Thursday, June 26, 2014

Getting back into training.....

So after a full week of rest with only 16miles of cycling and abit of walking I felt my left foot was well enough to start running again.

First run of the week was a nice easy 3mile run during which although I could still feel the remains of the blister on my foot I felt no other ache, niggle or anything else odd in any muscles so that's very much a good sign :)

Tuesday's first run was a easy enough morning run and then a second much faster 7:34 min pace, found this abit of a challenge as I'm not used to the warm weather when running since I do my running in the morning rather then the evening.

Wednesday was a nice easy 3mile run, Thursday was a faster 8mile morning run.

I did find the legs abit tired on Wednesday & Thursday, this was likely down to me pushing the pace abit on Tuesday during the 8mile run...perhaps a case of too much too soon after the 100km and the week off running.

- Monday: 3miles @ 8:06min pace
- Tuesday: 3miles @ 7:54min pace & 8miles @ 7:34min pace
- Wednesday: 3.50miles @ 9:03min pace
- Thursday: 8miles @ 7:48min pace

I must work on a more structured training plan overt the next while so as to ensure I work on improving speed.  Suggestions welcome for anyone that wants to leave a comment :)

Finally, I was looking over my Garmin Goals during the week and realized that in the end I'm looking to improve basically five of my current times by the end of the year. So next time I post these there should be some changes.

Weekly Total:  26 miles
Miles This Year: 1085 miles 

Friday, June 20, 2014

I shall double my efforts....

Very easy week after Portumna 100km, I only did some walking and headed out for a 8mile cycle on Thursday morning as I wanted to allow the blisters to heal up properly.  Right foot feels fine now but blister on left foot is till uncomfortable when walking at times. Legs feel fine otherwise!

So anyway, I've completed three of my five goals for 2014, these have been:

- Run my first Back2Back Marathons
- Run a faster Connemara Ultra
- Run my first 100km
- Run a sub 3:15 Dublin Marathon
- Run a sub 1:30 Half Marathon

As you can see I have two goals left for 2014, the first of which will be in October with the Dublin Marathon and the half marathon I aiming for will be in Waterford in December as I always seem to manage a new personal best when running Waterford Half Marathon.

One thing I know at this stage is I have endurance sorted, if I can keep on my feet for 12hours doing a 100km (even if the pace is slower) then I have endurance sorted out.   The plan now is to work on my speed!

Last years Dublin Marathon had a target of sub 3:30, I wasn't far off this with 3:33 and in reality I would have managed sub 3:30 had I just stuck properly to my pacing.       Instead I upped the pace early in the race because of a) I wanted to catch the pacing group as I was 3min behind them and b) because I thought I was good to be able to hit 3:27.   So basically I got cocky and that was my downfall....oh well!

From my training runs I know that even as part of a training run I know I'm well capable of doing 12mile or 15mile run at a 7:30-7:40min pace as I've regularly done these as training runs. Something I wouldn't have been capable of doing this time last year as even a consistent 8:00min pace was a challenge.

So with that all in mind for a sub 3:15 I need a constant 7:27min pace, I think this is pretty do-able as all I need to do is work on speed.

Hopefully my feet will be all ok after the weekend and I can start back slowly into training.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Portumna 100km Race Report

Prep for the Portumna 100km started on Friday when I drove up from Kilkenny to camp overnight in preparation for the 7am start, I wasn't the only person camping of course as others taking part in the 100km, 50km, half marathon and even the race director were staying overnight in the forest.

I won't lie, I was nervous about this race not only was it the furthest I've ever run (beating the previous longest distance by 23miles) but it also was the longest I'll be on my feet for a race as my previous longest race time wise was 6hours 29min during Connemara Ultra last year.

As always I was up stupidly early for breakfast and to get myself ready for the event, breakfast as always was porridge after that I made sure I had everything ready for during the race.   I tried to cover every eventuality with the equipment I had in the box from food, drink to stuff for blisters etc.

Slight delay at the starting line due to registration delays for some people and then we were off.  I knew that one way or another I was going to be hitting a mile stone on the day as just 5miles in as I would finally hit my 1,000th mile of 2014, around two months sooner then last year.

My aim for the event was to go out nice and slow at about a 10min pace and that went pretty well as I ended up chatting to Paul Brunnock for the first 25miles/or so which was good as it passed the time for both of us. After 25miles I started to flag a little bit and stopped to walk for the first time....this was a little sooner then I had initially planned to walk as my initial plan was to walk for a bit around 30miles.

After this it was a mixture of run/walk, at around 7hours 20min in I had finally passed the 40mile mark and I remember thinking to myself...."here be dragons!".        This was all very much uncharted territory from here on in and it also ended up being a pretty challenging section as I felt very low during the next 10miles or so with a lack of energy and I felt I just kept overheating after around 1mile of running. 

During this low period I took on alot more food then I had on previous laps with the hope it would perk me up, I also made use of the sponges at the finish to try and cool myself down and by the time I hit into the 50's the very low point had passed and I thankfully didn't feel so awful.

What also helped during this low period was the support from all the people I've met at other events shouting my name and encouragement at different times during the course. It was good to have a chat with different people throughout the race, certainly made the time go faster and the support was very much appreciated!

One thing I was very surprised about is it took until 50miles for a blister to become an issue for me on my left foot, up until then I experienced no problems and they didn't cause my any pain but at around 55miles I had a blister burst so that hurt a good bit.  I'm sure I gave one person out walking their dog a little bit of a shock as when I passed them I said hello but 10 feet later when the blister burst I shouted "for fuck sake!" from the pain.       

By the time I started to approach 60miles I had a blister on my right foot which caused pain when it burst, but neither blisters were an ongoing problem for me thankfully.

