Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday

I ventured out at lunchtime into the cold and wind. Bloody hell this weather is pretty ordinary - still feels like the middle of winter and it hasn't climbed above 6 or 7 degrees for a couple of weeks...

An out and back run. I headed up towards Oranmore into the wind running 4:27's. I turned on 42 minutes and ran back home running sub 4:10's (slightly longer route). Total 19.4kms in 1:23:11 (4:17's). Felt pretty good considering I'd raced the day before.

That's 85.5kms for the week. The rest of the day was spent with the paintbrush in the hand - yes more decorating...then a beer in the hand - yes more drinking.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Colemanstown 10km

Twelve months ago I set my 10km road PB at this race. I felt I was in good shape and was certainly looking forward to getting under 33 again. Well that didn't happen and I ran a very disappointing 33:39.

Okay it was another tough old day conditions-wise. Very similar to the C10 from the previous week with low temperatures and a stiff wind. The first 4km were ran right into the breeze and after running a decent first km, I then started to struggle and by the time I reached 4km I had nothing left for the run home. Through 5km in 16:52 and despite all my efforts I couldn't get the km splits under 3:20 - even with the wind on the back.

Despite a poor run I still managed to claim the win, with GCH teammates Owen and Gearoid in 2nd and 3rd place. Okay so not the time I was looking for but I won't let that detract from this great event. It's a real gem and great value with each competitor receiving a head-torch. Plus a spread afterwards that was fantastic.

All up 15kms with warm-up and down. I hope this event goes from strength to strength and I'll certainly pencil this race in again for next year. Fingers crossed we get better conditions!

Here are the splits:

1km 3:16
2km 3:20
3km 3:24
4km 3:34
5km 3:18 (16:52)
6km 3:20
7km 3:23
8km 3:21
9km 3:22
10km 3:21 (16:47)

Total 33:39

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

No running today.

Followed my normal pre-race routine of having a beer. Well 5 to be exact...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mixed bag

A longer run today. Again I was feeling pretty good. I got as far as Carnmore Cross and someone was waving out at me from a car. Not wearing my glasses it took me a while to recognise that it was my brother-in-law. I ran a bit further down the road and he had doubled back and pulled the car over to meet me. I must say I was quite glad of a few minutes break as there was another stiff wind today. Next thing I'm meeting his work colleagues having my photo taken (he's a Dublin based newspaper editor). Quite bizarre really but helped to break up the run!

All up 14.7kms in 1:02:13 (4:14's). No more running now until the race on Saturday.

I played 4 frames of snooker in the evening. Lots of small breaks but I couldn't get beyond 30...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Another easy trot - legs felt good today so that's a good sign. Total 11.0kms in 45:47 (4:10's). Cold as.

The new TV/darts/play room is just about done. Just waiting on some furniture. The Sky subscription has gone through the roof as we now have the HD package, plus an extra box, plus additional channels so I can watch the snooker on Eurosport. Watching darts in high definition is the way forward...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

12 x 400m and 1 x 2km

A trip to the track. Numbers were down as most people had been racing and I took the opportunity to run a session in cruise mode rather than all out. I decided on some 400's off a minute and thought that if I could get round in 72's feeling good that would do. Here's how it went:


I had to work a bit harder than I would have liked to get the times down so I guess I was still recovering from the 10 miler. After completing the set I jumped into a group for 5 laps (2km) at sub 3:30/km pace which felt nice and easy.

Another freezing cold night but no wind so pretty good conditions. All up 15.9kms with warm-up and down. The plan is to race again on Saturday (10km), then I'll run the National 10km in Dublin on April 14th at the Phoenix Park as part of the Great Ireland Run. Yes my new plan is to race more...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Back to the drawing board

An easy run today to flush out the legs after yesterday. Still absolutely freezing cold - I can't remember it being this cold at any point through winter. Time 40:31 for 9.5kms (4:16's).

