Sunday, November 19, 2017

The real reason for the hold up on the #FarewellTour

As promised, a little note to bring things up to date, and let you know why things have been put on hold for a wee while.

After the Dingle Trip in early September. I ran my last BHAA race of the season over in Newbridge, for the Pfizer 5K. A great flat course, and a reasonably decent time of 24:14, so things were looking up. This didn't last too long, as the following week I had a mare of a run in Rathfarnham, and things were slipping off the rails. I passed on the Dublin Half Marathon, and the ankle niggle, and the core issue really began to become more of a problem, and one that would need a break from running. Difficult to take a break when you're like me, and enjoy running and racing so much, but needs must.

We took a wee holiday over to the US in October, and I took part in the Brooklyn Rock n Roll 5 Miler, which was great fun, and although my time of 43:12 wasn't spectacular, it was an enjoyable, if hilly, run, and a few more runs in Central Park while in New York certainly had me smiling when we flew home, hoping I could get back into running well again.

Then the Big Story Hit!

As part of the retirement and emigration plans, I have been having a series of Health MOT checks, with everything coming up rosy so far. Just before we went to the US I had the last of my checks, a colonoscopy, and on returning home I got a call into the hospital to go through the results. Then the proverbial hit the fan. They had found a small amount of Cancerous Cells in a polyp that they had removed, and the histology had shown some vascular transfer into the bowel. !!!! To say the least, I was in shock..... More tests were to be needed, including a CT Scan and an MRI. For a few weeks my head wasn't quite in it, as I awaited the results.... Running took a back seat, and to be fair, most things did, and I apologise if I was short with anyone at the time.

Thankfully, I received pretty good news last week, and the cancer cells left are minimal, and while I may need a little surgery to clear things, followed by more scans, it seems I am pretty clear, although there will always be a risk, albeit low. I kept all this from public knowledge until I got the positive results, and thankfully, the scare, although very real to me, was, on a scale of 1 to 10, at the bottom of the scoring charts.

What this has meant is that we had to delay our departure into the New Year, as I want to be completely clear before we head away. With little running in the anxious time, and a lot of stress eating, I managed to put on 5 Kgs and starting back to running has been tough itself. I ran Poolbeg parkrun last week, and as those that know me saw, it was a struggle to get round, and 28:41 was a tough effort. A couple of gym sessions this week and Hartstown parkrun in a 2 minute faster time have me on track, but the ankle niggle is still prevalent, so the journey back to fitness will be a long one, but thankfully, that is the only tough journey I have to make in the next few months. Next stop, Run in The Dark on Wednesday next, anything under the hour for the 10K will be satisfactory.

So, there you have it - The reason for the Delay, and poor running - Putting this behind me now, and looking forward again....

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Must get around to sorting out this #Farewell Tour

Have been very slack at posting updates, mainly due to the fact that I haven't done a whole lot of running in recent weeks. Suffice to say that our departure from the Emerald Isle has been put back a little while, into the New Year, so I will get a few more runs in, I hope. This weekend I'll be at #Hartstownparkrun for their 3rd Birthday, and I'll try and give a full update on where my running is at on Sunday. Until then.........

Monday, September 04, 2017

We roll into September

Before you know it, summer has been and gone, and we are into September. Quite a few races run since my last post, and also three weeks off running as my niggle became more of a problem, but I'm jumping ahead.

Since the last post, I have had some ups and downs, but of the story of life I guess. Just as things start to be heading in the right direction, something happens to throw you back. After the Fingal 10K in late July, I was gearing up for the Dublin Rock n Roll races, with a couple of 5K's and a 10K due in Dun Laoghaire, this being one of the races that was on my list of To Do races on the #FarewellTour, the DLR Bay 10K, as I'd heard good things about this one, a challenging, but quick course. Best run of the month was in the BHAA Fire Brigade 5K out in Marino, where I ducked under 24 minutes again for the first time this year, clocking 23:52, and leading the Revenue B Team to a Team Prize on the day, certainly going in teh right direction.

As you know by now if you have been following my posts here, and on Facebook, I am a great advocate for #parkrun, and as well as running these 5K's on a regular basis, I also volunteer when I can, to give something back. I managed to combine the running and volunteering over at #Hartstownparkrun at the beginning of August, by acting as Tailrunner, ensuring that everyone gets the same experience, and finishing in style. It was great fun doing this, and I thoroughly recommend this to others to help in this way.

