Monday, September 30, 2013

Longer Monday

A bit of a longer run today - 14.8kms in 1:04:10 (4:20's). The same route as used on Thursday. I think I may start doing my longer run on a Monday - that should work better with my weekly scheduling.

The knee still isn't great. Rather than bore you all with any more details I will only comment on the knee if it gets any worse (or better!).

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Grey Lake 10km

I was looking forward to this race - I'd not run the course before so it was something different and the fact that it was the County Championship added a bit more spice to the event. I warmed up with Gerry and Brian and we were commenting on the lovely conditions - that was until we switched direction and realised we had a stiff breeze to deal with.

The course itself was to be a tough one. Lots of hills in the first 5km, then it flattens out with only one notable hill in the second half. That turned out to be pretty accurate. The race started and Gary and Noel hit the front, leaving me chasing. Freya Ross (nee Murray) wasn't far behind as we ran the flat and friendly first km with the wind on the back. As I passed the 1km marker I had a quick look at my watch and the split of 2:55 suggested that the km markers were a little dodgy. Even so, the 2 leaders were already way up the road with me on my lonesome chasing.

The next 4km were much tougher. The pattern was a climb followed by a descent. It was never flat - just up then down. Very difficult to get into any sort of rhythm and I ran as strongly as the legs allowed. By 5km I had reached a church and we made a left turn to be greeted with a long downhill stretch. This was very welcome but I didn't have the change of speed to really attack and I simply coasted down the hill whilst taking a breather.

With the terrain now nice and flat the pace started to pick up and I felt more at home. Sure enough there was only one climb in the final 5km which was as we approached another left hand turn with the run back into Loughrea. By now the wind was on the back and I really tried to press for home. But the damage had been done on the hills and I was struggling for speed.

I crossed the line in 33:55 for 3rd place. Gary won the race in a super 31:00, with Noel Berkeley 2nd in 32:19 and Freya Moss in 4th in 34:36. So I ended up being sandwiched between 2 Olympians!

Pretty disappointed with the time. The course itself was tough and was worth maybe 30 seconds but that still doesn't get me under 33. The rest I would attribute to lack of training. The fact I ran the whole race by myself didn't help either. Excuses, excuses. Basically I haven't been knuckling down with the speed sessions and I think that was apparent today.

A couple of kms warm-down to give me 14kms for the day and 61.2kms for the week. I entered the County Champs as an over 40 and I won that category. With hindsight I should have entered as a senior as I would have picked up a silver medal..,

Saturday, September 28, 2013


No running today - resting up before the 10km tomorrow. I missed the Galway Bay 10km and Half Marathon for the first time and the conditions looked good. Hopefully there were some decent race performances to report.

A bit of foam rolling on the left calf. It seems to help the knee so I'll stick with it.

Good luck with anyone competing in the Berlin Marathon tomorrow. I know there is a big contingent of Aussies coming over who I used to race with during my days in Sydney. Good luck to them and hopefully some new PB's to report. I dare say the post race beers will be something else...

Friday, September 27, 2013


9.5kms in 39:02 (4:07's). I was feeling good even though the knee was giving me the occasional reminder. Great weather for running at the moment - lovely warm conditions and hardly any breeze.

The plan is to race the Loughrea Grey Lake 10km on Sunday. No idea of how I'll go as I haven't done much speedwork lately. But I went through a similar period at the start of the year and ran some decent times on the back of easy running. We shall see. It's a tough hilly course I hear, but there will be a few Olympians running to keep everyone honest. Freya Murray from Great Britain who ran in the London Olympics and with a marathon PB of 2:28 she might be someone to try and latch on to. Plus we have Noel Berkeley running who went to the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Still a very handy runner recently clocking a low 32 minute 10km. Too quick for me!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Have an A1 day

6:45am start with Fintan and Gearoid. Usual route of 14.8kms in 1:04:48 (4:23's). Lovely conditions for running even if the first 20 minutes were run in the dark. The knee behaved.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


No running today.

The knee isn't getting any worse but I'm still not convinced it's getting better. Perhaps I'm expecting too much too soon. I did a bit of foam rolling on the calves and that seemed to help the knee - those foam rollers are bloody brilliant even if the process is agony.

A few beers in the evening whilst watching the last few shows in the Breaking Bad series.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

5 x 5 minutes off 60 seconds

Still not feeling the full quid but decided to head out to Dangan for a speed session. The lovely track got no use whilst we did our session around the horrible pitches. But not before I had completed my 3.6km warm-up.

