Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Out at 7:30am for a quick local run. It must be the nicest day of the year so far - clear blue skies and not a breath of wind and you could even feel the heat of the sun. Rather ironic that I travel to Portugal this afternoon in search of warmer climes...

11.1kms in 47 ish. Legs felt much better after yesterday's rub.

I did a quick search on Google and it looks like there is an athletic track in Lagos. That's me sorted.

Quarter finals of the snooker just started - hope I get to see it on my hols. I at least have the Sky Go app on my smartphone as some insurance...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Finally a rub...

Easy run in the morning of 9.5kms in 39:44 (4:11's). Felt a lot better than yesterday...

Then a massage - my first in a long time. Very sore - could hardly climb off the bed at the end (old man syndrome).

Watched Ronnie in the evening. Sublime snooker - his long potting is not what it was but when he is in amongst the balls there is nobody better. I've been following a few tweets from fellow pros and they agree. Mark Williams sums it up "No one can play any where near the standard Ronnie produces, and hes had 12 months off. He must have watched us all year, and just laughed". He sure is a class act.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Snooker thoughts

Out in the morning for a long solo run. I ran along the main road to Oranmore, than back to Claregalway via the back roads. Then a little extra loop to get the distance up to give me 21.1kms for the day in 1:33:41 (4:26's). I was running at 4:20 pace after an hour but I faded badly and felt exhausted come the end. Glad to get that one out of the way.

That's 97.7kms for the week. My first decent volume for a while so that may explain the tiredness.

Lots of surprises in the snooker. Several pre-tournament favourites are out including Selby, Robertson, Allen and Maguire. Two of my favourite players are still in - Judd and Ronnie. As I write this it looks like Ronnie is struggling a little and Ali Carter is closing in on him - come on Ronnie!

Off to Portugal on Tuesday - I'll see what it's like when I get to the resort and then decide what training I can manage. I only have cabin luggage so after packing my runners and racing flats there may not be much room for everyday clothes!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday tempo

No racing this weekend so decided to run a session local. It looked like a cracking day but it was quite windy once I got going. After a 2km warm-up I started the tempo. I was straight into the wind for the start and didn't really get out of the wind until 5.2km into the tempo. Then it got a bit easier as I ran back into Claregalway and I managed to lift the pace the last few kms to give me 35:24 for 10kms (3:32's). I felt pretty knackered going into the session so that's a decent enough hit-out.

All up 16.3kms with warm-down.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday fun

11.1kms in 46:30 (4:11's).

Out in the evening for a game of darts with the lads. Played okay considering I've hardly been throwing lately. A few too many beers but as I'm in holiday mode that's to be expected.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday Threesome

Out at 7am with Fintan and Owen. Good conditions but it seems more difficult to get the legs turning over first thing in the morning. Captain Slackbladder (Fintan) set a record for the number of pitstops on an hours run (total 3). All up 14.8kms in 1:06:00 (4:28's).

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Big break is brewing

Same run as Monday - this time marginally quicker (9.5kms in 39:51 or 4:13/km). Damp conditions but not cold and for once no wind to speak of.

Out in the evening for a game of snooker. Highest break of 43 - should have been a lot more but played a poor positional shot for the black and that was that. Looks so bloody easy on the Roger Mellie...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

12 x 400 off 60 seconds

A warm-up around the pitches and 6 laps of the track for starters (5.7km).

Then the track session - planned to take it easy but as Gary and John were there that soon went out of the window. The first rep was a little lethargic, then I ran well for the remainder. If anything I was holding back a bit - we'd perhaps go through 200m a little too quick (with the benefit of the wind) and then cruise the last 200m. Here are the times:


Looking back to 2011 when I ran a lot of 400's for numerous 5km races, these times would be on a par with my best ever so that's encouraging. I must say it makes a huge difference running with the group (we took turns leading out each rep). Really enjoyed it (and I never took the full minute recovery - it was nearer 58 seconds).

A 4 lap warm-down followed by another trip around the pitches (4.9kms). All up 15.4kms for the day.

Here's a photo from the race on Saturday (thanks Patrick). It's just on the approach to the finish line:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Heat at last

Easy run of 9.5kms in 40:10 (4:14's). It's finally starting to heat up and the double layers, long sleeves and gloves are gone - just down to the short sleeves.

