Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Yearly Review 2013

I managed to squeeze in a bit of a session today - a 20 minute tempo run on the treadmill at 3:24/km pace. A minimal warm-up or down and a total of only 8.5kms. Felt awful. Moving on, here's a quick summary of my races from this year:

Nothing to write home about in there. Only one PB and that was my 3,000m on the indoor track in a distance I'd rarely race.

I made a decent start to the year on the road clocking a sub 16 minute 5km and a sub 26 minute 8km in January. But I didn't really build on that and never really got on a good roll. I ran a few decent 10km times in Kinvara, Annaghdown and Ballinderreen where I clocked sub 33's, and I guess my most enjoyable run of the year was my 2nd placing in the Norwich half, plus my win in Connemara on a very windy day.

I put a lot of focus into the track 10,000m in July, but a bout of tonsillitis put pay to a decent performance there, plus my left knee has been troubling me for most of the year and that has taken away some of the enjoyment from training. Hopefully I get on  decent roll in the New Year and can get back running well and injury/pain free.

Happy New Year to everyone. Here's wishing to health and happiness and a few PB's in 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Burning the candle both ends

A long morning run with Fintan. Not feeling the Mae West it was always going to be a tough one. The first hour wasn't too bad, but from then on it was a tough slog. The legs were heavy and I was counting down the last few kms. All up 21.0kms in 1:28:37 (4:13's). That pace wasn't too bad as it felt like I'd been running 4:30's.

I doubled up with another trip to the pub in the evening with my snooker partner. Another 1:30am finish, and when I got home the wife was having an impromptu party with a few friends so it was more boozing. Not my greatest move as I woke up the next day feeling like a house beginning with S!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Game of jam tarts

Another solo run - this time my route was the Thursday morning one. A total of 14.8kms in 1:03:48 (4:19's). I didn't feel as good as yesterday but when you get to my age you generally don't get 2 good runs on the trot!

A total of 71.7kms for the week.

Feeling a bit better I made the call to visit the pub with the next door neighbour. Lots of beer and darts and home by 1:30am. My darts was generally pretty poor but my double 10 hitting was James Wade-like.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A bit better

A longer run today. I was feeling a good bit better and I seemed to have a bit more bounce in my step. All up 15.2kms in 1:01:22 (4:02's). Progress.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Soldiering on

A recovery run - 11.1kms in 47:15 (4:15's). Wet and blustery and I was coughing up all sorts of nasties. I'll keep battling on as it can only get easier.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Fields of Athenry 10km

This is one of the big 3 races in Galway and is one not to be missed. Conditions looked spot on - cold and still, and the race organisers got their decision to delay the start of the race spot on to allow a few patches of ice on the course to clear.

I wasn't feeling great - I'd picked up a cold and I was coughing and spluttering but I'd made the call to give it a go (I would have always been wondering if I'd stayed at home). I ran a very short 500m warm-up and then lined up at the start for the off.

The siren sounded and I made a poor start. The first 100m I was dodging and weaving trying to get into my running and when I finally found a clean line, Mick Clohisey and Kenny Rogers had already made a considerable break on the chasers.

A guy made a move for third spot, and I tried to go with him but I had nothing. The breathing was very laboured (40 a day smoker-like), and the legs were heavy. By the time we hit the first km marker he had gotten away from me, leaving me alone in 4th. The next couple of kms were getting tougher and I was ready to step off the course. As we approached 4km another runner went straight past me and I was now down to 5th.

I wouldn't say I backed off at all, I just kept plugging away - but there was no speed or rhythm to my running. Through 5km and I was still considering the easy option of stopping but I could still see 3rd and 4th ahead so that at least kept me focused. The next 5km was a real struggle and I was aware of another runner closing in on me. The km markers were slowly ticking by and by the time I reached 9km marker I knew that I'd hold on to 5th place. That's how it remained and with a friendly finish I eventually crossed the line in 34:02.

I spent the next few minutes coughing up some really nasty stuff and then went over to congratulate the podium getters - Mick running 30:48 for the win, Kenny in 2nd in 31:50 and Declan Fahey 3rd in 32:48.

No warm-down - I just went back and grabbed my top, got a quick cup of hot drink, and then it was off home for a hot shower. All up 10.5kms for the day. Well done to all the organisers for putting this race on. Everything was spot on and the good conditions made for lots of PB's. Well done if you were one of these!

