Sunday, September 30, 2012

Go Europe!

A late Sunday run with Fintan around Claregalway. Another windy day and it was really tough going into the wind even considering we were only running at a nice and relaxed pace. Lots of chat which helped to pass the time and we had soon notched up 17.0kms in 1:12:50 (4:17's).

Legs a little sore after yesterday's race. That wouldn't be the case if I was on top of my training.

On the sporting front there are a few things that warrant a mention. Firstly, Galway got soundly beaten in the replay of the hurling final to Kilkenny. Secondly, the mighty Spurs finally notched up a win at Old Trafford! And finally, the Ryder Cup. This was sporting theatre at its finest. I was glued to it Saturday and Sunday evening. Ian Poulter sparked the revival late Saturday night with some brilliant putting on the final 5 greens. Then on Sunday Europe got off to a great start. The big turning point for me was when Justin Rose beat Phil Mickleson by winning the last 2 holes. From that point on the Yanks looked really scared. Europe ended up winning 14.5 to 13.5 and it was some of the best sport I have seen in a very long time. Incredible scenes.

Oh yeah, 74.0kms for the week...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ballyhaunis 8km

Race number 7 in the Mayo League out at Ballyhaunis - about a 50 minute drive from Galway. I hadn't run the course before and I was looking forward to some kind of hit-out to get back into race-mode and hopefully give me the kick up the backside to get back into proper training.

Arrived in time to register and do a short couple of kms warm-up (I was using my new racing flats straight out of the box). It was a very windy day which wasn't going to help things and I had been pre-warned that there were some nasty hills in the 4th and 5th kms. A poor turnout with only about 100 runners fronting up - can't really explain why as there didn't look to be too many other races on the calendar.

The start was a strange one - I thought the countdown to the start was a dress rehearsal but it turned out it was the real thing and I was left a few rows back before I started my run. I quickly moved through the field to get in second position behind a smaller runner. As we ran through the town it was very quick as the course was steep downhill. After about 400m we took a right turn and it immediately become tougher as we were now running directly into a very strong wind. At around the 1km mark I took the lead with the smaller guy doing the sensible thing and tucking in behind me.

The next couple of kms were tough - the road was dead flat but the wind was a real strength sapper. I was gradually slowing and just before the turn at 3km the guy behind me had moved back into the lead and was pushing on. Another right turn and it was time to get stuck into the hills. I was moving okay but I was losing a little ground on the leader. I kept telling myself to stick with it as I knew the last few kms would be quick. The fifth km was really tough. I felt like walking up (what I hoped) would be the final climb and I kept expecting someone to come up behind me but surprisingly that never happened.

Through 5km and finally some quicker terrain. I was only about 10 seconds down on the leader and I was still confident I could get close. One final right turn and we had a nice flat/downhill stretch back into town with the wind on the back. I ran as hard as I could but didn't seem to be making any inroads into the leader. At the 7km marker I knew the win looked unlikely and I upped the pace as best I could but with no joy. With about 500m remaining we made a left-turn and there was a nice flat stretch up to the finish line. I crossed the line in 26:22 for second place some 11 seconds behind the winner.

Happy enough with that - a strange race as the first km, and the last 3kms felt really comfortable. The 4kms in between though were really tough. There was no in between. Probably a better run that I was expecting given my piss poor preparation. Well done to the winner - Con Doherty. It turns out he is one of the top junior triathletes in the country and with a 5km PB of 15:10 he is no mug at running! Great to be mixing it with a guy over 20 years your junior!

Here are the splits:

1km 3:02
2km 3:21
3km 3:35
4km 3:13 (13:11)
5km 3:40
6km 3:13
7km 3:12
8km 3:06 (13:11)

Total 26:22

I though the 4th km was hilly but the split doesn't suggest that. Perhaps there was some downhill in there that I forgot about? Or perhaps it was the relief of getting out of that headwind? Dunno. A nice finish running the last 3kms in 9:31 and funnily enough even splits...