But back to running, and the DLR Bay 10K. I had been told that there were hills.. Well, there were a few bumps, but nothing severe at all, and I had a good run, despite the niggle in my heel still causing a wee concern. I ran 52:41, within myself, and although down on last years 10K times, I was happy with this leading into the Rock n Roll Dublin 5k and Half Marathon the following weekend.

The 5K went well, like last year, running comfortably, and easily, clocking 24:12 on the Saturday morning, and all augured well for Sundays Half. Between the 10K and the Half, there was a great turn out from my Wednesday night Run & Beers Group, and I was quietly confident of having a good run. Things didn't quite go to plan..... I started well, running 25:06 for the first 5K, and I was feeling strong, and starting to think I could crack the 1:50 mark.. Unfortunately the heel niggle suddenly decided that this was the day that it would become a problem. Somewhere around Kilmainham it suddenly became painful, rather than a dull ache that was hiding, just bubbling under. It came to the top... I tried to walk it off, but each time my left foot hit the ground, the pain became sharper. Despite that I still managed to clock two more Km's at just over 5 minute pace, but, the pain was very uncomfortable, and I decided it wasn't worth risking further damage by running another 11/12 Kms, and as the 10K race is 95% on the same course as the Half Marathon, I was able to divert to the finish of the 10K, cross the line, and even get the medal for completing the 10K, actually recording a half decent time of 54:40, despite the walking to ease the pain. The disappointment was only partly put to rest by heading to the Beer Market later in the afternoon for a post-race party with the Run & Beers gang, many of whom had great runs earlier in the day, in both the 10K and the Half Mary.

Despite my desire to run as many races as I can this year on the #FarewellTour, I knew I had to rest the heel, and so I took a couple of weeks off, missing the Frank Duffy 10m race, an old favourite of mine, but managed to volunteer at #parkrun a couple of times, which helped to ease the burden of no training. After two weeks, I needed to see how I was recovering, as Dingle Half Marathon was only a week away. It wasn't looking good. On pre-race Monday, the heel was really sore, and the race was in doubt. Maybe it was in the head, because on Tuesday it felt fine, and so on Wednesday I ventured out with the R&B Gang, for an easy 5k, and while the heel held up fine, my cardio was an issue - That old adage that you lose very little fitness in two weeks may be true, but two weeks and two days - Oh Boy!....

Thankfully, Thursday dawned with no reaction from the injury, so it was off to Dingle we went, and on Saturday morning, Nazli from the R & B Gang and myself lined up with a couple of thousand others, including many running friends from #RSP and #LustforLife, and all points around the country. If you've never been to Dingle, it's about as far as you can get from Dublin, before hitting the US or Canada. The West of Ireland, the peninsular in scenic to put it mildly, and although we didn't venture into the Bay, there is also a dolphin, but that's another story!

We arrived on Friday afternoon, in glorious sunshine, but Saturday morning was a different tale, with rain in the air, and as the forecast had predicted, it came, gentle, but dampning. I obviously hadn't been able to get the right training in for this race, but had a plan in mind, to run/walk the race, expecting the ups and down of the undulating countryside around Slea Head on the peninsular. Generally, the race went according to plan, running 4km, then walking 200m, and keeping that general pattern up, with exceptions such as turning one corner on the coast road into a Head wind that could knock you down if you were much lighter (I walked that bit too!), but then, turning another corner, heading on a down hill stretch, the wind was behind you, pushing you down at almost breakneck speed. My walk/run method had the desired effect, and while my time shows 2:03:20, well outside what I would have hoped for before the injury flared, it was actually a time I am very happy with, given what the last few weeks have been like, and the way I was feeling only 5 days earlier. The race finished in a pub, Krugers, in the middle of nowhere, and they bus you back to Dingle town, as the Full Marathon heads back into the hills, and the rain, and full marks to everyone who continued on, as the rain turned from that drizzle, to a heavier downpour. Despite all this, those we met in the evening who had run the full distance had really enjoyed it, you didn't hear a bad word said about this race, and although I may be on the other side of the world next year, I would certainly love to come back and face the challenge again one day - Highly recommended...... Nazli had a great run, clocking well under the two hours, around 1:53, and another friend form the #RSP group, Gary Mason, finished 23rd under 1:30, in very trying conditions. Hats off to everyone.....

