Schull Tri 2016

It was an early start on race day as my alarm went off at 5:30am. My car was packed up the night before to save me a few minutes in the morning and I was glad I had it done. I had my porridge and set off on the road. It was nice and quiet on the way down so I got down in good time. I got a good parking spot and headed down to registration. The 1st year in Schull the weather was bad and swim was caught short. There was no fear of that this year as for the second year in a row the sun was out and the water was flat.

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I headed back to the car and got everything together. Excitement was beginning to build  and nerves weren’t bad as it was my 1st Tri since Dublin last August. There were assigned positions on the bike rack and I got a nice spot right at the end of one row which gave me that bit of extra space I practiced my transition a number of times making sure I had everything lined up perfectly and knew where I was going. It is a tough transition will uphill the whole way from the swim until the mount line on the bike. Good thing about that is you get some time to get your thoughts together and plan for the next leg.

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I signed up late but still found myself in wave one. After listening to the race briefing we headed down to the water. One last pitstop before zipping up the wetsuit and on with the hat and goggles. Now the fun part, head into the water and see how hot/cold it was. After the initial shock it was comfortable temperature and once I swam out to the start line I was settled in and ready to go. We just needed to wait until we heard the horn going off to get under way. I got into my rhythm quickly and just followed the splashes hoping they were going in the right way. I was struggling to site the 1st buoy but with it was easy to just follow the crowd, I eventually spotted the buoy and had to think about my approach. There were a lot of people going at an angle from the right and I was going straight but knew I’d be swarmed by a lot of swimmers. I took it wide to keep out of most of the mayhem and it started again trying to sight the next buoy. I followed a good line and the field was spreading out so there was a bit of room. I took the next buoy well before heading back for home. I felt I kept a good line there as well. It always feels a lot longer while in the water so wasn’t sure what time I had but a check of the watch showed 12:24, that was a huge improvement on last years time.  (2014 550m 11:53, 2015 750m 13:33)

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The long run up to T1 and off with the wetsuit and but on socks and shoes and off up to the road and over the mount line and time to jump on the bike. With this always being my weakest leg I was hoping I could be at least competitive during it and not give up too many places. After short flat straight it was into the 1st climb, and the last 2 years I really struggled on it but this year I felt better and moved up it at a steady pace. Of course any of the ups and downs on the way out will be reversed on the way back with this out and back course. It was crazy to see the leaders fly past as if they were out for a Sunday spin while if they looked at me they would see the effort on my face. Its all up and down on this bike route so there is never a settled speed for me. I had a lot of people pass me out on who would be strong on the bike, my advantage from the swim was well and truly gone. I was happy as I got to turnaround point, I was feeling good but now some of those good declines were to be tackled on the way back. My calf was pinching a bit at times to I took my time going up the hills and enjoyed the downhill. There wasn’t much wind which is always great. After I went down the last hill it was the straight to home. Off time bike and down the steep hill trying to hold on to the bike and myself hoping I wouldn’t fall. Overall I was delighted with my bike to finish in 43:19 which was a huge jump on my previous 2 times here ( 2014 48:35; 2015 49:26)

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Now to the run leg. I was getting a cramp in my stomach to begin with and felt dead on my legs. There is a small drag to begin with but I got into my groove and tried to settle down. I wasn’t really feeling my best on the run and just wanted to get it out of the way to be honest. I know in Galway the pace will be a lot slower than what I would be doing here. The one thing I can be happy with is that only 2 people passed me while running and I passed a number of people, so even though I felt slow I was still picking up some positions. I finished the run in 21:30 which was just faster than last year. (2014 23:39; 2015 21:37)

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Overall I can be very happy with my result taking 8 minutes off last years time. After 2 road races in the previous 6 days meant I did tire on the run a bit but the strong swim and bike was a huge confident boost. Now the build up to Galway can begin. It was great to get a tri out of the way after the disaster of Lough Cutra where I couldn’t even start due to an issue with my calf.

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MESSINA HOF WINE & ROSES HALF

After my flights to Austin were booked for a work trip the next thing I did was to see what races were around. Since I was flying out on the Friday it gave me the weekend to find something. I searched for things around Austin but no luck. But after a bit more searching I found a half in Bryan Texas. It looked like an interesting race with some novelty aspects to it. It starts and finishes in the vines of Messina Hof and includes a wine stop on the course. A good looking medal sold it for me. I signed up and booked a hotel close to the race and was looking forward to the race.

I arrived into Austin on Friday 22nd and of course had to start the trip with a burger. There was no changing that tradition. On Saturday I decided to get a swim in Barton Springs Pool to loosen out. I was down there early to make the most of the day. I’m sure plenty of people thought it was cold but I certainly didn’t and got in a good swim. I then drove down to Bryan Texas and headed to packet pick up. It was very straight forward and there was a wine festival on. There was a great atmosphere and weather was great.  I got my gear together and then headed off for some food in College Station. It was time to relax and watch some tv before an early rise in the morning.

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I was up at 5am on the morning of the race and it was time to plan my breakfast. Like all true athletes I headed to McDonalds. I wasn’t sure what else I could get so early in the morning so some pancakes would be the perfect choice to start my day. Once I was done I headed towards the venue. I had bought a pass for VIP parking so I was able to park right at the venue. I’m delighted I did that as it gave me the chance to relax in my car and go back and forth before the race. Weather was nice again and it would have been great to stay some what cool but that was never going to happen. I’ll just enjoy the cool breeze before the sun came up.

