Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Galway 5km Series - Week 5

I arrived in good time as I wanted to do a recce on the course. I bumped into Timmy and we jogged a lap. It was mixed terrain of grass, car park, road and gravel path. A very flat course but there were sections in the backend of the course where you had to watch your footing due to a few small obstacles including steps, tree roots, rocks, etc. Overall not too bad and certainly not as bad as I was expecting.

Another windy evening though but we were lucky in that the rain held off until after the finish. The race started and the first 500m was on grass (cross country style). By the time the car park was reached I had hit the front and I put in a burst as I wanted to gap the chasing pack. The first km was reached in 3:07 and it was head down as the course remained on a twisty road heading towards the university. I missed the 2km marker and it was this section that seemed most windy. More of a cross-wind but it seemed to slow me a fair bit but it was soon time to leave the road with a left hand u-turn onto grass to join a gravel path. I could see at this point that I had opened up a decent lead so it was now a race against the clock.

The halfway point was marked and I went through this is 7:54 so I was on track for another decent run. That said, I was slowing a little as the ground was a bit slippery, and I was being extra careful not to take a tumble. The 3rd km was passed in 9:31 so I had covered kms 2 and 3 in 6:24 (average 3:12).

The last section I was holding on. The legs didn't feel fresh and again the wind was coming from the side. The 4th km showed a split of 3:12 and I continued on with the Corrib on the right hand side. With about 500m to go I took a left hand turn to run along the end of one of the rugby pitches, then it was time to climb a steep sand bank (bloody tough) then a final section of grass to the finish line. I managed to dip under 16 minutes crossing the line 1st in 15:58 (a 3:15 last km).

Happy with that. A good course that didn't suit me but that didn't stop others running their quickest times of the series. Organisation was excellent with volunteers dotted all round the route and plenty of support at the finish.

I finished up with a slow 4km warm-down so all up 14km for the day. That's 5 wins out of 5 now so I'll have to see if I can finish the job in that last run of the series next week out at Loughrea. There's talk of a drink afterwards so I'll be looking for a lift!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fitness test

I went for a jog to see if the hip was okay. A little sore to start with but felt good after a few minutes. All up 9.5km in 37:47 (3:59's). It should be fine for tomorrow's race. Speaking of which...

...it's going to be a tough one for me. If the course is on gravel paths and grass then I'll be a good bit slower. I think 16:15 would be solid. Plus I'm not sure how my legs will be after yesterday's tough run. Hopefully I can grind out another decent performance.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spiddal 8km

This was always going to be a tough run. Spiddal is an Irish speaking town on the coastline, about 20 minutes drive from Galway city. A beautiful place, but again it was very windy and part of the course saw us climbing up into the hills. I'd treat it as a good hit-out with no real time expectation.

After a couple of kms warm-up, I made my way to the start line. The first km was along the main coastal road and I was in a group of 4. It was fairly flat at this point but just before the first km marker we took a left turn which signalled the start of the climbs. A split of 3:11 for the opening km, but it was now becoming much tougher. The next 3 kms was basically all uphill, and the group slowly whittled down and I was soon running solo at the front. The pace was slowing each km (2km 3:32, 3km 3:37 and 4km 3:47) and at the halfway point there was a left hand turn and welcome flattish terrain.

The course was now running through very exposed moors and it was the turn of the wind to play havoc. A strong crosswind straight off the Atlantic made it hard to up the pace and the next couple of kms were still tough running with both these kms covered in 3:25. The course then started to descend and thankfully the last couple of kms were very friendly. This is the only point of the race I felt really good (funny that) and splits of 3:07 and 3:02 for the last couple of clicks had me crossing the line in 27:06.

Let me go back a bit, I didn't actually cross the finish line. I'll explain - the roads were open to traffic and a tourist coach insisted on overtaking me with about 500m to go. As the road narrowed towards the finishing area I was getting closer and closer to the coach only to have to stop completely as it ground to a halt. I was pretty pissed off at this point and after waiting a few seconds, I then went to overtake the bus on the right hand side only to completely miss the finish line which the coach was parked on. I didn't even realise only for the people to start shouting at me to stop as I ran further up the road...what a shambles!