As I started off by saying, we are into September, Autumn just around the corner here in the Northern Hemisphere, and recovery from the Half, with no side effects from the heel, see's me planning ahead for my last few months in the Emerald Isle. Next up is a 5K in the BHAA series this coming Saturday, with the Dublin Half Marathon on the 23rd September following. All being well, I can get back some of that lost fitness and be back under that 2 hour mark for that. I think it will be very unlikely that I run the Dublin Marathon now, as I simply haven't got the mileage in my legs. While you can get away with that, to an extent, for a Half Mary, the full 42 Km (26 miles for my American followers!) is another story. Early October sees a holiday to the East Coast of the US, catching up with some old friends, and family too, as Paula's brother and family will be in New York, and would you believe it, the Brooklyn Rock n Roll Half Marathon is on the weekend we are in New York - I mean, you have to really, it would be rude not to........

I'll leave you with a few pics, and a tune from one of my favourite bands - As they say, Until the Next Time..... - Just click on those last few words......

Sunday, July 23, 2017

About Time I Updated - The #FarewellTour Rolls on

A post from a long time running friend the other day, reminded me that I hadn't updated the diary/blog, whatever you might want to call it, for a while. Hadn't realised that aside from a "cute" pic from a race I paced earlier in the summer, I hadn't updated you all, or myself, since February - So what have I been doing?

Well, I have been running, unfortunately, since March, I have been carrying a couple of injuries, which have meant I haven't been able to reach the same levels that I was able to reach last year. But, as this is the last full year I will be running on my home island, at least for a while, I have continued through, where better judgement may well have suggested that I should ease up, rest for a few weeks, and allow the body to recover - But, I'm way not doing that....

March started well, running Ballycotton Ten Miler, one of my favourite races in Ireland. I was reasonably happy with my time of 86:50, and very happy to pick up my Mug and T-Shirt, which will both see great use in Argentina next year.

It was just after Ballycotton that the first of my niggles started. I was getting a pain in my groin area, but only when I ran, and so it was off to the physio, who suggested rest, a strain on the muscles that connect around the pubic bone. His remedy was to rest and not to run for around 4 to 6 weeks, but he knows me well, like that would happen! What he did say was that it wouldn't get any worse if I continued to run - so I listened to the second piece of advice, and have kept on running. To be honest, it might have been wiser to rest up for a couple of weeks at that time, as the races were not as frequent as at this time of the year, but I kept plodding through, and April saw a couple of parkruns, including a new one for me at Bushy Park, here in Terenure, almost on my doorstep, along with the first of the Summer League BHAA Races in St Ann's Raheny, and a decent run of 31:21 for the 4 miler, in much better conditions to last years windy day.

And so we rolled into May, and the running season really picking up. First up was a new race on the agenda for me, and a trip to Navan on a Friday night for a 6K race, and also saw me later in the month heading up home for the Banbridge 10K, and a lovely warm evening for a race on home turf.

June started with a change of scenery and a Trail Race for me, the first of the Born2Run series in Dublin, over at Malahide Castle, and an interesting, wet night, on grass, trail, and occassional tarmac. It was around then that the second niggle started (the first one still present), and a heel injury, some call it a heel spur. Right at the base of the heel, it's painful after a run, and when I get up in the morning, but generally I can run on it, as it eases off as it gets warm, but I do suffer aftrwards. Again, the treatment is to take anti-inflams, and rest up for a few weeks - Yep, you guessed it, not going to happen......

What the two niggles have resulted in, is that I haven't been able to put any hard training sessions in. Obviously this means I am ticking over, rather than improving dramatically, but I'll keep trying, and I'm not falling back too much, just aiming to run within my level of fitness, and where necessary, taking walk breaks in my races to keep things under control.

Finished off June with two more trail races, the first being at Bohernabreena, the last of the Born2Run series (which I highly recommend by the way), and I never knew that a 10K reservoir run could have so many hills, but it was certainly up and down, with 177m of elevation gain, and slighly less lost as it didn't start and finish at the same place, but with a downhill finish, I finished with a hard kick home.

Nearly up to date, if you're still awake - ........

July started off at the venue of my first "RSP" race back in Ireland in 2014, at Clontarf, and the 5 Miler along the seafront. An out and back course, followed by lunch in the Yacht with some great running friends, made for a fun day, and despite the niggles, a time of 42:25 was very pleasing. A couple of 5Km races followed swiftly, the first in the Docklands, with the second being the BHAA DCC race at Irishtown, and decent runs of 24:25 for the Docks Race, followed by a 12 second faster run a week later in Irishtown.

