Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Marathons in Ireland in 2011

Here's a list of the marathons taking place in Ireland this year, 17 in total! If I've left any out let me know:
Connemara 10th April only charity entries left - €250
Limerick Sun May 1st
Belfast Monday 2nd May
Kildare 15th May
Clare Burren Sat 21st May
Newry 29th May
Cork 6th June
Mourne Way 11th June
Portumna Marathon 18th June
Galway August?
Longford August?
Dingle 3rd September
Cliffs of Moher Saturday 24th September
Donegal Mooathon September?
Causeway Coast Saturday 1st October
Dublin Monday 31st October
Clonakilty 10th December


Monday, January 17, 2011

Waterford Half Marathon

This race was originally meant to be held on Dec 18th, but had to be postponed until Jan 15th due to snow & ice on the roads where we would be running. I booked a hotel and took Friday off (race on Sat). It only took us 2:15 to drive down thanks to the new M9 motorway. That meant the kids were still pretty happy and not too bored by the time we got there, but we didn't see any of the coast or towns on the way. Friday we took it easy and walked around the city looking at the shops. I bought a pair of base layer thermal gloves in a shop specifically for the run.
They are great and really light to carry. Also, I can tuck them into the zipped pocket on my Nathan hand held, pretty cool!
Anyway, we had an excellent dinner that night in the hotel and I even had a couple of glasses of wine. Well the race wasn't due to start until 12 noon :-)
We decided we should all get an early night and the next morning we went down to breakfast. I was wondering what would be available, as I'm quite picky about my food, especially pre-race. I normally have porridge, but none was available, so I had three Weetabix instead. Then I had a look at the hot food counter, but it was all fried/grilled and I thought it would leave me feeling a bit heavy. So I had a large bowl of grapefruit pieces, a few glasses of orange juice and some tea. My wife gave me a lift to the RSC (Regional Sports Centre) where the bib collection was and she then left with the kids to keep them entertained. It was already raining and windy, so we didn't want them standing around too long. I got my bib with built in chip timer and headed down to the large changing room. We were able to leave our bags there, so that was great. I was going to wear a baseball cap to keep the rain out of my eyes and wandered out with it on and then went back inside and put on my fleece hat, a lot warmer! I had my protein bar and waited indoors with the rest. At 11:50 we all walked/jogged to the start line. We had to wait at the side of the road until the roads were closed. There were some pacers (2:00, 1:50, 1:40) and I wasn't sure which to follow, but ended up doing my own thing. I never saw an actual "start line", so I think the chip timing started when the gun went off. I started the Garmin and jogged away with the crowd. It took a couple of kms until the crowd had thinned and I could keep a nice pace, but even by the 2k mark, some people were already walking.
As we turned to go out the main Waterford to Cork road the wind hit us head on and didn't stop until we got to 11k. I decided early on that I would take it easy for the first half, so I just tucked in behind other runners and let them take the brunt of the wind and rain. Sometimes they would tire and I would overtake them and tuck in behind someone else. I noticed a few people running in close behind me too!
There were three aid stations on the route handing out 250ml water bottles, already opened, and that was a real help. I carried my hand held the whole race as I tend to carry it in training too. By the 9k mark the road was a bit more exposed and the rain was pushing straight into us with the gusts of wind really slowing us down. We were all delighted to get to the turn point!
At this stage I had been going at between 5:20 to 5:40min/k, but I brought it up to about 5:10 to 5:20 from here. The run back was actually enjoyable, chatting with others and sharing wine gums. I took two endurolytes before the start and two more with a gel at about 50mins. On the return leg the runners had thinned to single file and with a lot of gaps - the weather had been taking it's toll. I was overtaking a lot of people now and kept the pace up. With about 3k to go I started getting a tendon pain in the front of my shin, just above my ankle. I had a clear excuse to stop and walk...but I kept going and didn't slow my pace. I knew that no matter what I was going to be sore, so I decided that I wanted to run the race to the end. With about 1.5k left I pushed the pace again (now sub 5min/k) and seeing the RSC was a delight! I went around the last roundabout and a volunteer shouted out that there was "only 300 yards left". The figure didn't register at all for some reason. We then had to run through the entrance gate and around 200m of the all weather track to the finish line. By this time I was giving it every ounce of energy I could and was going sub 4min/k, but I don't know exactly what the pace was. I was hurting though! The small crowd that had gathered was cheering us all on in the rain and going over the line and walking was such a welcome relief! I stopped my Garmin and saw that I had got 1:51:42, shortly after (a good 20sec after crossing the line) my bib number (with timing chip) was scanned and recorded. I knew then that my official time would be a lot slower. I returned the bib and got a water bottle and banana handed to me along with a goodie bag. No finisher's medals or t-shirts for this one.

I took two more endurolytes and a gel at about 18k and two more endurolytes after the finish. I went inside, got a free cup of tea and had my protein drink. Sitting down was heaven!
After drying off, wringing out my clothes and getting changed, I met my family and we headed back to the hotel. I had a bath and shower and then brought the kids swimming. I tried doing a few lengths of the pool but my leg was too sore. Even today (Monday) I can't walk properly, but I'm using anti-inflammatory gel and resting as much as I can. I'll be fine in a day or so, and then it'll be back to training.