The session was 5 minute efforts using the same loop we used 3 weeks previous. I went in with the attitude that I was going to take it easy. Perhaps I did for the first 5 minute effort, but after that I just went with feel and each effort I gradually wound up the pace. I've no idea of pace as the Garmin was asleep but I'd say I was well under 3:30 per km. Felt good and great to have a blow-out after the 20 miler.

A warm-down of 2.1km to give me approx 13.4kms for the day.

Monday, September 23, 2013


I woke up several times in the night with bad stomach cramps. I still wasn't right come the morning but decided to head out for a run to get some fresh air. Very slow going and no energy. Showing my age. Total 9.5kms in 42:05 (4:26's).

Felt gradually worse as the day went on - sweats and a headache. Not sure if I've got a touch of food poisoning or a stomach bug. Not pleasant.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Indian Summer

A crackerjack day here in Galway. Glorious sunshine as I headed out for my run around 11am. New runners and new socks on and I was out the door. The run itself felt great - the knee was still a little sore but I wasn't getting the same patella pain so I'm 99% sure that it was the other shoes that were causing me the issue. Very relieved with that - I was starting to get more than a little nervous that I was in for another bout of tendinitis. Understandable really when I've spent 18 months on the sidelines with this in the past. And that left me a desperate man - hell I stooped to some new lows - I even took up swimming...

Anyway, I'm hoping I'll be good now. I'll get back into the sessions next week and I plan to run the Grey Lake 10km next Sunday for a blow-out. Looking forward to trying out a new course though I'm told it's a tough-ie.

All up 14.8kms in 1:03:03 (4:16's). A total of 57.1kms for the week.

Other than that I watched the Gaelic football - Dublin V Mayo. But not before a celebratory meal out for my birthday. Yes, 42 today (21 again). A few beers in the evening and all that.

More thoughts on the shoe issue. I suppose after 12 years or so of running in a pronators shoe, to switch to a neutral shoe may have been a step too far. I was thinking during my run that if your foot is used to the support and cushioning in a certain area of the shoe, and that suddenly changes, then a couple of mms difference in positioning during foot strike may be all it needs to impact the tracking of your knee and the resultant patella pain...makes sort of sense to me anyway.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Asics GT2000

No running today. I picked up a new pair of Asics GT2000's which I'll road test tomorrow. These are the latest shoes in the old range of Asics 21x0. My last pair were the 2170's and whilst they were a bit of a clunky shoe, I never had any problems with them. The GT2000 has a great fit and feels very comfortable to wear, and like most of the modern shoes they seem to be a good bit lighter than their predecessors. Hopefully I'll be back running pain free soon.

Friday, September 20, 2013

After work

Quick local loop after work (9.5kms in 39:56). I could feel the knee playing up so I think that's the last we'll see of the Triumphs. Common sense has to prevail here and I'll revert back to a similar shoe that I've been using for the last decade or so.

A few beers in the evening watching the Late Late. Rock and roll.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dark start

I ran with Fintan and Gearoid early doors (6:45am start). It was wet and windy but once you got going it was nice for running as it was quite mild. The pace wasn't quick though and after about 45 minutes my calves were getting very sore. All up 14.8kms in 1:05:42 (4:26/km).

I think I'm too old skool with my race recovery plan - basically do nothing. No massage, foam rolling, compression garments, ice baths, protein shakes, etc. Just suffer it out...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Midweek rest

The plan was to take this week relatively easy so decided on a rest day today.

Nothing else to report...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

No track

A 10.7km local run. I wasn't heading to track as the legs were too sore so tried this instead. The run itself was great. Ticking over quite nicely running at 4:19/km pace. The run is normally clocked at 10.8kms but had to stop the watch mid-run as I got stuck behind a herd of cows. I tried to run past them but that just spooked the cows and I didn't want to upset the farmer. So I had to walk behind them very slowly for 5 minutes.

Knee schmee...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Recovery Run

Tried a 30 minute run to test the legs. The calves were really sore - 2 hours in racing flats will do that. Bit I felt okay once I got moving. All up 7.3kms in 31:27 (4:18's).

Left knee sore. It was okay after the RNR, but definitely not great after 30 minutes in the Triumphs. I love these shoes but of they are aggravating the knee they have to go. I'll make a decision on them this week...

Here's a few photos of the final stage (#17) of the RNR. The first couple are midway through the stage where the terrain changes from road to grass. The last one is crossing the finishing line:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Round Norfolk Relay - Stage 12 Scole to Thetford

Arrived at Bungay around 10pm, and I knew I wouldn't be running until well past 1am. I picked up my race number, and then spent as much time as possible in the warmth of the car. We drove to the start of the next stage (Scole) where I was starting my leg. Based on the latest event timing I was to be running around 1:45am so around 10 minutes before then, I stripped down into my racing gear, and headed over to the change over area.

