Christmas in the West

I was home for Christmas this year and besides now having a dose of the flu and being pretty rattled by it, I did manage some fun training over the mini break. We completed our annual crossing of the Galtee Mountain range on the 23rd. We were so lucky with a cracking days weather, running more than half the 24km route and enjoying the company of friends along the way.



Galtee mountains. 

Eight of us took on the mountains and everyone enjoyed a ridiculously mild and sunny day for this time of year. The hike includes some steep little sections with a peak height of 909metres on top of Galtymore, one of our 26 peaks back in April! The last time I was there was around 2.30am in the morning. I must say the views and the legs felt a lot better this time. Thanks especially to Rachel Nolan for running the second half with me.
So with some decent training of late I took on the Fields of Athenry 10k on Stephens day. I could feel my throat wasn’t right and I had had sniffles since the Galtees but thought a good run might clear me out. In hindsight I was wrong. In saying this I equalled my pb with a 36.41 finishing time and was happy considering not feeling great. It was fantastic to see over 1000 people running on Boxing day. My last race of a busy year and glad to be able for it, just about.



Running in the club colours. 


Working together we snatched our top 50 jerseys! 

Myself and Sean McDermott paced it out together to the finish. Hopefully I will give this course a go feeling fully fit some day.

Only 12 sleeps to the UTMB draw date. This will define my training for 2018 in many ways. Hopefully some of you can cross those fingers and toes for me on the 11th!

A quick 2017 summary to follow around New Years. I’m not sure where to start and finish that one, but these few sick days will give me time to think.


Galtee’s in the sunshine. 

It’s not a bad spot when the sun shines.

 

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Gaelforce West 2015 Race Report

A last minute panic on Wednesday and I decided I would sign up for Gaelforce West. It has become my most religious race. This is due mainly to the fact that it was my first ever adventure race in 2010. Little did I know that I would be hooked and end up competing at this level. I remember 2010 and the feeling I had when I finished. It was an identical feeling I had yesterday at 9.20am when I crossed the finish line. It is a feeling of massive accomplishment and pure adrenalin. There is no doubt Gaelforce West is still drawing a big crowd as around 1500 people lined up to test themselves yesterday.

This year the race had an extra early start. I left Galway at 2.15am, hopped on the bus in Westport at 4.00am and the race started at 5.30am. This in itself was a bit of an ordeal but I had to try and turn it into some fun to keep the positive thoughts flowing !

We made our way from the Bus to Glasillaun beach and in the dawn light the race kicked off bang on time. The course has been well explained in my blog from last year so I will try and give a different sort of view on the race yesterday.

We hit out into the first run of 14km, mostly on trail along the famine trail, Killary Harbour. I jumped into the lead group and would stay in the top three for all of the 14km. The run is very technical along the coastal area with very nasty ground, which really zaps the energy early on. We startled a flock of sheep early on which scampered along beside us before running down the cliff face towards the sea. I had images of a few loosing their footing and going for a swim below. It was far more likely this would happen to one of us. The pace was manageable and I found myself really enjoying this section. This, of course ,was down to all the running on mountains in Vancouver in the heat. I knew I had harder times ahead in this race, but you have to enjoy it when you are going well. I finished the 14km in 56minutes and landed at the kayak in good nick. The short 7.50minute kayak across the fjord was nice apart from a few waves from passing boats and jetskis and I came out of the kayak in second place. A 3.5km run across soft bog and along the Delphi River to Delphi adventure centre was next and onto the bike to test out the transitional legs. I knew that my lack of biking in recent times would be a big factor. Myself and the eventual winner Kieran Kelly stayed up front for the first half of the cycle. Then came the hills and my legs got a little worried!

I would manage to keep in touch with the front four, that included Kieran and three more athletes that passed me on the bike section, until the mountain. A quick scurry up and down Croagh Patrick was next. This is by far the most gruelling part of the race. Your legs are screaming, and to make matters worse within 200 metres of the top I started to sway. I saw stars, possibly even little rabbits onfront of my eyes, I can’t really recall! This must of been “the wall” and I knew I had to fight through it. I turned at the top, around a minute slower than last year, and decided to let fly on the way down and hope the rabbits went away. To my delight I made it down in one piece, without a fall, and was ready for the final bike section, somehow lying in third place once again with last years winner Dessie Duffy and Kieran ahead. The final bike section includes a 2km section called the skelp where most riders dismount and run with the bike due to the terrain. I lost about two minutes to the leaders in this part, and was overtaken by two ,  but I just didn’t have the energy to go any faster.

I fought off a few cramps on the final 14km on the bike and managed a decent last 2km run to the finish to come in in 6th place, very happy to beat last years time by over 5 minutes.

This feeling of accomplishment I mentioned before is there for anyone that beats themselves and even though I find myself at a stage where I have a chance to win one of these races, the most important thing for me right now is that I am improving. A huge congrats to everyone involved and especially to my friends dad who completed his 10th Gaelforce West in a row at the age of 58 yesterday!

Here are some links to the race yesterday and my training over the last few months.

http://gaelforceevents.com/upload/content/RESULTS/GFW_-_Summit__DBL_Shoulder_Results_2015.pdf

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/calendar

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! 

  

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!

Away from home

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

Weird Weather!

A couple of good outings the last two days with an 11km hill run yesterday and some spinning after, then a 18km road run this evening. What is most confusing is the weather. Heavy rain, wind and flooding one minute, followed by clear skies and even warm weather the next. It is impossible to know what to wear heading out! so tonight I put on my running tights and an extra running top due to stormy conditions outside. 5 minutes into the run the sun came out and before you know it I was swallowing flies running along by a lovely calm river! Good old unpredictable Ireland. On the up side my running seems to be still improving, especially these distance runs which are easier than I was expecting. Hoping to knock out a few miles on the bike over the next few days and give the legs a little rest from all the pounding. time now for some homemade apple crumble and a nice cup of tea.

Stats below from the last few days .

http://connect.garmin.com/modern/calendar

Mixed Training

The last week I have tried to combine some hill work, with some strength work on the bike and fit in a little rest somewhere in the middle! The plan is to do the NUI Galway 8km run on Saturday to test myself at a different distance and work a bit on my speed on the road. My basic thinking at the moment is to mix up my training to keep things interesting for the winter. A combination of the gym, the road, the trails and the hills should work out nicely.  This combined with a few good hill sessions and a mountain or two thrown in and I should be able to bring my times down in Sea to Summit race.

What are peoples thoughts on these three books? Born to Run, Eat and Run, and Chi Running.

I really enjoyed Eat and Run and think I learnt alot from this book. The idea of diet being as important as Scott Jurek has made it is amazing. Born to Run is a great story but I haven’t managed to try bare foot running just yet. I plan on minimalist shoes soon and see how things go from there. I heard good things about Chi Running but have yet to read this one.

A few  sessions from the last week!

http://connect.garmin.com/modern/calendar