Ah, it is nice to blog again

Yes I am finally blogging again. My apologies to anyone who enjoys the odd post here. To say the least it has been a crazy few weeks. I did, however, manage to fit in a few runs and cycles as well as a new purchase! Photos to follow on this one. A second hand Cannondale rush MTB. A new hobby in the making.

The highlight of the past few weeks was the Croi Cycle for charity. A loop cycle of 120km around Lough Corrib. Myself and a colleague decided to take part and it turned out to be a really enjoyable day. The cycle leaves galway with thousands of cyclists heading anticlockwise around Lough Corrib. The weather was fantastic. The only real moment of madness was when my friend David’s phone went flying while on a 57km per hour decent. Not a scratch on the phone and I really have no idea how!

I was really happy with my own fitness on the day and enjoyed some speedy group cycling which I rarely encounter in my own training. The different shapes and sizes of bikes and people on these charity cycles are incredible with every fitness level and every type of person all getting together for a common goal. To finish and have fun!

IMAG3351

Just after the halfway mark we head for the final drag before turning for home at Maam Cross.

And finally, the finish and a big congrats to David who had, as he put it “never been so unprepared in his life for an event”

IMAG3354

Training has been going well around work and sleep of late. I am taking part in an 85km cycle on Saturday and I hope to do a 10 mile run in Galway the following weekend before hitting the skies for Vancouver for the month of July. I hope to get lots of running in over there and more than likely take part in Gaelforce West after I come home.

Now as it is my afternoon off and the sun is out I think a quick interval session and then relax and soak up the rare occasion the sun comes out on this little island!

Advertisements

January, the mixed up month !

It really is a strange month. A month of weather, mostly bad, not to mention the real Irish winter. That being said I have found it a good month to build up a little more, and I reckon even improve on fitness. It has been a seriously mixed bag of training though. Football, running the streets, trail and hills, cycling in the gym, cycling on the turbo trainer and a little strength work thrown in there somewhere. So as you can see there has been very little planning to my sessions. I think this can sometimes be a good thing as training plans can get very boring after long periods plodding your way through them. This is an idea of the last week in my training schedule.

http://connect.garmin.com/calendar

I have plans to enter a few mountain races in late February, March and April. These all involve weekends away but hopefully it will all stand to me when the adventure racing season starts up again. My longer bike sessions of late seem to be going well and a few long spins over the next month will be very beneficial. I will dust down the GoPro camera and start blogging more as the season kicks into gear. I spotted the daffodils poking their heads up today and the evenings are noticably longer so that gloomy season is almost behind us. Those of you that have stuck to the January training schedule, now is the time to up your game and hit things even harder as the fun season approaches!

Lack of blogging and a true athlete in need of help.

Hi all. Sorry for the lack of posts the last month. I decided to take a little break from the blog to gather my thoughts and step back a bit from training. It was a tough season of training and racing but hopefully I have gained enough experience this year to improve again next year !

For now my weeks since Sea to Summit have been made up of some running, gym work and I have gone back to football. Having the fitness behind me has helped with the football and makes it all the more enjoyable. Anybody out there that is struggling to enjoy their sport , I really swear by a break and also improving your fitness before you return.

My pre-new years plan is to try and work harder on the bike in 2015 as well as increasing my distance road running and hitting the mountains a bit more than I did in 2014.

If anyone out there has any good stories or videos from this years adventures feel free to pass them on and I can post here. For now it is back to the drawing board for 2015 and hopefully I can improve on my times and even try some new races along the way.

I want to take this opportunity to post a link to bone marrow Ireland for an old friend of mine and supreme athlete that has become very ill of late. I hope some of you can sign up. This can put into perspective that no matter how fit and healthy we are sometimes life can change dramatically.

http://marrowmatch.eu/

Gaelforce North 2nd Place 2014

Race Report Gaelforce 2014

Image

 

 

ImageImage

Finally a chance to get to the blogging again. Sorry folks for the lack of updates over the past week. It’s been a busy one to say the least. Training went really well with two touch brick sessions early in week and then with work busy I had a break from training Wednesday to Friday before the race kicked off Saturday morning.

So the question is where do I start! A fourth place finish in tough wet and windy conditions in 2013 meant I knew I would be in with a shout of the top three this year if things went well and of course depending on the oposition in the field. Preparation is key and last week wasn’t the best, I have been working 12 and 13 hour shifts, some at night and some during the day and juggling a bit of sleep and training in. All in all however I was feeling strong and ready to give it everything.

