Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wintertime resolutions...

I can't believe that the summer is over (it never really started did it??) and it's nearly the middle of October already!  Wow where has this year gone.  It only seems like yesterday that we were planning a family holiday in Boston - and that was last Thanksgiving!  Now, I'm beginning to think of Christmas and some goals (running wise) for 2013.
The last 6 months have been a write off from a running point of view.  At Easter I had a different perspective and I was hopeful that 2012 was going to be a good year; after all 2010 and 2011 were total disasters too!  The sorry truth about how bad the recent months have been was really brought home to me when I looked at my Dailymile training log earlier tonight....

In other words the 6 months can be summed up as:
  • April - some long runs
  • May -  groin strain
  • June - marathon & recovery runs
  • July - back injury
  • August - some recovery runs & progress
  • September - calf injury. 
Finally, this week & for the first time in a very long time, my runs have been pain free - all I need to do now is find some time in the real world for running!

So what do I hope to do for the remainder of the year and early 2013.  Well, given my low base I think I'll have to spend some time building my mileage (and loose some weight!).  Hopefully by mid November I'll be back in the 30-40+ mpw range.  December and January will see some interval / tempo running and increased mileage.   For the third year in a row I'll try to complete the Spring 10 mile series.  There may be a half marathon in early December but I'll not have any expectations from that if it happens and assuming things work out I'll revisit the marathon in about 6 months.

So new plan hatched - now it's time to put it into action....

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's time for an update....

Yes once again I've been remiss in updating this blog.  Since the Cork City Marathon my recovery had been going well.  I took it relatively easy for the first week or two.  But because I really feel that I didn't push myself over the full 26 miles I think that it didn't take as much out of me as a 'proper' marathon would.  (if you can follow me!)

I immediately started planning my next 'target' race.  Obviously a marathon was going to be on the agenda but I also wanted to give the local Cork to Cobh (15 mile) race a proper go once again and possibly challenge my PB set back in 2009.  So how could I do both???   Then I realised the the Dingle Marathon will be held on the 1st September which would leave enough recovery time before the Cork to Cobh race on the 7th October. 

I also realised that the Dingle course is a hilly one so a really fast time wouldn't be on the cards but something around 3:15 to 3:20 should be an achievable target.

So......Plan hatched!!

Or ..... so I thought!

After a respectable 15mile run on the 1st July my training schedule was off to a flying start.  Plenty of time to fit in some longer runs and long interval sessions.  Or so I thought.  On the 2nd July real world issues struck with a bang and running took a back seat.  I did manage a comfortable 8 mile run last weekend but on Friday last, as I was heading out for another comfortable lunchtime run, the wheels came off my plan.

For some reason my back went into spasm which turned out to be a herniated disc in the L4-L5 region.  As there was no obvious cause it is likely (in my opinion) to be due to a progressive issue of sustained poor sitting posture combined with a 'soft' core.  The 'core' issue is one which I've suspected for a while but not done anything about!

Visit #1 to the Doctor on Friday evening 50mg difene, 5mg diazepam and 500mg paramol (all 3 times daily) plus bed rest!

By Sunday pain hadn't eased so Visit #2 to the Doctor reconfirmed diagnosis but replaced the paramol with the stronger painkiller solpadol (i.e. more codeine).  More bed rest prescribed plus up to a week off work (not something I'd planned for!!).

The drugs seemed to do the trick as there is no longer any pain (providing I don't move my back too much!).. maybe the muscle relaxants have also relaxed my brain!!! :)

So today I also went to the physio (it must be serious 3 medics in 5 days ... that's unheard of for me!) who (just in case I was in any doubt) reconfirmed the diagnosis but she thinks that it isn't as serious as first feared.  Limited mobility is now the order of the day but sitting is limited to 15minutes (not good when my job involves sitting at a desk most of the time!).  Things do feel alot better tonight (I can even reach my feet to tie my shoe laces and walk to the toilet unaided) so there is hope!  Apparently, I can do some light swimming too and more physio is planned for early Friday morning so I'll have to take it from there!  I wonder if this disc issue and my recent groin issue could be related????  That's one for the professionals!

As you can imagine my Dingle marathon plans are currently on hold.  If I do get to do it I will treat it as a just a long run and any time sub 4 hours would be great.  Cork to Cobh in October is still on my target list though!!!

