Sunday, 27 December 2009

???....Some more running

Despite the icy conditions and cancelled road races (Belgooly on 26th and Bandon tomorrow) I still managed to get out over the last few days to complete my scheduled runs. It wasn't without a few challenges though. My early morning run on Wednesday was an easy aerobic session and although jack frost was everywhere road surfaces were not slippy. This was not the case on Thursday as I headed to the park for a few steady miles (on the easy end of the 7:00 to 7:20 spectrum). I still had to watch my step as the ground was frozen solid in places. I headed to the park again on Saturday as my attempt to run a hilly fartlek session on the road was doomed from the start . I didn't even make it to the base of the hill as there was ice everywhere, despite the fact that temperatures were well above freezing and the sun was shining - the ground takes a while to defrost I suppose. My long run this morning with Pat was also in icy conditions although we both made it around the 18.5 mile hilly course without loosing our footing - however Pat covered a few yards without moving his feet. The pace was relatively slow as a result but the morning was beautiful and sunny and the icy roads meant that we didn't see many cars (none between miles 1 and 8.5). I'm a little disappointed that tomorrow's Bandon 5 miler is cancelled as I was looking forward to a challenge and perhaps even a last PB for 2009. Instead i'll have to settle for a different type of PB as I hope to get a 4.5 hour training run (crawl?) in before the year end. Taking into account the weather and my social life Thursday 31st is looking good. Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday.
Wed 23rd Dec 10.38 miles in 1:25:12 (08:12 pace @ 129HR) Thur 24th Dec 7.3 miles in 54:59 (07:32 pace @ 135HR) with 4.75 miles steady @ 7:17 pace. Sat 26th Dec 10.62 miles in 1:19:57 (07:32 pace @ 141HR) Fartlek - 05:51 to 06:24 pace Sun 27th Dec 18.61 miles in 2:40:18 (08:37 pace @ 125HR) Long Run Base Week #5 - 60.78 miles

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Cool Running

Pat and I turned up at the track this evening expecting it to be empty and the session called off as icy conditions prevailed. We were half prepared for a relatively easy (if not slippery) run on the roads around Bishopstown instead. However the track surface wasn't too bad with just a few patches of ice, primarily in the inner lanes.
Quite a few club members were warming up, including Kevin and Colm from my pacing group - so it looked like we were in for some hard work after all. Between the jigs and the reels we decided on 4 x 1 mile @ 6 minute pace (well 4 laps of lane 3 @ 6:12 target).
Temperatures were a degree or 2 below freezing and the steam rising from us during the 3 minute rests between the efforts reminded me of race day at Fairyhouse.
We never quite hit the target time as the cold appeared to slow us ever so slightly - well that and watching for icy patches - 6:19/16/16/15. Kevin bailed after 3 miles as he was still recovering from his 18:25 5k on Saturday. Coach told us afterwards that it is harder to run a particular pace in cold conditions - news to me but it certainly explains why today's session felt tougher than last weeks 5 x 1 mile. Feel free to comment.
I'm not too sure how my training/racing will go over the holidays as I have a few more social engagements to attend. I had planned on running the Bandon 5 miler on 28th Dec but forgot about a wedding I am attending 2 hours after the race start - Don't think the planning permission will go through on that one - so my next race may be the Mallow 10 Miler in early January. I am also planning on a long "long run" in preparation for Connemara - 4.5 hours is at the back of my mind - I'll need to complete it at least a week before Mallow though. I may just add it on to next Sunday's long run.
Have a good holiday.
Mon 21st Dec
6.39 miles in 46:07 (07:16 pace @ 138 HR) - Steady run in the park at lunchtime.
Tue 22nd Dec
7.53 miles in 1:07:09 (08:55 pace @ 148 HR) - with 4 x 1,664m in 6:19/16/16/15 & 3 min recoveries @ zero pace. Avg warmup HR was 173 hence high overall avg HR.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Too busy running

Things must have been pretty busy over the last few weeks as I haven't updated in a while. Or else I haven't much to say at the moment as my training follows a pretty regular routine. I started this post on Thursday and it's now Sunday morning - a lot of Guinness has passed my lips in the intervening period, which may be the reason for my apathy to blogging.
For the first time in my short running career I am running to a programme set by someone else. The club coach gave me a programme last week which centres around a Tuesday track session of 3 to 5 x 1 mile repeats, a Sunday long run of 16 miles preceded by a hilly fartlek session on Saturday. The remaining runs are either aerobic "easy" runs or "Steady"runs with a day off on Friday. Given my social schedule coming up to Christmas the day off on Friday has come in very handy. Pity I couldn't extend it to Sunday this weekend (end of Thursday's post).
Certainly the most challenging session is the 6 minute mile repeats on Tuesdays. Last week I managed 4 and thought that was my limit, as we were pretty much spent at the end. This week the target was 5 repeats in lane 3 (6:12 target for 1,664m approx, 93 second laps). We weren't too far off the target at 6:15 for the first, but it felt tougher than last week. However the 3 minute recoveries were enough to enable the body to repeat the process a further 4 times with the last rep coming in at 6:09. My "steady" pace is somewhere between marathon pace and easy pace (7:00 to 7:20 miles for me) although I have concentrated on the fast end of this scale as I want to get used to running marathon pace early in the programme. On Thursday I pushed the pace under 7:00 for the 4 "steady" miles of my run and although the 6:45 pace was closer to my "Tempo" pace the effort did not feel as tough as I would have expected this early in my programme. My long runs are at a relatively easy 8 minute plus pace, although this mornings run with Pat over a course that was very hilly in parts was enough to stress all the systems despite the 8:20 average pace. The run was in beautiful sunshine along quite country roads on the ridge between the Lee and Bride valleys west of Ballincollig with great views - certainly a new route to add to the list of Ealge AC weekend runs (for those Eagles reading this post the route could be reduced to a 16 mile run). The only drawback this morning was the icy surface at some shaded spots. Goodbye for now and enjoy the holidays.
Fri 4th Dec - 4.87 miles @ 8:12 pace & 133 HR (with 7 x 15 sec hill sprint).
Sat 5th Dec - 13.36 miles @ 8:09 pace & 131HR
Base Week #2 - 38.4 miles
Mon 7th Dec - 10.22 miles @ 7:50 pace & 137 HR
Tue 8th Dec - 6.21 miles with 4 x 1,600m in 6:08/03/03/03.
Wed 9th Dec - 6.21 miles @ 7:55 pace & 132 HR
Thur 10th Dec - 6.2 miles 7:25 pace & 140HR (with 4 miles steady @ 7:03 pace)
Sat 12th Dec - 9.25 miles @ 7:50 pace & 143 HR (Hilly Fartlek run)
Sun 13th Dec - 16.44 miles @ 7:53 pace & 128HR
Base Week #3 - 54.5 miles
Mon 14th Dec - 6.1 miles @ 7:12 pace & 138HR (Steady run)
Tue 15th Dec - 7.93 miles with 5 x 1664m in 6:15/13/15/13/09
Wed 16th Dec - 8.64 miles @ 8:03 pace & 133HR + 2.5 mile treadmill run @ 7:56 pace.
Thur 17th Dec - 6.0 miles @ 7:08 pace & 136HR (with 4 miles @ 6:45 pace)
Sat 19th Dec - 12.86 miles @ 8:51 pace & 118 HR (Eagle AC Christmas Run) Sun 20th Dec - 18.43 miles @ 8:20 pace & 131 HR (Hilly long run)
Base Week #4 - 62.47 miles.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Back in the saddle

