Sunday, August 29, 2010

Galway Half Marathon

First place in a time of 1:11:54!

I nearly missed the start and lined up just as the gun was about to go. Settled into the front group with the ultra guys and a nice flat start with the first mile passing in 5:18. Feeling pretty good and although I hadn't slowed, about 4 or 5 ultra runners soon picked up the pace and started to gap me. I was left running with a Japanese runner who was also doing the 50km with no other half marathoners in sight. That's how it stayed really for the rest of the race - me running with the Jap, slowing ticking off the miles.

A tough course with some sharp uphills and drags - difficult to get into a rhythm. By 10 miles I was looking for the finish. The hardest part was the trip up and down the jetty where the return section was running straight into the wind for about 500m. Anyway, I gritted out the last few miles and despite thinking that I was slowing a lot, that wasn't really the case. I approached the city and the final section around the docks and crossed the finish line in 1:11:54 feeling pretty happy with myself.

So that's almost a 2 minute PB. Very happy with the time - especially on that course. A lot of runners were way slower than what they expected - ranging from 1 to 4 minutes. So that makes it all the more pleasing. I'd put it down as a similar course to the Sydney half in May in terms of toughness. I won by over 1 minute, then a big gap to 3rd place:

That's 84.3km for the week. The biggest result so far in my running "career". And a few Euros in prize money for doing something you enjoy. Wow.

Mile splits were:

1 5:18
2 5:19
3 5:26
4 5:43
5 5:21
6 5:34
7 5:22
8 5:39
10 10:57
12 11:01
13.1 6:14

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Rest Day

Nothing today on the exercise front. Except study for my next (last) exam on Wednesday.

My thoughts turn to tomorrow's half. The weather forecast is good and I'm in great nick so I'll go with:

A goal - sub 72 minutes
B goal - sub 73 minutes
C goal - sub 73:35 (current PB)

Go out hard and hang on. Hopefully run with some of the ultra guys. Looking forward to it.

Friday, August 27, 2010


A very easy 7.0km run in 32:04. Knee a little sore so I'll pop some anti-inflammatories so it settles down. Should be okay.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Today was a little taste of half marathon pace. After a 3.8km warm-up, I ran 3.4km at target pace (sub 3:30/km), then finished with a 3.4km warm-down. All up 10.6km in 44:19.

I wouldn't call the pace comfortable or cruisey. Umm, please let me be right for Sunday.

An easy jog tomorrow - then I'll rest up on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


My normal local run which I completed in 58:54.

Not long now...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Out to the track for something different. I did my 3.2km warm-up loop on the grass. Then the session went 4 x 400m on the track with 30 seconds recovery. Then 2 minutes recovery followed by a 15 minute threshold run on the grass. Then a further 2 minutes recovery and back to the track for 4 x 400m off 30 seconds. I finished with a 3.2km warm-down.

The 400 times were:

73 / 71 / 71 / 72 and 73 / 71 / 70 / 69

I didn't feel great - the cold has taken the edge off me. Hopefully I'm right for Sunday.

A total of 13.8km for the day.

Monday, August 23, 2010


My usual route of 14.4km in 1:00:51. Nice and easy.

I seem to have developed a bit of a sore throat and cold. Typical...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Oughterard 10km

Yes, I struggled with the pronunciation also. Moving on.

I dropped the kids at the out-laws and arrived in good time to register and do my warm-up. I ran the first 2.5km of the course to get the legs moving, then doubled back to the start area. My initial thoughts cannot be repeated here. Lots of rolling hills.

We started a bit late, but were soon underway. For the first 500m I was running side-by-side with a GCH teammate - Barry. As we made the first turn up over the bridge, I took the lead and continued to push the pace. The first km came and a quick glance at my watch showed 2:54. That can't be right, so I moved on. Then the hills started. Lots of them. I was trying to keep the legs moving but it was difficult to get into any sort of rhythm. The second km split showed 3:44 - I didn't think it was that slow but hoped the 1km was short which would mean I was averaging just under 3:20 pace. Battling on behind the lead police car, I was still going mainly up, but not as steep as before. The 3rd km was timed at 3:33 which felt about right. Still more long drags and by 4km (3:30) it seemed to flatten out. Then it went steep downhill. This felt a lot better and the legs were now moving nicely, and despite running quick, you could almost take a bit of a breather. The 5th km of 3:08 meant that at halfway I was 16:48. Time to push on to the finish.