I did sneak out to the International Cork City Sports earlier tonight though.... my girls were running in the U9 300m so I couldn't miss that!  They did OK, not quite on the podium but a nice run all the same; they got to run a lap with Sonia O'Sullivan with the Olympic Torch and they got her autograph too.  It was great to see the event well supported with many of the big named former Irish Athletes / Olympians there e.g. Sonia, Eamon Coughlan, John Tracey, Mark Carroll, Liam O'Brien etc etc and some of the current names too Rob Heffernan, Ciaran O'Lionaird, Olive Loughnane, Joanne Cuddihy, Maria McCambridge (who missed out on marathon selection despite running the 'A' standard) etc.  This is a great event and long may it continue ... I can still clearly remember Yuri Sedyhk settling the world hammer record there on July 3, 1984!

Roll on the Olympics!!!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Marathon debut... success or failure??

They say you'll always remember your first marathon.  Although it is really just another race (just a bit longer) I've come to think that this is certainly a fair statement.  The difference being that a marathon is more than just a race.  It is to many a goal and to others a major lifetime achievement.  Of course, because of its history there is a mystic surrounding the distance and the preparation for the task of completing it, regardless of any time goal, is usually the focus of a number (many) of months training.  During this preparation time there is the constant fear that a late injury may end the any chance of making the startline let alone making the finishline.  Just like what happened to me!

I know that the majority of the (very limited) readership of this blog have already completed their first and many subsequent marathons but last Monday 4th June was my first opportunity to complete the distance.  Being a failed track runner, in my youth, I had always viewed the marathon as a something that a runner matured into and many years ago I decided that when I was 40 I would be mature enough.

So 2012 was to be the year and 12 months ago I selected that the Cork City Marathon would be the one!  Being a local race it would certainly remove much of the complexity of having to travel away and my "long suffering" support crew could also join in on the occasion!  Also I was very familiar with all of the roads having run much of the route many many many times!

On race day my wife and kids dropped me at Cork City Hall (race HQ) early which gave me some time to change and go for a brief one mile warm up around the city centre - a good opportunity to savour the pre-race atmosphere (tension!).  The sun was shining, despite the weather forecasts, and it looked like it would be a nice day for a run.

I had a pre-race plan but after struggling with a groin injury for the preceding 5-6 weeks I decided not to be too upset if the plan didn't work out.  However, it was a race and I had some objectives....
  1. Finish (always good!)
  2. Run sub 3:15 (although a bit unrealistic it would be great for a first marathon!
  3. If the wheels came off run sub 3:30 (a more realistic and still a respectable time!)
So my optimistic plan was to head out at 7:15 and see how things went.  Probably a novice marathoners mistake but one that I'd personally prefer than heading out too conservatively and always wondering what might have been.

So I lined up between the 3:00 and 3:15 pace groups and headed out at a pace that felt comfortably easy.  I kept missing the mile markers (note these could be improved next year) and the first one that I saw was at mile 4 where I discovered that I had just run an average 7:07 min/mile pace - a bit fast but it was still feeling easy!  The huge cheers from my support crew at the 3 mile mark certainly helped to maintain the pace.

Miles 5 brought me up to the first relay changeover point at Tivoli and the pace had eased back to 7:25.  In the past when I've run the relay in this marathon I've run the second leg so for the next 5 miles I was on very familiar roads.  Mile 6, 7 and 8 out to the Dunkettle roundabout and through the Jack Lynch Tunnel averaged 7:12 pace (back on target!).  Once again my support crew appeared on the side of the road to encourage me.... it worked! :)

Miles 9, 10, 11 & 12 passed relatively easily in 7:12, 7:18, 7:16, 7:16.  At this stage all things seemed to be going well and I took on my first gel as an energy insurance policy!

Miles 13 and 14 along river and over the footbridge over the South Ring road took 7:11 and 7:23 min / mile.  

It was shortly after passing the 14 mile marker that the first signs of the wheels coming off occurred - left hamstring cramp!  What the..... this had never happened before and was surprising as the pace so far had felt easy!  Despite a short walking break I managed to cover Miles 15 & 16 at an average 7:25 pace.