Forgot to mention the great win for Spurs yesterday. Just when you've given up on them they pull out a great result. Still can't see them making top 4 mind...but you live in hope.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Go Mo!

I watched the London Marathon. It brought back terrific memories from last year and I'm left wondering if I should give it another crack next year. We shall see. A terrific run from one of the City of Norwich athletes who clocked 2:28:35 to win his age group in the 45-49 category. That's fantastic going. I enjoyed watching Mo but couldn't help thinking why he didn't keep going until reaching the half marathon point.

So fired up I headed out at lunchtime for a trot. I started off well but had the benefit of the wind. I then had to battle the last 7km to keep the pace the same and ended up clocking 21.1kms in 1:28:23 (4:11's). Pretty tired come the end of that and no way I'd have kept that pace up for the full marathon.

That's 85.8kms for the week. That's it now for racing - 5 races on 5 consecutive weekends was nice while it lasted. Caveat - unless I can find a race next weekend! Then Tuesday week I'm off to Portugal for some warm(er) weather training so looking forward to that.

Enjoying the snooker. A shame to see Mark Williams get knocked out as he is one of my fave players but the new White is a great talent.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Labane 10km

Arrived out at Labane and after registration I had about 30 minutes to kill before the 11am start. A couple of kms warm-up, the a quick change of gear and we were soon lining up at the start. The weather was bright and breezy - the course would see us run straight into the wind for the first 4km, then a left turn with a few hills on kms 5 and 6, then a quicker couple of kms before rejoining the same road we had used to run out of the village for the final 2km. So the course was like a backwards facing "P" if that makes sense.

A very nice tribute to the Boston Marathon just before the off and then the race started where I hit the front with Peter O'Sullivan running right beside me. The pace wasn't too quick as it would have been a real energy sapper to try and take it out hard into the wind. The first km ticked by and then we crossed a small bridge before continuing along what was a very straight road.

Nothing much happened in the first 4km. Me and Peter were side-by-side, the road was predominantly flat with only a few bumps, and we had worked away from the main field. At around 4km we took a left-hand turn and that offered some respite from the wind. But we were now going uphill. I think I sat in behind Pete for a while at this stage and whilst we climbed a few hills, there were nice downhill sections to follow. Through 5km and a quick glance at my watch and I wasn't impressed as we hadn't broken 17 minutes...

With the benefit of the wind it became easier and I could feel the pace lifting. At around 6km there was still nothing between us and I tried a few token surges but I didn't really have the gears to make them count. By 7km I was starting to think it was going to come down to a sprint finish which would favour Peter with his track speed. At around 8km we took a right turn and at this point I tried another surge. I just managed to get in front and this was my trigger to press for home. I lifted the pace but knew it was still a long way from home. A nasty little climb back over the bridge which really had me blowing, but by the time I passed 9km I was confident I'd done enough for the win. The last km was fairly flat and I ran it hard crossing the line in 33:21 for the win.

Happy enough with that - conditions were tough enough for the first half of the race and I at least managed an improvement on last Sunday (on tired legs). Great to have a good battle with Peter - I'm sure we'll have plenty more this year! All up 15kms with warm-down when back to the hall for a great spread and the presentation.

All-in-all another very enjoyable event. Very well organised and some fantastic prizes. A big well done to the organisers. A good GCH turn-out with Gearoid taking out 3rd place and some fine PB's ran also and what is a very good course. Happy days.


1km 3:22
2km 3:21
3km 3:28
4km 3:24
5km 3:27 (17:02)
6km 3:24
7km 3:19
8km 3:17
9km 3:11
10km 3:08 (16:19)

Total 33:21

Git back home to watch the start of the snooker. Come on Ronnie!!!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Vino collapso

Rest day today. I'm going to race (again) tomorrow in a 10km out at Ardrahan. I've not run the course before but it is advertised as being fairly flat. I'm praying for still conditions - I must be due after running in gales the last 4 weekends.

