Thursday, August 12, 2010

Black Castle Swim

The black Castle swim has been running now for close to 50 years and without doubt, its my favourite swim on the Wicklow Swimming Club's calendar. Not that it is long or anything like that. Its just the unknown and the scenery, strong currents, seaweed, seals, sea chop etc.

The swim takes place from a small beach, traveller hawk, right beside an old castle ruin, the black castle. There is a steep set of steps down to the beach and when you look up you see the remaining walls of the castle. As normal the swim is handicapped with the slowest going off first.

My handicap was 6mins. I was happy with that. I was heading off with Declan Marnane and Nora Dunne. Declan is a better swimmer than me but I though if I could stick to his feet you never know what might happen.

Luck was on our side, the current was with us and their was no chop on the water. Declan, Nora and myself got in and ready to go. We all left and swam side by side for the first minute, then Declan and myself went slightly ahead of Nora and I slipped in behind Declan. I stuck as close as I could to draft off his feet. In fact I slapped them a few times. I apologised after!!

The swim is not long, approx. 700m but its fast. I stayed with Declan right until the first buoy which was situated on the left hand side of some rocks which were protruding due to the low tide. As we approached the buoy another swimmer came between Declan and myself and so the draft was broken and I was left to fend for myself. I was breathing to the left so could see the pier easily. The sun was low so it was a little bright on the eyes but didn't effect visibility too much.

I headed straight for the pier end, what I thought was the shortest route. A lot of people swam in close to and along the pier as they feel that this is the fastest route. I passed a few people along the way and 1 or 2 passed me. I knew I wasn't going to win but felt I was up there at least. At the pier, you turn left and left again and then its a 150m swim to the finish, although from here it is against the tide as it was flowing out of the river and north. After the initial turn left, it got slightly difficult, I got stuck in and got to the next left, then moved out slightly and tried to up my swim rate to finish strong. I passed a few and got passed. It was tough and hot. Once we turned in the pier the temperature increased within the harbour. It was rank! I pushed and pushed and finished strong, happy with my race.

And would you believe it Declan had won!! I was delighted for him as it has been years since he had a win and the black castle is a prestigious race to win. He was really surprised himself. He said he turned into the final straight and just gave it all, thinking he would be passed at any time. After drying off, we headed for the obligatory pint and waited for the prize giving and results. I came in 17th in a swim time of 13.59mins 35 seconds behind Declan and only 7 seconds ahead of Nora. It was a great result for me as Declan has been swimming a min ahead of me in the other swims of similar length. That was the last swim for me this year with the Sea swim club as I'm off on my holidays Sunday. Wahey.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Beast of the East Race Report

A few days has passed since I completed the Beast of the East and now that the pain has subsided I thought I might be able to give a more realistic account of the day. I was lucky enough to win a free entry for the race through the TI awards dinner last winter, well through a bit of jiggery pokery I swapped with someone else. What was I thinking!! I could have completed a sprint but I chose the Beast. There must have been something internal telling me to give it a go. I suppose I didn’t really think it be be that hard considering I train on most of the bike course most weekends and a hilly run is a hilly run isn’t it?

The run up to the race was a bit hectic with helping out the committee with a few bits n bobs. They had a tough job, and put in an enormous amount of work which was clearly evident on the day.

Morning of the race:

I got up earlish, 6.45am, had breakfast and headed up tp Lough Dan. I was a bit nervous, more of the swim than anything else, due to my lack of swimming last winter. Although the last few weeks had seen me pick it up a bit and for the week before the race I swam every day in Wicklow harbour. I changed wetsuits a few days before the race as My brother in laws was a tighter fit and let in less water and I felt more bouyant in the water.

Transition and set up was quick and easy. As I had the Spirit Land Rover Discovery, I was lucky enough to drive right down to T1 as the Discovery was supposed to be on show for the sponser. My set up was straight forward and the only item I changed was the front wheel. Instead of using my Zipp 404 front I opted for a corima 4 spoke as I was getting a bit of a noise from the Zipp and I thought the carbon may be compromised. I was also wearing the new club 2 piece tri suit, other than that all remained the same from previous races. I was riding my Scott Plasma II Ltd.

