Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Yearly Review

Today I met up with Ian for an easy run around Renmore. We did 3 laps of the Resolution Run course to be used tomorrow and also ran with Paul Fallon for a short while who was finishing his 1,000 mile run in December. An incredible achievement and something he should be very proud of. All up only 9.2km for me in just over 40 minutes.

That gets me an annual total of 4,230.5km for the year. My biggest yet!

Moving on, it's time for the yearly review. Here is the list of races for the year:



A very good year for me. Lot of racing, no real injuries to speak of and a few PB's along the way. Of the 39 road races I managed 21 x 1st places, 8 x 2nds, 4 x 3rds, 3 x 4ths, 2 x 5ths and 1 x 26th.

On the PB front I managed to improve my 5km PB on a few occasions. A very unexpected PB on New Years Day running 15:51 at the 5km Resolution Run in an epic sprint finish. I then improved that in the second week of the Galway 5km series out at Tuam on May 10th running 15:45. I managed to equal that time the following week in Craughwell and then recorded a big improvement in Maree on 13th July clocking 15:33.

For 8km, I peaked for the Streets of Galway and I managed to improve my PB by a whopping 3 seconds with a 25:36 in early August.

At 10km it was a case of chipping a few seconds off my PB here and there. Going into the year my PB stood at 32:49. I tackled the distance 12 times in the year and was very consistent breaking 33 minutes on 8 separate occasions with the worst time being 33:53 from last week in very testing conditions. I improved my PB to 32:44 at Clarinbridge at the end of January and then improved that further to 32:41 at Annaghdown on June 21st. I have to say I thought I'd go a lot closer to breaking 32 minutes this year. Despite some red hot form in training and over 5km, I couldn't convert that over 10km. Some of that could be down to bad luck as I often was racing solo (time trialing). On a few other days it just didn't happen (the Great Ireland Run springs to mind). More improvement to come hopefully.

My first race over 10 miles out in Craughwell on March 20th. I ran well and managed to post a decent time of 53:20 on my debut.

At the half marathon I started the year well. I posted a decent PB in the postponed 2010 Norwich Half Marathon running 1:11:15 on March 13th (a 39 second improvement). I tried to improve on that with 4 more attempts at the distance and despite training really hard for the 2011 Norwich Half in November, tough windy conditions put pay to a quick time where I ran 1:14:07. I honestly felt that I had a sniff of sub 71 minutes on that day which was a bit disappointing.

Looking through the list it's hard to pick my top 5 performances of the year but here goes:

1) Craughwell 10 miler (March 20th). This was the week after the Norwich Half Marathon and my legs didn't feel great. I ended up having a tough battle with Paul Buckley where we swapped positions many times. On the day I was beaten by the better man but the racing on that day was why I love running. My time of 53:20 was the equivalent of 31:50 for 10km and 1:10:50 for the half. An unexpected result given the half marathon the week before.

2) Balla 10km (July 23rd). Another good battle with Martin Conroy on a tough hilly course. Martin and the hills got the better of me in the last 4km but I still managed to run 32:43 only narrowly missing out on a PB. A great race and good to see the whole town out in support of this race.

3) Norwich Half Marathon (March 13th). A new PB and great to run well in your home town with friends and family watching. I managed 5th positon after catching and overtaking another runner in the last few miles.

4) Resolution Run (Jan 1st). My lead-up training was awful and I had a hangover to boot. Despite hardly being able to fill in the entry form I managed a win and a new PB of 15:51 with a sprint finish at the end. Where did that come from?

5) Claregalway 10km (August 13th). A nice win in the county 10km championship in my back yard with the wife and children watching.

An honourable mention also to the Galway 5,000m Championship track race that I won on June 16th. I sat in behind Kenny Rogers for the majority of the race and managed to pip him on the line with a quick last 100m. A decent time also of 15:14 which equalled my track PB.

That's about it for 2011. I now need to set some new goals for 2012 which no doubt will involve getting quicker over various distances (isn't that always the way?). Plus I hope to have lots of good racing along the way. But for now it's time for some beer. Cheers to you all!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Soldiering On

Another miserable day. I ran outside in the wind/rain and struggled around my local loop of 11.3kms in 48 minutes exactly.

I'm glued to the darts at the moment. It's getting very good with the semi-final line-up now decided. The Wade v Lewis game should be a belter. Not much love lost between them two...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lacking quality

Bad weather put pay to an outdoor speed session. Instead it was back to the gym for a good sweat on the treadmill.

The session was 3.1km warm-up, 6 x 1km off 300m recovery, then 2.4km warm-down. All up 13km in 50:07. The 300m included the slow-down, speed-up time so basically 200m recovery at 4:25/km pace.

The first km was run at 3:18/km pace and I gradually increased the pace each km finishing at 3:09/km pace. It felt pretty comfortable throughout and certainly doesn't replicate running the same pace outdoors. Sweating buckets at the end.

Easy running now before the race on Sunday. I'm not expecting anything flash!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

42 Races in 2011

I should have done some quicker stuff today but instead I took the easy option and ran my local loop of 11.3km in 45:59 (4:04's). I'll try and squeeze one more quick session in before Sunday's 5km Resolution Run that I somehow managed to win on Jan 1...

So no more races for 2011. I'll have to get my yearly review done in the next day or so. I managed a whopping 39 road races this year, plus 2 track races and a token cross country (never to be repeated). I've never trained and raced as much before and a few PB's throughout the year show that I still seem to be making some progress.

I was digging around for a few more photos from this year. Here are a couple from the Carnomore Turkey Trot (thanks to Edenhill).

This one shows that I'm in the zone ready to run for my lunch:



And here's the sprint finish that I lost out on:











Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Recovery

Not from the race but from the drink. I did the same run as I did on Christmas Eve but this time the conditions were a lot better. So 10.8kms in 45:55 (4:15's).

A couple of photos from the Athenry 10km (thanks to Eirefoto and Edenhill). This one at the finish:



And this one from the presentation (Paul Hession - Olympic sprinter):

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fields of Athenry 10km

Very windy on the motorway on the drive to Athenry. This was going to be another tough day - made worse by the over indulgence on the falling down water the previous day.

A token 1.5km warm-up and it was time to line up at the start. A large field of over 1,000 runners and just after 11am we were off. The start of the race has a bit of a climb which you don't really notice then the course flattens out. The wind was swirling around but was predominantly on the back for the start of the race. Through the first km and I was ignoring the watch as I settled into a small group who were chasing 4 other runners who had opened up a decent gap.

After 1km there was a nice downhill section followed by more gradual undulations. I decided to make a break and surged to work away from the small group. I was left in 5th position outright and I was working my way up on 4th. At this point I was feeling great. The wind was still behind and I quickly caught the next runner and went past him. I continued to push the pace as I passed the next few kms. Then at 4km it was time to make a sharp left-hand turn...

It suddenly became very hard. Running directly into the wind coupled with a long gradual climb. The course was more exposed and I knew I had slowed dramatically. I was hanging out for the next km marker and when I got to 5km the course flattened out a little but it was still very exposed and windy.

Midway through the 6th km the course took another left turn which made the wind more bearable. I was feeling okay on the flat/downhill sections, but had nothing on the uphills. Funny that. The back half of the course is still very flat but what undulations there are seem to be more short and sharp. If you were running well you wouldn't notice them but I wasn't feeling great.

The next few kms were all about hanging on. I had the feeling that a couple of runners behind me were closing in but I knew that if I could get to 9km I'd have enough in reserve to finish the race off. That's how it turned out - the last km being very runner friendly with a nice downhill stretch back into town. I enjoyed the finishing chute and managed to cross the line in 4th position in a time of 33:53.

The first 3 runners were in a different class today. Sean Hehir won the race in a super 31:07 with Emmett Dunleavy 2nd in 31:19 and last years winner Gerry Ryan 3rd in 32:30. I reckon the wind was worth close to a minute today so all in all a good hit-out in very trying conditions.

I decided to run the course again as a warm-down to see if it was as tough as I remembered it. It was. So after stuffing myself yesterday I'd had all the stuffing knocked out of me today.

Here are my splits:

1km 3:13
2km 3:13
3km 3:15
4km 3:25
5km 3:46
6km 3:27
7km 3:27
8km 3:29
9km 3:27
10km 3:11

Total 33:53

A first class race which I thoroughly enjoyed. On a still day this would be a super quick course but that said it's difficult to peak at this time of year. Anyway 21.5kms for the day and now it's time for a few more beers.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas

No run today. Instead double figures on the alcoholic beverages which was made up of mainly cans of Guinness with a couple of Irish coffees thrown in post lunch.

I did have the chance to run but it was a repeat of the weather from yesterday so instead I was building lego and trying to play snooker on a 4 foot table. Great fun.

Merry Christmas to one and all. I got a new coffee machine (coffee is great for running). And for sobering up...

A total of 60.4km for the week.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Madness

I decided to get a run in late doors. The weather was abysmal being very wet and windy. I was fighting the fading light and I managed to get the Claregalway 5km loop in followed with a stretch of the N17. All up 10.8km in 49:34 which was very slow and laboured.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Presents wrapped

I decided on doing some 5 minute reps. The usual 3.4km warm-up on my now set-in-stone short mile course. I must get it properly measured in the New Year.

I decided on 6 off 90 seconds and surprisingly I felt great. The breathing was completely in control and that's probably testament to finally shaking off the cold. The times were as follows:

5:17/5:15/5:04/5:08/4:57/5:07

A slow start but wound it up towards the end. As usual the outward section was easier (1st/3rd/5th) despite being slightly uphill.

