Friday, April 19, 2024

Hopefully coming back

Clonmel Blueway
It's been a long road, getting from there to here and it's been a long time, but my time is finally near.

No updates in ages and no races in ages and I've had to cancel my planned running of the Wild Atlantic Way Ultra (50mile) twice (excluding Covid) because very simply my body would not allow but things do finally appear to be on the up!

Since Covid in 2022 this is the longest time I've not been unwell or desperatly tired as I've been ok since October 2023.     Although I've been fine since Oct I didn't want to end things badly by trying to training for the 50mile event in May so instead I opted to just do 5mile runes and occasional longer runs and so far so good.

I'm not fast anymore considering back in 2022 I could bang out a 1:35 half-marathon as a training run but at least I can run. 

So what are my plans? 

I've set a target of a very slow training run at the end of April as I'm going to do the Marathon Club Ireland Clonmel Blueway marathon.  I'm looking for miles under my belt at a slow pace so I've even planned to start with the walkers and I must finish under 5:30 or its counted as a DNR.
I suspect the over 5:30 time won't be a problem for me given my lack of speed these days.

I've longer term plans but I'm going to keep them under wraps as I want to see how the next few months pan out.   I also have a few adventures planned which don't involve running like touring around parts of Ireland on the bike.

Finally, if you've spotted the Star Trek reference in this post then well done!

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

When best made plans go to crap - 2023 edition.

 2023 was supposed to be a bit of a comeback year for me, my plan was to take it easy enough until start of January and then go back into training with the aim of a 40mile run in April and a goal of the Wild Atlantic Way 50mile in May.

But it was not meant to be, as I previously posted in December I had been ill in November with a chest infection. That was a breeze to what I had in December/January, as I was off work around three weeks and my overall fitness has taken an awful kicking.

Realistically my ultra plans are scrubbed for certainly the entire first half of 2023, I'd only be doing myself harm at this stage to try go into such a heavy training schedule especially with the fitness loss I've experienced in November, December and January collectively.

I'm slowly trying to rebuild my fitness right now and work at even getting my pace below 8:30min/miles for starters!

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Finally recovered

 I've been laid down the last two weeks with a very bad chest infection, between steroids and antibiotics there has been no running of course so this week was a case of starting slow and run by feel.

I did an easy run on Thursday but on Saturday I decided to go on for 10miler and instantly I could feel the bounce in my step again! Throughout the run I felt better then I had during any run since late October so things appear to have turned a corner.

Sunday I decided on a rest day as my legs actually hurt, I guess thats what happens when I don't run for a few weeks so after then it was some easy runs on Monday and Tuesday and my legs started to feel more normal again.

On-top of all the runs I've also been doing my usual trips on the cargobike, while it doesn't give me heaps of exercise due to it being an ebike it still keeps things ticking over.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Plans don't always go to plan

Since the Dublin Marathon I've done very little running as I've not felt 100% but none the less  I still perhaps stupidly wanted to back into some sort of routine, I'm also thinking about what I want to do in 2023.

I have a 50mile Ultra in May which was postponed from last May but I need some events between now and then both to build upto but also to push myself in my training.

So this week I started on just easing myself back into running, no fast paces and instead focusing on keeping a low HR. Over the next few weeks I'll work in intervals to bring up the pace to my normal range (7:30min/mile range).

Tuesdays run was much, much more effort then it should have been and as the week went on I wasn't feeling great, Thursday night I didn't sleep well at all and throughout the week I had a higher resting avg HR of 47 instead of my normal of 40.

I woke up on Friday morning and felt rotten, I was also 99% sure I had a chest infection and after a GP visit all was confirmed and I was put on antibiotics and steroids. 

So basically no running until that course is finished, not a great start and frustrating as I've not had a chest infection in years which I've mainly put down to running and improved fitness. 

This weeks runs were
- Sunday: 5miles @ 9:58min/mile pace
- Monday: Rest
- Tuesday: 11miles @ 9:55min/mile
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: Rest

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Dublin Marathon 2022 Race Report

Way back in 2019 this was supposed to be a goal race when I signed up to it, I had previously aimed for a sub 3:20 marathon but only managed 3:29 and the 2020 marathon was going to be another sub 3:20 attempt.

But fast ward to March 2020 and the world changed and we had a worldwide pandemic, I was still running and I even clocked up some very good runs like a 3:45 marathon around a 220metre loop by my house and a 40mile run from Kilkenny to Tramore, Co Waterford.

But despite the good condition I was in throughout 2020 there was only a virtual Dublin marathon which I did and I also did the half-marathon on the same weekend because I signed up to both but didn't see that they had to be both completed the same weekend!

Coming into 2022 I was in great shape and had a number of races lined up including a 50mile Ultra in May and the Cork marathon, I started the year off with the Ballyhoura moonlight challenge in January and then I got covid and the rest of the year has basically been a write off.   

When I had Covid it didn't really effect me symptom wise massively but after I was completely wiped out energy wise, even doing a 1mile walk weeks after would exhaust me. When I did get back to running doing a 3mile slow run felt like doing a 15mile fast run. The effort was crazy.

