Tuesday, 29 December 2009


I have not blogged in a while so I feel a short update is in order. Training has been going really well. Following the race that never was I logged fifty-five miles in my endurance base phase for Boston. Last week I completed fifty-seven miles, which is my highest weekly mileage total ever.
However, that week was a battle against the ice. I was down in Cork for Christmas and managed to log the necessary miles despite travel, other commitments and perhaps most of all ice. It was bitterly cold and the country's bankrupt state as a consequence of individuals' abdication of responsibility and political leadership that facilitated it for electoral reasons, mean the councils have no money to salt or grit roads. Consequently, on Sunday I slipped and landed on my arse. Yes, I am blaming the credit and property crash for my fall ;-)
Before coming a cropper I saw a car do a 360 degree turn in front of a bus coming in the other direction. Thankfully no collision occurred. When I took my fall, the ice was so thick on the pathway that I slid slowly across the pathway's entire width. I thought about packing in it then but decided to proceed with the remaining fourteen miles by going up and down the same one mile stretch of pathway that was largely ice free.

Mileage w/c 21 December: 57

Mileage w/c 14 December: 55

Sunday, 13 December 2009

The race that wasn't!

Yesterday I participated in the Aware 10km race. Last year's race took place on a bitterly cold day. The ice almost necessitated its cancellation. This year's race ended in a complete shambles. Just before the race began the race director announced that it the race would only be 9kms. No explanation, just a perfunctory statement that Aware announced it to everyone the previous evening. It subsequently transpired this statement was a line on their own website. Most people did not become aware of the truncated race until they came upon the finish at 9kms!
I completed the 'race' in 34:58, and fancy I would have secured a new PB of 38:?? if chaos has not ensued. Aware has issued no explanation for this nonsense. Rumours suggest that the organisers had positioned the original finish too close to the St. Mary's hospital ambulance entrance and alternative finishes had the same problem. Whatever the reason it is unacceptable. While I acknowledge is it a 'charity run' it does attract a not insignificant number of non 'funrunners' who are happy to raise and/or donate money to a worthy cause because it provides a good opportunity to compete. Henceforth I will no longer participate in this or any other charity organised event. Their attitude to the sport and organisation borders on the disrespectful.

Mileage w/c 7 December: 51

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

First week

Last week I completed the first week of my Boston training schedule. It was a big jump to go from thirty-five miles for my last Dublin marathon recovery week to fifty for my first Boston training week. It is certainly more than the ten per cent weekly progression increase that most recommend. However, I did reduce it from fifty-four miles that the Fitzinger and Douglas schedule prescribes. The week went quite well and my efforts to get up early and complete most of my runs in the morning worked surprisingly well. It's certainly an interesting experience to run around the Phoenix park at 06:30am in the pitch black. Thankfully I bring good flashing lights so that the Ninja bicyclists that I cannot see until it is too late see me before it is too late.
The Tuesday morning session was the most challenging, which involved nine miles with four miles at half-marathon pace. I found those miles very tough and felt much more like 10k pace. The mile splits were only just what I would consider half-marathon pace but my HR was primarily in the high 170s. I wonder did Circadian cycles influence this high HR?

Mileage w/c 30 November : 50

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Recovery complete?

This was my last recovery week and constituted thirty-five miles. My 'long run' this Sunday was eleven miles at a pace of 08:26 and an average HR of 141. This seems a little high and I wonder if there is some recovery required. However, the weather was foul. The park rangers were actually out and had placed 'road flooded' signs on Wellington road. When parts of the Phoenix park are flooded then you know the rain has been biblical.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Penultimate week

This week sees the completion of my penultimate recovery week before going into the up to seventy miles a week Pfitzinger & Douglas programme. The other two notable events of the week were completing a couple of runs in my new Nike Lunarglide shoes. So far so good. They definitely appear lighter than my Asics. I also signed up for the Aware 10k in December. I will incorporate this into my second week of spring marathon training. I should be in a good place for a new PB depending upon weather.