Cramps in both hamstrings appeared at Mile 17 (8:06 pace) .... and the first thoughts of going home early crept in... but I was still ahead of the 3:15 pacer group so maybe I could walk out the cramp and salvage something.  So I took on my second gel and walked out the South Link road!. 

The remainder of the race was a series of running, stretching and walking.  The chart below tells the story. with mile splits ranging from 9:01 to 9:18 for miles 18, 19, 20, 12, 22, 23, 24 & 25.  Unfortunately the encouragement from the spectators (each mile I passed someone that I knew!!) couldn't help.  Aerobically I was as fresh as when I started the race but my legs just didn't listen!!
Downhills were the worst as the hamstrings and calf muscles went into spasm and I was in danger of falling over each time I was forced to stop!  Thomas and his 3:15 bus passed by at the 18mile mark and I decided not to hop on.  My focus now was to get to the finish and hopefully get there ahead of Grellan's  3:30 bus!!

Not even the bottle of Coke that my support crew had a mile 21 for me was enough to fully get me going!  The oranges and sweets kindly offered by Kevin Geary and the team from Eagle AC after the final relay change over point were welcome and helped a little but the sharp decent at Inchigaggin Bridge brought back yet more cramps!  However, just like smelling salts, the sight of a fellow runner lying on the pavement on the Straight Road receiving medical attention shortly after Mile 23 was a stark reminder that things could be a lot worse!

The smell of the finishline somehow kept the worst of the hamstring cramps at bay and brought me to the 26 mile mark at 7:48 pace.  And the added motivation from Fergus Wall, the 1:30 half marathon pacer, who shouted "run bricey run just like it says on the website" and the thought that my support crew (wife and kids) would be at the finishline was enough to bring me though the last quarter at 6:40 pace to finish just ahead of Grellan and his crew!

Here's the summary: 
  • 03:28:20 (gun)
  • 03:28:08 (chip)
  • 01:35:17 (1st half)
  • 01:53:04 (2nd half)
  • 07:53 min/mile (avg)
  • 217 (place) / 1406 (finishers)
Overall I'm content with how things went today.  I gave it a shot and I've learnt a few lessons.  My first marathon is now over, I know I'm mature enough to do it again so it's now time to plan my next attack on the hallowed distance.  Next time, with some proper training and a bit of luck I'll have a real target and it won't be just to finish and, if possible, run sub-3:30!

Some pictures that tell a story (thanks to the many photographers out on the course incl. Doug Minihane, Darren Spring, John Quigley, Gearoid O'Laoi & Joe Murphy)...
Mile 2...

Mile 3...

Mile 3...

Mile 10...

Mile 17...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Blind faith ....

So it's finally arrived.... Cork City Marathon Weekend!

I'm now resolved to (at least) make the start line and hopefully the injury issues which have plagued my last month's training will not prevent me from making the finish line too.

As the title of this post suggests the later stages of Monday's run will be real journey into the unknown. I have faith that my body will pull me through but I realise that my fate was sealed a number of weeks ago. I would have liked to have had some more long (20+ mile runs) under my belt by this stage but the single 22 mile run 5 weeks ago will be all I can rely on come approx 11:15 on Monday morning!

It has been pointed out to me (more than once) not to think of a target time for my fuirst marathon.  Unfortunbately this is easier said than done.  I don't have a 'target time' and my No. 1 target is to make it home without a DNF.  I do have a 'nice to have time' in mind so I won't be setting out at 8:30 pace and just hoping to get around before the course closes - it is a race after all!

So here I go.... incomplete training plan (over); carbo loading (well underway); hydration plan sorted (i.e. drink early and often); gel strategy decided (i.e. probably not but will bring some anyway); personal best assured (assuming I don't DNF) .....

Monday, May 14, 2012

First Family honours!!

Since I can't write about my own running due to a current groin issue(!) which hopefully will resolve itself in time for me to at least make the start line of the Cork City Marathon I thought I'd sing the praises of my daughters who yesterday competed for the first time in the Cork County T&F Championships.

The U-9 Long Jump and 200m were the only events on offer.

Although neither girl had ever before competed in either a long jump or a 200m competition their long winter of training certainly paid off!

Both girls kept running hard all the way to the line and came a respectable 5th in their respective 200m (middle distance) events with 10+ competitors in each heat!