I finished up with a 4km warm-down. All up 14kms for the day. I couldn't stay for the presentation as I had to be back in Galway by 6pm but there looked to be a very good spread in place for the runners in the clubhouse. A good afternoon out and well worth the trip.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Going off the rails

Today was another struggle. That's it now, I'm going to take it easy on the falling down water for the next few weeks....

A late afternoon run of 9.5kms in 40:47.(4:18's). That's over 3 minutes slower than the same run on Monday!

Racing tomorrow in the Mayo League. Expectation levels are very low...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

To Arthur

Nice easy run this morning with my mate to blow away some of the cobwebs. Total distance 12.2kms in 57:24 (4:42's).

A cold morning, and my mate has obviously spent too long living in Australia as he rugged up like he was running around the North Pole...

More socialising in the evening. Out around Galway visiting some of the city pubs. Lets just say I felt very old...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Then and now

An old mate from Australia and his family were in Galway for a few days so I decided to take a day off and instead eat and drink too much. Good fun. This very person was the reason I started running when I moved to Sydney in 1999.  Weighing in at 15 and a half stone I was in shocking nick and I remember our first run around Lane Cove. I didn't even have proper runners and I did my "run" in a pair of Adidas casual trainers. I managed about 5 minutes of shuffling before I had to start walking...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

12 x 400 off 1 minute

My first quick session since the relay. I am lacking speed so I though I'd try some 400's to see where I'm at. Usual warm-up and down of 3.5kms. I was running solo as the main group now start an hour earlier and I couldn't make the new start time.

A very windy evening. Running down the back straight of the track was like running into a brick wall. Then the last 100m felt like you were being pushed along. Here are the times:


Umm, what can I say. Bloody tough going. The first one was awful, then had to grit the teeth to try and improve. I suppose the last 5 weren't too bad. Difficult to gauge what those times indicate as the conditions made quick running very tough. I could feel the burn in the lungs and I think that's a sign that I've lost a fair bit of fitness.

All up 11.8kms.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chugging along

Easy run of 9.5kms in 37:46 (3:59's). Felt really comfortable. Training will be interrupted this week as we have 2 sets of overseas visitors. Which is nice.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Licking my wounds

I was on struggle street today. There was a 10km race out at Loughrea that I planned to run if feeling okay but I was far from that. Made the call not to run at midday and instead polished off 4 rounds of bacon sandwiches. Lovely.

I did manage a local wobble later in the afternoon. I ran 11.1kms in 45:53 (4:08's). Not too bad all things considered.

Well done to Donegal who Donegood winning the final of the footy. More heartbreak for Mayo...and Simon Whitlock won the darts capturing his first major title beating Wes Newton 11-5 in the final. I should also mention the snooker (Shanghai Masters). Judd Trump against John Higgins in the final with Judd 7-2 up after the first session (Higgins had hit a 147 break in that session!). Anyway the wizard from Wishaw levelled at 7-7 and went on to win a last frame decider (10-9). An incredible turnaround in form as I watched John play in the Premier league recently and he looked all out at sea...just goes to show that class is permanent...

Back to the running. That's a massive 52.3kms for the week. A much deserved easy week. I'll start back into some proper training starting next week. The week before last was 74.6kms - I think I forgot to mention that at the time.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Happy birthday to me. Where has the last year gone? I followed the advice of Master Sweeney and had a guilt-free day off from running.

A spot of shopping during the day and out in the evening for a meal followed by far too many pints with mates. Home at 2am.

Friday, September 21, 2012

More boring stuff

Pretty easy running week for me. Still in recovery mode so no fast stuff just yet. Same loop as yesterday but I managed to knock a minute off the time for 44:15 for the 11.1kms (3:59's). I think I upped the pace on the faster sections without even realising it.