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Once I got rid of my pre race jitters and did a bit of a warm up I headed towards the start line at 6:50am. I check out the pace group and the 1st pace group was 1hr 40mins. I was aiming for better than that but nobody wanted to move further up for now. I stayed back with that group for now. It was announced just before 7 that the start would be delayed by 15 minutes as people were still arriving. My main worry was that I had planned my food and nutrition for 7am start and such a late decision was disappointing but understandable. They managed it well and decided to break up the starting corrals to make it easier while running through the vines. I would head off in the 1st corral.

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The race got underway and I set off with the first batch of runners. We all headed up the road together and into the vines we went. There was a bit of confusion when we got to the end of the 1st vine as the 1st couple of runners didn’t see the arrow on the ground. But once we got through that it was obvious what was needed then. It was run along a section of the vines, sharp turn and back through the next and so on. It was tough on the legs. The ground was soft so it was a bit of work on the legs and each turn slowed your pace down  as you had to do a U turn each time but this was the novelty factor of the race and was something I hadn’t experienced in the past. My fast km was when we left the last row of the vines and back on to the road. I passed the 1st water/wine stop – I don’t think anyone in the first group went near the wine. I was 6th coming out of the vines but more tough work to come.

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I was out on my own for much of the race, the group in front were to far ahead but I could sense some people close behind. I chose my pace and tried to stick with it but that paced slowed down after the 5th km. The heat and the effort through the vines really did slow me down. Where there were people cheering I could tell how close people were behind me and I knew I didn’t have much of a gap. For me it was nice to run in places I haven’t run before. We ran on some very quiet roads and through housing estates. The whole race was very well directed and no issue with getting lost which had happened to me in a race outside Austin a couple of years ago. There were plenty of water stops which was very much needed as the temperature rose. I’m sure a lot of runners were not feeling the heat as much as I was but with the way things were going I may miss out on a PB due to my slowing pace. My aim now was to keep the pace steady. At approximately the 15km (my slowest one of the day) I was passed by 2 people. 1st was the lead girl, it looked like she was just out for a short jog she made it look so easy. I was then passed by another male runner. He didn’t look as comfortable and was heavy breathing and looked like that heat was taken his toll on him. Both of those were moving away from me at a quick pace.

Mile 10 was the toughest of the day. It was uphill the whole way and I had to work harder to get through it. I saw the male runner who passed me having to walk parts of it but the gap was still big enough where I couldn’t catch him. At this stage I was calculating in my head what pace would get me a PB or even better break 1:35. It was going to be tight. I took a look back as I made sharp turns and saw no one behind me. I knew the vines were coming again soon so had to push. The atmosphere as you passed by the entrance to Messina Hof was great and gave me a bit of a lift. So it was the same thing up and down through the vines. In front of me I could see the male runner who passed me and he was really slowing down now. I passed him through one of the vines and looked like the earlier effort had taken it out of him. But then came the realisation that another runner was catching me. I hadn’t seen him for a long time and now every time I went up and down a vine I could see he was getting closer and closer. The soft ground through the vines was taking everything out of me.

I knew if I got out the vines ahead I would have enough in me to push on. Being chased down did help me keep my pace up. As soon as I hit the road again it was time to go as hard as I could and get to the finish line. It was slightly downhill and turned the corner and crossed the finish line. I did it. 7th overall, 6th male and 3rd in my category in a time of 1:34:27. A new PB by almost 2 mins. I only had 13 seconds to spare to the next person in my category. I talked to that guy a couple of days later while training in Austin Aquatics and Sports academy. A really good guy and we both helped each other push over those last tough miles. A 3rd podium finish in my last 3 races in Texas. I should come here more often.

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I’d like to take everyone at Messina Hof for their hospitality and for planning a unique race which if I ever find myself back at this time of the year I’d do again. A really cool medal and wine glass added to it all. Now it was time to head back to Austin and get ready for a week of work. It was a tough day out there with rolling hills, vines and heat but enjoyed every minute of it.

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Ballycotton 10

In the first three months of this year I had two big races I was targeting and after a good result at the Surf City Half it was now the turn of Ballycotton. After making the top 50 in the Summer Series I felt a new PB was on the cards here if things went right. It is a very popular race that always sells out as soon as the entries open. This is the 39th year of it and with my Dad taking part in 1988 it is great that the course hasn’t changed and I get to run and see how my times compare to his.

The good and bad thing about the starting time at 1:30pm is that you get a good nights sleep but then you have to decide when is best time to eat in the morning. Also since the race is set in a small fishing village traffic and parking can be fun. 20160305_120804

With Ballycotton being so close to my house I set off at 10:30am. I was parked up within 30 minutes and the rain started to appear. This meant I took my time leaving the car. I eventually I made the move and headed down to the village. It is always nice just to stroll around and take it all in. I headed down to the start line and the pier and got what is now my annual photos there.