A good blow-out and another win (by just under a minute). All the times were slow today and I have to say this was one of the toughest races I can remember. The breathing felt good but the legs just didn't want to get moving after the 3km climb.

Well done to the organisers for adding another race to the calendar and hopefully lots of money was raised for Cancer Care.

A couple of kms warm-down so 12kms for the day. My right hip is now a little sore, hopefully nothing too serious. I'll try an easy run on Monday and all being well I'll be okay for race 5 in the Galway 5km series on Tuesday evening.

A total of 78.6km for the week.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Licking my wounds

A big night previous so I wasn't at my best today. Eventually got out for a short run late afternoon and surprisingly felt okay. I did the 9.5km loop in 37:46 (3:59's).

The weather today wasn't too bad. Still windy but no rain. This blog reads more like a Galway weather report lately...

Racing tomorrow. Out again tonight but will try and keep a lid on it...

Friday, May 27, 2011

It will be better once you get out there

Well it wasn't. Miserable wet weather blah blah. Awful wind, cold and rain. Despite that I felt pretty good in my 9.5km amble (38:17). That's close to 4 minute clicks. The weather must be better in Sydney?

I'm considering racing on Sunday. 8km in Spiddal. Keep me out of the pub and all that...

Another win at darts. This time 5-4...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Was it worth it?

I managed to squeeze in a session of sorts. My usual 9.5km loop with 3 x 5 minute efforts thrown in (3 minutes jog in between). Weather was very windy and I seemed to be running right into the wind for all 3 efforts. A real struggle, I doubt I was even running at 3:45/km pace. At points I was hardly moving, the wind was trying to trip me up, clipping heels, etc. Was asking myself would I have been better doing nothing. Well at least i was burning off a bit of energy I suppose. Time was 36:48 which equates to 3:57/km.

More importantly the darts. I won 15-9 in our first game. Me like.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Out local again and did my 14.4km big loop/small loop course in 59:24 (4:08's). Still windy and showery. Lets be honest, the weather in May has been pretty shocking. I'm sure summer is just around the corner...

My Dad arrives tomorrow for 5 nights so the focus will move from running to drinking and darts. I've had the dartboard up about 4 months now and I've been practicing a bit here and there. I've been keeping a count of how many 180's I've hit in that time (sad I know) and the current tally stands at 16. Not very impressive when you see the pros hit that many in less than an hour...lets hope the practice pays dividends when we have our first match-up, probably tomorrow evening (instead of reps on the track)...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Galway 5km Series - Week 4

My first race in my home town. I ran from home and had about 2.8km done before lining up at the start.

The course was the same 5km as used in previous years but this year the direction of the race was to be reversed. That meant a big hill within the first km, then predominantly flat or downhill for the remaining 4km. It suited me perfectly to get the hill out of the way early so I could get into my running.

The weather was quite windy but no rain. The start was just inside the entrance to a business park and we were soon racing. I hit the lead as we turned left onto the main road only to be greeted by the big climb. This was a real grind and I was surprised to be leading as my hill running is not good. At about 800m it flattened out and then a slight downhill section and the first km showed an opening gambit of 3:19. Time to put the foot down.

The second km had a few gradual uphill drags but it was fairly easy going. This km was covered in 3:09 and then it was time to hammer the long downhill. I focused on lengthening the stride and leaning forward and after a left hand turn at the foot of the hill there was a nasty little uphill section to take you up to the 3km marker. This was covered in 3:03 so 9:31 with 2km to go.

The 4th km was again pretty flat. Maybe a little more uphill than you would ideally want but I was feeling pretty good. A 3:10 so the chance of a PB was diminishing but still a decent last km would see me under 16 minutes. I really tried to lift the pace in the run for home, especially in the last section on the main road which was very flat. I crossed the line in 15:48 (a 3:07 last km). A good last 4km and another win under the belt. I really enjoyed the course although I have to say that being one of my local training routes.

I finished up with a 6.8km warm-down (another lap of the course plus a bit more). All up 14.6km for the day.

My little boy didn't make the race as he was too cranky and tired. Another time...

Monday, May 23, 2011

More Sligo

The weather was really bad. Galeforce winds and lashing rain so I decided to take the easier option of running on the hotel treadmill. The easy option would have been to go straight to the hotel bar...