More eating and drinking in the evening. Not my greatest day on the roads but at least there was a reason. Next year!

Here are the splits:

1km 3:16
2km 3:13
3km 3:20
4km 3:27
5km 3:34 (16:50)
6km 3:23
7km 3:26
8km 3:28
9km 3:31
10km 3:24 (17:12)

Total 34:02

Here is a photo of me approaching the finish (thanks to Eirefoto):

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Xmas Day

Happy Christmas to one and all!

No running today - instead it was a day of building Lego, drinking and eating. My kind of day really. The bad news is that I've picked up a cold. For someone who never gets sick, it seems to be one thing after another lately. I'll still run tomorrow, and to give myself a fighting chance I've laid off the booze for the evening...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Xmas Eve

A 10.0km run on the treadmill in 42:48 (4:17's). Left quad still really tender after the rub. I'll rest up now until St Stephen's day and I'm sure it will come good.

Family around in the evening - but not before a quick visit to the pub for a few pints.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Massage and session

A massage at lunchtime. The whole rub was spent on the inside of my quad muscle on my left leg. It was a real mess but felt a lot better afterwards. It's going to be tender now for a few days so what better way to aid the recovery than to do a session....

Yes a 20 minute tempo run on the treadmill in the evening. A 2.1kms warm-up, then 20 minutes continuous at 3:24/km pace, then a 2.1km warm-down. All up 10.1kms. It didn't feel at all comfortable running at the tempo pace - probably due to the earlier rub. Still I wanted to get at least one session in before the Fields 10km on December 26th and after last week's write-off, it had to be today...

Sunday, December 22, 2013


A long run to finish the week off. I ran from home up to Carnmore - Ballybrit - Doughiska - Oranmore and then back to Claregalway. The weather was miserable - hail, sleet, snow, rain - it had the lot. I was running along the Coast Road in Oranmore and it started laying which was quite dangerous as it was bloody slippery. I survived and ended up covering 22.2kms in 1:34:45 (4:16's). Glorious weather by the time I'd finished...

That's 69.3kms for the week. A week to forget to be honest. I have a massage booked in tomorrow to try and get this bloody knee sorted. It would be lovely to start the new year running pain free.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday time

An early morning run before work. The weather was not great, and neither was I. A total of 11.1kms in 48:20 (4:21's). Left knee back to being painful.

A few beers in the evening as I'm now on holiday for the next couple of weeks. Getting into the Christmas spirit and all that.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Power Cut

No running today. Feeling generally much better and the throat is just about back to normal. Okay I've missed a few days training but the big concern is no alcohol in 5 whole days. I dare say I'll work on that over Christmas.

Watched the darts in the evening. A great match between the Power and Michael Smith (the World Youth Champion). Taylor didn't look right all match and was offering up chances which Smith was gladly taking. In the deciding set Smith took out a brilliant 128 bull finish to win the match. So that opens things up a bit with MVG now the stand-out favourite. I'm still looking elsewhere - but not sure where yet!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Luckly lull

Early morning run with Owen and Sean. The horrific stormy conditions overnight had just about cleared and despite a bit of wind it was very pleasant to run in. Lots of chat and the run was soon over before sunrise. A total of 15kms in around 65 minutes. Just as we finished the heavens opened and it was hailing and raining. A close shave.

Still feeling a bit under the weather but the fresh air certainly did me good. Not happy with my left knee again so I'll get a rub before Christmas.

My Dad's 65th today so bought him some Lego. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Missing sitters

Throat still no good so another rest day. I still had a game of snooker in the evening and was feeling a little better afterwards - helped by the fact that I hit breaks of 44 and 45. Two good chances to go beyond 50 but missed a couple of sitters....

Who's your money on in the darts?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Sore throat time. Lots of drugs to try and get on top of it. Hope it's not another bout of tonsillitis...

I'd planned a rest day today so no damage done.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Recovery Run

A long recovery run with Fintan. The plan was to take it fairly easy so was surprised to look down at the watch at the halfway stage and see that we were tipping along at around 4:12/km pace. Finished up doing the same run as the previous week - a total of 21.0kms in 1:27:49 (4:11's). The legs were quite sore and you'd certainly know you had raced the previous day so was looking forward to getting this over with.