I finally managed to get back on the bike last Friday for the first time since splitting my lip off the back of a car. It wasn't for want of trying, it's just that the weather hasn't been the best and I can only get out during daylight. A relatively easy 16+ miles over flat terrain was sufficient. It was evident that I had lost a lot of the gains I had made during the summer. If I want to improve my triathlon times next year the easiest gains can be made on the bike provided I get some decent continuous base training in during the winter. On the running front I am well a truly recovered from Dublin. In fact Dublin felt more like a bump in the road as opposed to an end of season type of race. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I had a lot of running down time in May/June due to injury and the triathlons during the summer prevented me from getting high mileage in. This lack of high endurance mileage in the early build for Dublin does not appear to have affected my performance, so maybe there's a lesson there. I covered 27 miles over 2 weekend runs, 16 with Eagle over a hilly route in Glounthane on Saturday and a further 11 miles on a wet Sunday morning. The coach commented on Tuesday that if I am doing 2 relatively long runs back to back that the last run should be the longest and that the first run should be a fartlek type session so that the legs are already tired heading into the second run. Tuesday's track session was a further step up in the stress ladder with the 2ks @6:20 pace being replaced by miles @ 6:00 pace. We had 3 in all to do with 3 minute recoveries and I was certainly glad when they were over. Still mile repeats at that pace are far easier to do on the track than the road and running as part of a group certainly helps to pull you along when you are flagging. After the repeats I fell in with the 6:30 pace group who were adding 2 further miles to their session. Wednesday's recovery run saw me return to the barefoot fivefingers which gave me no trouble over the slow 5 miles, despite the fact that I had not run in them for over a month. It was back to the track this evening but as the surface had iced over in places I opted for a steady run with Paul & Tony around Bishopstown covering 3.9 miles @ 6:58 pace. 12 weeks to Barcelona Fri 27th Nov 2.5 miles in 19:49 (07:56 pace - Treadmill) Sat 28th Nov 16.03 miles in 2:12:00 (08:14 pace @ 124 HR) Sun 29th Nov 11.31 miles in 1:31:55 (08:08 pace @ 130HR) Base Week 1 - 53.9 miles November (Run 195.5 miles, Bike 25.5 miles, Swim 8,500m) Tue 1st Dec 7 miles approx with 3 x 1600m in 6:04/5:58/6:04 & 2 x 1600m in 6:30 approx. Wed 2nd Dec 5.27 miles in 48:54 (09:17 pace @ 114 HR) -Recovery run Barefoot/Vibrams Thur 3rd Dec 7.89 miles in 1:03:56 (08:06 pace @ 128HR) with 3.9 miles @6:58 pace.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Plugging Away

I finished off my 4th marathon recovery week with back to back 14 mile runs. The first on Saturday was a very hilly solo run through strong winds and intermittent rain. After the heavy rains and recent flooding there was a lot of runoff from the land and the road was more like a river in places. Sunday's club run, by comparison was a relatively flat run through the city to inspect flood damage. At least some people were having fun. The track was closed on Tuesday due to a public sector strike over impending wage cuts so I managed to get out this evening instead to get some more of those 2km intervals in, this time 4 no. with a target 6:40 pace (08:20 overall). I didn't want to push the normal 6:20 pace after my MP run yesterday although I came pretty close during the last rep.
With the marathon four week behind me I should be able to push a little harder over the coming weeks with my distant targets likely to be the Barcelona Marathon on 7th March and the Connemara Ultra 5 weeks later (which I signed up for last night). I know the advice from those who have gone before is to pick one or the other but not both. So I run the risk of hearing the words "I told you so" from a certain Kerry runner on April 11th. What can I say I like the odds. Thur 19th Nov 2.5 miles in 19:49 (07:56 pace - Treadmill) Fri 20th Nov 5.22 miles in 37:02 (07:06 pace @ 142HR) Progression run - 7:55/7:18/6:41/6:26/7:06 Sat 21st Nov 14.23 miles in 1:57:54 (08:17 @ 140HR) Hilly run Sun 22nd Nov 14.82 miles in 2:08:05 (08:39 @ 125 HR) Club Run Recovery Week #4 - 45.28 miles Tue 24th Nov
2.5 miles in 19:49 (07:56 pace - Treadmill) 7.29 miles in 59:49 (08:17 pace @ No HR Monitor) with 5 x 15 sec hill sprints Wed 25th Nov 5.99 miles in 41:59 (07:01 pace @ 146 HR) Steady (MP) Run Thur 26th Nov 8.3 miles in 1:04:45 (07:48 pace @ 134 HR) with 4 x 2 km in 8:11/17/07/7:57 w/2 min recoveries

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Cross Country

My cross country baptism went quite well considering! It's hard to know how hard I raced as pace comparison with road racing goes out the window when you have to deal with shin deep mud, cratered surfaces and bog holes. At least I headed off the biggest potential problem by buying a cheap pair of spikes the day before. The 7km mens course was three and a half laps of undulating terrain around a farm just south of Bandon GAA Club. As it was a club only event the various clans congregated together at the start line, each group noticeable by their club colours (a charged atmosphere). My warmup consisted of a half mile run to break in my new shoes and saturate my feet and socks to acclimatise them to the task at hand. I forgot how much animal compacted clay has the capacity to hold water, even on hills. My strategy was to start conservative and take it out at a steady sustainable pace, which worked out pretty well and gave me confidence as the race progressed. The first half lap was all about getting used to the terrain - letting go on the down hills and plugging away at an even effort on the uphills. I settled into an even pace/effort and appeared to find my placing ,which when looking back after half a mile was certainly closer to the back than the front. However I plugged away and didn't really mind the energy sapping nature of the surface. While the hills were tough I appeared to be steadily gaining places - one or two runners would surge forward when I came on their shoulder but slow down later as my steady pace caught up and passed them. There was no point in tactics that early in the race. The first mile passed in just under 7:30 pace as we approached the end of the first lap. My biggest worry was my ankles which were working hard as they flexed to support me on the uneven surface. My legs felt great and my heart only came under pressure on the tough uphill sections. Mile 2 also came in at about 7:30 pace - so at least I was maintaining my pace. Halfway through the second lap there was a gap of about 60 yards to the few runners in front and I thought that unless they were going to fade (which I doubted) I was not going to reel them in. However they got closer as the lap progressed and I recognised one of them as Paud from the club. I eventually drew alongside him with just over a lap remaining, encouraging him to come with me. Mile 3 just under 7:30 pace again. I pulled ahead of Paud heading into the final lap. There were 2 guys about 30 yards ahead but I was not gaining despite the fact that one would reduce to a walk on parts of the uphills but start up and pass out the other guy on the downhills and that is how they finished. While I was gaining on the 2nd guy I was not going to catch him by the finish line. Mile 4 had gone by in a little over 7:30 and I was comfortably ahead of the next guy. However with about 200 yards to go I heard the spectators cheer for the guy behind not long after I had passed them and Denis Looney from the Club, who came to support, told me to "watch my back". That was all I needed to put in a strong surge over the last 100 yards to keep my position - if only I had surged earlier and been prepared to embrace a bit more pain I might have caught the guy in front. I crossed over the line in 33:03 for the 4.46 miles the Garmin measured (07:25 pace average with the last half mile at 06:53 pace). A few Eagles were waiting for me at the finish line so I don't think my contribution was enough to make the team results (first 4 in each category - Intermediate, M35 & M50) if one or two were under 35 I may be in the M35 results, in which I think Eagles were third so maybe.......... The M50 team came in second and the Eagle women's team did very well taking first and third individual spots ( I think there were 4 in the top 6 or 7) and winning the team event. Thanks to Denis, Andy and Liam (Coach) who came to offer support and encouragement, much appreciated. One benefit of racing on Sunday was that we were told to ease back on Tuesday's track session covering 3 x 2k with the 7:00 pace group as opposed to the 6:20 group while everyone who didn't race had to do 4 x 2k. - I'm beginning to see the benefits of coaching, certainly a more objective view on training. Wed 11th Nov 2.5 miles in 19:49 (7:56 pace - Treadmill) Fri 13th Nov 7.29 miles in 59:40 (8:11 pace @ 137 HR) with 5 x 1 min Fartlek & 5 x 15 sec hill sprints. Sat 14th Nov 11.73 in 1:36:10 (8:12 pace @ 138 HR) Sun 15th Nov 6.05 miles in 49:34 908:12 pace @ 156 HR) with 4.46 miles in 33:03 (07:25 pace @ 164 HR)
Recovery Week #3 - 36 miles Tue 17th Nov a.m. 2.5 miles in 19:49 (07:56 pace treadmill) p.m. 6.04 miles in 50:15 (8:19 pace @ 139 HR) with 3 x 2k in 8:36/42/28

