Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Race #2 for 2012...

So race number 2 of 2012 ... The Dungarvan 10 at the end of January. At least I'll still be 39 ... just about!! And it'll probably be my slowest race ever given my recent lack of training. So, I'm off now to contemplate me plans for the new year by testing out the wine we bought for Christmas... Just to make sure it isn't corked.... You know what I mean !!! :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

they say life begins at 40...

Thanks to an entry form landing on my desk this afternoon I posted my entry to the 2012 Ballyotton10 today.  The most noteworty point is that, assuming that my entry is accepted, it'll be the first race that I'll run as Master - being less than 2 weeks after my 40th birthday!!)

No running since last Saturday - jetlag. 

Now that I've a focus it's time to start training...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving in Chelmsford, MA

Once again I've been remiss in updating this blog but the simple fact is that apart from some regular running there hasn't been too much of 'special interest' to report on.  My full running diary is regularly updated on my dailymile.com but suffice it to say that most weeks I've been running regularly, typically putting in runs of 5 to 10 miles with the pace in and around 7 min/mile.  Apart from a few exceptions weekly totals have been 30-40 miles.  I've also tried to fit in a steady-tempo progression run at least once a week. My two eldest children have also recently joined an athletics club, Belgooly AC, so that has meant that I've been at the CIT track at least 1 evening a week, generally doing 800m reps.  Other than the fact that I haven't been putting in enough long runs (>10miles) - this training has been generally in accordance with 'the plan'.

BTW my girls have been really enjoying their Tuesday / Thursday sessions so hopefully the enthusiasm will continue and in 30-40 years time they too will be running regularly for the fun of it.  

I also just came from a weeks holiday near Boston with my family.  It was my first time in the US for Thanksgiving (i.e. an excuse for meeting family, eating too much, watching football (not the FAI or GAA type) and preparing for the infamous Black Friday shopping frenzy!).  A great time was had by all!!

The jetlag meant that I woke up early (5-6am) every day.  This was generally before the rest of the family woke up so I got a chance to fit in an early morning run along an old railway line in Chelmsford, MA.  Luckily the weather was unseasonably warm (apart from Thursday & Friday) so I didn't have to run in the snow.

I also took the opportunity to run in a local Thanksgiving day charity run in Lowell last Thursday morning.  The 8am race start time was early enough not to interrupt the rest of the festivities but it also meant that the air temperature was still below freezing as noted by my shivering legs on the start line.

The race was a 5km run/walk combined with a 10km run.  There were approx 270No. competitors in the 10km and 900No. competitors in the 5km.  The race was over 2 laps of approx 5km which led to an 'interesting' (chaotic) finish when there were still some runners just starting their second lap while the 10km leaders were finishing in the midst of the 5km 'walkers'.

After getting there early, as usual, I registered for the 10km for the sum of $30 and ran a lap of the course  in my new Asics Nimbus trainers to warmup, i.e. defrost.  I then 'arrogantly' toed the line in the front row.  All the 'locals' were well wrapped up for the weather wearing long sleeved t-shirts, leggings, gloves, hats etc; I on the other hand went for the light weight racing look i.e. shorts and singlet (mad!!).

Since this was my first race in over 2 years I had no real expectations.  Last time I raced 'seriously'  I was capable of a sub-38 (maybe sub-37) 10km so I hoped to at least break 40mins.  On the basis of previous results this time might even give me a top 10 finish!  My runs in the few days leading up to the race suggested that this should be 'easily' achievable.  I planned to head out at a 6:20 to 6:25 pace and hopefully finish strongly.

This seemed like a good plan.... if only I stuck to it!  When the gun went I headed out just behind with the leaders - I had forgotten that some of these would only be running 5km so I think I got pulled along too quickly over the first mile.  The cold air and slightly tired legs meant that I paid for this early pace in the second half of the 10km.  My pace splits based on the mile markers were 6:05, 6:19, 6:29, 6:23, 6:16, 6:17.  I went through the 5km in 19:51 just ahead of schedule and finished in 39:45.... almost event splits.

Overall I finished in 8th position and 3rd in the 30-39 age category.  If only I was a few months older I'd have easily won the 40-49 category!!!