Monday, 9 November 2009


The title of this post represents the 'submission number' associated with my application for the Boston Marathon next April. The announcement on the homepage that few places remained forced me to bite the bullet. I do this with some trepidation. Firstly is the cost; it is $175 to register, never mind the travel and accommodation costs. Additionally, I could very well be in the midst of a new job search and assuming there will be any jobs to search for I fear I might find myself having to withdraw from Boston to do an interview.
Hopefully things will work out that mean I both get to compete in Boston and have some career prospects too!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Cramps! But I prevail...just

I'm the one in the blue shirt, with the awful form, trying to hang onto the coattails of the guy in the white singlet. This was taken just before the 26 mile mark

The weather today was ideal for marathon running, as was the start in contrast to last year's squeeze and shuffle down Holles street. Additionally, Leeson street, St. Stephen's Green and Dawson street are a bit more picturesque than the Lombard street area! However, I did have this guy who insisted in suddenly slowing and passing across my stride, which he managed to do three times in the first two miles. Anyway by the the time we reached the Phoenix park it had settled down nicely. There was certainly more spectators there this year. The temperature being thirteen degrees warmer probably helped.
The first half went really well and I passed it in 01:29:00; spot on. I was feeling really strong, despite my HR being 169 since the end of the first mile and it rarely went a bpm above or below for the whole marathon.
I was putting out very consistent miles and my heart, head and lungs felt good, my legs, not so much! I could feel both hamstrings and my calves beginning to cramp up. At mile nineteen I thought my marathon was over. I had to stop and stretch my hamstrings at the side of the road. Alot of other people were pulling up here also. I heard a girl to my right say 'Oh God!', the verbal expression of my thoughts were a little less civilised! I managed to get going again and after a quarter of a mile I was surprised to see my pace back in the 06:40s! The last seven miles were very tough and I was breathing very very heavy but managed 06:50s pace with my HR in the early 170s. I had no idea if I was still in sub three hour pace as I set the garmin to lap info only and refused to look at my overall time. On reflection, I am very happy with the consistent pace I managed over the last six miles, despite hurting bad and I have to admit I thought I was slower than I actually was.
I had to concentrate very hard to relax my hamstrings and calves and as I passed the twenty-six mile post I was sure I was home and dry. Then I felt a sharp pain in my right calf and was basically running on my right hip with my leg rigid. Thankfully it loosened and I managed a relatively dignified line crossing.
Anyway, I crossed the line in 03:00:26. Close to sub three but I am not overly disappointed. I would have been happy with anything sub 03:05 and to finish so close to sub three on no more than fifty-five miles per week augurs well if I increase my mileage by only a modest amount. On to the next marathon! Maybe Boston...

Time: 03:00:26
Average pace: 06:49/mile
Average HR: 169

Sunday, 18 October 2009

92 per cent

One week to go before the marathon. Reviewing my Pfitzinger & Douglas training plan demonstrates that I completed 92 per cent of the prescribed mileage. The completion of the programme's final week might push that towards 93 per cent. Overall I was very good about following the programme with interruptions in three weeks accounting for not completing 100 per cent. Two of these weeks were justified with illness accounting for one and a very heavy week of travel for work accounting for another. The third week had no excuse, it was my naughty week. Next week I will need to be dilligent about eating well and sleeping as much as I can and then hoping the conditions are good for a good performance on 26 October.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Bart Yasso 800s

Yesterday evening I scheduled a Bart Yasso session. This involves running ten repeats of 800 metres. If you run ten of these 800m repeats at an average of three minutes ten seconds per interval it is an indication that you can complete a marathon in three hours and ten minutes. The recovery period between intervals should match the average time it takes to complete an interval. Hope that all makes sense!
I set out with the aim of completing the intervals in an average of three minutes, with three minutes recovery between intervals. Upon completion of the workout I found I had completed the intervals in an average of 02.55. According to the workout's premise I should be able to complete a marathon in approximately two hours and fifty-five minutes. I am very sceptical of this claim. Having trawled a forum threads and websites I found little or no consensus on Yasso 800s but most felt that a more accurate reflection of your marathon time would be to add five minutes to what a Yasso 800 session indicates. Additionally, many stated that they were reasonably accurate but only in the context of a holistic marathon programme that includes tempo runs, long slow runs and recovery runs. In short, no definitive answer but it seems prudent not to read too much into a Yasso session.