A very boring run. I forced myself to do 40 minutes covering 9.1km in the process. Tomorrow is week 4 of the Galway 5km Series. Plus it's in my local town with the start/finish less than one km from our house. I may have my little boy out to watch as he has never seen me race. That's added pressure. The course has a monster hill which will not suit me. If I get close to 16 minutes it will be a very good outing.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I travelled to Sligo today - a few days away with the family.

I did a late run to get a feel for the area. I did a few loops around the city centre, plus a section up towards the docks. All up 48:00 and I estimate I covered 11km (4:22/km pace).

That's 77.5km for the week. I missed out on a couple of PB's by a few seconds but secured 2 more wins. Not a bad week all in all.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Carramore 10km

The weather had been atrocious all day. Heavy rain and wind but by the time I arrived at the race, by some miracle the skies had cleared and conditions looked pretty good. Still very wet under foot, but no rain. Just the wind to deal with...

After a 3km warm-up, I lined up at the start and we were underway. The first 100m was uphill and then it became a lot easier, either flat or downhill. I was at the front with one other guy and the first km passed in 3:05. Soon after that I had opened up a gap and was running solo. The terrain was undulating but fairly flat and still feeling good I reached the second km in 3:14.

After a left hand turn I realised that there was a couple of new runners closing in on me. Slowly but surely they drew level so I was now part of a group of 3. There were a few surges at this point but they were all covered off and that's how it remained until km 5 (3rd km 3:17, 4th km 3:17, 5th km 3:20, 5km in 16:13). I was now concentrating on racing and the times were becoming less important.

After another left hand turn I was surprised to see that the group had been whittled down to 2. Thankfully I was still part of the 2. The next section seemed really tough due to a stiff headwind. The pace had slowed with kms 6 and 7 passing in 3:22 and 3:21 respectively. I was still running stride for stride with the other guy and I was thinking that we must be due an easier section...

Then another left turn and thankfully the wind was now on the back. I suddenly felt a lot better and tried to pick up the pace. I'd opened up a slight gap and the 8th km passed in 3:19. From there on I just concentrated on putting the foot down. The course was still flat and a quicker 9th km of 3:15 and it was time to grit it out to the finish. I could still hear the runner behind me but I was confident that I had enough in the legs to hold him off. But the last km was a killer. A very long uphill drag that must have been close to 500m. Then one final right turn and a further uphill section to the finish. Very glad to see the finish line with a last km of 3:16 and a time of 32:46. A very pleasing win and some good racing.

I finished up with a 3km warm-down. All up 16km for the day. I missed out on a PB by 2 seconds but the win more than made up for that. The wind was tough today as you seemed to be running into either a headwind or crosswind for the first 7km. I would love to have another crack at this course on a still day.

Hats off to the organisers. Everyone I spoke to had an enjoyable race and plenty of food and drink thrown in at the end. A few beers now to celebrate. Maybe a huge session being the last day of the world and all that...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Resting up

No running today. After 15 days straight training I think I deserve it. Feeling good.

The forecast for tomorrow is not looking great. Heavy rain and windy. The same for everyone I guess. I'm told the course is very flat so weather aside, that should give the chance to run some quick times. I want to go through 5km in 16:15 or thereabouts and see what happens...

Limiting myself to 4 beers tonight. That's discipline right there.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Track night. Easy session though, a sharpener before the 10km on Saturday. After a 4mile warm-up, I did 6 x 200m (with wind on the back), with 200 jog recovery (less than a minute). Then 3 miles cool down. All up 13.6km. I have to stop mixing metric and imperial. Very confusing.

All the 200's were in the 33-35 second range. An easy a track session as I can remember.

That's the second night on the trot that I've been caught in an icy rain shower. Absolutely freezing. Any chance of some decent weather before Christmas?

Winding down now with a few half litre cans of Guinness drunk in my trusty pint glass. There I go again...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Groundhog week

The theme this week seems to be a carbon copy of last week. Tonight I rattled around my local 9 mile route and it felt really good. No signs of yesterday's race in the legs and a time of 56:46 (3:57/km) showed that I was running at a decent clip.

