Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Yearly Review

No running today - rest day.

I threw a few darts and managed to chalk up my 180th 180 of the year. MVG probably hits that many in one practice session:

The 2012 year in review is to follow. Here is a quick summary of my races:

In summary I'd have to say 2012 has been a bit of a disappointing year. Despite putting in my biggest annual training volume (4,649kms), I didn't nail the big 2 races of the year - the London Marathon back in April and the National Half Marathon in August. The longer stuff certainly took it out of me and my speed has suffered in the shorter races as a result. That said I did run my 2 quickest ever 10km races this year - a new 10km PB out at Colemanstown running solo where I clocked 32:22. Then a 32:38 in Annaghdown in June on the longest day of the year.

So 28 road races for the year. I chalked up 13 wins, 5 seconds and a couple of thirds. I certainly cut back on racing this year compared to 2011 and I hope to buck that trend next year by getting out there a bit more.

If I had to pick my top 5 performances of the year I'd have to go with:

1) London Marathon - despite not breaking my goal of sub 2:30, I still had a solid race but faded in the last few miles. Still a great experiecne and you just cannot beat this race for atmosphere.

2) Round Norfolk Relay - my first experience of this race. Running a 20 miler at 2am in the morning was certainly unique. Conditions were perfect and I surprised myself by running at 2:28 marathon pace. A great day made all the more special by our team winning the event outright.

3) Colemanstown 10km - I was certainly in good shape leading up to London. Two weeks before I ran a solid PB of 32:22 solo running the whole way. A great flat course and one of those races where it just felt oh so easy.

4) Claregalway 5km - a couple of weeks after London I ran my local 5km on a very hilly course. I was pushed all the way by Peter O'Sullivan and I ran a very quick last 500m to take out the race. The marathon certainly gives you plenty of strength (as does the Guinness).

5) Annaghdown 10km - I had a number of good races with John Byrne this year. On this occasion I came out on top after 6kms of constant surges and lead changes. I'd have to say I'd easily swap this performance for the National Half where John had a super run of 1:11 easily beating me in the process.

Happy New Year to one and all. May you all realise your goals in 2013, be it running or otherwise. I'm going to focus on the shorter stuff in 2013 so back to the 5kms and 10kms. Plenty of track sessions in the new year to get the speed back and then see what happens...

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Really poor weather today so took the easy option and decided to run on the treadmill. A steady 9km in 38:20 (4:16's). That's it now until the 5km on Jan 1st.

The semi-finals of the darts are now over and what can you say about Michael Van Gerwen. The man is a genius. He was only one dart away from hitting back-to-back 9 dart legs. I've never seen anything like it. Should be a great final on New Years Day and on current form I have to go with the green machine after previously tipping Taylor.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

12 x 400m off 60 secs

With a 5km race on Jan 1st fast approaching, I thought I'd try a few 400's to get the legs moving. After a warm-up of 3.7km I stepped onto the track only to be greeted with a heavy hail storm, followed by a complete soaking. I considered pulling the pin but after about 15 minutes of hanging around it had at least stopped raining so I decided to give it a go. Needless to say I had the whole track to myself...

Initially I was going to do 10 but the first couple were so poor that I upped it to 12. The track was slippery and wet and the times were slow. Bloody hard doing this on your lonesome:


I finished up with another 3.7km. All up 12.2kms for the day. Strange sort of session - I didn't feel like I was red-lining and the recovery time was ample but at the same time I had no pace. Perhaps still a hangover from the 10km on Wednesday.

A game of snooker in the evening. I rolled back the years in the 4th frame hitting a 50 break - my first 50 in at least 10 years I'd say. Returned to being crap straight after that...

Friday, December 28, 2012


De ja vu - another hour run with Fintan. This time the route was a little different and the conditions were a little testier - especially the first 4km into a very strong wind. The rain just about held off so we were lucky really. All up 14.8kms in 1:05:09 (4:22's).

