Monday, August 29, 2011

Why I'm running the Dublin Marathon

A lot of people run marathons, the number is increasing year on year. It's great to see that in days of people only getting busier and "always connected" to work, that we care about ourselves and our health and longevity.
I've done a number of charity events over the years. These include a solo parachute jump from 2,000 feet for the blind, shaving my head for cancer research to name just two.
This year I wanted to run the Dublin Marathon for my Dad. He died from cancer when I was 22 and I think about him every day. I'd like to show him how much I've grown and for him to see my own kids and how they are doing.
Then last month, someone rang our door bell and asked me to donate money to Barnardos Ireland. I didn't have any money on me, but really wanted to help. Kids are unable to help themselves, vulnerable, but are also the future.
So I rang Barnardos and asked about their fundraising and they were only too happy to get me onboard.
I have since been sent out a sponsorship pack and have my own sponsorship page here.
I am only too aware how hard times are these days for each and every one of us. But also, Barnardos is having it's funding cut too, so children that are desperately in need may not get the help they require.
If you can, please just donate a small amount, every little helps!

Many thanks,

Monday, August 22, 2011

Frank Duffy race in the park

I'd been building up to this since the 8k race last month, which was the first of three in the race series, preparing for the Dublin Marathon. As race day grew closer, things got busier. We had family staying with us and race day was also my son's fifth birthday.
My training was all going according to plan and my time trials were going really well, coming in under the goal times each time. I was due to do a 5k time trial the week before the race, but I was having a bit of ankle trouble and took two days off running. On the day of the time trial I decided it would be best long term if I did a relaxed run, which I did. This made it a bit more tricky to predict my time in the 16k race accurately.
Two days before the race, I emailed a friend in Australia who is highly knowledgeable in coaching and marathon running and he said that without having done the 5k he wasn't sure. I said I'd like to get sub-85mins, but hopefully closer to 80mins.
The day before the race (Friday) the wind was howling and it rained on and off. Not good race weather! Then on the morning of the race the skies cleared and the wind all but stopped, it was as if it had been ordered especially for us. I got to Pheonix Park at about 9:10, with the race starting at 10:00, so plenty of time. I was going to bring my Nathan hand held but in my haste to get out the door I forgot it. As it turns out I was fine without it. I jogged over to the start area and got straight in the portaloo queue, which was massive and barely moving. An official came over and told us over a mega phone that there was 5mins to go before the start, but there was still 3 people in front of me in the queue.

By the time I got to the start line for wave 1 the race announcer said there was 5mins to go, apparently the start time got delayed for some reason - just as well. Just before the start I took a chance and set my Garmin for a "quick workout" - 16k in 85mins. I then switched the screen to the Virtual Training Partner, which I have never, ever used before. If it didn't work well I could just scroll down to the next screen which is my usual stats.
Pretty soon we were off and the large crowd (over 6,800) were bustling through the park's narrow roads and around the corners and roundabouts. I decided not to let my pace bother me for the first 2-3k, as the crowd would be an issue. After that I started to push myself to just over a 5:00/k pace and held it there. First water station at 4k, then some uphills with S bends. The side wind on Chesterfield was a welcome relief from the heat and lack of wind in other parts and pretty soon it was on to the second lap. I felt strong and took my only gel at around the 9k mark. I didn't scroll away from the Training Partner screen once during the race and it really helped me not do the mental maths that I always over-think during races.
Pushing up the last hill I still felt good so I kept the pace up. At the top there was about 600-700m left and I gave it everything.

I crossed the line at 1:21:23, well under my 85mins estimation and goal. I am now thinking, "What if I had set the garmin to 80mins instead of 85..."
Anyway, I'm delighted with the time I got and am now looking forward to the third in the race series next month, the Dublin Half Marathon...

Keep running,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Irish Runner Episode 10

I recorded pre and post a recent 8k race and discuss an upcoming 16k and the Dublin Marathon.

Keep Running,

Monday, August 8, 2011

LSR and fueling

So yesterday marked the end of week 4 of DCM training (Dublin City Marathon). I clocked up about 67k over the week and am really enjoying the hard training. Having said that, I'm enjoying the rest/recovery days immensely! I use them as an excuse to pile in the (healthy) calories.
Yesterday's LSR was to be about 2:40hrs long at a relaxed pace. Some online calculators suggest this to be around 6min/k for me, so I'm happy with that, but at times I wander up to 5:30min/k when I'm enjoying the run. I've been finding on these longer runs that I don't like taking in too many gels, but if I don't, then my energy levels drop off after the two hour mark. I've tried different gels and jelly sweets, none of which settle well in my stomach.
So I was in Sean's shop on Saturday (IrishFit) and saw a new product on the shelf. I was originally going in to buy some recovery drink and got chatting to the man himself. I pointed at the tub of Hammer Perpeteum Solids and asked what he thought of them and he was glowing about them (being an Ironman and Ultraman himself!). So I said I'd think about it and put them back and then picked it up again and ended up buying the tub.
It contains 765g (about 30 tablets) of chewable energy. You can also buy the dispenser (in the pic above) that fits 6 tablets. The suggestion is to take 1 before the run/endurance event and then between 1-4 per hour depending on the intensity of the activity and the individual requirements. I took 1 before the run and brought 7 with me (in case I lost any) in a dispenser the pocket of my Camelbak. I also brought 2 GU gels in case I felt really low on energy. As a test, I took one tablet every 20mins and an Endurolyte every 30mins (which is my normal electrolyte intake on a run). As you can see in the pic below, they are pretty big and are not meant to be swallowed whole!!
They are chalky and chewable, but took me about 2mins to chew completely. I found it best to push it to one side of my mouth while chewing, take in some water and breathe along the other side of my mouth. It sounds a lot more complicated that it was. After 1:40hrs of running I felt fine and decided to spread it out to 30mins and see how I felt. So I took one at about 2:10hrs into the run and kept taking the Endurolytes as usual. Even at the end of the run (27.3k) I felt like I had a good deal of energy left, and probably could have gone further.
Overall I think they are awkward to ingest, but the slow energy release definitely suits me better than gels. The small 6 tablet dispenser is also a good way to carry them. They do stick to your teeth, but that's not a big deal. So yes, I'll be using them in preference to gels in the future.

Keep running,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July monthly update

July really seems to have gone by pretty quick for me. Probably due to being quite busy with family, work and training! So here's the roundup:
 Last month I ran a total of 217km and when you take into account cycling etc it goes up to 255km. That's the most running in one month I've ever done, and it is only set to increase. So just the last two weeks were dedicated to full on marathon training, the week before was technically a recovery week. This month plans to be quite tough, as I'll be doing 90min mid-week runs, my LSRs will be longer and I'll still be doing two speed/intense sessions a week. With five days running a week, and getting to the gym for cross training twice a week I am really enjoying my recovery days!
This morning I was in the gym just after 6am and I have a track session tonight. Haven't decided what I'll do at the track, but probably sprints (80 or 100m) followed by 5 x 800m Yassos.
Just 13 weeks left until the Dublin Marathon!

Keep running,