to set a personal best on the course so I always look forward to it, last year I knocked almost 4min off my personal best when I set a time of 1:34:43.

This year I was determined to finally get a sub 1:30 time, I knew it wasn't going to be easy and I knew going into it that my confidence had been knocked from my poor performance at the Dublin Marathon 2014 but since things are feeling better I was determined to give it my best shot.

So as always (before every race!) I was up earlier then I really needed to be and got myself ready for the race, unlike last year where I realized 40min before the start that I had gotten the time wrong this year I knew the start was at 10am and I arrived in plenty of time.

So I parked the car and headed to the start line, along the way I got chatting to various people including JP a fellow Portumna 100km finisher.

Once we were off there was a little congestion as we hit the first roundabout within the WIT campus grounds but things quickly improved once we hit the main road and I was holding with the 1.30min pacers. 

As with last year I found the hill climbing up the first mile to be tough (as starts go) but things evened off and things improved as we headed towards the industrial estate.

I’ll be honest, once we hit about mile 3 I think I got too confident as I was about 5-10sec out in front of the pacers. This is something I have an awful habit of doing and while I managed to keep this position right upto mile 10 I eventually had the pacers pass me at mile 10.

I did manage to keep them insight for another mile but I eventually lost sight of them, I had hoped that on the downhill from mile 12-13 that I might be able to catch them.    However, as I came to the top of mile 12 I couldn’t see the balloons anywhere in sight.

Still I upped the pace and kept going, as I approached the finish I gave it everything I had and managed to pass two people in the last 200 metres before the line after which I dropped to the ground the second I was through. My legs were done!

My finish time was 1:31:44


Overall the event was very well organised and was great to meet a number of familiar faces both before and after the event, while its not the sub 1.30 I really wanted its still a really nice improvement on last year to have.

Could have I got sub 1.30?  Maybe, maybe not. I’m still not sure......

While I do a lot of running and miles I’m crap for doing speed work even though anytime I have done speed work I’ve noticed improvements. I think I just find it hard to push the pace during speed sessions as I basically do 90% of my runs on my own. 

However, even without these speed sessions my half marathon times have been consistently dropping each year as my overall training pace and endurance has improved.

It’s gone from 1:56:48 in 2010 at my first half marathon to 1:41:06 in 2012 to 1:34:43 last year and now 1:31:44 this year.  So overall I’m still very happy with the improvements I’ve seen,.

Given I’ve never started a training plan specifically aimed at improving my half marathon times I’d be interested in what improvments such a training plan could bring in the future, maybe that’s something I might consider for the half marathon in December 2015.

Last weeks runs broke-down as:
- Monday: Rest
- Tuesday: 5miles @ 8:21min pace
- Wednesday: 5miles @ 8:05min pace
- Thursday: 2miles @ 8:21min pace
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday:13.18miles @ 6:58min pace

Weekly Total: 25 miles
Miles This Year: 1,881 miles

Thursday, December 4, 2014

all abit meh...

Not much going on last week, I took it easy starting off and got a nice trail run in at the end of the week.

I did however confirm that I have the day off work the day of the Waterford Half Marathon so I will be able to run it (which is good as I had already paid!).

The course isn't as hilly as Stook 10mile by a long shot so my plan is go out with the 1:30 pacers and run the course as hard as I can to see if I can finally get that sub 1:30 I've been hoping for since last years Waterford Half marathon,

My I did my trail run on Sunday  I decided to do 15miles in Castlemorris Wood but my aim was to keep my heart rate around the 150 mark throughout instead of running a set pace.

This worked well enough and I was surprised how much I had to pick up the pace on downhills in order to hit 150 bpm,  overall I felt pretty good.

The day in the wood started lovely with a nice bit of sunshine...so much so in fact I put on my sun glasses at the start. However once I was 7miles in the fog descended in a big way and by the end I couldn't see more then 100metres on parts of the route.

I got to say I'm looking forward to getting back to Slievenamon trails once the Waterford half marathon is over.

Last weeks runs broke-down as:
- Monday: 9miles @ 7:46min pace
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: 4miles @ 8:36min pace
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: 3miles @ 8:46min pace
- Saturday: 2.5miles
- Sunday: 15.08miles @ 9:40min pace

Weekly Total: 41 miles
Miles This Year: 1,854 miles

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stook 10mile Road Race 2014

My cowbell collection is growing....
Another year and another run at the Stook 10mile road race organized by Gowran A/C in Dungarvan, Co Kilkenny.

This is the third year that Stook has been held and the second year I've attended and I must say I enjoyed this year more then last.  Its a well organized event and hats off to the local community for helping to put on the race.

After running Stook last year I knew what I was in for so I wasn't very hopeful of setting a new 10mile personal best, however I still figured I'd likely set a course PB as I've been doing a lot more hill training these last few months.....surely that has to stand to me?

The morning didn't begin well with the car not starting so after a mild panic about not making it to the race and getting a loan of a car 30min later I made it to Dungarvan with time to spare thankfully.

A quick 1mile warmup and I was ready to go!  The conditions this year were great, it was relatively dry with the exception of some water run-off from fields in places but more importantly it was lovely and cool.

Got chatting to a few familiar faces including Vincent who is the race director of the Tullaroan Marathon which is also held in Co Kilkenny, had a few mentions of people reading the blog as well from people.

At 12 midday we were off bang on time, I felt good from the start so I started with a 6:40 pace for the first mile however as the first small climbs hit this dropped to 7min pace for mile 2. But I was able to bring it down to sub 6:50min pace for miles 3-5.

By mile 7 I was finding the hills hard and the legs were tired so the pace dropped to its slowest of 8:34 as an avg pace for this mile, while this is slow its still faster then the same mile last year which I ran over a 9min pace....so overall that is an improvement even when I'm tired :)

By the time I hit the start of the flying mile the legs were pretty tired but I was hoping I'd be able to get a bit of a re-charge on the downhill so down I went and I ultimately managed a 5:56min pace for this mile which I'm happy with as this is still 4seconds faster for the same mile last year.

Unlike last year however two people managed to pass me on the flying mile and I didn't manage to catch anybody, I have to say this was a bit of a knock to the confidence as at the time I didn't think I was doing a very fast pace at times.  

By the time I hit half a mile to go to the finish I was really hoping for the finish but I could hear somebody right behind me and I was determined that they wouldn't pass me so I just gave it everything and upped the pace to finish the last mile strong with a 6:38min pace. 

I finished with a chip time of 70min 10seconds, this puts me 3min and 2 seconds faster then last years run so while its not a PB (PB is 69:20) its a course PB and if I can do this time on a hilly course I can certainly improve on my PB on a flatter course.

Garmin log of the race, also full results from the race are available here.

