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

Pictures from Dublin Marathon

Dublin City Marathon - Sunday 30th October, 2016 - Not quite on target, but, What a Great Day!

I wrote this for my Facebook Running Group, #RSP, the Runners Support Page, posting it here to save for posterity.

An up and down day, emotionally. I didnt want to post my experience last night, as I wasnt sure how I felt. This morning, having slept on it, had a pint too 😎 , its easier to reflect. ...... Id stated my aims clearly, seeking that Boston Qualifying Time, under 3:55, so a hostage to fortune.... Thanks to the one way system to get to Merrion Sq., I missed the RSP photo shoot, and nearly missed the damn start, due to loo queues. ....... The run itself started so well, keeping myself in check, all the way to 7km, all fine, all on target, felt great..... Then, the hamstring decided to tweak, pull, whatever the expression is, mine was more like, CRAP!.... I kept going, out of the Park, back in, but soon realised that with 30k to go, it would be a long day. My old friend from Athenry, Peter Lowney joined me with his blisters, and we exchanged was wounds, on and off, for a few miles. I met a guy from Newcastle, Co. Down, and we walked and talked for a mile or two., then Janet from Mallusk in Belfast was crying along the way, so she got a hug. ...... Wearing the RSP top brought cheers to help, friends Rory & Cat at Dolphins Barn encouraged me along, seeing Michelle from my Wednesday night Run With Beers gang, sorry about the sweaty hug, Julie from Waterstown parkrun, all helped with the crushing disappointment of the hamstring. ..... After 30k, it was only a wee trot home, and I dug in and despite the pain, I ran most of the way home, up Roebuck Hill, with Christine in great form there, then on towards the end, with Rachel, Denise, Trina & Aoife, not mention Stuart at cheerleader central, and most importantly, my better half Paula 50 yards on, with a big hug.... Now I could finish.... Head down, smile on face, and crossing the line, and raising a smile to Joe looking down on me.... Ok, 4.49 was an hour away from what I wanted. Sure, I was disappointed, but, the support, the cameradi, the fun out there is second to none. And then, onto McGrattans, and seeing every smiling face, made it all worthwhile. Yep, my time was nowhere near what I wanted, but the day itself was awesome. If Carlsberg did Marathons, it would be Dublin................. A heartfelt thanks to each and everyone who were involved, running, cheering, watching on from afar...... Far too many names to mention, but I appreciate it all.... To the two lasses from Roscommon who told Trina that I was their inspiration, I pass the baton back, everone I have met, in person or on line here at #RSP had inspired me........ Who cares about finishing times, or even finishing lines, its about friendship....... You cant pay for that...... Thanks....

Sunday, July 24, 2016

DCM to Boston Update - Week 12/26 In The Bag - Almost Half Way

With regular updates on Facebook as to daily runs etc., I decided that I would only update the blog when there was something to say. And yes, I have something to say...

12 weeks worth of training are now in the bag, with 14 weeks, 98 days to go to the Big Day. The first phase of my training has been working on my speed, in line with the increase in distance. In this phase I expected to improve my shorter distance times, if and when I raced. I have been doing interval work over 500m, and this has been going well, and this has translated into a few races, improving my 5K times twice in the last 7 weeks, and finally I have managed to get that 10Km time back under 50 minutes, for the first time in 9 years.

The seven weeks of training block, has seen relatively low mileage each week, but the quality of the training has been exactly what was required, as can be seen from the times. 29, 25, 12, 15, 24, 33 & 28 kilometre weeks may not jump off the page as ideal mileage (I'm sorry, I have no idea what noun to replace "mileage" in kilometres, apparently the dictionary has a word "kilometrage", but it sounds {and writes}, terribly, so mileage it is, but in kilometres!), for marathon preparation, but it's the way my plan is set out, and so far, so good.

In addition to the running, I have been watchful with my diet, with a few lapses for chocolate, and I have now been off the alcohol for the whole 12 weeks of the plan. Overall, combining the running, and the detox time, my weight has dropped over 6 kilo's (that's 13lbs to my American readers, and nearly a Stone for those in the UK), which clearly is also helping the times.

So, what about those times.

