Challenge Galway Half Distance

After my original plan of doing a full fell away in February I wanted to give the half distance my best shot. I also had originally planned to go up on the Saturday morning but to make sure I was more relaxed I went up early on the Friday. I checked into the Harbour Hotel which is located straight across from the expo. After checking I went straight over and registered and back to the hotel for some relaxation. There was nothing happening at the expo so I didn’t feel guilty chilling out at the hotel.


Being up on the Friday meant it gave me the chance to do the swim recce. Conditions were choppy and I didn’t get out the whole way as there was a lot of effort being used so there was no use wasting energy. I got to talk to Chrissie Wellington after the swim. She was really friendly and a very happy person. She gave some good advice and it was very interesting to hear what she had to say. Once I got back to the hotel again I got on the running gear and went for a short jog just to loosen out. I organised my T1 and T2 bags then some food and a relaxing bath later it was time for bed.

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Up on the Saturday morning for a nice breakfast and more relaxing before heading over for the pasta party. Atmosphere was still a bit dead around but had 2 servings of pasta as I sat and chatted to people in there. There was a long wait until the race briefing but I got a good seat up front and all is going to plan. A small change in the swim was the only thing to really note. I dropped off my T2 bag and off to the next hotel where I checked in. This time is was the Maldron Hotel, it was closer to the swim start for tomorrow and a triple room for my Dad and Damian to stay in. I took the trip out to the swim start to rack the bike and drop off my T1 bag. Security was a bit scarce and no one checking bike and helmets but mine was all in order. Got back to hotel and met my Dad and Damian and off for some pizza in Doughboys. It was some great pizza.

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Race Day

The day has finally come. I was at at 4:45 to get ready. Shower, number tattoos on, calves strapped up with KT tape and then downstairs for some food. I left the hotel at about 5:30 and now game face was on. I went in to check everything was ok with the bike and put all my fuel on the bike. Took a look at transition and got an idea where everything was. I knew what to do now. The 600m run from swim exit to transition was carpeted but damn that looked long. I went down to the swim start to catch the first of the full athletes coming out of the water. The water was rough and the swim was cut by a small bit so we weren’t too far out of the bay.



It was time to begin the day, said my goodbyes and headed to the water. After I got in and tested my goggles and waited for the start. We were threading the water for a couple of mins and before I knew it we were off. It was a crowded start and I was pulled, dragged, climbed over and swam across so my rhythm was off a bit. About 100m into I got strong elbow into the face which knocked the left side of my goggles off. It filled with water and now I had to make a decision, do I stop and fix or keep going. I decided to keep going. Breathing to the right meant I wasn’t affected as much so I kept going that way. It wasn’t until about the 1st buoy that things spread out and that is where I could finally concentrate on my my stroke.


The whole way out to the 1st buoy we were swimming against the current and it was tough. I felt like I was climbing over waves and trying to sight was almost impossible. I just had to rely on who was in front of me, at least it meant we had the current with us on the way back. After I got around the 2nd buoy it was the home straight, only problem I wasn’t going very straight. I couple of times I was told my a kayaker I had to go left as I was going out too far. Again with the waves it was hard to sight so I was guessing where I was going and with the left goggle full of water didn’t help. It felt like a long tough swim so I was delighted to see the last orange buoy, it still felt like ages away but when I could see it I kicked the legs and pushed for home. Around the buoy I went and straight the ramp I went. Delighted to have it done with. I couldn’t even guess what time I did but a quick look at the watch and it was 32:49. I’ll take that with not knowing the exact distance.


13497826_10208546449551274_3385641953681151406_oOut of the water and I pulled down the wetsuit straight away. It was a nice 600m run to T1. I was worried about it beforehand but it actually it was good for the legs. It got them warmed up and helped me relax before the bike. After I had ran the red carpet I found my bag and into the changing tent. I sat down and took my time. I decided to throw on the cycling jersey over the tri jersey as it was colder than I’d have prefer. On with the socks and bike shoes and threw everything into the T1 bag and dropped it off and ran to my bike. With the waves I must have swallowed a lot of water as I needed to stop at the portaloo before I got on the bike. I found my bike and ran out of T1. Now to begin my least favourite part of the day. T1 in total took me 8:15.



The main aim for the bike was to get through it and hope my calf doesn’t come at me. A small climb to begin with followed by a left turn. Shouts of slow down on the left turn due to greasy conditions and a couple of spills before me meant it was a cautious start.


