Training Kicks Into Gear

Last week was another week away with work on a training course so I only managed two runs during the week and a short spin on bike on saturday along with a soccer tournament during the day. I continue to do a few hours yoga every week also, and I have to say I am feeling the benifits. It was probably the perfect rest week, in terms of physical rest anyhow, and I have launched myself back into hard training this week. The only problem is I don’t really have a goal race. I am planning a big holiday in July to Canada and that means my races in June will have to take a back seat. The cost and time involved in races in Kerry and Donegal would leave me with very little cash or time for work leading up to my trip. This all means the chance to try a few local races in the coming weeks and I plan to try a few 10 k races as well as a half marathon in June all going well. Anyhow that is the news, however boring it may be.

I really believe in the motivating factor of an event or goal and if I slacken off while the going is good it will only leave me with a lot of work to do when I return from Canada. The advice I have received from experienced adventure racers is to always have a goal race, and maintain focus on that race in training.

I went for a 45km spin on bike today, mainly to try out my new aerobars, the cheap ones, and I have to say they were excellent, especially when battling into the wind.  I threw in a 6.5km trail run in the middle to make the most of my day off work. After a 17.5km progression run yesterday it has been a good start to the week. A progression run for anyone wondering is a run where you gradually increase the pace and finish as strong as you can. A good indicator for race day really.

Right time to go here and stop my wandering post, the cats are looking for some food !

https://connect.garmin.com/calendar

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Away from Home

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Thats me, the leprechaun on the left! Managed to pip this guy just at the line after a nip and tuck battle all the way around. A good run on a course I didn’t know and even a PB at 8km to add to it. I finished 8th place in 28.41. It was a great friendly event in Cork with huge crowds out to support and run.

I was working in Crosshaven, Cork all week so training was a bit all over the place, especially when I somehow managed 2 punctures on the bike on my first night, one of which involved a really big nail damaging the tyre! This meant I would stick to the less mechanical form of training for the week and slog it out with some road running. I got 18km in on Tuesday evening and then the race wednesday so happy enough. Back on the hills today and feeling good. The plan now is for a few more sessions before next weekends race “Connemara Adventure Challenge” and some rest a few days before it.

Apologies for the lack of blogging of late. The lack of routine and being away from home means I am a bit all over the place but hopefully I can get back on track this week.

Results from Wednesday!

http://corkathletics.org/Race%20Results/2015/April-2015/Crosshaven-8k-Road-Race-Results-April-2015.html

Sea to Summit Race Report 2014

The last race of a busy season finally arrived on Saturday. I was feeling good and reckoned I had all the training I could get under my belt completed. I will let the photos tell most of the story with this one so as not to bore you too much. The link below shows some of the times. Unfortunately I have upload problems with my garmin so stats are not available yet.

All in all the weather was fantastic and the crowd amazing. A total of 1700 athletes competed in the 2 races on offer. A hell of a lot of people going up and down Croagh Patrick mountain in one day.

http://www.sportsplits.com/Home/Results

http://www.sportsplits.com/Home/IndividualResult?clientId=74&raceId=10313&eventId=1&athleteId=123478

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Looking very composed before the start!

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I decided to stick with my tactic of staying close to the front but not burning out in the process. I held with the lead runners over the first 4km, completing this split in 14 minutes before hitting for the mountain on the bike. Unfortunately the lead pack lost me on the bike but I soon gathered a new chase group and was happy to stay with them until the mountain. I knew I would be able to gain some ground on this section. I felt good on the mountain both going up and coming down and was delighted to see I was the fastest athlete on the day over this section.

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Chasing pack just before the mountain.

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Heading up Croagh Patrick.

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Just at the base heading for my bike. Disaster almost struck at my bike when I couldn’t find where I had left it. Rookie mistake but thanks to Emma standing close by taking photos I was redirected and was soon on the bike ready for off.

Once again the bike section turned out to be my downfall. I lost about 8 to 9 minutes on the top three during this section. Gear, bikes, helmets and years of biking experince all come into play, along with international triathlon elete athletes in the field. I am still only learning. Hopefully I can narrow a few aspects down and shave some time off my biking in the next few years. This is also a very hilly course with some crazy steep sections zapping every last ounce of energy from legs already screaming after the mountain.