Eva jumped 2.98m in the Long Jump which was good enough to take the bronze for her first podium.  Despite one no-jump Una recovered well and jumped 2.59m to come 7th out of 22 competitors!  (the winner jumped a fantastic 3.43m and second was 3.07m).  Full results here

Nothing like winning / not-winning your first medal for added motivation!

Olympics 2028 here they come..... :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Only 5 weeks to go.....

Since the last post I've taken the leap and entered the Cork City Marathon.  So I suppose now I've got to get serious!!

Training has generally been going well but true to form soon after I spent my money on the entry I got a slight groin injury.  This happened last week and threatened to end my marathon career before it ever really started.  The last time I got a similar injury it took over a month to heal but this time it turned out that a few days rest and some TLC in the form of ice and light stretching was enough to put things right.  This week things are back on track.  So hopefully no major harm done.

Since I missed my planned long run last weekend I was all the more determined to go 20+ miles today.  It was just as well that I was determined because when I woke up at 06:30 I was less than motivated.  But the sun was shining and I knew that the weather was due to turn later on so off I went.  

My plan was to head out at a comfortable 7:30 min/mile pace matching my 20mile run of a couple of weeks ago and again carrying no fuel or water.  I was banking on the three weetabix and the glass of apple juice that I had just before I left the house to carry me through!   The run went reasonably well despite a slight calf cramp from miles 9 to 11, a stomach cramp at mile 21 and sore feet by mile 22, not to mention the the obligatory chafing .  It's encouraging to think that if I could keep today's pace going it would be a 3:15 marathon; respectable enough for a first attempt wouldn't you think!? 

Pace Splits (min/mile)
Miles 1 to 5       7:34, 7:25, 7:32, 7:31, 7:26    (Avg 7:30)
Miles 6 to 10     7:17, 7:16, 7:18, 7:24, 7:25    (Avg 7:20)
Miles 11 to 15   7:31, 7:26, 7:25, 7:25, 7:27    (Avg 7:27)
Miles 16 to 20   7:23, 7:27, 7:30, 7:34, 7:23    (Avg 7:28)
Miles 21 to 22   7:47, 7:15                              (Avg 7:32)

Today's long run (22.32miles in 2:46:17, avg 7:27min/mile) around Cork City....

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Running Long...

Although it's probably the kiss of death my training since Mallow10 has gone reasonably well. My weekly mileage has been 62 (6 runs), 37 (5 runs), 44 (5 runs) and 51 (6 runs).  All very good (for me).

Each week I've tried to put in at least one tempo/progression session but my main workout has been the weekly long run.  This long run has increased from 11 to 13 to 18 to 20 over the last 4 weeks.  I wouldn't call these run "long slow runs" but they have been long.  I've run these based on a perceived 'easy' effort which means a pace of approx 7:30.

Today was my most successful long run ever.  Way back in August 2009 I'd attempted a 20 mile run from Ardmore to Dungarvan and back but due to a number of reasons it wasn't very successful and it gave me a new found respect to running long.  I haven't tried running 20+ miles since!  However, now that I'm older and a bit (but not much) wiser my run from Ardmore to near Midleton today went much better. 

Ardmore to Ballintotis (Midleton) Sunday 15th April 2012
I set out from Ardmore at 8am in bright sunshine with a clear blue sky and an icy NE wind.  The plan was to leave with a 2 hour head start on the rest of my family who would pick me up (hopefully alive) at some point along the road. My planned pace was a repeat of last weeks 'easy' long run and go 17 miles at 7:30 pace or better.  Mile splits were 7:28; 7:18; 7:35; 7:17; 7:20; 7:18; 7:31; 7:19; 7:34; 7:25; 7:08; 7:21; 7:17; 7:23; 7:22; 7:20; 7:18; 7:35; 7:46; 7:45.  That's 20 miles at an average of 7:25 min/mile.

My family eventually caught up with me at Ballintotis (near Midleton) and proceeded to drive past!  Apparently my wife had her own plan that no matter where she passed me she would drive to and park at the 20 mile point.  There she would wait for me to arrive (who needs a tough coach!!).  Luckily I was nearly there when she arrived!

Most of the run felt easy (7:21 pace to 17 miles) but I had to work hard on the long uphill section around Youghal (mile 9). Miles 19 & 20 were also a bit harder than the rest as I ran out of fuel & water; neither of which I carried with me.  I must start experimenting with some gels to see if there's any benefit to be had..... ???

