Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dublin Marathon 2014 Race Report

The day finally arrived and although the previous two weeks didn't go great due to injury I was still confident that I could reach my goal of a sub 3:20 marathon.

The start line....all pretty nervous

Early start to the morning as I was up out of bed at 4:40am for breakfast and making sure to take on water and I started the drive to Dublin at 6am.   I made good time to Dublin and found a handy parking spot nice and close to the start line so I could easily meet up with the lads before heading to the start line.

Unlike last year where I was perhaps 1min behind the pacers this year I got into a good position right behind the pacers and then we were off!

Unlike previous years there was no O'Connell Street to run through which in my view is abit of a loss as I always enjoyed running by the GPO etc, instead we headed up by Christ Church and then down the quays, in many respects this was great for people to more easily support the marathon but the downside is some parts of it were abit of a drag.

I had run perhaps 20-30secs ahead of the pacers at this stage with the plan of slowing the pace once we hit the Phoenix Park as I knew this was a climb all the way to the other side of the park, so bit by bit I slowed the pace and left the pacers catch me.  Unfortunately I could feel the climb taking it out of me and the wind wasn't helping!

Once we got out of the phoenix park and we turned I could finally allow my legs to recharge somewhat when going down the hill but I then started to feel some discomfort on my right hand side, but I still felt ok so kept going.

It was around mile 10 the discomfort turned into pain and it wasn't a very nice experience trying to maintain the pace, by about mile 11 or 12 I just couldn't keep the pace up and the 3:20 pacers finally passed me out.  

I walked for abit at this stage and the pain in my right side eventually subsided so I started running again with the secondary goal of a sub 3:30 marathon.   Unfortunately the pain came back and just around the half marathon point the 3:30 pacers came and I managed to stay with them for perhaps a mile but then dropped off them too!

At this stage I decided the race was effectively scrubbed!  I'm too stubborn to do a DNF (Did Not Finish) and i knew there was no chance I was going to beat my previous personal best of 3:33:33 so I decided to just take it easy, not risk any further problems to my injury and just finish as a easier sub 4 marathon.

So I just ran walked to the finish, along the way because I was run/walking I actually kept meeting the same few people and got chatting to them now and then because when I was running I was passing people, these people would then later pass me out when I was walking.

Official Finish time was: 3:54:39

Overall I think my problems were a mix of injury problems and also the conditions, I will admit even when the slower pace once I fell off the pacers the heat still affected me and I was still de-hydrated and it was clear it certainly affected others.

Perhaps I was imagining it but there certainly appeared to be more people in trouble then the previous 3 years I've run Dublin, I saw a good few people just drop down near me including one women around mile 25 where myself and another chap went over to help her.   So I guess things always could have been worse!

This wasn't the outcome I wanted for Dublin but I guess I was expecting too much, especially considering that 7 days before Dublin I had decided to go to the doctor because the pain in my chest was so bad it hurt every time I was breathing.

Funny thing is once I had slowed the pace and even after the race I experienced next to no discomfort, maybe 1-2 more weeks of injury recovery would have meant i had hit my goal of a sub 3:20 marathon.

I guess there's always next year....

Friday, October 24, 2014

Meeting a running legend & recovery

Little bit of catching up to do......

The last two weeks have been a very mixed bag, after my high mileage week which ended with the Slievenamon Loop I began my tapering for the Dublin marathon on the 27th October, however things didn't go great.
For anyone that read my last blog post you'll note that I fell during the Slievenamon loop, while this wasn't very painful during or after the run or even the next day I had alot of muscle pain during the week after it.   It did however start to get abit better so I decided to go ahead with my plans for a very easy paced run on Saturday.

So last weekend I decided to meet up with the legend Tony Mangan while he completes his lap of Ireland after already completing 50,000km that he's already run around the world since 2010.

Tony started his world run in October 2010 by running the Dublin Marathon, once he completed the marathon he stayed running across Ireland, Newfoundland land, Canada, north and south America and now he's been to over 40 country's!

Tony & myself on the old Waterford Road
He's basically running a marathon a day for the past 4 years, he's been keeping a very interesting and detailed blog of his adventures since the beginning. (well worth a read!)

I met Tony for a few miles while he was running from Waterford to Kilkenny on Saturday and did around 11.5miles from Waterford to Ballyhale on the old N9 road.  (Garmin Link)

The pace was easy going and I wasn't alone as I was also running with  Catherine who was also from Kilkenny and was also well experienced as she had previously completed the Connemara 100. We were supported by a friend of Tony's and also Vincent who is the race director of the Tullaroan Marathon.