Bought some new racing flats today - I've had my last ones since February so I was long over-due (I use these for all my races up to the marathon distance, plus all speedwork including track sessions). I got the new Asics DS racers which look to have got a bit of a face-lift. I was left a bit gob-smacked in the shop when another customer mentioned that he had dropped 5 stone in the last year by regular running and healthy eating. Goes to show what incredible results you can achieve in a relatively short space of time.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bit extra

More easy running. Feeling good at the moment - calves a bit sore still but apart from that it's all good. Longer loop today of 11.1kms in 45:23 (4:05's).

Darts on the tele for the weekend (ESPN). Sorted.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Same run as yesterday - getting quicker though. This time 38:48 (4:05's). The temperature has dropped and my cruising speed improves by at least 10 seconds per km. Coincidence?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dipping the toe in

I tried an easy run today. I felt surprisingly okay - calves still sore but in general I think I've recovered pretty well. I think it just goes to show that the damage sustained to the body during a marathon is all on the last 10km (post "the wall" - which I avoided). After London I didn't feel right for several weeks...

Time 39:12 for 9.5kms (4:08's).

Monday, September 17, 2012

RNR Splits

No running today. Calves very sore so I'll give it another day.

Another night with little sleep - only 6 hours and then up at 3am for the big trip back to Galway.

I've pieced together my splits from the Round Norfolk Relay. Here goes:

5km 17:13
10km 17:55 (1st 10km 35:08)
15km 17:42
20 km 17:47 (2nd 10km 35:29)
25km 17:51
30km 17:37 (3rd 10km 35:28)
31.6km 5:47

Total 1:51:52 (average 3:32/km)

Intresting that although I felt I was slowing towards the end, my 3rd 10km split was slightly quicker than my 2nd 10km block (albeit by only 1 second).

A question I've been asked a lot is what time would I have run if I'd have continued on to the full marathon distance. Impossible to answer really as I never had any intention of doing so. I would say I felt much better at this point than I did in London @ 20 miles. Who knows. It would have been 2hr29 if I could have maintained the pace but there was very little chance of that happening. I think you'd have to add a couple of minutes (at the very least).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Round Norfolk Relay

I received the baton, exchanged a few pleasantries, started my Garmin, and then raced off up the road. I had my cyclist to the right of me, the support vehicle behind, and despite the road being well lit by the headlights of the car, it felt very lonely as I started the 31.6km journey from Scole to Thetford.

Conditions were absolutely perfect. Very little breeze, a nice cool evening and the feedback I had on the course was that it was very runner friendly. No excuses at hand. I settled into my running and my immediate concern was that I had no idea what pace I was running. There were no distance markers on the course, and I couldn't see the screen of the Garmin, but luckily I'd set the watch to auto-lap so I had the beep to listen out for after I had passed each km. I could then consult my cyclist after each beep and I he would give me the cumulative time split from his watch that he had set at the start of the stage.

I was ticking along nicely and I checked my split for the first time at 4km. I was just under 14 minutes and that indicated sub 3:30/km pace which felt comfortable. There was nothing to see up-front but it felt surprisingly easy to stay focused - and the fact that it was so early in the morning didn't seem to be bothering me. In fact I was quite enjoying it.

Not much to report. The beep of the watch, check the time, maybe a few mouthfuls of water, a gel on the half hour, and then just as we were approaching 10km I could see my first flashing light up front. Slowly but surely I was getting closer. This seemed to really get me fired up and I think I upped the pace without even realising it. The protocol on overtaking was that the vehicle up front would move to the right allowing me and my cyclist through on the inside. I caught the runner, went straight past, and simple as that I had overtaken our main rivals - the Norwich Road Runners.

Through 10km in just over 35 minutes, and feeling good I pressed on. The course wasn't pancake flat, there were certainly long uphill drags, and some nice downhill stretches. I don't recall any short sharp hills and one thing I noticed was that it was very difficult to judge the gradient of the road in the dark. I'm note sure if that was good or not.