Time passed quickly and before I knew it we were all listening to Paul give the race briefing and were all in our wetsuits. I was in wave 1 which I was delighted with as there was no more hanging around. In we went to the lough to the sounds of Sean Kelly on the bagpipes.

The swim

And then the hooter blew, we were off. The usual mad dash for 50 m ensued, very little of the washing machine took place, everyone was being very polite! I got into a rythem fairly quickly after the first buoy as there was a long 600m straight. I was between 2 groups and it was erily quiet and a little strange with the dark water and the silence. I managed to get the odd feet for a bit here and there but overall was on my own for most of the swim. I really enjoyed the swim in the lake and sighting was made easy with the new WTC buoys. I exited in 30mins, which O was happy enough with as it was a fresh water swim. There was a few hand at the end of the pontoon to help us out which was a bonus.


T1 was ok, 2.20mins which includes a lon run with the bike to the road.

The bike

Within the first km you hit the first climb at a length of 1.2km. I had been up this a few times in training so I knew what to expect. I tempo’ed up it. My breathing was a little hard but considering I was just out of the swim, it was to be expected. After that it was down into the TT bars and goive it a bit of welly. I planned to go hard on the bike as I knew the course and where you could really push it. There was a headwind on the out section. I passed a lot of people up to the halfway mark, came across Siobhan on the little climb out of Annamoe. Quick hello as I passed and then re-concentrate on the task in hand. I was using Paul’s Corima 4 spoke and something was wrong with it. I was getting a clacking noise all through the cycle. People could hear me coming from 100 m. I was so embarrased by it, I was starting to apologise to people as I passed them!! I knew all of the stewards on the course as they were all from the try club and the cheers were brilliant and really gave me energy to pusg harder. The way back was quiet as I seemed to have found my place, I wasn’t gaining on the guy in front and no-one was gaining on me. I worked hard to Laragh and then turned knowing there was only 6km to go and 3 more climbs. They were tough, not that they were excessively steep, just tired legs after pushing hard on the previous 32km. I struggled a little on the third and then recovered on the descent back into Lough Dan. I was happy with the bike and mega happy with my place, 9th into T2 from Wave 1.


Quick change here, runners, visor and glasses on and I was away. 1.45min, why so long!!! I couldn’t get the heal of my runner on right!! Got to work on that.

The Run

Leaving transition I felt great, full of smiles, Craig Doyle was compare and making a joke at my expense. I headed off on what I knew was going to hurt. Same initial start as the bike, after 1km up that dam hill again, this time a lot more slowly. I knew my stride length was short but I thought that was just due to the tiredness and the hill. At the top my dad was at the first aid station, I ran through, quick hello/ About 0.5km up the road I started to cramp in my hammers, mainly the left, not too bad but I couldn’t make my stride length any longer. I continued to aid station 2 at 3.2km, stopped for a quick stretch, then my quads tightened. The nest 2 km were spent running slowly and stopping to stretch. I got passedhere by about 4 runners. I was fuming with myself for cramping, my own fault, I only had about 300ml of drink on the whole bike, a ridiculously small amount for such a tough course. At about 5km the cramping subsided and I was able to pick up the speed. Mentally it was a tough run and I felt I really had to dig deep to get to the end. 7-8km is slightly uphill and that was hard, saw my dad again but was in no mood for talking, I just wanted to get to the descent. I let rip as I knew there was 2 guys who could catch me. By the time I got to the last junction I was clear of them so knew I wouldn’t have to have a sprint finish against anyone, I was running on empty by now. The final 300m on grass is a nice way to finish. And the view running back down to the lake was stunning. Loads of WTC heads about shouting encouragement for me and Craig calling out my name. I crossed the line in 2.32 overall, run time 46mins. Run could have been better but it’s a tough run and I did stop a wee bit to stretch.

It is a great race, marshaling was excellent, fantastic setting and I would recommend it to all club members to put in for one of the 5 slots in 2011. Will I do it again? maybe, but I’ll train specifically for it. It is as the name suggests a beast.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Winter review and summary of races since Nov 2009

Wow.... time flies when your not training. I can't believe its just 2 months since my last blog update, the last one being my race report for IM Florida. The first few weeks post race I just glowed in the felling like you do after seeing a long training period come to fruition. Initially I only took 3 days off but then when I got to Orlando I hit the bike in the gym just to flush out my legs and stretched a bit. I managed 2 runs within the first week and still felt great.