Things have improved bit by bit but I find I have good and bad times energy wise so Dublin Marathon was never going to be a goal race anymore. Instead my aim was just to run it and treat it as a long run and maybe manage it in 4hours.

After the hectic week I had with Daniel being sick the week before and then a trip for work this was always going to be "fun"!.

As usual it was a early start for the drive to Dublin and I parked in the usual spot, headed off to the start line and on the way met some familiar faces which is always nice.

I had tried to avoid the baggage area since I didn't intend on dropping a bag but I did have a race vest on me. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do this and when I went to go through the area one of the staff refused me entry saying I couldn't come through with my bag. I explained it was a race vest and not an actual bag and I'd be wearing it running but they weren't having it.

After explaining it a number of times and also explaining there were literally other people wearing them passing by they still wouldn't allow me pass and they eventually said they'd have to talk to their supervisor after a min of back & forth.

The supervisor took and look and let me through so it does seem like there's a knowledge gap given how common running vests/packs are these days.

Annoying but once that issue was addressed I headed to the start line and even though I was aiming for 4hours ish I headed off between the sub 3:20 and 3:30 groups and off we went.

I kept a comfortable pace and now and then got chatting to people, I actually kept a decent enough pace with the 3:30 pace group only passing me at around mile 15. But by around mile 20 I was flagging energy wise and I knew the idea of a 4hr marathon might not happen.

Unlike other Dublin marathons where I was focused on my own race I did my best to encourage others in the last few miles, especially in the last mile and I eventually crossed the finish line in 4:12:16.

Not my fastest Dublin marathon by any stretch but given I decided to do it as a long training run it still had its use. Another top and medal for the box.

It's certainly not been the year I had planned.

Friday, October 28, 2022

London Trip

 This week is a fairly hectic week!

I was due to travel to London for work on Tuesday but even that was touch and go as Daniel was sick on Sunday night and we ended up bringing him to hospital due to very high temp and vomiting which didn't seem to be getting better.    Thankfully his temp came down and he stopped vomiting but it still meant an almost 8hr stint in hospital with him on Sunday night/Monday morning.

After weighing things up and as Daniel was doing much better on Tuesday I headed off to London and arrived Tuesday evening, given it was a work trip and that wouldn't allow much free time to do my own thing without being seriously anti-social with other people I decided to make use of the time I had on Tuesday night and headed off on a sight seeing run around London.

My plan was to run through the City Of London down to Tower Bridge and then run the north bank as far as the houses of parliament, detour to Buckingham Palace and then come back via the south bank.  Other then when I ran the Thomas Path 100 back in 2015 I've not been to London so I figured this was a good way of seeing lots of sights in a very limited amount of time.

The run didn't disappoint and it yet again reinforces my experience that running around a city is a great way to both sight see and also get your bearings if you plan to do further sigh seeing and trips within the city.  I've done my own running tours in Bruges, Amsterdam and Luxembourg previously and generally on the first or second morning and its always benefited me for the rest of my stay.

I enjoyed the sight seeing but it made me really appreciate that I get to run on nice quiet country roads as I found it very frustrating to have to stop at numerous junctions for roads, bike lanes etc  The City Of London was especially "fun" as I ended up running through it at quitting time so it was packed full of people. I wouldn't like to do this type of running for my normal runs.

During the work trip I unfortunately picked up something which wasn't great as I have a pretty packed weekend as we're celebrating Daniel's birthday tomorrow and I'm running the Dublin City Marathon on Sunday. While I'm just using the marathon as a long run I'd still like to go into it feeling 100%.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Mixed week and a loss to Ireland's running community

 It's not been a great week for training, I managed to get almost a 4mile run on Monday and a 5mile run on Wednesday. I had also planned for another 5miles on Friday but Daniel decided to kick off just as I was going out the door so the run got scrubbed and instead I opted to start work early.

Grace was off to Gareth Brooks over the weekend so Saturday was also scrubbed but I did manage a run of 13mile on Sunday morning before we headed into Kilkenny to take part in the slow roll.

Whats a slow roll? Well, its as it sounds, its a family cycle around Kilkenny City and since Daniel's been born we always try to take part as its something different. This time though its not me putting Daniel in a trailer on the bike as I've now upgraded to a Bakfiets Cargobike!

Bakfiets / Cargobike

The slow roll was sadly a wash out as it bucketed down with rain but a small number of us still did a cycle around the city, hopefully the next one will be better as they usually attract a big crowd with numerous families.

On Friday night I was shocked to read that Thomas Bubendorfer had passed away on Tuesday last week, he had been out for a run in Spain and was hit by a car.    

For those that didn't know Thomas, he was a very popular figure in the Irish running community and he wrote the very popular Diary of a Rubbish Marathon Runner blog.

Thomas started running to run the "once in a lifetime marathon" in Dublin back in 2004 but went on to proudly represent Austria in the 24 Hours World Championships in Turin and completed the Spartathlon in Greece both in the same year. Impressive achievements.

