Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Operation Transformation 5k & training

Just a quick post to let you know that I ran in the Operation Transformation 5k last Saturday. It was organized by one of the national TV stations for a weight loss/healthy lifestyle program they do. It was free to enter and they were expecting about 5,000 people, I think about half that showed up, which is still a good number for the narrow roads on the course.
It took place in Dublin's Pheonix Park. The day before had been raining pretty heavily, but Saturday was glorious with warm-ish sunshine. We brought our two kids with us and got to the start line at the very back of the starters. At the start, it took us about 1:30 just to get over the start line and then we were pushing a buggy with one child while the other ran with me. Then he got tired, so we had the two in the buggy. I set off with them both and left my wife to her own pace. The most difficult part of it was dodging the walkers/runners with the buggy on the narrow lanes/roads, and I had to slow a bit from time to time. However, I made it running the whole way and got over the line in 29:26. I caught a glimpse of the TV show's presenter Katheryn Thomas, and Dublin's Lord Mayor, both of whom I beat :-)

Before and after the race I was communicating with a friend I hadn't seen in a while and we had arranged to meet for drinks that night, so I knew it was a bad idea scheduling my LSR for Sunday! When we got home I had a sandwich and decided to just get on with it. I got my hydration pack and a couple of gels and went out and did another 18k. I was trying to keep the pace down and after 10k I was doing a zone 2 relaxed run the rest of the way. Sunday was recovery in more ways than one! Monday was just incredibly busy, so I'll have to get a run in tonight. Track session is cancelled as it's the school's mid-term break. Here's a pic of about half way through my LSR - the road to nowhere, ha ha!
Keep running,

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cupid's Dash 10k

Part of my running goals this year is to beat my PBs in the main distances I currently run. These are 5k, 10k and half marathon (21.1k). In January I took on my half marathon goal and took nearly 7 minutes of my PB, so that part was done. Then a local 10k (Cupid's Dash) came up on my radar and I jumped at the chance.
I had missed 3 weeks training due to an ankle injury during the Waterford HM and only got back running 1 week before the 10k came up, so circumstances weren't ideal. However, with the volume and quality of the training I'd been racking up in the previous months I was pretty confident. The chink in my armour was that I haven't been able to get any hills reps in, as where I live there aren't any :-(
On the Thursday before the race I was going for my scheduled training/maintenance run. I decided to do a tempo run, but only really had time for about 7.5k (one of my regular routes). So I set out at a good pace that felt like it was a bit of a challenge. About 4k in I was feeling a bit tired and slacked it off a bit but brought it back up when I felt a bit better. When I had finished my 7.5k I checked my Garmin and found that I had done it in just over 37mins, so my average pace was 4:55min/k, pretty quick for me!
Then on Friday, I was up at 5:45 to get to the gym and did my usual workout with an easy treadmill run for 5k, which was done in about 28mins. I took it easy the rest of the day - apart from work - and on Saturday.
On Saturday evening I got all my running gear ready; clothes to wear, food for the morning and pre/post race, water bottles and clothes to change into post run.
Sunday morning we were all getting ready to go and my son (4 years old) was really looking forward to watching the race, but my daughter (nearly 3) decided she didn't want to leave the house. We didn't quite know what to do, but we convinced our daughter to go just in time, phew! So I drove us about 30mins to Pheonix Park in Dublin and we found that the roads in the park were already closed. So we had no choice but to drop me there and my wife took the car and kids off while I did my run.
I ran over to the car park to pick up my bib number and to meet Cris from DM, I was a bit late so I pinned on my bib number and we jogged to the start line (about 1k). There was a local fitness company (whose name I can't remember!) doing a warmup with those waiting at the start line, but they were doing static stretches. As my regular readers will know, I don't do static stretches before a run/workout.
Anyhow, I chatted with Cris and a few others before the start. It wasn't clear which way we were running from the start line, but the direction we assumed turned out to be right, luckily! When I got my bib number I was told that they had run out of chip timers, so I had to make do without. So I got as close to the start line as I could. I also noticed that there was no timing mat to run over at the start, so it was timed by gun time.
The race started and over 650 of us were off. It was a bit chilly, about 6C, but we warmed up quickly.
The first half of the course was reasonably flat, but the second half got more and more hilly. There was an aid station at about the 7k mark that had cups of water and what I think was Powerade, which I took. I walked while drinking from the cup as I haven't got the hang of running and drinking, the art is lost on me!
About 1k to go we passed the finish line on our left and had to go up a long hill to a roundabout and back down. Mentally it was tough running away from the finish line, but the downhill to the line was great! My previous PB was 51:09 and I was determined to break 50mins. I crossed the line right on 47:08!
As you can see in the pic, the clock shows 47:05, I'll go by my Garmin time though.