Split Time Distance Max Speed Avg HR
1 0:12:48 1.49 5:50 132
2 0:02:57 0.5 5:30 171
3 0:03:00 0.34 6:07 153
4 0:02:52 0.5 4:51 167
5 0:03:00 0.37 5:45 152
6 0:02:52 0.5 5:22 164
7 0:03:00 0.35 5:53 151
8 0:02:56 0.5 5:21 168
9 0:03:00 0.34 6:20 153
10 0:02:56 0.5 5:32 168
11 0:03:00 0.34 6:00 152
12 0:02:57 0.5 5:23 169
13 0:03:00 0.32 5:47 153
14 0:02:56 0.5 5:40 166
15 0:03:00 0.33 5:54 151
16 0:02:55 0.5 5:22 167
17 0:03:00 0.32 6:16 152
18 0:02:53 0.5 5:16 166
19 0:03:00 0.33 5:09 153
20 0:02:55 0.5 5:05 167
21 0:03:00 0.33 5:20 149
22 0:06:22 0.67 7:13 135
Summary 1:18:25 10.5 4:51 153

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Chi Running workshop

Last saturday I did a Chi Running workshop run by Catherine McKiernan. It took place in Castleknock hotel, which is in actual fact no where near Castleknock. I took the number thirty-nine bus to Clonsilla and had to run the last mile to get there in time. According to Mapmyrun the hotel is just over five mile from Smithfield. In short I should have ran there, it would have been at least twenty minutes quicker than getting the bus. The circutuitous and irrational route taken by the bus demonstrates yet again that CIE is a benevolent society run at taxpayers' expense for the benefit of its management and employees.
Okay, rant over. The workshop was very interesting and began with an overview of Chi Running principles. Then we went outside and were videod running. After lunch we went through more drills and viewed the running videos taken of each of the ten workshop participants. This was very interesting and while I am now striking midfoot rather than heel striking it was worthwhile to see what I was doing incorrectly, especially with my upper body.
Hopefully, the drills we went through and a better insight into and understanding of Chi Running will improve my running. It really is something that will take months to properly ingrain.
An additional bonus was to listen to and be instructed by a world class athlete like Catherina McKiernan.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Dublin Half marathon

On 26 September the Dublin half marathon took place in the Phoenix park. It began ten minutes late and much to everyone's surprise the sun came out and the temperature noticeably increased just before it began. I went through the first mile in 06:44. The next few miles passed by in the mid 06:40s and mile six and most of mile seven were a nice gentle negative gradient down Chesterfield road. These miles elapsed in 06:39 and 06:36. Mile eight involved going up Kyber Pass. Going up this so often in my training meant I was not very intimidated by it but was worried ascending too quickly. On this hill I passed alot of other runners.
By mile ten, when we approached the Upper Glen Road I was feeling very good and new a PB was guaranteed unless disaster struck. Going up Glen road I passed a number of other runners who were beginning to struggle now. This was a great boost and I left behind the guy in a red and yellow singlet I had been swapping places with over the previous ten miles. His stride fascinated me though. It was a perfect midfoot strike and I think he was running well within himself with his sights set firmly on another race entirely.
Mile twelve did get a little tough with a fairly steep uphill section for about a third of a mile along Knockmaroon Road and I completed it in 07:00. The last mile was an opportunity to put the foot down a little and went through it in 06:34, the fastest mile of the race. My finish time was 01:28:24, besting my previous PB by one minute and twenty-one seconds. I was very happy with this race and still felt I had some left in the tank.

Split Time Avg HR
1 0:06:44 163
2 0:06:43 170
3 0:06:44 171
4 0:06:47 171
5 0:06:42 171
6 0:06:39 168
7 0:06:35 168
8 0:06:48 171
9 0:06:46 171
10 0:06:39 170
11 0:06:52 171
12 0:07:00 170
13 0:06:34 172
14 0:00:46 174
Summary 1:28:24 170

Saturday, 19 September 2009


Today was my last long marathon pace run. Eighteen miles with fourteen at marathon pace. I had decided that I would knock marathon pace down to seven minute pace. I completed the fourteen miles in average mile splits of 06:55, with an average heart rate of 158. This would seem to indicate that I could go at least five or six seconds per mile faster and maintain it for a marathon, bringing me a sub three hour marathon! Somehow I have this nagging feeling that I would be setting myself up for a fall by interpreting this as a reasonable deduction of today's run.
I think that maybe a Yasso 800 session is required to give a clearer picture of what's possible next month. Next week's Dublin half marathon should help too.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Chi Running