A 2.3km warm-down and 15kms for the day. Beers and darts in the pub for afters.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Note to self - must wrap the presents

Today I was supposed to do some quicker stuff but I couldn't be bothered. Instead I rolled around my local 11.3km loop in 46:36 (4:07's).

A trip into town in the evening for more boozing. All the pubs were heaving...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mild

An evening run outside in very mild conditions. I clocked 10.3kms in 45:32 and was feeling pretty ordinary throughout.

Very low in motivation at the moment. Hopefully Christmas and the New Year will lift my spirits.

My tickets fell through to watch Spurs hammer Norwich on December 27th. At least that saves me a trip home.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bottled it

Today was to be my track comeback. But the wet weather put pay to that so I took the easy option and hit the treadmill.

It was a similar session to last Tuesday. A 3km warm-up, then 3 x 2km with 500m recovery, finishing with a 3km warm-down.

I ran the 2km efforts at speeds of 18.1, 18.3 and 18.5kms per hour respectively. I was worried I was going to blow on the last one but I held on. By the end of the session I was sweating oceans. A nice Smashey and Nicey style CD on in the gym which made the time pass quickly.

Then darts. I scored well in the pairs but neither of else could hit a double and we ended up losing. I bounced back in the singles and played very well winning 2-0 winning the last leg in 17 darts. Overall we won 8-1 and whilst we comfortably hold second place in the league, we have very little chance of catching the leaders.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Countdown

Well not long now until Xmas. The kids are getting excited and so am I when I see all the Lego that I'll have to play with...

No chance for a run today. One run in 4 days now. I'm tapering but with no race at the end of it...

The darts are fantastic at the moment. The first round has thrown up some incredible games and the standard has to be seen to be believed. You compare yourself to the pros and you realise just had bad you actually are...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

When all else fails...

go for a run. Enough effort wasted on masking agents such as Codral and Lemsip so decided to man up and sweat it out. I did my local triple loop covering 16.1kms in 1:09:00 (4:17's). Breathing a little laboured and legs were a touch heavy but aside from that not too bad.

That's 63.5km for the week.

Lots happening next week on the social calendar so will try and squeeze a run in here and there. A complete lack of quality no doubt.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Grin and beer it

Still not feeling great so no run again.

That didn't stop me heading out to the local for a few pints and a game of darts. I missed a few doubles but was scoring well.

No races scheduled at the moment. There are a few options but it's difficult to commit to anything in the silly season. There's the Fields of Athenry 10km on St Stephen's Day and the 5km Resolution Run on January 1st. If previous years are anything to go by the preceeding day won't be ideal race preparation...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cold

Things took a turn for the worse and I now have a bad cold. It may even be the flu. So no running today.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mixing it up

I wasn't feeling too cracky today but couldn't resist a lunchtime run as the weather was as good as it's going to get at this time of year. After a 3.4km warm-up I did 2 x 5 minutes off 90 seconds along my normal short mile route (5:05 and 5:08). Then after another 90 seconds recovery I did 6 x 1 minute on my Rock Road hill with jog back down the hill recovery (around 1:25). The same 3.4km warm-down so all up 13.1km for the day.

The darts World Champs start today at the Ally Pally. I'd say I'll be glued to that for the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Again

Another run in the gym. This time 10km in 41 minutes. Another good sweat.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cruising

Too dangerous to run today. The wind seemed galeforce and it would be just my look to get taken out by a tree or something. So instead it was a gym run. Being a quick day I decided to do some 1km cruise intervals. After a 3km warm-up I did 6 x 1km off 300m recovery. The 300m recovery included the speed-up/slow-down time before and after each effort which takes about 50m each time. So in truth about 200m recovery at a float pace (4:25/km pace).

The first one was done at 3:20/km pace and I gradually wound up the pace each effort running the last one at 3:13/km pace. A good sweat if nothing else.

A 2.5km warm-down. That gives me 13.0kms for the day in a time of 50:33.

A rest week this week in the darts. One more game next Tuesday before the Christmas break.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weather Worsening

Very cold, wet and windy. After another big night and I reluctantly headed out at lunchtime and boy was it tough. The first 4km were ran into a howling wind and I was hardly moving. It got a bit easier after that but still very unpleasant for running. All up 11.3kms in 49:58 which is about 4 minutes slower than it would normally take me. Still no snow but it's done everything but...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

All the 5's

I wasn't feeling as bad as I should have. Finishing at 3am and getting up 8 hours later and I'd just about gotten away with it. I headed our for a lunchtime run covering 13.4km in 55:55 (4:10's) and felt pretty fresh. Okay not a long run but better than nothing.

I think at this time of the year it's all about damage limitation. You have to resign yourself to the fact that you aren't going to improve your fitness and you have to hope that a few sessions will at least not see you going backwards.

A quick shower and then a full Christmas lunch that my Dad had cooked. Washed down with a few beers and then a pub crawl in town...

74.9kms for the week and already over 4,000kms for the year. That's a PR as the American's would say...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

5km tempo run

I decided to squeeze in a session before a session. I ran a 3.4km warm-up, then a tempo lap of the local 5km course in 16:55. Finishing up with a 2.3km warm-down. Total 10.7km.

It was a difficult run as the wind was swirling, plus it's a hilly loop. Now for the first of the big Christmas piss-ups...

Forgot to mention I played snooker last night. Beat my old man 7-0. He wasn't happy.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Gloves

It has been very cold in Galway the last couple of weeks. I doubt if the temperature is getting much above 5 degrees. In a very rare event it wasn't raining at lunchtime when I headed out for my run and to make things even better there was very little breeze. I'd take these sort of conditions every day. They say the optimal temperature for running is around 13 degrees but I prefer it much cooler than that as per today.

A repeat of Monday's 11.3km run in 45:46 (4:03's). Not pleased to report that I've turned soft and that I've resorted to wearing gloves...

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Gears

In my last few races I feel like I've had another gear to call upon when required. I can only attribute this to cutting down on the number of races that I've been doing, plus the benefit of doing some hill sessions. So with that in mind I decided to do some more hills today.

It was almost a repeat of the session on October 27th except that I did 12 x 1 minutes instead of 15. The weather was very bad. The first half of the session I got caught in an icy rain shower and it was blowing straight at me as I was attempting to sprint up the hill. Very tough and I kept telling myself that I was really really enjoying this...

All up 13.2kms for the day and needless to say no other runners spotted out and about.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Rest

No time to squeeze in a run today. Nevermind.

Snooker on the TV at the moment and more darts starting tomorrow so plenty to keep me entertained.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Not track

No time for track tonight so did some intervals local. I decided to ease myself back into some proper training with 5 x 5 minutes off 90 seconds recovery using the same stretch of road I've been using recently. After a 3.4km warm-up I did my out and backs in the following times:

5:05/5:18/4:59/5:18/4:51

As you can see the back efforts (2nd and 4th) were slower as I was running into a stiff wind. I pushed the last one and was ticking along very nicely.

I finished up with a 3.8km warm-down so all up 15.0km for the day.

Later in the evening it was more darts and the top of the table clash. As my Dad was in town he got drafted into the team and we were teamed together for the pairs which we then lost! We both made amends winning our singles game but we still ran out 6-3 losers overall.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Still no snow

An easy run today covering my new local Rockmount 11.3km loop in 45:44 (4:03's). Feeling good after yesterday's race.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Carnmore 5km Turkey Trot

Back to back 2am finishes in the pub perhaps not ideal preparation. Despite that I was ready to have a decent hit-out.

The course had been shortened from last year (6km down to 5km) so that was a good bit of news. I ran a short warm-up (approx 2km) and lined up at the start. A good turn out of 150 or so and the wet weather had broken leaving us good conditions for racing. I quickly took the lead and settled into a nice rhythm. After about 500m I was aware that another runner was slowly catching me. Slowly but surely by about the 1km mark I had been caught and he settled in behind me. I didn't look round so I had no idea who it was but it looked like I had some competition.

Through the 2nd km and a few surges but no shaking the guy behind. The course was a lollipop shape and seemed fairly flat with perhaps more downhill than uphill if that's possible - great for racing. The 3rd km had a long downhill and still no clue as to who the mystery runner was. I tried a few more surges through the 4th km which were easily covered so it was heading for a last km showdown.

The final km was going to hurt. I upped the pace hoping that would give me the break but again no joy. I was aware that the other runner had moved wide ready to strike. Sure enough with the finish line in sight he made his move and kicked for home. I went with him and was running eyeballs out. The moment I thought I was closing he seemed to kick again and I was left hanging on. The finished line arrived and I was still sprinting but it wasn't good enough. Second place in 16:04 and some 2 seconds behind the winner.

A thoroughly enjoyable race. I'd take this sort of race any day over a race against the clock. It turns out the mystery runner was Tony Fogarty from Thurles Croke AC who was on holiday in Galway for the weekend. I have no problem losing to someone a lot younger than me and twice as talented! Just goes to show you never know who is going to turn up to race. I suppose that's part of the appeal for me.

A 4km warm-down by which time it had started raining again. Back to the community centre for coffee and to collect my turkey prize. Well done to the organisers and hopefully lots of money raised for the club.

All up 11km for the day and 43.2km for the week.

Splits:

1km 3:10
2km 3:16
3km 3:20 (poor)
4km 3:14
5km 3:04

Total 16:04

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Snap

Another late night in the pub so not at my best today.

The same run as yesterday. This time in 46:06. Very cold which I don't mind and little or no wind.

Back to the pub tonight for more of the same.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Marathon

An 11.3km run at lunchtime in more miserable conditions (time 45:56 = 4:04/km). Feeling good and looking forward to having a blow-out on the weekend.