By 15km I was still running strongly. My splits were consistent. I think I passed another runner. I should just fill in a few details about the concept of the race. The start times for each team are staggered based on the team's estimate of the total time to complete the entire relay. In simple terms, the slow teams start first and the quick teams start last (we started some 5 hours after the early teams). In theory if the estimated times are accurate, all the teams should complete the race within a short space of time.

Through 16km and I had passed the halfway point of the stage. Detail is a bit lacking, very little chat between myself and the cyclist, another gel on the hour and just trying to keep it going. The kms were still ticking by nicely and at 20km I was still on track (low 70 minutes). I was confident I would run well up to the half marathon point but there was the doubt about the remaining 10km or so.

Around this point my cyclist was swapped. This was a bit eerie as he had to stop, as did the support vehicle. I was left running up the road by myself in the fading light of the headlights as someone else jumped on the bike, got their instructions, and then had to cycle hard to catch me again. It probably only took a couple of minutes but by the end of this I was almost running in total darkness. And then the light was restored when my support vehicle caught me again.

At 21km I was just under 1hr14 so I probably ran the half in 1:14:15 or so. I was planning on 1:15 so I'd put a little bit of time in the bank. I was still feeling okay, and knew I had more quick kms in the legs. Round numbers I had 10km to go and I was on the countdown.

The course at this point seemed tougher. This could be explained by tiredness but it just felt that long sections were all slightly uphill. I knew I'd probably slowed a little, but if I ran a poor km I'd try and bounce back with a quicker next km. I was lucky as just as it felt like I was hitting a bad patch, a flashing light would appear in the distance and that was the motivation to keep things going to run past another team.

At 25km I was still running well but it was getting tougher. The splits were slowing a little which I was expecting, but I had the encouragement of my cyclist who helped spur me on. The lights up front were becoming more frequent which was great to focus on and I knew by how easily I was passing out some runners that I was still running quickly.

I made a call on around 1hr 30 not to take my final gel as my stomach felt a little dodgy. I only had to keep this going for 20 minutes or so and I'd be done. Around this point I missed one of my beeps and that threw me a little as the km seemed to be taking an eternity. But that error was soon realised and almost without warning I had the shout from the car behind that I only had one mile to go.

I really tried to lift the pace at this point. There were some nasty drags in the last mile but was we approached a large roundabout I again caught 2 more teams and then ran as hard as I could up to the changeover area where I handed over the baton to our next runner.

Upon finishing I had to lay down on the grass for several minutes. I checked my watch and I had broken 1hr 52. My official time was 1:51:52 which worked out at 3:32/km pace. My Garmin had my pace a second a km quicker than that but it had measured the course slightly long.

I was escorted to another support vehicle where I put on some clothes and drank plenty of water. I then spent the remainder of the race in the car, leap-frogging to various points of the remaining stages (usually stage changeovers) to support the other runners. I should add that upon getting to the changeover area for stage 14 I was feeling very ill. I think the gels were sitting in my stomach and it wasn't long before I was having a good heave. Straight away I felt a good bit better and after drinking some coke I felt okay - I suppose as well as can be expected on a night with no sleep having run the guts of 20 miles.

Our team finished at 8:22am. It had taken our 17 runners 20h 22 to complete the 197.2 miles (average pace 3:51/km). We had a big group breakfast at 9am (full English) then it was time for the presentation at 11am.

Awards were made to the winners of each stage. I had posted the quickest time on stage 12 so it was nice to pick up a stage win (in total there were 58 teams competing). I had also broken the masters course record for that stage by almost 8 minutes (the senior record for the stage is 1:48:49 so I was way off that). Additional awards were made for the best junior, senior and masters performances of the day (based on age gradings). No joy for me but City of Norwich were certainly scooping lots of trophies (my run rated 8th out of of the 986 runners who took part in the RNR based on age grading).