Oh time too much has passed to write reports on all races so here's quick recap of what I've done since Florida.

Debra mountain 1/2 Marathon - 8th
Portmarnock Sprint - Got hit by a car on the bike but got back on and continued. - Finished mid 30's
Wicklow 1/2 Marathon 'Wicklow Gaol Break' - 16th
Mullaghmore Sprint Triathlon - in top 30, 5th in age group
Alive Outside 10km run in Kilruddary house - Came 3rd.
The Beast of the East - See race report below - came 27th
Pulse Hollingsworth Sprint - Came 11th. 3rd fastest bike on the day.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ironman Florida build up and race report 2009

11.30am, 3rd November and the Aer Lingus steward announced it was time to board the plane. This was the flight which was going to take me to the USA and my final race of 2009, IM Florida. Instantly, I felt a slight pang of nervousness, no going back now, not that I would. I have been building for this race for the past 16 weeks, and now within 4 days it would become a reality.

This report is going to be slightly different to previous reports as I’m going to update it as I go along when I get some free time. I hope to record an accurate and honest viewpoint of how I feel for the next 5 days.

We are curently about 30mins into the flight to Orlando. We upgraded to the business class seats for comfort and it was worth it. The seats are huge and there is plenty of room, no stress here. Everything I do from here until Saturday will be done while thinking of the race in m mind. Its how I work. If I take something on it tends to consume me. It freaks Paul a bit but its just my personality. I tend to be like this in work also. I’m an organised person so when racing it tends to slip over. I think it’s a good trait to have. Paul would probably disagree and say I go OTT or have OCD.

Anyway, the flight is going to be 9.15hrs so the plan for me will be to relax as much as possible, watch a movie, sleep, read, hydrate, eat well and add to this report.

Gareth and Derrick and on the same flight so the full representation for Ireland at IM Florida 2009 are all from Wicklow…….

What are my views on the race coming up…… well I have a few concerns….. nothing major but as I said before, its all in the planning. I’m nervous about the start, not the swim length, that’ll be fine, its the other 2853 people around me I’m nervous about. It’s a mass start and differs from Lanzarote in that there will be a lot more people entering the water at the same time and therefore a lot more thrashing about. My plan will be to move over to the right and wait probably 30 seconds after the start gun to enter. The main aim is to have a comfortable swim. Whether I go 1.10 or 1.20, its irrelevant. I would like to exit the water calm and relaxed and focussed for the bike. I saw some of the photos of the transition and it looks long. I’m expecting T1 to take 6-9 mins.

I’m going to wear a tri top and pair of Assos uno shorts, comfort being the priority. I’ve also decided to wear my road bike shoes and not the tri shoes. Bella Bayliss has likened the bike to 5 hrs on a turbo. From that statement I gather it will be tough out there. I’ve thought about this a lot and spoke to various people about the approach I should take. The information has been everything from go easy and save it for the run to go balls out and hope to survive on the run…… I have probably completed 10 cycles greater than 160k in preparation for this race and have tried various options to see what works for me. My conclusion is that I need to conserve on the bike and hold a gear just under what I could push. I have found that I run better of that scenario. Also, I recently did a 180km on the N11, back and forth, back and forth in 5.30hr and then did a 6km run. I found the run tough, primarily due to the constant peddling on the bike. While there may be no hills in Florida, there is no respite on the legs either. This could cause issues in the latter section of the run. I hope to complete the bike in 5.30 – 5.45 and get off feeling somewhat fresh for the run.

T2, I reckon will be also 6-9 mins. I will be putting on compression socks, nike, and wearing my old favourite Zoot running shots. I may change the tri top. Adam has kindly loaned me an old tri top he used to wear. If I wear it, I hope nobody gets a shot of me in it….. as it sort of resembles a bra top….. similar to the one Andy used to wear back the early WTC days, but I’ve tried this on and it is mega comfortable.