By the time we hit Ballyhale I decided to call it a day as I had plans for the rest of the day but Tony & Catherine went on to run the rest of the way to Kilkenny, meeting up with others along the way.

Catherine, Tony & Myself
As it turned out this run (although a very easy pace) was likely a very very bad idea as the muscle pain in my chest and side really kicked off again.

Sunday was very painful and things hadn't improved on Monday at all so I decided to be on the safe side I better see a GP as it was hurting to breath, so long story short I confirmed I didn't damaged any bones in the fall and it was just muscle pain.

On Monday I was questioning if I could go ahead with the Dublin Marathon but as the week went on and as I looked after the muscles in the area in question things started to improve, on Thursday night I went for my only run of the week which consisted of 1x 9:00min/pace, 1x 7:00min/pace and 2x 8:40min/pace and I felt pretty good afterwards.

As it stands right now (Friday) I feel the best I have since my fall and I experience next to no discomfort and certainly no pain so if anything the run on Thursday appears to have really helped loosen things up again.

So what are my plans?

We I'm a stuborn fecker so perhaps very foolishly I'm going to go ahead with Dublin and I'm going to go out with the sub 3:20 pacers and see how things pan out.

Is that smart? Perhaps not in some people's view but if things don't go well I'll drop off the group and even drop out if it comes to that.  But I'm pretty confident that I'm in good enough shape to reach my goal.

Last two weeks runs broke-down as:

- Monday: Rest
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: 3miles @ 10:20min pace
- Thursday: 5miles @ 8:27min pace
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: 11.51miles @ 15:18min pace
- Sunday: Rest
- Monday: Rest
- Tuesday: 1.3mile walk
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: 4miles @ 8:30min pace
- Friday: 1.2mile walk

Miles This Year: 1,641 miles

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Slievenamon Loop!

So I had one thing in mind last week and that was to up the miles and I started that early,

Monday was a easy 3miles run but Tuesday plan was up and out the door at 5am for a 20mile run at under 8:30min pace.

It was a very mixed morning as when I first went out there was no fog, however within an hour I was 5miles from home and I couldn't see more then 20metres infront of me!  Not ideal when your on a busy road......but thankfully it had a wide hard shoulder.

The rest of the week were much shorter runs however Thursday was supposed to be a sub 8min mile 10mile run but my left shin started to bother me abit so I slowed things down and cut it short.    I did eventually clock up the targeted 10miles for Thursday by doing 5 in the morning and 5 in the evening.

Saturdays plans were to take part in the very first Parkrun in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle and so I headed in for the 9.30am start.

Kilkenny Park Run Route

For those that don't know Parkrun's are free timed 5km races that anyone can go along to and take part in, they are not just for elites or clubs.

There was a good turn out of around 170 people for the event which wasn't bad considering anyone planning on doing the Dublin Marathon would have been busy doing their last long run. (I happened to do mine earlier in the week).

The route for the Parkrun was a mixed bag as while one section was a sight downhill the next was abit of a climb...enough to take it out of you anyway.   Still, although I already had 40miles in the legs from the weeks training I managed a new 5km Personal Best of 21:15 and I finished in 8th place.

Sundays plan was my first running of the Slievenamon Loop...all 16miles of it!  So I packed my phone and an energy bar into my Camelbak backpack and off I went as usual starting from Kilcash.

There was very thick fog so I was abit weary that it might be a cool enough run but as I drove to Kilcash I noticed the area was completely fog free. Infact when I started the climb up Slievenamon I could see the thick blanket of fog below between Slievenamon and the Commorragh mountains in the distance.

This time around I decided to stick as close to the fence as I could, this unfortunately turned out to be a poor choice initially because not only was the route tougher but there were several tree's down across the path which I had to avoid.

As I carried on I encountered numerous streams and some cracking views, it was nice to be in a area that was so peaceful with no sign of other houses, people, cars etc. However every so often the silence was broken by noise from one of the woods as there were a number of people on scrambler bikes on part of the mountain.

Slievenamon Route
Pace and Route Elevation
All was going well until I hit about mile 9 when funnily enough on a pretty flat part of the route I managed to trip and fall.  In the process I cut my right knee and my left knee impacted my chest during the fall. Not my most elegant moment as I was lying on the ground recovering from the hit to the chest.

I brushed myself off and poured water on the cuts on my right knee, assessed the damage and found I wasn't too bad, no pain or niggles so I continued on at the same pace.