Here is a great shot courtesy of Francis at Eirefoto. It's one of those rare moments when I'm actually in front of Michael Shannon. I should mention he missed the start so it was basically a handicap start...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Craughwell 10

This race report is going to be short and sweet. Arrived to very cold and windy conditions (as was expected). Only 3 degrees and with the wind chill factor it was effectively below zero. I did a shortish warm-up with Sean down to the start (approx 1.6kms) and soon we were all lining up ready for the race.

The horn sounded and I settled in behind Gerry Ryan and Mick Clohisey for the first 400m. They soon started to work away from me and by the time I hit the first mile marker they were well up the road. With the wind on the back and the downhill start it made for a very quick pace but I knew in the back of the mind that the second half of the race was going to get nasty.

Just after the mile and Mick Shannon came flying past me. He had missed the start and was running everyone down. I tried to stay with him for a mile but was fighting a losing battle so I went back into running solo mode. As each mile ticked by I seemed to be slowing and by the time I went through 5 miles the wind started to become a real factor.

I tried everything to keep the pace up - changing which side of the road I was running on to try and find shelter, shortening the stride, bending lower. Nothing seemed to be working. It's a great advantage having long legs but on a day like today I was doing my best impression of a sail and I was tacking along at best.

Through 10km in 33:20 so still good at this point but with the benefit of the wind I should probably have attacked more and gone through in sub 33. The last 4 miles were very difficult and I fought a losing battle with my motivation and concentration. A bit of shelter from the wind down the country lane between 8 and 9 miles but really struggled on the long uphill climb to the school to the finishing line eventually crossing the timing mat in 55:13 for 4th place.

One of those days where it didn't happen for me. The only positive is that the shin seemed fine and I don't think the race has taken too much out of me. The conditions didn't seem to bother some people with some fine PB's recorded. Chris, Sean and Dee all fell into that category with some great performances. Well done.

For the record Mick Clohisey won the race in 51:16, Mick Shannon was 2nd in 52:19 and Gerry Ryan 3rd in 52:38 (then a big gap back to me!).

A 2km warm-down and a quick dash home to climb into the warm shower. All up 19.7kms for the day and 58.4kms for the week.

Here are the splits:

Mile 1 5:03
Mile 2 5:14
Mile 3 5:18
Mile 4 5:19
Mile 5 5:36 (26:30)
Mile 6 5:39
Mile 7 5:44
Mile 8 5:47
Mile 9 5:43
Mile 10 5:40 (28:43)

Total 55:13

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Heart screening

No running today.

Myself and the good wife went into town for a free heart screening test. All went well with my resting heart rate at 42 (lowest of the day). BMI of 22 and in the words of the doctor "if everyone was as fit as you I'd be out of a job".....

Did tell a few fibs though on daily alcohol consumption...

Still bloody cold and windy.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Windy Miller

Another very easy paced trot - 9.5kms in 42:21 (4:27's). No sharp pain in the shin to report but you'd expect that at the slower speed. I fear that could be different when I hit full flow in Sunday's race.

Weather has been far from ideal the last couple of days. Bloody windy and wet - these conditions would rule out any quick times on Sunday. Perhaps I'm best of forgetting the race on Sunday and going on all-dayer instead...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sore shin

I noticed a sharp pain at one point in the front of my left shin at track on Tuesday which I chose to ignore. I could then feel it again yesterday. Today it's still there and is starting to give me cause for concern. I hope it's not a dreaded stressie but that's probably just me fearing the worst. I took it really easy today and just knocked out a very sedate 6.7kms in 30:01 (4:29's).

On closer inspection there is certainly a very sore spot on the inside of my left shin which has me wincing if I press it hard. Hopefully a few easy days and it will come good...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Moving on

I bounced back after yesterday's below par performance and felt really good today. The legs felt fresh and you wouldn't know I'd done a session the day before. Strange. I'm still coughing away but hopefully the lungs will clear in time for the weekend. All sorts of germs flying round in our house with the wife and kids both struggling the last week so I guess I may have copped a bit of it also.

9.5kms in 39:26 (4:09's) and perfect cool conditions for running.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

6 x 800m off 2 mins

Some quick running at the track to sharpen up before the 10 miler on Sunday. The plan was to start out around 2:24 for the 800's, and then work them down to sub 2:20 for the last couple.