I have decided I am going to try and learn the chi running method. In short this uses the principles of Tai Chi to make you a quicker, more efficient and injury free runner. I have purchased the eponymous book authored by the chap who has developed this form of running, Danny Dreyer.
From what I have read so far Chi Running is a combination of proprioception, physics and psychology to ensure a more natural mid-foot strike, using gravity and your core to provide the forward momentum for fast more efficient running. I have signed up for participation in a Chi Running workshop being delivered by Catherina McKiernan. http://www.catherinamckiernan.com/ I hope this proves to be half what it is claimed to be.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

The flu and marathon schedules do not like each other

The flu put paid to much of this week's scheduled mileage. Thursday evening, Friday and most of Saturday saw me confined to my bed. I decided I would try and pull off my sixteen mile long run with twelve at MP. Well, one mile into my MP phase and I felt terrible. My heart, lungs and legs were saying it was fine but my stomach, GI tract and head were screaming whoa!! A mile and a half into the MP the way I felt indicated my HR was in the 170s; I looked at my watch, which revealed a HR of 148! Now I knew I was not going to finish this run. I struggled on a MP for another half mile and called it quits and hauled my sorry frame back at nine minute mile pace with a HR in the low 120s but felt like it was in the 150s. I should be thankful the flu did not incapacitate me for longer, next week should see normal service resumed.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Frank Duffy 10 miler

Surprisingly the race today started only five minutes late; I think this was the most punctual adidas series race I have participated in. I started in the sub seventy minute corral and surprisingly there was no one in there who patently would struggle to do sub 120, never mind sub seventy. I had a few silent chuckles to myself when the compére kept referring to those in the sub seventy minute area as 'elite athletes'! If only...
The first mile went well and while many people passed, who were obviously running at an unsustainable pace, there was plenty of room. The two mile mark was near the base of Military road whereupon I passed many of those who passed me earlier. It's a very satisfying feeling to pass people on a hill who passed you at the base. On each hill today people passed me at the base who I invariably passed approaching the crest. Starting slow and working up to a neutral gradient pace as you approach the top always works for me; I normally gain a few places too.
The end of the first lap of the section of the park we were running coincided with the half-way point and we started back down Chesterfield road, where the race had begun. I passed the halfway point in 34:33. The next two miles were a slight negative gradient down Chesterfield before turning off towards the Kyber road for a shorter second lap. These two miles elapsed in 06:43 and 06:47. The right turn back up to the hills of Military and Glen road took us into a heavy shower and a strong head wind. At this point I lost a guy in a red t-shirt who I seemed to have changed places with for most of the previous seven miles. I felt surprisingly strong but withheld the urge to go faster. Mile eight elapsed in 06:52. Here I decided I would try and overtake a guy in a Dublin GAA shirt who I had changed places with in the first two miles of the race. I really closed the gap on both sets of hills but he slowly pulled away on level ground. At the second approach to the crest of Glen road hill, approaching Ordnance Survey road, I was within six feet. However, history repeated itself and he pulled away again. Mile nine was a disappointing 07:03 and I decided I needed to inject a bit of discomfort and completed the last mile in 06:26.
My finish time was 68:42. I was fairly pleased with this, considering the hills and less than ideal conditions. Additionally, there was still a little left in the tank at the end and I would definitely have done a sub ninety minute half. Still a long way from a sub three hour marathon but I am not going backwards at least.

Friday, 14 August 2009

What to do?

Still procrastinating on how to approach tomorrow's 10 Mile Frank Duffy race in the park. I've religiously followed my marathon training plan for eight weeks now so it should be a good test of my progress. My last race was a half-marathon in baking heat shortly after a return from a four week lay-off where I posted my slowest ever race mile split times.
I'm thinking 06:40-45 average mile splits are realistic. However, I do not want to over do it so will aim for 06:49 and if I still feel fresh in the last two miles I will put the hammer down. There's a record entry of 6,500 this year and there will be predicted race time zones at the start. I guess people will ignore this as they generally do.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Progression run & weekly mileage

I completed an eighteen mile progression run yesterday. Apparently, these help build endurance and get the body used to running at a progressively fast pace over a long distance. Additionally the Phoenix park hosting vintage motor racing meant for a much diverted route and I took the opportunity to explore trails in the park I had never previously encountered. This made the run a bit more interesting and is consistent with my desire to do the majority of my training runs off concrete and tarmac.
A successful run with the last four miles ten per cent slower than targeted marathon pace. My average HR of 146 was very positive considering it was cross country with some very steep hills. Hopefully, this is indicative of progress. Also, this week saw the completion of fifty miles, which is my rather modest highest weekly mileage.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Circadian cycles?