Around mile 10 the route disappeared, it resulted in a dead end where drainage work is being carried out so I had to slog up a very boggy drainage area to get back on course. I'm pretty sure I could take a short cut through one of the woods to avoid this very boggy area so that's something I'll need to look into as the boggy area would be seriously bad in the winter months.

At around mile 12 I encountered another slight problem as again I lost the route and spent awhile trying to find it again, in reality it was my own fault as I should have simply stuck to the fence border at this point.

Overall the run went well, pretty challenging on some of the climbs especially the last big climb around 2-3miles from the end of the run.  Due to the different routes it ended up being 17.22miles, the entire run can be seen here on Garmin.

This run now marks the start of my tapering for the Dublin City Marathon, let taper madness begin!

Last weeks runs broke-down as:

- Monday: 3miles @ 7:45min pace
- Tuesday: 20miles @ 8:22min pace
- Wednesday: 5 miles @ 8:20min pace
- Thursday: 5miles @ 8:25min pace & 5miles @ 8:48min pace
- Friday: 5miles @ 7:50min pace
- Saturday: 3.11miles @ 6:50min pace
- Sunday: 17.22miles @ 13:04min pace

Weekly Total:  63 miles
Miles This Year: 1,614 miles

Monday, October 6, 2014

Getting closer to the 2,000mile goal!

Last week felt alot more productive then the week before even if Mondays run was a slow recovery run as I really felt Sunday's 10mile trail run still in the be fair this wasn't surprising as I only finished the run around 2.30pm on Sunday.

To help things along I rolled my leg muscles on Monday evening to help the recovery and it appeared to do the trick for the most part.

On Tuesday I headed out for my second recovery run as normal, in the evening however I got a text from one of the lads who said he was going out for a 20mile run so I decided to tag along with the aim of doing 15miles miles.

I must say the legs felt heavy and I felt it during the run after mile7 so in the end I decided to cut it short at 10miles once we got back to the cars, to let things recover abit I did no running on Wednesday.

On Thursday I headed out the door at around 5:40am for 10miles at marathon pace, given how my legs were feeling earlier in the week I have to say I felt good during this run, I was confident about my pace so I completely ignored my Garmin until the very end of the run and was surprised to see 7:34min pace as I figured i was running around 7:45-7:50.

Friday was another easy enough 5miles run and due to other commitments Saturday was taken as a rest day.

Sunday arrived and I decided it was time to give Slievenamon another go, this time instead of going up and over the mountain I decided to try use the trails I've seen from satellite images of the mountain the run 80% of the circumference of the mountain.

Birds eye view of the mountain

The upshot of these trails is I won't have to climb nearly as much as I'm not going near the summit which means I can at least maintain some sort of momentum whilst still working in hill and trail work. 

As I wasn't back home till mid Sunday evening this meant i couldn't start on the mountain until around 4pm which gave me a max of two hours before 6pm as Met Eireann had issued a storm warning for then.

To be fair I wasn't too worried as I knew I would be skirting the tree line so I'd be somewhat protected and I was also pretty confident I'd have a path to follow.

Checking out the new route

The route was very much a mixed bag, outside of the rain and wind at times the path was a mix of grass, bog, stream beds and bounding over big rocks and lots of gravel so its not a route I'm going to run a record pace at.

It is however relatively flat when compared to running to the summit of Slievenamon so I could nicely maintain an even pace, even if that was around 10min mile.

I've mapped out the Slievenamon Loop following the trails I can see on satellite imagery and its coming in just shy of 16miles with 2959 feet of gain, so I'm going to aim to run it as a route next weekend if all goes well.

In the end I did cut the run short as I was supposed to be doing 10miles but cut it short at just over 3miles in so I knew I'd have a total of 6miles, I was just wary of the incoming storm and it was getting darker much earlier because of it. :)

The Slievenamon Loop

Finally, I now have less then 450miles to go before I hit my 2,000mile target before the 31st December 2014. Last year I only managed 1,651 throughout all of 2013.

As I have a 100mile race in May 2015 I've been thinking that I'll need to up the anti somewhat so I'm thinking straight off it would be best to set a new goal of 3,000miles or at the very least 2,500miles for 2015.

Last weeks runs broke-down as:

- Monday: 5miles @ 9:02min pace (recovery)
- Tuesday: 5miles @ 8:20min pace & 10.19miles @ 8:18min pace
- Wednesday: 2miles walk
- Thursday: 10miles @ 7:34min pace
- Friday: 5miles @ 8:36min pace
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: 6.52miles @ 10:24min pace

Weekly Total:  42 miles
Miles This Year: 1,553 miles