This graph shows how my race went.....

The full results are on the CoolRunning.com website here

It's now time to increase the long runs and get ready for some 10-mile races after Christmas....

Entry into the Ballycotton-10 opens tomorrow!!! :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

2 month update

July was going just fine (from a running persepective anyway) despite the lack of summer weather. I was even looking at potential races. The first was to be a 5 mile race in Ardmore Co. Waterford on the 12th August. A local run that would be a good benchmark of my fitness. But... that was before I went for a very easy lunchtime run in early August and ended up limping back to the office with a groin strain type injury. I initially rested it for 2 weeks but it wasn't cured until the start of September. Looking back I think that it was caused by a muscle imbalance that was agrivated by running 16 miles in one day a few days previous. Too much too soon (you think that I'd learn the simple lessons!) That injury wrote off August and any chance of me being in any sort of reasonable shape to tackle the road races in September/early October. But as of the 3rd September I'm making comeback number 567. I'm trying to be sensible - generally keeping the pace in the high 7 minutes and distanced of 5 to 6 miles. But I did manage a 10+mile run on Saturday last and a total of more than 30 miles for the week. Also my two eldest have joined a local running club (Belgooly AC) at the tender age of 7. So far (week 2) they're really enjoying going to the track on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. In fact, each night they can't wait to go back! Hopefully it will turn into a life long passion but, since going back to school their timetable has exploded into the something that even an Outlook Calendar couldn't take control of, so it remains to be seen if they'll stick the pace. You know the scene.. I'm sure everyone with kids has been through it.. school, homework, birthday parties (2 last Saturday for a start!), music lessons, Irish Dancing lessons, Track training, hockey training, sleepovers etc etc .... and that's just Monday (you should see what they do on Tuesday). One of the fringe benefits of the girls going to the track every Tuesday/Thursday is that I get an opportunity to fit in a track session too! (That reminds me that I must pay Eagle AC for the pleasure of using their track time!!) It's nice to run on tarten again. The last time I set foot on a track was a lunchtime training run with Aberdeen AC in 1998... so it's been a while. At the moment I'm working on 800m intervals currently at 3min pace which based on this evenings workout feel pretty good. My plan is to increase the reps in number and pace and reduce the recovery over the coming months. Race plans... No definite target races just yet. But at this stage it may well be the Munster 10 mile series after Christmas. Hopefully I'll fit in 1 or 2 shorter races before then though. Training... Over the past few years I've found that having 2 'speed' sessions combined with at least 1 long run is the perfect mix for me. Since I'll be at the track twice a week this should work. Hopefully the second workout will be tempo/longer interval run and this wil be combined with a regular long run over the weekend. On the other days I'll put in my normal 'easy' 5-8 mile runs. But over the next month I'll primarily concentrate on building up a base of steady / consistent running (35-45 miles per week) and hopefully avoid any injuries (fingers crossed!) As usual my training will be logged on DailyMile which I'm finding a really useful resource. Updates will also be included on the Twitter ticker on the siderbar and if I've anything noteworthy to post I'll be back here. Happy running.....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Still going

After 4 weeks of my 'get back to running plan' I'm still going! In total I've run 113.5 miles in 18 runs (14.05 hours). So this is my most consistent period of running since 2009! I've been enjoying it and not an injury in sight either. Most of the runs could be classed as 'easy' which is fine for now but as my fitness has begun to return I'm finding that my easy pace is getting ever closer to 7:00 min per mile!

Details of all my runs were tweeted using dailymile.com which gives some interesting (and useless) stats including that my runs to date are equivalent to almost 62 donuts or 22 cheese burgers. I'm not sure which I would prefer???

My target was to be at 40 miles per week at this stage. Not quite there yet but I'm getting there!

Week 1 - 5 runs - 28.03 miles
Week 2 - 2 runs - 12.45 miles
Week 3 - 6 runs - 36.95 miles
Week 4 - 5 runs - 36.16 miles

I was asked recently when I'd be pinning a number to my chest again... not sure but I'll let you know - maybe August?? My thought is that I don't want to race too soon and risk another injury and given that I don't see the point in 'racing easy' I'm not going to rush back just yet.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Recovery over..

