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!

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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.

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.

 

 

Midweek in the city

A 20km cycle and a 5 km run today. I kept the pace high and was happy with run after cycle. I have had pains in my hip flexer muscle over the last week but today it had improved.Cycling around the city isn’t much fun and really slows you down. I decided after today I will start some cycles further away. Both to increase hill work and to get away from the crazy drivers around the city! Another match tomorrow evening. Probably my last of the season. All guns blazing for adventure races from here on in 😉

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/481224640

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/481224673