Then on to the final awards - the winning teams. Our team was entered into the club class which was seen as the premier award within the RNR. A club team had to comprise of a mixture of female, male and masters runners (a minimum of 5 females and 5 masters out of 17 team members). This award was kept to the very end and our brilliant team performance was rewarded by winning this class - made all the more special by me being nominated to collect the trophy on stage on behalf of all of our team-mates. A little nerve racking as the trophy stood about 3 foot tall and I wasn't sure I would be able to lift it!

It turns out our team had posted the quickest time of the day by over 50 minutes beating all of the other race categories (open, masters and female). To beat the open teams was quite an achievement as these teams would be predominantly made up of senior males.

All in all a great experience. A truly unique event which I really enjoyed and I have to thank CoNAC for giving me the opportunity to run. I'm glad I ran well to warrant my selection and hopefully it won't be the last time! Thanks also to the support crew. The logistics behind this race are amazing - to get 17 team runners together is quite an achievement. Making sure they are at the start of their respective stages when the start time is fluid takes some doing. Well done RP and the crew, you did a great job. I think the runners have it easy - all they have to do is turn up and run!

The finish of the day went something like this. Home by 1:30pm. Lunch at 2pm. In pub by 3pm. Back from pub by 8pm and in bed by 9pm (still no sleep by this point). Job done.

I'll no doubt add bits and pieces to this post as I think of them over the next few days. I need to add my splits for a start. But for now that can wait...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Travel, eat, rest, eat, travel

Up at 6am. A car journey, a flight and 2 trains later and I was in Norwich - all up just over 6 hours. Straight into the city for a pasta lunch, then I found a bed to try and get some sleep on in the afternoon whilst listening to Five Live on the radio.

Porridge around 6pm (2 bowls of), and then I got all my gear packed. I was picked from the city centre just after 10pm for the 20 minute drive out to Bungay which was the start of stage 11 of the Round Norfolk Relay.

Upon arrival you immediately got a feel for the event. The sight of runners entering the changeover point accompanied by a cyclist and the flashing light of their support vehicle. Surprisingly when we got there we watched about 12 teams coming through in quick succession. This bunching I was told was quite unusual as the teams are normally much more spread out.

I was starting to get quite nervous which was unusual for me. I think the team factor played a big part of this, plus it being pitch dark when there were no runners or cars on the road. I was asking a few questions to the support crew but this just seemed to make me more nervous so I decided it was best to stay quiet and try and stay calm.

Another lift from a support vehicle from stage 11 to stage 12 which was the start of the stage that I was to run. I was expecting to start some time after 1:30am so there was a fair bit of waiting around which I did in the warmth of the car. Tension levels were continuing to rise. Then shortly after 1:30am I got the call that our runner was about a mile a way so I stripped off and made my way down to the changeover zone waiting for the baton to appear...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Turning the legs over

I did 30 minutes on the mountain bike in the evening to loosen off the legs.

A few beers and an early night as I'm travelling to Norwich early in the morning.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Same run for the 3rd time this week. Getting slower each time - this time knocking off the 9.5kms in 41:26 (4:22's).

That's it - no more running until the race Sunday morning.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A cunning plan

The same run as Monday. Perfect conditions again and this time I was a little slower covering the 9.5kms in 39:11 (4:07's).

Lots of time to think about the run on the weekend and what to do pacing-wise. I'm now thinking of trying to cover the first 13.1 miles in around 1:15. Then at this point I'll no doubt be feeling like shite, will collect a piano to carry on the back, then limp home. Sounds perfect.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

6 x 4 minutes off 1 minute

One last session of quicker stuff before the big race. A lap of the pitches for warm-up and then for a change we were to also use the pitches for the main session (instead of the track).

A good group in attendance with lots of new faces. I didn't want to push it tonight and was content to cruise around. The route we had marked out would have us passing the start well within the 4 minutes and the instruction was to start a second lap until the 4 minutes was up.

