It is the 19th of December and at this stage, as far as racing is concerned it looks like most of 2018 will surround my luck in the draw for CCC on the 11th of January. Fingers and toes crossed. In the mean time it was time to enjoy some training and work hard as winter kicks into gear. I actually really enjoy getting a good run at training at this time of year. I think back to this time last year when I was resting up with hip issues and wondering when my training would start for The Race in March! It turned out to be quite the 2017 event wise. It just comes to show what you can achieve in a year, even if the one before wasn’t the success you had wished for. I hope to do a 2017 summary post over the Christmas and finish the year with a lash at a PB in the 10km in Athenry on the 26th as well as a duathlon on the 28th of December.
Mountain Biking in the Burren.
My weekday training has been high intensity but boring in terms of writing here. Basically working a bit on speed and keeping strong through the winter. It has been a busy year and the legs don’t need crazy distance. The cross trainer is turning out to be a good mate, less impact on dodgy toes and great for full arm and leg workouts. The gym is a great tool all year, particularly in the winter but there is little substitute for the outdoors. I spent two weekends ago in the Burren trashing out some hilly mountain bike trails and then last Sunday I ran up and down Croagh Patrick twice. It is hard to beat the hills. I definately lacked hill training before the Mourne Marathon and paid the price. We all learn from our mistakes and I hope not to make that particular one again. As for training with friends in the hills or wherever your playground is, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. It will clear the head and you make good friends along the way.
This time of year is busy for everyone and a costly time too. The best advice I can give is keep up some short high intensity type training during the break. This of course is if you plan on keeping fitness over the break or just having a total rest period. It is different for everyone and important to do what the body feels up to. I had a little money saved during 2017 towards races in 2018. In the last few weeks the plans have started to come together and it looks like I have a long list of events already building up. I won’t get into the details but it looks like a start with the Donadea 50km on the 10th of February, followed by a return to multi sport racing with Gaelforce Dublin the following weekend. I plan on entering a few of the duathlon national series races to work on some speed coming into Gaelforce Dublin, depending on free time to enter. This is my motivation for the winter and I would advise getting a race or two on that calender early, if you feel you need to motivate on these dark evenings.
A little trot and a wander across the Galtee Mountain range is in store for next weekend. We might as well make the most of the 8 hours of light we have. I hope I can get a few photos along the way and make up for the grey misty Croagh Patrick last weekend!
Goofy on top of Croagh Patrick on Sunday!
My job took me to Cork for the week. West cork to be more exact. I was on a course in Crosshaven village and stayed in Carrigaline. I decided to bring the bike along and fit some training in. The evenings were short and the weather was a little on the nasty side but I had fun all the same. On the first night I went for a spin on the hills along the coast and did a very hilly 26km followed by a nice yoga and core session. I hadn’t managed a spin on the bike at all last week so these hills were definately challenging. Wednesday was what we call a soft Irish day, and it absolutely lashed rain for my 14km run. I ran from carrigaline along the coast to Crosshaven on an old railway line, turned into a running track. A very scenic and extremely wet run! Thursday saw me hop back up on the bike and I went for a cycle to the town of Kinsale. Kinsale is a lovely port town further out the coast. I could feel my cycling legs returning on this session and hopefully with the long evening approaching there will be plenty opportunity for lots of cycles in the coming weeks.
Today I was back in Galway and myself and Emma decided to go for a run in the hills to freshen up and enjoy a few hours in the afternoon. We were very quickly stopped in our tracks with torrential rain. We managed 8km of very wet running before sprinting back to the car, frozen. I hadn’t worn clothes for these conditions due to the morning being pretty normal, but then again this is the West of Ireland and you should be prepared for the unexpected.
Garmin calender! https://connect.garmin.com/modern/calendar
My preparation before yesterday hadn’t been what I may have planned but it turned into a good day. The results and times are not up yet and I managed to forget my watch for the race too. All this said I held a good pace throughout and felt I even competed well against some really good runners. The main thing I had in my arsenal yesterday was my lack of any knowledge as to what was ahead of me or where on earth I was on the course in terms of distance to go! I think these things actually worked to my advantage.
