A scary word, injury

I spoke last week about fear and how we experience the fear of failure. Fear of injury is another experience all athletes have. So, the question is, is it all in our heads? Well to be honest this is not in my head, it is in my right leg and it doesn’t feel like fear!

I have been training well the last two weeks but running has been awful. I managed to play some football but prolonged running is causing something at the back of my knee to flare up, stopping me completely in my tracks. It may be some tendonitis, an overused muscle or many more things. I will have physio again tomorrow to figure out the issue. I trained at a good intensity, staying away from running all week and after 2.5km of slow running yesterday it flared up again. Anyone have any ideas or experience this before? I am probably in need of a rest. I haven’t been killing myself training but there comes a time when the body says slow down and I feel this is mine. A few days doing very little is probably the best tonic.

I have experienced lots of injuries, especially while playing football over the years, so this is nothing major to worry about. I also think that every injury tellsus more about how we work, how to treat an injury and it will also pinpoint weaknesses that may need extra attention.

Here is a shot out on the bog yesterday, in the middle of a snow shower. It was a nice morning on the bog with the dogs. It was also most likely a factor in causing my leg to flare up again, as the ground was extra soft. This is a typical West of Ireland, January shot though. We might see the sun again soon, you never know !

IMG_1289

As for my recent training, it has looked something like this,

https://connect.garmin.com/calendar

The answer to my question above lies in the training calender, I may need to rest up more !!

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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

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

A Valentine’s Date

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/445125639

Back to Castlehackett for a date with the hills today! A good run considering the illness early in week. It’s nice to get my training on track after a minor set back. Nothing like running in a wood where you can see deer, jays, ravens and other rare wildlife and still have one of the best workouts in the West of Ireland.