Keep running,

Monday, January 10, 2011

Training update - first in 2011

So this is my first real training update this year. I'm fortunate that I've been able to keep running, so far, through the ice & snow. I've had to resort to treadmill running from time to time though.
Last Sunday I did my LSR, the first run of the new year and got just over 25k, nice to zap the zero like that! I took Monday off (it was a public holiday here too) and then did a gym session with 8k easy on the treadmill on Tuesday. On Wednesday I did the same gym session. I knew I wouldn't get a chance to go the rest of the week. My legs were feeling tired but I did my 8k intervals on the treadmill (1k easy, 1k fast).
Then on Friday I found out that a small group from the club was training at the track in the evening so I joined in. It had been raining heavily for most of the day and the grass track had still not really recovered from the snow, so it was pretty muddy & wet. At least we had a low impact session I guess, ha ha!
I ran from my house to the track, then did 2 laps warmup. After that we split into sprinters and non-sprinters (me and 3 others). One of the girls training with me had come 6th in the All Ireland 800m U16 last year - no pressure! I did my Yasso 800s and the three others ran, or at least started, with me. I was going for about 3:50min and they just took off and did it in about 3:20 each time. I would do a 1min WR and go back to another 800m. On the third 800 coach yelled at us, just before the end, "Do another lap". Apparently this is meant to help - I'm sure it did though :-)
We did one more 800 and called it a night, as it was still pelting with rain. I ran home the long way and got a bottle of red in the local shop to share with my mum, who is visiting with us for two weeks. When I got home my 3yo daughter stood and stared at me with mouth agape. It was only then I looked down and saw that I was mud and dirt from the knees down.

I had to jump in the shower, partly to warm up and partly to get all the dirt off. Then I soaked my socks and washed out my runners in warm water. I left them by the radiator to dry and by Sunday evening they seemed ok again. And yes, I still have to put my Yankz laces on this pair too.
On Saturday I took a rest day and on Sunday I did my LSR. I wanted to do a good 20k, but I had been having stomach/GI issues since Friday afternoon. Anyway, I sucked it up and went out. It was 3-4C with frost and some ice patches on the roads. I did two different out-and-back routes. The first was fine the way out, but headwind on the way back. That was 9k done, then I passed by the house and continued onto the second part. This road is less busy, especially on weekends and sometimes 5-6 mins would go by without seeing or hearing a car. I was trying to keep my pace down to the suggested one from my coaches: 6:15 to 7:00min/km, but it's really not easy. I keep falling into my 5:40 to 5:20min/k "happy pace". I had to take a few walk breaks on the return part of this due to my GI issues. I won't go into details, but let's just say I ran the last 3k a lot quicker and was glad to get home!
It's now Monday and I found that since I started taking some Glucosamine tablets I got from a local health food store I was having the GI issues. I stopped taking them and 24 hours later I was fine! I'm still a big fan of Glucosamine for joints, but I'll go for a different brand from now on :-)

Keep running,

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Year end look back

I'm looking back at 2010, my first year in running, well, 11 months really. In November I ran 126k and in December I checked my distance 3 days before the end and realized I had 18k to reach the same monthly distance. So I did a 14k that day and another run two days later to bring it up to a monthly total of 133k, not too shabby. Still not where I want/need to be yet. (Ironically, my monthly distance for Feb - my first month running was also 18k...)
To that end, I did a LSR on Sunday, my first run of the year. My coaches tell me I should be doing my LSRs at between 7:00 and 6:15min/k pace, which is very slow for me. I set out and got myself ready for a 20k or so run, not really sure how long the new route was. I also took some different things to eat as a test.
I had a lot of trouble keeping the pace above 6:00min/k and had to keep reminding myself to take it easy! The first new food item I tried was a Nutrigrain bar, which I like. I was eating it as I ran (which is the whole point really) and pretty soon found that it was too dry and crumbly, so the crumbs were catching in my throat and making me cough. Not good when also running! I won't bring that one again...I also tried Hammer gels,  Fruit Gums and Endurolytes, all of which I have had before. No problems there. I'm thinking of trying out dried apricots next, I'll let you know. I only brought my Nathan hand held with me, so I need to either try bringing more water somehow, or change my route so it goes by somewhere I can refill.
I did three different out and back loops for a grand total of just under 26k. I need to be getting my LSR distance up in training for my upcoming races, so this is a good start. My mid-week runs won't be that long, but will generally be 8-12k.
Towards the end of my LSR my right glute was giving me trouble. I stretch it regularly, even on rest days, but I'll see how it goes. It was only the day after my LSR that I realized I had lost another toenail on the run, ha ha! It was a bit tender this morning when I went for my gym session, and I was tempted to strap it so it wouldn't be rubbing. But in the end I left it so the skin would toughen up. Covering it would have made the skin softer and take longer to recover. So my running total for 2010 was 970k. When I add in cycling, swimming and rowing the total is over 1100. The cycling will build when my bike has been built - soon I hope!

Keep running,