I was delighted, I caught my breath and grabbed some water, bananas and jelly sweets that were available. Pretty quickly I realised my family wasn't there, so I jogged up to the car park and decided I'd pick up my goodie bag then too. I could have picked it up at the start, but I didn't want to carry it while running of course. When I got to the car park I realised that the race crew had relocated to the finish line, so I ran back there again. My family was there waiting for me and my kids were really excited to see me, which was great! I inquired about the goodie bag and was told that they had run out, so I took an email address and have been told that they will post it out.
I have since checked the official results online and I am not listed, as I didn't have a timing chip - even though I paid my €25 entry fee, oh well. It was still a PB and a great day. I gave my son my finisher's medal and he wore it around his neck for most of the rest of the day, he was really proud...

Keep running,

Monday, February 7, 2011

Training update - Feb 2011

So time for a brief training update. Last month (despite my ankle injury) I ran a total of 126k, which is equal to my Nov 2010 distance, but not as good as my Dec 2010 (133k). This month will be down too, as I'm just getting back to running this week.
I also cycled 89k last month, my most ever (then again I only got the bike half way through the month I guess!). But when you add running, cycling, walking, rowing etc together, I logged a total of 229k, a massive jump from 156k in December.
On Friday I did a gym workout and then went to the physio in the afternoon. He did some work and said that the pain in the front of my shin was deferred from the left side and just below my knee! Wouldn't have guessed. So I have been using Deep Heat and anti-inflammatory gel in the wrong part of my leg, which is why it wasn't improving...He did say that I can go back running though!
Saturday I did the same gym workout and then an 8k easy treadmill run and felt fine - no pain. Sunday I did a bike ride for 27k and did the loop about 7mins faster than my previous time. Some of the back roads I came back on are pretty narrow. At one stage I saw a car coming towards me and the driver pulled in to a gateway so I could pass. It had been raining a lot in the last day or so with localized flooding. While I was going around a 90 degree left hander I spotted that the road was flooded right across and for about 6m long. I couldn't tell the depth of the water though. I stopped and had a look, turning back would have added 30mins to my cycle. I decided I would have to pedal through it. As I did, every time my feet would go down with the pedals they would get soaked by the flood water. That was at the 16k mark so my feet were freezing cold the rest of the time.
I brought my son out on his bike when I got back and we cycled (slowly) to the local shops and back. We had a good talk and he really seemed to enjoy it.
Hoping to get a relaxed run in later and get to the club track session tomorrow night.
Keep running,
P.S. My podcast is now available in iTunes - search for "irish runner".

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ankle update and racing

This is my 100th blog post! Didn't think a year ago that a) I'd be a runner, b) that I'd have my own running blog or c) that I'd have my own running podcast!
I've spent the last two weeks recovering from a sprained ankle I got during the Waterford half marathon. I'm happy to say that I got out for a 7k run last night after work/before dinner with just one issue. I got a small twinge in my ankle at 2.6k but it went away again after about 100m. It's a little tender this morning so I'll keep an eye on it.
Here's a couple of pics of me taken during the HM. The first was during the race before I rolled my ankle:

As you can see, not only am I freakishly tall (just 6'2" really) but I have my "race face" on :-)
This one was taken at the finish line after I rolled my ankle, I'm really feeling it in this one...

I got my new bike recently and have been out on relaxed bike rides, the longest being 33k last Saturday. I had a near miss on that one. By "near" I mean that I think the only reason I didn't get hit was because the car's wing mirror was below the height of my handlebars. I'm not kidding.

Anyway, here's my latest episode of my podcast, Episode 4.0. Hope you enjoy it, feel free to comment here or to my email address: theirunner (at) gmail (dot) com
I've registered it in iTunes, but the iTunes police are checking it out for dodgy material, so that may take a while, been a few days already!