The run is where I have been putting a lot of my training time. For the past 6-8 weeks I have been running up to 65km per week, with a long run anywhere from 29 – 36km every Sunday. I think I’m runnning well and I so want to have a good run on Saturday. I missed a sub 4 hr marathon in IM Lanzarote by 9 mins and I really want to get it this time. Based on my Sunday runs its possible. I will just really need to dig deep and focus during the latter half when the body is screaming out to stop. My aim for the run is 3.55hr

Based on the above times I’ve given above, the range for my finishing time could be anywhere between 10.47hr – 11.30. Then again, all that could go out the window with a puncture, upset stomach, tired legs etc etc etc. I’ve prepared well and those times are within me if my race plan goes to schedule. I hope it does.

Time to clock off now and watch a movie and dinner.

Movie was good, dinner was wooful, cutbacks I reckon!!!

5 hrs into the flight now and all going well, many many trips to the toilet, yes I’m staying hydrated. The seats are great but its an old plane and not as plush as I was expecting. The movie system is archaic and even with my Bose speakers its hissing like crazy. Its doesn’t make for comfortable watching.

Gareth stopped by for a chat, good to hear another perspective and what his plan is, pretty much the same as us ‘go out conservative on the bike’.

Fast forward to land. 2 hrs it took us to get out of the airport. We hired the car from Hertz and it took another 20mins to get to their offices. After a brief wrong direction we got on the right road and drove north. We stopped in Gainesville for the night. Hotel was as dodgy as hell but hey all part of the experience.

It only took 4 hours to get there on the Wednesday morning and the hotel was right at transition, and an added bonus, a sea view of the gulf of Mexico, fantastic views. Although we had a swim, bike and run to do we couldn’t help ourself and headed down to register, excitement was building. Registration was quick and aided by all the over 50’s in Panama city….. Straight after we hit the Ironman shop for some retial therapy, my second favourite pastime. The choice was huge, so much better than the expo at Lanzarote. We made a few purchases and decided to head back get the bikes together and bike the run route and then do a 30 min run. The run is roughly like a lolipop and flat as a pancake. Without even trying we were hitting 40kph comfortably. Without knowing it we passed Garrett and Derrick, they shouted at us but we never heard a thing. Back to the hotel and out for a run. It felt good, held a sub 5 min pace, 10min stretch and we chilled for the evening.

The next few days we were very relaxed and took it easy, stayed out of the sun, read , listened to music, visitied the expo again and again and plenty of early nights. We also drove about 30km of the bike to check it out. Although very flat it was really exposed and wind could be an issue.

Friday the 6th, day before the race and we were up at 6.30 and completed our last 3 sessions by 8.30, had breakfast and took it handy. We racked our bikes about 1.30pm and dropped our T1 and T2 bags into position.

As odd as it sounds we had pizza for dinner…. Very early about 2pm and then just snacked for the remainder of the evening. Paul snoozed for the afternoon, I measured the salt content in all the food I was planning on consuming to ensure I had an approx of 400mg/hr. I supplemented with salt tabs for what was missing. I packed 6 salt capsules for the bike and 6 for the run. I also had calculated my calorie intake for the full bike and run. This was to work out at 450 calories per hour on the bike and 5 gels in the run, I had practiced 5 gels on all my 30km runs and knew I could tolerate them. We were in bed by 8.30pm. I had no problem sleeping and the alarm went off at 4 am.

Race Morning:

Up at 4am for breakfast, 3 x energy bars, chocolate milk and a banana. Down to T1 with the gear bags, pump up tyres, final check of bike, nutrition, got body marked and they also put our age on our leg, must be for when you are racing people down so you know if an age grouper is in sight, didn’t think I would be worrying about that too much!! and back to the room. The 4 of us got ready in our room and joked a bit, although you could see the nerves with all of us using the loo every few mins. We had to be down at the start line at 6.30, and be corralled so I didn't get a warm-up swim in. There was soo many swimmers. I positioned to the right about 60% across and bang on time the race began. Crash, bang whack, wallop, that was it for the next 20 mins and at every buoy you turned. I swam the first 10 mins with my head out of the water........The swim was crazy, I went so wide on both laps to avoid the war zone but still ended up with a kick in the face, and lost count of those who swam over me and the number of smacks to the head. The sea was choppy and I really had to work hard in sections to keep momentum. If you slowed someone swam over you, simple as that. Still I was happy with my time and saw Garrett just ahead of me and bumped into him in T1. I exited in 1.11hr, feeling fresh, just like I planned.