Gearoid, Fintan and myself took turns leading out each 4 minute effort and I was feeling really good. Again another cool evening with very little wind which suited me down to the ground. The back half of the course had us running along a very stony path down by the river which wasn't great wearing racing flats. Then there was a nasty 30 second climb up to the final turn which marked the completion of the lap. I was generally lapping in about 3:30 which meant a further 30 seconds running before the 4 minutes was up. Then a short jog back to the start in the 60 seconds recovery to do it all again.

I had no idea of pace at the time but I would have said around 3:20/km pace. It turns out I was averaging around 3:12 to 3:13/km pace. Very happy with that as I wasn't giving it my all, plus the session is quite a tricky one off a short recovery.

I did my warm-down also on the pitches. A bit of a guess-timate but I reckon it was around 14.5kms for the day.

Monday, September 10, 2012


The temperature seems to have dropped today. Much colder. Whatever summer we may have had seems to now be over. I could smell the open fires burning on my run for the first time since the winter months...

Being cooler I automatically felt a lot more comfortable today. I covered 9.5km in 38:39 (4:04's) and it felt very easy.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Gallimh Abu

I have one final race pencilled in the calendar and that race is next weekend (Sep 15th/16th). I've been asked by my UK club (City of Norwich AC) to run in a quite unique relay event. Details can be found here.

For my troubles I'm down to run stage 12 from Scole to Thetford. Just the 19.67 miles! And I'm likely to be running at around 1am Sunday morning with only a couple of cyclists and a 4 wheel drive for company! Not forgetting that as this is a relay event you have to carry a baton the whole way round!

With this race in mind I decided I should at least get one decent long run in. Out the door just gone 1pm and I was immediately greeted with a nice heavy rain shower. I ran an out-an-back course up to Oranmore, then on to Renville running most of the Boston Scientific 5km loop before turning for home. I was running into the wind for most of the first hour but it was a little easier the second half with the wind (and rain) on the back.

I had to add on an extra loop as I approached Claregalway and I did so by running the majority of the Claregalway 5km course. I arrived home tired and wet after clocking up 28.4kms in 2:00:37 (4:15/km pace).

Job done. That's about all the preparation I can muster for next weekend. I'd still like to think I'm in decent half marathon shape and the extra 6 or so miles I'll just have to pull out of the bag on the day.

A total of 90.3kms for the week.

The title of this post refers to the Galway/Kilkenny hurling final that took place today. It finished in a draw (19-19). Exciting to watch and a replay now scheduled in 3 weeks time...

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Irishtown 8km

I decided on another race today. Originally I had planned to run the 10km in Manorhamilton but the 5 hour round trip was a bit too much. Instead I settled on a new 8km race in Irishtown which is just on the Galway/Mayo border and only 40 minutes up the road for me.

Preparation wasn't text book. See yesterday's post. Upon arrival and registration I had about 10 minutes for a warm-up which I did with John Byrne. Then it was time to get started.

Going back a bit, the road leading into Irishtown gave me a good clue as to what the course was to be like. I had driven the last couple of kms of the course and it was constant ups and downs. It was quite warm and I was just looking to blow out the cobwebs after last week's half and at the same time sweat out the night before.

I hit the front and started to push on. I was in the lead and despite running quickly and I felt like I had another gear if required. By 1km I had worked away from John and decided to keep pushing on. The kms seemed to tick along nicely and the course didn't seem too taxing. That said you don't tend to notice the drags when running well. By halfway I must have opened up a good lead and without warning I started to struggle.

The next couple of kms were a real grind. I think there were a few hills but that was only part of the problem, the body didn't seem willing. Slowly but surely I could hear John getting closer to me and by 5km he had caught me. No messing from John, he went straight past and by 6km I'd say he already had a 10 second lead.

Around this point we had made the last turn for home and I knew from the drive in there were some nasty hills. I had one final throw of the dice to see if I could close the gap on the first hill but with no joy. So I pushed on as best I could crossing the finish line in second place in a time of 26:22 (John ran 26:04).

Overall I was quite pleased with my performance today. I was happy with the time on a tough course and the second half slowdown was probably due to my poor preparation. Well done to John who looks to be going from strength to strength - great to see.

