Friday, 31 December 2010
Friday, 24 December 2010
Sunday, 19 December 2010
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Sunday, 12 December 2010
- 2 long runs - the first 2 weeks ago was 16.75 miles and the second, last week was a 22.4 miler in the park in which I bonked during the last mile and a half.
- A training diet over the last month restricted to processed fast food in quantities normally reserved for Christmas celebrations. I remember returning from my first long run two weeks ago and not having the normal hunger pangs associated with being out on the road for 2+ hours, which I put down to having built up sufficient fat reserves over the preceding month to last through the winter.
- My pre-race preparation consisted of attending the work Christmas dinner the night before - indulging in steak and sticky toffee pavlova, a single glass of red wine and coffee. To my credit I drank copious amounts of water as my colleagues depleted the wine reserve. I got to bed just after midnight with my stomach feeling like a lead baloon.
An early rise just before 6 and I was on the road before 7 for the 40 minute drive to Clonaklity. Registration was painless, except for the fact that the transfer of the number from Gavin to me was not on the system.
Part of the attraction of this race is that it is in my home town and the route passes within 50 yards of my childhood home in Inchydoney ( 5 mile mark), where I spent the hour before the race making last minute preparations. I drove into town and parked about 100 yards from the race start before making my way to the start line with 10 minutes to go. I met up with club mates Denis, John, Robert and Caitriona who were all running the marathon. A few more were running the half. The plan was to head out at 8 minute mile pace and see how it went. Robert was planning on something a bit faster, which was evident during the first mile, when he disappeared through the throng (the marathon start also coincided with a 6 mile race, with the half marathon starting 5 minutes earlier at a different location). Denis, who was aiming for sub 3:45, decided to head out with us at the opening 8 minute mile pace. While I was hoping for a 3:30 finish I was expecting my pace to drop off during the second hillier half of the course.
The first few miles were fairly uneventful with 2 miles around the town and a further 3 flat miles along the coast road to Inchydoney where we met the half marathon runners and the marathon leaders coming against us. Our opening mile of 8:45 was the slowest, but we had most of the deficit pulled back by the time we hit the 5 mile mark, which we passed in about 40:15. The loop around Inchydoney consisted of a few short sharp hills, but being familiar territory I knew what was coming. There was a timing mat at about 5.5 miles which we crossed in 44:52 (Clock time). Out of Inchydoney and back on flat roads heading for Rathbarry. The road began to rise again as we passed through the field of slower half-marathon runners until the routes diverged at about the 8.5 mile mark. As I was a few yards ahead I stopped and walked to take a gel at the crest of a hill after the nine mile mark, which I passed in about 1:11:45 (15 seconds under 3:30 pace). I resumed running when Catriona and John caught up (Denis had eased off the pace and was about 50 yards behind). At this stage Caitriona had just passed the 6th female and so our race took on an additional focus - could Catriona make the top 3. He PB was 3:22 in Dublin last year, so continuing on at 3:30 pace was the best plan of action, particularly as the hilliest part of the course was yet to come. John was issuing instructions on following the racing line so that we wouldn't have to run any longer than we had to. "You can be certain John Quigley was in the ditch (hugging the ditch perhaps) when he was measuring the course" he said, in deference to the official course measurer. As the road was full of twists and turns taking the racing line certainly cut yards off as we gradually reeled in the guy in front of us, who was running in the centre of the road.The downhill miles into Rathbarry were in the 7:30's increasing our margin on the 3:30 finish to about 2 minutes, passing the 11 mile mark in about 1:26. At this stage in the race I should have felt more comfortable than I did, with over 15 miles left to run. In places there was some slush/ice on the road but it was not a real issue and could easily be avoided. Right turn at Rahtbarry towards Castlefreake and Owneahincha beach. We could see a group of runners a few 100 yards ahead and hypothesised on the likelihood of it containing one or two women for Caitriona to exchange places with.
Left at Owenachincha and a sharp climb over the hill separating it from the Long Strand. We pulled in one or two on the climb and pass the 13 mile mark in 1:42:50 (clock time). Down hill past the long strand and the 14 mile mark. John falls behind for a bit as we climb up from the Long Strand and pass the 4th female. Past the 15 mile mark in just under 1:58. We had lost none of our 2 minute cushion on the 3:30 finish but the long climb from mile 18 to 20 is still in front of us. Downhill towards the Red Strand and we hear the sound of someone approaching fast from behind - John was back with us. It had taken a while for the gel he took at mile 14 to kick in.