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


I finished off recovery week no. 2 with a 12 mile hilly run along the viaduct loop with Eagle AC on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning. The overall pace was a relatively leisurely 8:30 minute miles which suited me fine - although the hills were still challenging. Today was the day for intervals.......... 6 x 100m in the pool at lunchtime (1,250m total) and 3 x 2,000m at the track in the evening. There was a big group of us on the 5 x 95 second laps (7:55 target). The first, like last week, was a slow 8:01 (that's the last time i'll act as pacemaker). The second swung in the opposite direction - 7:48. The girls paced the final rep and despite a 90 second opening lap kept the pace pretty even until the last 200m where a few of us stretched our legs -7:48. I put my name in the hat for next Sunday's Intermediate/Masters Cross Country in Bandon. I've heard Cross Country is tough particularly if the ground is wet which is guaranteed given recent weather and as I'm not planning on splashing out on a set of spikes i'm expecting one step back for every 2 steps forward - maybe a barefoot run is called for! I think i'll start at the back as some of the more experienced do, except in my case that is where I expect to remain for the duration. Sun 8th Nov 12.11 miles in 1:42:16 (08:27 pace @ 132 HR) Recovery week #2: 27.0 miles Mon 9th Nov 2.5 miles in 19:49 (07:56 pace - treadmill) Tue 10th Nov 5.92 miles in 47:50 (08:04 pace @ 144HR) with 3 x 2k in 7:63/48/48. (3 x 2 minutes at a slow walk)

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Vermillion Border

My new word(s) for the week is Vermillion Border. I never knew I had one until I needed to get it stitched up after a head on collision with the back of the car on Wednesday during my first bike ride in over a month. Why the guys (Connie & Pete of the tri fraternity) decided to head into town and all it's traffic for the lunchtime cycle i'll never know - hindsight is a great thing. In summary I misjudged the car in front which had momentarily stopped to let oncoming traffic past at the bottom of Sundays Well Hill and on taking off I looked down briefly to change gear only to look up and see that the car had stopped again (careful driver) and there wasn't enough time /room to brake in the 2 yard gap between us - so instead the first brake, of wheel against car, slowed forward momentum but not enough to stop me from going head first over the bike and connecting with the back of the car (second brake). My instinctive hand up to my mouth to check for damage revealed quite a bit of blood - so I guessed my upper lip was cut - quite bad I feared by the amount of blood, although I couldn't tell as the whole area was numb. No damage to car or bike. The guy I bumped into turned out to be a cardiologist - can't get one when you need one and I bump into the only one in Munster. He kindly drove me to the A&E of Cork University Hospital where I got assessed and told that it was important to match up the Vermillion Border on both sides of the cut, where the first suture would have to be ( I assume so that my family would recognise me afterwards) and so after 4 hours, 8 external and 5 internal stitches I was discharged into the loving care of my wife. To be quite honest it's more of a hindrance/embarrassment than anything else. The worst pain was the €55 for the antibiotics that the Doctor prescribed and the €100 A&E bill (yet to come). I must say that the care I received was excellent. I couldn't fault the A&E staff, who sometimes have to work in very stressful situations and I had no problem putting up with the wait (wasn't too bad in this case). On the running front my body has all but forgotten that I ran a marathon less than 2 weeks ago. On the Saturday before the marathon my resting heart rate was 38 and this morning it was 37. It shows that I'm in as good a shape as I have ever been - well since I started recording my RHR 3 years ago! Tuesday's track session was 3 x 2km @ 7:55 (6:20 miles) w/ 2min recoveries and while we didn't hit it for the first 2k we got there or thereabouts for the last 2 - 8:03/7:56/7:56. My mid-week accident left me a bit drained so I refrained from running until this morning when I headed out for an easy 5 miler in the rain. In terms of plans for next year, Adrian (my original running partner) and I have tentatively set our eyes on the Barcelona Marathon on 7th March, which we both ran in 2007. Other options include the Rome Marathon on 20th March and Paris on 11th April. Or there's the Connemara Ultra, also on 11th April, for which Barcelona would be a nice training run!!! Decisions Decisions. Monday 2nd Nov
2.5 miles in 19:50 907:56 pace - Treadmill) Tue 3rd Nov 7.13 miles in 58:16 (8:10 pace) with 2 x 2k in 8:04/7:57/7:56 Sat 7th Nov 5.26 miles in 43:59 (08:21 pace @ 126 HR) Paul and I chasing hares at the HSE 4 Miler on 1st November (Photos Courtesy of Richard Cronin)

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Breaking All The Rules

Abina told me yesterday on good advice from a friend, who heard it on the radio from a well respected physio that you should not run for 26 days after a marathon ( 1 day for every mile of racing). I told her that I had heard that alright.
Then she asked did I go out on the bike in the morning. "No" I replied "I went on a 5 mile run". "You're not supposed to do that!" she replied.
Actually the 5 miles went quite well and there were no latent niggles from the marathon. My left hip and right calf were a bit tender later in the run but noting to write home about.
Later in the afternoon I got a text from Paul saying that he was thinking of running the HSE 4 miler in the Marina this morning and what did I think. I replied that I planned on running it at an easy pace. Two years ago I had run it at 8 minute pace a week after Dublin and last year I equalled my then PB of 25:19 two weeks after Amsterdam. This morning with Paul as hare I hit a time in between these 2.
I had planned running at 7 minute pace, but a chat with Joe Murphy beforehand had convinced us (well Paul really) to go out at about 6:50 pace. So the miles went something like this:-
Mile 1 - 6:42 - steady pace, Paul leading the way, could make it under 27 minutes at this rate.
Mile 2 - 6:29 - christ we're now close to 26 minute pace - this is not going to be the easy run I had expected.
Mile 3 - 6:35 - still on pace and my legs are fine. Keep following Paul because he's not slowing down.
In fact with about half a mile to go he surges past 2 guys in front. "that's it" I thought "leave him off - I can only manage the steady pace i'm at and my HR is in the 170's" (Joe Murphy had advised me earlier to leave the HR monitor at home for races and run on feel - I think he's right) - I didn't feel great either though as general fatigue set in.
However Paul didn' go too far ahead and now there was a bunch of four of us with me taking up the rear as we took the last left turn with about 400m to go. One of the guys who Paul had overtaken came back at him and went out in front - I was reasonably content to hang on the back and coast home. However with about 40 m to go I was on the shoulder of Paul and no. 3 and saw no reason why I shouldn't make a break for the line as no one else was taking it out and that's what I did and came in under the clock at 26:12 - Mile 4 in 6:26.
I felt a bit guilty as Paul had led and paced me for most of the race - there were times that I thought I'd leave him go but decided to hang on for as long as I could. Good race practice I thought afterwards, "but for what, you're just after a marathon!".
My final thoughts on Dublin are that I could have pushed the pace a little over the last 6 miles. I had a positive split of 2:36 (1:33:11/1:35:47). At mile 11 and again at mile 16 my cumulative pace predicted a 3:05:46 finish (had I maintained that pace to the end) - so at best I could have eeked out another 3 minutes - although I don't think it would have been possible to maintain 7:05 pace to the end - I might have had a slightly better chance if I had managed to average 7 minute pace for the first half/15 miles and average 7:10/15 for the second half.
Sat 30th Oct
5.28 miles in 41:43 (07:54 pace @ 133HR)
October (Run 205 miles, Bike NIL, Swim 4,000m) - Never did get that post marathon recovery bike ride in.
Sun 1st Nov
6.95 miles in 52:42 (07:35 pace @ 147 HR) with 4 miles in 26:12 (06:33 pace @ 163 HR)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Dublin...The Story

