Sunday, December 13, 2015

The road to recovery III

I can feel things starting to get better week and week and its pretty hopeful!

This week I managed some 10mile runs with only some slight discomfort, I even felt like some of the speed was coming back into my legs as the pace improved for some of the miles. They legs are still holding up well the next day but I must ensure I do alot of stretching afterwards or I'm in trouble!

To be honest the stretching side of things is really no harm at all, I've always be awful for doing stretching after a run and I guess at this stage its coming back to bite me on the arse.

All was going well until Friday night when I was doing a 11mile looped run and I managed to twist my ankle in a pothole around 5miles from home.

While I didn't hurt at all during the rest of the run or even after after stretching on Saturday it really flared up after stretching and is painful enough today (Sunday) so no runs on Saturday or Sunday which is no harm I guess. 

There's no bruising and swelling from what I can see though so I'm going to ice it this evening and see how things are tomorrow.

This weeks runs broke-down as:
- Sunday: Rest
- Monday: 4.41miles @ 9:13min/pace
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: 11.01miles @ 9:23min/pace
- Thursday: 3miles @ 7:49min/pace
- Friday: 10miles @ 7:51min/pace and 1mile @ 9:19min/pace
- Saturday: Rest

Weekly Total: 29.45 miles
Miles This Year: 1,610 miles

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The road to recovery II

So after last weeks post I decided I was going to run every week day but at a very slow pace and see how things panned out. The results were surprising, although the effort is higher than before I got injured the legs are feeling surprisingly fine for the most part.

The good news is there is next to no pain from the muscle in my left leg that I previously had problems with and more importantly I'm also not experiencing knee pain in my left leg.  

However I am feeling every so slight shin splints now and then in my left and right legs, I'm really not surprised by this considering my running form would have been affected by the injury which was causing me to put more load on my right leg.

For Wednesday I took a break from the 5mile runs and instead opted for 2miles, the first of which I ran around 700metres of at a faster pace. it felt great to run an avg pace of 7:20min for this first mile. For the second mile I took it nice and easy.

Thursday was a different affair, it was pouring out so I decided to do a slow 3mile run which took in a shortcut of a very very muddy country lane near my house.

Friday I was back 3miles but this time on road again, things were slower than Thursdays

After Fridays run I did feel some small amount of discomfort in my left leg near my knee, but once I stretched out my legs as normal everything felt fine.

When I started back running this week my aim was 5miles slow each day, but as the week went on I felt tired so I cut back the miles...likely hoping for too much too soon and also because I upped the pace which I shouldn't have done.

So now I'm taking a break for the weekend and next week I'm going to aim for more slow miles for another 5 days to see how things pan out.

Last weeks runs broke-down as:
- Sunday: Rest
- Monday: 5miles @ 9:01min/pace
- Tuesday: 5miles @ 9:00min/pace
- Wednesday: 2miles @ 7:49min/pace
- Thursday: 3.74miles @ 8:02min/pace
- Friday: 3miles @ 8:10min/pace
- Saturday: Rest

Weekly Total: 18.78 miles
Miles This Year: 1,580 miles

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The road to recovery

So I'm still far from 100% but things are little by little improving thankfully.

For one I've managed a run 4miles this week in the morning with little or no discomfort and at an avg pace of around 8:40min/mile so thats a sight better then the 2miles I could manage the week before and experienced pain walking down the stairs the next morning.  

I also did a longer run at the weekend by taking part in the Stook 10mile race on Sunday...I didn't race it!

I had paid for the race weeks earlier so I figured I might as well run it anyway, I took it very easy and only experienced some discomfort around the mile 6 mark.    The funny thing is that the flying mile at mile 8-9 actually helped stretch out the leg muscles and by the time I finished the race the legs felt pretty good.

Another cow bell for the collection

After the race again things were also better as I experienced no pain while walking down the stairs that evening or the next morning.

Two days later I was back for a second session at the sports physio for some dry needing, not the most pleasant experience ever having needles stuck into my leg but its certainly bringing results.  But lots of bruises as well!

My aim now is to take it very easy until Christmas or whenever things feel better, this week I'm going to start back with a few more morning runs at a slow pace because up until now I've been only doing one or maybe two morning runs in the race if even that.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Houston we have a problem!

There's not been many blog updates lately mainly because I've been doing very little running lately.

I know my legs took a beating during the Dublin Marathon and with hindsight now it likely would have been the best plan to call it quits and mile 21 and call it a day, but nope! Stubborn me decided it wasn't going to be a DNF and now I'm paying for it now.

The muscles in my left leg are causing me awful issues the last while, worse then back in February of this year and its really impacting my running.   At present I'm managing just 2-3miles at a slow pace of between 8.30-9min miles...this is seriously frustrating.