By this stage I imagine I had opened up a good lead. So it was a case of racing the clock. The 6th km was also quick (3:14) which highlighted another downhill section. As we approached 7km things had flattened out again, as we had almost reached water level. So I was hoping the final stretch would be mainly flat. The 7th km of 3:16 showed I was still travelling nicely. Then it started raining. And got quite windy. Straight at me. Not good. Keep working hard was all I could do and by 8km (3:24) I had slowed a bit and was looking forward to seeing the finishing line. There were a few little hills to contend with, nothing too bad and by 9km (3:24) I was kicking on towards the finish. The last km we ran back up into town and I crossed the finish line in 33:24 so a 3:17 last km.

Pretty happy with the race. Yes, it is a tough course. On a par with the Lane Cove 10km, but once you get through the first 4km, it was a good finish.

Finished up with a 2km warm-down then had to dash home to pick up the kids. Another victory for the old boy. This has set me up nicely for the half next week.

17km for the day and 96.4km for the week.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Easy rest day today. Both kids struggling and only managed a few hours sleep last night. All good though. Eating lots today and no beers in the fridge to tempt me.

Tomorrow's race is a tough 10km. Everyone I've spoken to have said there are lots of hills and not a course for a quick time. So I've set myself a target of sub 34. Watch this space.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Easy Friday

Well that was the plan. Ran my normal 14.4km and it was very windy. I received the benefit of the strong wind and by the first checkpoint (2km), I was on track for a quick time despite not pushing it. From there on I was cruising - I had to work a few sections running into the wind but that's good for strength.

All up the 14.4km was covered in 57:42 so that's 4 minute clicks.

Rest tomorrow then race on Sunday. I have the kids this weekend as Marion is visiting her sister in Dublin. It could be a long weekend as they both have colds!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Half marathon pace

Today's session was to run a few efforts at half marathon pace to get used to it. Should feel nice and easy, etc, etc.

After a 4.6km warm-up, I had a section of road marked out that I thought was about 3.2km. So I was aiming to run this in about 11 minutes. Wrong, I ran hard and stopped after 12 minutes. A little dumbstruck as it felt like I was running really hard. I then ran 1.6km easy, doubling back halfway to run the same effort as before in the opposite direction. Again I ran hard, returning to the start point in the same 12 minutes. After a 4.6km warm-down, I was back home and checking what I had actually run on MapMyRun...

It turns out it was 3.4kms for each effort, which is 3:32/km pace. A little worrying as I was running hard, not even at target half marathon pace, and certainly not at a pace I could maintain. I'll put it down as a bad day and move on. Must be tired.

So all up 17.5km for the day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I got a bit of help with my plan in the lead-up to the half. Today it had me down for 75 minutes easy. Again, the window for running was the evening as I played golf around lunchtime (poorly in atrocious wet conditions - we pulled the pin after 8 holes).

The run was 3 loops - 5km, 9km and 3km. All up 17.1km in 1:13:56 (4:19s). Did not feel good today. Legs were sore and the knees were giving me a bit of grief. I'm looking forward to freshening up for the half next week...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mile reps

More reps which are suited towards the half/full. After a 3.2km warm-up I did 6 x 1 mile (4 laps of the track) off 1 minute. I finished with a 3.2km warm-down.

The times were:

5:10 / 5:10 / 5:09 / 5:08 / 5:08 / 5:01

Happy enough with them. The legs felt heavy on the last couple but that wasn't reflected in the time. A tough session by yourself so pleased to have this one in the bag.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to easy

My normal 14.4km in 59:51.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Long Enough

It was Maeve's christening today so my window for running was the evening. After lots of food and a few glasses of wine in the afternoon I wasn't looking forward to this. Anyway, I started with a new 5km loop (the Claregalway 10km course) which was tough. Then I followed up with my normal 9km and 5km loop. All up 19.4km in 1:26:57 (4:29's). Almost dark by the time I finished this run at nearly 9:30pm.

So that's 94.6km for the week. A good week with a new PB. Happy with that. Bigger things just around the corner.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New PB!

Managed to organise a lift to Tullamore for the track 5km. It was about an hour and a half drive - a long way to go for a 5km!

There was a lot of hanging around. We arrived at about 12pm and I wasn't racing until 4pm. Still a good chance to meet some new people, and watch some pretty good athletics in the process.