This weeks runs broke-down as:
- Monday: 9miles @ 7:46min pace
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: 4miles @ 8:36min pace
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: 3miles @ 8:46min pace
- Saturday:Rest
- Sunday: 10miles @ 6:59min pace + .95mile @ 11.03min pace (warm-up)

Weekly Total: 27 miles
Miles This Year: 1,813 miles

Monday, November 17, 2014

First time running Comeraghs mountains

Last week was a lax enough week and that’s the way things will be staying until after the Waterford Half Marathon at the start of December,

Although I've not added miles I have started to increase pace on my midweek runs to ensure they are much closer to 7:30min pace instead of 8min pace as I've found I've been running alot of my runs slower then I should be....in essence I've not been pushing myself enough.

I took it easy during the week with a mix and short and slightly longer runs and I also paid my first visit to the Comeragh mountains on Sunday morning with some of the lads from Co Waterford. 

It was good fun if not abit tiring on the climbs…I will say one of the lads made it look seriously easy and almost enjoyable going up the hills, maybe some day I'll manage this myself.
Courtesy of Ray Lanigan
Courtesy of Ray Lanigan
But as with everything, what goes up must go down and there was a seriously enjoyable range of trails on the descent to enjoy and plenty of streams and puddles to run through.   After some trail running it was back onto the roads and a not so enjoyable climb out of Dungarven town on the main N25 road.     Overall we finished the run at just over 14miles, so it wasn’t too bad mileage wise (Garmin Link).

Next week I’m taking part in the Stook 10mile race
, this is a enjoyable course and it includes the flying mile which is all downhill and has timing mats at the start and end of the mile which is great craic so I’m really looking forward to it. 

I’m not expecting to set a PB but I hope to at least beat last years time of 73:12….I’m hoping the recent venture into trail running and the hills I’ve had to climb will stand to me.


Last weeks runs broke-down as:
- Monday: 3miles @ 9:19min pace (recovery)
- Tuesday: 5miles @ 7:39min pace
- Wednesday: 8miles @ 7:46min pace
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: 3miles @ 8:12min pace
- Saturday:Rest
- Sunday: 14.09miles @ 9:36min pace

Weekly Total: 33 miles
Miles This Year: 1,786 miles

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Returning to the mountain

Its now been 4 weeks since my fall on Slievenamon which caused the pain to the muscles in my chest and things are just about back to normal as there's next to no discomfort at this stage.

After my 10mile trail run last Sunday I took it easy starting off the week but things started to feel good again so I upped the pace.     During the week I decided to do all my runs as at sub 7:40min pace as I really am just not pushing myself enough on alot of my runs and this means I'm just not making the progress I should!

All the mid week runs went fine and it was great to get back on on some of the usual routes.

For the weekend I decided to return to Slievenamon for yet another 18mile loop of the mountain on Sunday, this time I took my new Ultimate Direction SJ 2.0 pack to test it out properly and I must say I wasn't disappointed.  I found it great to be able to carry all the stuff I wanted and still have tonnes of space.

I will say I did find it heavy at the beginning with the two bottles full but after awhile I got used to this.

New Gaiters!
As well as the Ultimate Direction pack I also got myself some gaiters as I was getting tired of little stones etc getting into my shoes on the trails. They aren't anything fancy but they did the trick just fine :)

At the beginning of the run I decided on a slight detour to avoid around 3-4 fallen tree's which I encountered last time.

Unfortunately this made my run a little short so in order to make up the miles I decided to head for the Killusty Cross, this was the first time I've been on this side of the mountain and infact until recently I never knew there was anything other then trig points and cairns on the mountain.

As you can see from the first photo belong the trails were pretty wet, infact in some patches it was basically just all water. Last time I wasted time trying to walk around the water when the trail was completely flooded, this time I just picked up speed and ran through it and I must say I loved every minute of it.

This worked fine up to a point due to the Gore-tex trail runners and the use of the gaiters, but eventually by mile 10 or so my shoes were full of water. Still it didn't cause me too much bother.   The run went great but I must say I found the last big climb hard going at mile 16.





Slievenamon Loop Elevation


This weeks runs broke-down as:
- Monday: 3.6miles @ 8:39min pace
- Tuesday: 5.05miles @ 7:20min pace
- Wednesday:6.01miles @ 7:32min pace
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: 8miles @ 7:39min pace
- Saturday:Rest
- Sunday: 18.40miles @ 13:29min pace

Weekly Total: 41 miles
Miles This Year: 1,753 miles

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Recovery and preperation for May 2015

Its the aftermath of the Dublin City Marathon and I'm being upbeat as I can, basically this means that I'm thinking things could always have been much worse on the day.   The reality is I turned Dublin into a training run so it wasn't a complete waste.

Moving on from Dublin my next big target race is the Thames Path 100 in May 2015, this will be my longest Ultra and while I have 28hours to finish I'm aiming for sub 24hr.

Although its over 6 months away I've already started getting ready for it so this past week I've picked up the recommended map for the race and also I've upgraded my small Camelbak backpack which can barely fit anything extra (it can barely fit my phone) to a Ultimate Direction - SJ Ultra Vest 2.0 which comes with tonnes of capacity, is lightweight to begin with and has lots of options.


To test the backpack out I put in my water reservoir and filled it with almost all the items I'll need for the 100miler and decided to test it out on 10miles of trails on Sunday, I figured this would give me a good idea what to expect and how the pack handles, weight etc.

Overall I'm happy with the pack, however I find having two full bottles at the front can get a little bit annoying. I did experiment with one and its alot less annoying and also considerably reduces the weight you have to run with.

Its worth noting that when I tested the backpack out I also had a full 2ltr reservoir in the back, having this along with the two full bottles was perhaps a little overkill as any race will have water stops so I could always bring one bottle and keep refilling it.   Still it was worth doing this as a test.

I did notice afterwards that while I experienced no chafing with the pack I do have some light bruising on my collar bones due to the way the pack moved abit.Hopefully thids won't be an issue.

Overall I took it easy after Dublin, though I should have run the day after the marathon as I find that helps the legs recover faster. (works for me anyway). 

 Last weeks runs broke-down as:
- Monday: 26.2miles @ 8:50min pace
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: 3.6miles @ 10.00min pace
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: 10miles @ 8.40min pace

Weekly Total: 40 miles
Miles This Year: 1,712 miles


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dublin Marathon 2014 Race Report

The day finally arrived and although the previous two weeks didn't go great due to injury I was still confident that I could reach my goal of a sub 3:20 marathon.

The start line....all pretty nervous

Early start to the morning as I was up out of bed at 4:40am for breakfast and making sure to take on water and I started the drive to Dublin at 6am.   I made good time to Dublin and found a handy parking spot nice and close to the start line so I could easily meet up with the lads before heading to the start line.

Unlike last year where I was perhaps 1min behind the pacers this year I got into a good position right behind the pacers and then we were off!

Unlike previous years there was no O'Connell Street to run through which in my view is abit of a loss as I always enjoyed running by the GPO etc, instead we headed up by Christ Church and then down the quays, in many respects this was great for people to more easily support the marathon but the downside is some parts of it were abit of a drag.