A warm-up around the block and a couple of laps of the track, then into the groups with me running with Keith. I was to take out the first lap, then Keith would take over for the second one. Conditions were pretty good - dry and a bit of a stiff headwind on the back straight. One problem is that the floodlights had failed on the final bend so you were basically running in the dark - didn't bother me though but there were some understandable safety concerns!

Here are the times:


I never felt good during this session despite the long recovery. The first one was poor but bounced back nicely for the second one. But after that I seemed to die after the first 400m and had nothing left to bring it home (especially the last rep where Keith left me for dead). I was coughing up all sorts of nasty stuff and my right ear seemed blocked so I'll put it down to me not feeling great and move on. Not the confidence booster I was looking for before the race but the times were still pretty good - just not what I thought I was capable of after a decent block of training.

Another warm-down around the roads to give me 13.0kms for the day. Easy running for the rest of the week with another rest day planned for Saturday.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Taper week

No running today. Still painting...

I conveniently forgot to mention the final of the Clare River Darts League that was played out on Saturday night. We played at a neutral venue (Keanes in Athenry) and the final was a slightly longer format of best of 5 legs for the 6 x singles and 3 x pairs.

Our team went 3-0 down, with yours truly playing next and I managed a win to get us back into the match. We also won the next game to get us back to 3-2 but then we lost the last single game meaning we had to win all 3 pairs games to win the match. I played first with Sean and we managed another win to get us back to 4-3 but then we lost the next match in a deciding leg which meant we ran out 5-3 losers. A great night though and I'm sure our team will be back to have another crack next year.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ding Dong

A not so long Sunday run. A total of 14.6kms in 1:05:09. Bloody windy and tough going.

That's a total of 96.4kms for the week. Not quite cracking the ton...

Out in the evening to watch the snooker final between Ding Jinhui and Neil Robertson. The Aussie raced into a 3-0 lead only for Ding to fightback and win the match 4-3. An absolutely incredible standard of snooker with Dung recording a 99% pot success rate. I think there was a 50 break or more in every frame with Ding making a 130, plus a 98 in the decider (he went in-off the black after potting it for 105). A great night.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

5 x 5 mins off 75 secs

The aim was to run the 5 minute efforts at around target 10km pace (3:15/km). I was to run locally and on a breezy day I was to use my normal course which consisted of 3 x downhills with breeze behind, plus 2 return uphills into the wind.

A longish 20 minute warm-up and it was straight into it. Here are the stats for each 5 minute effort:

1 - 3:12/km - 1.56kms
2 - 3:19/km - 1.51kms
3 - 3:10/km - 1.58kms
4 - 3:19/km - 1.51kms
5 - 3:08/km - 1.59kms

Happy enough with that - though the uphills (2 and 4) were a real effort.

A total of 15.6kms with warm-down. Back to the decorating...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Long weekend

More easy running. This time 13.9kms in 1:00:04 (4:19's).

A long weekend here in Ireland - I'm decorating the darts room so photos to follow when it's ready.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

PTC Galway

15.2kms in 1:05:47 (4:20's).

Watching a bit of the snooker on the TV which is on here in Galway at the moment. I have tickets for Sunday's final so looking forward to that.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


11.1kms in 46:56 (4:14's).

Legs not too bad after yesterday's track session. Normally I'm struggling to break 4:20's after a tough session.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

5 x (1km / 60 secs / 400m / 90 secs)

The last big track session before the Craughwell 10. Good conditions - bone dry and only a bit of breeze around. Very fortunate to have the help of Gary tonight (again) for the kms, plus Keith for the 400's.

Usual warm-up around the block then a couple of laps of the track. Straight into the session and sat behind Gary for all of the kms. That's no help to him whatsoever but hopefully I'll keep improving and will soon have the confidence to take out a few of the reps. The times were very consistent and it takes all of the hard work out of it as Gary drags you round at exactly the right pace. Basically one less thing to have to think about.

