Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ouch #2

Arrived in Manchester safe and sound. Straight back to my mates place for a BBQ and a few too many beers with my old student mates. Late to bed.

No running today. Will attempt something tomorrow.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Should have been a tempo

but wasn't. Instead I ran late and decided to notch up a longish run.

Again very slow - my cruising pace seems to have suffered a bit lately, probably just tired. A total of 16.6kms in 1:13:29 (4:26's).

The weekend training could be tricky. I'm off to Manchester on Saturday to catch up with mates from university and then to watch the Stone Roses play on Sunday. At the very least I plan to get a run in Sunday morning. We shall see. Proper training resumes next week.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I managed to get out for a slow trot to help with my "recovery". Usual 9.5km route in 41:17.

Then out in the evening with the lads to put together our training plan for the upcoming National half in September. Great food thanks to Fintan. Also thanks to Matt for taking time to put together the schedules.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ouch #1

My best man was over from Oz on his hols and needless to say we gave the booze a massive nudge. No running as a result but great to catch up.

I though Portugal were a little unlucky against Spain...I just about remember watching the penalties...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday track

3.5km warm-up with the lads.

The session was 1km, 4 x 2km, 1km (big session) and I was to try and hang on to Gary who was running at what is probably a cruise pace for him. The recovery was only 90 seconds...

Here's how the session panned out:

3:05, 6:15, 6:23, REST, 6:12, 3:02

Yes after the second 2km effort I had blown a gasket and hit to sit out the 3rd 2km. After around 9 minutes recovery I bounced back well to finish the session. I found this really tough and don't seem to be running at all comfortable at the moment. Perhaps the easy week will see me in good stead.

Finished up with a 2km warm-down to give me 13.5kms for the day.

Monday, June 25, 2012


9.5kms in 39:35 (4:10's).

Decided I'll take an easyish week this week. Too much socialising on the horizon so proper training will be put on hold.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I ran local and decided to run my short 9.5km loop in reverse. Seems really odd but it was like running somewhere different. During the run I decided that I'd throw in a few hill repeats on the Rock Road to get the heart rate up. These were token hills at best - I lasted 6 x 1 minute and what should have taken 1 minute were always a few seconds more (I always run point to point). Pretty pathetic. At one point as I jogged back down the hill I got asked for directions - never before have I been so grateful to take a long break and give very detailed instructions...

All up 13.0kms. That's 85.8kms for the week.

I then headed out to watch the England game. We started okay but in all honesty we were hanging on for most of the game and never deserved to win....pass me another beer please...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Almost 2 hours

I ran with Timmie and Owen starting at Roscam. Conditions were poor being very windy but at least the rain held off. We headed into town and turned at the driving range (Owen went shorter = sensible, massive headwind all the way). It was a lot easier coming back but the legs felt tired by this stage. Timmie made the call to show me an old training hill on the way back and that nearly finished me off. As we made the final turn into Roscam we had to stop at a level crossing to let a train pass. I wasn't sure I'd get going again...

All up 26.0kms in 1:55:33 (4:27's). Slow pace but the wind made it a really tough run. How the f**k did I run that marathon 8 weeks back?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rehab Run

The legs took a real beating yesterday. I didn't stretch properly after the race and I felt very sluggish crawling around today. A total of 11.1kms in 48:45 (4:24's).

I'll take it easy over the weekend. Racing really seems to be taking it out of me at the moment. Probably a sign of old age.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Annaghdown 10km

Out to Annaghdown for a flattish 10km. The weather had been very wet all day but it cleared nicely for the race. A few puddles to avoid but it was nice and cool with very little breeze. You'd take these conditions every time.

A couple of kms warm-up then time to line up. There was a great showing with some decent guys at the pointy end. The standard in Galway at the moment is definitely on the up. Probably at least half a dozen guys capable of running sub 33 and better so you are pretty much guaranteed a good race at the moment which I'm all for. Plus John Byrne had made the trip from Co Mayo (National 50km champion) so it promised to be a good hit-out.

I immediately hit the front with John. The course is rolling ups and downs - not big hills but ones you would feel if you weren't in good shape. We took it out fairly hard and I settled in behind John. I wasn't looking at the watch at all but I knew we were moving well as we ticked off the first few kms. I tried to take the lead a few times but John would surge straight away and regain the lead. This continued until halfway and with neither of us letting up I thought it was going to go all the way.