A marathon game of darts in the pub with my old man followed. I won 30-25. Plenty of practice as it's the top of the table clash in the league Tuesday night. My running blog is fast becoming a darts blog. Proper training will resume next week after my week of eating and drinking like Cliff Lazarenko.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Advent

My easy week continues with no running again. I had a look at the calendar and I may race at the weekend. The 6km Turkey Trot is looking favourite on Sunday. Running to feed the family and all that.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Look out

Awful conditiions for running (wet/windy). It was a lunchtime wobble covering 9.6km in 43:42 (4:33's). I should have played darts instead.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Back in training

No running again but that didn't stop me playing darts. We didn't have a league match tonight but instead we got together for a round robin competition. I won both the pairs and singles and receieved a bottle of vodka for my efforts. Gotta love the arrers.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nothing to report

A large hangover thanks to Timothy Taylor Landlord. Then travel back to the Emerald Isle. No running.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Norwich Half Marathon 2011

Cold and extremely windy conditions greeted me on arrival at the Norfolk Showground. I delayed my warm-up until about 20 minutes before the race start and attempted to keep warm by staying indoors. I jogged a few kms and straight away it became apparent that it was going to be a tough day. The course being 2 laps meant you were running into the wind for the first half of the lap, with wind on the back for majority of the second half. Times were going to suffer.

I lined up at the start and the race got underway bang on 11am. A large group formed at the front and nobody was prepared to take it on as we ran a mile around the showground. As we exited and switched to the main road there must have been a good dozen or so runners in the lead group. I was trying to find some shelter from the wind and at the same time avoiding clipping of heels and the bumping and barging.

Through the first mile in 5:42 and then a long straight directly into the wind. The group remained together and I decided to ignore the watch and focus on racing. I was feeling good as we made a left turn to take us through the second mile. A long uphill drag followed until we made a sharp left turn to finally give some shelter from the wind. At this point I decided to pull the trigger and I made a quick break which quickly opened up the race. I held the lead for only a short while as a couple of other runners went with me. To my surprise they continued to push on leaving me in 3rd position with lots of runners in pursuit.

Running out of the wind felt effortless. With some quick miles I was feeling solid and I was again surprised to be caught and passed by another runner moving me down into 4th. Closing out the lap you have the long climb back to the showground, then a few twists and turns to make within the grounds and that meant being exposed to the wind again. I could still see the 3 runners in front of me and I was confident that I had plenty to offer on the second lap.

Sure enough I had started to close on third place. I caught him somewhere around 8 miles and we then ran together for a mile and a half being buffeted around all over the place. The same point where I made the move in the first lap arrived and again I made another break to quickly take outright third. I pushed on running a decent couple of miles and I still thought I had a chance for second but that wasn't to be. The final climb into the showground and I knew I still had a tricky mile to finish with. Lots of lapping runners and another couple of minutes running directly into the wind and as I rounded the final bend I could see another runner only a few seconds back. That was my cue to put in a spurt and I managed to hold on to cross the line in 3rd place in a time of 1:14:07.

Very disappointed with the time but the conditions were not good for distance running. I felt strong throughout which was a good sign so maybe I'll have to see if there is another half I can do before the year is out.

Here are the splits:

1 5:42
2 5:43
3 5:42
4 5:12
5 5:19
6 5:38
7 5:50
8 5:57
9 6:19
10 5:24
11 5:23
12 5:42
13.1 6:16

Total 1:14:07

I have a report from the local paper that I will scan and add when I get a moment. The guy who won clocked up his 4th title and described it as one of the toughest races he had done. He's a regular sub 70 minute runner so to get within 90 seconds of him today wasn't too bad.

A couple of kms warm-down so all up 25.1kms for the day and 64.9km for the week.

Time for the pub to spend my winnings...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Final Prep

Rest day today. I had a look around the city in the morning, fish and chips for lunch, and pub/darts/cards in the afternoon. I limited myself to 2 pints in the pub, lost to my Dad at darts 14-13 (I bottled it), then broke even at cribbage. Quality.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Arrived Okay

An easy run today just to check the legs were okay. I ran around the block (total 5.1km in 21:56). Feeling good.

Snooker and a few beers in the evening.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A roight noice place hintut

Another easy run. This time 33:15 with a quick mile thrown in the middle at something close to HMP. Difficult to tell really as the weather was so bad making quick running virtually impossible (a combination of wind and rain that makes your face sting). Plus I was wearing my heavy clogs. Excuses, excuses. Enjoyment factor - less than zero.

That's about it now. I travel to Norwich this evening so will probably be offline until early next week (the internet doesn't yet exist in Norwich). For anyone that is interested the results should be up here on Sunday afternoon.

I can't remember having put so much training into a half marathon before (or any race for that matter). Some decent mileage in the bank and a good recent 10km has given me a lot of confidence. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rolling round

An easy run today. My local 11.3km loop which was very windy and also raining. Time 49:29 (4:23's). Drenched come the end. An enjoyment factor of zero.

The first photo from the recent Hollymount 10km courtesy of edenhill. Sitting in bludging as is the norm:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Final Track Session

This was to be the last effort session before the half. The schedule called for a mile, 3 miles, then a mile with the miles to be run at 5 minute mile pace and the 3 miles to be run at HMP. In between it was 2 minutes jog recovery.

After a 3.9km warm-up it was time to get moving. I jumped in with Keith and he paced me for the first 2 laps of my opening mile. I went on to complete this is 4:59. Then 2 minutes jog and straight into 12 laps @ 80 seconds per lap pace. I wouldn't call the pace comfortable and the windy conditions made it a bit tough but I managed to stick to the lap times with metronome like accuracy. I completed this in 15:59 and then had another 2 minute jog. The final mile was going to be tough. After an initial 75 second lap I was struggling and another 75 second lap meant I was hanging on. I then started to feel good and lifted the pace to finish with a 4:57. Job done.

The same 3.9km warm-down. The usual thoughts that there was no way I could maintain 3:20/km pace for 70 minutes. Ignore.

Then darts. A late night (home at 1:30am) but a good 8-1 win away. I won both my pairs (played well hitting 104 out in the first leg) and my singles (not so good and should have lost). My record to date is played 14, won 9, lost 5. Not bad for a first season.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Half Marathon Progression

No running today being a taper week. I have a track session tomorrow then I'll do a bit of easy running for the rest of the week.

Here's a quick summary of my half marathon progression:



Prior to this I had run one previous half marathon (also Norwich) some time in the late 90's. It was one of those "I can do that" bets and I got round on the back of very little training in just over an hour and a half (from memory). I'll have to see if I still have the result somewhere.

Just looking at the list you can see I had a good record in the Sydney Half (the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon). In total I ran this race 8 times and I recorded 7 PB's.

I don't remember too much of the detail of these races. The 2002 race was a good one as I had a long battle in the Hickson Road finishing straight with my mate Johnny Gallagher. He caught me and I immediately kicked and put 10m into him which gave me the victory.

The 2004 race was also a good one as it was my first sub 80 minute run. Again at the time I remember saying in the pub that I couldn't go any quicker.

A big improvement in 2009 in the Sydney Running Festival Half Marathon. I got into a good group that day running with Saxon Moseley and Matt Palmer and although I wasn't a big fan of the course, it was nice to maintain 3:30/km pace.

Here are the reports of the Galway Half Marathon and the Norwich Half Marathon that complete the list. Hopefully I can get somewhere neat those times again on Sunday.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

One week to go

After my run yesterday I was feeling decidedly ordinary. Maybe a bug/virus. Lots of stomach cramps and a few night sweats. Not pleasant. Anyway I decided to try a long run around 4pm. I got out and did a few of my local loops finishing off with a stretch of the N17 (as it had turned dark by then). My heart wasn't in it and I was simply going through the motions wanting it to be over. The stomach still wasn't feeling great and I had very little energy and heavy legs. A run to forget.

Total 22.9kms in 1:44:26 (4:34's).

That's 113.3kms for the week. A good week apart from today. A nice easy week next week with the only session of note being a final hit-out on Tuesday. Here are some photos I found from the 2010 Norwich Half that was actually run earlier this year due to postponement for bad weather:





Saturday, November 19, 2011

8 x 5 minutes off 1 minute

A beatiful day today. Nice and cool and some winter sunshine with very little breeze. I decided to do the session locally so that meant using my out (slightly uphill) and back (slightly downhill) course. After a 3.4km warm-up I went straight into it.

The first one was a bit sluggish but after that it was very consistent. I was working the uphill section more to keep the times similar:

5:11/5:04/5:04/5:06/5:02/5:05/5:03/5:01

Legs were getting tired at the end but the times didn't reflect this so that was good. I wasn't running them flat out, just getting used to running close to HMP. The 1 minute recovery felt adequate. My breathing and heart rate would fall quickly during that time ready to knock out the next rep.

I finished up with the same warm-down. All up 19.2kms.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Central Governor

An easy run of 9.8km in 43:40 (4:27's).

With regards to the title, this theory suggests that athletic performance is linked closely to what your mind (your central governor) believes is possible from the body. I've been a bit guilty of this in the past when you predict you'll run a certain time for a race and low and behold you run very close to that expectation. The key is to try and ignore your central governor (as I did for the Dublin Marathon in 2010). I'm sure there are many ways and means of doing this. One of these would be to not use your watch and just run on feel.

I know some of the guys in Australia are big on this e.g.Kanser. I would welcome any input you have in regards to this as I certainly think the theory has its merits.