Transition was well organised and quicker than I anticipated. Had the obligatory pee and I was away. The bike was so fast to begin with. Everything you read about IM says go easy in the first 90km and then pick it up. Well I was cruising at 38km/hr for the first 30km, then we hit the wind. There was nowhere to hide, although there were many peletons.... I passed so many people on the bike for them to whizz past me in a peleton, 5 mins later. It was so annoying, blatant drafting. Their IM is tainted!! I focussed well for the bike although the last 50km were very boring. I just wanted the bike over. I wanted to run. I ate and drank regularly and took in more than 6 gels during the bike. I stopped 4 times on the bike, 3 loo breaks and once for the special needs bag. You were not allowed to pee on the side of the road so every aid station has 2 porta loos. In total I reckon 8 mins of stoppages, not too bad really. On the last section coming home there was no other cyclist around me and I thought I had gone the wrong way..... Then I saw T2, what a relief. bike time 5.20hr, not bad at all and still feeling fresh.

T2 was so quick, someone collected my bike and handed me my T2 bag. My 4 min time even included a loo trip and getting suncream..... and yes I stll pee a lot during race,s but that was to be my last one. I wasn't stopping on the run. I was ready to run and was feeling good.

When I started running my legs felt great. First 6 miles were in 50mins ish. It was a route through a lot of back streets and across roads into a park and back, twice. I planned to stay as close to 50 - 53min 10kms as possible and mentally broke the course up into sections. At the half way stage I said to myself, this is when it really starts to hurt but it didn't, I felt fantastic, I increased the pace slightly on the second lap. There was a lot of athletes walking and running slower so I passed quite a few, (great for your confidence). I had run 36km in training non-stop so I knew I could do the 42km without walking. I ran through all the aid stations, spilt coke and water everywhere, had 5 gels and 3 salt tabs on the run. For the last 2 miles I picked up the pace and ran it in, just using wet sponges to cool down.

The last km was just the most amazing experience. The crowd support was fantastic, really getting behind you and all the aid stations were fancy dress, M.A.S.H, 70\'s etc. Its a little twisty running in the last segment but my pace naturally picked up and everyone is screaming at you. The finishing chute was about 80 meters in length, thronged with people and the announcer Mike Reilly, called my name and said 'Dominic O'Hanlon from Wicklow, Ireland, You are an Ironman". Deadly buzz......... I was on top of the world. I checked my run time 3.41hr. I was stunned, 20mins quicker than anticipated. It felt amazing.

As soon as you cross the line there is a helper to guide you to a seat and get you water, chicken broth etc. First you get your IM medal, T-shit and hat, then official photo. I was very weak at the end. I left it all on the course. There was nothing left.

It was such a self satisfying day. I felt and still do feel amazing and like I have stepped it up with my run. It has really made me determined to work even harder to improve more.

Looking back at my predictions I think and feel I went about the race as I planned. I was just fitter than I though I was. Everything in this race went right for me. I was very lucky. I also believe that nutrition and mental focus play a massive part in IM racing. I practiced religiously with my nutrition and ran a lot on my own during training to made me focus for long periods of time. It worked. It is a strategy I will use from now on.

When I checked the finishers sheet I was gob smacked, I came 241st overall and in the top 10%. I believe just over 2500 started. What a Result!!!!! Now for a break, Orlando here I come.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

T20 and counting....

20 days to go.

I was hoping the week was going to be easier. Its been a tough few months, in fact a tough long year. With only 20 days left I was hoping for a serious reduction in training volume. When I checked the programme I noticed, it wasn't significantly different but enough to make a difference.

Monday was a day off..... again.... taking a lot of these. It also was Moleys Birthday, 43. We went out first for a recovery cycle only for 1.15hr. We had planned 2 hrs but the bikes were giving out to us. There was a lot of creaking going on!! A trip to the cycle superstore was on the cards. How much this time I wonder? Of course when I got there, I forgot about money and was like a kid in a sweet shop. I got a new shorts and tri top, for the race and left the bike in for a service, knowing I needed a lot of work done. Then it was off to the pool where we did 100 repeats. A 300 warm up then 25 100's on 1.40 with 20 sec recovery per 100. I felt great at the end.