These were the times:


Another very pleasing session. That's 3 weeks on the trot now where I've really nailed it on the track and I feel like I'm in PB territory. Hopefully I can carry this form over onto the road in upcoming races. Perhaps I could have pushed the 400's a bit more - the coach said I should be down around 67's but that aside the times for the kms were really pleasing. Averaging 3:02's and it felt a lot more comfortable than the previous week. Pleasing signs. I should add that I used the 90 secs after each 400 to take a very slow 200m walk/stumble/jog back to the start line ready for the next km.

A warm-down of 3.7kms to give me 16.2kms for the day.

Monday, March 11, 2013


A late evening run up and down the N17. Time 41:41 for 9.8kms (4:15's).

Still not feeling great - the running seems to be harder work than it should be. I'm sure I'll turn the corner soon.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday long run

A 1pm start today. It was absolutely freezing cold with an Arctic wind to keep you honest. I ran around 6kms and met up with Owen. We ran one of the local laps together (approx 11km), before going our separate ways back home. I took the short route home after leaving Owen as I was knackered.

All up 21.1kms in 1:34:15 (4:28's). Pace pretty poor but it was all I could muster today. In summary a great session on Tuesday with some very tired running all around that. That's 100.8kms for the week so a decent volume. One more week of this and then an easy week to look forward to.

Went to the pub later in the afternoon to watch the Spurs game. The less said about that the better...

Saturday, March 09, 2013

10km tempo

A really chilly and windy day. I decided on a 10km tempo and this time there was no cheating with a rolling downhill start or wind behind. I started off slow with the first 3km straight into the wind - really tough going. I picked up a bit after that going through 5km in 17:49 and I was still confident I could get under 35. That never happened though and the last couple of kms were again into the wind and I eventually clocked 35:33 for the 10kms. In terms of effort it felt like I'd run a minute quicker so despite the disappointing time, it was a good tough workout. All up 17.6kms with warm-up/down.

I should add that I'm still not feeling 100%. Low on energy and still a bit of a cold. More beer required...

Friday, March 08, 2013

Darts semis

A windy 11.1kms in 46:59 (4:14's). Still not feeling great but I'm sure I'll turn the corner soon.

The evening was the darts semi-finals. Having not picked up a dart for 3 weeks I practised for a bit during the day and they were going alright. I was 4th on in the singles and we were 2-1 up going into my game. I managed a tight 2-1 win to give us some breathing space at 3-1. After the 6 singles we were 4-2 up so we just needed one more win going into the pairs. I was first up with Sean and we played well together winning 2-0 with me hitting the winning double (double 3!) that takes the team into next week's final. Looking forward to that one.

Thursday, March 07, 2013


Slightly longer run. Just crept over the hour - 15.0kms in 1:03:48 (4:15's). Still tired - hope this changes soon as it is a real grind at the moment.

Some great darts in the evening in the Premier League. Good to see James Wade back to his best and his performance was the pick of the night (106 average).

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Potting for fun

9.3kms in 40:50 (4:23's). Legs shot after yesterday's session.

Evening snooker session. Played well and hit a couple of decent breaks including a 38 and 42.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

8 x 1km off 200m jog (75 secs)

Finally the weather had turned. After the longest dry spell in Galway history, it was juicing down nicely for tonight's track session. To make matters worse it was a brute of a session...

Felt tired going into the session, so wasn't sure what to expect, but during the warm-up we were joined by Gary who was making a return to the track after a couple of months so it looked like I would at least have someone to try and hold on to.

I took out the first rep, then Gary took the next 7 (as I was too slow!). Here are the times:


Very pleased with that session. The legs felt heavy and it was like I was running in my heavy joggers. I thought I'd blown on the 4th rep, but somehow I managed to bounce back and run the second half quicker. The 75 seconds recovery isn't much as you basically have time to slow jog 200m back to the start and you're off again. A very tough session but the times were good - especially considering the wet track and the amount of traffic to dodge. Had I have been doing that session solo I'd say I would have been at least 5 seconds per km slower. That said I would still have been pleased to average 3:10's but instead I managed 3:05's. Just goes to show the difference it makes when you have someone to hang on to.