 

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The wet weather did dampen the atmosphere that bit as people took their time leaving the hall. Things did get a bit crazy around the bag check and the start line but I timed it well enough so that I was at the start line after a quick warm up with 3 minutes to spare. I set a goal before the race of breaking 70 minutes. My plan was to use the first three miles to give me a head start because it is more downhill and you get to enjoy that on the way back so the buffer maybe needed. Then go steady in the middle and hold my pace. One the first time ever I changed my watch to miles and no way was I going to let it go over 7 minutes for a mile.

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Because its a tight start once the gun went off we shuffled up and over the start line. It took about half a mile before things spread out a bit to give a good gap to over take large crowd of people. Looked at my watch at the first mile marker and it said 6:57 – perfect. Next mile 6:44 and then 6:49. Plan was going well then it was time to steady the pace. With it being about 4 or 5 degrees Celsius I brought arm warmers with me in the car but forgot to bring them to the start line. After 2 miles I was happy I forgot them because I was warm enough as it was with just the singlet. The rain wasn’t bothering me either. It helped cool down a bit. It was great to see the crowds out in this weather, they really do help drive you on.

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I was still feeling good hitting half way, my pace had slowed but that was all part of the plan. When I passed the 10km mark I looked at my watch and it was my 2nd fastest 10km I have done. I felt today would be a good day. I also had that cushion still to make sure if I did slow down over the last 3 miles I could still make my target. Between mile 4 and 9 my mile times varied from 6:56 and 6:59. The last 2 miles are the toughest with some hills but at this stage you know to give it all. No use saving up the energy now. There are certain parts of the course where the support really helps and the turn before you hit the straight to the village is one of those spaces. That small “hill” can catch you out but with everyone driving you on it makes it that bit easier.

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For the last mile I upped the pace to whatever I could give. I knew I had the time I wanted, now to see how much I could beat it by. I felt good right up to the line and crossed over in 69:11. Broke the 70 minute mark and took just under 3 minutes off last years time. Once over the line I picked up my mug, that is what it is all about. And then picked up my Mars bar. These are the two things you do the race for and it is well deserved. The weather hadn’t improve that much so there was no hanging around. Grabbed my bag put on some warm clothes and headed back to the car.

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I can look back on a successful day and now my focus goes back to Galway. Hopefully the weather will improve and I’ll get some good sessions on the bike and build up the swimming once more.

 

 

 

Surf City Half Marathon

February was always going to be a month where my training plan would go out the window. That is what happened but I won’t regret that either. 2 weeks of it was spent in California with Martha on holidays. It was an action packed holiday with some great stops along the way. The first stop was Huntington Beach where I was going to take on the Surf City Half Marathon. We arrived late to our hotel on the Friday before the race after a long day of travelling. It was my 1st experience of driving in LA and the journey from LAX to Huntington Beach was to take 50 minutes ended up closer to two and half hours. I guess that is Friday rush hour traffic for you. A trip to IHOP at 2am was needed before heading back to bed and to start our holiday proper.

Huntington Beach

We woke to the sun shining and felt the heat for the first time. We took a stroll along the pier before heading to the expo. Packet pick was easy and plenty to browse at with all the vendors there. I bought some Nuun but stayed away from everything else. It would have been easy to spend a fortune there. With still fighting jetlag we kept active for the day and caught the sunset before heading back to get my gear ready and try get a good nights sleep. The hotel was a short walk from the start line to that definitely helped with any nerves. It meant getting up having my breakfast, saying goodbye to Martha and stroll down. I found myself right at the front of Wave 2. Perfect position as there was 5 minute gap between Wave 1 and 2 so I wouldn’t be caught up with slower runner straight away. There was a great buzz around and you could sense the nerves as well. I think it doesn’t matter how many you do you will always have that sense of did you do enough or are you able for it.

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It was always hard to know how I was going to manage this race. Considering I was training in the cold leading up to this I knew I couldn’t go off as fast as I wanted because I needed to acclimatise and see how my body would react to the heat. With the race starting early it meant we wouldn’t get the worst of the heat. I knew Martha was going to be waiting for me at approximately the 1km mark so I kept to the right hand side as that was the side the hotel was on. I found my setting off at the front of the pack and straight towards a photographer in the middle of the road. I guess could have jumped him but decided I’d go around him instead.  I gave Martha a high five as I passed and it meant she could go back to the hotel and relax. The first 4km were relatively straight and flat. Over the next few kms there were a few ups and downs but nothing too challenging, especially since I’m used to running the hills around East Cork.

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Just after 9km we were back onto Pacific Coast Highway and it was a long straight to come. I found this the toughest part of the race. The heat was starting to get me and I had to slow my pace back ever so slightly. It was on this stretch were I got to see some of the lead half marathoners and they made it look easy. There were also plenty of full marathoners running down the other side of the road. I couldn’t even imagine how they were doing it in that heat. At every water stop I was grabbing three or four cups of water, two for drinking and two for pouring over me. It definitely helped distract me. I felt myself slowing down heading to the 13km mark which was the turnaround point and the straight road back to where we began.