On Tuesday morning I hauled myself out of bed at 5.50am to do a ten mile run with five miles at tempo pace. I knew all was not well when my heart rate was in the early 150s after a very slow first mile warm up. Upon beginning the tempo pace section of the run I was huffing and puffing within quarter of a mile and I was scarcely making marathon pace! After four 'tempo' miles with a split average of 06:56 I 'bonked' on the fifth. I felt shattered and shuffled back home feeling miserable.
Reviewing the run information revealed an average heart of 166 during the tempo miles, which is quite high. However, it actually felt higher and the effort felt more like 10K than half-marathon effort.
A brief google search on 'morning running tips' revealed the following article from Running Times on 'circadian cycles'. http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=7567
In short, it would appear that for most people, the early morning is the worst time to engage in vigorous physical exercise. Interesting article and I intend to hang onto this as an explanation for my rotten performance. My next tempo session, which will take place in the evening, should provide 'the litmus test' for this assertion.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Marathon pace run

The weekend schedule called for a sixteen mile run with ten miles at marathon pace. I faced this with a little trepidation; it would be the longest I would have run at that kind of pace since the DNF at Cork.
I set off towards the Phoenix park and up Chesterfield road. The first three miles felt good but my heart rate seemed rather high at over 150, while going at 08:30 pace! However, the first MP mile elapsed in 07:11 and felt relatively easy. The next few passed in a couple of seconds faster than target pace. Coming on to Chapelizod road meant that I now faced a stiff headwind but I felt strong and maintained my pace. The remaining few MP miles took me through the National War Memorial Gardens and it was quite pleasant along the Liffey.
During the last three miles, at recovery pace, I felt quite tired but felt I could have gone quicker during the MP miles. I was quite pleased with this workout and was a nice confidence booster. Upon review, I also found my heart rate remained in the low to mid 160s, which indicates I could certainly keep that pace for a marathon.

Heart rate

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


This was an inaugural event. It was a ride on the tram to Connolly and a short trip on the DART to Clontarf. I had run much of this route when I lived in Sandymount and much of it includes the beach on Bull island and is both picturesque and very flat.
Unfortunately, the previous week the race director elected to put the race back an hour and was scheduled to start at 11am rather than 10am. The increasing heat and humidity was an increasing cause for concern and I knew I would not be able to run to potential. By the third mile my spilt had dropped to 06:58 and the effort was too much. My heart rate for this split averaged 177! I consciously dropped the pace to get my heart rate down and the next few mile splits averaged about 07:20 with a heart rate still approaching 170.
The race consisted of two loops that incorporated much of Bull island and included the beach. This was surreal and an extremely heavy fog came down. Quite literally runners followed the runner in front of them to ensure they were heading n the correct direction. Visibility was probably less than twenty feet and seemed like one of those crazy adventure races in the desert.
As the last few miles approached I slowed further as there was no point killing myself. I decided to consider the race a good workout and consoles myself with the recogniton that it was a good hard session and the first time I had felt completely injury free since I completed the Connemarathon.
I came home in 01:38:17. This was by far my slowest half-marathon but was also the one with the highest average heart rate. The heat and injury induced sporadic training during the previous two months meant I was quite happy with my performance and look forward to getting into good race shape again.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Return from injury

Last week was my first week back from injury since my DNF at the Cork City marathon. I managed thirty miles. This week I began my Pfitzinger programme. Tuesday had an eight mile run with four miles at tempo pace scheduled. Fitness certainly deteriorates following a two week lay-off. My tempo pace miles were at least ten to fifteen seconds slower than one month ago!
I have the Multi-marathon half-marathon on Sunday. It's been moved to an 11am start from a previously scheduled 10am start. Considering my fitness level, recent injury and the late and potentially warm start means there will be no danger of doing a sub ninety minute race.