Given that the long runs are going so well I'm also seriously considering making a Marathon debut in Cork at the start of June.  All I have to do now is to take the plunge and enter!   I also need to increase the length of these long runs.  I'd like to get a few 22+ mile runs in over the next few weeks and then taper back for the second half of May.  BTW how should someone 'taper'???  Any advice?

The rest of the today was spent supporting these two girls from team Little Panda :) at the Leevale Open Sports.....

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mallow 10 report

Near Mile 6 - in pain
& I need a haircut!
The week after Ballycotton went very well for me.  No sign of post race niggles so I took that as a sign that the 6:30min/mile pace for 10-miles was well within my range and I began thinking that 6:20min/mile or quicker could be on the cards for today's 10 mile race in Mallow.

Unfortunately, I got sick which meant a very steep and unplanned taper!  Not very sick but enough to keep me out of work last Monday and no running for the last 10 days .

I thought that the rest would do me good but based on today's big fat failed performance it obviously didn't!

Today started out on a bad note with me realising when I was on route to Mallow that I'd forgotten my watch. "That's not so bad - it will be good to run a race by feel!", I told myself beforehand.  And yes it was.  I even managed to run the first half of the race to plan and reached the 5 mile marker in 31:55. 

Shortly afterwards the wheels came off.  By mile 6, just before the course became a bit undulating, I was in trouble.  Physically I was tired but that was to be expected.  What got to me more was that I couldn't be arsed digging in a bit more and pushing on like I had done only 2 short weeks ago in Ballycotton.  I just wanted to get to the end, collect my t-shirt (2XL is what they gave me!) and get home.  Miles 7, 8 & 9 were all writeoffs with periods of 'reasonable' running followed by periods of walking.  At least I got a chance to admire to scenery!  By mile 9 even the "1 mile to go" calls from the crowd weren't enough to lift my game.  In fact, it wasn't until about 400m to go that I was able to muster a finishing kick (a good one too if I must say so myself!) but it was too little too late.

I finished in 68:11 (212th place out of 1088).  Full results can be found .... HERE

Still, another race done.  Hopefully, apart from stubbing my big toe on a short downhill section before mile 8 there will be no recovery issues and training can resume next week.

Well done to all in Mallow AC for organising a great race and making sure, by moving the date from early January to mid March, that the race wouldn't have to be cancelled this year by snow or ice.  Personally, for what it's worth, I'd prefer the date in early January as it would fit in nicely with the other 10-mile races.  Also hopefully the road works will be finished by next year which should remove the 'obstacle course' aspect to the race!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Racing as a Vet!

So my plan to complete 40 days of consecutive training ended last week on the 23rd of February.  It was an interesting 'experiment' that saw me run 254 miles at an average pace on 7:29min/mile.  The consistent training also brought my typical average 'steady' pace heart rate from the low/min 160's to the high 150's.  So I think it's fair to say that I'm now in my best shape for 2 years.  But I think that the greatest benefit was an overall increase in my endurance, something I badly needed during today's Ballycotton-10 race!

After a late night in the pub last night (probably not the best idea before a race but one that doesn't come around too often so I couldn't turn it down) and a child who decided to have a raging temperature during the night I wasn't too bright eyed when the alarm went off at 8am.  But today was Ballycotton-10 day so I soon brightened up!

I left home early at 10am so as to avoid the rush.  The sun was shining which made it look like a summers day until I got out of the car and felt the chilling wind.  Still though it was dry so the conditions were almost ideal.

After a short recci of the village and a warm-up jog I made my way to the baggage drop area and found a 'sheltered' spot to await the appointed time.  Interestingly, and probably uniquely to the Ballycotton-10, as I walked through the village the local radio station was being broadcast over the loudspeakers.  "Nothing strange about this", I hear you say, but what was being broadcast were the daily "obituary notices" so I can now tell you who died in the area over the past few days and when and where there will be requiem mass and burial..... a bit surreal .... only in Ballycotton! 

I knew if I hung around the baggage area long enough I'd meet some familiar faces and sure enough along came Thomas and a little while later Grellan.