Sure enough, bang on time our runner arrived. I was handed the baton and I headed off into the night. My plan was to run 3:44/km pace and I had the Garmin set to 1km auto-lap and every time I heard a beep I would count out loud the cumulative number of kms that had elapsed and would check my split. I probably started a little too quickly but after a couple of clicks I had settled into my running and I was feeling great.

The conditions were absolutely spot on. Very cold (around 7 or 8 degrees) with little or no breeze. If I could chose these conditions for running a marathon then I'd take them every time. I had my cyclist to my right hand side and the safety vehicle behind and nobody else for company. As I was approaching 5km I was closing in on my first competitor. Immediately the pace would lift, almost like an auto-pilot in an effort to pass them out swiftly.

Lots of the detail are missing - there is certainly very little chat going on between me and the cyclist. I'd ask for a gel (my strategy was one on 30, 60 and 90 minutes) - plus I'd ask for a few mouthfuls of water when needed. I aimed to get to the halfway point in decent shape and then assuming I felt okay I planned to push the pace in the second half. The course is basically flat - a few long uphill drags, but every section whereby you felt like you were working that bit harder, you'd have a nice downhill stretch to recover on. Running in the dark is strange in the fact that it's difficult to judge whether the upcoming road is uphill, flat or downhill. You almost have to rely on how it feels to run. Quite hard to portray unless you are there.

Anyway, nothing of note happened until I had just passed 15kms, and then I could spot another runner up in front. Again this was the trigger to lift the pace and as I passed my second runner I was greeted with another beep of the watch to indicate a total of 16kms. That was just over the halfway point and I still felt good.

I then made an effort to pick up the pace a little. I'd certainly attack the quicker sections of the course by increasing the leg speed, and I was running a little wider on the road to keep me away from the camber of the road. Once I got to 20kms the countdown was well and truly on. From here on in the memory fails me even more but I think I overtook a couple more runners - including one on a downhill section where I ran a ridiculously quick km split.

At 27kms I knew I would last until the end. The speed was still good and although my legs were becoming a little tight, especially the calves, I was still running strongly. Through 30kms and I wobbled a bit, but I think it was more so that the last mile was all uphill and in a sustained effort to keep it going I missed my 31km beep. That said I was soon rewarded with the lights up-front indicating the end of the stage. I handed over to the baton to our next runner and my stage was over in a time of 1:56:01 for 31.65kms (3:40/km pace).

I felt great at this point and could definitely have continued on. That feeling was short-lived though as my body began to cool down and I then had the washing machine/gel stomach and spent the next hour or so feeling in a state of near vomit...

I was very happy with my run. I never really dipped and I certainly lifted the pace and still felt relatively strong at the end. Incredible what you can do turning decent 10km shape into a good 20 mile run on the back of 3 x 2 hour long runs. Okay my time was 4 minutes slower than last year, but I had competed in this event on the back of half marathon training last time so I was more prepared for the longer stuff.

The rest of the night/morning was travelling in the support vehicle driving the remaining stages (13 to 17). By 8am we were at Kings Lynn watching the teams finish and our guy crossed the line a little before 8:30am in a time of 20 hours 22 minutes. That was a few minutes faster than last year and works out at just over 6 minute miles for the entire 197 mile route. Not bad when our club class team consisted of a mixture of male, female and masters runners. So not only did we win the club class comfortably, we also posted the quickest time of the day beating all of the open teams.

By 9:30am our club had re-grouped for breakfast. Then at 11am it was back to the sports ground for the presentations. I didn't pick up any awards - I posted the second quickest time on my stage beaten by one of the Ely runners who ran 4 minutes quicker. That was great going so hats off to them. All in all a great day and made all the more special by our club winning all 3 events that we entered - the club class that I was part of, plus the ladies event and also the masters one.

Back home by 2pm. Still no sleep by this point. Not to worry, no time to hang around. A quick visit to the pub for a few pints, then back on the train, plane and car for the 6 hour trip back to Galway. Home by 11pm absolutely cream crackered.

Loved every minute of it again this year (accept the bit where the gels played havoc with my stomach). Hopefully I get the nod to compete again next year! Thanks to RP for putting the teams together and to all the CoNAC runners and support crew who make this happen. The effort that goes into this event has to be seen to be believed.