I finished up by running the course again with a few of the Mayo runners. Not at a sluggish pace either. That gives me around 17kms for the day.

All in all a really enjoyable day. The whole town seemed to be behind the race and there was a really nice feel to the event. Lots of credit must go to the organisers and with over 200 runners taking part lots of money was raised for the local hospice.

Here are the splits:

1km 3:13
2km 3:13
3km 3:13
4km 3:18 (12:57)
5km 3:19
6km 3:25
7km 3:24
8km 3:17 (13:25)

Total 26:22

Friday, September 07, 2012

Darts Match

Another easy run of 9.5kms in 39:18 (4:08's).

We played a challenge darts match tonight with another local team. I won both my pairs and singles but it was more of a piss-up with the darts playing second fiddle. Home at 3am with a belly full of Guinness.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Claremorris Double

I had to drive to Claremorris today to take the car in for a service. I had 2 hours to kill so that was my window for the daily run. Not knowing the area I decided to run the Claremorris 5 mile course used in the Mayo League. I started from the lights cutting the distance down to 7.4kms. I completed the first "lap" in 32:49 and then completed it a second time in 32:31. Total 1:05:20 for 14.8kms (4:25's).

A really tough course. Probably made a bit worse today by a strong wind.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


Some more easy stuff today. I ran 11.1kms in 47:07 (4:15's). Legs feel a good bit better after the rub.

Apparently I've got the most disgusting feet in the world. Those fish that suck of the dead skin would have a mighty feed on my plates. Perhaps time to go visit a podiatrist as they are not a pretty sight at the moment...

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


I should have got a rub about a week before the half. I had a few little niggles that I chose to ignore - stupid really. So instead I opted for one today. The legs were very tight so that automatically amps up the pain factor. But I never complained once - well not much...

No run today. A much needed break.

Monday, September 03, 2012


I ran a local loop of 9.5kms in 42:27. The legs felt fine but my blistered feet were giving me a lot of grief. I had to resort to a bit of DIY surgery on some blood blisters when I got back home - not pleasant.

Post race last night there was a little bit of celebrating with Fintan...left the pub at 1:30am and in bed by 2. I just love the pub.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

National Half Marathon 2012

Only a short trip to Athenry for me - less than 15 minutes. The weather looked okay - very little wind which was pleasing and the temperature was around 17 degrees for the start of the race at 1pm.

I registered, did a short warm-up of around a mile and it was time to line up at the start. Lots of quality all around - you'd expect that at the nationals. I suppose I was a little nervous if the truth be told but that soon disappeared when the starters gun sounded.

The first couple of miles and I tried to settle into my running. I was by myself - the group in front were going too quick and I didn't want to slow so I just stuck to my own pace. The first couple of mile splits and I was on track and after making a couple of turns we were onto the main part of the course which is used for the Athenry 10km. Around the 3 mile mark I was joined by a couple of runners who had worked up from behind - my old sparring partner John Byrne and Garrett Coughlan who I had a good race with at the Balla 10km. That was great as it was much easier running with company but at the same time I seemed to be working really hard to maintain my pace.

Not much to report for the next few miles. I stayed with the group and the pace was about right but I was really starting to struggle. It seemed very warm and humid and I was sweating a lot. I had to take water at the drinks station to try and cool down. The long road back to town and I spent some time at the front of the group and as we approached the 10km clock our time was 33:36 which was exactly where I wanted to be. The trouble being there was no chance of me maintaining that pace...

The long climb back up to the water tower before the nice downhill section to the finish area and we now had one more lap to cover. John was at the front with me and Garrett in pursuit and as we made the turn for the start of the second lap I was really starting to feel it - not helped as we were presented with a long drag that seemed to be eternal. Some time after the 7 mile marker and I was done for - I just had no battle in me and had to be content with letting the other 2 work away. This was really disappointing as I put up no fight whatsoever. Pathetic effort from yours truly.