Disregarding my 10k Thanksgiving Day race in Lowell, MA last year it's been over 2 years since my last 'proper' race.  So, not being sure of exactly how it would go, my race-plan was (a) to get to the finish; (b) hopefully to break 70 minutes; and (c) break 65 minutes if everything went well.  I tentatively thought I'd head out at 6:30-6:45 pace to give me a chance of breaking 65 (not having broken 7mins for 10 miles in over 2 years this seemed a bit ambitious).  This was also close to Grellan's starting pace so by keeping a close ear on his "flipflops" I would have a ready made experienced pacer (for the early stages at least!).

After standing at the start in the 58-65 bay for 20minutes the first couple of miles were generally on pace.  It was frustrating to have to keep adjusting my stride to avoid slower runners who thought that they were capable of running sub-60 by starting off at 9minute pace!  Despite this I passed through miles 1 & 2 in 6:36 and 6:10(downhill).  Miles 3 & 4 were 6:23 and 6:24 respectively.  By this time my left quad wasn't feeling too good (much like a dead leg) and as Grellan pointed out my breathing was getting heavy i.e. I was beginning to suffer.  To be expected during a race but what surprised me was how early this set in - obviously I need to more speed endurance.

Heading through Shanagarry (mile 4 approx) there was a small drag and this was when I decided to let Grellan run his own race solo! He didn't need me to help him keep pace anyway.  He was well able to listen to his own flipflops!

Despite the onset of fatigue I managed to keep to my plan fairly well with mile splits of 6:32, 6:31, 6:29 and 6:30.  But by mile 8 (where I blew up on my first Ballycotton-10 in 2008 and Thomas left me for dust) I was seriously contemplating walking but I think the benefit of running 40 consecutive days was finally beginning to pay off.  I dug deep and ran the hardest 9th mile in 6:44.  I could now smell the finish and my pace picked up to 6:20.  I even managed a good kick to hold off a rear guard attack at the finish! :)

My official time at the finish was 65:08 and my chip time was 64:47 - all plans met - no lifetime PB's today but job done!  Average heart rate 168bpm.

Overall Placing 244 / 2608.  O40 placing 44 / 316.
(Full results can be found here)
Also today was my first race as a Vet - so technically I did set an O40 PB today... hopefully it's a soft one!  :)

Well done to all who ran today and more importantly well done to John Walshe / Liam O'Brien and all the team at Ballycotton Running Promotions for once again, for the 35th year, hosting "A Classic Race at a Classic Distance"!

I must now go away and put together a 'plan' for the Mallow 10 in 2 weeks time!!!
Ballycotton-10 race history... 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

40 day streak to 40

So its 2012 already.  And, of course, I've missed my first planned race of the year.  It wasn't entirely my fault but the end result was that I didn't make it to the startline of the Dungarvan 10 last week. So the Ballycotton 10 will now become my first race.

This is the year that I'll officially become a veteran.  Some may say 'old', others would say just 'older than last year'.  Either way 40 seems like an age that should be 'marked' in a special way.  If I was 10 years older I would have been 40 during the height of the Celtic Tiger era so I'd probably have bought a sportscar or 3 villas in the south of France.  But, alas it is not 2002 and the world is a different place.  So I decided to mark the midlife-40 in a more modest way and go for a run.  More dedicated runners manage to run their age in miles on their birthday but as I've not been that dedciated lately I thought that a more realistic, benefical and possibly difficult challenage would be to run for 40 days in a row.

In fact, I set myself 2 main targets for these 40 days:
  1. To run every day for 40 days; and,
  2. To run at least 40 miles per week.
There are also some secondary targets, in case the wheels fall off, but I'm not thinking about these at present....

So far, I'm on Day 20/40 and my streak is still going.  Last week there were a few time-poor days which meant that I could only fit in my runs late at night.  In general, my runs are 5-6 miles and I've been trying to put in 1 or 2 'longer' runs per week.  The nett effect is that my pace has increased and my average heartrate has come down significantly, nearly 20bpm at an easy pace, and I'm feeling a lot fitter than a month ago.  This can only be good for the future!

So, I'm half way there and in 20 days time I'll not only be officially 'old' in the eyes of the 'younger' generation but I'll also be able to evaluate how the rest of 2012 can go...

I'll summarise how it went at the end but for now all the details are on