As always the start of the bike I will have plenty of people passing me out as the stronger bikers got out of the water. Road surface was very good and I was able to get into a good steady speed. I made sure to keep hydrated and  watched my 10 meters so not to draft. Just after 30km I hit the 1st water stop. I was already sick of the isotonic drinks so grabbed a bottle of water, it was refreshing. Now came the worst part of the course. The road was in a bad way and I felt I was holding on as the bike was about to fall apart. My pace was definitely slowing down, I kept in tight as someone wanted to overtake me and as we went around a bend and downhill someone else wanted to overtake that person, so it was three deep. Only for a car jamming on the brakes that persons race was almost over, a bit idiotic out of him, take the extra 10 seconds and make sure things are safe. My pace had definitely slowed between Gort and Boston and the long straight after that was a mix of fast and slow moving. I was back and forth with a couple of people. Keeping 10m away but it definitely gave the motivation to keep the pace up. Only about half way through this straight did I realise I had drove this when I was checking out the Lough Cutra course.


We got to the split where the full took the left turn towards the hills and we took the right to head back home. 55km in and I was feeling ok. I was on target for a good time, 2 hours in and at 56.5km,averaging close to 28km an hour. That is something I definitely would have taken before the race. Between here and Kilcolgan was a very fast section. The wind was at your back and the road surface was good. I took full advantage and it was by far my fastest section of the course and I did my fastest 5km split here as well (8:59). Of course after this section we were back on the road we has started on and the wind was blowing at an angle that it was more in our face. And for the life of me I didn’t remember going down some of the short hills that I was now going up on the way back. But the slowest section of the day came from me as we went back towards Ornamore and took the climb back to the main road into Galway. The mixture of tired legs and hills meant I slowed down but well on the way to a great time for me on the bike. I picked the pace up once more for the last 5km and crossed the line 3:08:49 averaging the higher end of 28km an hour. Considering I was almost the same average speed for Schull just 2 weeks previous I would never had thought I’d do a time like that. The big fear now was did I work too hard on the bike and will my run suffer for it.



Into T2 where you handed your bike off and someone racked it for you, I loved that. The search for my bag and again I took a few mins to compose myself and change into my runners and grab my gels, water and hat. Nature called again so once that was answered I was off out on the course again. T2 took me 4:23



In Wanaka my biggest regret was the run. After 7kms I was done, never getting below 5:30 min/km and spent more time closer to 7min/km. I knew what to expect on this course so I knew I could manage my pace better. In my head the plan was to break it down into 4 sections. And of course the 1st km was my fastest but with the crowd around I couldn’t help myself. Once I got that out of the way I went back to concentrating on my pace. It is a nice flat run but heading out to Salthill was into the wind and rain. I had the sunglasses on to keep the rain out of the eyes rather than the sun. It did heat up every now and again when the sun came out. I felt good as I ran along the promenade and the support around as well as the other athletes really did help get through it. At the 1st turn around I felt very good and pace was exactly what I wanted. Heading back into town I had the breeze on my back and it gave the push needed.


It was great to see family and the crowds as I made my way to the turnaround point. Half way there and the race was going great. I knew my pace would drop off at some stage and it came within a km of the turnaround. I had to fight my head and legs to make sure I wasn’t going to walk. I knew I could continue at a good pace once I fuelled right. I grabbed a banana and had my gel and off out to Salthill I went. This time around it was a lot tougher but I wasn’t going to give up. I kept tipping away and was well with in my target time. The pathway was a lot busier this time and had to move around people, both runners and non-runners. At the final turnaround point I kicked the legs and worked my way home. I had my slowest km soon after but from there I sped up knowing I was almost there. My fastest lap of the 2nd half was my last one. I got there and in a very good time. A run of 1:42:51 was a lot better than I thought I’d do. It was short of a full half run but with the long run in T1 and the extra 0.5km on the cycle meant it definitely a half distance race overall. I was absolutely delighted with my overall time 5:37:08. Going into it I knew if everything went perfect on the day I could break 6 hours but I would have laughed if you told me I’d get 5:37


After I got some food, a cold shower and meant my Dad and Damian it was time to reflect. The support from them really helped and it definitely drove me on. I’m glad I didn’t do the full but it has given me confidence to push on and tackle another half next year before eventually building up to the full. I finished my Wanaka report saying I wouldn’t do a full and right now I’d still feel the same. The bike would be the reason I wouldn’t attempt one but maybe after another couple of good half distance I might reconsider. If Challenge Galway goes ahead next I will definitely do it. It is a fast course and because its in Ireland it is easy to get to. The event does need some improvements but I’m sure Challenge will know that and work on it.


Now time to relax for a while before I decide on my next event. More importantly for now is building my family with Martha. The clock is ticking and only a few weeks to go.


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.


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)


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)


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.

swim bike run


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.


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.