By the time we hit 6km I had tried a few more surges but I got the feeling that the immediate response from John must have been taking it's toll. At about 6.5km we tool a left turn and I made another move on a slight uphill and managed to open up a small gap. I tried to push on but as soon as I had hit the front I felt a lot less comfortable.

I mainatained the lead but knew John was right behind me. I was really starting to work hard and I ran a couple of sloppy kms through 8 and 9, probably saving myself for a quick finish. The last km had a bit of a climb at the start but after that it was all downhill then flat into the finish line. I was running behind the 2 lead motorbikes and they had the sirens sounding as I crossed the line in a time of 32:38 for the win.

A great battle with John which sums up why I like racing. He finished 8 seconds behind in 32:46 with Conor Dolan in great form only a few seconds back in 32:57 (his first sub 33). It's a horrible feeling when you know someone is close behind you but thankfully I just had enough in reserve to get to the line.

Here are the splits:

1km 3:08
2km 3:14
3km 3:12
4km 3:16
5km 3:15 (16:05)
6km 3:15
7km 3:18
8km 3:23
9km 3:26
10km 3:12 (16:33)

Total 32:38

The only slight disappointment is the splits for the 8th and 9th kms. Had I have been able to run them under 3:20 I may have had a shout of a PB. Still not too bad - my second quickest road 10km and 3 seconds quicker than last year!

I finished up with a 3.4km warm-down to give me 15.4kms for the day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

No running or football

Did nowt today. Probably long overdue after 17 consecutive running days.

10km race tomorrow. Looking forward to it.

A couple of beers tonight but no football to watch...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

6 x 800m

I've decided to run the 10km on Thursday night out at Annaghdown so in preparation for that I decided not to overdo it on the track tonight.

A quick 15 minute warm-up with Fintan and Owen of around 3.5km. The session called for 6 to 8 by 800m off 90 seconds and with lots of people racing at the moment everyone took the decision that 6 efforts was plenty.

As is the norm, the first was a bit scratchy then I settled into a nice rhythm. My usual trick of a quick first lap (around 70 seconds), then a slower one - the ideal would be to run the effort at even pace. Here are the times:


Pretty happy with that. Conditions were spot on with very little breeze and I seemed to be running relaxed and moving well.

A 7 lap warm-down to give me 11.1kms for the day. Rest tomorrow.

On the drive home I eventually found the commentary for the England game on radio 5. You can imagine what the signal is like on the west coast of Ireland but that didn't matter as Rooney had just put England 1-0 up and that's how it stayed. Plus with France slipping up we top the group to play the Italians on Sunday night. It would be no surprise now if we make the semis...and all this from an England side that are at best very average...Hodgson is either very lucky or a genius. I'll let you decide...

Monday, June 18, 2012


I wasn't planning to run today but ended up doing 3 mini-runs which totalled 9.2kms (in 41:58) - at a very sedate pace of 4:32/km.

I was invited to the launch of this year's Streets of Galway 8km road race at the Claddagh Hall. I parked up near Eyre Square and jogged down to the hall (2km). The photos called for a couple of highly tuned athletes with good physique to dress up in morph suits for some of the press photos. Imagine my surprise when I got the call up. Here's a flavour of what I'm talking about:

After the photos were done and dusted I jogged back to the car (1.5km). Upon arrival home I then decided that 3.5kms didn't constitute a run so I headed out for a further 5.7km.

Good fun all round and now waiting to see what photos make the papers later in the week...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Half Marathon (for fun)

Up early and wanted to run for around 90 minutes (local solo run). I covered 3 of my local loops and upon arrival home the Garmin showed I was just shy of 21kms so like a complete muppet I decided to carry on to get the half marathon distance up (doing a loop of the estate). Total 21.1kms in 1:29:59 (4:16's).

A family meal was planned for 2pm but I was cooking so it turned out an hour late....I used the delay to my advantage nipping down to the 5km marker of the "Great Race" to watch the leaders come through. Some great results from my training partners with Fintan running a 33:20 PB in his DEBUT 10km race for 2nd. Plus Owen running a solid 34:14 for 3rd. Well done!!

I think I'm going to have a hit-out this week in the Annaghdown 10km on Summer Solstice day. A good course where I ran a PB last year. With that in mind I plan to have a relatively easy week on the training front.

Weekly total of 100.8kms. My first triple figure week since London.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


You know I'm clutching at straws when I throw in a hill session....