Last week, it was the SPAR FitLive 10K run, and a small gang of us from my Wednesday night Run & Beers Group took part, for a couple of them on the day, it was their first race, and they all ran superbly. I was more than happy with my 52:02 time, hopefully the sign of things to come, as I work through the niggles.

Only this weekend to go now, don't panic, and Saturday I was up North, and decided to head to Rostrevor for #parkrun, and a relatively new addition to the #parkrun family. What a beautiful location for a run. On one side, Carlingford Lough, with the other side of the park surrounded by the foothills of the Mountains of Mourne. What I hadn't realised was that the parkrun utilized the mountains, rather than the coast, and a very challenging two lap course, with a really stiff, long, climb on each lap, a total of 140m of climb, although, despite struggling up the hill, twice, the last Km, being virtually all down hill, saw me fly home in a Km split of 3:56 - if only I could keep that up for longer, on the flat!!!!

That brings us to this morning and the 10K start to the Dublin Race Series, the Fingal 10K. I certainly felt those hills from yesterday in the legs, and although I finished with a reasonably OK time of 53:57, it was a disjointed run, with a few walk breaks making the splits look very uneven, and the time only reasonable as I kicked like mad over the last 200m to come in under 54 minutes...

So, where do we go from here...

The weekend diary is pretty full, with races every weekend, BHAA, DLR Bay 10K, then the Rock n Roll in Dublin, all in consecutive weeks. Looking forward to the Dingle Half Marathon at the beginning of September, and if I can clear these niggles (the muscle injury is nearly gone now, while the heel is still very sore), I can work towards completing the Dublin Marathon come the end of October.

The #FarewellTour still has a bit to go, and I've not quite decided on which run will be my last leg, but The Gingerbread Run in late November is looking strong as the final Race, but I can predict that it will be #parkrun that will be my final event before we fly off in the weeks before Xmas, and i really hope that many friends can join me on the day. My last race of the year will be in Buenos Aires, on New Years Eve, an 8K, the San Silvestre... It may be a tad warmer than New Years Eve in Dublin - I ran the same race in 2015, it was 40 degrees at the finish, and YES, I do mean Celsius!

I promise to update a wee bit more frequently in the next few months - For both my readers.... :) - A few pics from the past few months........

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Starting to take Shape - #FarewellTour Update

Here we are into February, and the first Race under my #FarewellTour Banner has taken place, the Trim 10 Miler. I have to confess it wasn't my best day at the office. It's easy to make excuses, and I have a couple.... I had suffered an attack of gout eight days before the race, and had to miss four or five days of running, and the day before the race, I did spend the afternoon watching rugby in teh pub, with a few pints consummed, but irrepsective of these handicaps, I felt fine on the morning of the race, no hangover, and despite it being a cold morning in the countryside, I expected to run better.

I was running with Susan Spillane who I have been helping in her training for the Boston Marathon, and as she was looking at running the race at a 10 minute mile pace, I thought it would be fun to run with her, and see how the training has been going. We ran together to half way, but I was not feeling great by then, and rather than slow her progress, I took a breather, let her go, and just took it steady over the second half, just kicking out a frustrated last Km in 5:29, the only sub 6 minute kilometre all day - At least I finished strong. But a time of 1:44:01 wasn't my best...

A couple of parkruns have been run this year, and next week, Saturday 25th Feb, I will be running my 50th Parkrun. Whilst I know there are plenty of people who have run twice as many, and more, this is a Big Deal for me,and I have invited as many friends as can get out of bed on a Saturday Morning to join me at Hartstown Parkrun for a nice 5K - and CAKE!

In the meantime, I have been planning further on my #FarewellTour races. As we have now decided to head to South America at the beginning of November, a couple of weeks later than originally planned, the Dublin Marathon has suddenly become available to me. Well, it would be a shame not to, and while I cannot say this will be my last Race on the #FarewellTour, it will most definitely be my last Marathon here (at least for now!).

Aside from Parkrun #50, I am only adding runs to the List when I actually enter them, and pay the money over. So, the list on the sidebar is only showing definite races entered. There will be plenty of others, most haven't opened up the entries yet, and I will add accordingly once in....

Looking forward to the spring, even though winter hasn't been very severe this year. It will be nice to get out in short sleeves, and bright evenings, as the temperatures climb into double figures. March is just around the corner, Ballycotton looms large on the horizon, and I hope to have a much better run than in Trim, weather depending - It can get wild in Cork in March!