At about 3pm I did a bit of a warm-up. Then I made my way to the start area. A few strides and soon we were under starters orders. The first lap was a real mess. I had to check my run many times as we all strived for our positions. I settled mid-pack and was a little disappointed with the time for the first lap of 76 seconds.

After that, the pace started to pick up and sure enough the gaps started to emerge. I worked my way up a few places into 4th overall and concentrated on each lap and not getting gapped. The pace was now up to 71 second laps which felt tough but manageable.

The same mind games as always with these races. Knowing full well how many laps you have left but always disappointed when you see the actual proof on the lap board. I wasn't wearing a watch so don't have splits but I was told that at 3km I went through in 9:05. That was good. Only 2km to go...

I was still in 4th but it was getting really tough. The 3 lead runners had found another gear, whilst I was red-lining. I was overtaken at this point by another runner so my battle was to try and hang on the back of him. This went on for a few laps and I think I went in front again, but with 2 laps to go I was overtaken a second time. I wanted to lift the pace for a quick finish but it wasn't happening. I think I managed to surge a little the last 200m but I could not close the gap on the runner in front. So I finished in 5th overall and was told my time was 15:14. My first PB on Irish soil (or track to be more exact).

Very happy with the run. Conditions were perfect and it was a good race. I'm sure the 3 leaders were under 15 so not too far in front. These are some of the best runners going round in Ireland at the moment so nice to be mixing it with them for a while.

I finished up with a good warm-down. All up 11km for the day.

Friday, August 13, 2010


No exercise today. I'm hoping for a good run and I've set myself an ambitious target of sub 15:20 for the 5km. For that to happen I need the pace to be on from the gun. It would be nice to go through 2km in around 6 minutes, then try to hang on. I have the strength but need to see where I'm at speedwise. Hopefully we get good weather (no wind).

Mo ran low 7:40s for 3km tonight and didn't win. That pace is illegal...

Thursday, August 12, 2010


My normal 14.4km route in 58:11 (4:02s). Last nights run was a distant memory and today it felt really easy. How that can happen I'm not sure. A PB for the run though I've never really pushed this loop. I'm now focusing on the 5km on Saturday so I'll rest tomorrow in an effort to freshen up.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I met with Brian to run the upcoming half marathon course. We started at Dangan and had to run 1km to get on the course. Then we ran the loop and finished with 1km back to Dangan. All up 23km in 1:50:10. Not quick in the slightest. To be honest I felt awful in this run. Low on energy, and couldn't wait for it to be over. Not many positives in regards to the course either - it's pretty flat with a few drags here and there. Not very inspiring. I may change my opinion if I run well on the course in a few weeks time!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

400m reps

Out to the track for 15 x 400 off one minute. After a 3.2km warm-up, I was straight into it. The weather was glorious and despite the dread associated with this type of session, I found it to be not too bad. My times were:

70 / 69 / 69 / 68 / 67 / 68 / 68 / 68 / 67 / 67 / 67 / 67 / 67 / 67 / 65

Good to see them get a bit quicker through the session - and a little quicker than when I last did this session 2 weeks back. I have to say I think I could have pushed them a little bit harder but I'm not one for getting myself into the vomiting state. Not through running anyway.

Finished up with a 3.2km warm-down. Great session. I seem to be running really well at the moment. I'm pretty fit and also in form. Looking forward to cranking out a good 5km on the track this Saturday. A PB is wanted.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Easy Monday

My usual 14.4km route in 1:01:56. A bit slower than recent times but took it really easy.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Slow and Long

Met with Paul at Dangan and after a 15 minute warm-up, we ran down to the cathedral to meet some other GCH runners for the normal 9am start. There was a group of 12 or so. Not running at quick pace, just a nice pace to get to meet the other runners and have a chat. We did the normal 11.5 mile loop back to the start, then we headed back to Dangan. All up the run was 2:14:11 and I estimate a total of 28km. Not a quick pace but perfect after the race the night before.

So that's 101.2km for the week. Nice to crack the ton with a days rest. My left knee seems really good at the moment - strange - when you consider the bigger kms I am running.

I've decided to knock the August marathon on the head. Instead I will run the half. This will give me the best chance of running a quicker time in Dublin. And that's what my #1 goal will be for 2010. Is sub 2:30 in the marathon a possibility? Watch this space to find out.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Streets

I felt really good all day. Despite not being a fan of the evening race (best to get it out of the way in the morning), I was feeling full of beans. No excuses at hand. This was strange - I prefer to feel not good as this is a sign I will run well. Perhaps I'm reading too much into all this.