I'll probably do some more trackwork tomorrow then rest on Friday in preparation for the race on Saturday. The race is at 6pm which sets you up very nicely for post race beers...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Galway 5km Series - Week 3

Today it was Craughwell. Conditions very damp and breezy but not too cold. In fact we were a bit lucky as it had just about stopped raining by the time the race had started.

After a few kms warm-up and some strides it was race time. In speaking with Mark before the start I decided on a new strategy to take the first km out really hard. Then try and hang on. Well after rounding the first right hand bend, I put in a surge along the main road which was flat/downhill with wind behind. I had soon passed the first km in 2:55 and had opened up a gap on the field. Feeling okay.

More downhill before making a left hand turn where the course became more undulating with some uphill drags. I still felt like I was running quickly and was a little disappointed to meet the second km marker with a split of 3:12. Perhaps I was paying for my quick start?

The next couple of kms continued this trend. Undulating terrain that normally wouldn't bother you, but running into the wind made it tough. I was in the wrong mindset in that I was always looking for a quick downhill section which never really materialised. The 3rd and 4th kms passed in 3:14 and 3:11 respectively and I wasn't feeling great and was basically holding out for the finish.

I was still in PB range but couldn't find any leg speed in the last km. I gave it my all and even managed a sprint like 50m to the finish line - uphill! Time was 15:46 gun and 15:45 net. So obviously I'll take the lower of the 2 which gives me a split of 3:13 for the last km. Same time as last week - but a lot tougher in the process (probably due to the quick first km). Good to try these strategies out and win another race in the process. That's the hattrick now!

Feedback on the course compared to last week was mixed. Some people ran quicker, some slower. It was probably close to 50/50. I think a lot is to due with how you feel on the day. Initially I thought this course wasn't as quick as last week but to be honest it probably was a slightly quicker course. Not by much though. It was just that I didn't have the legs to bring it home today - that could be due to the hills I did on Saturday as I've been a little tender ever since.

A lap of the course warm-down with Owen who ran a blinder to take out 3rd place in a massive PB. All up 13km for the day.

Thoughts now turn to Saturday. The 10km is flat, and there should be plenty of competition at the pointy end to help push things along. I'm looking forward to this one.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tick the session off and move on

Had no desire whatsoever to go running today. But forced myself out of the door in the cold and wet for a 9.5km loop in 39:39. Didn't feel great during the run either, just one of those days.

Very sad news about Samuel Wanjiru. I lined up a couple of rows behind him at the London Marathon in 2009 and he just pipped me by 36 minutes on that day. Way too young to die at 24 and such a great loss of running talent. RIP Sammy.

Race tomorrow. 5km in Craughwell. Just one good day of weather would be nice.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Good Week

Another long run. Very similar to last week - started at Dangan, did a bit around the pitches, met up with the Cathedral run for a while, then went off the front and ran at a decent clip for a good hour or so. Back to Dangan and a little bit more grass running before calling it a day at 25.3km in a time of 1:48:26 (4:17/km).

That's 96.9km for the week and a PB also. Happy.

Next week I'm going into race mode. Tuesday will be week 3 of the 5km series, then on Saturday I'm thinking of doing a 10km race in Co Mayo. I'm aiming for 2 PB's!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hills are my friend

I decided to do the group session at Dangan this morning. Once again the middle and long distance guys trained together (no women!), and much to my horror we were to do hills...in the rain...

The session didn't sound too bad though. It was 8 x 30 secs uphill with one minute jog back down. Then 3 minutes rest. Then a second set of 8 x 30 secs. So a total of 8 minutes of hard uphill running.

After a 5.1km warm-up, we were ready to go (using Chestnut Lane). I deliberately sat back for the first couple of uphills and I was way behind the front. Then I slowly started to pick it up the pace and after the first set of 8 I was there or thereabouts.

The 3 minutes recovery was over in a flash and I tried to make a better fist of the next 8. I probably improved a little but was only running for 28-29 seconds (yes I am soft) before pulling the pin. A tough old session.

Then a 4.2km warm-down. Something different and good to train with the group today. The hills seem to be a great leveller (?) with everyone taking turns at the front. Great to see. Legs in bits (again).

13.3km for the day.


"You can kiss a nun once, you can kiss a nun twice, but you can't get into the habit"...

