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


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


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:


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


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


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


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


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

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


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


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


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


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:


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.


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

Total 16:04

Saturday, December 03, 2011


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


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


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.