Well, after a very pleasant parkrun in Waterstown on June 11th, running with my great pal Brendan Brady from the Warriors, the following day I stormed the Irish Runner 5 Miler in the Phoenix Park the following day, clocking 38:21, my fastest 5 Miler since 2008. The following week, it was Hartstown parkrun, and I surprised myself by running 23:19, again, the fastest over this distance since 2008 (a pattern emerging here!).

A couple of weeks later, after missing a few days for Hay Fever, it was out to Clonee and a crack at that elusive 10K #sub50 time, I have been striving for. Given this race was out in the countryside, in hindsight, it might not have been an ideal choice. And that's the way it turned out. I started out with Patrick Downey, with good intentions, but naturally went off too fast for the conditions, and by 3km I was struggling with my breathing, thanks to the fresh air of the Meath Countryside, and the lovely grass pollen still lingering around. I had to let Patrick fly off, and ease back, but even so, I only missed out on the sub 50 by 26 seconds, in itself an age PB in my search for the elusive #sub50 - Have to be another day!

A nice little week away in the Basque country and Madrid, with runs in the sun, certainly helped me feel good, along with a very pleasant surprise in meeting Martin Fis, the former European and World Marathon Champion from the 90's, while in Vitoria-Gastiez. Great chat with him, and an invitation to his home marathon next May, and interesting to note he is now the editor of the Spanish version of Runners World.

Coming home, and back into regular training, led to a trip over to Waterstown on the 16th for another parkrun and a course PB followed without even feeling like I was trying, on the demanding course. A first "long" run the following day, as I start to look at increasing the distance, and a 15Km run, including a nice climb of the Kyber Road in the Phoenix Park, felt nice and easy.

Wednesday of Week 12 saw the latest BHAA Race (having had to miss the last one in the Park due to Hay Fever), and an old favourite in Irishtown, over 5K. I felt really good on the night, and pushed it most of the way, recording 23:04, a further improvement on the 5K time, and my fastest over 5Km since 2005, some 11 years in the making. Amazingly I was actually disappointed not to break 23 minutes - :)

This leads me to the end of Week 12, and today's Fingal 10Km. This race has been my main target of the summer, as I build towards October, as I strived for that #sub50. Everything seemed to be lining up correctly, the weather was ideal for running, overcast, not too warm, and no wind! I had no niggles that could affect me, so no excuses if I failed today. I had my new Asics DS 21's on, lighter than my Nimbus Training shoes, so I had to.... And I did..... Everything went according to plan.

I understood the first Km to be a gradual, if small percentage, climb, and I set off accordingly, planning to run around 5 minutes for this, then ease into a rhythm on the following couple of Kms along the dual carriageway, which I knew to be downhill. Couldn't have got it more right, with a steady 5:07 starting me off, followed by 4:35 and 4:31, and I was cruising along. As the course leveled off, and then continued to be very gently undulating, I knew I had plenty in hand, and stayed steady at 4:43, 4:53, 4:56, 4:54 and 4:46 through the middle of the race. With plenty in the bank, I was able to take a little breather in Km 9, and ran a slow 5:13, before picking it up a little for the finish, where there is a nasty little hill in the last 500m, but I finished comfortably with a 4:57 Km, and a new age PB of 48:35, and my first sub 50 since 2007.

I've mentioned that my recent times over 5Km, 5m, and 10Km have been my fastest in 8/9/11 years, and I have mentioned before that I like to use Age Graded Performance Percentages to compare my times as an old fart with my younger days. These three races over the two 5's and 10Km, have shown age graded scores of 68.56%, 68.12% and 67.74%, all up there near the top of my performances over the years. All of these lead me to believe that I can make my Boston Qualifying time later this year, and I can now move into the middle phase of my plan over the next 8 weeks.

Now the shorter distances have seen their goals achieved, I can concentrate on the longer distances, and get the miles into the bank in full preparation for DCM in October, while not neglecting the speed sessions. Next up will be the Rock n Roll Half in two weeks, with a side trip to Barcelona for some R & R of a different sort in-between.

I'll leave you with a few pictures from the last few weeks - Hope you like them - Feel free to leave a comment on my blog if you so desire - It's nice to know that somebody is reading my scribe!