The final 4km run went alot better than previous years and I managed to gain one place during this split.

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Crossing the finish line. As always an amazing feeling. In particular it was great to see my parents and Emma cheering me across line. Even better they thought I was third, having missed a few guys cross a few minutes earlier ! A minute shaved from last years time was good and considering the quality of the field ahead of me, 8th position was very respectable.

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A really nice medal, a well organised event and I look forward to giving next year another whack. Thanks to the massive amount of volunteers for making this a super event in the race calender.

Good support after a wet and windy Saturday!

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A soaked and tired figure but it was nice to be greeted by my nieces on return to my car! I knocked my final long session on the head and feeling good after it. about 60km on bike and a 9km run. Weather has been crazy but all in all my last week before the race next weekend has gone well. A taper this week and hopefully some half decent weather next Saturday should see me beat last years time. Fingers and toes crossed !

Race week and Two rules

Two Simply Rules For Better Health

by Man Bicep

I get asked diet and exercise questions all day, every day…And I love it.

And what I’ve seen with these questions is that we love to overcomplicate things and focus on the details when the overall picture is still fuzzy and incomplete.

It is almost easier for us to hone in on one piece of the puzzle instead of first outlining all the basics.

We skip starting with the two most important rules and jump right into micromanaging a few very specific things.

I think we do this because it is EASY.

It is easier to focus on a few little details than it is to get the big picture in order.

For some reason it is easier to make dieting and exercising overly complicated than it is to focus on the basics.

Why this is the case?

Honestly I have no idea. It baffles me.

Because the truth of the matter is – being healthy is pretty simple.

But most likely we get stuck on the details because we want a quick fix. A simply fix. Or maybe it is because we want something to blame when we lose motivation and fail to reach our goals.

No matter what the reasoning is…We need to stop doing it.

Because really there are only two things out there you need to do to be healthy:

1. Eat whole natural foods.

2. BE ACTIVE.

Yup…two things. And really two very easy things.

You don’t need to starve yourself or deprive yourself. And you don’t need to spend hours in the gym.

You just need to eat whole natural foods and move around!

You don’t need to worry about macros, or types of protein or meal timing if your basic diet isn’t even in line.

Start with a focus on whole natural foods and then hash out the details.

Seriously….you aren’t going to draw a face starting with detailing out the nostril before you even know where the nostril fits on the face are you!?! I mean…I’m not artist but that just seems ridiculous!

Same goes for exercise. People claim all they don’t have time to workout, but what they are really saying is  “I don’t have time to spend hours in the gym like it seems I need to do to get into shape.”

And maybe that is simply their excuse to not workout because they don’t want to.

Because it is simply not the case.

You don’t need to spend hours in the gym or even go to a gym to be healthy.

You just need to be active!

Heck if you even get up and stretch and move around for 5 minutes every hour or so you are off to a good start!

If you even take your puppy for a walk in the mornings and afternoons, you are being more active than most.

Just first get moving than improve your activity so that it is helping you to reach your specific goals.

Don’t feel you have to jump right into an hour-long workout 6 days a week if you aren’t even currently moving for at least 15 minutes every day.

STOP OVERCOMPLICATING THINGS AND MAKING EXCUSES!

Start with the basics…Create an outline, a solid foundation and then, once that becomes habit, start working on the details.

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I read this article and felt it was worth posting on my blog. It is a simple way of starting a healthy lifestyle that in time can lead to whatever you want it to.

As I prepare for another race and think of all the logistics, my diet, final training sessions and the race itself, I realise that all the hard work is mostly over before this one and I can now look forward to enjoying a new race (as long as I don’t trip on a root and twist ankle again!).

So this week will involve 2 gym sessions and today I did a 22k on bike and 5k on road pretty much at race pace. Nothing too time consuming and good to keep up speed race week. I will post a link of race below and a link to my spin and run today also.

http://connect.garmin.com/dashboard?cid=3477436

http://www.connemararoughdiamond.com/

Gaelforce North 2nd Place 2014

Race Report Gaelforce 2014

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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

 

Argentina and back to training

As the world cup is starting tomorrow, I had to give my prediction here! I’m going for the slightly outside chance of Argentina. They should be a very exciting team going forward and it is time for Messi to shine on international stage.