Same as last week. An easy run of 9.5km in 38:55 (1 second quicker!). Legs were sore from the previous days 400s. I still don't feel like my calves have fully recovered from the half marathon as every second day I seem to be smashing myself.

Another fry for tea!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

More 400's

The Tuesday/Thursday training combination is working much better for me at the moment. So having raced on Tuesday, it was back to the track for a repeat of last week's session (15 x 400 off 1 minute).

It was still quite windy, but not quite as bad as the previous week, plus the wind was in the same direction. So again it was an easy half lap, followed by having to work round the final bend and the home straight. I deliberately tried to run them a bit harder this week and by the end I was cream crackered. Times were as follows:


So after a quick bit of analysis I think that's 12 seconds quicker than last week (average of 67.8). A total of 16:56 quick running for 6km. How some guys can keep that pace up continually just baffles me...

Just a note, I always round my times to the nearest second usually conventional rounding. So I would count a 65.50 as a 66 (which coincidentally I did for the last rep!). A 65.49 would be logged as a 65. Simple.

With the 3.2km warm-up/down, it was 12.4km for the day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Midweek Easy

I planned to do 40 minutes but after I got going I couldn't resist doing a bit more. I ended up running 14.4km in 57:42 (4:00/km). It felt really easy tonight and the body is feeling good. I just need to select a new race to target as there isn't much on the horizon apart from the weekly 5km races. I'll do some digging and see if I can find another half...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Galway 5km Series - Week 2

This week it was the turn of Tuam. Conditions were very windy and quite cool. After a 2.5km warm-up and a few strides, we were lining up at the start.

And what a start, a false one to be exact. Several people started running before the starter was ready and we all had to line up again. I can't recall that happening before. Quite amusing.

Second time round we were underway. The first km is fairly flat but it was running into a cross-wind. I was at the front, with Jason matching me stride for stride. The first km marker quickly arrived in a time of 3:05. Still feeling good.

The course continued on, slightly downhill, before a left-hand turn with some more downhill. Very nice. I'd opened up a gap and was running strongly and hit the second km with a split of 3:03. So far so good.

After another left turn, it was time to hit the first uphill drag. Only a very gradual climb, but it went on for almost one km. The running surface was good but I think to make matters worse it was running into the wind. I still felt okay but knew the pace was slowing slightly and sure enough I'd registered a 3rd km of 3:17.

The next section flattened out, and I managed to lift the pace again. But after another left turn at the traffic lights, I'd hit a steeper uphill section of about 200m which knocked me around. At the top of the hill I was greeted by the 4th km in a time of 3:18. Not too bad.

The last section was basically either flat or downhill. With the wind on the back. I just concentrated on finishing strong and with 500m to go (1:33), I tried to run as hard as I could. One final bend and then a nice straight run to the finish. The last km was covered in 3:02 (1:29 last 500m) which saw me crossing the line in 15:45 for my second win of the series. Plus a 6 second road PB!

Very happy with the run finding 25 seconds in the space of a week. Having fresher legs today definitely made the difference.

I finished up with a 5km warm-down. A total of 12.5km for the day. I'm getting to like these races. Craughwell next week which some say is the quickest course. Bring it on.

Here are some photos of the race:

Monday, May 09, 2011

The normaliser

I woke up feeling pretty ordinary. A 7 hour session in the pub will do that....struggled through the day and decided on a run at 8:30pm to try and feel half normal again.

My local 9.5km run in 39:09 (4:07/km). Still very windy (outside, not me). Race tomorrow...

Long run

Back out to Dangan where I met up with Owen for a long run. Started off with a couple of laps of the pitches, then did most of the Cathedral Run before doing a bit more back at Dangan.

All up 26km in 1:53:30 (4:22/km). That sounds a bit slow - I thought we were running quicker than that. Perhaps it was 26.5km - I can't remember!

All up 81.9km for the week.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Getting serious

My third decent session this week. Back to Dangan to meet up for the Saturday morning run which is normally longer/tempo style running. But with the long distance runners and middle distance runners training together, we sort of met in the middle and had a session of 2 minute efforts, followed by 2 minutes recovery.