Past the spectacular setting of the Red Strand and the long drag from sea level to the highest point on the course at about 110m began. To be quite honest, it wasn't all that bad as the grade was so gradual and levelled out in places. Much of this section was along a muddy boreen no wider than a car. Fatigue was beginning to set in but the pace did not drop much. Eventually the road began to level out as we turned onto the main road. A few hundred yards later we turned right and into another climb, but thankfully it did not last too long and we began to descend just before the 20 mile mark, which we passed in about 2:38:15 - we still had a 1:45 cushion on the 3:30 finish, which wasn't bad considering the elevation gain. Caitriona even found time for a pit stop while John and I slowed down. She was soon back on our shoulders as the gradual descent to Duneen beach gave way to the steepest (downhill) section of the course, which was hard on the knees and difficult to get any speed on. A gradual descent would have been so much better.
Once at sea level the road rose almost immediately for a short climb along the coast towards the Dunmore Hotel and I found myself falling behind the other 2. I thought the final 5 miles would be on my own but they came back to me as the road dropped towards the 22 mile mark. I had stashed a bottle of coke at the entrance to the hotel earlier in the morning, which I now retrieved. This cost me a few seconds and again I found myself about 10 yards behind. As John wanted some coke I thought he would slow down to let me catch him, but instead I found myself increasing the effort to catch up, which cost me as I began to fall off the pace again. less than 4 miles to go - keep it together. A guy in an orange top, whom we had passed earlier, was now on my shoulder with Caitriona and John 10 yards ahead. He eventually pulled ahead and joined the other 2.
Past the 23 miles mark and a right turn along the first of three causeways that would take us past Inchydoney and into Clon for the finish. Gavin, who had given me his number and was supporting his brother, gave a loud cheer as we passed. I fully expected to drop further behind the group in front but the gap stayed the same and by the time we hit the 24 mile mark we were all together again, with the bones of a 3 minute cushion on the 3:30 finish.
Grinding out the last few miles at the same 8 minute pace was all about ignoring the desire to stop and pushing on, counting down the remaining minutes. We stayed together in a group until the last 400m as the call of the finish line beckoned and John pushed out ahead, followed by the guy in the orange top and Caitriona, with me taking up the rear. Down the finishing chute and the right turn to the finish line where we were immediately greeted with a medal and a heat blanket. Glad to be finished and under my 3:30 target.
Caitriona never made her podium finish, but what a race she had, fantastic result, coming within 5 minutes of her PB on such a hilly course and even splits all the way. Well done Caitriona. Denis also finished a few minutes under his 3:45 target @ 3:43 while Robert had a great day coming home in 3:19 - he was right to head out at his own pace.
John and I headed straight for the physio area after the race to get a rub down, although my legs felt reasonably good with no specific issues. A day later, while my legs are stiff I do not have the usual post marathon issues associated with walking downstairs - a good omen for the ultra training that is before me.
Well done to the organisers for putting on a great event which was well marshaled and had more water stations than I've seen at other marathons. Luckily the weather was quite good with temperatures at 5C and a light breeze. It might have been less "fun" in freezing rain.
Sunday, 5 December 2010
The last month has seen more pain than normal with the passing of my mother on 16th November after a long slow deterioration over the last few years. While she may have died a thousand deaths as she slowly faded from the woman I knew it wasn't until she took her last breath that the finality of it sinks in.
Monday, 25 October 2010
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
Sunday, 10 October 2010
Sunday, 3 October 2010
Saturday, 25 September 2010
Sunday, 19 September 2010
The 3k runs were the same out and back course on the flat road along the east side of the bay towards Ring village . I was surprised at how many pushed out in front of me during the first run as my quick opening sub 6 minute pace slowed towards something more sustainable, with one eye on the bike ride ahead. I had planned on 12:00 to 12:30 for the 3ks (about 6:26 to 6:40 pace - should be manageable without giving my all). I figured there was about 40 in front of me during the first run, not what I was expecting. My running legs appeared to be a bit rusty on the speed side of things as I came into T1 in 12:42 (approx, as there was no line/timing mat). The run was closer to 2 miles (3.2k) than 3k though.