I ran down to the Rock Road (3.4km) then ran 12 sets of hills. I use the same start/finish point which is about 60 seconds up and 80 seconds jogging down (when feeling good). Today I wasn't far short of that blowing out a few seconds here and there. I seem to cop really bad weather when doing this session (cold and wet). Then the same run home (3.4km) to add another 13.2kms to the weekly tally.

That's my 3rd  (decent) session of the week. I think 3 sessions may be too much for me and might drop it down to 2 as the legs seem to be constantly tired. Umm.

Long run tomorrow.

Friday, June 15, 2012


11.1km in 46:16 (4:10's). Very blustery but had a bit of a spring in the step and felt good.

Football - Ireland were rubbish and England weren't much better. I can't believe we scored 3 goals as we didn't create anything. As soon as we meet a decent side it's going to be good night nurse...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Solo Tempo

I don't think I'm going to race on the weekend so I decided to do the same session as last week (12km tempo). Running solo today with only the Garmin for company and the nice bleep each time you knock off a km.

The session was 2.2km warm-up, 12km tempo, 4.8km warm-down (all up 19kms).

I ran the tempo in 41:19 (3:27's). That's a massive 11 second improvement on last week! In my defence I'd say it's tougher running by yourself, plus the conditions were a little windier today. Here are the km splits:


I went through 10km in 34:27. The loop itself is about 9.3km so I'm doubling up on running 2.7km of the loop (it wouldn't be the easiest part of the loop either as a lot of that section is slight uphill). The 8th and 9th kms were tough (same as last week) as you are running directly into the wind coupled with a few nasty drags. The 2nd through to 7th kms are quite friendly.

Looking forward to the footy tonight. Lets hope Ireland can pull something out of the bag as it would be great lift for the country if they could put a decent run together.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


An early morning trot out. The legs felt heavy after the track session so I took it easy rolling around my 9.5km loop in 41:11 (4:20's).

Harry Redknapp has left Spurs. I can't believe it. Shocked and stunned. How we could let him go is beyond me...apparently he is to get a £3m pay-out for the remainder of his contract. After tax that works out to £3m...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

4 x 2km

Out to Dangan. A warm-up of 3.7kms then found out the start of the session was to be on the grass. Threw all my toys out of the pram but decided to give it a go (3 x 6 mins with 75 secs recovery). After one lap of the grass pitches I was going nowhere (2 mins) so pulled the pin and wandered over to the track. Pathetic effort by myself.

Then bumped into Gary (a 2:17 man and I'm not talking 800m) who was doing 10 minute sets (2 km in 6:20, 1km in 3:40). Decided to jump in on the 2km efforts and we took turns leading out the first and last km. I ended up doing 4 x 2km and the times were:


It felt more comfortable than last week - especially the breathing. The thought did enter my mind that this was my dream target 10km pace (31:40) and whilst you may be able to hold out until 6-7km at the pace, the last 3-4km would be blue murder. A way to go I'd say...

Forgot to mention I had the luxury of a very big 3:40ish recovery today. I did a bit of walking and jogging (600m) whilst Gary continued on with his float.

I finished up with a 2km warm-down. That gives me 15.8km for the day once you add up all the bits and pieces.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Wheels coming off

A recovery run of 11.1kms today in 46:01 (4:09's).

In my "strange things I saw whilst running" section, today I was running up to Carnmore on the hard shoulder facing the oncoming traffic. A lorry and trailer went past on my left side and then a few seconds later a wheel went bouncing up the road behind the lorry...the wheel gradually moved across the road and a few oncoming cars had to swerve to avoid it as it crossed the other side of the road. The wheel eventually came to rest about 100m up the road in the direction I was running against a stone wall. Could have been nasty if I was that bit further up the road as it would have come up behind me with very little warning...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Monivea 5km

Out to Monivea for a 5km. This was where I had my first race in Ireland and it holds fond memories as it was also my first win!

I wasn't going to put any pressure on myself today - just go out and enjoy it. The conditons were splendid - a little too hot if the truth be told. That helped get the numbers up to well over 200 - good to see. This race is a little unique in that the first half is on the road with the second half of the race being run on a forest trail.

A warm-up of 4.9kms basically running the guts of the course. Then it was race time. I immediately hit the front with a couple of runners on my shoulder. The race starts with a lap of the village before heading out towards the trail. Through the first km and feeling good and then time to put the foot down for a quick second km. At this point I had gapped the chasing field and by the time I hit the woods I had a good enough lead.