I managed a good gym session yesterday and just in from my 45km loop on bike now. Considering the race last Saturday it has been good to manage some training this week. I attached some links below. The first one is a good link to bike descending, something I am trying to improve myself. There are so many things to improve and work on, only more training and time will decide if I can perfect some of these.

http://cyclingtips.com.au/2010/04/descending-tips/

Connemara adventure challenge official race report

http://msai.ie/userfiles/CAC_Race_Report_20141.pdf

Dingle adventure race official report

http://msai.ie/userfiles/2014_Dingle_Race_Report.pdf

Battered and Bruised but worth it

RACE REPORT, Dingle Adventure Race 2014

I made my way to Dingle, Co. Kerry on Friday evening, registered for the race and got an early night. I had never taken part in this race before so I was looking forward to the test. At 8.20am I made my way to the start line. This race started on the bike for 25km, then a 10km hike/run of Mt Brandon, then a 10km road run, followed by a 2km Kayak and finally a 1km run to the line.

On arrival I noticed that the field was going to be incredibly strong with Adventure race winners on all sides of me at the starting line. A great atmosphere, yet I knew this was going to be one of my hardest races ever. Little did I know what lay ahead in the next 3 hours!

At 9am off we went, following the race car to the foot of the Connor Pass climb where the fog horn sounded and we were off. Withing minutes the race was split into a few groups. I stayed in the second group chasing the lead pack of 5 or 6 riders. The legs were feeling good all the way up the climb and I knew if I held this position I would be within touching distance of the lads ahead. The descent wasn’t quite as much fun! A very steep fast descent with slippy roads which I have to say I’m still not that good at and definately need practice. In saying that I managed to keep within the top 15 when we reached the first dib and bike drop off.

So now the fun began, Mount Brandon loomed in the distance and I could see the orange marker flags heading off in the distance as I made my way up the muddy tracks. I passed 5 guys in the first 2km and then 1 guy passed me so I knew I was doing ok and if I could hold my own I would be fast on the mountain descent.The views must of been spectacular but to be honest I only looked around for about 10 seconds as it was a very technical course with lots of trip hazards. At one stage 2 sheep bounded out right on top of me and tore off down the mountain. I just thought how I  wished I was going down just like them. In total it is a 950 metre ascent and towards the end there is a really steep stretch just to finish you off.

I completed the climb in around the hour and was ready for a long descent before the 10km road run ahead. Within 5 minutes of heading down my race changed dramatically. I tripped and landed front first on a pile of rocks. In saying it was a disaster would be a overstatement as I wasn’t badly injured. I was cut on my hands and face,  bruised on my left thigh and very sore on both knees. I remember thinking and saying outloud ” no way am I stopping now after travelling all the way to Kerry, I will finish in the top 10″. Of course I shouted this with quite a few explitives thrown in and some funny looks from a marshal just up the mountain!

I dusted myself down and began to descend once more. I hadn’t lost any race places but man was I sore. All I could think of was Scott Jurek’s book “Eat and Run” and how he had fought through the pain of torn ligaments to win an ultramarathon. All I had to do was run 15km more with a few bruises and scraps. My mountain descent turned out to be ok but my 10km road run was slow. Along with the pain I was beginning to burn as well. I kept going and until 8km was completely on my own. At this point 2 athletes past me. The bells rang out in my head that I was now in 9th place. At the foot of the mountain I had been informed I was in 7th. I arrived at the kayaks about a minute behind the 2 that had just passed me. I hopped on board, in pain, and really not expecting I would be able to get out of this boat ever again ! Within 5 minutes I had passed one of the two guys ahead of me and was up to 8th. I completed the 2km in under 10 minutes and finished the last 1km of race strongly enough to cross the line with 7th place in sight. A total of 3hours and 12 minutes.

All in all this race was more great experience for me. It also thought me that I have the will power to keep going when it gets really tough. In adventure racing your finishing place means very little if you haven’t beaten yourself. I certainly feel I bet myself in more ways than one yesterday. Some photos below and more to follow as well as race results. Well done to all involved and thanks to the organisers for a quality race.

 

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Swollen Knees!

http://results.sportident.co.uk/home/event.html?eventid=9197f58a-e031-4695-b145-fce16a0c2206

https://i2.wp.com/www.dingleadventurerace.com/images/stories/map/darmap.jpg