I had run perhaps 20-30secs ahead of the pacers at this stage with the plan of slowing the pace once we hit the Phoenix Park as I knew this was a climb all the way to the other side of the park, so bit by bit I slowed the pace and left the pacers catch me.  Unfortunately I could feel the climb taking it out of me and the wind wasn't helping!

Once we got out of the phoenix park and we turned I could finally allow my legs to recharge somewhat when going down the hill but I then started to feel some discomfort on my right hand side, but I still felt ok so kept going.

It was around mile 10 the discomfort turned into pain and it wasn't a very nice experience trying to maintain the pace, by about mile 11 or 12 I just couldn't keep the pace up and the 3:20 pacers finally passed me out.  

I walked for abit at this stage and the pain in my right side eventually subsided so I started running again with the secondary goal of a sub 3:30 marathon.   Unfortunately the pain came back and just around the half marathon point the 3:30 pacers came and I managed to stay with them for perhaps a mile but then dropped off them too!

At this stage I decided the race was effectively scrubbed!  I'm too stubborn to do a DNF (Did Not Finish) and i knew there was no chance I was going to beat my previous personal best of 3:33:33 so I decided to just take it easy, not risk any further problems to my injury and just finish as a easier sub 4 marathon.

So I just ran walked to the finish, along the way because I was run/walking I actually kept meeting the same few people and got chatting to them now and then because when I was running I was passing people, these people would then later pass me out when I was walking.

Official Finish time was: 3:54:39

Overall I think my problems were a mix of injury problems and also the conditions, I will admit even when the slower pace once I fell off the pacers the heat still affected me and I was still de-hydrated and it was clear it certainly affected others.

Perhaps I was imagining it but there certainly appeared to be more people in trouble then the previous 3 years I've run Dublin, I saw a good few people just drop down near me including one women around mile 25 where myself and another chap went over to help her.   So I guess things always could have been worse!

This wasn't the outcome I wanted for Dublin but I guess I was expecting too much, especially considering that 7 days before Dublin I had decided to go to the doctor because the pain in my chest was so bad it hurt every time I was breathing.

Funny thing is once I had slowed the pace and even after the race I experienced next to no discomfort, maybe 1-2 more weeks of injury recovery would have meant i had hit my goal of a sub 3:20 marathon.

I guess there's always next year....


Friday, October 24, 2014

Meeting a running legend & recovery

Little bit of catching up to do......

The last two weeks have been a very mixed bag, after my high mileage week which ended with the Slievenamon Loop I began my tapering for the Dublin marathon on the 27th October, however things didn't go great.
For anyone that read my last blog post you'll note that I fell during the Slievenamon loop, while this wasn't very painful during or after the run or even the next day I had alot of muscle pain during the week after it.   It did however start to get abit better so I decided to go ahead with my plans for a very easy paced run on Saturday.

So last weekend I decided to meet up with the legend Tony Mangan while he completes his lap of Ireland after already completing 50,000km that he's already run around the world since 2010.

Tony started his world run in October 2010 by running the Dublin Marathon, once he completed the marathon he stayed running across Ireland, Newfoundland land, Canada, north and south America and now he's been to over 40 country's!

Tony & myself on the old Waterford Road
He's basically running a marathon a day for the past 4 years, he's been keeping a very interesting and detailed blog of his adventures since the beginning. (well worth a read!)

I met Tony for a few miles while he was running from Waterford to Kilkenny on Saturday and did around 11.5miles from Waterford to Ballyhale on the old N9 road.  (Garmin Link)

The pace was easy going and I wasn't alone as I was also running with  Catherine who was also from Kilkenny and was also well experienced as she had previously completed the Connemara 100. We were supported by a friend of Tony's and also Vincent who is the race director of the Tullaroan Marathon.

By the time we hit Ballyhale I decided to call it a day as I had plans for the rest of the day but Tony & Catherine went on to run the rest of the way to Kilkenny, meeting up with others along the way.

Catherine, Tony & Myself
As it turned out this run (although a very easy pace) was likely a very very bad idea as the muscle pain in my chest and side really kicked off again.

Sunday was very painful and things hadn't improved on Monday at all so I decided to be on the safe side I better see a GP as it was hurting to breath, so long story short I confirmed I didn't damaged any bones in the fall and it was just muscle pain.

On Monday I was questioning if I could go ahead with the Dublin Marathon but as the week went on and as I looked after the muscles in the area in question things started to improve, on Thursday night I went for my only run of the week which consisted of 1x 9:00min/pace, 1x 7:00min/pace and 2x 8:40min/pace and I felt pretty good afterwards.

As it stands right now (Friday) I feel the best I have since my fall and I experience next to no discomfort and certainly no pain so if anything the run on Thursday appears to have really helped loosen things up again.

So what are my plans?

We I'm a stuborn fecker so perhaps very foolishly I'm going to go ahead with Dublin and I'm going to go out with the sub 3:20 pacers and see how things pan out.

Is that smart? Perhaps not in some people's view but if things don't go well I'll drop off the group and even drop out if it comes to that.  But I'm pretty confident that I'm in good enough shape to reach my goal.

Last two weeks runs broke-down as:

- Monday: Rest
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: 3miles @ 10:20min pace
- Thursday: 5miles @ 8:27min pace
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: 11.51miles @ 15:18min pace
- Sunday: Rest
- Monday: Rest
- Tuesday: 1.3mile walk
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: 4miles @ 8:30min pace
- Friday: 1.2mile walk

Miles This Year: 1,641 miles

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Slievenamon Loop!

So I had one thing in mind last week and that was to up the miles and I started that early,

Monday was a easy 3miles run but Tuesday plan was up and out the door at 5am for a 20mile run at under 8:30min pace.

It was a very mixed morning as when I first went out there was no fog, however within an hour I was 5miles from home and I couldn't see more then 20metres infront of me!  Not ideal when your on a busy road......but thankfully it had a wide hard shoulder.

The rest of the week were much shorter runs however Thursday was supposed to be a sub 8min mile 10mile run but my left shin started to bother me abit so I slowed things down and cut it short.    I did eventually clock up the targeted 10miles for Thursday by doing 5 in the morning and 5 in the evening.

Saturdays plans were to take part in the very first Parkrun in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle and so I headed in for the 9.30am start.

Kilkenny Park Run Route

For those that don't know Parkrun's are free timed 5km races that anyone can go along to and take part in, they are not just for elites or clubs.

There was a good turn out of around 170 people for the event which wasn't bad considering anyone planning on doing the Dublin Marathon would have been busy doing their last long run. (I happened to do mine earlier in the week).

The route for the Parkrun was a mixed bag as while one section was a sight downhill the next was abit of a climb...enough to take it out of you anyway.   Still, although I already had 40miles in the legs from the weeks training I managed a new 5km Personal Best of 21:15 and I finished in 8th place.

Sundays plan was my first running of the Slievenamon Loop...all 16miles of it!  So I packed my phone and an energy bar into my Camelbak backpack and off I went as usual starting from Kilcash.