I'll post a few photos over the coming days but before I finish, here are my km splits:

1km 3:36
2km 3:36
3km 3:40
4km 3:42
5km 3:41 (18:16)
6km 3:44
7km 3:48
8km 3:40
9km 3:47
10km 3:45 (18:43/36:59)
11km 3:45
12km 3:44
13km 3:53
14km 3:46
15km 3:40 (18:49)
16km 3:32
17km 3:42
18km 3:40
19km 3:35
20km 3:42 (18:10/36:59)
21km 3:34
22km 3:37
23km 3:41
24km 3:44
25km 3:36 (18:12)
26km 3:21
27km 3:37
28km 3:43
29km 3:28
30km 3:33 (17:42/35:54)
31km 3:47
31.65km 2:22

Total 1:56:01 (31.65kms)

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Up at 6am for the trip to Norwich. Just over 6 hours door-to-door. Upon arrival I got my lift organised for the run, then went out for something to eat (pasta), then some more pasta later in the afternoon. Head down for an hour or so and then it was time to make my way down the road to get picked up for the lift out to Bungay...

Friday, September 13, 2013

Final prep

No running today. I got myself some gels for the weekend (I keep telling people to practise using the gels in training - obviously I haven't done that...).

The forecast for my leg of the race is looking pretty good. Temps of 10 degrees and wind speed of 7 mph (which I think I'll be running into - isn't that always the case). No rain which is nice. The plan is to 6 minute mile (3:44/km pace). Certainly not slouching around - 2hr37 marathon pace! They say you don't hit the wall until 20 miles and I'm only doing 19.67 miles so I should be fine. I'll get round but it may get ugly after 90 minutes.

A few beers tonight and then up early in the morning for the trip to Norwich.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Myself and Fintan started out today at the new time of 6:45am. We started off at a bit of a healthier pace and continued that through. After 4km we met up with Gearoid and it felt really easy today. The conditions were nice and mild with no breeze to worry about and soon the run was over. All up 14.8kms in 1:02:33 (4:13's). Then the rain came down...

That's it now until Sunday 1am. I've got 2 full days of no running.

The left knee is so so. It has improved slightly but the pain is very reminiscent of the old patella tendinitis days whereby I spent 18 months on the sidelines. At the moment I would rate the pain as a 3 out of 10 - the problem I made last time is that I let it get to an 8 out of 10 level. Will do nothing stupid and if that means reverting back to some different running shoes then so be it. I'll have a go on the foam roller to let the calves off a bit and hopefully that will help things along. Listen to the old body Matt - and if all else fails go out and get hammered...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day off

I took a rest day today - just to freshen up a bit after 18 consecutive training days.

The cricket one dayers are naff due to the weather. Not much else to report.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pyramid 1/2/3/4/5/4/3/2/1 mins off 60 secs

More running at Dangan - this time on the spongy grass. A long warm-up of 5.6kms to get things going, then straight into the pyramid.

I ran nice and steady for the first half of the session, trying to pick things up on the second half of the set. I'm no good on the grass - too many turns where I come to a virtual halt and then struggling to get the levers moving again as I change direction. Something different though and a good sweat in the process. Perfect conditions once again to make matters a lot easier.

Here are the paces for each effort:

Pace 3:13/3:21/3:23/3:28/3:31/3:27/3:23/3:16/2:57

A warm-down of 3.6kms. That's 17.6kms all up for the day. Easy running now for the rest of the week with a few rest days thrown in.

Monday, September 09, 2013

David Rudisha

9.5kms in 40:29 (4:16's). Superb conditions for running - no breeze and nice and cool. Left knee improving a bit.

The big news is that David Rudisha is coming to Galway for a race here on Saturday. I'm sure he'll jog round and still win his race easily in well under 2 minutes. It's a real shame I won't be here to witness this as I'll be in old Blighty. On the same card there is an elite mile race whereby a couple of Aussies are competing - in an attempt to run the first ever sub 4 minute mile here at Dangan. The likes of Ben St Lawrence (the Saint) will be running - who some of my old sparring partners in Sydney will be very familiar with. Brett Robinson also gets a dart. Both I'm sure will break the 4 minute barrier if the conditions are good.

Here's a link for more info. If you have nothing planned on Saturday and you're a fan of athletics I'd get yourself to Galway as you could be in for a real treat:

Here's a photo of the great man taken in Galway today after he arrived (courtesy of the GKR facebook page). In my opinion Rudisha had the stand-out performance of the recent London 2012 Olympics winning the 800m in a new world record time:

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Last long run

Another long run before the big relay next weekend. I'm running the same stage as last year - 19.67 miles around 1:15am. Should be fun. Today's run was similar to last week - though I met Owen after about 30 minutes of running and then we ran together for the next hour and a bit. The weather was good - nice cool conditions for running and the breeze wasn't too bad. I certainly felt a lot better this week compared to last week and soon the 2 hours were up and I was still running strongly. All up 27.6kms in 2:00:04 (4:21's).