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I knew I had to get my act together and get back to the pace I was hitting at the start. Easier said than done but a high 5 gel and some more water helped me concentrate. Now I knew what I had to do to get a new personal best. I also knew I couldn’t push the pace too much as it could mean burn out. After the turnaround point it was cool to see the sea of people running up the other side of the road. It was amazing the huge numbers that did this race and this was the first time I could truly see it. As I made my way back down PCH my pace was continuing to get better. I found myself feeling strong. I knew I had to take the opportunity and see how much time I could make up. Again passing out people doing the full marathon amazed me. They had to turn off and go closer to the beach to make up more of the distance. I don’t envy them.

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I felt the best supported part of the course was where we turned off the PCH on the way out. It was an area were runners were coming from all angles so was a perfect place for spectators to be. The cheers were a huge motivating factor as we faced into the last 4km. With about 3km to go I had another runner ask me how long was to go and we found ourselves doing the same pace. I think this helped both of us and distracted us from the heat and the distance. The only words we shared was the distance left as we ran side by side. With about 1.5km to go I knew I had to keep to the left as I knew Martha would be there again. And she sure was, plenty of cheers and delighted to see her. It was now time to give it all I had as the finish line was in sight. And my last 2km were my fastest and it helped me get a personal best. I was delighted to cross the line. I felt strong and knew it was a PB 1:36:57. A huge improvement on my previous best of 1:39:12. As soon as I crossed the line we were given our new, probably the best medal I have ever got.

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As I took it all in, getting finisher photos, picking up snacks and congratulating people on the way I replied to the texts I got while my twitter account automatically updated my progress. It was so nice to finish with blue skies and sun shining down. It was time to walk back to the hotel and get ready to pack to move on to our next destination – Vegas.

It was a great experience and delighted I gave it a go. Over the next few days I felt the results of those last few kms and every part of my body hurt. It was worth it and I’d have love to go back again sometime in the future. It was a great start to the holiday and a did what I came here to do.

 

Week 9: First race of the year

Well 9 weeks in, can’t believe I’ll be hitting double figures next. I planned to put in a strong week this week as I know the next 3 weeks will be somewhat disrupted due to holidays. This week was spent trying to decide what races I might get in before and after Galway. It has been really tough to try fix something in that works well with Galway. I really want to try do as many National Series Races as I can but looks like that won’t be possible without disrupting my training. I have a few races in mind and must start locking down my calendar fairly soon.

The week started off with an interesting run. There was as weather warning in place but I still managed to get up early on Tuesday morning and as I drove to work the wind was strong enough to blow the car from side to side and the rain poured down. At times on the drive up I was thinking would I change it to an indoor cycle in the gym. Eventually I got to work and I said I’d go ahead with the run. I’m glad I got out. It was tough conditions but I got in 11km. I started by trying to avoid big puddles to eventually just giving up since the rest of me was soaked to the bone as well. I kept to the main roads rather than going out by the water as I knew the wind and driving rain would catch me there. I was almost lifted off the ground at some stages but once I got back and had a nice long shower I was happy I went out. Who knows what conditions I will face while out so it was a good test.

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Wednesday I did my usual indoor bike session in the gym and on Thursday I did my turbo session at home. Watching Wolf of Wall Street helped me get through it. Friday I has to tackle more windy conditions on my run. Rain wasn’t bad but the wind did pick up. Lucky the route planned out meant I missed some of the strongest wind and had it at my back at the most open part. I got another 11km in and was feeling good. Friday evening I headed to the pool and my plan was to mix it up a bit and do 2km on Friday and 3km on Saturday. I managed to complete both. 5km in 2 days was a lot on the shoulders but I knew I wanted to free up Sunday evening so it meant getting them in one day after the other. I started getting tired towards the end of the 3km session but that would be expected. If needed I’d have been able to kick on and do some more so at least in my head I’m in a good place.

I knew it would be a busy weekend so I was up early on the Saturday for my cycle. My plan was to cycle to Cobh and meet up with the team there as they cycled to Garyvoe. That meant I could drop off as they headed back. When I got up and looked out in the morning it looked as if the day was as calm as you could get but that wasn’t the case once I got out on the bike. I had a wind in my face all the way to Cobh but the advantage of that was that I’d have it on my back on the return journey. It was the 1st time out for a club cycle and I will definitely have to get out more often. It was enjoyable and the time passed a lot quicker. I got a good 66km in. That meant I finished the month on 499km. If only I knew that before had and I would have went that bit extra to make it up.

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Dungarvan 10 Mile rac

Next up was the big item of the weekend. The John Treacy 10 mile road race in Dungarvan. My plan for this was to take it easy and use it as training for next weekend. I think that lasted all of 1km. I had originally planned on 80 mins but I found myself with a view of the 75 min pacers just ahead. I decided I’d let them in the distance and do my own thing. I found I was hitting the mile makers right on the 75 mins time frame. Half way I was looking good for 75 as well. It wouldn’t be a PB but I’d be very happy with it as a training run. Once I hit the 8 mile mark I knew there was a hill coming so I picked up the pace and used that momentum to get up the hill with no worried. Last mile was then my fastest as I finished in a time of 73:31. I picked up a minute and and half in the last few miles but post a respectable time. Main thing was that I kept my heart rate down and felt good finishing. If I can keep that going for the extra 3 miles I’d be good for a PB but a lot will tell on how the day goes – heat, humidity, jet lag will all have a part to play

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Almost finished Dungarvan 10 Mile

 

I was delighted to finish off the month with my highest mileage in swimming, cycling and running. In swimming I did just over 18km, cycling I hit 499km and running I broke the 100 mile barrier for the 1st time.