At this stage of the race, my legs felt surprisingly fine and I had no trouble with my left IT band which has previously caused issues, one of the worst times being during the Portumna 50km in June 2013 when I ended up adding around 40min onto my previous best time due to the pain.

As I headed into the final few laps I had no idea who was ahead of me and if I'd be very last or anything like that, nor did I really want to know!   Heading into the final lap I decided that I'd try run it all so at least if anyone else was on their last lap I have some hope of finishing before them.

So what felt like a fast pace at time (especially coming into the finish) varied between a 9.00-12.00min pace, I eventually crossed the finish line in 12 hours 13min 49sec (22nd place out of 31 finishers).

Unfortunately I forgot to stop my Garmin for a further 10-15min after I finished so my Garmin stats aren't totally accurate time wise. Garmin log of this event can be found here.

Garmin Stats
This was my first 100km and the main goal was to finish it, I did have moments where I thought I might manage it in around 10hours but that went out the window when I started walking so early on in the race.    

Overall I'm happy with the result and over two days on I'm happy with the recovery aside from some stiffness and the two blisters my legs feel fine.

On a side note, as part of my prep for the event I had sorted my food/drink into little ziplock bags rather then leaving things separate. In reality this didn't at all work as I had planned as I found myself not wanting certain items I had put in the bags so throughout the race I'd stop and pick stuff out of the bags, I think this had a impact on my energy levels as I wasn't taking on as much as I needed especially before the 40mile mark.

When compared to Connemara Ultra especialy this year I pretty much took on everything in all the drop bags and that meant despite the hills I felt great by the 26mile mark. Yet for this event I started to lose energy by mile 25 even though the course was far easier then Connemara.

Something to keep in mind next time! ;)

Weekly Total:  73 miles
Miles This Year: 1059 miles 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Roll on Portumna 100km

Welcome to Co Tipperary, best roads ever! ;)
Some lovely country miles during this week and last, not many of them but enjoyable none the less.

Its times like this that I'm happy I took up running back in 2010, outside of traveling to events around the place its the little things that I like, being out in the morning at or before sunrise when nobody else is awake for another 1 or 2 hours, the peace and quiet of it all and running on roads locally that I've either never been on before or finding out just how much more you see when compared to driving on them.  

For anyone that reads my blog and thinks they'd like to start running or run a longer event then they've run previously, do it! won't regret it :)

Slievenamon Mountain in the distance
Anyway, this week consisted of shorter taper runs only after doing a 10mile long slow run last Saturday, the week was:

- Saturday 10miles @ 8:49min pace
- Sunday: Rest
- Monday: 3miles @ 7:26min pace
- Tuesday: 3miles @ 8:14min pace
- Wednesday: 2miles @ 9:09min pace

So that's it for the running this week as Thursday and Friday are rest days.  Everything is as packed and as ready as it's going to be.       I'd be lying if I didn't say I was nervous about this race, I'm under no illusions that its going to be a very long time on my feet but I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Wish me luck :)

Weekly Total:  18 miles
Miles This Year: 995 miles 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Feeling lazy......

So that's week 1 of tapering done, sort of nice to take it easy and get some extra time in bed in the morning...even if I do feel awful lazy doing it.  

This week consisted of:
- Monday: Rest
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: 5miles @ 8:13min pace & 2.66mile walk
- Thursday: 2mile walk
- Friday: 3miles @ 8:12min pace

I noticed the other day when updating some stats that Portumna will be my 20th event of a marathon distance or longer, these break down as eight of these in 2014, seven in 2013, three in 2012 and two in 2011.   Interesting to see the year on year increase and I must say it certainly gets easier to recover after each event.

Weekly Total:  13 miles
Miles This Year: 977 miles

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tullaroan Marathon Race Report 2014

Last week ended up with the Tullaroan Marathon, but before running that I put in some miles so the week consisted of:

- Monday: Rest
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: 10miles @ 8:22min pace
- Thursday: 12miles @ 8:13min pace
- Friday: Rest

Not kidding about the hills!
On Saturday I was using the Tullaroan Marathon as my last long training run before tapering for Portumna 100km on the 14th June. My idea was to add 4miles onto the marathon to make the daily total of 30miles.

So before the start I did a quick 2miles run @ 7:51min pace, once that was done it was off to the start line.

The start was bang on time and we were off, we were told there would be marshals at every junction and they'd have water so this effectively meant that water stops were around every 2miles which is far more often then you'd get at more well established events.

As I did the directors run at the end of April i knew exactly what to expect when it came to the hills so my plan was to take it nice and easy and just put the miles in, the day was also pretty hot so I was wary of that.

Many including myself see Kilkenny as a relatively flat county, this isn't helped by the fact that the 10-15miles radius of where I live everything is pretty flat.....Tullaroan is somewhat of an exception as you can see below when compared to for example the Clonakility Marathon course.

Tullaroan Course Profile

Clonakilty Course Profile

I took it easy on the first loop around and even walked the hills around mile 11, then upped the pace towards mile 13 and settled back to taking it easier after mile 15 even to the point of run/walking at times.

For the last two miles I picked up the pace finishing the last mile in a 7:04min fairness I was well rested from the walking :)

My marathon finish time was 4:04:20, which put me in at 22nd place (out of 56)
Course profile on Garmin can be seen here.

Given this was Tullaroan's Athletics Club first event I have to say it was very well organised and everyone involved should be proud.      Everything started bang on time and there was plenty of water, coke, jaffa cokes and food after.

Once I had the marathon done I completed the second 2mile run of the day...although much slower then the run in the morning as I did it at a much slower 10:46min pace.

Weekly Total:  57 miles
Miles This Year: 964 miles