Monday, June 06, 2016

DCM to Boston Week 5/26 Out of The Way

I know I said I'd keep this updated each week as I progressed towards the Dublin City Marathon, but as each week passes, a lot of things stay the same, and I don't want to bore people to death with repetitive comments, such as; I ran 5 Km, it was easy; I ran 10Km it was hard....., so I'll spare you those boring details, and just let you know how it's going, and add nuggets of wisdom from time to time.

Since the Terenure 5 in mid-May, the last three weeks have seen a steady progress. The three weeks clocking 29, 32 & 30 Kms, much in line with my revised programme, and with May being a heavy month for races, five more timed events have seen me on the roads (or in one case, the Beach!).

The races have been a mixed bag, with the Docklands Night Run kicking off this phase, and a decent 50:58 recorded on a twisty, congested course, especially given I wasn't looking for any decent time, just a consistent run, which I achieved. This was quickly followed 48 hours later by the latest BHAA Race, a 5Km run on Sandymount Beach. My official time for this was 23:49, which translates as a M55 PR. Personally, I don't feel that this was accurate, as I genuinely didn't feel like I was pushing it, and I have never been a lover of sand, but maybe the training is starting to pay off.

After those two races, I headed over to Waterstown for their 100th parkrun on the 28th of May. If you haven't tried Waterstown on the parkrun circuit here in Ireland, I thoroughly recommend it. It's a challenging course, with its fair share of inclines, notably the last 400m which are more or less all up hill! I ran this with the 25 minute pacer for most of the way, and managed to add protein to my diet with around 300m to go, catching a fly in my mouth and choking on the darn thing... Had to stop, cough it up, and then kick on again, passing a fair number of those who had flown past me while I was choking, finally clocking 25:28, with a sprint finish up the hill. A great party atmosphere afterwards to celebrate their centenary, and a huge thanks to the volunteers who make these parkruns so successful.

In between these races, I have increased my weekly "long" run to 10Km, and I'm hitting this at between 5:35 and 5:45 pace, as per my plan, although I do feel slow at this pace, but the legs need the build up, so onwards it will be. As previously mentioned, I have revised the plan to allow for a couple of rest days each week, as my ageing body can't cope too well with 7 days training en bloc, and the last thing I want to do is injure myself over-training.

Next up was the BHAA Govt Services Race , out in the countryside of Dunboyne, and again, a good steady run saw me home in 40:10. I nearly made a mess of this as Mile 2 was run in under 7:40 (sorry to confuse you switching between Kms and Miles, but this race was marked in Miles, so Mile Splits it was), but I eased back over the next two miles, and after a breather at Mile 4, it was a hard run to the finish, catching a good few runners in the end, with teh race finishing on the track at Dunboyne AC.

Last, but not least, of my timed events since my last post was Saturday just gone, and the Hartstown parkrun. I've mentioned before that this is a fast, PR course, and this week, I didn't intend to run a quick one, but the best laid plans etc.... With the slight change to the course, I wasn't sure of my marks, but I just kept a steady pace after a gentle start, and hit the second lap corner at 22 minutes, and knew that with a push I could crack 24 minutes, and digging in, with a last 50m sprint, I came in at 23:56, which is actually a new "Real" PR for parkrun, and getting close to wiping out the Official Time which I know to be slightly wrong.

So, onto Week 6,which will be somewhat handicapped by the fact that we are moving apartments this week, which will cause a little disruption to routine, and the need to work out new routes from the new place. Not heading too far, from Ballsbridge to Rathmines, and the new place is bigger, so more room for my runners! Another steady week is planned for Week 6, culminating in the Irish Runner 5 Mil Race on Sunday 12th in the Phoenix Park. In the meantime, I am on Cheerleading Duty today, as Paula heads out to the Womens Mini Marathon, a great 10K here in Dublin. with around 40,000 taking part, the largest Women Only Event in the World, so good luck to her and everyone else taking part. Official Rest Day for me, then speed work tomorrow, and back in the swing...

See you soon..... I'll leave you with a few pics - Finishing Hartstown parkrun in 23:56 last Saturday; Post Race Nightrun with Patrick Downey; and at the launch of the Rock N Roll Half here in Dublin, with Mick Clohisey, who is heading to Rio to represent Ireland in the Marathon in August.