Breakdown
Mon – Off
Tues – 1 hour run,
Wednesday – 45mins cycle (indoor)
Thursday – 1 hour cycle(indoor)
Friday – 1 hour run, 2km swim
Saturday – 2 hour 35 min cycle (road), 3km swim
Sunday – Dungarvan 10 Mile Road race

Swim Session 2

Warm Up
300m FS
Drills (8 x 50m total)
4 x 25m BS; 4 x 25m L,R,F,B; 4 x 25m with PB; 4 x 25m with fists
Main Set
4 x 125m with 20 sec break between each
4 x 175m with 30 sec break between each
4 x 125m with 20 sec break between each
Drills (8 x 50m total)
4 x 25m L,R,F,B; 4 x 25 BR every 4, BL every 4, BLR every 3, BLR every 5; 4 x 25m with legs tied; 4 x 25m with legs tied with PB
Cool Down
200m FS

Week 10 will be a bit all over the place so no official plan. It all depends on how the body is, work, house work and travel

Week 8: Best week so far

After many missed or short session over the last few weeks it was time to put the head down and make a go of it this week. With Surf City Half getting close I wanted to make sure I got in some good runs to prepare myself for that race but also to make sure that doesn’t affect my Galway training. The week started with a run before work. Joe was there to join me and we took it easy as we fitted in just over 10km. It was a really nice morning for it and pace was steady. A good thing for me was getting out 2 days after a 10 miler and feeling fresh to get in 10km. That evening I fitted in a 2.5km swim. A good mix of a session tested me and it was nice to get back in the pool

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The next 2 days were 2 bike sessions, 1 on the turbo and 1 on  the gym bike totaling 38km. One you start getting out on the bike the indoor sessions get that little bit harder to do. It takes a lot of concentration and effort to keep going. I was supposed to have one brick session but decided earlier in the week to give it a skip and continue my progress to full fitness. On Wednesday evening I went to Eagle AC AGM and awards night. It was great to see Damian pick up most improved athlete which was well deserved. His times have really come down and it is scary to think where he can bring the short distance times if he concentrates  on them, I’m sure that will happen after Barcelona.

Next up was an hour run on Friday before work. I spent the 1st half trying to decide what route I’d go before deciding I’d turn back and make it easier. I can felt good during and after the run. That night I got in my 2nd swim session of the week. What felt like too much time in the pool where I really thought I wasn’t going well but after I added up my session and hit 3k rather than 2.5km. The great thing about it is I was able to do it without any trouble. That will give me great confidence going forward.

Now to a great weekend of training. It started with a 75km cycle in very tough conditions. It was wet and windy and at times I struggled but with some hills put in I felt stronger for it. At times it felt whatever way I went the wind was in my face. I averaged just over 26kph. I do need to improve on this yet but as I increase the distance I will try at the very least to keep the average speed steady.

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A well deserved Hot Chocolate

I decided to go out with a few members of Eagle on Sunday. I was aiming to do about 20km. We started in town early and headed towards Glanmire. The fun part came when we had to “climb” up church hill. It is about 400m of a climb and it definitely gets the heart racing. Towards the end of it I started to struggle but made it up. We took a short break to get everyone back together before moving on toward Ballyvolane and back towards town. At about the 12km mark Damian took a turn so it turned into a bit of a duathlon for me as I went back to the car to drive back to pick up Damian. My 1st run was 14km and after I dropped Damian to his car I continued on to do an extra 6km. Got to where I needed. I rewarded myself with a nice hot chocolate after. Isn’t that what training is all about.

Breakdown
Mon – Off
Tues – 1 hour run, 2.5km swim
Wednesday – 40mins cycle (indoor)
Thursday – 45mins cycle(indoor)
Friday – 1 hour run, 3km swim
Saturday – 2 hour 52 min cycle (road)
Sunday – 2 hour run

Swim session 1

Warm Up
300m FS

Drills (8 x 50m total)
4 x 25m BS; 4 x 25m L,R,F,B with fins; 4 x 25m with PB; 4 x 25m with fists

Main Set
1 x 300m with 40 sec break between each
3 x 200m with 30 sec break between each
1 x 300m with 30sec break between each

Drills (8 x 50m total)
4 x 25m BS; 4 x 25m L,R,F,B with fins; 4 x 25m with PB; 4 x 25m with fists
1 x 25m for BR every 4, BL every 4, both sides every 3, both sides every 5
2 x 25m with legs tied, legs tied with PB

Cool Down
200m FS

Swim session 2

Warm Up
300m FS
Drills (8 x 50m total)4 x 25m BS; 4 x 25m L,R,F,B; 4 x 25m with PB; 4 x 25m with fists
Main Set
4 x 125m with 20 sec break between each
4 x 175m with 30 sec break between each
4 x 125m with 20 sec break between each
Cool Down
200m FS

Week Nine looks like this

Mon – Off
Tuesday – 1 hour run
Wednesday – 45 min cycle (Indoor), 30 min run
Thursday – 1 hour cycle (turbo)
Friday – 1 hour  run
Saturday – 2 hour 45 min cycle (road)
Sunday – 1 hour 30 min run