That's 96.0kms for the week. I'll take it easy next week with a mini-taper before the relay.

Out again in the evening for another meal with the family. A few beers and then home to crash out on the sofa.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

After work tempo and beers

Same run as last Saturday. A 1km warm-up then straight into it. It was again hard going with some nasty uphill drags into the wind and rain. I ran fast for the full 20 minutes covering 5.67kms (3:32/km). Nothing to write home about but at least it was something. Knee getting worse...

All up 8.4kms with warm-down.

Then out later in the evening for beers and curry with Fintan and Owen. Everyone was knackered so it wasn't a rip-snorter. Home by 1:30am.

Friday, September 06, 2013


I was going to rest but decided to turn the legs over after work. Same old loop of 9.5kms in 39:57 (4:12's). Left knee still sore - getting a bit worried about it now...

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Temperature drop

A 7am start with Fintan and Owen. Bloody cold early doors and I could have done with my gloves if truth be told! A reminder that winter is just around the corner. After 4kms we were joined by Gearoid. Whilst the pace was nice and relaxed, it felt very easy today and I was just getting into the run and it was over. All up 15.0kms in 1:06:08 (4:25's).

I've now watched 2 episodes of the final season of Breaking Bad. Things are shaping up nicely...

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Feeling good

Easy loop of 9.5kms in 39:43 (4:11's).

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Dangan 5 x 5 mins off 60 secs

Arrived at track but after the warm-up (3.6km around the pitches, 1.6km on the track), we were moved to the pitches for some 5 minute efforts. The loop we were to run had a nice hill in the middle and the purpose of the session was to build up some endurance.

For the first effort I took the opportunity to sit back and learn the course. Then for each subsequent effort I increased the speed. The efforts felt comfortable enough and I certainly wasn't on or close to the red line.

The pace/km for each effort were:


An enjoyable session in near perfect conditions finishing up with a further 3.6km around the pitches to give me 16.5kms for the day.

Earlier in the day I watched England beat the Irish at cricket. Ravi Bapora has bought himself another year in the team. I've never been convinced by the bloke but just when you think his time has come to an end he has a good knock and buys himself some more time. The selectors have certainly kept their faith in him. A good win as it turns out as at 48-4 England were in all sorts of trouble.

Monday, September 02, 2013


My bog standard local loop to start the week off. I felt like I had a nice bounce in the step after the long run yesterday which I wasn't expecting - a total of 9.5kms in 39:23 (4:09's). Loving the new runners - the left knee is a bit sore but I think it was like that before I changed the shoes. I think it will settle down after a few days.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Tyre change

The plan was to get another long run on the board of around 2 hours. I ran from home to Oranmore where I'd left my car the previous evening. I took the opportunity to quickly change my shoes from my old Asics 2170's into a new pair of Saucony Triumphs (at 10.5kms into the run). I then headed on down to Maree where I ran a couple of laps of the 5km course, before heading back to the car. The last half an hour was really tough - I was tired and running solo and the time was really dragging. All up 27.3kms in 2:00:26 (4:24/km pace).

Absolutely in bits at the end - I certainly am not missing the marathon training. The wind was also strong today so I was battling with the elements also. A couple of protein drinks later and a cup cake and I was feeling a bit better for the drive back home.

That's 81.2kms for the week. Today was the first day this week that I got above 10km!

More on the new shoes, when I first started running I was a definite over-pronator. I've run in Brooks shoes, New Balance, Asics and more recently Saucony whereby the shoes would all have either a medial post or dual density material to help compensate the pronation. My most recent shoes would be the Asics 2170's (I had a stock pile of these so I never got to run in the newer Asics GT 2000 shoes), plus the Saucony Guide shoes. I've recently had another look at my running gait and I'm now as neutral a runner as you will ever see. With years of mileage it seems that my gait has changed which I suppose makes sense as the various muscles will all strengthen, and the footstrike has become much more efficient as a result (no visible lateral movement). So armed with this new information I thought I'd make the transition over into a neutral shoe and being a tall/heavy-ish guy I thought the Saucony Triumph was the logical choice. First impressions were good though I'm a little nervous that it's a bit of a change (if it ain't broke don't fix it). Touch wood I'll be okay.