After a few seconds looking around for my bike I was out on the road towards Inchydoney and Dunmore (west side of the bay). The terrain was fairly familiar to me as I had either run or biked it during the summer. I was surprised at how many people I passed on the bike during the opening mile or 2. Admittedly some were on hybrids, but still they must have run sub 6:30 pace in the run to get ahead of me in the first place.
The first 6 k to Dunmore Hotel were flat and fast and then a bit of a climb and descent to Duneen before the right turn and the only real climb of the day. I got out of the saddle for the steepest section but noticed the rear wheel spinning/slipping on the sections of smooth wet tar. I had to adjust my course to find the section with most traction as the climb was tough enough without making it more difficult for myself. The steep section gave way to a more gradual climb and then the descent to Ardfield and pretty much plain sailing back into Clon via Inchydoney.
At least I knew on entering T2 that it would be all over soon enough - 3k should be a doddle compared to the 21k that faced me last week. However my pace for the first half was a pedestrian 6:44, although I did manage to pass 2 guys in the process (they could have passed me in T2 for all I knew). During the return leg I was gaining on another guy, who had surged out of T2 ahead of me and with about 800m to go I came on his shoulder and gradually pulled ahead - no huge effort on my behalf, just a steady manageable pace. I was now about 50 yards behind the leading lady but ran out of road before I could catch her (she had passed me about 4 k into the cycle) and even got passed on the line by the guy I had just passed (maybe I should look over my shoulder more often as I did not hear him coming)- Total time of 1:06:20.
Garmin splits as follows:-
Run 1 - 12:42 (2.02 miles 6:07/6:26/0:09 - Average 6:17 pace)
T1 - 01:13
Bike - 38:34
T2 - 00:53
Run 2 - 12:57 (2 miles 6:44/6:15 - Average 6:29 pace)
I ended up somewhere between 20th and 25th overall. My first Duathlon under my belt and certainly a different event to a triathlon but very enjoyable and I must say very well organised and marshaled by Clonakilty Triathlon Club, well done to all concerned. I don't know if official results will be posted though as the Club does not appear to have a website. Maybe Triathlon Ireland will publish them as it ws a TI sanctioned event.
And finally the last time Cork won Sam Maguire was a few weeks after I got married - some would say a life sentence (for Cork football). C'Mon the Rebels.
Friday, 17 September 2010
Saturday, 11 September 2010
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
Sunday, 29 August 2010
I followed up the cycle with a fast 2 mile run on the half marathon course - I don't think the 6:40 pace will be replicated on race day though, more like 7:10/15 if i'm feeling good (i.e. 1:35 for the half). With a swim target of 35 minutes and 2:50 for the cycle (again on a good day) that leaves 5 hours on the dot - now if I could squeeze in a few minutes more i'd have enough for the transitions. At least it puts the race in perspective and makes my plan A target of 5:15 appear realistic.
Less that 13 hours later I was out the door on the Club long run over a 12 mile hilly route west of the City and boy did it feel tough, especially over the first few miles. Downhills were grand but I was left standing on the uphills. Still I managed to hang on with a few others to extend my run on the grass of UCC farm to 18.5 miles in all (about 7:54 pace).
I though I might get a sleep in on Sunday morning but an invitation to join Martin Leahy for a swim around Sandycove Island at 8 was too tempting, as my swimming has been non-existent over the last week. It was also an opportunity to test the impact of the tear in the back of my wetsuit. The water was beautifully calm in the morning sunshine and the swim went by without a hitch, although an attempt to put a gap between myself and Martin over the latter half of the 1.8k route was unsuccessful. I was out of the water a few minutes before him in Bo Peep and so thought it should not be a problem. Maybe I need to be in a race to swim faster. After the swim we headed on the bikes along the coast to Timoleague and Courtmacsherry and back covering 37 miles. I thought my lack of rest since the Ballycotton 5 would make for an uncomfortable ride but I felt surprisingly good.
Monday was a well earned rest day with a trip to Joe for a well overdue rub down.While there were the inevitable tight spots (I'm not the best at doing the ancillary stuff like stretching/foam rolling etc.) there was nothing to worry about.