There was very thick fog so I was abit weary that it might be a cool enough run but as I drove to Kilcash I noticed the area was completely fog free. Infact when I started the climb up Slievenamon I could see the thick blanket of fog below between Slievenamon and the Commorragh mountains in the distance.

This time around I decided to stick as close to the fence as I could, this unfortunately turned out to be a poor choice initially because not only was the route tougher but there were several tree's down across the path which I had to avoid.

As I carried on I encountered numerous streams and some cracking views, it was nice to be in a area that was so peaceful with no sign of other houses, people, cars etc. However every so often the silence was broken by noise from one of the woods as there were a number of people on scrambler bikes on part of the mountain.

Slievenamon Route
Pace and Route Elevation
All was going well until I hit about mile 9 when funnily enough on a pretty flat part of the route I managed to trip and fall.  In the process I cut my right knee and my left knee impacted my chest during the fall. Not my most elegant moment as I was lying on the ground recovering from the hit to the chest.

I brushed myself off and poured water on the cuts on my right knee, assessed the damage and found I wasn't too bad, no pain or niggles so I continued on at the same pace.

Around mile 10 the route disappeared, it resulted in a dead end where drainage work is being carried out so I had to slog up a very boggy drainage area to get back on course. I'm pretty sure I could take a short cut through one of the woods to avoid this very boggy area so that's something I'll need to look into as the boggy area would be seriously bad in the winter months.

At around mile 12 I encountered another slight problem as again I lost the route and spent awhile trying to find it again, in reality it was my own fault as I should have simply stuck to the fence border at this point.

Overall the run went well, pretty challenging on some of the climbs especially the last big climb around 2-3miles from the end of the run.  Due to the different routes it ended up being 17.22miles, the entire run can be seen here on Garmin.

This run now marks the start of my tapering for the Dublin City Marathon, let taper madness begin!

Last weeks runs broke-down as:

- Monday: 3miles @ 7:45min pace
- Tuesday: 20miles @ 8:22min pace
- Wednesday: 5 miles @ 8:20min pace
- Thursday: 5miles @ 8:25min pace & 5miles @ 8:48min pace
- Friday: 5miles @ 7:50min pace
- Saturday: 3.11miles @ 6:50min pace
- Sunday: 17.22miles @ 13:04min pace

Weekly Total:  63 miles
Miles This Year: 1,614 miles

Monday, October 6, 2014

Getting closer to the 2,000mile goal!

Last week felt alot more productive then the week before even if Mondays run was a slow recovery run as I really felt Sunday's 10mile trail run still in the legs....to be fair this wasn't surprising as I only finished the run around 2.30pm on Sunday.

To help things along I rolled my leg muscles on Monday evening to help the recovery and it appeared to do the trick for the most part.

On Tuesday I headed out for my second recovery run as normal, in the evening however I got a text from one of the lads who said he was going out for a 20mile run so I decided to tag along with the aim of doing 15miles miles.

I must say the legs felt heavy and I felt it during the run after mile7 so in the end I decided to cut it short at 10miles once we got back to the cars, to let things recover abit I did no running on Wednesday.

On Thursday I headed out the door at around 5:40am for 10miles at marathon pace, given how my legs were feeling earlier in the week I have to say I felt good during this run, I was confident about my pace so I completely ignored my Garmin until the very end of the run and was surprised to see 7:34min pace as I figured i was running around 7:45-7:50.

Friday was another easy enough 5miles run and due to other commitments Saturday was taken as a rest day.

Sunday arrived and I decided it was time to give Slievenamon another go, this time instead of going up and over the mountain I decided to try use the trails I've seen from satellite images of the mountain the run 80% of the circumference of the mountain.

Birds eye view of the mountain

The upshot of these trails is I won't have to climb nearly as much as I'm not going near the summit which means I can at least maintain some sort of momentum whilst still working in hill and trail work. 

As I wasn't back home till mid Sunday evening this meant i couldn't start on the mountain until around 4pm which gave me a max of two hours before 6pm as Met Eireann had issued a storm warning for then.

To be fair I wasn't too worried as I knew I would be skirting the tree line so I'd be somewhat protected and I was also pretty confident I'd have a path to follow.

Checking out the new route

The route was very much a mixed bag, outside of the rain and wind at times the path was a mix of grass, bog, stream beds and bounding over big rocks and lots of gravel so its not a route I'm going to run a record pace at.

It is however relatively flat when compared to running to the summit of Slievenamon so I could nicely maintain an even pace, even if that was around 10min mile.

I've mapped out the Slievenamon Loop following the trails I can see on satellite imagery and its coming in just shy of 16miles with 2959 feet of gain, so I'm going to aim to run it as a route next weekend if all goes well.

In the end I did cut the run short as I was supposed to be doing 10miles but cut it short at just over 3miles in so I knew I'd have a total of 6miles, I was just wary of the incoming storm and it was getting darker much earlier because of it. :)

The Slievenamon Loop

Finally, I now have less then 450miles to go before I hit my 2,000mile target before the 31st December 2014. Last year I only managed 1,651 throughout all of 2013.

As I have a 100mile race in May 2015 I've been thinking that I'll need to up the anti somewhat so I'm thinking straight off it would be best to set a new goal of 3,000miles or at the very least 2,500miles for 2015.

Last weeks runs broke-down as:

- Monday: 5miles @ 9:02min pace (recovery)
- Tuesday: 5miles @ 8:20min pace & 10.19miles @ 8:18min pace
- Wednesday: 2miles walk
- Thursday: 10miles @ 7:34min pace
- Friday: 5miles @ 8:36min pace
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: 6.52miles @ 10:24min pace

Weekly Total:  42 miles
Miles This Year: 1,553 miles

Monday, September 29, 2014

Slow week....

A pretty uneventful week as I found my left ankle was bothering me abit after the 10km race so I thought it best to leave it rest instead of potentially making it worse

On Friday I decided it was time to get back to doing some decent miles so I was up out of bed and out on the road with my headtorch at around 5:50am to do 10miles at almost marathon pace.  As I knew I couldn't get my usual 20miles in on Saturday i then decided to do an additional 10miles in the evening.

On Sunday I decided to return to the mountain and so I paid another trip to Slioevenamon, this time however I wanted to go back down the other side and clock up a total of 10miles on trails.

Things however didn't really go to plan, while there is undoubtedly trails around the edge of Slievenamon bog there is a lack of them in and across the bog which meant I had to spend alot of time slogging it across heather and high grass to get to certain points.

I did manage to make use of some tracks that appear to exist because of the nearby wooded area and it did appear that there's a track that follows the boundaries of the bog area so I might make use of them in future, but odds are that will bring the run upto 15miles if not more.