Tuesday: a day off..... A run was planned but we were on 'The Restaurant' for next seasons show and had to travel to Athlone so between work etc it wasn't going to happen.

Wednesday: another long day, drive from Athlone to work, long day at work then off for a quick run prior to an accupunture session. I did an hour on the threadmill and ended at 13.5km/hr pace. Focussed on my form although its difficult in the gym, its a different type of running. Alex worked on my calves, loads of knots to undo and did accupunture on both my knees. Although sore I always feel better after these sessions.

Thursday: Turbo day or speed run. Based on the volume I have been running in the past 8 week I decided to skip the speed run and do the turbo instead. The main set consisted of( 2 x 2mins with a 15sec rest between then 12min hard, 2.5min easy) x 2. I love these sessions. Short and hard.

Friday: Took another day off, had agreed with my boss as I wanted another mini block prior to the main part of the taper. I did a pyramid session which consisted of 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100 and a 200 cool down. Total 3.8km. Thats the first 3.8km I've swum since IM Lanza. I used the pull buoy on a couple of the sets but went back to kicking towards the end. As a session it worked for me as I got distance and maintained my sub 1.40 pace for the lot.

Saturday: 5 hr bike planned, weather to be dreadful. Ah well, we've had a great 2 months of weather so no complaints. we left at 10 instead of 9 and met up with Cian and Eanna. I'm really enjoying cycling with others again. We have trained so much and so hard on our own this year. We were lucky.... we only had 2 heavy showers. Today we hit the hills a bit more, felt like fun. I need more fun in my cycling. Ended up with 4hr 35mins, then the heavens opened. We finished on 125km. A drop of about 40km on our normal Saturday cycle.

So the week is nearly over, 2 weeks left today. I'm a little nervous, usual questions, have I done enough, am I fast enough, will I puncture, what will I do if I puncture, what will I wear......

One day of this week left, a 2 hr run planned. Probably do a similar route to the last few weeks, again focus on technique and holding my pace. Will let you know how it went.

2 hrs planned for today and well I just wasn’t up to it. No, that’s a lie. I was but I just didn’t feel motivated. Not sure why, legs were fine, no injuries. Think the toll of training is catching up with me. We decided on an out and back route and we cut the time by 15mins. As it was now to be 1.45hr we didn’t leave out any water and didn’t use any gels. We both started together and were holding an ok pace 5.15min/hr, slow for me a little faster than normal for Paul. However, I was fine with that. I just wanted to complete the time, distance was irrelevant. When we got to Ashford, I felt a lot better in myself so picked up the pace and ran at 4.30min/km for about 3km, just a little test really to check how I was doing. When you are running well you really notice the fluidity and it feels great. Then I doubled back and continued the run with Paul. We held a 5.05min pace (I think) for the remainder of the run. I ended up running 20km in 1.42hr, not my finest ever run but 20km all the same. I was happy with it as I felt fine and recovery from the run would be quick. Real taper starts tomorrow, every second day off wahoooooooooooo. Oh sh*t, that means the race is around the corner!!!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The week before the taper starts.......

Start of another week. What would it bring I wondered!! Even though we are only 4 weeks out, the volume hasn't reduced much, if any, at all. I realised this week that I have been uttering the same words over and over again. Thy are 'I feel so tired'..... So with that in mind I decided to have a smarter week, relax a little more, and build up the energy reserves for the weekend.

Monday: As mentioned above I was feeling tired but had arranged to meet Eanna for a 2 hr spin Monday morning. Legs were a little heavy but I had run 31km yesterday. I stayed in the low front ring and spun the legs until I met up with Eanna and we headed out to Aughrim and back. It went great, legs felt so much better after I had finished. Had a quick shower and off to the gym for a weights session.

Spent 45mins there and did the 12 exercises. This is the last week of weights. This is great as it will free up some time to recover. This is also frightening as it means we are getting close to D-day. After the weights I had a massage and Alex worked on my knees and rubbed out the knots in my calves. I need a few more sessions to get them right.