Out in the evening for a game of darts with the darts team. We played a round robin comp which I managed to win. The darts are going alright at the moment - must be the world champs that have inspired me.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Plugging on

Out early afternoon with Fintan who is getting back into it after a frustrating shin injury. We ran a total of 15.9kms in 1:08:16 (4:18's). Legs felt fine at the start - no indication that I'd raced the previous day but at the end I was done for.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fields of Athenry 10km

Arrived a little too late for comfort after getting carried away playing with the Lego. On the short drive to Athenry it was raining very heavily and it didn't look like letting up. Well it didn't - at least not until the race was over...

A quick dash to collect my number and get changed. Ten minutes before the off I jogged round to the start area - I reckon about 500m and that was my warm-up done. It was still hammering down and the roads were covered in puddles. I don't recall ever racing in such wet conditions.

The gun sounded and close to 1,100 people were underway. The race was packed full of quality and a lead group of half a dozen or so quickly broke away leaving me in a chasing group. After a couple of kms things had settled down - the lead group were working away and I was left in a group of 5. This section of the course is pretty flat and not much happened until we took a left hand turn around the 4km mark.

At this point one of the group fell off the back (Peter O'Sullivan), leaving 4 of us to battle it out. The group included Steve McKeigue who I last met in Carnmore a few weeks back, plus a couple more faces that I didn't recognise. This section of the course was a bit tougher. The road is much narrower and I occasionally clipped arms with the others whilst trying to find a dry line on the roads.

Through 5km in 16:44 and I couldn't believe the time - it felt at least 20 seconds quicker. At this point one of the runners had made a slight break off the front which I couldn't respond to - I still had company though so kept plugging away. Another left turn and it was the long run for home.

I think it was between 6km and 7km that the water on the road was incredible. A few sections of 30m+ where the road was completely covered in water and there was no option but to race straight through the middle. In places it was at least ankle deep so you can imagine how much I enjoyed wading through that...

By about 8km I was racing with one other guy as Steve had fallen back a little. We gradually reeled in the runner who had previously made a break so it was going to be a three way shoot-out to the finish.

At 9km we were all in a line and the same guy made another break for home. I tried to go with him but was starting to feel the pinch. The last km has a lovely downhill section but despite running well I was still some 3 or 4 seconds behind. I had one final throw of the dice after crossing the railway but it was not to be and I had to settle for my position (9th) after gapping the other runner in our group by a few seconds. The time was 33:21 which despite being 20 to 30 seconds off where I'd like to be, was probably explainable given the constant deluge.

Some real quality at the front with Mick Clohisey taking out the race in 30:57, Emmet Dunleavy in 2nd in 31:36 and Michael Shannon 3rd in 31:40. Brilliant running.

Straight to the hall to get changed (no warm-down). A quick coffee and off home for a long hot shower. I have to say that despite the weather, I really enjoyed the race. Great to be out there having a few battles - which you seldom get in the smaller races. It has certainly given me a renewed appetite for racing in the New Year. Finally, hats off to Athenry AC in putting on another fantastic event.

Here's a photo (thanks to Peter Mooney):


1km 3:18
2km 3:15
3km 3:19
4km 3:25
5km 3:27 (16:44)
6km 3:16
7km 3:23
8km 3:26
9km 3:25
10km 3:07 (16:37)

Total 33:21

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas to one and all.

A day of Lego, darts (my son got a new soft tip dartboard), eating, plus a few beers. A very tame day on the beer - not for the want of trying but I was absolutely stuffed after the turkey and ham.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

A short 9.5km loop today. Time 38:20 (4:02's). That's it now until the 10km on St Stephen's/Boxing Day.

A few beers in the evening and the home to cook supper for 10+. All went well.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nervous Nineties

The best intention of running close to 2 hours but gave up after 76 minutes exactly. Distance 17.7km (4:18's).