In the few days before Dublin I read the Pfitz-Douglas advice on "Race-Day Strategy" (Chapter 7). They split the race into three sections:- The first half in which the opening pace should be a little less than race pace and the job is to cruise to 13.1 miles without expending too much mental energy. If you're not cruising over this section then you're in trouble for the second half. On to 20 miles - the no-man's-land of the marathon where mental discipline & focus is required to maintain pace which tends to drift due to lapses in concentration more than anything else. Bad patches can be expected but they should pass. The final 6 miles and 385 yards - The key is to push as hard as you can without having disaster strike in the form of cramps. This assumes that you have something left in the tank. If not then it can be a very painful experience. My race experience in Dublin fits nicely into these three sections but not necessarily for the reasons outlined above. But first things first.................... Preparation Pat and I rose about six and after a hearty breakfast (porridge, muesli, bagels/peanut/banana) we loaded up with every conceivable thing we could possibly think we might need (in duplicate) and after numerous trips to the toilet left for the 10 mile+ drive into town shortly before 0730. On arrival we hung around the toilets on Merrion Square for a half an hour, resting on the steps of one of the georgian buildings fronting the square as we did our pre-race preparation - greasing, plastering nipples, loading up gels, stretching ........until we handed in our bags and headed for the start line with about 40 minutes to go. We met up with Pat Twomey and Tadhg Og Lynch and were joined by Derek O'Keeffe, Denis Looney, Denis Carroll and Thomas. No sign of John Desmond and Paul Daly who also had arranged to meet us. Conditions were perfect - mild, no wind and sunny. We were about 30 yards back from the front. This was the first time that pacers were being used in Dublin with pacing balloons for 3:00, 3:30, 4:00 and 4:30 I think. There was a big cheer when one of the two yellow 3:30 balloons escaped from its minder and floated skywards. "How do they expect us to follow that". I took a Go gel 5 minutes before the start. My belt was loaded with 8 gels and 3 Salt Caps and I still had a further gel in my pocket. My number was hanging from my belt also - which turned out to be a bad idea as I found out in the opening 100 yards. The First Half Finally the gun went off and we trotted for a 100 yards before the pace gradually picked up. It was evident early on that the first mile would not be at target race pace, due to the congestion. The first thing I noticed was the weight of my gel belt when running felt far more uncomfortable (particularly as over half my gels were the large 60ml Go gels) that I would have expected. While I thought the belt was tight when stationary it now felt loose and started rising and falling with every step and rotating around my waist. My number folded up and was no longer visible but as long as it stayed on my belt and the belt stayed on me I was ok (the timing chip was on the number). So the first half mile was spent transferring the heavy gels from my belt to my pockets as I tried to redistribute my payload. Thomas's reference to being like a pack mule certainly rang true.
I lost Thomas momentarily during the first mile and the two Pats had gone out in front - repeat of Cork to Cobh. Mile 1 went by in 7:33 (139 HR) (although we passed a 1 mile sign at 7:03 - The Garmin was set to manual laps). We caught up with the two Pats halfway up O'Connell Street and for a spell we were all together. Mile 2 in 7:04 and Mile 3 in 7:08 (152 & 157 HR) - we were on target pace or thereabouts but my HR's were higher than expected). I'm not too sure who was with me at this stage other than Pat Twomey who exchanged the lead with me from time to time up to about mile 5 or 6 in the Phoenix Park. I hadn't seen Thomas or Pat for some time and while I had assumed they were close behind this assumption faded the longer I couldn't see them. Pat told me later that, as he was pacing off Pat Twomey, he stopped to use the loo in the Phoenix Park when Pat Twomey did, but when he emerged he was on his own and ran on his own until the 8 mile mark when he was joined by Paul Daly, who paced him most of the way to the finish. I missed the split for the 4 mile mark. Shortly before the 5 mile mark I bumped into Paudie Birmingham as I rounded the corner onto Chesterfield Avenue. I don't know how he spotted me as I came from behind - He introduced himself by saying "Solo Run?" - I guessed who he was from his Mallow AC singlet. He certainly looked comfortable. We wished each other well as I went on my way chasing Pat Twomey through the Phoenix Park. Miles 4 & 5 in 14:06 (07:03 average @ 157 HR). Miles 1 to 5 in 35:51 (51 seconds off 7:00 target pace). For most of the race I only ever concentrated on current mile pace (which is what the Garmin was set to - that and heart rate) as opposed to overall pace. If you look after each mile the race will take care of itself. Pat and I were running on the shoulder of another well known Cork runner, Mary Sweeney, between miles 4 and 6. It was at the 6 mile mark that I lost contact with Pat and was largely on my own for the rest of the race. Mile 6 in 7:10 (160 HR) - 43:01 total I passed over the 10k timing mat in 44:52 clock time (44:28 chip time) . Mile 7 and 8 went by in 14:04 (07:02 pace @ 163HR - 57:05 total) despite being a net downhill (two years ago I recorded a 6:45 pace for mile 8 and had anticipated a faster pace this time out). This was the first period in the race where I felt things might be getting a bit tough and my HR was already above 160. My fueling strategy of taking a gel every 3 miles or so was working so far.
The 9th mile took us out of the Phoenix Park to Chapelizod. While I thought I was under a bit of pressure my time for miles 9 to 11 of 20:51 (06:57 pace @ 162 HR - 1:17:56) suggested I was doing fine. Miles 6 to 10 in 35:08 approx (8 seconds off target 7:00 pace - 59 seconds off target in total) As I was concentrating on mile splits i was neither aware of or concerned about the overall time deficit.
The long drag out the Crumlin Road, while easier that previous years as there was no headwind, still slowed my pace giving Mile 12 in 7:14 (159 HR) The reduced HR suggests I was slacking or taking a mid-race breather. From about mile 11 to the halfway mark I was tracking 3 guys from Slaney Olympic running club with their distinctive Wexford Colours. They helped drag me up the Crumlin Road and after the 12th mile rest Mile 13 came in at 7:03 (still 159 HR though). As I crossed the halfway timing mat with 1:33:35 on the clock (1:33:11 chip time) I heard the 3 guys checking with each other that they were ok for what I thought was an increase in pace and that they should make it under 3:10. I said that 3:10 and under was certainly achievable. On to 20 miles Once the halfway point was crossed I felt I had crossed a threshold as there was less left to run that I had run. Over the next few miles I felt very comfortable in my pace. I had passed the three guys from Slaney Olympic and there was no one to pace off as no one was running at my pace. I was picking off runners in front and passing them out - certainly a new experience for me at this stage in the race. Miles 14 & 15 came in at 14:08 (07:04 pace @ 160HR) - 15 miles in 1:46:21 (81 seconds off 7:00 pace avg) Miles 11 to 15 in 35:22 approx (22 seconds off target pace) This section of the race was my most comfortable. I began engaging with the crowds of spectators at each junction encouraging them to cheer which gave me a great boost - for about 100 yards after which my pace fell back to normal. I continued to pour gels into me every 3 miles and had taken an S-cap at mile 9 (another due at mile 18) and while I was less inclined to take them as the race wore on I took them "whether I liked them or not" and suffered no ill effect (other than my pace dropped while taking them which was more noticeable towards the end). I only took water at the stations refusing offers of gels and sports drinks - and water was all I wanted. Mile 16 in 7:01 (160 HR) and 17 in 7:08 (162HR) went by uneventfully but all the time dropping seconds off my original 7:00 target. My primary goal, however, was to keep going at the same effort level and get over the rise up to Fosters Avenue and the 20 mile mark fairly intact - no heroics. From mile 16 I was counting down the final 10 miles. Mile 18 and 19 came in at 14:24 (07:12 avg @ 161 HR) as the long drag from Clonskeagh to the Roebuck Road commenced. This is usually the section where you begin to see a noticeable increase in the number of runners reduced to run/walking. Shortly before the 20 mile mark I heard a scream from a runner lying at the side of the road as an elderly lady tried to stretch his hamstring. My pace had reduced to 7:30 - 7:40 pace along this section as the road rose to Fosters Avenue and fell again towards the Stillorgan Road. I missed the 20 miles mark but recorded a slow 14:56 for Miles 20 & 21 (07:28 pace @ 163 HR)
Miles 16 to 20 in 36:01 approx (61 seconds off target pace - 142 seconds in total) The final 6 miles and 385 yards From about mile 18 my left glute and hip was giving pain and my right calf was tightening up. While I felt reasonably comfortable at mile 20 I was not willing to push myself too much particularly as I was not chasing a specific time goal and the risk of disaster if my right calf began to cramp was too much. Having said that Mile 22 came in at 7:03 (161 HR) but that was my last sub 7:10 mile. Shortly after the 22 mile mark I came up on Denis Carroll, which surprised me as he is a consistently even paced runner who finishes ahead of me in local races in Cork. I suspected that he must have went out at a pace that he could not maintain and had suffered as a result (on checking the results later he passed the halfway mark close to 1:30 suggesting that he was chasing the elusive 3 hour barrier - i'm glad I wasn't chasing the same goal as I would have suffered more than Denis).
Mile 23 in 7:14 was respectable (162HR) but Mile 24 slowed to 7:41 (164HR) while the effort felt the same. Still I felt reasonably comfortable compared to my typical mile 24 of previous marathons. John Quigley from Eagle was taking photos at mile 24.5 but somehow managed to miss me despite my Eagle singlet. The last 2 miles were more of a struggle as the effort level increased just to keep the pace from dropping. Still it was quite manageable and I was still able to raise my arms to the crowds lining the streets encouraging cheers, although it was much more of a chore than it had been at mile 16. Mile 25 in 7:40 (163HR) Mile 21 to 25 in 37:06 approx (126 seconds off target pace, 266 seconds in total) My finishing pace over the last 1.2 miles around Trinity College and down Nassau Street remained below 8 minute pace and raising my arms approaching the finish line cost me another few seconds as I was passed with 10 yards to go. The first time I was aware of the overall time was the 3:08:xx on the clock about 200 yards before the finish - I suspect this clock is there to spur on runners that may be tight for a specific time goal - I might have put in a supreme effort if the clock had showed 2:59:09 - but 3:08:xx didn't inspire the same urgency. I crossed the line with 3:09:22 on the clock and a chip time of 3:08:58 which will do me nicely. 472nd overall and 77th M40. So a top 500 position in Dublin for the first time out of 10,413 finishers and a PB by 8 minutes & 7 seconds. Pat came in just over a minute later to record an 11 minute PB of 1:10:15 and Paul Daly a minute later again to record a 22+ minute PB of 3:11:11. We limped our away around Merrion Square to the physio tent and met John Desmond and Derek O'Keeffe who both had beaten the 3 hour barrier by a minute or 2, Derek in his first marathon, which is a fantastic achievement.
Recovery The post race physio was the best I ever got after a marathon and no one touched my legs. Instead we were taken through our paces as we did a series of whole body stretches from the neck down and warmdown exercises under the guidance of a nice looking girl with a headset all to the sound of music. You can imagine it is the last thing someone would want after running 26.2 miles but I walked out of there with my legs relatively intact and in working order and while I expected to cease up during the 3 hour plus drive back to Cork later in the day I was no worse and Pat an I headed for a pint of the black stuff at the local before heading home. Following a thrall through hundreds of photos on line at (thanks Darren) This was the only photo I could find... coming in with just under a mile to the finish line and 1 gel still hanging from my belt and another in the zipped pouch.
My recovery continues and while my legs have never felt better after a marathon ( some tenderness in my quads) I will not run for a few more days. An easy 500m swim today and a bike ride before the weekend will do me for now.