The next few miles and I was in no mans land. I was taking more water to try and cool down and I knew I was slowing. I got to 10 miles and by this stage I wanted it to be all over. After making the last turn before the long run back to town I knew I was being caught from a couple of runners from behind. Sure enough by 11 miles they had caught me and this was my final throw of the dice to try and hang on to them. Somehow I managed to find a bit and I hung onto the back of them for a mile or so.

I started the last climb and I felt a bit better and with the 3 of us in our own private battle for line honours the pace lifted for the run to the finish line. The last section was a bit of a blur but just before the final bend I started sprinting for home and I was somehow leading the charge. Then a new runner came out of nowhere and almost caught me in the last 50m but I somehow managed to hold him off...

I finished up in 13th position in a gun time of 1:12:17 and a net time of 1:12:14. I managed to win the men's V40 category and was also part of the winning men's masters 35+ team for the Galway City Harriers. Two gold medals which was fantastic but I'm still left more than a little disappointed with my own run.

I'm not sure what happened. I don't think I can blame the course as I rate it a good fair course for a championship race. Perhaps the humidity was the main culprit - I seemed to really struggle with this and it wouldn't be the first time I've slowed in these types of conditions. Here is the race report from the Athletics Ireland website.

I finished up with a very slow 2km warm-down. All up 24.7kms for the day and 73.3kms for the week. Blisters the size of France on both feet. Very sore - how did that happen?

Here are the sorry splits:

1m 5:17
2m 5:21
3m 5:25
4m 5:34
5m 5:22 (26:59)
6m 5:31
8m 11:08
9m 5:35
10m 5:46 (28:00)
11m 5:38
12m 5:39
13.1m 5:58

Total 1:12:14

Congratulations to John Byrne who had a super run to finish in 1:11:05. He managed to maintain the pace all the way to the finish and I only wish I could have helped him out a bit more! My team mate Fintan also had a super run clocking 1:13:40 in his debut half; whilst the 3rd member of our team Gerry Carty also clocked a PB in a time of 1:19:42. Michael Shannon ran brilliantly and is going from strength to strength lowering his PB to 1:08:33 in finishing 4th overall. Brian Furey also ran brilliantly breaking the 1hr 13 mark. With people running PB's all around me it may be that I just had an off day? Not sure....I certainly welcome any feedback from other runners on their experiences of the day.

Here are a few photos I've harvested from various sources (thanks to Jane/Gerry/Tom/Edenhill).

Myself and John - he is looking very mean with his new go faster haircut. It worked:

This one includes Garrett in the background:

The sprint finish running nice and relaxed:

And the presentation:

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Power of 10

Nothing planned today. Just an early night...

I stumbled upon this website recently. It's a UK database of running results and my profile can be found here

It seems that most UK results will be automatically included. I have submitted some of my recent performances from Ireland after they were verified by the site owners.

You can look up just about any runner who is registered with a UK running club. The really useful feature is the rankings that you can see at the bottom right hand side of the page. These are constantly updated each week so you can see how you fare against all the other runners in the UK.

Another really useful feature of this website is the partnership with RunBritian. If you click on the banner just above the rankings section it takes you through to this sister site. RunBritian have developed an algorithm that takes into account recent performances, race distance and terrain, age and course difficulty to calculate your running handicap (similar to a golf handicap). Most people will be in the range of 0 to 36 but it is possible to have a negative handicap (they describe this as the elites which is a bit of a joke as I'm only an old hack). My current handicap is -1.6 and this is recalculated after each race performance. Interestingly this places me 417th on the UK national ladder and 14th in the V40 age group.

Just looking at the top of the national ladder there are no surprises with Mo Farah and Andy Baddeley taking out the top 2 spots (handicaps of -6.2 and -5.7 respectively). For anyone who runs in the UK this is an excellent site and I'm surprised I haven't heard about it before. I'd be interested in any feedback if there are other people who have used these tools.