I'll need to see what maps I can find of the area to find what trails I can use in future,
Slievenamon Bog Route

Route Elevation
Last weeks runs broke-down as:

- Monday: 3miles @ 8:50min pace (recovery)
- Tuesday: 5miles @ 8:52min pace (recovery II)
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: 10miles @ 7:48min pace, 8miles @ 8:16min pace & 2miles @ 7:49min pace
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday:10miles @ 15:19min pace


Weekly Total:  38 miles
Miles This Year: 1507 miles

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mid-Week mountain & JJ Reddy Danesfort 10K

So already I've learned that even occasionally running a mountain has its benefits, the first being that my legs no longer feel trashed the next day. Although I took Monday last week as a rest day my legs felt perfectly fine after the previous days mountain running.

I had planned on doing a nice 8mile run on country roads on Tuesday morning but 500metres into the run the roads were looking like a scene from Silent Hill.

From my experience in the mornings I find the fog tends to get worse between 6am - 8am so I abandoned my 5mile run and took a detour onto much quieter country roads.

Wednesday was a change of plan as I had decided on doing a 8mile run but instead I opted for a easy 5mile with the aim of fitting in a mid week Slievenamon trail run on Thursday evening before sunset.

So as planned I took on Slievenamon again starting at Kilcash, I managed to finish the route approx 40sec faster then on Sunday.  

However, somehow I managed to hurt my back, I've no idea how as I didn't fall or anything odd like but but I came back from the run and part of my back was really hurting anytime I moved.

Due to my back hurting me I took Friday & Saturday as rest days and decided it was well enough on Sunday to take part in the JJ Reddy Danesfort 10K.

The last time I took part in the
JJ Reddy Danesfort 10K was back in 2012 when I set myself a PB of 44:22, I've seen improved this to 42:20 in May 2014 when I was aiming for a sub40. So I decided yesterday to once again aim for a sub40.

The course is tough going as its hilly in parts, but the conditions were good as it was cool starting and little or no wind. The turn out was pretty good as over 200 were running the 10km course.

I was on target for sub40 until the 5km mark but I lost some momentum during the last 3km to finish in 40:58. Not the sub40 I wanted but still very happy with the result as I'm edging ever closer to that sub40 target! :)


Last weeks runs broke-down as:

- Monday: Rest
- Tuesday: 5.22miles @ 7:49min pace
- Wednesday:5miles @ 8:17min pace
- Thursday: 5.19miles @ 11.30min pace
- Friday:Rest
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: 6.20miles @ 6:36min pace (warmup & warm down not included)

Weekly Total:  22 miles
Miles This Year: 1471 miles

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New shoes....yes please!

So last week was my week of starting off some trail running...this time with proper trail running shoes, Monday morning came and I picked up my new trail running shoes which meant I didn't get in my usual 5mile morning run. 

My shoe choice in the end were the "Saucony PowerGrid Xodus 4.0 GORE-TEX Waterproof Trail", I've been pretty happy with my last few Saucony shoe choices and I'm finding them cheaper then Mizuno's so thats also an important factor as well.

To break in the new shoes I decided on 5miles of running on some football pitches in the evening for a change, what should have been a easy enough run but I felt good so I actually ended up upping the pace on each mile 7:53, 7:18, 7:08, 7:00 and 6:43. I then did a recovery run of 1mile at 7:52min pace. Overall I'm pretty happy and couldn't wait to get to use them on some proper trails at the weekend!

During the week i took it easy enough with a handy 5mile run on Tuesday a much faster 8mile run at 7:31min pace on Wednesday, a rest on Thursday and a handy enough run again on Friday.

Friday I meant to take it easy but I actually ended up upping the pace in parts to make sure I was out of any danger on the road due to heavy fog.

Saturdays run was a very early start again at 7am (this is early for the weekend!), and it ended up being sub 8:00 for a change which was probably no harm in the end as it forced me to push myself that little bit more.

On Sunday I planned to test out the trail shoes again by running Slievenamon, this time I started and ended the run at the village of Kilcash at the base of Slievenamon. This new starting point also meant my route was now over 5miles and I'm very happy with how it end.

Unfortunately my Garmin froze when transferring over the Slievenamon training profile and it eventually corrupted the data which was annoying, but luckily I noted the distance and time prior to uploading the data.  Luckily I've previously walked the route so the profile for the new route is below:

Kilcash to Slievenamon & back
I suppose the question is did the trail shoes help on Slievenamon?  They certainly did, the grip was far far superior to my other runners and I felt when my foot hit the ground it wasn't going to move unless I wanted it to.   I will say though when I hit the road back into Kilcash they weren't as comfortable.

My week consisted of:

- Monday:5miles @ 7:12min pace & 1mile @ 7:52min pace
- Tuesday:5miles @ 8:39min pace
- Wednesday: 8miles @ 7:31min pace @ 2miles recovery with
- Thursday:Rest
- Friday:5miles @ 7:55min pace
- Saturday:17:15miles @ 7:52min pace
- Sunday:5:22miles @ 11:32min pace


Weekend Total:  46 miles
Miles This Year: 1445 miles

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Welcome back dark mornings

So my legs on Monday morning after running Slievenamon weren't actually too bad but I still decided to take a rest day. 

On Tuesday the legs felt heavy and while initially when I started my run it was at a 8:50min pace I eventually dropped this down to a 8:07min avg pace for the 5mile run.  Wednesday was a far better run as I upped the pace for the entire run.

Wednesday was also the first morning since before the summer where I had to use my head torch as it was still dark out when I headed out the door, I've decided I'm going to work in some routes that last year I just wouldn't have gone near in the dark because I'm getting bored of the usual routes.

I've also found that actually at 6/7am in the morning I only meet a hand full of cars on these newer routes so I feel relatively safe as I'm lit up like a Christmas tree, all the lights tend to get cars to slow down pretty quick as they're not sure whats on the road infront of them.

The week consisted of:

- Monday: Rest
- Tuesday: 5.19miles @ 8:07min pace
- Wednesday: 8.09miles @ 7:37min pace
- Thursday: 5miles @ 8:39min pace
- Friday: 3miles @ 8:14min pace
- Saturday: 20miles @ 8:11min pace
- Sunday:5miles @ 22min pace

Towards the end of the week I took it far easier after my faster 8miles run on Thursday as I was mindful of doing a 20mile LSR on Saturday, as it turned out the run started at 7am so I didn't get any sort of a sleep in.  I will admit this meant I was awful tired for the rest of Saturday.

Sunday consisted of a nice leisurely walk with my lovely wife in Castlemorris Wood doing the Pheasant Route which is a lovely peaceful 7km route with some hills.


Weekend Total:  46 miles
Miles This Year: 1399 miles


Monday, September 1, 2014

Adventures in trail running

So outside of running around some local woods now and then and running Mount Leinster two weeks ago that's been it for trail running and me, well I've decided to change that.

As I mentioned in my last entry I plan on making a local mountain part of my regular training ruins in order to work in hills and trail running into my training schedule. This should stand to me in a big way considering although while it is flat the Thames Path 100 in May 2015 is mostly on trail.