Monday, 26 October 2009


My 2 previous Dublin marathons left me wasted well before the finish line. Today was time for revenge. 1) I was going to beat the course and 2) I was going to enjoy doing it. Conditions were perfect for running, mild with sunny spells and little wind. While my 7:00 opening pace did not materialise I wasn't too far off the mark and from the few clocks around the course my splits were approximately:- 10k - 44:xx 21.1k - 1:33:3x (Halfway) 30k - 2:12:xx Finish - 3:09:23 (3:08:58 on the Garmin - 7:12 pace) My fueling strategy went to plan as I loaded up with sugar right to the 24 mile mark. It was only the last 2 miles that felt tough as my pace slackened to 7:40 minute miles. My average HR of 160 (despite it rising above this earlier than expected) suggests that my heart is stronger than my legs - so there may be room for improvement. Time for a shower and the drive back to Cork...........I hope my legs survive the journey! More later..................... Mon 26th October 26.2 miles in 3:08:58 (07:12 PACE @ 160hr) - Provisional result of Dublin City Marathon - beat my PB by 8 minutes.

Sunday, 25 October 2009


My last run in my build up to Dublin was an easy 4 miler in the park yesterday on a beautiful sunny afternoon. My legs felt fine and I can't say I have any niggles - no excuses.
Today I travelled to Dublin with Pat next door picked up our bits and bobs at the RDS and made a few purchases. I bought a gel belt as I could not find my belt at home when packing. This belt can hold 6 gels with a further 2 in a zipped pocket - so there may be no need to carry any in my shorts. The belt also holds a small plastic container (not unlike that used for camera film) which I have assumed is for carrying tablets - it could be handy for the salt tablets I bought in "The Edge" shop yesterday in my futile quest for a replacement fuel belt.
We met a few more Eagles in the RDS, runners and supporters alike. We agreed to meet about 30 yards behind the start line (on the right hand side) in the morning about 30 minutes before the start. Pat and I stopped in Blackrock for some pasta (with a side order of spaghetti) before heading to my brother's home in Cabinteely for the night. Just loading up the belts, reading some last minute advice picked up at the expo and keeping blogs up to date.
Wish us luck!
Sat 24th Oct
4 miles in 32:24 (08:06 pace @ 126HR)
Marathon Week 13/13 - 22.44 miles.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Dodging Bullets

