Something new in 2022

In 2021 my goal was to take on open water swimming for the full year, from the cold months at the start of the year to the cold months at the end I managed to get into open water pretty much every week once, twice or three times a week. Now I had to think what challenge would I set in 2022.
Following on from a recent blog by Chris Campion on Could 2022 be the year you hit the trails I can safely say I was one of the people who had doubts about hitting the trails up to late last year.

How it all started

Watching some of the ASICS Frontrunners taking on the trails got me thinking and after a chat with Alan I decided I’d buy a pair of trail runners and went with a pair of ASICS Fuji Lite 2. Now I knew I’d have to use them.

Let the adventure begin

Luckily there are some nice trails around me. Some I got to know while walking with George and I knew I’d have to try them out at some time myself. Corrin Woods which overlooks Fermoy in Cork, Knockakeo Woods and many other smaller challenging routes was where I started to spend more time. I had targeted a race in Corrin but missed it due to a niggling injury but I ran the course a number times. In my head I was no thinking should I try something even more so I looked up some races close by. I saw Knockmealdowns half marathon and it peaked my interest. I felt I wasn’t fully ready for it as a race so I decided I’d give it a go the next time I got a chance

Corrin Hill

Knockmealdowns

The Knockmealdown mountain range is not too far from my, I can see them from my kitchen window. I was thinking of doing it one Saturday morning but after looking out I saw the cloud cover so I left it all. 2 weeks later I decided I’d try again and this time there were clear skies. Luckily I had all my kit ready. When I started the car it was -3 degrees on the dash. I’m glad I packed some warm kit. I was ready to go at 7am, I had the course loaded on to my watch and off I went. 24km and 1100m of elevation. The first 10km would be seen as relatively fast with some fast downhills, flat running through woods and good fire roads to run on. The ground was frozen in parts and slippy in parts. It was after what is know as the Liam Lynch Monument things got really tough and the climbing began. Hitting several peaks (Crohan West 521m, Knocknagnauv 655m) before going back down the other side only to see I had to go back up again made me think in my head what I was up to but the views all around made it worth it. Hitting the last peak was a slog and at times I wondered if I could do it but I pushed through and when I got up to the top of Knockmealdown (792m) it was the 1st time the clouds came in and the snow could be seen at the top. After a bit of a rest at the top it was time to head back down. One thing I learned is that tired legs can leave to some falls. A couple of falls in the last 2km downhill shows that you always need to be careful and pay attention

Top of Knockmealdown

What is next?

I plan to continue to aim to hit the trails at least once a week but also I have some interesting challenges ahead that I’m excited about. When I settle on those I will share more.

My thoughts on trail and mountain running

  • Be prepared and have the right kit for the challenge you are taking on
  • Its great to be off the road and feel safe with no traffic around
  • It has help my overall running. I feel stronger when I do road races
  • Its so peaceful and you can leave you worries once you put on your trail runners
  • The scenery distracts you from the hill
  • There is no shame in walking up those hills
  • Go out and enjoy
Almost to the top
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