Plus 2 x 2.5km swim session

Week 7: Ice always makes things interesting

With man flu kicking in at the start of the week I wasn’t sure how this week would go. With Monday of course being my rest day it was safe to say I would have being doing nothing even if I was scheduled to do something. I was glad of that extra day. With the weather getting that bit colder it meant morning sessions could be tough to come across. That worked out well since my buddy Liam was home from NYC with his girlfriend we planned on hitting the track on Tuesday night. So in the morning I decided it would be good to get in a swim instead. That swim wasn’t very beneficial as man flu struck me down and I had to put a stop to it after 500m. I just couldn’t get my breath so instead of fighting through it I took the sensible option and called a halt. I still planned to hit the track that night After a 2 mile warm up we headed to the track and it became clear we wouldn’t be training there. Even though it didn’t feel that cold the track was starting to freeze over. And with a planned speed session in place we decided to head to the straight road instead. Runners from many clubs had the same idea so it was crowded to begin with. The breakdown was 1.5miles at 10 mile pace plus 400m recovery x 3 with a warm down to finish. I was bang on for the 1st one and got small bit slower but not something to worry about. The fresh air really helped and any major breathing issues cleared up. It was a good session and started me off nicely for the week.

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Wednesday was bike day and with Liverpool playing Arsenal I felt it was a good opportunity to do the longer session tonight. I did 1 hour on the turbo and the match helped distract from the boredom of it. It was a good session and I was hoping to follow up with a run but the footpaths were covered in ice so no short run. But still in recovery mode it was probably for the best.

Got my new Garmin 920xt today as well. Delighted I have it. Wanted it since it came out, so finally spent the money. I think it will be on my hand for a long while to come. Also yesterday Liam brought me back the RedShift Dual-Position Seatpost. Looking forward to installing that and giving it a go.

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Thursday I went to the gym in work and fitted in 40 mins. I was hoping for 45 but just wasn’t feeling it and sometimes it is hard to keep going on the bike in the gym. If only I could transport my turbo around, it seems a lot easier on that. Again ice ruled out a short run after the bike but I wasn’t feeling it so the ice was a great excuse. I had physio afterwards and that was a good session to loosen out the legs. No doubt the pain is worth it. I got to test out the new watch in the pool tonight. A 2.5km straight swim and it was very similar to my previous time. Once I’m not getting too slow I’ll be happy.

Friday was a frustrating and best forgotten. All ready for my afternoon run because ice ruled out the morning, just about to put on my runners and realised I forgot my insoles. That ended that session before it started.

That missed session had me more motivated for the weekend. Woke up Saturday and saw the roads were good so I didn’t waste much time, I got my bike gear together and off I went. As I was leaving my house I was still deciding which way I’d go but I eventually decided to go to Youghal and back via Garyvoe. It was a really nice day for it. Not much wind and no rain. From the rain recently some of the roads were a bit sore to cycling on and avoiding potholes became a game but I managed to fit in 70km. That makes it my 7th longest cycle ever and only the 4th time I’ve reached that distance since 2012. And since Endomondo says I has done 256 cycles I am very happy with that. I averaged 26.6 with approx 440 elevation gain. After the cycle I got changed in my running gear and went for 5km job to make sure I got in one break session this week.

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Sunday was long run day and I parked the car in Garyvoe and headed towards Ballycotton. It was windy which made it feel a lot colder than I thought it would be. It was a steady run with some short climbs to keep the legs going. I finished with just over 16km. It was good to get in some of the roads around Ballycotton to remind of that challenge in March.

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So overall I was happy with the weeks work. A missed swim and run session was the negative point but a good long Bike and Run session over the weekend helped me finish on a high note. Now with 3 weeks to Surf City Half Marathon I have to make sure I’m training right for that but also not sacrificing training for Galway.

Breakdown
Mon – Off
Tues – 2m WU. 3 x 1.5m  10 mile pace. Jog the 400m recovery lap between each session. 1m WD
Wednesday – 60mins cycle (turbo)
Thursday – 40mins cycle(indoor), 2.5km swim
Friday – Off
Saturday – 2 hour 38 min cycle (road), 5km run
Sunday – 1 hour 24 min run

Week Eight looks like this

Mon – Off
Tuesday – 1 hour run
Wednesday – 45 min cycle (Indoor), 15 min run
Thursday – 1 hour cycle(turbo)
Friday – 1 hour  run
Saturday – 2 hour cycle (road)
Sunday – 1 hour run

Plus 2 x 2.5km swim session

 

Week 6: First Full week of 2016

After getting back into the swing of things by the end of last week it was time to keep it going. As usual I took Monday off, much needed and my brick session on Sunday. It was good to recharge. The week would start with a 1 hour run before work on Tuesday. It was my 1st early session since before Christmas so it was tough when the alarm went off. There is no use lying, it was very hard to drag myself out of bed but eventually I rolled out and got ready. It was a flat but steady run and it felt great to get a good session in. It was only the 3rd time since New York that I broke the hour mark for running and there will be plenty more to come in the next few weeks. Its great to start thinking about Galway but I can’t forget either that I have a big race in LA and Ballycotton to come in the next 2 months.