On Friday evening, Emma and I made the long journey to Letterkenny to register , drop off bike at transition and find our B&B in a little village close to the bus pick up for the morning. A stunning part of the country and the B&B was really nice with fantastically helpful owners. It turns out it is only three weeks open. I’ll post a link later in case anyone fancies a trip North!

The race consists of a 15km trail run, 2km kayak, 25km bike, Mount Errigal climb,18km bike including off road section, and finishes with a 1km beach run. 64km in total.

At 7am I hopped on the bus to take us to the start line. After a quick toilet stop, a sprint/warmup to the start line and a few minutes of being served up as midge food the hooter sounded and we were off! The first 4km is a fast downhill section and I quickly slotted into 2nd place and tried to find my rythm. The pace was fast but I felt relatively comfortable and maintained about a 20-30 second gap on the man ahead for the entire 15k. We averaged 3.10 minutes per kilometer for the downhill section and later settled into 3.45’s and 3.50’s . An incredible run past lakes, mountains, a castle, and up over the hills through bog before descending to Garton Lake where the kayak stage took place. I completed the 15km bang on the hour mark and felt good as I splashed out into the lake to jump onto the kayak, hot on the heels of the man ahead. Shaun is a great adventure racer and I knew I had my work cut out to catch the local hero! After an easy kayak section I was closer and as I headed to the bike transition I felt in better condition than I had a year ago at this stage. I caught Shaun within a few minutes on the bike and we agreed to help eachother over the bike stage. This turned out a good tactic and even though I had to put up with constant cheers of “go Shaun go” it was the best decision for us both. We reached the foot of the mountain stage in 47mins. I hopped off the bike and to my embarrassment took a right instead of a left, tried to turn quickly and landed face first on the gravel. A nice start to the mountain run or what ! As always the mountain is energy zapping and tough as hell but we summitted together in 27minutes and the descent began. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind at this stage. I knew it but I couldn’t get it out of my head. My fall in the Dingle race 3 weeks ago was still fresh in my mind. I made the worst mistake of thinking too much and within a minute of the descent I fell again, landing on both knees. Another sore one and Shaun, after asking if I was ok, gained nearly 50 metres on me. I dusted myself down once more and decided it is now or never, stop thinking about things and get on with it. I completed the descent in 11 minutes and passed Shaun at the bottom of mountain. I later heard the views were amazing from the top! Back on the bike again and the final section awaited. Shaun was back with me at this stage and we attacked the off road section together. At this stage Shaun had a little more nerve and attacked the second half of the offroad with real gusto. I lost a few seconds on him which would prove the difference in a few minutes time. I kept him in my sights as we blew the last 10km of the race apart. I could see him cross the line 40 seconds ahead of me. I finished in 3.14 hours, 19 minutes faster than last year. Apart from extreme pain all over my body, I felt fantastic. All that training does pay off and there is no better feeling than crossing that line knowing you have beaten yourself once more !

http://www.gaelforceevents.com/north/en/event_info/2014_results.html

More photos to follow later and a few interesting links and plans for the next few weeks..

One of my friends Kevin and his mates, completed their first ever race yesterday all in aid of a charity for diabetes. Link here for anyone interested. Well done to ye all. https://www.facebook.com/4040diabetes?fref=ts

Garmin results for race ( on running mode so average pace off during bike sections ! )http://connect.garmin.com/dashboard?cid=10152689

A fantastic place to stay for Gaelforce North – https://www.facebook.com/pages/StMarys-BBAnagaireIreland/654683971235502

 

Busy week but a break ahead !

Apologies for the lack of blogging this week. It has been a busy one, both at work and training. I have come to the conclusion I need to rest today and tomorrow ahead of a soccer tournament all weekend. I tried to train at a high tempo from last Saturday through to last night. All went well up until my body started to shout last night and I had to drop the intensity down a notch. My weeks training can be seen in the link below. All in all I am happy with how things went. An interesting race awaits in Dingle Saturday week. Next week will be less intensive and more about maintaining a good frame of mind before the race. All in I covered about 25km running and 65km on bike. Not a long distance but mostly at a high tempo. Some of my stats are off a bit, due to Mr Clever here pressing stop and forgetting to press start again at traffic lights and such major obstacles!

http://connect.garmin.com/dashboard?cid=10152689#

I will post some food pictures for any chefs out there later. I also hope to get some nice island photos over the weekend and maybe fit in a hilly island run before I come home !!