A good week of volume for me - a total of 98.2kms. The third week on the trot now where I've only done one speed session. Be interesting to see how that translates into race form next week...

Saturday, December 22, 2012


An easy hour. 14.9kms in 1:02:22 (4:11's). Pace improving.

Out later in the evening for a few pints and some darts. I couldn't miss double top - never finished like that before. Scoring was a bit hit and miss though...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Long Run

Out in the afternoon for a solo long run. My local half marathon course which I covered off in 1:30:32 (4:17's). A bit better than yesterday's pathetic effort...

Thursday, December 20, 2012


10km in 44:25 (4:26's). Knackered after too little sleep. Unless I get 8 hours the running suffers...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snooker it wasn't

10kms 41:21 (4:08's). Legs sore after the track session.

Out later in the evening for a game of snooker. I was awful. Excuse list as long as your arm. Not being able to see with or without my glasses certainly doesn't help. Maybe time to try some contact lenses.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

4 x 400, 3 x 1600, 4 x 400

Track night - surface quite wet but not a bad night being quite still and not as cold as the previous couple of weeks.

A short 3km warm-up and the session was as above. The recoveries were 1 minute between each effort and 2 minutes between the sets. I'd told everyone I was going to take it easy and that's how it started are the times:


The first 400 was disgraceful - it felt like a 69 as I was blowing like a you know what. From there on it got a bit easier. I sat in with Keith for the 1600's and took turns rolling out each lap - he looked to be cruising and I was having to work. The last set of 400's were pleasing - I tried to stick with Keith but he was at least a couple of seconds in front of me each lap - and still looked like he was jogging. I guess you'd expect that from a low 1:50 800m runner...

My last 400m was a pleasing 65.50. I guess I still have some speed and probably need to do lots more 400's so I can run sub 70 second laps and feel comfortable. The wet track didn't help tonight so again the times were okay.

I finished up with a 3.5km warm-down. All up 14.5kms. This could be my last speed session of the year - though I may decide to do something on the weekend. Decisions, decisions...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Same old

Another night run. Getting bored of the route now but not many options at the moment until I can get out during the day.

Total 10kms in 41:40 (4:10's).

Sunday, December 16, 2012


A half arsed attempt at a long-run. Had no energy and the legs felt tired so I pulled the pin and cut short at 17.1kms. Time 1:14:36 (4:22's). Not very happy with that pace - very poor...

That's 82.7kms for the week.

Watched the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in the evening. Couldn't believe Mo didn't make the top 3 but in saying that I think Wiggo was a worthy winner.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Not feeling great today. Out at lunchtime to take the kids into town for Santa. They spotted the merry-go-round at the Christmas markets and before I knew it I was riding one of the horses. Not a great idea and I nearly added some of my own Christmas decorations to the square...

Managed a 9.5km wobble when I got home. Time 38:59 (4:06's).

Out in the evening for some darts and pool in the local. Forgot to mention the darts world champs started yesterday. Taylor all the way for me.

Friday, December 14, 2012

New Garmin

A lunchtime run. I was trying out my new Garmin FR10 which is the most basic Garmin on the market. Gives you speed, distance and time. Perfect for what I need.

Felt really good from the off. Decided on a long one and after returning home I decided to notch up an extra 200m to give me the half marathon. Time 1:25:43 for 21.1kms (4:04/km pace).

Used Garmin connect for the first time to upload my data. Really impressed so far.

Out in the evening with a few running buddies for a quiet beer. It turned into quite a loud beer as I didn't roll in until 3 in the morning. Even managed a game of darts in our 7th pub and after telling everyone how good I was, I proceeded to play crap. Got beaten by Barry who took out a brilliant 119 with triple 19, double 12, double 19. A good night with a pizza for company in the taxi home.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

More of the same

Another nighttime 10km. A cross-wind tonight which is unusual running up and down the N17. Time 41:39 (4:10's).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

5km Progression

No running today - planned rest day.