I arrived at registration early and hopped on the bus for the spin to the start line well on time. Only five minutes into journey I looked down at my watch, to find out that it wasn’t there. This wasn’t a good start but I decided to try and use it to my advantage. The race was ten minutes late starting, due to a funeral, at which the president was present. I thought as a fellow Galway man that he had come to support my IMRA debut!!
I really had no clue how high the hills would be or how much climbing would be involved. As it turned out there was around 980 metres of ascent but this came over a few rolling hills. I reckon the downhill running was most challenging, both technically and physically draining. The West of Ireland hills are certainly steeper and in general the ground underfoot is much softer.
The distance was my main concern yesterday, 26km, but this didn’t really become a factor as I had no idea how far I had run until I crossed the line. The first 4 km of the race were a slow uphill drag on both gravel and boardwalk to just below the summit of Djouce mountain. This was followed by a few km downhill, which was fast. The next section was through forestry with a few sharp uphills but the majority of this was gravel track and rolling up and down quickly. The scenery was stunning and I managed to take some of it in between breaths. After about 16km the day had warmed up alot and next came a 4km uphill drag, which was very tough. I hiked some of this section in order to give the muscles a chance to switch over and rest. At the top of this hill a group of scouts shouted some encouragement and told us we were 6km from home. A fast descent back towards the main road, a little uphill drag at the bottom and then a cruise/stumble home and I had ran my first IMRA I received a great welcome from my friends and my sister who came along to support. Thanks guys!
The weather was amazing with sunshine and 12 degrees, almost perfect for running really. The competitors were so friendly and encouraging throughout and all in all I reckon I will return to try out a few more races in the East. I hope to post full results and times later.
My first race of 2015 approaches on the 7th March.
I feel I haven’t really got enough training on the hills under my belt but these turbo sessions will benefit as the adventure race season arrives.
Here are a couple of links to some short intervals sessions. I did these two tonight. I had been out all day today in miserable weather conditions and decided more turbo training work before the Arsenal match tonight was the way to go!
Biking Oughterard/Seanafeistin route.
I decided to tackle a few hills today so I started this 45km route from Oughterard up over hills down towards Rosaveel and back over the same route. It was a tough session with some awful hail showers along route. The course was dotted with sheep and lambs who looked at me as if I was fully nuts. I wasn’t as prepared as I usually am with gear and on returning to Oughterard I couldn’t feel my feet and my hands weren’t far behind!
The plan is to tackle this route a few times over the summer, however the road surface is awful and my bike won’t appreciate it much. My plan for today is to try a small run to test out the injury. My feeling is it is fine however I don’t intend on rushing back.
A little heat in portugal and some barefoot running on the beach and all will be well !
The gang pre race!
Inisheer has become an Easter tradition with a relatively small field competing in a very tough 10km road race. In my experience it is one of the most hilly and challenging 10k races around. As they say on their site it is undulating !
It was a fabulous day Saturday with hot sunshine and I wasn’t particularily looking forward to the race in the morning as I had a few later nights and early mornings with work over the last week. The race kicked off at 1.30pm and I took an early lead. Probably heading out too fast but I wanted to try and maintain a good pace. Treating it as a tough training session. My splits and times can be seen below.
After a few little hills on the first 3km the real racing started. One guy caught me around 4km and we were head to head for the next few kilometres until he stretched a few second lead on me. I was catching him on the downhill but his climbing was excellent and in the end this paid off. The course was great with grass tracks, steep hills with views of castles, the sea on all sides, and plenty twisty downhills to test running skills to the max. All in all I finished in 36.59 in second place and was happy enough considering not feeling my best during race and the hills were a challenge.
Happy chappy after the race! Serious medal !
Everyone finshed, happy to reach the food and a well deserved pint in the sun.A great race, and a super spread by the local community after.
Bad news to add is the I seem to have pulled a quad muscle while playing soccer on Sunday. This may not be a great preparation week before Wicklow Adventure Race. Resting up now.
6.5km quick run around Knockma hills. A lovely afternoon for a run.
A slightly blurry photo, but it gives a feel for the hill session track.
Stats for run can be seen here : http://connect.garmin.com/activity/460462305