After a long-ish 4.8km warm-up, and some drills, it was time to get this over with. The initial plan was to run 6 x 2 minutes, with the option of another couple for the longer guys if need be. We were running around the 2 main rugby pitches which meant it was quite exposed to the wind but that wasn't too bad as we copped it at the start of each effort, and had the wind behind for the run home.

The 2 minute efforts seemed to go pretty quickly and always starting from the same point, I was consistent with my finishing position (making it about 85% of the way around the circumference of the 2 pitches - and finishing in basically the same spot each time). I was leading out each one, but there were a few guys not far behind which kept the pace honest. I told myself that I wasn't going to push this session much but I think I was just kidding myself. I was running fairly hard and it seemed quite humid and I'd worked up a good sweat over the course of the session.

After 6 efforts I'd had enough. It's been a good week so far and I didn't want to overdo it. The distance covered each effort was approximately 680m. That was verified using a GPS (I know these can be dodgy) and using Gmap pedometer. That equates to about 2:56/km pace (not even WR marathon pace which is scary).

I finished up with a 3.2km warm-down. All up 12.1km for the day and some more good 5km training in the bank.

Friday, May 06, 2011


An easy run around my local loop. Time 38:56 for 9.5km (4:06/km). Very windy again, I think I'll have to get used to this over the next few months.

Fry-up for tea. My first fry-up since Christmas Day. Washed down with a few pints of Guinness. Healthy living.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

More than one way to skin a lap

It went something like this. Arrived at the track, did a 2 mile warm-up then a few run throughs. Then straight into it.

I wanted to run at least 12 by 400. A few more if I was feeling okay. The plan was to run them comfortable without the feeling of "going to the well". I pretty much had the track to myself albeit for one person who insisted on walking round in lane 1. So this was almost secret training. Well it would be if I wasn't telling you all now.

After about 7 reps I told myself that I was really, really, enjoying these...by 10 I was getting bored and my competitive side took over and I started racing myself. By 15 I was knackered and called it a day.

Oh yeah, the lap. Quite windy which made the back straight a breeze(!), then a very tough home straight running into the wind. I was consistently 32 seconds at 200m only to slow up a lot after rounding the final bend. It was like a float then an effort each lap.

I finished up with the same 2 mile warm-down. Here are the times:


Recovery was 60 seconds. A solid session. All up 12.4km for the day.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


I didn't get a chance to run today. Nice to have a rest day though as the legs still haven't fully recovered from the 2 recent races.

I may try and get to the track tomorrow to get some 400's done. Doing the shorter reps at the track will help bring the 5km times down. My goal is to run sub 15:30 within the next couple of months.

Here's a couple of great photos from the race yesterday:

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Galway 5km Series - Week 1

The first race was at Newcastle which is out past Athenry. The concept is six 5km races each Tuesday in various locations around Galway. Not too serious, just a good excuse to have a hit-out, try and beat your mates, and try and improve your times over the duration of the series. It has proven very popular with the series selling out within 2 hours of going on sale and with 700 runners signed up, I was looking forward to something different.

A minor miracle that I found the venue. I knew it was somewhere near Athenry but just sort of guessed what way to go and followed some traffic. After driving down some fairly narrow roads I was convinced I had gone the wrong way only to discover the registration area. Very lucky.

Running short of time I basically grabbed my number and chip, jogged down to the start and lined up. There were many familiar faces at the start and it promised to be a good race. I should have mentioned that conditions looked to be very windy as the car was getting buffeted on the drive out there. Same for everyone I guess.

The race started and a lead group quickly formed. I think there were at least half a dozen runners involved and after about 500m we took a right turn which I took very wide to avoid some loose gravel. The first km marker arrived and the time of 3:02 showed that the pace was on. The group was still well formed and after one memorable surge (not by me!), gaps started to emerge. At about 2km (2nd km 3:17) I hit the front and just concentrated on running strongly.

That's how it remained for me. The third km was tough with some long uphill drags and the km split of 3:25 showed a big slow-down but I had still gapped the chasing pack. The course then flattened out and I managed to lift the pace in the run for home with the 4th km covered in 3:14 and then a nice downhill last km of 3:13. Total time of 16:10 and 1st place overall.