Having got through my marathon build without an injury I thought I was on the home straight. Then illness hit my family with all four children out sick from school on Monday with varying complaints from colds, headaches & nausea - you name it they got it. To add to my worries I was feeling mild aches, pains and shivers which is a normal indication of worse to come, but I was hoping that it was a mild reaction to the flu jab I got at work last Thursday. As the week went on the feeling subsided and the kids began to drift back to school (not all there yet) so hopefully I have avoided catching anything.
I continued with my taper getting 43 miles in last week culminating in a 12.7 mile run with Eagle AC on Sunday (8 in all with 7 of us running Dublin - 5 of us with targets of between 7:00 and 7:15 pace - interesting!). This is the first year that there will be pacers in the marathon (I assume from 3hr pace and up @ 15 minute intervals) We had a bit of a laugh when someone (who shall remain nameless) concluded that the pacers will guarantee that you come in at a certain time - it'll be hard enough for the pacers to guarantee their own time not to mind yours.
Tuesdays track session was 3 x 1,600m at MP with no recoveries. A further discussion with Pat and Paul after the session on what pace we'll run on Sunday was inconclusive. They'll be heading out at 7:10 to 7:20 pace and perhaps ramp up to 7:00 pace after 2 miles. The advice from the coach (Liam - Laurence to some ;) was to certainly to go out slower than MP so as to avoid the early build up of lactic acid - 5 or 10 seconds per mile too fast could be enough to tip the balance in favour of hitting the wall early and often, and it is easy to make up 20 or 30 seconds from mile 3 to 20 compared to what could be lost later in the race if you head out too fast. Pace should be conversational (but without the conversation).
Wednesday's lunchtime run was an easy recovery run (needless to say Brendan was absent) just to keep my legs ticking over.
This evening was the dress rehearsal with 2 MP miles built into a 7 mile run. I even loaded 6 gels into the pockets of my shorts (3 more could fit on my running belt) for a more realistic simulation. The run went reasonably smoothly - the 2 warmup miles @ 7:30 pace went very smoothly, the 2nd MP mile felt a little tougher than the first although the HR's were similar (144/146) and the 3 warmdown miles felt a little tougher than the 7:5x pace @ 139/144/144 HR. Still I'm not worried as long as I can remain illness free for the next few days. All that's left now is 1 or 2 easy runs before heading to Dublin on Sunday.
Sat 17th Oct
5 miles in 40:20 (08:04 pace - treadmill)
Sun 18th Oct
12.66 miles in 1:43:50 (8:12 pace @ 128 HR)
Marathon Training Week #12/13 - 43.69 miles
Tue 20th Oct
6.39 miles in 48:54 (7:39 pace @ 136 HR) with 4,800m @ MP (07:00)
Wed 21st Oct
5.02 miles in 41:40 (8:18 pace @ 124 HR)
Thur 22nd Oct
7.03 miles in 52:53 (7:32 @ 139 HR) with 2 miles @ MP (7:01 pace)

Friday, 16 October 2009

Walking the walk

While this week sees a cut in running volume, running quality has taken a front seat with an emphasis on race pace - I have to get used to the feel of 7 minute miles. All runs have been in the evening, which is unusual for me. I'm not complaining as it gave me extra rest in the morning.
Tuesday at the track was the first session of the week where I teamed up with John D for what I though would be 1k sets. John suggested we ease up on the speed with 95 second laps (90 seconds in previous weeks) but somehow we ended up doing 2k repeats, 3 in all (the most track speedwork I have done this build). The extra 5 seconds per lap made all the difference and the repeats felt smooth, coming in 5 or 6 seconds under the 7:55 target. Wednesdays run was relatively short at 5 miles so I had decided to test out my marathon pace after the mile warmup - initially intending to run 3 x 7 minute miles but I kept the effort up over the last mile coming in at 28:07 for the 4 miles (07:01 pace) with my HR maxing at 150. Todays run was a 10 miler again with the bulk of it at MP. I figured that this would be my last hard session with plenty of time to recover as I'm still 10 days out from Dublin. I had initiallly planned for 8 MP miles, cut it back to 5 or 6 early in the run and ultimately extended it out to 9 miles as I wanted to see how my HR would vary. Once I got into the 7 minute groove my pace felt comfortable and steady for the bulk of the run with very little deviation except for the few undulations where I kept the effort reasonably even and the pluses and minuses balanced each other out. I didn't want to push the inclines too much just to maintain pace as the price would be too much in a marathon - I knew the average pace would drop again as the rise gave way to a fall. There were a couple of spots where my pace drifted off and I had to concentrate on gradually upping it to get back on track. I covered the 9 miles in 63:02 (07:00 pace) with splits varying with the undulations from 6:53 to 7:07. My avg HR for each mile rose from 136 (low following stretching after warmup mile) to 156, with a max of 161 - similar to the first 9 miles of Cork to Cobh. I would hope to keep my average HR for each mile below 160 for the first half of Dublin which should leave me enough in the tank for the more demanding second half. Tue 13th Oct 2.5 miles in 19:49 (07:56 pace - Treadmill) 8 miles @ about 7:56 pace with 3 x 2k in 07:48/50 (06:17/18 pace) Wed 14th Oct 5.28 miles in 37:37 (7:07 @ 139 HR) with 4 miles in 28:07 (07:01 pace) Fri 16th Oct 10.25 miles in 01:12:31 (07:04 pace @ 147 HR) with 9 miles in 63:02 (07:00 pace)

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Let the waiting game begin

At last - the work is done, last long run under my belt, time to sit back and pile on the lbs as I fill myself with carbs and water, storing them like a camel for the long journey ahead. 7 of us in all headed out from UCC farm this morning for a hilly run through the countryside with John, the route selector, like the conductor of an orchestra pointing this way and that whenever we came to a crossroads and turned to him for guidance. 6 of us (John, Derek, Pat, Paul, Denis and I) are heading to Dublin in 2 weeks time and Phil to New York the week after. The last and only time I completed this hilly run I had a calf tear on the last climb so when I got to the top of said climb today I dropped to my knees and kissed the road. Injury free and only 2 weeks to go, now is the time for even more caution! Looks like I will have some company in Dublin as Paul, Pat and I ,who finished within a minute of each other in Cork to Cobh, agreed to head out at 7:00 pace and at least stay together through the first 15 to 20 miles. After that it's a 10k sprint to the finish ;) A few laps of the 2.3 mile circuit around UCC farm after the run got me to 20.9 miles for the day and just over the 70 mile mark for the week - only the second 70+ mile week during this marathon build. Lets see if quality beats quantity in 2 weeks time. Sat 10th Oct 10.72 miles in 1:25:00 (07:56 pace @ 133 HR) with 9 x 15 second hill sprints - went longer than planned but it was a lovely sunny morning. Sun 11th Oct 20.9 miles in 2:52:17 (08:15 @ 140 HR) - Hilly Run Marathon Training Week #11/13 - 70.76 miles.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Exercising Caution

Mondays run was a recovery run with Brendan at lunchtime. The effort certainly felt harder than the pace/HR displayed on the Garmin and my legs were pretty stiff after Sundays run. The 138 HR for the 8 minute pace was certainly higher than normal for me which showed that I was recovering despite the fact that I had not run hard on Sunday. Still I suppose 15 miles at MP should have some impact if 26.2 miles at the same pace makes walking downstairs a chore. Brendan on the other had appeared very energetic after his 1:38 Cork to Cobh. As I was unable to get to the track on Tuesday evening I opted for an easy 7 miler in the park which was all I needed as there was still some residual tightness in my calves from Sunday. I was also conscious of the fact that following Cork to Cobh last year I had a track session on the Tuesday and suffered a calf strain during a 2 mile tempo run on the Thursday which upset the rest of my training plan for Amsterdam. Obviously I had not recovered fully following Cork to Cobh. Wednesday was mid-week long run day although the (half ) planned 15 miles was cut to under 14 as I was a bit tardy in getting up and out the door (one foot in the bed syndrome). With a work induced day off on Thursday I was ready for a bit of speedwork this morning - I can't avoid it altogether. Despite the early rise on Wednesday and again for work on Thursday I was reasonably refreshed this morning with all the residual tightness in my legs gone. I had enough time for 2 x 3 miles @ HM pace (the slower end of Tempo pace). The first 3 miles went by reasonably well in 6:38/35/32 (6:35 avg). On the return leg along Inchagaggin Lane and back out the Straight Road through Ballincollig I kept pace behind a guy on a bike for about a mile and a half (his flashing red tail-light was all I could see). He pulled away on the flat but came back to me on the rise past Carrigrohane Post Office. I must have spooked him a little - a bit disconcerting hearing footfalls and heavy breathing behind you in the pre-dawn darkness. My pace suffered over the second mile (net rise) but recovered to give a 6:39 average pace (6:38/46/33). The good news is that my calves held up to run another day. I've been thinking about my race day nutrition strategy as it is the single most important factor when it come to maintaining race pace, particularly over the last 6 miles, if I am lucky enough to get that far without bonking. What got me thinking about it was Nics experience in the Fox Cities Marathon, (where he missed a sub-3 hour time by 8 seconds) and how a lack of fuel can lead to a serious bonk, despite feeling on top of the world beforehand. Although I think Nics problem on the day was his body's inability/refusal to take on fuel. I have read that about 300 calories per hour is the optimum requirement. This site recommends 0.5g of carbs per lb of body weight per hour which for me (about 180lbs) equates to about 90g of carbs per hour. The GO gels I use have 22g of carbs & 87 calories - so i'd need to take 4 per hour which appears a bit excessive. This other site reckons that, for my body weight and race pace, I will burn 972 calories per hour and that as "Research shows runners can physically absorb about 30 percent of what they expend" I should be replacing 292 calories per hour, but only after 60 to 90 minutes of racing (I assume when glycogen stores diminish) They all point towards taking 3 to 4 gels per hour (assuming water is the only fluid intake) but I would be a bit reluctant to wait 60 to 90 minutes before taking on carbs. My own thoughts are that if I can keep it down the more the merrier. Comments/advice welcome.............. especially on how to carry that many gels.
Have a good weekend Mon 5th Oct 5.67 miles in 45:12 (7:59 pace @ 138 HR) Tue 6th Oct 2.5 miles in 19:49 (07:56 pace - treadmill) 7.26 miles in 56:12 (7:44 pace @ 131 HR) Wed 7th Oct 13.71 miles in 1:45:24 (7:42 pace @ 135HR) Fri 9th Oct 10 miles in 1:11:54 (7:11 pace @ 147HR) with 2 x 3 miles in19:45 & 19:57 (39:42 - 6:37 avg)

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Resisting the urge

There were a couple of times during todays Cork to Cobh 15 miler that the urge came on me to break out of the 7 minute miles I was running and chase after a few "hares". I resisted until about the last mile and a half which was too late to do any real damage to my plans for a trial marathon paced (fingers crossed) run. I headed into town with Pat O'Connor, my next door neighbour, with plenty of time to get in 5 miles before the race, but ended up warming up over 2.5 miles. Pat was planning on heading out at 7:00 pace also. I was a few rows behind him and Pat Twomey at the start. Pat Twomey was aiming for 7:10 pace, so I thought I would see them both once we settled into our paces. Some of the other Eagles were heading out at 6:45 pace (the sub-3 club) and others at 7:30 pace. I settled into a comfortable pace from the start covering the first mile in 7:03. No sign of the 2 Pats. They must have headed out at a faster pace, which should not have surprised me. I tried to mimic my plan for Dublin by taking on plenty of gels to see if I could stomach them - no issue there - I took 4 in all. For the first 8 miles I settled into a small group of runners that appeared to be yo-yoing back and forth against my steady pace. I passed halfway in 52:18 (06:58 pace - 12 seconds ahead of target) and the half marathon point in 1:31:12 (06:57 pace - 34 seconds ahead of target).
My pace upped slightly after 13.5 miles as I heard a few runners on my heels and basic instinct kicked in. Shortly before the 14 mile mark I caught up with Pat Twomey and could see Pat O'Connor ahead. As my legs were relatively fresh I decided to go for it over the last mile - "can't hurt me that much". I don't think Pat was too happy as I came up behind him with half a mile to go. I pushed on passing a few more and down the hill for a sprint finish to the line stopping my watch at 1:43:15 - 6:01 for the last mile and 105 seconds ahead of target. A slow 2.5 mile warmdown with Pat gave us 20 miles for the day. Well done to Brendan who had a "Cork to Cobh" to remember! Can I hold 7 minute pace for a marathon - I don't know but i'll give it a good shot if the first 15 miles feel anything like today.
Splits as follows:-
Mile Pace Time HR
1 00:07:03 00:07:03 132
2 00:06:54 00:13:57 143
3 00:06:57 00:20:54 142
4 00:06:59 00:27:53 144
5 00:06:54 00:34:47 148
6 00:06:57 00:41:44 154
7 00:07:02 00:48:46 155
8 00:06:57 00:55:43 156
9 00:06:57 01:02:40 152
10 00:06:55 01:09:35 153
11 00:07:01 01:16:36 158
12 00:06:47 01:23:23 159
13 00:07:04 01:30:27 165
14 00:06:47 01:37:14 165
15 00:06:01 01:43:15 169
Sun 4th Oct 20.12 miles in 2:25:46 (07:15 pace @ 147 HR) with 15 miles in 1:43:15 (06:53 pace @ 153 HR) Marathon Training Week 10/13 - 67.08 miles. Postscript:- Photos at 100m to go. .

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Tough Tempo

Of all speedwork sessions I do I find the tempo run the toughest of them all. Fartleks are fast, brief and "fun" (well it does translate as speedplay). Intervals are short, controlled and measured - especially on the track. Hill sprints are likewise relatively short, although muscle zapping. Tempo runs and long ones in particular are all about the mental game of hanging on and toughing it out, fighting the desire to quit - which is some of the best race training you can get - but certainly not fun, especially before 7 in the morning. As I am close to my peak training week I reckoned Friday's tempo run should be long so I decided on 2 x 4 miles @ HM pace, which based on my last race is about 6:40 miles. When I rose shortly after 5 however I was already settling for any pace between 6:40 and 7:00, with my priority running the overall distance at a comfortably hard effort. After a mile and a half warmup I set off on the first 4 miles starting out relatively slow. Running hard early in the morning is still a bit of a shock to the system and takes a bit of time to adjust to. The first mile was the slowest at 6:48 and I got progressively faster - 6:41, 6:38 and 6:26 giving 26:35 in all (6:39 pace - on target). After a half mile recovery I was less than confident going into the return 4 miles and had thought about cutting it short or at least splitting it up especially as the pace was suffering - 6:46 & 6:50 for the first 2 miles. I half expected this due to an overall lack of tempo/endurance training. However I pushed on for mile 3 and improved to 6:38. "Only one mile to go, no point in splitting the run it's all about pushing the barrier and recruiting those hard to mobilise muscle fibres that only come out in an emergency such as miles 20 to 26.2 at the end of the month - stopping for a temporary recovery will be counter productive". The pace over that last mile got faster the closer I got to the end - in anticipation of that imaginary finish line - 6:24. 26:38 for the return 4 miles (06:40 pace - done and dusted) 3 seconds slower that the first 4. All in all a good specific endurance run and glad that I didn't bail. Todays run in the park was a relatively easy 5 miler as my calves continue to loosen up. Hopefully they will be loose enough to churn out some decent MP miles tomorrow. Friday 2nd Oct 11.86 miles in 1:23:49 (7:04 pace @ 151 HR) with 2 x 4 miles in 26:35 & 26:38 (53:13 - avg 6:39 pace) Sat 3rd Oct 5.24 miles in 41:13 (07:52 pace @ 125 HR) .

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Time to move on

It's about time I concentrated on my training for Dublin. With a little over 4 weeks to go I have another 2 weeks of solid training before tapering. The first test of my marathon legs will be on Sunday morning in the 15 miles between Cork & Cobh. Unlike last year I won't be looking for a PB but a solid performance with at least 10 of the 15 miles at marathon pace, which I have optomistically set at 7 minute mile pace. If I finish in 1:45 feeling "relatively" fresh i'll have a better idea of my capability come October 26th. My plan is to get in an additional 5 miles between the warmup and cooldown to get 20 in total. I stand corrected in my last post in relation to the wait for the results of last weekends Tri (apologies Nuala) as the results were e-mailed to me on Monday. my splits were:- Swim - 00:28:07 (7th - closer to 1800m) T1 - 00:2:26 (including 200m run) Bike - 1:27:00 (including 2 saddle fittings) T2 - 00:00:59 Run - 00:35.23 (4th - about 8.6k = 6:39 mile pace) Overall - 2:33:55 I reckon I lost about 13 minutes on the bike and would have come in around 2:21 if my saddle had stayed on. Ah well there's always next time. This week got off to a poor start on the running front as a long day on the work front (0625 - 1900) put paid to any notions of hitting the road on Monday. Tuesday was track day with another 5 x 1,000m in 3:45 (6 minute mile pace) in the bag. I know I probably should be upping the number or reps or the distance as I get closer to peak week but I was happy to do the 5. I ran with John and Paud from the club, who are both faster that I am, which showed during the last rep when they sprinted off with 200m to go and put 60m on me coming in at 3:22 to my 3:31. All in all a good workout. The early rise on Wednesday morning to get my mid-week medium-long run in before 7 was tough particularly as I left it a bit late and pushed the pre-dawn pace a little more that i'm used to in order to make sure I got the 15 miles in (last weeks late rise cost me 3.5 miles). What can I say I need the endurance. I'm still waiting for the day i'll get sense and pack it all in. Todays run was consigned to a 4.5 mile run around Bishopstown during a late lunchbreak before collecting Ani from school. I don't think she appreciated the fact that her Dad collected her from school by "running up the road past the school gate looking all sweaty". While stretching against the front of the car one of the mums asked whether I had trouble with the car or my calf and did I need any help. Tue 29th Sept 2.5 miles in 19:49 (07:56 pace - Treadmill) 7.83 miles in 1:06:49 (8:32 pace @ 131HR) with 5 x 1k in 3:41/43/40/42/31 Wed 30th Sept 15 miles in 1:54:06 (07:36 pace @ 138HR) September (Run 198 miles, Bike 250 miles, Swim 6.8km) Thur 1st Oct 4.54 miles in 33:35 (07:24 pace @ 138HR) September

Sunday, 27 September 2009

I need a new bike

Beautiful sunshine greeted us yesterday morning on the Dingle peninsula as we headed for the pier at Scraggane (beyond Castlegregory) to sign up for the Seven Frogs Triathlon. I had been feeling tired and out of sorts all week with my running feeling sub par. So I didn't know how I was going to fare. As Triathlons go the Seven Frogs is a bit disorganised (not organised enough to suit Triathlon Ireland standards) but supposedly good fun. The Olympic distance event (56 of us in all) was kicking off at 2:00pm with the Sprint (about 170 or so - in 3 waves) a half an hour later.
The swim was around Scraggane Bay with buoys no bigger than a large football to guide us. Needless to say it was fun trying to spot where we were supposed to go - some wandered way off course, heading for international waters. Whatever about spotting small buoys from the elevated position of the pier it was nigh impossible from an elevation of 6 inches above the water surface. Still I sighted off one or two in front as I zig-zagged a trail behind them constantly adjusting my course. The water was beautiful and clear (Sea swimming is so much better than in a lake or river) . Coming in towards the slipway I was neck and neck with a guy in a green cap (most of us were in yellow) managing to get out of the water just ahead of him. He passed me on the 200m sprint to transition as I had to stop to pick up my goggles and hat after dropping them. Still I ran in behind him to transition not wanting to lose time - until I saw him stop and walk as he handed his chip to another guy who headed straight out on his bike while I had to struggle out of my wetsuit.
The 40km cycle was back towards Castlegregory. I passed 2 before turning right onto the main Tralee Dingle Road, after about 10k, where the Marshall said that I was in fifth position. That gave me a bit of a boost as I headed west towards Stradbally and the Conor Pass. After a mile or 2 I could see 2 guys in front cycling side by side and began to gain on them steadily. However despite getting to within 50 yards they pulled away again. The road rose towards the Conor Pass but we turned right before it got too steep and headed downhill for about 2k towards Cloghane before taking a sharp right and heading back east towards Castlegregory. I could still see the 2 guy in front whenever the bends gave way to long straights.
With about 15k to go the unthinkable happened (well not quite unthinkable as it happened on my first triathlon last year) - the saddle fell off my bike. It had been a bit loose since about 10k as it shifted slightly following a jolting pothole. This time I knew what to do as I dismounted, retrieved my saddle and loosened the fixing before refitting it to the seat post. Unfortunately I could not tighten it sufficiently, but thought it would be enough to get me home. In the meantime my fifth position was long gone with a trickle of riders passing me by, including Connie and Pete, who were going strong. Back on the bike and off I go, even passing a few that had overtaken me when, after a few km, the saddle falls off again despite me trying to keep it balanced on the seat post. This time I take longer to fix it as I take my time and even chat to a old guy sitting at the roadside. I still can't tighten it properly but decide to cycle on, taking it easier so that I can at least get back to transition.
I finally make it back and head out on the 10k run, although I don't think it is quite 10k. There's confusion everywhere as there are 5k (sprint) and 10k runners sharing the same narrow road with cars and cyclists. Add to this 12 year old Marshalls who were never briefed and you can see why it got a bit confusing. Still all bar 1 (i think) ran the same Olympic run route - about 800m shy of 10k. I felt strong throughout and passed between 10 and 12 during the run. The clock showed 2:33:5x as I crossed the finish line. Well down on where I could have been but still a very enjoyable day. I had heard that results were printed after the race but could not find them - so I don't know my splits - i'll just have to wait till they get posted on the website, which may be a long time from now.
No running today as I am recovering from the after race refreshments. So all in all a low mileage running week with my longest run over 11.5 miles on Wednesday morning. Speedwork involved 5 x 1k at 6 minute pace on the track with Joe, John & Michael on Tuesday evening and about 9.2k tempo run at the tail end of the 7 frogs yesterday. Hopefully I'll get a longer run in next weekend between Cork and Cobh.
Have a good week.
Mon 21st Sept
7.28 miles in 57:41 (07:55 pace - no HRM) - Regional Park (tired)
Tue 22nd Sept
7.02 miles in 1:02:15 (08:52 pace @ 130 HR) with 5 x 1k in 3:44/40/45/43/40 (200m recoveries)
Wed 23rd Sept
11.5 miles in 1:32:37 (08:03 pace @ 128 HR) - tired
Thur 24th Sept
2.5 miles in 19:49 (07:56 pace - Treadmill)
Fri 25th Sept
7.28 miles in 55:32 (07:38 pace @ 133 HR) - Regional Park
Sat 26th Sept
about 5.7 miles at tempo pace ???
Marathon Training Week 9/13- 41.3 miles