First Race of 2015, Gaelforce Sky Run 20km.

A little breeze on top of the hill!

Finally my 2015 posting will start to ramp up in the next few weeks. Please excuse any spelling mistakes as my cat is either on my lap or on the keyboard as I type!

Due to adverse weather including snow melt and storm force winds the course today was altered. We were now due to run a 10km loop twice taking in a 350metre climb on a boggy hill both times. I have to say of all the races I have taken part in this one was shaping up to be seriously tough. Gael to storm force winds with a driving mist and the ground was so soft and slippy that trail runners seemed more like slippers.

I decided after a strange week, busy at work and a head cold that this was going to be more of a really hard training session than a competitive race for me. I knew I wasn’t going to be at full fitness but that this race would stand to me later in season, It was strangely enough my first ever mountain running race, which wasn’t part of an adventure race. I’m still a greenhorn really !

At 9am we hit the trail after a 2 km warm up. I felt ok and stayed with the lead group for the majority of the first lap. I could tell there were some great runners here today though. After around 2km we hit some really boggy ground with one of the group taking a tumble, and I could swear he disappeared in the mud for a few seconds. I was to find out how this felt a little later . We managed to wade through this section and reach the base of the mountain. It is only 350 ish metres but it is slippy,very very soft in parts and steep, fun and painful. At the summit the gael force winds hit with a bang and as we descended the wind was so strong you had to lean into it to balance even a bit. I had a slip or two on the descent but managed to catch the lead group at the bottom. At the dib station at the bottom my dibber didn’t work and by time it did 5 guys had screeched away in the distance. A hard blow but I settled into my ” training” mode and decided to push myself and not worry about others for a while.

The second lap was similar, surprise there, a bit harder as I tired and I fell about 5 times. The falls were fine as the ground was so soft. A few guys passed me in the last 2km but all in all I felt good on the mountain and felt I lost most time on the road/trail sections. Some work to do here maybe. I haven’t seen the full results yet but I was definately somewhere in top 10. Not bad considering I haven’t really got into mountain training mode yet this year.

I would highly recommend this course, even for a training route and hope to come back fit and ready next year. Nice to have the first of 2015 under the belt.  Now for sleep !

https://www.facebook.com/GaelforceEvents

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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

Gaelforce North, 1 week away

A week tomorrow to my next big adventure. A trip up to Donegal for a race that went well last year and I hope I can improve on my time this year.

http://www.gaelforceevents.com/north/en/event_details/course_info.html

Training has been good all week, apart from a little niggle in my hip while running. Hoping the foam roller will help. Today was a good brick session, with a 6km run thrown into my usual hilly 45km cycle. Possibly the hardest session this week was the interval running on wednesday. Intervals never get any easier. I just keep telling myself it is short term pain for long term results, or something like that anyhow!

This weeks training can be seen in this link.

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

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Twelve Ben mountains last Tuesday.

More rain, more hills

Another session at Castlehackett today. Yes it was raining again and yes it is a hilly course but its great fun. You often hear athletes say that training never gets any easier. Of course this is true and it is amazing how no matter what we do we can all push ourselves more every time. I managed a good hill session today and all up covered around 12km. Unfortunately my gps was a little off for first 4 km so not sure how good my splits were. These hill sessions tend to be mostly pain and heavy breathing. Lets hope it pays off! A spin on bike tomorrow and I can tick this week off as a good one.

Thanks to Gaelforce for posting my race report on their site. I found a good video on their site today. Gaelforce West in August is one of the biggest races in the season and this is a nice clip of some of the tough course.

 

 

Portugal! Relaxation, sun, sea and a little training thrown in!

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This is a little snap of my training route while on holidays. Not bad! I reckon beach running has serious benefits and I tested out barefoot running, soft sand running, cliff running and a little road running too. It was interesting to mix it up on so many different terrains. I trained morning and evening to avoid the heat, although most sessions were still at 24 degrees or so. I did some heavy sessions and some intervals mainly working on my speed. It was great to see so many others using the beach for runs too.
I will update my garmin stats for the trip tomorrow. And hope to add a few more photos.  A few busy days ahead with work, the race in Leenane Saturday and a cup semi final in football Sunday to top it all off! 

Barna Loop

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/459795844

Just a quick spin on the bike today followed by some core and stretching. This cycle is a nice short route to work on speed with a few little uphill drags thrown in. My plan for the week is to take it relatively easy and fully recover from the flu of last week. Next week, all going well, will include longer and tougher training.. I may get a hill session over the weekend.

Plan is for 7 weeks of training in the lead up for Wicklow Adventure Race. A 72km course with 2 mountains and a tasty amount of hills on bike !! Fun times ahead !

Hill training with friends

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/449413175

Back to a bit of hill training today at my favourite training spot pre mountain season in Castlehackett. I brought pace up a small bit today and trained at a higher BPM. It’s time to get back into hard training after recent set back with illness. I was very lucky to have the company of my girlfriend and two other friends today. Bumping into them along the 3 loops of the circuit was fun!

Have a look at the link above and the great things you can do with this Garmin site.