So with that in mind that was my plan for the weekend, to take on a local mountain called Slievenamon with a decent enough elevation :)

Slievenamon Elevation
On Saturday I did a long slow run of 15miles but on Sunday I decided to run the mountain, elevation for Slievenamon is well over 400metres and my aim was to start at the nearest local village of Kilcash at the foot of Slievenamon. 

Unfortunately there were alot of cars in Kilcash and also at the normal parking spot for walkers at the beginning of the route so I had to drive to a spot further up the road, this ruined my plans of properly measuring the route I wanted.

Half way point
So off I went and while I did manage to run the first few hundred meters I quickly found it difficult to maintain a running pace so I was reduced to run/walk most of the rest of the way.    Once I got near the summit and it leveled abit I was once again able to pick up the pace and I ran to the trig point and to the top of the cairn before beginning the decent again.


The decent was....well seriously good fun, if not a tad steep at times!

Still I managed to keep my footing and had no incidents until right near the very end where I managed to misjudge my foot placement on the path back to the road and I fell infront of some walkers who were on their way up the mountain.  I got up and other then a slightly bruised ego I mentioned something about "it was bound to happen at some stage.." and got on my way again.

I managed the ascent and decent in 52min for the route of just over 4miles, the last time I walked this route took me over 1hr 35min so I was certainly a great deal faster. 


I will of course have to run a second run starting at Kilcash as this should bring the distance to around 5.3miles and it includes steep climbs on the road from the village. The last time I walked from Kilcash it took me 1hour 50min.   This will be the route I aim to use in future as the car is safer when parked in Kilcash.

Really enjoyable run and its certainly something I want to run again :)

Weekend Total:  19 miles
Miles This Year: 1353 miles

Friday, August 29, 2014

Recovering from mountains!

uggghh my legs!
For most of this week my legs hurt after last weekends adventures on Mt Leinster, on Sunday & Monday my legs felt like it was the day after the Connemara Ultra which was really, really odd.

My legs don't hurt anymore but they still do feel abit heavy, still managed to get a few miles in during the week even if they weren't the fastest.

- Monday: 3miles @ 9:00 min mile pace & 1.71mile walk
- Tuesday: 5miles @ 8:09 min mile pace
- Wednesday: 8.07miles @ 7:53 min mile pace
- Thursday: 5miles @ 8:46 min mile pace
- Friday: 3miles @ 8:23min mile pace

For the weekend I plan on a long slow run for Saturday and I have thoughts about trying to run Slievenamon on Sunday at some point...all 721metres of it!

Weekly Total:  26 miles
Miles This Year: 1333 miles

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Running Mount Leinster...

Overall the miles had slightly increased last week but still taking it easy, the week consisted of:

- Monday: 2miles @ 9:39min mile pace
- Tuesday: 5miles @ 8:58min mile pace
- Wednesday: 8miles @ 8:43min mile pace
- Thursday: 2.10miles @ 10:03min mile pace w/strides
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: 21.29miles @ 10:58min mile pace
- Sunday: Rest

I won't lie, after the half marathon in Clonmel my legs felt pretty heavy last week and until the middle of the week I felt like I had a lack of energy in them.

Eventually after rolling them and doing some strides I must say that by Thursday they felt alot better but I was still a little apprehensive in relation to my plans on Saturday....which just happened to be a 21mile run on parts of the South Leinster way along with a climb and descent of Mt Leinster with some of the lads from Co Waterford.

I've actually been meaning to walk up Mt Leinster ever since I started hill walking back in around 2008 but I just never got around to it.  So here I was finally going to run it....well even though I was supposed to run it I still pretty much ended up walking the entire way up on Saturday but I did enjoy the trail run on the way back down.

Elevation of the run
Its a long way down....
Overall I seriously enjoyed the trail running part of the day as up until now I've done very little of it, I certainly plan on going back and doing more of it and I certainly plan on being able to run the entire way up to the top of Mt Leinster without walking!


I might also start adding some trail running on Slievenamon (as its closer) to my weekly training as it certainly can't hurt to add some challenging climbs into my training and it also can't hurt to have some fun on the way back down.

Finally, it was good being able to run with a group on this long run. Especially as I likely would have got lost on parts of the trail....though that didn't stop us getting lost anyway! :)

Weekly Total:  39 miles
Miles This Year: 1310 miles

Monday, August 18, 2014

Clonmel Half Marathon

So I had a pretty easy going week before running the Clonmel Half on Sunday, still I managed more miles then last week even before Sunday so that's a good sign that I'm feeling good and the miles are increasing.

Miles this week consisted of:

- Monday: 8miles @ 7:56min/mile pace
- Tuesday: 4miles @ 7:59min/mile pace
- Wednesday: 8miles @ 8:42min/mile pace
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: Clonmel Half Marathon

The plan had been to run a new PB of sub 1:30 (all going well) in Clonmel however my body had other plans and as such I ended up sick from Wednesday onwards...eventually things got better but this was yet another factor that I was aware of for setting my new PB and it made me even less hopeful.

Sunday arrived and I figured I'd aim for it anyway with a secondary goal of beating my PB by 1second or more.    Off we went and I knew instantly the race was going to be a challenge as we ran against the wind and up the hill away from Clonmel.

After the initial climb out of Clonmel I settled into a nice pace for a downhill section but after a short while I found myself struggling abit after the first mile and from around 4miles on I found my legs felt awful heavy and lacked any real energy.   Although it was still early on in the race I figured at this early stage I might as well resign myself to a finish time of between 1:34-1:45 and I'd instead treat the rest of the race as a long run for the weekend.

In many respects it was nice to just take it easy for a chance during a half marathon as its the first time I've done it and I've never paced a half marathon race either. However I was still lacking energy and I alittle struggled again at mile 8 and I just decided to walk abit on mile 11 and mile 12 as I just didn't want to take any more chances.  I did however pick up the pace for the last 200metres at the finish.

Official Finish Time was: 1:42:37

Its way off my PB of 1:34:43 but I supposed considering I had given up on any PB or a decent time by mile 4 and I walked towards the end it wasn't bad overall.   Overall I think I can put the poor result down to a mixture of not having the best training of late, the though course in Clonmel and being sick just before the race....perhaps in hindsight I shouldn't have ran it I guess. :)

As always there was a good feed after the finish with plenty of cakes and sandwiches etc, also one thing I found different is they were handing out milk at the finish line which was a nice change from the much more common Red Bull muck.

The milk was Avonmore's new gimmick protein milk so it basically tastes like low fat milk which isn't great when compared to full fat milk but its still a better alternative to red bull, I think I'll stick to drinking normal milk and the occasional chocolate milk. :)

Weekly Total:  34 miles
Miles This Year: 1272 miles

Monday, August 11, 2014

Working up to the Clonmel Half Marathon

So although I'm back from holidays a few weeks and I've done two long runs (12 miles at 7:30min pace & 20miles at 8:40min pace) I've tried to properly started back into training from last Tuesday with a recovery run.