Only 2 beers in the fridge so that's all I had. Well I did have a glass of wine also - probably my first glass of wine in a few years. I tend to drink wine at beer pace so that's why me and the wine parted company...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Scores for show

An early 7am start with Fintan and Owen form my home. Our usual morning route which takes just over the hour. Lucky enough with the weather as it just about stayed dry but again the wind was blowing us all over the place. I felt tired throughout and the pace wasn't quick - all up 14.9kms in 1:08:07 (4:34's). Job done and it's nice to get the run out of the way early doors.

I watched the Premier League darts in the evening which was at the O2 in Dublin. It looked to be an incredible atmosphere with over 10,000 people in attendance. Some brilliant darts also - the Power against Barney was a class game finishing 6-6 after Barney missed 5 match darts...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Not a great evening for running - windy and wet and I was going through the motions. All up 9.5kms in 41:40 (4:23's).

No snooker this week - I'll see how it's done when the World Champs start this weekend and get back into it next week.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

8 x 3 mins off a minute

Out to Dangan for a track session that wasn't - the coach decided to move the session to the pitches to give the legs a bit of a rest from the hard surfaces after a lot of racing over the weekend. The session was 8 x 3 mins on the pitches with a minute recovery and still feeling tired I decided I was going to take it easy enough.

Here are the paces per km for each 3 minute efforts:


Basically I took the first half pretty easy and then felt guilty so pushed the second half a bit more. A nice group with me Owen and John taking turns out at the front.

All up 15.8kms for the day including warm-up and down. Still knackered.

Still waiting for official results from the AAI for the 10km on Sunday...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Go away wind

A nice easy trot of 9.5kms in 40:50 (4:18's). Legs feeling tired. Getting blown all over the place again - gotta love the west coast of Ireland.

No photos to show from the race yesterday - I'll have to do some digging.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Great Ireland Run 10km

Arrived at the Phoenix Park around midday and the conditions weren't to my liking. It was very blustery so it was going to be another tough day at the office.

After collecting numbers, dropping off bags, it was time for a short couple of kms warm-up before lining up for the 1:30pm start. This race is like no other in terms of quality - you have the best Irish athletes in the country toeing the line, plus some really classy international elites including the likes of Bekele and Birmingham. No excuses for not getting fired up.

The gun sounded and I settled into my running. The first km takes us straight down to a roundabout and by the time we reached this the leaders were already a good distance up the road. Through km 1 and I took the decision not to look at the watch today. I managed to lift the pace in the second km with the benefit of the wind and a nice group of half a dozen runners had formed including my GCH teammate John Greaney.

Not much happened until just after the long downhill in the 5th km. Looking back perhaps I was coasting a bit too much at this stage and should have been pushing it a bit more. Anyway at the bottom of the hill we had the first nasty climb up to the 5km marker. The group was starting to thin out a bit now and I tried going to the front to push things along.

The second half of the course didn't seem as bad as I remembered it from 2 years ago. There were some nasty drags, especially the long one up past 7km, and also some switchbacks which were very tough in the wind but by the time I had reached 8km our group had whittled down to just me and one other guy and we took it in turns to try and get away from each other.

I lost a bit of momentum in the 9th km and by the time I hit the 9km marker the other guy had opened up a 10m gap on me. I really pushed the last km which was nice and flat with the wind on the back but I could not make any inroads eventually crossing the line in 33:36 for 36th place.

I felt like I really ran a strong race and even though the time wasn't great, it felt like I had ran a bit quicker. The consensus on the day was that the wind was worth at least 30 seconds and the likes of Bekele (who won the race for the 2nd year on the trot) were over a minute down on the previous year. I guess I have to keep racing in the hope that I get a nice still day soon!

The good news is that I look to have won my age category so another national title to add to the collection. That was the main objective so got to be happy with that.

No warm-down - a lift back to Galway (thanks Martin) and then home for a few beers. All up 12kms for the day and 66.1kms for the week.


1km 3:20
2km 3:08
3km 3:20
4km 3:21
5km 3:20 (16:29)
6km 3:28
7km 3:24
8km 3:28
9km 3:30 (estimate - missed split)
10km 3:17 (estimate - missed split)

Total 33:36

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Just the one

Traveled to Dublin and spent the afternoon shopping in Dundrum, before heading out for some nice food and company courtesy of the sister-in-law.