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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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.


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.


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


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.

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


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.



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.


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.


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.

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

(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)

(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.




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

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)

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.


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.


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.


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

Week 3 – Excuses Excuses

Week 3 will be the 1st of many where I don’t meet my targets for the week. Work, weather, broken shower and other distractions get in the way. There will be weeks like this and it is mainly the cycle will be affected due to the lovely Irish weather. Its just so hard to get long turbo sessions in.

The week started off with an early morning 45 mins run from work. My headlamp getting great use. Very quiet around and I was happy to keep to a nice steady speed.  I got in just over 8km. A good start to the week. I did have to really kick myself to get out of bed though. I really have to put my phone away at night as soon as I get to bed or there is no hope I’ll be able to get up in the mornings in the middle of the tough sessions. I was half tempted to do my swim session tonight but once I got home there was only one thing to do and that was crash on the couch. There is always tomorrow.


Weather is only great


Wednesday was my 1st day of fitting all legs in. Started the morning off with a 30 min session on the bike in work followed by a 3km run. Again I was lucky with the weather and it was an enjoyable stroll. Most memorable thing about this session was the fact I forgot to put my insoles in my runners. I was lucky it was a short run and I might as well have went barefoot. I won’t be forgetting that for a long time. That evening I got my motivation back and decided I’d head to the pool. It was the 1st big session, 2.5km straight through. I had done a number at that distance recently but not without a break during drills. It took 55 mins 16 seconds. I had to stop for about 30 seconds in the middle as I got cramp at the end of my foot but I didn’t feel tired after the session. I believe I could definitely have broken 3k if I wanted but that is for another day.

Thursday was my longest session on the turbo so far. 45 mins session makes it perfect to fit in an episode of “Better Call Saul”. Only 2 more episodes to go in the series so I’ll soon have to find something else. It’d be great if there was a tv series about triathletes, that would definitely keep me going.  It doesn’t matter how many windows I open the heat is intense. Definitely makes you work harder. I can’t wait for the time where I get back out on the road in the evenings.

So far so good with the training for the week but then work got in the way. My plan for an hour run were cut short as we had an engineer coming on site to check on an issue. This meant I just squeezed in 50 mins as my phone was ringing to see where I was. I was really enjoying the session as I had decided to take the extra time in bed and go on an evening run. Running past the lines of traffic as they were stuck going no where and I was feeling good. I bit of a drizzle made it nice to run in as well.

Saturday has turned into the bad weather day. It should be cycle day but never ends up being it due the wind and rain. The shower also decided to break so now I had to decide how I could work my day. I decided on an hour run before heading to Garryvoe for a swim. So the run took me on a road I had never went before. I always passed it but never took the turn down as it was dark and a small down hill. Little did I know after about 500m it brightens up is a quiet country road with rolling hills. Looking on the map later it eventually hits a dead end but there are turn off that bring you to Churchtown South etc so I’ll be mapping a nice route around there in future for my longer runs to keep things interesting. After I finished the run it was off to the pool for 2.5km with drills. It was enjoyable and I knew I’d earn my pizza afterwards.


Working hard on my Saturday Run


Sunday was a write off. I woke up all set to cycle to work so I could have a shower there before heading to town. The rain was bucketing down and the wind was howling. I probably shouldn’t have been a coward and just went for it but I chose to skip it. Saying to myself I’ll do some on the turbo later. Of course that was never going to happen. I ended up in town doing some Christmas shopping, got some lunch and enjoy the day with Martha. The wind died down and it became nice and dry but at that stage it was too late to get out. I decided a 2 day rest would benefit me in the long run and I’ll get back to it on Tuesday. I’ll have a few days off over Christmas that will mean I can get a bit more time to get out on the bike so I’ll catch up on missed sessions without interfering in my plan. Even though I never had set plans for the weekend so technically I didn’t go too far off the plan so maybe I shouldn’t feel too bad

Mon – Off
Tues – 45 min run
Wednesday – 30 min cycle (Indoor), 16 min run, swim
Thursday – 45 min cycle(turbo), 2.1km swim
Friday – 50 min run
Saturday – 1 hour run, 2.5km swim
Sunday – Off

2.5km Swim session
Straight through

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
12 x 100m 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 5
2 x 25m with legs tied, legs tied, 2 x 25m with legs tied, legs tied with PB

Cool Down
200m FS

Week Four looks like this

Mon – Off
Tues – 30 min run in Z2, Swim
Wednesday – 30 min cycle (Indoor), 15 min run
Thursday – 30 min cycle(Turbo)
Friday – 45 min run
Saturday –  1 hour 30 mins cycle
Sunday –  1 hour run