A couple of pictures from Trim - Lots of fellow #RSPers and friends in these.... (And me too!)....

Sunday, January 15, 2017

2017 off and running....

Two parkruns under the belt already as 2017 kicks off. Ducked under 25 minutes at Hartstown on the first Saturday of the year, followed by a chilly day at Waterstown on the 14th, where I was pleased to be under 26 minutes on the challenging course, and icy conditions.

Looking ahead to events during the year, and I have two races lined up in the early part, with Trim and Ballycotton, both 10 milers, entered and early season training aiming for a decent time in Ballycotton, with Trim as the warm up. More races to be added soon, but August is looking busy, with the Streets of Galway, Dublin Rock n Roll Half and Longford Marathon all being lined up, although not entered yet. I have added a little side bar which I will update with Races entered during the year, at which you are welcome to join me.

Pics from the two parkruns.......

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Farewell Tour

The time has come to put people out of their misery (well, OK, maybe just explain something that was puzzling, doubt too many were in misery!). If you are a Facebook friend, you may have noticed that I have used the term #TheFarewellTour a few times in recent weeks, and questions have been asked. Well, now's the time for the explanation.

As most of you know, Paula and I were married back in July 2015, and have been enjoying life here in Dublin since then. But decisions had to be made about our long term plans, and despite my youthful looks (Ed's Note - WHAT???), I am at an age when EARLY Retirement is possible (VERY EARLY!!). So, we decided, for a number of reasons that this route would be taken, and retirement planned. Whilst not 100% confirmed with my employers (The Government!), if all goes to plan I will be finishing work with the Revenue, on September 29th (give or take a week!). Once that is finalised, we will be emigrating back to Argentina, to be closer to Paula's family, and closer to the sun, as it's a darn site warmer down there than it is in Dublin!

For the third time in my life I will be leaving Erin's Shores for a different life. Once as a child, the second time in 2009 when I first moved to Argentina, and now on a more long term basis. We cannot confirm that this will be forever, as the Emerald Isle has a way of calling you back, who knows?

So, what is this Farewell Tour I keep going on about? Well, in those 9 months left here, I plan to run as many races that have been either, on my bucket list to do, or ones I want to return to, as they have meant something special to me over the years. Sadly the first of those on the list should have been the Raheny 5 at the end of January, a race I have always enjoyed, but I will be working that weekend, and have to miss it. I will be running Trim in February, and another on the list, already entered, will be the Ballycotton 10m on my birthday in March. The Streets of Galway 8K will be another, and very likely the Longford Marathon in August, and Dingle Half looks good. The Frank Duffy 10m will be a blast, and I will definitely be parkrunning as often as possible, with my 50th closing in in the early part of the year.

The plan is to find a race, or maybe a parkrun, in our last few weeks before departing to finally say Farewell, and would love to have many friends join me as I bid au revoir (It can never be goodbye!). Ireland will always be Home, and we will return to visit, and hopefully run and catch up with friends and family.

So, that explains the Farewell Tour commnents, and I look forward to seeing my running family, up and down the country. I'll try and keep this blog posted with upcoming runs, and if you see a youthful old fart shedding a wee tear at a race near you, more likely than not in an #RSP top (Runners Support Page), say hi!

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Gingerbread Run

Great day out in Portarlington for the Gingerbread Run. Fantastic showing by all the RSPers on display, on what was certainly one race when nobody could come up with the excuse that it was TOO HOT out there....

Thanks to Christine Mc as ever for the lift over, and congrats to everyone who ran, especially Orna who had a brilliant run in the 10K and Francis who bombed the Half Marathon. Personally I had an almost great run, with just a little hiccup around 17/18 kms when a spot of cramp held me up for a brief while, but thankfully not enough to make serious dents in my aimed for time. ...

5K Splits of 25:41,25:09, 25:16, 27:09 tell their own tale, with the last Km and 97 m in 4:54 plus 25 seconds for my Band time of 1:48:34...... Official time came in at 1:48:41 for 143rd out of 484 participants. Fastest Km of the race, Km 21 !!!

Almost an 8 minute Age Best, and my second fastest Half Marathon since 1998 - Yes, you read that right, and nearly beat that from 2003, missing out by 20 seconds, if the cramps hadn't flared, I would have........ This old dog can put his feet up now, that was my last "race" of the year - May run a parkrun or two, but a little R & R now - Happy Runner Here - The Gingerbread Man Did!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016