Anyway, drove into Galway and parked a good 3km from the start to allow a decent warm-up. I spoke with a few fellow Harriers down at the start area and soon we were lining up at the start. I was right at the front and soon we were under starters orders.

The gun fired and I expected the guns to push the pace straight away. No, I was leading the entire 2,000+ field! I felt very uncomfortable and after about 200m my thoughts were that something was not right here. Perhaps I could win this...

That thought was quickly erased when the Dublin runners decided to start running. By the 1km marker (3:10) a few guys had gone off the front and I was left to concentrate on my own race. We ran through the city, past Eyre Square and then out of the back of the city (unfamiliar ground for me). The road was dead flat and with cool weather/no wind conditions were pretty perfect. I missed the 2km marker and was having a battle with 2 other runners. We hit 3km in 9:35 so still quick. I was feeling okay - not out and out red line but at the same time, still conscious that there is a long way to go. By 4km (12:39), I had edged past the other 2 runners and I was pretty confident that I was in 6th position.

I could see 2 other runners in front and despite my best efforts I wasn't closing any gaps. At the same time though I seemed to be gapping the runners behind. At 5km (15:57) my thoughts had turned to hanging on. We had a nice downhill section for 200m or so before the final 2.5km for home. This was run into a slight headwind (not typical) and by 6km (19:11) I was looking for the finish line. A slow 7th km of 3:21 had me nervous but I managed to pick up the pace when I got a sniff of the finishing chute. A final 400m "sprint" and I crossed the line in 25:38. Still not closing on the runner in front but nonetheless a great run. Very happy.

It turns out I was first Galway athlete to cross the line. Plus there was a few Euros prize money. And Galway finished 2nd in the team category. At the presentation I got a bigger cheer than the winner. Honest!

McMillan says I am now in low 32 minute shape for 10km. Wow.

I did a 3km warm-down. After arriving home a few beers was called for. Okay, not as good as racing the City to Surf but nonetheless a great day.

Friday, August 06, 2010


Okay, no running today. Though I did buy myself a nice new running jacket in preparation of colder/wetter weather to come.

So what can I expect tomorrow night in the "Streets of Galway 8km?" Course conditions will play a big part though I'm told it's traditionally a flat/quick course with the wind at your back for the last 3km or so. To be honest, I'll be happy to run around the same time as I did at Headford a few weeks back (26:08). If I break 26 minutes I'll be very happy but wouldn't be surprised if it's 26:30. We shall see. It will be a crackerjack field with all the guns arriving from all over Ireland. To make the top 10 will be good going so that's my target.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Another easy one

My usual 14.4km in 59:52. That's the same run now 3 times in 4 days...I need to start doing some different stuff.

I will rest-up tomorrow in preparation for the big race on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

6 x 4 lappers off a minute

Drove to the track for a tough session. I did my 2 mile warm-up, then started my session of 6 x 4 lappers. I allowed myself 60 seconds recovery which is not be ran at 10km speed which I calculated should be around 5:12 for each effort (78 second laps or 3:15 per km pace).

Actual times were:

5:13 / 5:12 / 5:11 / 5:11 / 5:09 / 5:07

Was pleased with that - it was a swirling wind so you had to keep working different sections of the lap to keep the pace up. Also good to get them slightly quicker as the session progressed - despite feeling a little out of sorts today. There was certainly nothing in the tank come the end.

Finished up with a 2 mile warm down. So a total of 10 miles in old money or 16kms if you prefer.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Ran the same session as yesterday. Felt really easy - a little drizzle and nice and cool. Time was 58:30 which I think is my quickest time for this route. That's 4:04 per km for an easy run...

Monday, August 02, 2010


I did my 14.4km circuit after the weekend "rest". The weather was wet but not too much wind. The run didn't feel too bad. A time of 59:47. I need to put in a few big weeks if I'm going to run the marathon at the end of August...

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Friday to Sunday

No running. Zilch. Instead I was on the lash with my old man. Three big evenings on the drink. Friday at the races followed by a trip into town. Saturday was an evening in Oranmore. Sunday was a meal at the local hotel followed by another trip into town. The Guinness doesn't give you too much of a hangover - it was more the lack of sleep. I need to get back into training the next few weeks to burn off the zillion calories I have just consumed...

A total run distance of 59.2km for the week. Nice to have a break. I feel refreshed - not.