Tough session tomorrow...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mr Softee

The weather turned today and what a turn. Very windy plus rain. I had a running slot at lunchtime but there was no way I was going to do my session outside so instead it went like this:

- run to gym (800m)
- straight on to treadmill
- a further 3.2km warm-up
- 3.2km at HMP (3:20/km)
- 3 minutes recovery (700m)
- 3.2km at HMP (3:19/km)
- a 3.2km warm-down
- run back home (800m)

Total running time 59:48 covering 15.2km (ave 3:56/km). I was ticking along quite nicely on the treadmill and boy do you work up a sweat running indoors. I did have the thought that there is no way I can keep the quicker pace up for 21.1kms but that's perfectly normal. No room for those negative thoughts.

Easy run tomorrow, more quick stuff on Saturday and a long run on Sunday. That will be the bulk of the training done.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Minimalist

The schedule called for 75 to 90 minutes. Straight away I took that as 75 minutes - no need to kill yourself and all that. My window for running was early evening. It was dark so I had the choice of the main road or the treadmill. So I settled for the main road and conditions were again good. Only a slight breeze, no rain and cold but bearable.

A rattled up an down the N17 doing 4 x 4km stretches. Plus an extra 1.5km to get me over the 75 minute mark. Total 17.5kms in 1:17:28 (4:26's). It felt quicker than that? I don't have a GPS watch so I often use MapMyRun to measure my routes. I have my suspicions that it's a long way from being accurate though...

Starting to think about the half now. What time to target and all that. In my 2 most recent halfs I've run 1:13:30 (training run in Sep) and then 1:12:41 (flat out in Oct - felt like I was going to die). I think sub 72 is definitely achievable and the closer I get to 71 the happier I will be.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coming into form?

Arrived at the weekly track session for 10 x 800's off 75 seconds. After a 5.5km warm-up and a few strides it was time to get into it. Conditions were absolutely perfect: cool, dry and no wind whatsoever. No excuses at the ready.

The brief was to try and run them under 2:30 (sub 5 minute mile pace). I was on my own today and my times were:

2:33/2:29/2:28/2:27/2:27/2:26/2:26/2:26/2:25/2:21

A shocking second lap for the first rep gave me a slow 2:33. But that spurred me into action and I got progressively quicker throughout. I was feeling great and didn't feel like I was running on the limit. A good sign. Eddie jumped in to help me out with the last rep and it made a huge difference to have someone to tuck in behind. I perhaps got a bit carried away but I nice way to finish (average 2:27 per rep).

I finished up with a 3.9km warm-down and 17.4kms for the day.

Later in the evening it was out to Clarinbridge for the darts. We won 6-3 and I won both my pairs and singles game. I hit my first 180 in the league with the first 3 darts of my singles game. The 4th dart was just below the wire which put pay to the 9 darter...next time...

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Ballroom Blitz

An easy 11.3km to reset the legs. Time 48:12 (4:16's). Feeling pretty good.

As promised here is the karaoke footage from the big party night in Spain:



What do you think of it so far? All together now "Rubbish"...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hollymount 10km

Arrived in good time to register and then run the 3km loop in reverse as a warm-up. My initial thought was that it wasn't flat, but at the same time the hills didn't look too taxing. The road surface was pretty good except for a small road which was 2 strips of road with grass growing in the middle. Plenty of breeze around and would you believe it was 16 degrees. All in all not too bad.

I lined up at the start and all the usual suspects were there from the Mayo league. I couldn't see any obvious gun runners but at the same time there were lots of unfamiliar faces. The race started and we had a slight climb up to the high street which we basically had to cover 4 times (1km and then 3 x 3km). I was in 4th or 5th position, with some runners going off the front. At the 1km marker (3:27) I had decided that the km markers were dodgy (time to ignore the watch) so I just focused on chasing down the leaders.

Slowly but surely the gap started to close and I had Roger Barrett for company as we hit the front. That was how it remained for the majority of the race. I would sit in behind Roger, then try a surge (usually on a downhill section) that he would cover off with ease. I would then go into recovery mode ready for my next surge. After the first lap (approx 4km) we were nicely out in front and we continued our battle.

The second lap was fairly uneventful. Roger was doing the majority of the work in front and I would sit behind and continue my surging. To no avail. I couldn't see any easy way of winning the race at this point as every move was being covered so I thought I'd stick in for as long as possible and try and pull something out of the bag on the last lap.

At 7km we crossed the finish line ready for the last lap. Not too much was happening. I lifted the pace in a few spots but wasn't doing any damage. I'd say I'd tried at least 7-8 surges at this point so I'd almost resigned myself to a sprint finish. As we approached 9km there was a slight uphill before we took a left turn onto a main road. I took off again and to my surprise I opened up a slight gap. I then pressed for home with 800m still to go. I wasn't feeling too bad, and after rounding the final corner I was confident I had the race won. I ran the final couple of hundred metres hard which was slightly uphill which had me crossing the finish line in 1st place in a time of 32:47.

A solid win in a time I was very happy with. That said, all the gun runners didn't show which was a bit of a shame for the organisers as this race has a really good tradition. But as one of the lads said "You can only dance with the ladies in the hall". I really enjoyed the race with Roger and I'm sure we'll have a few more battles next year!

I finished up running a couple more laps of the course so all up 19kms for the day. Well done to the organisers on putting on a great event. There were loads of prizes at the end, plus more than enough food and drink to keep everyone happy. All for the bargain price of 15 Euros.

A good confidence booster 2 weeks before the half. I had that extra zip in the legs today that you don't get when you race frequently as I have been very guilty of doing. So a big week next week, then I'll taper down for the half.

Only 67.6kms for the week. But it was a reduced week of training that was much needed. Time for a few beers now.

Splits:

1km 3:27
2km 3:06
3km 3:32
4km 2:59
5km 3:26 (16:30)
6km 3:14
7km 3:14
8km 3:19
9km 3:14
10km 3:16 (16:17)

Total 32:47

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Racing tomorrow

So with that in mind I did a very easy local run of 9.8km in 44:15. I ran up to see what was happening with the new bridge that is being constructed but couldn't see much as they had closed off the site. Hopefully my old training route comes good by the new year...

A decision has been made to race at Hollymount tomorrow. It's a 10km course consisting of a 1km start, then 3 x 3km loops. It seems to attract a really good field (last year the top 2 runners ran 30:3x). I'm hoping the same will happen this year as I might then have a few people to hang on to. Absolutely no idea of how I'll go having not raced for so long (only 1 race in the last 2 months would you believe). If I can get somewhere near 33 that would be good but the feedback I'm getting from my training is that I'm not setting the world on fire. Watch this space.

After the race there is the presentation for the Mayo League that I somehow managed to win. I may have to shave so I look my best for the photos!

Friday, November 11, 2011

All the ones today

I squeezed in an easy hour today covering 13.8kms in 57:29 (4:10's). Very windy for the first 4km but it was a lot easier after I changed direction.

I'm feeling very tired at the moment. That always seems to happen when you have an easy week or take a day off. I guess the body is doing its thing and absorbing all the training. At least I hope that's what is happening...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mixing it up

I managed to get out at lunchtime thanks to the brother-in-law who looked after the nippers. This should have been yesterday's session so I've thrown my schedule out again this week.

The session was 5 x 1 mile off 75 seconds. Then 3 minutes recovery. Then 2 x 400m off 60 seconds. As I was running local I had to improvise so I was going to use my 10 minute out and back course for the mile reps and then run for 72 seconds hard to hopefully have me covering 400m.

After a 3.4km warm-up my times were as follows:

4:56/4:58/4:47/4:52/4:49/1:13/1:13

As mentioned previosuly the 5 minutes out and back are not 1 mile. Probably just over 1.5km if the truth be known. I really should make the effort to measure them properly as I hate playing the guessing game. That's why I like the track and the fact that the distances and times don't lie.

Moving on - the 72 second efforts were over-cooked by 1 extra second both times. That extra second of training (x2) could make all the difference in just over 2 weeks time....

Then a 2.3km warm-down to give me 14.2kms for the day.

As this week is shaping up into a recovery week I'm considering racing at the weekend to give the body a bit of a test. I have a couple of options with a local 8km on Sunday, or a 10km at Hollymount in Co Mayo on the same day. What would you do?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Backing Up

No running again today. This is becoming a habit.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

More travel and darts

Hence no running. A long journey of around 9 hours keeping the young nipper amused. Arrived back in Galway in time to make the weekly darts match. I was very ordinary in the pairs but hit both winning doubles to help register a win. Then in the singles I scored as well as I can remember narrowly missing the bull for a 170 finish in the first leg (I hit the semi-bull). I ended up losing 2-1 after numerous ton plus scores. I just couldn't hit the winning double (read I bottled it)...

Monday, November 07, 2011

Last day in Spain

An easy run today. Running from the apartment I did a similar loop to the long run from the previous day an added on a bit extra to get me up to 10.8kms in 48:11 (4:28/km).

Sunday, November 06, 2011

A long wobble

Not the full quid today...can't think why???

I put the long run off until the last of the daylight and eventually headed out around 4pm. I wanted to run for 1 hour 45 mins and that was going to be a real effort in my condition. I ended up running 3 x 7.2km loops and added on a little more at the end to get my total distance up to 23.5km in 1:44:06 (4:26's). Not pretty.

The weekly tally again exceeds 100km coming in at 100.8kms. And that includes a rest day. I don't feel like I'm getting any fitter but I guess time will tell.

Going back to last night there may be some karaoke footage of yours truly soon to be made available...watch this space...

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Breaking all the rules

I tend not to do consecutive days of hard running but if I was to squeeze in all my sessions this week than that rule had to be broken. Today I was to do 7 x 6 minutes off 1 minute. Again I used the same section of path as yesterday taking turns doing my efforts out then back running the full length of the path irrespective of the time. After a 2.6km warm-up I knocked out the following efforts:

6:03/5:49/6:06/5:49/6:08/5:50/6:06

You can see from the times that the outward section was much tougher. This was run into the wind with the double whammy of more uphill. Happy with the times as they were consistent but again the speed wasn't what it should be. Back to back sessions could explain that as I felt a little flat.