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Over the next 2 days I had 2 indoor bike sessions. One in work on Wednesday which was a 45 minute session followed by a 1 hour turbo session the following day. I much prefer the turbo session because when you are on your own bike it feels like you are doing more and also you can throw on a movie which distracts from the pain. Between the 2 I completed 45km. I didn’t get in a short run session that was planned but in the back of my head I felt it might have been a bit of a risk to put it in.

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Friday was supposed to be an hour session but I had to shorten it due to work commitments but managed 42 min session.  It was the 1st truly cold run I did so I was well wrapped up for it. Some areas still had a bit of spot flooded but luckily I sprinted past a car fast enough not to feel the affects of wave of water hitting the path. Friday evening saw me get back to the pool. It ended up being my only swim session for the week but I gave it my all and got the 2.5km in. I need to get in a swim session earlier in the week from now on. Leaving it to the end of the week means there is a risk I would miss it.

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And finally a Saturday where I could get out on the bike. After I eventually dragged myself out of bed I said I’d leave from my house which means putting in a couple drags which will lead to bigger hills in the coming weeks. The 1st climb took it out of me and that was only 3km in but the downhill after that helped me out and I was on my way. It was a cool morning but dry. Well until I had about 2km to go and the heavens opened and I got caught in an almighty hail shower. It meant peeling off my clothes when I got back. But success longest cycle since Challenge Wanaka last February. Just under 52km keeping to an average of just over 27km per hour. To get to my target of 7 hours I’d have to keep up that average the best I can so it means a lot of work ahead in the coming months. For shorter cycles like that I should be looking at 30km per hour average but I have time on my side to continue to build up.

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And my last session of the week was to be a 1 hour session but instead I said I’d add 15 mins to that to make up for Friday. And its fair to say it was my most enjoyable run yet. A challenging route I took with plenty of rolling hills but quite country roads and the ocean in the background. I didn’t quite make it to the ocean but when I hit my 1 and half hour session I think I’ll make it there. It will be a real Forrest Gump moment then when I have to turn back. Slowly but surely I am planning out my running routes for my longer runs and I have found some really good areas to go. Don’t want to always do the same route so change is good. In total I managed to fit in just over 14km. The last 3km I pushed it and even though I felt it in the legs it was good to get some speed work in.

I had to skip my swim session because I felt a cold coming on and by Sunday evening it was getting close to man flu. Lets hope I can fight it off and have another good week next week.

Breakdown
Mon – Off
Tues – 1 hour run
Wednesday – 45min cycle (indoor)
Thursday – 1 hour cycle(turbo)
Friday – 42 min run, 2.5km swim
Saturday – 1 hour 53 min cycle (road)
Sunday – 1 hour 15 min run

2.5km Swim session
Warm Up
300m FS

Drills
(8 x 50m total)4 x 25m BS; 4 x 25m L,R,F,B with fins; 4 x 25m with PB; 4 x 25m with fists

Main Set
3 x (2 x 100, 1 x2 00 20 second break in between)

Drills
(8 x 50m total) 4 x 25m BS; 4 x 25m L,R,F,B with fins; 1 x 25m for BR every 4, BL every 4, both sides every 3,  both sides every 52 x 25m with legs tied, legs tied, 2 x 25m with legs tied, legs tied with PB

Cool Down
200m FS

Week Seven looks like this

Mon – Off
Tuesday – 1 hour run (track)
Wednesday – 45 min cycle (Indoor), 15 min run
Thursday – 1 hour cycle(turbo)
Friday – 1 hour 15 mins run
Saturday – 2 hour 30 mins cycle (road)
Sunday – 1 hour 15 mins run

Plus 2 x 2.5km swim session

Week 5: 2015 rolls into 2016

It is great to look back at the year and see how it played out. Going into 2015 I had an early target of a half ironman in February and Ballycotton 10 mile in March. I also wanted to improve on my Ballycotton Summer series position from 2014. Everything else would be a bonus.

Highlights

2015

 

With so many highlights from the year it is hard to narrow it down. It was amazing to complete my 1st half distance triathlon in Wanaka and an experience I will never forget. You can read more about that here. To then go out and break my 10 mile PB in Ballycotton set me up nicely for the year. I broke my 5km PB on 3 occasions and currently stands at 19:10 which I got in Cloyne 5k. My 10km PB was broken on 2 occasions, the 41:41 in Courtmacsherry 10km is something I’ll aim to beat in 2016. A new 5 mile PB in Shannagarry, a new 4 mile PB which I managed to get in 2 Bhaa races and lastly a new marathon PB in New York (write up here). Breaking into the top 50 in the Ballycotton Summer Series was the highlight of the summer. You can see the ups and downs of that here. It was also good to get my 2nd Olympic Distance Tri done. That was in a rain soaked Dublin and managed a PB in very tough conditions. Check that out here. Doing another destination race in Amsterdam was great prep for New York. I took it easy in that half and still managed to put in a good time. How the training run went can be seen here. 2015 was also the 1st time I competed in the Lee Swim. I always wanted to attempt it and this year was the 1st time I felt I was able for it and delighted I tried it. I’ll be back in 2016 for sure.