Watched a bit of the Masters in the evening before retiring for an early night in the hotel. Shocker - only 1 beer today...

Friday, April 12, 2013

A few pints

9.5kms in 40:10 (4:14's). Legs still heavy so will rest up tomorrow.

A few beers tonight and then travel to Dublin tomorrow. I ran 32:54 at the Phoenix Park in 2011. I went through 5km in 15:50 and that was my race over (mushroom cloud)! If I break 33 again I'll be very happy and there the added incentive of picking up another national title to add to my 3,000m and half marathon.

Tiger looking good in the Masters.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fintan's Back

I met with Fintan today for our first run together since last November. We hadn't fallen out - he has been struggling with an Achilles problem that has kept him out for months so good to see him back running.

Anyway great to have a bit of company today around Claregalway. A bit wet and the legs still felt heavy but the time soon passed knocking out 12.2kms in 53:21 (4:22's).

Thoughts now turn to the National 10km in Dublin on Sunday. I'm not expecting anything flash as I still feel tired but you never know. I ran a 10km PB last year 6 days after the Connemara Half...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Another easy run of 9.5kms in 39:58 (4:12's). Feeling tired - perhaps the track session on the back of the half was not a good idea. Talking of which, here were the splits:

Mile 1 6:16
Mile 2 6:09
Mile 3 5:36
Mile 4 6:13
Mile 5 5:42 (29:56)
Mile 6 6:00
Mile 7 6:22
Mile 8 5:43
Mile 9 5:48
Mile 10 6:17 (30:10)
Mile 11 6:59
Mile 12 5:54
Mile 13 5:55
Mile 13.1 0:35

Total 1:19:29

The less said about them the better.

Here is another photo I was sent from the half - I wasn't really getting much of a draft behind the lead cyclist...

Snooker in the evening. One decent chance for a nice break but missed a straight black off the spot for 40...

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

3 x (1km/90 secs/400m/4 mins)

Back to the track. Was planning to take it handy but the coach thought otherwise saying the kms were to be run at 3km pace (2:57), and the 400's at 1,500m pace (say 68 secs). I'd give it a go and run on feel.

With the light evenings it was back to the pitches for the warm-up (3.5km), then a couple of laps of the track. Then copped a spray from the coach about how his 3km best was better than mine - even though he is 10 years younger than me. Some people have no respect.

The first km wasn't great (Owen calls it the pancake rep - you're never happy with the first one). Then bounced back and ran some decent times on tired legs (though the long recoveries helped). Here goes:


Perfect evening for running so that helped. Plus I had John and Christy to keep me honest which was great - good running guys, you're both flying and are in good form for Sunday.

Same warm-down around the pitches. All up 13.4kms.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Recovery Run

Another windy evening. After a couple of spring-like days last week it has resorted back to winter like temperatures. Anyway, the legs felt very sore and I took it nice and easy knocking out 9.5kms in 41:45 (4:24's). A good stretch afterwards.

Here's a photo of me celebrating the win a little prematurely (about half a mile) in the race on Sunday (thanks Jane). Note the Nancy boy gloves as it was a little on the chilly side. I think that was the last mountain I had just run over in the background...

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Connemara Half Marathon

Out to the start of the half marathon bright and early after catching one of the coaches from Galway which are specially laid on for this event. A quick coffee and then a bit of hanging around for the start. It was very cold and windy and I had a horrible feeling that we would be battling the wind for the guts of the race.

I wandered up to the start about 20 minutes before the off and luckily for me I bumped into a friend who offered to take my gear from the start to the finish of the race which meant I could keep wearing extra layers of clothes until just before the start. I did a quick couple of kms warm-up, and watched the leader of the marathon coming through Leenane (half-way point), before heading back to the start. After some nice words from the MC and the Race Director the horn sounded and we were off.

I quickly took the lead and by the time we made the first turn left on the long climb out of Leenane I had already opened up a handy lead. At this point it became obvious that it was going to be a very tough run as I was already running directly into the wind, and to add insult to injury the first mile is nearly all uphill. Through mile 1 and I had the lead cycle to focus on and the uphill climb seemed to continue for most of the second mile. The next few miles the course flattened out and I seemed to have a decent lead so it was a case of remaining focused and keeping the legs ticking over.