I finished up with a 2.1km warm-down. Another 17.3kms in the bank. Mum's birthday party tonight...

Friday, November 04, 2011

A longish run with some half marathon pace

The session was 2 x 2 miles of half marathon pace running thrown into a longish 10 mile run. After a 4.4km warm-up I was going to use a section of path that out and back would be just over 2 miles. Generally flat, but there is one nasty little climb.

True to form, I ran the whole course each effort which was about 3.6km so about 400m longer than schedule. My times for each effort were 12:06 and 12:13 so around low 3:20/km pace but the problem was it felt more like 10km pace. Perhaps the higher humidity was a factor. I ran 1.9km easy between those 2 efforts and finished with the same 4.4km warm-down. All up 17.9kms for the day.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Travel & Rest

Spent most of the day travelling to Moriara, Spain. Arrived and straight out to the pub so no training. I was quite happy to have a rest day after 26 days of training on the bounce. The problem being I now have some sessions to squeeze in the rest of the week so I'll be playing catch-up...

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Train in Spain

Feeling really tired at the moment so just did a lazy local hour covering 13.8kms in 58:57 (4:16's). My hamstrings are feeling tight so gave them a good stretch after the run.

Off to Spain tomorrow morning for a few days with my young lad. A catch up with family and a very big birthday to celebrate for my mum. Training could suffer as I'm down for some half marathon pace running tomorrow but I can't see that happening as I'm basically travelling most of the day.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

8 x 1km off 90 seconds

Track night. Same warm-up as previous weeks (5.1km) then a few dynamic stretches and strides and it was showtime.

Conditions were quite windy but there was no rain in the air. The track was therefore bone dry which seemed to help me no end. I think I've under called how much a wet track can slow you down in the past. Despite feeling tired I seemed to be running a lot more comfortably tonight.

The first couple of reps I was running with Keith which made the start of the session much easier. I then worked in front of him and finished running the last 6 reps by myself. Times were:

3:06/3:06/3:08/3:05/3:05/3:05/3:04/3:05

Being windy I cheated slightly by starting each rep at the start/finish line which meant you had the benefit of the quick back straight 3 times each rep. So that meant walking diagonally across the oval back to the start after finishing each rep at the 200m mark during the 90 seconds recovery.

Very happy with that as I felt in control throughout. I was running at a quicker pace than the 800's from the previous week. Some of that can be attributed to the extra 30 seconds recovery but that aside I felt much better this evening.

A 3.9km warm-down and 18kms for the day.

Then darts. We were playing in town and we won 6-3. I lost my pairs and won my singles...

Monday, October 31, 2011

That Monday Feeling

After spending 6+ hours in the pub the previous evening, I wasn't feeling my greatest today. I decided to play in the county darts ranking tournament and surprised myself by getting down to the semi-finals. At which point I bottled it but a good experience nonetheless...

I ventured out quite late and ran my local Rockmount loop of 11.3km in 46:13 (4:05's).

Earlier in the day I watched the Dublin Marathon on the TV (it was a public holiday today in Ireland). I decided not to make the journey over as conditions were not forecast to be great. Anyway, a good race and despite quite humid and windy conditions, plus rain later on, the winner from Kenya ran a classy course record of 2:08:33.

Owen lead the Harriers home in a great time of 2:42 for a huge PB. Much deserved as he has been collecting miles over the last months regularly notching up 80+ mile weeks. Well done and I hope to catch up for a beer soon! In general times looked to be down on expectation and that was due to the tough conditions. The marathon is one cruel mistress...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Long Run

Up early for the Cathedral Run. I started off at Dangan and ran into town before meeting the main group. We then ran the 11 mile loop before tagging on an extra loop at the end before finishing back at Dangan. All up 26kms in 2:00:10 so that's a nice and easy pace of 4:37/km.

That gives me 113.0kms for the week. My third triple figure week on the trot and I'm training more than I was when I ran my last marathon!

Dublin marathon to watch tomorrow. Good luck to all runners!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tough day at the office

The session today was a tempo style run. The efforts were 3,5,20,5 and 3 minutes (total 36 minutes) and the recovery was 90 seconds between the 3 and 5 minute efforts, and 3 minutes before and after the 20 minutes.

I decided to use the out and back course that I've been using for my 10 minute efforts (5 minutes out, 5 minutes back). After a longish warm-up of 3.9km I positioned myself a couple of minutes into the 5 minute outward section as after a 3 minute effort I would be somewhere near the turnaround. That's how it worked out and I felt great. I then had my 90 second recovery and turned for the 5 minutes back to the start. Wow, suddenly I was running into a very stiff wind and it was a real effort. I decided to keep running to the end of the course which had me crossing the finish point in 5:22. At times when the wind picked up I was barely moving (it doesn't help being tall with wide shoulders - basically a sail).

Then a big 3 minutes recovery but to be honest this was most welcome. I knew the next 20 minutes were going to be tough and had to resist the temptation to pull the pin. Anyway, I started and again felt like I was floating along with the wind on the back. I reached the turnaround in under 5 minutes and then it was the tough return section running into the wind. All I could think of was that I had this to do again. Not a great mindset. I reached the finish point in 10:27 and turned again ready to go again. I tried to push this outward section and again would have been just under 5 minutes at the turn. The return section second time round was leg sapping and I felt like I had slowed a lot. I crossed the line in 10:33 (positive split of only 6 seconds) so that was a total effort of 21 minutes exactly (1 minute more than scheduled).

After 3 minutes recovery I hammered out the next 5 minute effort with the benefit of the wind. I reached my turnaround point in 4:50 and stopped. I then had the final 3 minute effort running into the wind and I basically ran as hard as I could. Finally the session was complete...

Another very tough session. A mixture of easy/hard running. I estimate I covered 11kms exactly in 37:12 of tempo running so that's an average pace of 3:23/km. About what I was after but a difficult way of going about it. I finished up with the same 3.9km warm-down and that's a total of 18.8km for the day.

A few well earned beers and a game of darts planned this evening. Then a long run in the morning...

Friday, October 28, 2011

A local loop

An easy run around the Rockmount loop covering 11.3kms in 46:29 (4:07's). The first 4km is basically uphill into the wind and just when I thought I had the worst bit out of the way it started raining. Not pleasant.

Tomorrow is a big session. A total of 36 minutes of quick running. I don't think the weather gods are going to be kind. Talking of which the forecast for Dublin on Monday is not looking too good at this stage (heavy rain and wind). That being the case I'll stay in Galway and watch the race on the tele!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Rock Road

Back to the start of the Rock Road for another hill session. The warm-up was 3.4km and the session was a good bit different to last time in that I was to run 15 x 1 minute uphill and then run back down to the start ready to go again (continuos loops). The difference being the much shorter recovery. I must say this was one of the tougher sessions that I have done.

The total session lasted 35:04 and this shows that after my hard minute of running uphill I was taking about 1:20 to turn at the top, run back down past the start, turn again, then start the next effort. It was quite a breezy day and to make matters worse I was running into the wind as I ran uphill. There was also a nasty lip of the hill at around the 45 second mark which made the last 15 seconds even tougher.

At one point I was asked by a man walking his dog if I got bored running up and down the hill. Bored was not the word I would use to describe my state at that point. Anyway, I finished up with the same warm-down so all up 14.8kms for the day (I put the hill session down as 8km but in all honesty it was probably a bit more than that). Cream crackered now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Run then bed

A late night N17 run. I didn't start until about 9:15pm and ran up and down the N17 for nearly an hour. Easy running away from the city with wind behind but tough running into the rain and breeze the other way. All up 13.3kms in 56:38 (4:15's).

A slight change to the plan tomorrow with another hill session pencilled in. Then a long tempo run on Saturday.

I may go to watch the Dublin Marathon on Monday. A lot will depend on the weather forecast.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More track, more darts

Out to the track. Similar to the previous couple of weeks I ran a lap of the block and then 3 laps of the track to give me a 5.1km warm-up. The session today was 800's to be run at a quicker pace than your target 10km. The main group was doing 8 but I upsized to 10 and the recovery was a 200m jog. I wanted to keep this under 60 seconds which I just about managed. Times were as follows:

2:32/2:31/2:32/2:32/2:31/2:31/2:32/2:31/2:29/2:31

Happy with that as I felt strong throughout and the breathing was under control but again no killer speed. If I had to drop in say a 2:25 then I'd have no chance. But for the half this session shows I'm in decent nick.

I finished up with a 3.9km warm-down and that's a total of 18.8km for the day.

Then darts. We were playing the best team in the league (away) packed full of county players. We lost 6-3 and I lost both my singles and pairs game 2-1. Close but no cigar. I need to get on the practice board a bit more often...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pounding the rubber mat

A late night and early morning and I was shattered. I dragged myself out to the gym and knocked out 10km in 40:57. Home and in bed before 10pm. I just can't function on 5 hours sleep...

Billy Bragg was brilliant. I really enjoyed the gig and got to have a brief chat with him after the show. My first gig in the Roisin Dubh and thought that the venue was fantastic. Whilst talking music I managed to get a ticket for the Stone Roses gigs next year in Manchester. Hopefully there will be a few more gigs between now and then.

Track tomorrow. My guess is that it will be very wet.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Proper

I met up with 4 of the Harriers who were putting the finishing touches to their Dublin marathon preparation. The pace was very sluggush but that worked perfectly for me as this was my first long long run in a long long time. I ran 13 miles with them starting and finishing at Dangan basically running the guts of the Cathedral run. It started off dry but by the time we had got back to Dangan it was steady rain. I decided to tag a bit extra on to get me up around 2 hours so I ran the Dangan 5km course used in the Galway series. All up 26kms in 2:01:23 so that's around 4:40/km pace and I was like a drowned rat come the end.