Developed a bit of a sore throat later in the day so that's not good...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ballinderreen 10km

By some miracle the weather was great. The strong winds had died down and the heavy rain stopped just as I arrived for registration. I bumped into Fintan and after the usual stuff it was time for a few kms warm-up. The field today looked to be very strong - the stand-out was Gary Thornton who has run 29 flat for 10km, plus the likes of Mike O'Connor (30 flat), Peter O'Sullivan, Fintan, Julio Castro and some old soak from Norwich who were all sure to feature. I often get comments that it must be great to win the races but my response is always that you'd prefer a good race pitching yourself against the best, rather than having a solo time trial. Well today promised to be a cracker and was one of the best local line-ups in a long time.

The race started and Gary hit the lead with a group of us chasing. Nobody was going to stick with Gary and so we settled into a nice group of 5 chasers. We were running at a good clip and through the first km in 3:10 feeling pretty good. Gary was working up a nice lead and no moves in our group as we went through the second km. Around this point Mike pulled back leaving the 4 of us to fight it out.

Not much was happening. I think Julio took up the running at one point, but we remained in touch and as the km markers ticked by it was starting to look like it could be a last km shoot-out. Through 4km and then shortly after we started running on the main road. I took up the running on the newly re-surfaced tarmac and was feeling good. It was only a surge of about 500m but it seemed to string us all out a little. As we turned off the main road and went through half-way, it looked like Peter and Fintan had lost touch leaving me and Julio. The pattern of the race for the next few kms was me running at the front, I would be closed down on the uphill drags, and then I would get away again on the flatter sections. More on the course, I have to say it was very friendly, some slight ups and downs but it was predominantly flat, and with good conditions it made for good running. I suppose the only downside was that there were lots of puddles to avoid but considering what the conditions could have been like you'd have taken it every time.

I glanced at my watch at 7km and it was 23:09 so I knew I had a good chance of sub 33. But first I had to shake off Julio. I think it was around this part of the course that there was a long straight road and I could still just about see Gary a long way ahead I pushed as hard as I could and by the time I hit 8km I had opened up a little bit of a gap.

The last couple of kms and it was all about remaining focused. There were a few small climbs but I still felt strong and by the time I hit the 9km marker I upped the pace for the run home. I eventually crossed the line in 32:54 for 2nd place which I was very happy with. Gary ran an incredible 30:29 for the win, with Julio 3rd in 33:05 and Mike somehow finding something in the last 5km to finish 4th in 33:11.

A few kms warm-down with Fintan and Sean who both had great runs. That's around 16kms for the day. I have to say that's one of the most enjoyable races I've had in a long time. A great course, good organistion and plenty of hot drinks after. It was a real gem of an event so much kudos goes to South Galway AC for putting on this great event.

Here are the splits:

3:10, 3:19, 3:15, 3:25, 3:18 (16:27), 3:23, 3:19, 3:20, 3:20, 3:05 (16:27). Total 32:54

I think that's my quickest 10km this year - so I must be doing something right. And I'm only running 5 days per week at the moment so just goes to show what you can achieve if you get your quality sessions in.

A total of 81.9kms for the week. I'll try and keep it around that level for the rest of the year and perhaps increase the pace of my tempo runs slightly. A man with a plan!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

2 Nine Darters

Another rest day. Busy at work and then home for a takeaway curry and 4 pints of Guinness. That's how I roll on the night before a 10km race. The weather is pretty horrendous so it looks like it could be a tough one tomorrow.

Two 9 darters at the world champs today - by Terry Jenkins and Kyle Anderson. Great viewing.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Ally Pally

13.8km in 58:39 (4:14's). Windy out there - I need the wind to settle down before Sunday if I'm going to race. Plus my left knee needs to improve...

Cricket was crap with England letting the Aussies of the hook.

And in better news the world championship darts starts tonight. That's my Christmas TV sorted out right there.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Too hot in winter

Early Thursday morning run with Fintan and Owen. I had double layered with beanie and gloves but that was a big mistake as it was an unbelievably mild 14 degrees at 6:35am! Didn't feel great today - I  must have aggravated my left knee on the treadmill yesterday as it was sore all run. Another massage required...

All up 15.1kms in 1:07:03 (4:26's).