Another very nasty climb up to 5 miles, and still no shelter from the wind, then a nice downhill section. More hills in miles 7 and 8 which I didn't recall from the previous year but running into the wind you seemed to feel every undulation. Just before 9 miles we took a right turn and then it was a very slow 2 mile grind which had me thinking every negative thought possible. The last couple of miles were still tough despite being mainly downhill and I was a very relieved person to reach the finish line in 1:19:29 for the win. I went a bit crazy coming down the finishing chute acting like a right pork chop. Not a good look for a nearly 42 year old....

Despite this being one of the toughest races I have ever done I think I enjoyed it. First class organisation and a truly unique experience running through Connemara. Lots of people to thank - firstly the support I was getting on the course from the walkers, the marathon and ultra runners that I passed. Plus a big GCH support crew just before the finish that gave me a real lift. Plus a big thank you to the organisers and volunteers who made this race possible.

Legs were very sore after the race - no warm-down, instead straight into the hotel at the finish for a massage where I found myself on the next massage table to Gary O'Hanlon who stormed to a win in the marathon in an incredible time of 2hr35 (note a quicker pace than my half!). A good chat with Gary and then back to Galway for a few celebratory beers.

All up 23.1kms for the day and 80.5kms for the week.

I'll post the sorry splits and a few photos over the coming days.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Runners ready

Well I've decided to give the half it a shot. My plan is to line up and see what happens. If there are some real guns on the start line then I'll use the race as a long tempo run. If there's a chance I could win it then I'll race it properly. The experience from last year was one to savour so I'll be hoping for more of the same. Therefore no run today to give the legs a bit of a recharge.

Into town in the morning to pick up my race number. A very professional set-up. A nice mini-expo as well with free drinks and food. Impressive.

My pre-race routine (of late) of 5 beers the night before the race has been reigned into 3. Lets see if that works...

Friday, April 05, 2013


9.5kms in 39:31 (4:10's).

I'm toying with the idea of running the Connemara Half Marathon on Sunday. It will be a last minute decision. The prospect of some decent running weather could swing it - plus if there's a chance I could win then it's worth a shot.

A game of darts in the evening down the local boozer. Total rubbish.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

More of the same

Again another warm day. This time 11.1kms in 46:04 (4:09's). Feeling good.

A game of snooker in the evening at a new club that has opened - less than 5 minutes walk from the house! That's dangerous. The table was nice - my play wasn't. Highest break of 36...

Recorded "Judgement Night" at the Premier League darts to watch over the next few nights.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Warming up

Finally a bit of a warmer day - lovely for running and knocked out an easy run of 9.5kms in 40:16 (4:14's).

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

4 x 1600 off a big recovery

Track night - and the first time in ages that it didn't feel bloody freezing. With the clocks changing it was still daylight and after my normal lap of the block (3.7kms) it was down to the track for the session.

I bumped into Gary and he asked what I was doing (no plan). So I decided to jump in on his session which was to be 4 x 1.5 miles off recoveries of 2:30, 4:30 then 2:30. There was no way I'd stick with him for the full mile and a half so I decided to just run the mile (well 4 laps) and then drop out and take the big recovery.

Here are the times:


The long recovery flatters the times - it would have been a different ball game with say a 90 second recovery. I did run a couple of slow laps during each recovery to reduce the guilt factor. The reps felt pretty comfortable which was pleasing after a couple of poor race performances (perhaps I'm just not cut-out for running well in the wind).

A good chat with Gary afterwards and I've come up with a target for 2013. Having a blog I'll put it out there - a sub 32 minute 10km on the track at the end of July (target 31:40). There - I've said it (this isn't an April Fool - that was yesterday). Gary said that to do that you must be able to run 6 x 1600m off 90 seconds at target pace about 2 to 3 weeks before the race. So for me that would be 5:04 for my 4 lap reps which sounds tough but manageable. I love a challenge.

All up 16.2kms with warm-down and a perfect evening for running.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Bank holiday Monday

Easy local loop of 11.1kms in 46:11 (4:10's). Again felt pretty good.

More painting...