That's 110.0kms for the week. A proper weeks training in the bag and feeling very tired as a result. I think my body is in shock at what I consider to be high mileage but in all honesty is still quite lame.

Off to see Billy Bragg in town tonight...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

3 x 10 minutes take 2

The same session that I did on October 13th. The only difference being that my recovery was to be 2 minutes instead of 2.5 minutes.

I did a slightly longer warm-up (3.4km) and went straight into it. I felt a bit more comfortable today and my times were a big improvement on the previous session clocking 10:07, 9:57 and 9:57 for the 3 out and back sections. That's over 40 seconds quicker than last time off less recovery. Finally some progress and a session that I'm happy with - it has been a while coming.

I finished up with 3.4km warm-down and a total of 16.1km for the day. I'll be doing lots more of these volume sessions in the coming weeks. The goal being to get between 9 to 12km of quick running around 10km PB pace 2 times each week. So the key sessions for this will be the track on Tuesday and the longer intervals on Saturday. The tempo run on Thursday and long run on Sunday will complete the weekly structure.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rest Day

Well not quite. A very easy 9.8km in 42 minutes. I don't have the exact time as I forgot to stop my watch...

I've earned a few beers tonight.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cold, wet and windy

A typical Galway weather day. I started by jogging 3.6km to get the body ticking over. I decided to use the Claregalway 5km/10km course for my tempo run. Pros - an accurate course, cons - a bloody tough course. I started at the 8km marker and decided to run the opposite direction to the races this year. So after getting underway, I was quickly faced with the tough climb up the Rock Road which I used for my hill reps on the weekend.

The first km was therefore slow (3:33) and I was left chasing hard to bring the session in on target. The second km is also quite tough as you have another climb as you work your way up onto the Oranmore Road and I was a disappointed with my 2nd km split of 3:25. After continuing to climb for a short section on the main road you have the benefit of the long 600m downhill. Sure enough my pace improved and the 3rd km of 3:10 and I was back on track. The last couple of kms are predominantly flat except for a long drag followed by a downhill section to the finish. My last 2 km splits were 3:18 and 3:14 to give me a time of 16:40 (finishing at the 3km marker).

Whilst the time was okay, the effort level involved was way up there and I basically couldn't have gone much quicker. The theme of my recent sessions seems to be a big loss in speed so I guess I'm just going through a bad patch. I raced 5km on this course back in May in 15:48 and then 10km in August in 32:58 (2 laps) so I'm currently way off that. I'll take a rest today tomorrow (probably) and come out swinging again on the weekend.

I finished up with a 4.8km warm-down so all up 13.4kms for the day. Snooker on the TV and a few beers tonight and I'll be right.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Midweek

I dragged myself out at lunchtime feeling very tired. I ran my local 3 loop course covering 16.1kms in 1:07:50 (4:13's).

More sleep required. I may take a rest day Friday but I'm still hopeful I can get over 100kms in for the week with some decent sessions on the weekend.

I'm going to do a tempo run tomorrow. I need to get used to running at target half marathon pace (3:19/km or 5:20/mile) so that will be the goal pace for the session. I'll start with a 5km tempo and build that up over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quad Laps

Similar to last I did my warm-up on the road and then ran 3 laps of the track (5.1km). Conditions looked pretty good, a bit colder than you'd like but very little breeze. That was short lived as when the session got underway it started raining and the wind picked up...

The plan was to run these quicker than my 10km PB pace. I thought if I could keep them under 5:10 I'd be doing well. Here's how it went:

5:11/5:09/5:06/5:06/5:08/5:10

Not too bad but similar to recent sessions I seem to have lost a good bit of speed. It must be old age kicking in. I should add that I had to work pretty hard throughout this session and at no point did I feel like I was cruising. Glad to see the back of that one and the minute recovery never felt like enough. Basically a tough old session running 24 laps of the track...

I finished up with a 3.9km warm-down. All up 18.6km for the day.

Then out later in the evening for darts. I lost my game of pairs but made amends in the singles. Our team lost 5-4 and after being 3-0 down that wasn't a bad result. Another late night made worse by the youngest becoming nocturnal. I eventually got to sleep around 5am...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Treadmill

The weather has turned cold so I wimped out of running outside and went to the gym. I ran 10km in 40:49 and that was that. Mile reps on the track tomorrow...the target is 6 off one minute.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Doubles and Trebles

It's all about squeezing it in. I managed to get someone to look after the kids for an hour at lunchtime so I hot-footed it out the door and ran my local 16.1km course in 1:03:40 (3:57/km). I felt really good today despite a very stiff breeze and although I wouldn't say I was running easy, it wasn't far short.

That didn't really suffice as a long run so I headed out again in the evening for a much more sedate affair. This time I covered 8.7km running up and down the N17 in a time of 39:29 (4:32/km). The wind had picked up even more by this stage. So I think that's my first double run for the year...

That makes it 101.6km for the week. So that's the treble reference. Again, my first 100km week for a very long time (end of April). I'm very happy with how this week has gone - 3 decent sessions in there and the only disappointing thing being missing the long run though I attempted to make up for that by doubling up. Not sure that has the same training benefit though...

All being well I plan to keep this going for the next 3 to 4 weeks. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hills Are My Friend

I had a funny turn this week and decided I should do a few hill sessions. I don't normally train much on the hills but the reality is that hills makes you stronger and all that and looking back on this year, my lack of strength has cost me a few races. So here goes with my "making it up as you go along" style of training...

Again I was staying local. I warmed up by running down to the bottom of the Rock Road (3.4km) and this is where I ran the session. Anyone who has run the Claregalway 5km/10km will be familiar with the hill on the Rock Road. The guts of the hill is between 450m and 500m and I decided to run 30 minutes continuous with effort going up the hill and float back down. I stopped on 30 minutes which had me running 8 ups and 7 downs (7km approx). I then ran back home as a warm-down (3km). All up 13.4km for the day.

I took my splits for the hill each lap. Times were:

1:50/1:49/1:50/1:47/1:47/1:45/1:44/1:42 (total 29:51 including downs)

Hopefully a few more sessions like this will put me in good stead for the Norwich Half which has its fair share of drags. Not an easy session by any stretch of the imagination and had me working up a good sweat. I suspect muscles will be sore tomorrow for my long run.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Easy 40 minutes

I had even less time to train today. A quick run at lunchtime covering 9.8km in 41:05 (4:12/km). Hills tomorrow.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

3 x 10 minutes

I ran early (5pm) so still had the benefit of daylight. Conditions were excellent (yes you read that correctly). Very little breeze about, no rain and quite mild for this time of year. I only had an hour so after running a 2.2km warm-up, I ran 3 x 10 minute efforts using part of my now defunct local lap due to the demolition of the bridge.

The 10 minute effort was an out and back affair. I used the first one to mark out my course and turned at a recognisable point on 5:10. I got back to my start point in 10:23 (note I prefer to run a set distance rather than stop on 10 minutes exactly). The next 2 were ran in 10:09 and 10:13 with 2 and a half minute walk recovery in between. I'd estimate the distance to be just over 3km for each effort so I was running just below 3:20/km pace.

I finished up with a 2.2km warm-down. All up 13.7km for the day. Session completed within the hour. I'll do more of these type of session in the build-up to the half increasing either the length of the effort or the number of reps to get the total running time up.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Midweek

A longer run. Legs felt a little sore after yesterday's track session. I covered 16.1kms in 1:07:32 (4:12/km). It's getting hard now to run in the evening with the nights drawing in. I started my run at just gone 6pm and it was almost dark when I had finished. I may try one of those headtorches that someone suggested. If all else fails I could get a job as a miner.

The aim is to do some longer reps tomorrow. A lot will depend on when I can squeeze it in.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back on track

My first track session in 3 weeks. Weather was still poor being very damp. I decided to do a warm-up around the roads (estimate 3.9km) before 3 more laps of the track. Then stretches, drills and strides. The main group were using the pitches for their session so I decided to stay on the track by my lonesome.

Although not an ideal session for half marathon training, I decided to try some 400's. I had it in my mind that I'd lost a lot of speed so I wanted to see where I was at with some shorter stuff and compare my times to similar sessions earlier in the year. I planned on running 12 off 1 minute.

Times were as follows:

74/73/72/70/69/69/70/69/69/70/69/67

Not too bad averaging around 70 per 400. Back in June I got down to 67's but I'm happy enough with today as it was a) better than I expected, and b) quite good considering the track was full of water and quite slippery.

I finished up with another lap of the local roads to give me 13.8km for the day. I'll do some mile reps on the track next week...

Then I headed straight home for a shower and a quick bight to eat then out the door for my darts league debut. The format was 3 pairs and then six singles. I played in the second game of pairs which we won 2-0 (each game is best of 3 legs 501). I played well especially in the second leg hitting a 100 and a 140, before hitting the winning double top. I then played in the third singles match again winning 2-0. I didn't play as well as in the pairs but I finished nicely hitting 86 out for the match. A good debut and hopefully I'll be a bit more relaxed from now on. Our team won 6-3 overall so a nice start to the campaign. A late night for midweek not getting home until gone 1am...

Monday, October 10, 2011

On the improve

I couldn't face running in the miserable weather for a third day on the trot so I took the easy option and went to the gym. After 10kms (41:50) on the treadmill I quickly realised this was not the easy option. I was sweating like only an indoor run can make you and was running at a slower pace than I would normally...