He was a regular face to see at different ultramarathons over the years such as Donadea 50km and truth be told he's one of the reasons I got into running ultramarathons after reading his blog.  

But other then saying hello to him I didn't know him but I was lucky enough to share about 27miles of the 2019 Connemara Ultra with him chatting about all sorts, for all his achievements he was very humble about them but he was very knowledgeable and a nice chap. He will be missed by the Irish running community and it'll be a poorer place without him.

RIP Thomas and condolences to Niamh to your family and friends.

Thomas Bubendorfer, Turin 2015 / Photo Martin Mayrhofer 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Boston Scientific Half Marathon (Clonmel) Race Report

Blueway at Kilsheelan, County Tipperary
Long and short of the last few months is got I Covid back in January and it did a number on me, few
weeks after I had it I still had very little energy and running what should have been a easy 3miles was like a hard 15mile run.

This of course ruined my plans of a 50mile race in May which I have postponed until 2023 as I lost a lot of fitness and couldn't continue to do the training I needed.

Things are very slowly going along now, I have an entry for Dublin in October which has carried over from 2020 so I opted to make some effort on training and I signed up to the Boston Scientific Half-Marathon in Clonmel which was on the 28th August.

I've done this race a few times and its not what I'd describe as flat, but they changed the course this year and have promised a flatter course.  

Half-Marathon Race Route

The course started in Clonmel and then looped back to Kilsheelan via back roads before going onto the Suir Blueway and coming back to the finish. I've run and cycled on the Blueway a fair bit over the last 18 months or so so I knew what to expect there but I had no idea about how the route would be on the roads to Kilsheelan.

Few miles in and I knew this course wasn't going to be very flat, or at least it wasn't going to be flat until I reached the Blueway.  You can see from the elevation profile below that it certainly had some climbs, but for everything that goes up it also must go down so there were some enjoyable downhill sections.

Race Elevation Profile with Pace Overlay

I managed to keep a fairly respectable pace throughout most of this section but by the time I hit the Blueway at Kilsheelan I was starting to feel the strain of maintaining the pace. 

Up until the 7.5mile mark I only had maybe 3-4 people pass me so this was a good sign, but on the Blueway this changed and I maybe had a good 10 people pass me. This was a little demoralizing as I've not had this happen in sometime when doing a half marathon distance.

But I kept going as best I could and tried to run based on effort rather then checking my actual pace on the watch. Coming up to the finish I managed to pip two people so thats always a boost!

I entered the race expecting 1:40'ish, but I finished with a fairly respectable 1:36:17.

It's far off my PB of 1:29 and prior to January and getting Covid I could have pulled this sort of pace out of the bag on a training run so I have a lot of work to do to get back to that sort of fitness. But its still better then I expected just the same.

Long sleeve finisher shirt after the race is decent quality and it'll get some use during the winter months no doubt and for those into medals its an alright medal.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Some fundraising and virtual races

Over the past number of months I've been doing some virtual races, nothing too fancy but just stuff to get me out the door at times.

So far I've done the Centurion One Love Half Marathon and San Francisco Half Marathon back in Feb, will say I do like the San Francisco long sleeve top!

But for more of a challenge I've also signed up to some marathons in the coming months, October in particular is going to be likely extremely busy with the London Marathon, Boston Marathon and Dublin Marathon (Dublin hasn't been confirmed yet as virtual).

But before any of that I have the Centurion Running One Community 100mile starting this Friday the 2nd April and running until the 8th April.

It's going to be a challenge as I have to cover an avg of 14miles per day to complete this and the the highest miles I've covered in a week since October is around 50miles!

To put my effort to good use I've decided to raise money for PAWS Animal Rescue who is situated not far from where I live, PAWS does great work in relation to animal rescue, and they rely heavily on donations from the public to carry out their work.

In addition our two lovely lurchers Buffy and Khaleesi were rehomed from PAWS, and myself and Grace  always try to support them each year with birthday fundraisers and by donating whenever possible.

Khaleesi & Buffy

My fundraising is purely on Facebook so for anyone that is friends with me on Facebook if you could please donate anything I would much appreciate it.  However if you'd like to donate directly you can visit

Friday, February 12, 2021

Thats got to hurt!

I've noticed over the past few runs that despite my Saucony Liberty ISO 2 only being new since Christmas and only having about 250miles in them they let in water much more then any previous shoe I've owned. I don't even need to run through a puddle for my right foot in particular to be soaked! All very annoying..

On Sunday I headed out for a 9mile run and I brought Daniel in the running buggy we picked up, I found about half way into the run that I got a slight pain in my back.   I didn't think much of it, I've had this sort of thing now and then over the years.

I was very wrong this time, by the time I got home I was crippled and struggled to take off my top when changing.   I've had a good few sleepless nights since due to this back pain but it has mainly sorted itself and I only feel discomfort now and then when I move a certain way.

Fortunately it isn't hurting me while running normally, clearly the whole issue was caused by my running form with the buggy.