As I mentioned in my last blog post last week I entered the Clonmel Half Marathon which is on the 17th August, initially I had been planned on a sub 1:30 time for this but as I've missed out on a good bit of decent training/speed work I'm not so hopeful.

This compiled with the fact its a hilly course means it'll be a challenge to beat my 1:34min time set in Waterford in December.

I had planned on a LSR on Saturday but didn't manage to fit it in and I had a wedding to go to in the evening so the evening wasn't an option, on the plus side the wedding was good craic :)

Going to take it easy enough this week so I'm well rested for Clonmel.

Last weeks training was:
- Monday: Rest
- Tuesday: 5miles Recovery @ 8:15min/mile pace
- Wednesday:3miles @ 7:15min/mile pace & 2mile walk
- Thursday:3miles @ 8:28min/mile pace
- Friday: Rest

Weekly Total:  13 miles
Miles This Year: 1236 miles

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Planning on doing my first 100 mile run!

So during the week I noticed there was alot of talk about the Thames Path 100 in the UK which is on in May 2015 and after some encouragement I decided I'd bite the bullet and I sign up.

For sometime I've wanted to do a 100miler but there's a distinct lack of them in Ireland outside of the Connemara 100 which is on this weekend in Co Galway.     Unfortunately I'm not in a position to take part in it this year due to other commitment and I also don't think I have adequate training done for it either so it wouldn't be an option until August 2015.

The downside is while Connemara is a beautiful part of the country the Connemara 100 is also a very hilly course so it certainly would be a very challenging first 100mile event to take part in hence my reason for opting for the Thames Path 100 instead.

The Thames Path is from London to Oxford in May 2015 and it follows the route of the river Thames, overall elation is no more then 900 feet so its basically flat the entire way......which should help!

Its a long way off yet but I can't wait and it should be some experience :)

On a side note I must say huge amount of respect to Aoife O'Donnell who is taking part in the Connemara 100 this weekend, last month she became the first Irish women to finish the Badwater 135 in Death Valley. Seriously impressed that so soon after she's going to run Connemara 100.   

Her race report
from the Badwater 135 is available on her blog, it's well worth a read.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Running around Majorca....

The blog has been quiet the last few weeks as I've been on holidays in Majorca and also been very busy car hunting as the car broke down on the way home from the airport.     None the less Majorca was a nice bit of rest and relaxation but that still didn't stop me getting some runs in! :)

I'm not one for running in the heat, hell I'd rather run in snow and ice in the dead of winter then a warm summer day but I still gave running in Majorca a good go both by running in the evening and at sunrise in the morning (running in the morning is a very mixed bag).

For the two weeks I was staying I managed a run Port De Pollenca which is a straight enough run on a flat main road but it gets sort of boring so to shake things up abit I decided I'd mix in some hills and instead take in one of the coast roads that started near the hotel.

Boring road to Port De Pollenca
When I first started off on the coast road I could see what looked like a light house around 6-7miles off in the distance however I later found out this was inside of a military area which was restricted and I couldn't get past the gates so I never did managed to run to the light house like I had originally planned...shame.

I'm going to climb that mountain!
So instead I decided to head up one of the mountain and see what the route was like....it was very steep but it had some cracking views!

Over the two weeks I did abit of running on the coast road and also tackled the mountain a few more times, during the last run before we left I met some local runners going up the trails and they made the whole thing look so so easy as they stormed up the trails.

view from near the top of the mountain..
Mountain Elevation
Overall it was a nice break and as well as getting in some miles on the coast I also got in some miles kayaking which was great fun, nice to be back home with the cooler weather though :)

Now back into training as I have the Clonmel Half Marathon on the 17th August,

Miles This Year: 1223 miles

Monday, July 7, 2014

Finally giving speed work a try

Little bit of a mixed week last week,

- Saturday: 16miles @ 8:55min pace
- Sunday: 8mile cycle
- Monday: Rest
- Tuesday: 4miles @ 8:05min pace
- Wednesday: 8miles @ 7:18min pace & 3miles @ 6:46min pace
- Thursday: 3miles @ 9:49min pace (recovery)
- Friday: 8miles cycle @ 17mph avg speed

On Saturday I did my longest run since the Portumna 100km and to be honest I felt fine, during the run I also tested out my Ultimate Direction ACCESS 20 Water Belt for the first time and I'm pretty happy with how it went as I experienced very little bounce with it when running.


The water bottle on it doesn't move around and it leaves more then enough room for a phone and other items (if i need them) so I think I'll be using this on longer runs in the future as its pretty handy.

For Sunday I decided to take it easier so instead I decided on a handy enough 8mile spin on the bike, Monday I pegged as a rest day as I figured I better not overdo it.

During Tuesday's run I can honestly say I felt like I had awful heavy legs which I didn't expect, specially given the rest day on Monday. I had planned on intervals but instead I just took it handy except for the last mile where I upped the pace to 7:19min pace.

On Wednesday morning I decided on 8miles at faster then marathon pace this was enjoyable and certainly an improvement on how I felt during my run on Tuesday. I really enjoyed the run.

Afterwards however I spotted that Stoneyford A/C were running a series of races varying from 2-6miles over the next few weeks, the second of which was on in the evening.    As I couldn't do the rest of the series I decided I'd give the 3mile run a crack.....

Stoneyford 3mile Race:
This was a small race so not many people had signed up but none the less I figured I'd give it my best shot and see how things pan out,

To begin with I knew 100metres into the race that this was going to feel like a slog to the finish as my legs felt incredibly heavy after the 8mile run in the morning. Still I was briefly first for maybe the first 200metres until another guy passed me and I jokingly said to him "there's goes my 1st place".

Coming up on the first mile I could hear somebody behind me and I glanced back to see two people, one of them came along side and we ended up running along side each other just coming up to the largest climb on the course.  

We remained side by side until the top of the hill and I took on some water and decided to up the pace and take advantage of the down hill to the finish line, I eventually managed to create a sizable gap.

At this stage I had lost sight of the guy in first place but my legs had loosened up and felt much better so I was pretty sure I could maintain a decent enough pace so as not to be passed before the finish, I pushed on and was pretty happy to see the finish and I crossed in 2nd place.

Although it was a small race its none the less the first time I've finished in top 3 in any race so that was something new :)

The course was flat enough overall, but in all honestly it didn't feel like it at the time. I'd also be interested to know how I would have performed with more well rested legs.


Weekly Total:  31 miles
Miles This Year: 1119 miles 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Getting back into training.....

So after a full week of rest with only 16miles of cycling and abit of walking I felt my left foot was well enough to start running again.

First run of the week was a nice easy 3mile run during which although I could still feel the remains of the blister on my foot I felt no other ache, niggle or anything else odd in any muscles so that's very much a good sign :)

Tuesday's first run was a easy enough morning run and then a second much faster 7:34 min pace, found this abit of a challenge as I'm not used to the warm weather when running since I do my running in the morning rather then the evening.