I'm still not feeling 100% but I think I'm getting close. Certainly the appetite has returned but the most alarming fact being that I haven't had any alcohol for 5 whole days. NoBeerMatt. But that will likely change tomorrow as I'm making my league debut in the Galway City Darts League...

Talking of darts, did anyone catch the nine-darter on the weekend by Brendan Dolan? It was the first televised nine-darter where you have to hit a double to start and finish the leg. The darts went 40,60,60 (160) - 60,60,60 (180) - 60,51,50 (161). Magic darts. For the record my best leg was an 11 darter (no double in) against my old man many moons ago. My Dad's best leg being a 10 darter (double in). He has always been very lucky...

Also track tomorrow all being well...it could be ugly...

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Same again

Basically a carbon copy of yesterday's run. If anything the weather was a little worse today and that resulted in a slower time of 47:06 for the 11.3kms (4:10/km). Still very hard work and that tells me I haven't fully shaken this bug. I was originally planning on a slightly longer run but once I got into it I knew that wasn't going to happen (zero energy).

So my first week of getting back into serious training has been a bit of a disaster. In the grand scheme of things a few weeks of easy running won't do my any harm but like most runners I hate the feeling of knowing that what fitness I have is ebbing away.

A total of 48.6kms for the week. That's my lowest weekly total of the year.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Testing the water

Still not feeling great. But I had to get out and try a run. The elements were conspiring against me - damp and windy. I did my local 11.3km Rockmount loop in 46:56 and despite feeling okay at the start, the last 15 minutes were a real struggle. The breathing was laboured, the legs felt heavy and the energy reserves were non-existent. Still, it has stopped the rot.

Friday, October 07, 2011

3 Days

of laying around feeling sorry for myself. Still no running, very little energy or appetite...

The only plus is that I've probably lost a few pounds in weight so I'll be super lean when I make my comeback...

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Nurse

After spending all night throwing up, I slept all day trying to recover. I have no energy and have aches and pains all over. I get sick very rarely but this has really knocked me.

So no running again today. I think it's a 24 hour bug that's going round so hopefully I'll be right tomorrow.

Darts and snooker on the box tonight so that should keep me entertained.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Birthday

Not mine, the better half. So I decided on a rest day and then as I was about to go to bed, I got real sick...

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Still no intervals

I couldn't make track tonight as my Dad is in town so instead I did a longer run. I wasn't too disappointed to miss the faster stuff as my legs don't feel like they have fully recovered from the half on the weekend.

Instead I did a longer local run of 16.1kms in 1:04:56 (4:02/km). It was very windy but I seemed to be running quite nicely without exerting myself.

The aim will be to get at least 2 decent sessions in per week for the next 6 weeks in the build-up to my next half. The first of which will be this Thursday...

Monday, October 03, 2011

A Run

Trying to get back into some sort of routine. I did one of my new local routes whilst the bridge is being repaired covering 9.9kms in 40:46 (4:07/km). It's a start.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

More Rest

Another rest day today as the legs were very sore. I probably should have got out to try and run a few kms but I basically couldn't be bothered. I seem to be lacking motivation at the moment and hope that I get my running mojo back soon. Perhaps that will happen if I go to watch the Dublin Marathon next month to cheer on the lads. I hope so.

That's only 65.7km for the week. The week before last I managed 76.1km so I can't even muster up 80kms a week at the moment. Pathetic really.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Galway Bay Half Marathon

Touched down in Knock just after 8am and arrived back in Galway around 9:30am. I quickly changed and headed straight out of the door. Arrived at the start by jogging a couple of kilometers after parking the car. I had arranged for my number to be picked up and I literally pinned on my number and laced in my timing chip about 15 minutes before the race start. I was feeling tired and dehydrated but was ready to rumble.

The course itself was very similar to last year - 2 laps up and down Galway promenade. We were lucky as the weather was very good - no rain and only a slight breeze which was unusual being right on the Bay. The race started and there was 3 of us who made a break to the front. The pace was quick as we went through the first couple of kms at sub 3:10/km pace. I knew I was punching above my weight so sat back to let the other 2 runners take the lead. I was left alone in 3rd place and that's how it remained for the next few kms. After the first turnaround point near the golf course I was joined by a fellow Harrier (Michael O'Connor) who was encouraging me to stick with him to try and wind in the 2 leaders. But that wasn't going to happen as I was already red-lining and Michael quickly gapped me leaving me alone in fourth.

I found the second half of the lap running back to the start quite tough. What wind there was we were now running straight into it and there were 2 sections which were offshoots from the main course in order to get the correct distance for each loop. Neither of these extra sections were very runner friendly. The first towards the end of the prom basically had us running around a twisty (gravel) path for a few minutes cross country style. The second section had us running out and back towards Mutton Island. Whilst this part of the course was very flat, it's very hard going running-wise as you have to make a sharp turn at the end of the jetty, only to have to then run directly into the wind as you run back onto the main loop.

I wasn't looking at splits as I was too ashamed but I think I went through 10km in just under 34 minutes. As we finished the first lap I remained in fourth position and I knew the second lap was going to be a real struggle. I don't recall too much of the detail but certainly on the outward section of the course I seemed to be running a little better and sure enough I was closing in on 3rd place. I caught Michael around the turnaround point near the golf course and gradually worked a small gap. The last 5 kms were really hard going and I knew I still had the 2 tough sections which I previously described. I had slowed and I couldn't manage 3:30 kms but thankfully it seemed to be enough to get me round to the finish line in a time of 1:12:41 for 3rd place.

I was absolutely spent at the finish. My legs were very wobbly and I was staggering around like an old drunk (which basically I am). I'd given it my all and the time was about as good as I could have hoped for. A big congratulations to the race winner Michael Shannon who ran a terrific time of 69:48 breaking 70 minutes for the first time. I've had several battles with Michael in the last year but in the last couple of months he has improved out of sight and I'm sure it won't be long before he is winning some big national races. Well done again.

I tried jogging some of the way back to the car but it was more walk/shuffle. All up 25.1km for the day. I don't have the splits for the race as I deleted them! I'd say my 10km splits were about 34 minutes then 35 minutes.

So I think it's time to knuckle down and get some proper training done. Looking at the last 3 weeks I have only been managing one decent session a week with the balance of my running being easy. That's just not good enough and I will strive to do better for my next race which looks like being the Norwich Half Marathon at the end of November.

Well done to everyone who finished the 10km and half on Saturday. The event has certainly blossomed and I think the organisers have the potential to make this a really big event. My only gripe would be those 2 sections in the second half of each lap. Get rid of them somehow and you have the potential for a very quick course! Finally a big well done to the Galway City Harriers who scooped the team prize in the half plus the 2 Brians for taking out the first 2 spots in the 10km. I believe the celebrations went on well into the night...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Skiathos

Apologies for the lack of blog updates. Basically I made no attempt to get on the world wide super highway whilst I was on holiday...

Here's a quick snapshot of what happened. Arrived in Skiathos and stayed in a quiet resort called Troulos Bay (highly recommended). An extremely nice resort but it was quickly apparent that any serious running was going to be difficult. The temperatures were way too hot (30 degrees plus), and the terrain was very hilly (read mountainous). I tried to get out there and do a bit but it was more to sweat out excess alcohol as opposed to getting any serious training benefit. Here are my efforts and all distances are approx:

Fri - a 9km out and back run to Banana Beach (40:22) - very hilly

Sat - a 9km out and back run to Aselinos Beach (41:18) - less hilly

Sun - a 13km out and back run to the Monastery (59:54) - this was my attempt at a longer run but without water I daren't risk going further than an hour. The climb up to the Monastery was one of the toughest climbs I have ever done - at least 10 minutes of shuffling up a steep hill.

Mon - a 9km out and back run to Aselinos Beach (39:59)

Tue - a 3km warm-up, 4 x 1 miles off 90 seconds, 3km down. All up 12.4km. I was running in my heavy joggers, I was dehydrated, it was too hot, my times were painfully slow. Nuff said.

Wed - a 9km out and back run to Aselinos Beach (40:41)

Thu - a 9km out and back run to Aselinos Beach (40:54). Midway through I stopped do run 6 x 200m efforts. All up 10.2km.

Fri - a rest day before Saturday's half. Fly back to Gatwick in the afternoon feeling pretty ordinary after another big night on the sauce. Head on to Stansted in preparation for a connecting flight to Ireland in the morning. Stay in a hotel and manage 4 hours sleep.

So that was my Skiathos training in a nutshell. Not ideal preparation for the half...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy 40th to me

Life begins as of today and all that. I'm now in a new age category for racing and that's one of the few positives I can take from being this old...

No running today. I'm flying to London this afternoon, and then on to Greece early tomorrow morning. A few beers tonight in celebration.

Blog updates may be a bit thin on the ground in the coming week but all being well I'll be on the start line for the half on October 1st. I'm cutting it fine as I touch down in Knock at 8am and the race starts 11am. I'm sure it will all work out...

Slainte!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Midweek meander

A midweek longer run of sorts. Very windy but ran okay covering the same route I've done the last few weeks (16.1km) in 1:05:11 (4:03/km).

My dip in form of late may also be due to illness. Whilst I don't feel too bad I've been coughing up a lung the last few days. Hopefully I can get myself in some shape before toeing the line in the Galway Bay Half.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Speed Gone

I arrived at the track and did a warm-up with the middle distance guys of around 3.8km. The session tonight was again off track with 8 to 10 by 3 minutes around the pitches off 1 minute. After the second rep I pulled the pin as it was very slippery on the corners and I nearly went A over T a few times.

So after jogging back to the track I decided to do 8 x 1km off 200 jog recovery on my lonesome. The breathing felt fine but the reps were slow. I'm not sure where my speed has gone as it seems I can't even run a 72 second lap at the moment. A few months back I could run my 400's in 67 no problem. Old age, poor training and too much booze perhaps.