In an instant I went from feeling good to hanging on. I had slowed a good bit but the course would warrant that. I still ran a decent 3rd km and was still confident of breaking 16 minutes but then I must have fallen asleep during the 4th km (see splits below). It contained lots of twists and turns but it didn't feel that slow and I then took the last section relatively easy as I couldn't be bothered killing myself. Coming up the narrow finishing straight there was a mother and son just ahead of me competing in the 1km fun run and I simply jogged in behind them for the last 100m as I didn't see any point in trying to push past!

Not my greatest work but a decent hit-out and good to win this race again after my second placing last year. I then ran a couple more laps of the course to give my 19.7kms for the day with a few of the other guys (Jason, Steve and Timmie).


1km 3:09
2km 3:05
3km 3:15
4km 3:23
5km 3:31

Total 16:23

And 92.5kms for the week.

Later that evening it was out to Clarinbridge to watch the Ireland game. I had arranged to meet up with Timmie for a few pints. The footy was poor but we made up for that with a good drink. I promised Timmie I would give the darts a mention.....we found a board and had a game and after telling him how good I was I struggled big time for a 3-2 win. A good night but not getting home until 1am is a little bit much for my old body...

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Almost nothing

I'm going to run the Monivea 5km tomorrow so I wasn't going to run. Then I gave in and decided an easy run wouldn't do any harm....

All up 9.5kms in 41:02 (4:19's).

Friday, June 08, 2012

Getting tight in my old age

An easy run of 11.1kms in 45:43 this evening (4:07/km). For the first time this week I was feeling good despite very windy conditions. I think I've finally recovered from the Sky Road...

Some new tickets were released today for the Athletics at the Olympics. I had a quick look at what was available but I couldn't bring myself to spending £425 for a ticket for one session! That's about a million Euros at the current exchange rate. Oh well, I guess I'll be watching it in the TV unless I win some tickets in all the competitions I keep entering...a shame if I don't make it over as my last experience of watching the Olympics live was one I'll never forget. I jagged some tickets to the men's 100m finals in Sydney to watch Maurice Greene win gold. The same night Steve Backley got a silver in the javelin. Meanwhile I got very very drunk...

Thursday, June 07, 2012

He was with me

Just in case Michelle is reading this, Fintan was with me this morning from 7am for our weekly tempo run. I dare say you weren't very happy when that alarm went off at 4:45am this morning...

The weather was wet and it was quite windy in places. I decided to use the flatter local loop today as I couldn't face being humiliated on the hills again. It's the old Claregalway 10km loop which is actually closer to 9.5km loop which meant that for a 12km tempo we'd be doubling up on a section. Owen was in attendance too and he continues to make strides after his fine London PB.

After a 2.2km warm-up we went straight into it. The legs still felt heavy but I seemed to be travelling okay as we ticked off the kms. I lead the session most of the way and I'd say I went through 10km in sub 34:30 before slowing a little in the last section which was gradually uphill into the wind. All up I covered the 12kms in 41:30 (3:28/km).

Happy with that. A little quicker than last week although not quite as far. We finished up with a 4.8km warm-down for 19kms for the day.

I'm beginning to like getting the session out of the way in the morning - you don't have it hanging over you all day. But in saying that I'm hopeless at getting out of bed before 7am...

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

New Focus

The next big race I'll be targeting is the National Half Marathon which is to be held this year in Athenry on September 2nd. Very handy as it's only about 10 miles up the road from here.

In speaking to the coach of the Harriers last night he was saying that if we wanted to run a decent time for the half then it's time to get serious with the training. A long tempo run where over time you should look to be running BELOW target half pace. Supplemented with track speedwork. Sounds sensible. So with that in mind I'll try and run the weekly tempo runs at a quicker pace each week - as opposed to increasing the duration. I'm a bit off half pace at the moment but you can only hope (to run sub 70 minutes it equates to 3:19/km pace)...

Today was an easy trot around the block. Legs still not right. I stopped 400m from the end where I bumped into the wife and kids who were out for a walk/bike road. Any excuse to stop. Total 45:26 for 10.7kms (4:15/km pace). Quicker tempo tomorrow...

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Easy call

The legs still felt far from right today so it was an easy decision to make in not running the last race in the 5km series out at Tuam. Instead (madness) I decided to run a track session and I felt awful before, during and after...