Bless me reader, it's been 2 weeks since my last run.... so I thought yesterday would be a good day to check out my calf. 5+ easy (really) miles at the seaside over a course that included some hills, some beach and some undulating trails. A good test I'd say ... and if my calf did bomb I'd at least have had a nice walk home.

Luckily it didn't and despite some hamstring twinges it was pretty good (42mins). So I now reckon a 2 week recovery is the minimum for calf injuries. Hopefully I won't need to use this bit of new found knowledge again in the near future.

This morning I repeated the run at 7am when the sun was shining, the sky and sea were blue and the waves were calm. Definitely a run for the soul and not one for a fast pace. This time the pace was slower (44+mins) partly due to the early hour and partly due to DOMS. I need to run more often!

Also today I purchased a new Garmin 305 - a real sign of intent. It's been over 12 months since my old one was stolen while on holidays and I've been running by feel ever since. It's time to get a bit more scientific! I'll wait patiently for Amazon to deliver it in a week or so.

I've also been playing around with DailyMile and Map-My-Run & Twitter - there are too many social network site combinations!!! I still haven't decided which is the best to log & post my runs - possibly Daily Mile & Twitter as Map-My-Run has too much advertising getting in the way! ... but ... only time will tell which combination eventually wins out.

Well done to all those who ran the Cork City Marathon, Half & Relay today - some very impressive times/performances!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

2011 update

Some ways in which the World has changed...

  • The Queen came to Ireland;

  • Dr. Garrett Fitzgerald passed away;

  • Eamon Coughlan became a Senator;

  • Portugal joined Ireland in bankruptcy;

  • Leinster joined Munster as two time winners of the Heineken Cup!

It's always an ominous sign when New Year's resolutions are put down in text. In my case, at least, it usually means that the exact opposite will happen - a bit like making a doctors appointment - by the time I get to the surgery the symptoms have cleared up!

This is certainly true of my last post which, as I was recently reminded, is over 4 months old!

Let's examine this in a bit more detail. Two resolutions were stated:
1. To run 'lots' more;
2. To post more often on this blog.

A reasonable person might consider these to be relatively easy and attainable goals for 2011 but I've failed misearably on both counts.

On the running front - I have run 'some' more but not 'lots' more and certainly not as much as I'd intended. During January, February & March, mainly due to other demands on my personal time, I only managed 'infrequent' slow/short runs. This certainly put paid to any chance of me following in the footsteps of others and running 39 miles on my 39th birthday in February (I'll have to aim for the 40 @ 40 target instead!). It also caused me to DNS the Ballycotton-10 on March 6th for fear of doing myself an injury. Unfortunately, I went for a 6 mile lunchtime run on March 7th only to seriously pull my left calf at mile 4.5. Maybe I should have run the Ballycotton-10 anyway - at least then I'd have got a mug instead of looking like a mug. (luckily Grellan passed by in his car and gave me a lift back to the office which saved me some of the walk/limp of shame)

However, since April I've had a bit more available personal time so I've tried to redress my family/running/work-life balance. Running has been a bit more frequent and for a short while I managed 4+ runs per week (20-30 miles 7:45-8:15mpm pace). My plan was to get a few solid weeks in the bag as 'conditioning' and then to set some goals for the rest of the year. Maybe even a marathon in the autumn... But since the start of May things have not been good. My calf problems are back. I've been resting and icing but I probably need to do some more massaging and strengthening. Last week I got more than 5 miles into my run before my calf cramped but today (after a 7 day rest) I pulled up after less than 1 mile. I think that the source of the problem is a general tightness/weakness in my left hip/leg. This is now getting a bit frustrating as, obviously, my self-treatment isn't working so I may have to resort to seeking professional advice!

On the blogging front - I think that no post in almost 5 months speaks for itself! There's just not been too much to talk about, really. In my defence, I have tweeted (see the sidebar across...) about my infrequent runs/injuries etc. So if you are part of my small band of followers you'll know know what's happening.

The Cork City Marathon is only around the corner so I hope all your training is going well. Next year I may be availing of your pacer skills ....