I was planing to stay up and watch the cricket tonight until I realised that it wasn't starting until 2:30am. The best case scenario would be England somehow scraping a draw but can't see it the way they are playing...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

6 x 5 mins off 60 secs

I planned to do this outside but the wind was up so it was down to the gym. A 3.5km warm-up and then the 5 minute efforts. I ran the first 2 at 3:22/km pace, the next 2 at 3:21's, and the final 2 at 3:20's. All up 16.0kms with another 3.5km warm-down.

David Gray in the evening at the Seapoint in Salthill. Brilliant stuff - a small venue and David in top form.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Usual rest day for Tuesday. I'm considering a 10km race on Sunday - you know me and racing so I dare say I'll do it!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Computer says no

Computer at the menders so updates will have to be short and sweet for a while. Today it was a long run with Fintan. Total 21.0kms in 1:25:39 (4:05's). Felt good and lots of chat to pass the time.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Turkey Trot 5km

I woke up to a very windy day. I also felt like I had a hangover and this was one of the rare Sunday mornings where I'd only had a couple of beers the night before. So perhaps I wasn't in the best frame of mind for the race but I had to run as I'd promised the mother-in-law a turkey for Christmas Day...

Arrived and did all the usual pre-race stuff. I ran a 2km warm-up - one km with the wind on the back (what wind?), then turned to run back and was struggling to move forward. A quick change into the racing flats then another km down to the start.

I like this course - it's a lollipop shape - and relatively flat with only one long drag as you start the main guts of the loop. The direction of the wind today meant that it was more-or-less always a cross-wind, with the exception of 500m between 1.5km and 2.0km (running into it head-on), and then 500m with the wind on the back (somewhere between 2km and 3km).

The race started and myself and Paul Buckley lead out a large group of around 6 or 7. There are a few turns in the first km, and with nobody willing to really push on, the group remained relatively close together as we went through the first km in 3:11. Halfway through the second km and we made a left-hand turn into the wind. Paul was slightly ahead at this stage and everyone slowed as the strong wind pushed us back. Through 2km with a split of 3:18 and then shortly after that we made a right-hand turn to be greeted with a long uphill drag. At this stage I wasn't feeling great at all and I think I slipped back into 4th or 5th place before re-focusing and gradually working back up to the leaders. By the time we reached the top of the climb we were starting to curve to the right and this gave us some welcome benefit from the wind. Through 3km with a split of 3:17 and then it was time to hammer a nice 500m downhill section. Myself and Paul were still side-by-side and then Donal came flying past us. At the foot of the hill we turned right and I seized the opportunity to take up the running.

I quickly opened up a few seconds gap on the group and started to string them out. That was great but the surge had taken a lot out of me and as I hit a few little drags at the end of the 4th km, I could hear someone closing me down. Through 4km in 3:10 and sure enough Paul had caught me. It was going to go down to the wire and I wasn't sure I had much left to offer.

About 1 minute into the last km and I was hanging on to Paul - I kept thinking "let him go and settle for 2nd" but being a stubborn so-and-so I came up with a plan. Try and stick with him until 2 minutes and then make a break for the line. Well that's what I did, 2 minutes passed, and I kicked for home. I say kicked, but it was nothing more than a slight increase on the speed we were running. Thankfully that was enough and as the finish line came into view I knew I could hang on for the final 100m. I crossed the line in 16:06 (a 3:10 last km) with Paul in second right behind me.

Very happy with the win - especially so having not felt at all right today. I'm not sure what was wrong - just one of those days where I felt very flat. The time wasn't bad considering the conditions - everyone ran slower than target so I'd say that was the equivalent of around 15:50 on a still day. It's funny that when you're running well you don't even notice the small inclines - well today was one of those days where I felt every little bump on the course.

Still not feeling great I decided to walk for about 5 minutes to reclaim my long-sleeve, and then finally I summoned up the energy to run 3kms as a warm-down. All up 11kms for the day and 72.4kms for the week.

Back to the hall for hot tea and the presentation. A great event and a really nice vibe with lots of chat and piss-taking with a few of the GCH crew. Loads of prizes and I think they gave just about everyone a free turkey - except to Donal who finished in 4th place (nobody remembers 4th place!). Well done to all involved - runners, volunteers and organisers. It's a great little event which seems to go from strength-to-strength each year and long may that continue.