Back training

Last week was my first full week of training since my DNF at Cork. I managed thirty miles with a short tempo session on Thursday. This week I began my first week of the Pfitzinger programme. The fitness certainly tails off with a couple of weeks off. An eight mile run with four miles at tempo pace was scheduled for Tuesday and it was tough. My heart getting up to the 170s for mile splits at least ten second slower than would otherwise be required to reach 170 plus.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Cork City Marathon

On 1 June I competed in the Cork City Marathon. We got there in good time using the park and ride. It began on time and I was aiming for an average mile split of 07:03. It started at 9am but was already in twenty degrees. The first mile went be in 07:03. A little fast but I felt okay. After two miles I did not feel great. I just felt off and the legs felt heavy. After three miles I was beginning to slow down and by mile five I knew I would not break 03:05. I revised my goal to sub 03:10, which would still be a personal best.
However, I kept slowing down and by mile nine my average mile splits had deteriorated to 7:16, putting me outside PB pace with more than sixteen miles to go. During the thirteenth mile disaster struck. Approaching the crest of a small hill passing Blackrock castle I felt my right calf tighten and within a quarter of a mile my race was over - my first DNF.
I was very disappointed but not totally distraught. It has merely hardened my determination to do well at the Dublin Marathon and qualify comfortably for Boston. I've been to the physio twice and his treatment combined with strengthening and stretching exercises should help my running and prevent injury. I have not ran on it since and am not scheduled to do so until next week when I start the forty to fifty-five mile per week Pfitzinger and Douglas marathon programme.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Less than three weeks to go to the Cork city marathon. Unfortunately I have a number of niggles, including shinsplints. Last week I managed forty-five miles but I'm not going to make anything like that this week. I am backing off significantly on the mileage and will be happy to get more than thirty. For the two taper weeks I am toying with the idea of doing a tempo run and/or a long run and cross training for the remainder of each week.
Hopefully taking this approach will mean I do not loose any fitness while ensuring complete recovery from injury. Time will tell.

Thursday, 7 May 2009


I've developed a case of stage two shin splints. It's especially bad in my right leg and training is quite uncomfortable now. Saying that a few online articles and Runner's world videos gave me exercises that seem to have helped. This evening's six miles easy run was alot better than the previous evening's four miles.
I think I might get away with it getting any more serious but this is my wake up call to abandon any ambitions to increase mileage but rather to introduce some consistent strength training.

Thursday, 16 April 2009


On 22 March I did the Connemarathon. I was worried about what state I would be in for this as my 'stag' night was on the Friday and I was in a pretty bad way on Saturday morning. I managed to drag myself to Galway where I was staying with friends.
On Sunday morning I was feeling fully human again and got up at 6am to get the 8am bus to the start.
It got quite chilly waiting at the start and was eager to get going so we would not be standing around in the cold. We kicked off exactly on time at 10.30am. Before the start I got chatting to some people who had done the race before and I was glad as they tempered my aims and reiterated how hilly the course is. Consequently I decided to drop my aimed for average mile splits to 07:15. This proved to be a wise decision. The first mile passed in 07:12, so a little fast but very comfortable. I completed the second mile in 07:04, the third in 07:16. Here I encountered Johnny Donnelly of 'runjohnnyrun'. More on his crazy escapades to raise money for charity is available from runjohnnyrun.com. Mile four elapsed in 07:16, five in 07:19, six 07:03. It was here that the gentle incline from the start ended. The seventh mile went by in 07:19 and mile eight in 06:54. Obvious from the quicker time is that I was on the downhill section of the course towards Kilary harbour; Ireland's only fjord. I really began to appreciate the scenery at this point which was truly stunning. Mile nine went by in 07:09 and mile ten in 06:53. I was running on my won alot now. Mile eleven elapsed in 06:39 and twelve in 06:57. These two miles involve the final descent into Kilary harbour and running along the flat. Mile thirteen passed in 07:00. I was consciously trying to slow myself down now as I was going a bit fast and I anticipated a hillier second half. At this, the halfway point you come into the village of Leenane, where the half marathon starts and there is a short sharp rise out of the village. Unfortunately you have to get to this point in less than three hour pace to avoid having to run through two thousand half marathon starters. I could see the front runners pull away from the start as I entered the village and my heart sunk a little. I had to battle up hill against the usual twits who think it's a good idea to walk/run four abreast and those who throw their arms about in excitement. At one point I saw a girl taking off her hoddie to throw it to her friends across the road cheering her on. I decided to over take her on the inside before she did that but I didn't make it and it was only my anticipation of what she was about to do that allowed me to put my arms up in time to stop her throwing her right arm into my face. Battling through the crowd I got through miles fourteen and fifteen miles in 07:25 and 07:26, which I was happy with but I expended an awful lot of energy.
Mile sixteen went down in 06:43, mile seventeen in 06:44 and mile eighteen in 06:58. I was going too fast and needed to slow down. Mile nineteen passed in 07:16, mile twenty in 07:18. At this point I was getting anxious about the hill at mile twenty-three, the infamous 'hell of the west'. Mile twenty-two lapped in 07:29. Mile twenty-three 07:54, which represented the first part of the 'hell of the west' and mile twenty-four was extremely painful and slow, elapsing in 08:49. I was so glad to see the end of it and could now see the finish way off in the distance down a gentle gradient. I could not get back up to my previous pace and could feel my left hamstring cramping up pretty bad and worried about something giving out and registering a DNF. Thankfully I held it together and miles twenty-five and six passed in 07:21 and 07:26 respectively. In the last 0.2 I got 'chicked' but my pride was not hurt too much when it transpired that she would be the female marathon winner. I finished in 03:10:24 and considering this was a much tougher course than Dublin I was very happy with the time.
If I miss the qualifying time for Boston 2010 the Connemarathon will be a very good consolation prize and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. Superbly organised, great course and nice medal and wicked t-shirt for all finishers.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Cupid's Dash 10k