Wednesday was a nice easy 3mile run, Thursday was a faster 8mile morning run.

I did find the legs abit tired on Wednesday & Thursday, this was likely down to me pushing the pace abit on Tuesday during the 8mile run...perhaps a case of too much too soon after the 100km and the week off running.

- Monday: 3miles @ 8:06min pace
- Tuesday: 3miles @ 7:54min pace & 8miles @ 7:34min pace
- Wednesday: 3.50miles @ 9:03min pace
- Thursday: 8miles @ 7:48min pace

I must work on a more structured training plan overt the next while so as to ensure I work on improving speed.  Suggestions welcome for anyone that wants to leave a comment :)

Finally, I was looking over my Garmin Goals during the week and realized that in the end I'm looking to improve basically five of my current times by the end of the year. So next time I post these there should be some changes.


Weekly Total:  26 miles
Miles This Year: 1085 miles 

Friday, June 20, 2014

I shall double my efforts....


Very easy week after Portumna 100km, I only did some walking and headed out for a 8mile cycle on Thursday morning as I wanted to allow the blisters to heal up properly.  Right foot feels fine now but blister on left foot is till uncomfortable when walking at times. Legs feel fine otherwise!

So anyway, I've completed three of my five goals for 2014, these have been:

- Run my first Back2Back Marathons
- Run a faster Connemara Ultra
- Run my first 100km
- Run a sub 3:15 Dublin Marathon
- Run a sub 1:30 Half Marathon

As you can see I have two goals left for 2014, the first of which will be in October with the Dublin Marathon and the half marathon I aiming for will be in Waterford in December as I always seem to manage a new personal best when running Waterford Half Marathon.

One thing I know at this stage is I have endurance sorted, if I can keep on my feet for 12hours doing a 100km (even if the pace is slower) then I have endurance sorted out.   The plan now is to work on my speed!

Last years Dublin Marathon had a target of sub 3:30, I wasn't far off this with 3:33 and in reality I would have managed sub 3:30 had I just stuck properly to my pacing.       Instead I upped the pace early in the race because of a) I wanted to catch the pacing group as I was 3min behind them and b) because I thought I was good to be able to hit 3:27.   So basically I got cocky and that was my downfall....oh well!

From my training runs I know that even as part of a training run I know I'm well capable of doing 12mile or 15mile run at a 7:30-7:40min pace as I've regularly done these as training runs. Something I wouldn't have been capable of doing this time last year as even a consistent 8:00min pace was a challenge.

So with that all in mind for a sub 3:15 I need a constant 7:27min pace, I think this is pretty do-able as all I need to do is work on speed.

Hopefully my feet will be all ok after the weekend and I can start back slowly into training.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Portumna 100km Race Report

Prep for the Portumna 100km started on Friday when I drove up from Kilkenny to camp overnight in preparation for the 7am start, I wasn't the only person camping of course as others taking part in the 100km, 50km, half marathon and even the race director were staying overnight in the forest.

I won't lie, I was nervous about this race not only was it the furthest I've ever run (beating the previous longest distance by 23miles) but it also was the longest I'll be on my feet for a race as my previous longest race time wise was 6hours 29min during Connemara Ultra last year.

As always I was up stupidly early for breakfast and to get myself ready for the event, breakfast as always was porridge after that I made sure I had everything ready for during the race.   I tried to cover every eventuality with the equipment I had in the box from food, drink to stuff for blisters etc.


Slight delay at the starting line due to registration delays for some people and then we were off.  I knew that one way or another I was going to be hitting a mile stone on the day as just 5miles in as I would finally hit my 1,000th mile of 2014, around two months sooner then last year.

My aim for the event was to go out nice and slow at about a 10min pace and that went pretty well as I ended up chatting to Paul Brunnock for the first 25miles/or so which was good as it passed the time for both of us. After 25miles I started to flag a little bit and stopped to walk for the first time....this was a little sooner then I had initially planned to walk as my initial plan was to walk for a bit around 30miles.

After this it was a mixture of run/walk, at around 7hours 20min in I had finally passed the 40mile mark and I remember thinking to myself...."here be dragons!".        This was all very much uncharted territory from here on in and it also ended up being a pretty challenging section as I felt very low during the next 10miles or so with a lack of energy and I felt I just kept overheating after around 1mile of running. 

During this low period I took on alot more food then I had on previous laps with the hope it would perk me up, I also made use of the sponges at the finish to try and cool myself down and by the time I hit into the 50's the very low point had passed and I thankfully didn't feel so awful.

What also helped during this low period was the support from all the people I've met at other events shouting my name and encouragement at different times during the course. It was good to have a chat with different people throughout the race, certainly made the time go faster and the support was very much appreciated!

One thing I was very surprised about is it took until 50miles for a blister to become an issue for me on my left foot, up until then I experienced no problems and they didn't cause my any pain but at around 55miles I had a blister burst so that hurt a good bit.  I'm sure I gave one person out walking their dog a little bit of a shock as when I passed them I said hello but 10 feet later when the blister burst I shouted "for fuck sake!" from the pain.       

By the time I started to approach 60miles I had a blister on my right foot which caused pain when it burst, but neither blisters were an ongoing problem for me thankfully.

At this stage of the race, my legs felt surprisingly fine and I had no trouble with my left IT band which has previously caused issues, one of the worst times being during the Portumna 50km in June 2013 when I ended up adding around 40min onto my previous best time due to the pain.

As I headed into the final few laps I had no idea who was ahead of me and if I'd be very last or anything like that, nor did I really want to know!   Heading into the final lap I decided that I'd try run it all so at least if anyone else was on their last lap I have some hope of finishing before them.

So what felt like a fast pace at time (especially coming into the finish) varied between a 9.00-12.00min pace, I eventually crossed the finish line in 12 hours 13min 49sec (22nd place out of 31 finishers).

Unfortunately I forgot to stop my Garmin for a further 10-15min after I finished so my Garmin stats aren't totally accurate time wise. Garmin log of this event can be found here.

Garmin Stats
This was my first 100km and the main goal was to finish it, I did have moments where I thought I might manage it in around 10hours but that went out the window when I started walking so early on in the race.    

Overall I'm happy with the result and over two days on I'm happy with the recovery aside from some stiffness and the two blisters my legs feel fine.

On a side note, as part of my prep for the event I had sorted my food/drink into little ziplock bags rather then leaving things separate. In reality this didn't at all work as I had planned as I found myself not wanting certain items I had put in the bags so throughout the race I'd stop and pick stuff out of the bags, I think this had a impact on my energy levels as I wasn't taking on as much as I needed especially before the 40mile mark.

When compared to Connemara Ultra especialy this year I pretty much took on everything in all the drop bags and that meant despite the hills I felt great by the 26mile mark. Yet for this event I started to lose energy by mile 25 even though the course was far easier then Connemara.

Something to keep in mind next time! ;)


Weekly Total:  73 miles
Miles This Year: 1059 miles