A few beers in the evening. I only caught bits and pieces of the snooker - with Selby leading 6-3, Robertson started playing some brilliant snooker winning 5 frames on the spin. Selby got a frame back, and then jawed a black to make it 8-8. Well that was the impetus Robertson needed to go on and finish the match eventually running out a 10-7 winner. On that from he is going to take some beating in 2014 but I wouldn't be writing off the Rocket just yet!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

100th tournament maximum

No running today.

I stayed up late to watch a bit of the cricket but that was enough to turn you to the drink. Awful.

I've enjoyed watching the snooker this week. Mark Selby made a majestic 147 today - the last 4 balls were all tricky and it's certainly the best finish to a maximum I've seen. The black was a real gem - potting it from the black spot into the left middle. Rolled it in pretty much dead weight much to the joy of the crowd and Selby (who had previously missed a black for a 147 in China last year). A nice cheque for 59 large ones (sterling) as a result. Great stuff.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Solo repeat

The same run as yesterday. The difference being it was daylight hours, I was by myself, and there were no double-backs. Total 14.8kms in 1:01:45 (4:10's).

I gave my new Mizuno Inspire 10's a run out. A very comfortable relaxed fit on the foot, and nice and light. Compared to my usual Asics GT2000 they didn't feel as cushioned, and my left knee was slightly sore as a result. That said, a nice shoe and I'll give them another hit-out when the left knee makes a full recovery - probably some time in the New Year.

That's it now until the 5km on Sunday. Hopefully a sub 16 is on the cards.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Very windy

Myself, Fintan and Owen for the early morning run. Bloody hell it was windy, the mile stretch as we turned right at Carnmore Cross and we were barely moving. The pace felt really slow all the way round so I was a bit surprised that we managed to creep under 4:30/km pace. Total 15.0kms in 1:07:08 (4:29's).

Ronnie got knocked out of the UK Champs. Very surprised by that as I thought he was a shoe-in to win it. Not sure who will win now - I'd like to see a Robertson V Selby final.

The less said about the cricket the better. England are very ordinary and if they don't buck their ideas up they will soon be 2-0 down.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

8 x 800's off 66 seconds

A treadmill based session. A 4.0km warm-up and then I cranked up the treadmill to 20kms/hour and ran my 800's. I was doing them on a rolling 3 and a half minutes so 2:24 for each 800 followed by 66 seconds recovery. For the first time in a while I felt like I was way out of my comfort zone so I'm thinking that must be a good thing. A warm-down of 3.6km to give me 14.0kms for the day.

Snooker in the evening. Nothing over 40 to report - but the big break is coming, I can feel it.....

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Rest Day

No running. Work and other stuff got in the way!

I'm planning to run the Turkey Trot 5km on Sunday so I'll do a session tomorrow and then take it easy for the remainder of the week. 

Monday, December 02, 2013


I was planning a long-run but my training wingman bullied me into doing a tempo run. In his words "I've become a bit of a tempo junkie". I agreed on a 10km effort but I suspected it could be more...

Perfect conditions again and the target was 3:30/km pace. After a longish 3.5km warm-up it was game on. The first few kms felt easy enough and then I started to struggle during the middle section. Then I seemed to come good again at the end. As we were approaching the end of 10km I offered Fintan an extra km which was quickly turned down. We ended up running the 10km in 34:39 (3:28/km pace). Needless to say I was very happy with that.

Fintan going very well at the moment. Some decent mileage topped up with some proper sessions the last couple of weeks and he's now coming into top form. Good to see.

A 4.1km warm-down for 17.6kms for the day. I suppose that also doubles up as a long run of sorts!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

End of a recovery

Out in the morning for an hours run to blow away the cobwebs. Again the conditions were superb for running - nice cool and dry and hardly a breath of wind. A total of 15.1kms in 1:04:16 (4:15's).

The knee was great today - hardly any discomfort. It's been a tricky few months but hopefully it will be as good as new come the new year.

Took the kids to see Santa in the afternoon at a local fundraiser. A great turn-out and hopefully lots of money raised for 2 very important causes.

Another photo collection from the Norwich Half (courtesy of the CoNAC Facebook page). I'm the one doing the front-running!

Only 59.0kms this week. Time to ramp it up again.