Valentine's day was the date for the inaugural Cupid's 10k dash. Irishfit.com organised this event in the Phoenix park. It followed the same route as the Aware 10k so it would be test of progress of any from December.
It began at 10am and I made sure I was at the very front so as to ensure a clean getaway. I reckon there were about five hundred participants. I aimed to pass the first mile in 06:20, nine seconds faster than the Aware 10k. The first mile passed in 06:21 and I quickly found myself in a group of about five runners with the leading pack of four in front of us about fifty metres ahead.
Mile two 06:22, mile three in 06:14. I was feeling strong and was feeling confident of breaking the forty minute barrier. At this point the two leading women and the leading group of men disappeared. Mile four 06:20. Mile five, which is where you first encounter the hills as you move along military road, passed in 06:26. I was very happy with this and as I approached the crest I put the hammer down and glided over the top and overtook the four runners I had been with for most the the previous four to five miles. At this point you move down hill for a couple of hundred yards and turn left onto Kyber road, where it is up hill for most of a mile. Here one of the runners I passed half a mile back overtook me; drew level and we ran together for about 400 metres. I felt strong and pushed on, leaving him behind.
For the previous five mile I could see the second woman in the distance and was slowly reeling her in but there were not enough miles to left to catch her. Mile six passed in 06:33 and the last kilmoetre is a nice gentle negative gradient where I pushed on and passed another few runners. I crossed the line in 39:35, a new PB and my first sub forty 10k. No results up yet but I might just have come in the top twenty.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009


I did my tempo run this evening, which is 1600m warm up, 2X1600m@06:44, 1600 rest, 2x1600@06:44 and a cooldown. The first two tempo miles passed at 06:42 and 06:33. I felt fairly fatigued at this point. The rest period was 1600m, which is quite long I think. The second set of tempo miles were 06:28 and 06:33 and I was surprised at how much I had recovered and I might need to reconsider my target pave of 06:44 or reduce the recovery period.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Iliotibial band

In recent weeks I've upped my mileage by about twenty per cent and I think it is paying off. I am running a little ahead of my target tempo pace and my interval sessions seem to be getting a little easier. However, there is a drawback. My IT band is playing up, atleast as a self diagnosis I think that is what it is and has resulted in 'Runner's Knee'. I am pretty sure this is what is it as I have all the classic symptoms, a dull and sometimes sharp pain, especially getting up from a seated position or walking downstairs.
Also, the stretches that relieve and/or prevent IT band pain do seem to work and are keeping it under control. I am trying to build in more stretching and gym work to strengthen my quads, hamstrings and glutes. FIngers crossed this will do the trick!