Monday evening, I joined up with the WTC crowd for the swim session. We threw out approx 2500m. i was hapy enough with that. I'm not swimming enough and plan in the next 2 weeks to throw in a session or two of long slow swims to get the feel for the water again.

Tuesday: I did the speed bike on the turbo. It was tough. After the warm up etc the main part was a 20min TT, with a negative split and then 8 x 30secs sprints and a cool down. Took about 1 hr, but it was a tough one hour.


Mid week run day. I met up with Jenn and we headed out to Ashford. I planned on 1.2ohr. As soon as I started I started, I knew it wasn't there. Legs were heavy. I plodded on, hooked up with Jenn and well we just ran the best we could. I really wanted to stop but I've been running really well, even when tired so thought my legs would return. They didn't. I got home a little dejected, 1.17hr and only 15km ran. I stretched and tried to understand why it had gone wrong. Conclusion, I'm really tired.

Thursday: I decided to have an easy one so tonight I just did my weights set. I left out the speed run, thought my legs could do with the rest. An easy night, 45mins of weights. The rest of the night was spent on the couch.

Friday: I had planned long swim Friday as I only had swam once this week. Was late leaving work, got back to Wicklow, pool was booked, drove to Greystones and had forgotten my goggles and hat, so with the hump I went home. I ended up doing another 45mins of weights and had another easy night. Two easy days in a row, its been so long!!

Saturday: Long day planned (again), I had a lie on and only left today at 10.40am. An extra few hours sleep, ya gotta love it. We headed out to Glenealy, Rathdrum, Clash, Aughrim, Carnew, Gorey, Arklow, Woodenbridge, Aughrim, Rathdrum, Laragh, Annamoe, Roundwood, Ashford, Fruit farm, Rathnew and Wicklow, 160km, 5.30hr, quick change and out for a run, did my usual, fastest ever, 25.30min for 6km, sub 4.20min/km off the bike, deadly, looks like I needed the 2 day rest. I felt great. Confidence grew today. I felt strong on the bike, particularly the latter end. I ate well too, 2 gels 2 bars, 1 banana, 1 electrolyte drink, 1 coke and 1 water. Tomorrow is 2.20hr run. Not sure what route I'll take but reckon I'll go a little easier. I plan on doing approx 26km.
Sunday: It must be a sign of fitness but I’ve noticed I’m feeling much better on the morning after my long ride. Today I felt great. Legs didn’t feel at all heavy. We were scheduled for 2.20hr run. We also had planned the same route, the feck*n fruit farm loop. If I see that loop again it’ll be too soon. Nothing wrong with it per se, I just don’t like the coast road as it is extremely dangerous and the hedges haven’t been cut back all year so you are constantly crossing the road at corners to ensure your safety.

Moley, Jamie, Jenn and myself set off, all of us with our own goal in mind, mine close to 30km at an even pace, have 3 gels and focus on smoothness of technique. I went nice and easy for the first 3-4km, to loosen up and ensure my muscles were warm. Then just got into my stride. While it didn’t feel hard, it didn’t feel easy!!! If that makes sense.

I had my first gel at about 8km, early enough, just to make sure really, topping up the reserves, then another at 19km and 22km. Really I didn’t space the gels well enough but I got caught out with the placement of the water stops.

I finished up on 2.17hr with exactly 29km completed. I was thrilled. I really felt that I managed to control my pace for teh duration of the run and there was definitely more in the tank.
Roll on next week......

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

5 weeks and counting

The hard work is now complete (I hope) and from now on the focus will be on staying fit, fresh, sharp, injury free and getting rid of any little niggles that have been hanging around and there are a few. Specifically my knees. With 60km a week running, for the last 6 weeks, I've noticed an increase in my knee pain. However, the milage (now that we are metric, whats the equivalent word? kilometerage???) Anyway I digress..... should decrease so I'll get a few more accupunture sessions in, lots of ice and stretching and it should be good for D-day.

I mention above that the hard work is complete, what am I saying.... this week I have to do approx 20hrs so really I mean next week it'll get easier, I hope.