My overall mileage for the year was:

Swimming: 110km
Cycling: 1825km
Running: 1064km

Goals for 2016

My goals for 2016 are simple

Races
Complete Full Distance Tri
A new Half Marathon PB
Target a Marathon and break 4 hours.
PB in Ballycotton
PB in Lee Swim (with currents in 2015 that may be hard)

Distances
Swimming: 150km
Cycling: 3000km
Running: 1100km

Back to training

All those goals are great but they are all dependant on staying injury free. After the last couple of weeks I really wanted to get going again. Physio on Tuesday gave me confidence to get back out there again. It may not have been as active as I wanted it to be but it was a hell of an improvement and I didn’t want to go out too fast again. I did a slow 46 min turbo session on Wednesday just to ease my way back into it. It was slow but with Liverpool match on it was good to get through it.

Week 5 Turbo

I took Thursday off before a good one hour turbo session on Friday. I felt good after it which meant I’d give a run a go on Saturday. I followed up a wet 5km run with a 2.1 km swim. No soreness after it so the confidence is back. Sunday was the biggest session in a while. A good brick session of 32km cycle and 8km run.

Week 5 Cycle

Huge improvement on the last couple of weeks. Rest day on Monday and increase the distance again.

Breakdown

Mon – 1.75km swim – stopped due to back stiffness
Tues – Physio – a good rub down and stretches will help out
Wednesday – 46 mins turbo (18km)
Thursday – none
Friday – 60 mins turbo (27km)
Saturday – 5.5km run, 2.1km swim
Sunday – 32km cycle, 8km run

Week 6 plan looks like this:

Mon – Swim
Tues – 1 hour run
Wednesday – 45 min cycle (Indoor), 15 min run
Thursday – 1 hour cycle(Turbo)
Friday – 1 hour run
Saturday –  2 hour cycle
Sunday –  1 hour run

That may be too much of a jump for now but I’ll try get as close as I can to those distances.

Food, bday, xmas & injury

After time constraints last week I wanted to go all out this week and keep going even with Christmas falling right in the middle of it. Off I set on my Tuesday morning run. My plan was to 6km done in the 30 mins. I put in some nice speed work. As I finished up the run I walked back to the car and my back decided to seize up. My hope was that it was just because of the cold but it took me sometime to drive to work and then have my shower. I knew it wasn’t good. A quick history lesson will get you up to date with my back issues. I have had 3 incidents with my back that have kept me grounded for a least a week. All were during my days of playing football. But it wasn’t a huge hit that did it but a sharp turn or a quick sprint. The first time it happened I can remember the pain. I drove home and decided I’d lie down and fell asleep. When I work up I knew things weren’t right. With the bathroom about 10 steps away it took me about 10 mins to get to it. When I got back into my room I couldn’t get back up on the bed so lay down on the ground. Luck would have it that my phone was on the locker and I couldn’t reach it. From there I had to scream the house down and eventually Olivia heard me and came up. Doctor was called and injection was given. I was on anti-inflammatory for the next week and painkillers. It kept me out of sport for a couple of weeks. The next 2 times were similar but this time I knew how to manage it. I was hoping it wouldn’t keep me out too long.
I was looking forward to a birthday work out on the 23rd but that wasn’t to be. I then wanted to copy my Christmas Eve cycle of last year but again that was a no go. I did manage a 1km swim, just to keep me sane. And now the big one. For the last 4 years Damian and I went on our Christmas Day run. And to show the condition I was in I couldn’t do it. I was really disappointed about that. Out of all runs this was one I didn’t want to miss. But I couldn’t take a short term risk that could affect the long term goal. St Stephens day was next p and same story nothing was going to be done today. What made things even worse was the amount of food I’ve been eating. Chocolate, turkey, ham and fizzy drinks. Whenever I do go back I’ll be carrying an extra few pounds. But sure it will keep me warm.

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Getting ready for my cycle

 

Finally on the 27th I was feeling confident I could get out. So got the bike together and threw the gear on. The weather was to be good in the morning so I got out to make sure I got the best of the day. It was  chilly, damp and there was a bit of a breeze. I felt a bit tired and legs were heavy straight away. I still managed to have a good cycle until I turned around. It was easy because there was a nice breeze on my back. Heading back was going to that bit harder It was wind in my face the whole way back. This slowed down my average pace and I could feel the lack of mileage in my legs. I couldn’t wait to finish.

So week 4 consisted of 1 good run, 1 short swim and one slow cycle. Not a good week at all. I have a lot of catching up to do but I’m not going to overdo it either. I booked physio in for Tuesday. I think that will help out a lot.

Breakdown

Mon – Off
Tues – 30 min run
Wednesday – none
Thursday – 1km swim
Friday – none
Saturday – none
Sunday – 32km cycle

Week 5 plan looks like this:

Mon – Swim
Tues – 45 min run
Wednesday – 30 min cycle (Indoor), 15 min run
Thursday – 45 min cycle(Turbo)
Friday – 1 hour run
Saturday –  1 hour 45 mins cycle
Sunday –  1 hour run

Now that is the plan. It may not work out that way due to low mileage over the last week but I will see what happens at physio and how my body feels. I have to keep the head up and be confident I will meet my goal. But this one bad week need to be forgotten about and I will come back stronger for it. Now to burn off the turkey and chocolate