A 2.6km warm-up, then the session was 4 x 400, 3 x 1600, 4 x 400. The recovery was 60 seconds between the 400s, 75 seconds between the miles, with 2 minutes between sets. Times were as follows:


Thanks to Owen and Gary for keeping the pace honest. I was wearing my racing flats but it felt like I had lead balloons tied around my ankles. Plus the breathing was way too heavy. I suppose the times aren't too bad considering - thankfully the conditions were good which helped.

I finished up with a 2.4km warm-down to give me 13kms for the day.

Meanwhile out at Tuam there were some great times posted - 4 people well inside 16 minutes! A great run by one of my training buddies smashing 16 minutes for the first time with a fine PB of 15:51. Much more to come I reckon!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Recovery Run

Legs and in particular the quads were in bits today. I ran a very easy loop of 9.5km in 40:36 (4:16's) and didn't feel any better for it to be honest. Perhaps it's time to get a massage...

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Sky Road 10km

A long drive out to Clifden for the Sky Road 10km. A short warm-up of around 2km with Michael O'Connor before we lined up for the 2pm start.

The course itself was a brute - made tougher with windy humid conditions. The first mile was predominantly uphill, then it flattened out a little but the general theme was still upwards. At around 2km I was in the lead and Michael made a break and I had nothing in response. I settled into second position and at about 4km I was almost reduced to a walk as we were confronted with a steep uphill. To rub salt into the wound I was overtaken and as we rounded the turnaround cone at about 4.5km for the run back into town. I was so delirious I missed the chute and ran round the outside of the cones taking a nice wide line...

The run back was definitely easier but by this stage the damage was done and I had nothing in the legs. Second place wasn't too far up the road and by the time we reached 6km I was finally recovered from the hill at 4km. I upped the pace and regained second position but Michael was in a different class today and there was no way I was going to catch him. The last km was a real blessing as it was all downhill and I cruised home in a time of 34:05.

I think that's my slowest 10km since March 2010. As mentioned the course was as tough as you could get but that said I should have run probably 30 seconds quicker (the winner ran 33:07 so I  would have still been a good bit back). The hills totally destroyed me so perhaps time to add some hill training into the schedule!

Well done to Michael. Great to see him back in good form and if he sticks with the training he'll run sub 68 in the national half marathon in September - if not quicker. The man has class in spades (former National Marathon champion with PB's for 10km of 30 mins, half 66 mins and full 2:20 from memory). Also well done to Helen another Harrier who had a blinding run to win the women's race in a shade over 40 minutes.

I finished up with a 4km warm-down to give me 16kms for the day. A meal out and a few beers in the evening including lots of darts and pool.

Tally for the week - 85.6kms.


1km 3:24
2km 3:16
3km 3:26
4km 3:38
5km 3:46 (17:30)
6km 3:20
7km 3:15
8km 3:31
9km 3:21
10km  3:08 (16:35)

Total 34:05

Saturday, June 02, 2012


No running today. I took the young lad swimming and knocked out a few laps just to reiterate how bad I am in the pool (chuck your washing in, shark attack, etc, etc). I've never had lessons which is probably where I'm going wrong. When I was injured (I was out for 18 months in 2006/07) I did spend a fair bit of time in the water and I got my km time down to 18:45 (in a "quick" 25 metre pool mind). Probably not bad by British/Irish standards but any Aussies are swimming sub 15 minutes almost from birth...

With running the quicker you move your levers the faster you go. Simple. You try the same at swimming and with an effort level equivalent to running sub 3 minute kms you are on the verge of drowning. So with that in mind I think I'll leave the triathlon for a while longer...

Friday, June 01, 2012

Paul Heaton

I went to see Paul Heaton last night in Tully's pub, Kinvara, Co Galway. He is celebrating his 50th birthday with a 50/50 tour. He is cycling 50 miles a day for 50 days and playing various small pub venues all over England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

It was a great night. He was with his band and played stuff covering all of the back catalogue including songs by the Housemartins and the Beautiful South. My favourite song of the night was "Old Red Eyes" and Paul was in great form (he has lost a stack of weight) as were the band who were fuelled by numerous free drinks (see below). Ouch.

On the running front I rolled out another 11.1kms in 46:41 (the same run now 3 times this week). Rest up tomorrow and race Sunday.

Here are a couple of dodgy gig photos. The first one is a tray of Jager-bombs; the second of Paul and the band: