Last week BC        

  

  Kayaking Saltspring Island 

  Views Saltspring Island of Vancouver Island .

  North shore mountains , Vancouver 

  North shore , top of Goat Mountain.

 A plug for Salomon on top of mount Maxwell.  
Here are a few shots from the last week in British Columbia. I beat my time on the Grouse Grind to bring my Pb to 34.02. I climbed Goat mountain and ran trails all around the Grouse mountain area. This left me a little beaten the day after especially as my ankle was acting up. Holidays being holidays I didn’t feel there was time to waste and the rest of the week was very active. We hiked and ran trails on Saltspring Island, kayaked off the Island and fitted in some early morning runs just in case things weren’t active enough. Yes, most of you will say it is relaxing I should try and accomplish while on holidays but for me this is relaxation and it clears the mind in a better way. There was of course some really good food and beers thrown in the mix. After all I am on holidays ! A massive thanks to my friends here for making the trip an amazing one. 

Oh and I threw in a bit of fishing too! 

  

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A little mishap

I had a minor ankle twist last night at soccer training ( once more soccer proves my nemisis). I was hoping to run an 8km race on Sunday, and may still be ok, but it has curtailed my training a few days. This, in one way , may be just what I need. I haven’t rested up for more than a day in a long time and I think it is time to focus more on recovery. Another form of recovery for runners and adventure racers is yoga, something i hope to gradually do more often. It will help my flexibility, strength and most importantly help focus the mind on the training and plans ahead. The link below is to an excellent podcast on yoga for runners.

http://runneracademy.com/ra069-sage-rountree/

Sage Rountree is a proven athlete that swears by yoga as well as it being so important to recover from the hard sessions we put ourselves through.

I find it is often in times of injury that I get a chance to reflect on the training I have been doing and look into changing my training as I progress. It is so important to realise that as we get fitter we need to rest and recover properly but at the same time not slacken off too much when we want to continue to improve. Getting this balance right is a very individual thing and I am still learning about myself. The best advice from my experience is to listen to your own body and don’t try to train exactly like some elite you heard about. or an exact plan you read about last night.

For now it is off to the physio for a look at the ankle, then into the sea tomorrow for some natural icing and a good bit of rest thrown in there somewhere as well!

Thoughts on Injury and more Sleet

I decided recently that it is time to once and for all sort out my ankle problems. They have been really good the last few years and I think the adventure racing has helped but I know the weakness is still there and I intend to sort that. Every little twing taken away is another chance to improve. I started going to physio once a week and after only three weeks I already feel an improvement. It also focuses the mind on sticking to particular exercises. The clip below is a great example of exercise for anyone interested in strengthening an ankle.
An up and coming physio friend of mine shared this quote with me tonight. It sums up injury quite well and relates to old injuries I have suffered.
“There’s no separation between the experience of the central nervous system and the function of memory in the body. The experience of the past has been fixed and retained by the neurons firing at that precise moment. Every muscle, nerve, and tissue participating in that experience has been affected and will ‘remember’ in its own fashion.” -Stokes and Whiteside
So I hit out for my run tonight after a few minutes reading these quotes. I find it hard not to think about injury but really appreciate that when you train the right way and do the right things, injury comes less often than before. I ran the first 8km into sleet and rain tonight, not to mention a gale force wind! Exilerating stuff but not really the most fun. The next 11 km were far more enjoyable with the conditions at my back. I maintained a steady speed and enjoyed it as much as was possible on such a crazy night. The fun of winter in the West, but then again it is great to get out.

Race report Connemara Rough Diamond 2014

Saturday had arrived and I left my house around 8.15am to head to Letterfrack in Connemara for the start of the Connemara Rough Diamond. This was a race I had never competed in and was looking forward to the challenge. I was happy to see a few of my fellow competitors lining up at the start. The weather was breezy but fine at the start. We set off running and myself and Shaun Stewart took up the lead towards Diamond hill. An ascent of around 400metres took us around 22 minutes. The ground was mostly paved and gravel track as this is a common tourist hike. We had to shout and clap a few times to clear the tourists out of the way. Shaun started to make some headway on me around the foot of the mountain and I started to feel my lack of hill training of late may not pay off. I managed to summit in 2nd place and took off for my favourite part, the downhill run. It was very tricky with a mist now falling and the paved slabs were like ice sheets. I passed an old school mate on the way down and a big high five gave us both a laugh and a boost!

I reached transition one in 42minutes and set off on the bike a few minutes behind Shaun. An 8km road bike out to the next stage which was an obstacle course in the woods. Craziest part of any adventure race, I reckon. There were zombies jumping out from behind trees, climbing walls, balancing sections, dark tunnels and sumo wrestlers in the bog. Now thats an obstacle course!

Back on the bike and a 13.5km spin out to the beach. This cycle was mostly flat with some really fast sections so a little recovery before hitting the beach and an 8k run. I hoped off the bike , dibbed in and set off for an 8k run, not having a clue of the course ahead. I was still about 4 minutes down on Shaun but I was feeling good. I hit down the beach with a tail wind, knowing that would be different on the way back, keeping a steady 4 min 10 per km. The marshal guiding us on the beach even ran with me for a bit, in his wellies, for a bit of support. Then it was off the beach, over some rough ground, through a river or two, up a little hill, some more rough terrain and back down to another beach called Glasillaun. A run to the end of this beach, a quick dib in and then we turned to face the journey back. It became clear on the beach the difference between people. Shaun passed me about 5 minutes ahead and 3rd, 4th and 5th were all about 2 minutes behind me. I knew it was going to be tough to hold these guys off, especially the guy in third who is very strong on the bike. I left the first beach and started the rough section back. My dibber fell off a few minutes late. I stopped picked it up and hit off again but seconds later all hell broke loose as my ankle buckled under me. I thought things were over but as I got up and moved it was sore but managable. I had 3k to go on run and then it was on the bike all the way home. All I could think of at this point was Scott Jurek’s book, Eat and Run, and how he ran an ultramarathon on torn ankle ligaments. All I had to do was run 3km on a slight sprain. My pace slowed and the head wind was a killer but I made it to the bike, in quite alot of pain!

The last leg on the bike was as tough as the last 3km run had been. A strong head wind, rain and some nasty hills really took their toll. As I passed the 2 km to go sign I felt I would hold on for 2nd place. Just then I looked behind and their was Martin Flanagan, last years course winner, and winner of Sea to Summit 2013 breathing down my neck. He passed and I told him to take it home in style. I made it to transition about 30 seconds behind Martin and the last run wasn’t long enough to make up the ground. I finished some 20 seconds behind but I was delighted to be there. A podium finish feels good and to beat yourself mentally after the injury as well as a race where I had been very much alone on the course all day felt good too. All in 2 hours 53 minutes and 3rd place.

If any one is looking for a West of Ireland race this is another cracker, it has almost everything and today even the weather decided to go West of Ireland crazy.

I will get my hands on some photos and a full list of results when they are up!

Race stats !

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/600500354

Back to Business

Sorry for the lack of posts since Thursday but I twisted ankle on my last run before Achill race and was a little annoyed for a day or two not to mention needing a bit of time to decide where to go from here. Luckily it was only a small twist and I am recovering well. Unfortunately though I feel it is linked to my return to football and I have made the decision to quit playing the sport I love so much, for a while at least. A recurring injury can be incerdibly frustrating and I feel it is time to focus on my racing a little more. I will manage some coaching to keep in touch with football.

As of yesterday I started a new training plan focusing on cycling, running and hopefully fitting some kayaking in somewhere. I intend to increase my endurance while still working on power and speed. This will take discipline, alot of training and hopefully enjoyment too. A fun road ahead.

I started slowly yesterday with a gym session and hit the road today for a reasonably long low intensity cycle . 54km of coastal cycling. I have a link below to the stats. A basic plan is to get some low intensity training in with a long run and a long cycle during week, combining this with strength work in gym. Then a hard session on bike and hill running at the weekends. I will post a more detailed training plan soon. This may help those of you out there interested in new personal records in adventure races and similar events.

I recently started listening to a podcast, which alot of you may of heard of, called running academy. I have a link below but there are some good casts, including one by Matt Fitzgerald on 80/20 training. This is training at low intensity 80 percent of the time and high intensity for 20. I intend on giving this a shot to see how it works. My training to date has not included enough low intensity distance work. If you train at low intensity more of the time it means you can then put everything into those short hard and fast sessions. A theory at least, but I reckon it could be a good one!

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/586846262

http://runneracademy.com/running-podcast/