All up 17.2kms with warm-up/down and a very good session in the bag for Craughwell.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Here we go again

Easy paced run of 9.5kms in 40 minutes flat (4:13's). The plan is to get a decent couple of 100km weeks in, then wind it back for the Craughwell 10 miler. I dare say I'll be doing some longer speed sessions to build up the endurance.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Oh when the Spurs!

Felt knackered today. Went out for an easy paced run around lunchtime and managed 18.5kms in 1:19:41 (4:18's). Even more knackered after that.

A quick shower, some lunch then sit down to watch Spurs beat the arse 2-1. Great stuff.

Only 63.5kms this week and still carrying a bit of a cold. Back into it for the next 2 weeks.

Here are a couple of photos from the race courtesy of the Kinvara Facebook page. The first one is at the start of the race, probably somewhere after the first km:

This one is during the second half of the race. Where is everyone?!?

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Kinvara 10km

Today was a family outing to Kinvara for the race. So the added pressure of having the kids watching. I asked the eldest how he thought I'd do and he said I'd come last. I was quietly confident I'd do a bit better than that.

Weather was perfect - still and dry. Arrived at registration about 40 minutes before the race start only to be told that it had closed and that late registration was to be down at the quay near the finish. I finally got my number about 10 minutes before the race was due to start so that wasn't ideal and it was basically a short jog round to the start line and that was my warm-up.

The race started a little late and the horn sounded and we were off and running. I went straight to the front with another guy with me who faded after about 400m. That left me out by myself and by the time I had gone through the first km I had opened up a decent gap. It was going to be a time trial.

I had the lead car to follow and another km up the main road it was time to take a left hand turn into the smaller country lanes. The surface of the road wasn't great, but I tried to keep the legs ticking over as best as I could but I didn't feel like I had the zip in the legs that I was hoping for. The detail around this section was a little lacking but there seemed to be more downhill than up in the first 5km which leaves the lingering doubt in the mind that the second half of the race will be tougher. Also the km markers were all over the place - this was very disappointing as much smaller races can get it right and this was a sold out event with 1,500 people registered in both the 10km and the half.

I went through 5km in 16:05, and tried to push on but I was struggling. There were a few climbs and I recall a nasty one up to the 7km marker. At 8km I was 26:05 so I thought I'd still run sub 33 comfortably. Another climb up to the 9km marker and despite running a strong last downhill km I only managed 3:28 for the last click! The time as I crossed the line was 32:57 so at least I'd broken 33 and a nice win in the process.

It turns out that was a course record for the 10km by about a minute. I was pleasantly surprised by the course - it was certainly easier than I expected hill-wise, and the weather certainly helped, but on the downside the surface of the road between 2km and 8km wasn't great. Perhaps that's why it's called the rock and road! All in all a great event in a beautiful setting but perhaps a little bit more work needs to be done on improving the organisation of the race.

Another shortish warm-down after the presentation. I'll put it down as 12kms for the day. Great to have Owen, Timmie and Billy finishing 2nd, 3rd and 4th - all runners I train with regularly at the Tuesday track sessions.

In summary it was nice to get back running sub 33 but to be honest I though I'd go at least 20 seconds quicker. Perhaps my cold took the edge of me today as I never felt full of running - hopefully there are better things to come when I race again at the end of March.

Photos to follow. Here are the splits:

1km 3:15
2km 2:55
3km 3:20
4km 3:23
5km 3:12 (16:05)
6km 3:25
7km 3:17
8km 3:21
9km 3:21
10km 3:28 (16:52)

Total 32:57

Out in the evening with the wife to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. A lovely meal out at Barna where I made a complete pig of myself. And why not.

Friday, March 01, 2013

No bottle

No running today - rest day.

I had one frame of snooker with the oldest on his 4 foot table. I potted 10 reds and 10 colours, then yellow and green before missing an easy enough brown by a country mile. The break ended on 80 so a missed chance for a (debut) century...

I've picked up  bit of a cold which isn't ideal. I wasn't feeling myself and only managed 2 beers in the evening instead of my customary 4 before a race...