Anyway, the recovery was about 50m walk, then 150m slow jog which was taking 70 to 75 seconds before starting each 1km at the start/finish line. The rep times were:

3:16, 3:14, 3:15, 3:15, 3:15, 3:14, 3:13, 3:12

Consistent and some longer stuff in the bag with the upcoming half marathon. That said, I should be able to run sub 3:10 for kms feeling comfortable but it certainly wasn't happening tonight. One of my poorest sessions this year...

I finished up with a 3.2km warm-down so around 18kms for the day.

Monday, September 19, 2011

No Daylight

With the evenings drawing in, I was forced to use the path flanking the N17 through Claregalway. It's a run I was doing at the start of the year and isn't much fun. I knocked out the 11kms in 47:01 (4:16's) and felt pretty ordinary. It was windy running towards town and easy going away from town. Glad to get it over with.

The countdown is on for the big birthday. I'm flying to London on Thursday and then on to Skiathos Friday morning. Training may suffer. Perhaps it's time to let myself go a bit...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Racecourse

Not feeling great at all today...

I headed out late to the Galway racecourse for a run that has been recommended to me by several different people. There is a path around the circumference of the racetrack and I decided to run some laps...

The first lap was a feeler to get used to the new terrain. I ran 9:47 so I estimated that it was about 1.5 miles. So based on that I set my target of 10 laps which would get me running for a good hour and a half and I also wanted to keep each lap under 10 minutes.

A nice run but it gets a bit boring running lap after lap. I was running the same direction as what the horses race and my start/finish was about 100m past where the parade ring is. The run itself is fairly flat except a downhill section towards the end of the lap followed by a long uphill around the final bend leading up to the finish line. Nothing too daunting.

I tried to run a little quicker after 5 laps and I finished off running the 10 laps in 1:37:04. I've been informed each lap is actually 1.47 miles so it turns out I ran 14.7 miles or 23.7kms. Quite quick averaging 4:06/km.

The lap times were:

9:47,9:40,9:52,9:48,9:42,9:41,9:39,9:44,9:37,9:35

Happy enough with that. That's 80.5kms for the week. Not a great week as I only really got one decent session in. Must do better...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Another Night Out

I squeezed in a run before another visit to the pub...

Distance 13.5kms in 54:23 (4:02's). The legs felt fresh after a couple of rest days and it was good to sweat out some booze. I need to take this running more seriously as my training of late has been shocking...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pub Crawl

Another day of zero running. Instead I headed into town with my mate and we visited 7 pubs. Lots of fun.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nowt

No running today...too busy to fit it in. Nice to have a rest day and chances are it won't be the last one this week.

A meal out and the pub instead...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Midweek hour

I ran the same route as last Thursday. A total of 16.1kms in 1:06:37 (4:08's).

Training will be hit and miss for the rest of the week. Lots of socialising on the horizon with a mate in town and the build-up to the big birthday...a case of fitting in a run when I can...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Track surprise

The weekly session at Dangan. I did a 25 minute warm-up and ran with Brian. A slow pace and estimate just over 5km.

Then to the track where we were given our session instructions. The main point being we weren't on the track tonight. It was a 5 minute tempo run along the paths to a new location where a small grass hill awaited. Then 16 minutes continuous hills, finishing off with 5 minutes tempo back to the track. The rest interval between each was 2 minutes.

The session went okay. The hill loop was taking just over 1 minute and you had to keep the pace moving both up and down the hill. It was made harder by constant overtaking which meant that you had to run through the longer grass. All for the good I suppose. I think I managed 14 complete laps and was about three quarters of the way through the 15th lap. A tough session for me (I hate hills) but a good strength session for upcoming longer races.

After the tempo run back to the track, myself, Owen and Timmie decided to do another 4 laps on the track (well I bullied them into it). After a good couple of minutes rest we set off and I started to feel a lot more at home running 5:03.

I finished up with a further 2 miles warm down and that equates to around 17.2km for the evening. I started to feel better as this session progressed and hopefully I'm now on the mend after a week or so of feeling not quite right.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Treadmill

Very windy still. I didn't fancy running outside so I was back to the gym for 10kms on the treadmill (41:20). You sweat so much more running indoors and I was pretty spent at the end. Track tomorrow.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ballina 10km

I'm glad I checked the map as I thought Ballina was only about an hour away. It turns out it is nearer an hour and a half - quite a long drive for a race. The conditions were terrible. Lots of rain around and the wind was picking up during the day as we copped the backend of some hurricane or other. The trees were arching over and this resulted in lots of negative thoughts on the long drive.

Arrived in Ballina and had time to register and get a few kms warm-up in with Timmie. The wind didn't seem too bad in town but I suppose we were quite sheltered. Gerry Ryan had also made the long trip from Galway so I was automatically racing for second (not a good way to think I know). We lined up at 3pm and were soon underway.

The start of the race had us climbing for about 500m into the wind. Gerry and a guy who looked like a triathlete hit the front leaving a small group chasing. At the top of the road we took a right turn and descended into town to cross the river. Gerry had opened up a gap, the tri guy had slowed and I was in a group of 3 trying to keep Gerry in sight.

After crossing the river we took a left turn and shortly after we turned right and were faced with a short sharp climb of about 100m. A few more twists and turns and then we were running out of town along a fairly flat section (into the wind). I was still part of the group of 3 which contained Roger Barrett and Michael Canty who I'd been sparring with all series. I felt pretty awful at this stage, the legs were feeling heavy and I knew it was going to be a real struggle.

After the long straight we took a right turn at the roundabout and there was another long climb. At the top of the hill I tried a surge and managed to break away from the other two. This was the only point of the race I was feeling okay. That's because it was downhill with wind behind....through a housing estate (5km) and then another left turn and another long straight section (slightly uphill?). I could still see Gerry ahead and I daren't look at my watch as it was going to be ugly. After a mile or so I took a right turn and then it was time to grit out the last 3km to the finish.

I could still hear Roger behind me so I knew my gap was at most 10 seconds. This section seemed to drag on and after reaching 8km I was done for. Then there was another awful climb with the wind coming straight at you. I literally wasn't moving. At the top of the climb it flattened out again and after passing some football pitches and a running track it was into the last km. Thankfully this was mostly downhill but I just didn't have the legs to hammer this section. I nearly went the wrong way missing the last turn but was soon crossing the line in second position. The time was 33:15. That's my slowest road 10km of the year...

Bloody tough conditions and although the course was billed as being fast, I'm not so sure. There seemed to be several hills when you least wanted them. Times were slow for all runners and Gerry couldn't have been more than a minute in front of me and he normally runs low 31 for 10km. Perhaps the course was long!

So a disappointing time but a good result. I think the fact that I had not been feeling well all week, plus the half marathon were also factors today. The points I accumulated today mean that I have now completed 6 races in the Mayo league and I'm fairly confident in saying that I am the 2011 men's winner (3 wins and 3 seconds).

I finished up by running the course again just to see if the course was really that tough. Yes it was. I was feeling very low on energy and had to walk up a few hills. I can't recall doing that in a very long time. All up 22kms for the day and 82.8kms for the week.

Here are the splits:

1km 3:09
3km 6:46
4km 3:19
5km 3:13 (16:27)
6km 3:15
7km 3:41
8km 3:07
9km 3:27
10km 3:18 (16:48)

Total 33:15

Saturday, September 10, 2011

10km Progression

A rest day today. Hopefully I feel a bit better tomorrow but currently I'm not getting the race vibe.

I just had a quick look at my progression in 10km times. I've run 14 PB's at the distance:



Just looking through that list, I don't recall all the races. But here are some I do remember:

Mosman (25/06/00). My race debut over the distance. I had a shocking hangover and ran with my mate. I got in front in the last km and stopped to encourage him as we approached the finish line. My mate then proceeded to drop in a sprint finish and beat me...

Berowra (04/09/00). Billed as the toughest 10km in Sydney. I was running sub 4 minute clicks up until the hill at 7km. Then the wheels came off. I was struggling to walk up this steep hill and it all got very ugly. I think this was the last running of this race which was a shame.

Bridge Run (28/10/01). This was the old course starting at North Sydney and finishing out at Fox Studios. I smashed through the 40 minute barrier for the first time running 37:03. At the time I thought that's it, I can't get any quicker...

Bridge Run (14/09/03). I thought I had a chance of a sub 35. I recall I picked up an injury midway through the race and was limping the last couple of kms as we finished down by the Opera House.

Lane Cove (05/06/04). I was feeling sick and I wasn't going to run. I felt terrible in the warm-up but this all disappeared during the race. This was a tough course and the time of 35:46 would be worth maybe 30 seconds quicker on a flatter course.

North Head (01/03/08). I was never a fan of this course but that opinion changed a little when I posted my first sub 35. I remember feeling strong at the finish and was being cheered home by Paul Arthur who I think won that day. He went on to say that I'd break 32 if I stuck with it...

Homebush (03/05/08). I ran a few weeks after the Canberra Marathon. I was going well at halfway but really struggled home. This race was the NSW champs and I was chicked by Eliza Stewart in the last couple of kms. She beat me again by a few seconds in the Sydney Half Marathon a couple of weeks later...

North Head (07/06/08). A breakthrough race. Out of nowhere I suddenly found a minute. I had a great battle with Keith Bateman, Vlad Shatrov and Timmy Cochrane and managed to hold them all off. I still was some 30 seconds behind Tom though...

The last 3 races I have my race reports here on this blog:

Homebush

Clarinbridge

Annaghdown

Hopefully PB number 15 is just around the corner...