I was asked about my 5km progression recently. So here goes:

Not really a distance I raced much until moving to Ireland in 2010. Note these are all road race performances and do not include track races,

My first 5km was a very tough hilly course in Lindfield. I think I finished top 5 but this race was very much an undercard for the main 10km held on the same day. I started quick and died in the arse and it was a real struggle home.

The next couple of races in Forster, NSW, were 5km races that were held on the weekend of the Ironman (which I used to go up and watch). I don't recall much about the first race in 2004, but the race in 2005 was a real breakthrough run. It was a 2 lap course and I ran much quicker (30 seconds plus) than expected beating the sponsored Asics female athlete home (whose name escapes me). I was convinced the course was short and remember driving it afterwards in the car. It seemed okay. Punching well above my weight in that race which goes to show it can happen if everything clicks on the day.

The rest of the races are documented on the blog. The races in Tuam and Craughwell were on consecutive weeks as part of the Galway 5km series that year. The second one wasn't really a PB as I only equalled the time from the previous week.

The last race in Maree was a cracker. I ran down Michael Shannon in the last couple of kms and I finished less than 20 seconds behind the legend that is Gerry Ryan. To this day that's as close as I've ever got to him in a race (and I can't see it getting any better going forwards!).

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

8 x 3 minutes

Out to track tonight to find that the gates were locked. Instead we were running around the hockey pitches on the gravel which was a bit easier on the knees.

A longer warm-up tonight of 3.7kms. The session was 8 x 3 minutes originally off 90 seconds but this was revised down to 75 seconds "so people didn't get too cold". Ah yes, it was quite chilly - probably around 2 degrees. Similar to yesterday really - cold but no wind or rain.

A big enough group and the 3 minutes would allow us all do to around 2 full laps. Then we could all re-group in time for the start of the next rep. I started conservatively and gradually wound up the pace. The last few were starting to hurt and I really pushed the last one. I could tell I was running that bit quicker each time as I was getting further into the 3rd lap...

No idea of pace. I'd imagine it was close to 3:18/km pace at the start working down to around 3:05/km pace to finish. Owen and Christy both running well right on my heels.

Same warm-down of 3.7kms to finish with. That's about 15.0kms for the day.

Monday, December 10, 2012

V Cold

This goes down as the coldest run of the winter so far. Probably close to freezing. The pavements were good though with no icy patches and I rattled out 10kms in 42:29 (4:15's). Lovely weather for running once you get warmed up.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Triple header

Same run as yesterday. A little quicker today covering off the 14.9kms in 1:02:40 (4:12's). Quite nice just doing the easy running at the moment. I certainly don't miss knowing that you have a tough session ahead of you every few days.

Out again in the evening for more darts. Played okay but just not hitting enough big scores at the moment.

Got home to watch the end of the snooker. Mark Selby winning 10-6 against Shaun Murphy. A great win for the Jester and he is rewarded by regaining his world number 1 spot. Great viewing all week.

A total of 89.1kms for the week.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Backing up

A late finish last night - 3:30am. I decided to head out in the afternoon to blow out a few cobwebs and I did a similar run to yesterday. All up 14.9kms in 1:03:22 (4:15's). Felt pretty good all things considered...

Out again in the evening for a few games of darts. A few beers later and I was playing okay. I missed a bull finish for a 12 dart leg which would have been nice. Home by 1:30am...

Friday, December 07, 2012

Morning Bill

Morning run and a glorious one at that. Ran some part local loops clocking up 15.9kms in 1:05:35.(4:07's). Ticking along very nicely without a care in the world.

Okay so I clearly can't tip anyone in the snooker. I'll just shut up from now on...

Out in the evening for the first party of the silly season. My wife's Christmas do. Should be fun and will decide to play it safe and avoid the wine and stick to the Black Stuff.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


Afternoon run today - local loop of 11.1kms in 46:39 (4:12's). Very poor weather - wore my running tights for the first time this winter. I looked as gay as a handbag full of rainbows...