The wind didn't seem too bad out on the course. It was probably quite a sheltered route so that may explain why. A good race with several runners all dipping under 17 minutes. More good racing to come over the next few weeks as I'm sure everyone will lift their game. These races seem to be over in a flash when you have just run a half marathon. You are just getting going and you are crossing the finish line.

I finished up with a 4 mile warm-down. All up 12.4km for the day and lots of fun in the process. Thumbs up to the organisers. Results already up on Red Tag Timing so a very quick turnaround.

Monday, May 02, 2011

The Judd-onaut

Just finished watching the snooker. Amazing game. Judd got beaten but what a talent. A future world champion for sure. That match was a great advertisement for the game.

Anyway, back to running...I stretched out the legs today and felt pretty good. My bread and butter local loop of 9.5km in 38:43 (4:05/km). Calves a bit tight but that's to be expected after running 21.1kms in racing flats. Very windy again today but no rain so I wasn't complaining.

A few more thoughts from yesterday. The results were up on the website but were pretty poor to be honest. It doesn't tell you gun time, chip time, position, category place, etc. Surely this would be relatively straight-forward with chip timing? Plus reading some feedback it seems that a lot of the mile markers were missing for the half. That would explain why I didn't see any for 7 miles! Oh and I remembered this horrible hill climbing up onto a big bridge running into the wind in the back end of the race. I was so close to walking...

I'll try and race tomorrow if I can get a babysitter. Should be okay.

Ps, I need to start playing more snooker (again). Any decent players or tables in the Claregalway area? Send me a comment if you have any info. A long shot I know...

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Great Limerick Run Half Marathon

Arrived in good time. It only took about an hour to drive from Galway to Limerick which left me plenty of time to park centrally, collect my race number, drop off the bag and run a couple of kms warm-up.

Conditions were very breezy. The sun had been out but it seemed to be more overcast as the half marathon was due to start. That was lucky for me but not so for the full marathoners who were out in the hotter conditions earlier on. Basically hotter than you would want but not too bad.

It was obvious that there were several good runners as I lined up at the start. The countdown was underway and the race started bang on time at 11:30am. I went straight into the lead group of about 6 or 7. There was a long steady climb after we had all rounded the first corner and it was time to settle into your running.

The first mile marker showed a split of 5:38 and I knew it was quicker than that so they were obviously way out. The group seemed to stay together for a couple of miles but after that it started to string out leaving me in the lead group of 4. That's how it remained for the next few miles. We all took a few turns running at the front but the reality was that I was having to work hard to stay in contention.

I kept telling myself I would give it one more mile but at about mile 5 I dropped off the back. At least I gave it a go. So I was left in 4th with the lead group of 3 slowly disappearing out of view. The course seemed pretty flat. There were some testing uphill drags and these were made much worse when you were running into the wind. I wasn't aware of how close the runners behind me were. This was made more difficult as we were running through the back of the marathon field which always has its moments...

At about halfway I just wanted the race to be over. It's so hard when you are racing by yourself and the concentration is very hard to maintain. I couldn't find any mile markers - I'm sure they were there but mentally I wasn't in the zone. I did spot the 10 mile marker which showed a time of 54:38. That was okay I suppose but I was still worried about hanging on to my position.

The last 3 and a bit miles were a real struggle. Lots of runner traffic at this stage and I was glad to make the final few turns down by the river as we headed back into the city centre for the finish. No sprint finish for me this time. I just plodded across the line and was happy to get the race completed. The time was 1:12:11 and I managed to hang on to 4th spot.

I can't really fault the organisation and set-up. Everything seemed to go to plan...apart from my own run. I didn't really get a chance to speak to many people at the end as I had to head back to Galway but I get the feeling a lot of people struggled out there. I was at least 2 minutes off the top 3 so in fairness 4th spot was the best I could have hoped for. That said, I'm a little disappointed with my time as I felt that sub 1:11 was possible but perhaps I gave up a little when it became apparent that the lead group were a little too hot for me.

The legs feel pretty good. It certainly doesn't feel like I've run a half so hopefully I recover okay. There is the start to the Galway 5km series on Tuesday so I may race then if I pull up okay. It looks live I'll live to fight another day.

I finished up with a 1km jog back to the car so all up 24.1km for the day and 70.2km for the week. Drinking beer and watching snooker now so happy. Judd going very nicely.