After the long Sunday run, 36km, I took a day off work and started the day with an easy turbo for an hour to flush out remaining lactic from the run. I assume it was lactic, probably muscle damage. Anyway, I stayed below 35km/hr (easy on a turbo). After that it was off to the pool for a swim session. I did one of the coach's sets and racked up 3,500m. Delighted. I used the pull buoy a little too much but my legs were sore so I allowed myself!! After a quick shower it was up to the gym and I did one of the 'chisel' sessions. These are 2 x 12 of the 12 exercises we have been given performed in a faster fashion to stimulate the muscles. 

I was so hungry after all that that I could resist a coffee slice!!, my guilty pleasure.

Tuesday: Legs still a wee bit sore so instead of my mid week run I opted for the speed turbo session. It was slightly easier than last week and lasted for about 1hr. 5 mins stretching and I was done, an easy night.

Wednesday: Today was run day. The programme was for a 1.30hr run but I was running late from work so opted to run 14km instead. It was a cold evening, leggings were back on (argh winter is setting i and the season is not over yet). I went at a nice pace felt good considering the milage that we have been doing. I headed for Ashford and turned at the roundabout where you can turn onto the M11. I got home in 1.06hr, which was fine. stretched for 10mins as I have a knot in my left calf that is giving me a bit of hassle.

Thursday: Another run, yay!! tonight was a speed run. I decided to go the same route as last night to see what, if there would be any difference in overall distance covered or time taken to complete the course. The session was warm up, a few pick ups then 12 mins hard, 5 recovery, 9 hard 3 recovery, 6 x 1 mins with 30 sec recovery and 6 x 30secs with 15secs recovery and a cool down. It was a great session. I noticed how much harder I hit the ground when running at a faster speed!! Also, the last section of the session was tough as I was tired and it was constant shifting of gear, fast slow, fast, slow. I ened up completing the run 4 mins quicker than the previous night, so 14km in 1.02hr, which was interesting to see. Even with the recovery sections within the session, my overall average pace was higher. Finished with a long stretch, calf issues......

Friday: Day off, unplanned but happy to take it to be honest. Big weekend ahead.

Saturday: Today was supposed to be 7hrs and a 30min break but we opted for 5.30hr and a brick. Eanna joined us on the bike today which was great as it can get a wee bit boring and repetitive on our own. We headed out to Rathdrum, Aughrim, Gorey, Arklow, Woodenbridge, Rathdrum, Laragh, Roundwood, Kilmacanogue and home. Total was 165km in 5.30hr, quick change and a 6km run. I felt great for the whole day which was a surprise. I stayed for a long time in the small chain ring and increased my cadence to stay with the others. It worked. For the last 2 hrs I was pushing a big gear. Legs felt ok tonight. Spent the rest of the day watching the World Champs in Kona, fantastic race for the men and a show of true class for the women with Chrissie Wellington romping home and breaking the 17yr record Paula Newby-Frazer had.

Sunday: Started with a lie in as it was 3am when I got to bed. Plan was 2.40hr. A cracking day. Jenn and Jamie joined us, Jenn for the first loop and Jamie was out for a 10km interval. I didn't reall see them much as I pretty much hit my pace straight away and just went with it. We decided on a two loop strategy, 1 large and a smaller second. While my legs felt a little heavy I kept to my 4.40-4.50min/km pace. I had 3 gels over the course of the run, 10km, 17km and 25km. I felt pretty good through out and just tried to keep focused on my running style and running tall. I bumped into Jamie, who was on his way home on my second lap and also ran into Paula Humby at 26km. Paula was out for 8miles easy, she's in the taper mode for the Dublin Marathon. She's flying.... Dublin will be no bother to her. I ended up going back out to Ashford to make up my time as I had finished the 2 loops in 2.06. I added another 5km and finished fairly strong in 2.28 for 31km. More stretching, home, took an anti-inflammatory as my knee was tender.

The run finished a long week. Did I get out of it what I wanted??? yes and no. Negative only 1 swim, positives 4 tough runs, 3 bikes and 2 weights. In total, 16hrs, 4 less than required but I'm fine with that. The sessions were quality.

What will next week bring...... oh I reckon more of the same. Each week is like groundhog day for me at the moment!!