Really enjoying the snooker this week. Lots of late nights watching some very close finishes. A fantastic match tonight with Neil Robertson racing to a 4-0 lead against Mark Selby. Then after the interval Robertson lost the plot and lost 6 frames on the spin. A great win for the Jester who is know in the semis and by his own admission has been very patchy...

So my second tip has gone down. Of the 4 left I'd favour Ali Carter...

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Tin tin

Another 10km night run. Legs a bit sore after track. Much slower today - not helped by skating rink conditions during the last km. Time 43:22 (4:20's).

The snooker this week has thrown up many surprises. None more so than the young Belgian sensation Luca Brecel who has only just turned 17 years of age and has now found himself in the quarter finals. Incredible.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

5 x (400m/500m/600m)

Track night. As mentioned my plan for the month was easy running - but track night is my one time where I meet up for some group training so I thought I'd toddle along for a catch-up...

Conditions were cold. The track was damp with some icy patches along the home straight. Not much breeze though. The session was sets of 400m/500m/600m with 60 seconds recovery between efforts and 90 seconds between sets.

I started off really conservatively - but couldn't help myself in winding up the pace as we went through each set. Here are the times:


I felt good throughout - even after the the last couple of sets. To be expected I suppose as the recovery time was quite generous - plus I wasn't red-lining. By the last couple of sets I had managed to find a line down the home straight which didn't involve ice skating....good fun and a great group at the front.

All up 12.3kms with warm-up and down.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Nighttime 10km

My new 10km night route as run last week. Time 41:19 (4:08's). Felt really comfortable.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Carnmore 5km Turkey Trot

Lots of rain around and also very cold. The positive was that there was very little breeze. Not too bad once you got going but the course was very damp. This picture is taken off the Athenry AC website gives you an idea of the conditions:

A shortish warm-up of around a mile running down to the start if you include the strides. The race started and I hit the front with a couple of other runners for company. By the time we hit the first km there was still 3 of us together but shortly after that reduced to two leaving me and Steve McKeigue together. After a left turn we started the lollipop section of the course. Through 2km and still together and after taking a right turn we were greeted by a long uphill drag. I took this opportunity to push on and within reaching the top of the climb I had opened up a small gap.

From there on it was a case of holding on. Passed the 3km marker and then continuing around the loop before the long descent back down to 4km. By this stage I was starting to struggle a little but I'd opened up enough of a gap not to let it slip. Disappointed not to find another gear to finish off the race with a quick last km but a pleasing win in a time of 16:01. Here are the splits:

1km 3:01
2km 3:13
3km 3:15
4km 3:15
5km 3:17

Total 16:01

The clock on the finish line wasn't working and if you'd have asked me to guess the time I would have said around 16:15 to 16:20 so the actual time was a pleasant surprise. Looking back to last year I actually ran 3 seconds quicker this time around although the splits are completely different (last year was a quick last km of 3:05 where I came off second best in a sprint finish).

A great event and lots of turkeys given out as prizes. That's Christmas dinner sorted. I really like this course and I'd like to have a dig at it when I'm in better 5km shape as I reckon it's a quick one. It certainly wouldn't be out of place as part of the Galway 5km series.

I ran the loop again as a warm-down with Brian Furey and then we ran back to the hall for the presentation. All up 14.2kms for the day and a mighty 56.0kms for the week. A pleasing end to the week and nice to run a race on fresh legs (no sessions all week makes a big difference).

I notice I gave Judd the kiss of death in the snooker. Okay, my new tip is Neil a great finish to the darts with the Power adding another major to his collection. Peaking nicely for his 16th world title?

Saturday, December 01, 2012

More sport

9.5kms in 39:16 (4:08's). Cruising pace getting quicker.

The snooker started today - the UK championship. Still no Ronnie who has decided to take a year out. I'd say Judd is favourite to defend his title.