The longest run I've done since Dublin was a trail run of around 12mile..about half of which I had to actually walk due to the poor trail conditions (and it was dark but thats another story!) but even with that I really felt it in my left leg the next day as I was experiencing pain when walking down stairs.

I've been into the local sports injury clinic and had some work done on it during the week and while it hurt like hell at the time its really helped, so hopefully that will get me back on track with a few more sessions and stretching.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Dublin Marathon Recovery and looking back

Its been over a week since Dublin and initially it wasn't particularly enjoyable, well ok my legs were
stiff but I've experienced far far worse before so its not the end of the world or anything.

The day after the Marathon I took on a 1.5mile recovery run as well as using the foam roller afterwards, recovery runs are never particularly enjoyable the first day or second day after a longer race but in my experience they are somewhat of a necessary evil as they really help loosen up the legs for me and they did help alot towards feeling back to normal.

Wednesday was no running and so was Thursday, by this point my legs were still feeling heavy especially when in bed but I opted to take in a nice slow 4mile ran on Friday morning and took on 8miles on Sunday morning

Looking back, was running Dublin a clever idea when I wasn't 100%?...well no, it was neither big nor clever but I'd have been seriously pissed with myself if I didn't and I would have always wondered so I certainly don't regret it.

Should I have perhaps aimed for a sub 3:30 time hindsight without a doubt yes, but then hindsight is 20:20 and I didn't know I'd only get to around mile 21 before the rug would be pulled from underneath me and I'd run into such problems.

All in all it was a learning experience, sure I could get away with running a short fast race when not 100%, hell I'd even get away with a longer slower race while not 100% but aiming for a marathon and trying to get a PB at the same time just isn't that do-able.   I guess you live and learn in that situation.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dublin Marathon 2015 Race Report (or how NOT to run a goal marathon)

I almost didn't run the Dublin Marathon this year as I could feel the unset of what kind of started to feel like a chest infection during the week but it never seemed to fully develop, but to be on the safe side I went into recovery mode and took anything I could that I thought might help and rested as much as I could.

Luckily prior to Monday I had three whole days off so outside of going to the RDS on Saturday to collect my number I didn't have anything else planned and was able to rest to allow myself to recover!

As of Sunday night my breathing and lung function "seemed" to be fine and I have no unusual aches or pains so it appears I might have stop the unset of something worse, but without a doubt I've been run down the past 7-10 days.

But I decided I'd still give the marathon a shot (this may not have been the best plan) and so I drove up on Monday morning, before the start I met up with one or two of the pacers including Don the race director of the Vartry races in Wicklow and also Paul who was pacing 3:20. Unlike previous years my plan was to stick with the 3:20 pacers (there were 3 in total) and not to get over confident and go off in front of them.

From the start the 3:20 pacer group broke into two parts with one pacer running about 50metres - 100metres ahead of the two others, this certainly helped to spread out the crowd a bit more and although initially the head pacer was running slightly faster miles to create this gap spreading out the group was certainly a good idea.
Marathon Splits (click for larger version)

Despite the weather still being breezy surprisingly the Phoenix park was very calm as we ran up Chesterfield Avenue with only the odd bit breeze pushing across, the conditions otherwise were perfect as it was relatively cool, little or no wind and no rain....certainly a change from last years warmer conditions.

Conditions after that varied with a strong'ish breeze now and then, I learned from previous races and I wasn't out in front anymore, instead i stuck myself behind somebody to try and conserve my energy by letting them do the work.

By the time we hit the half way point I was however starting to feel tired so I took on another gel and that gave me a small boost, but by the time I hit mile 18 I think it might have been the first time Paul mentioned to me to keep the arms moving.

Things didn't vastly improve after that during the ascent of a small hill at mile 20/21 I again started to run into difficulties and although once again Paul did his best to encourage me to get up the hills I just felt like I had a total lack of energy and then the problems really started to start! My left IT band started to cramp really badly!

Due to the cramping I ended up stopping and walking, I tried to stretch it out and it helped a little and I started running again as I the 3:20 pacers were maybe 200metres ahead still so I kept up for a further 500metres but then my right leg started to cramp along with my left calf muscle!    At this stage I knew I was in trouble as I never normally experience cramping this bad.  

I walked for abit and tried to stretch things out and while I was able to run a short distance again things would start to cramp up and then I also started to also experience a very painful stitch on my right side.

At this stage I figured my issues where down to either A. I still was sick or B. I still hadn't fully recovered from being sick and either options were likely affecting my breathing which was likely causing a decrease in oxygen intake causing the cramping and stitch, not a great situation overall.

The rest of the miles were made up of walking very slowly and running short distances, although I did manage to run the last mile nonstop to finish in 3hours 51min 6sec. (Garmin of the run)

Overall a frustrating experience given I was bang on target until mile 20, in reality I likely shouldn't have run the Dublin Marathon or instead perhaps chosen a slower time like aiming for 3:30, but then who knows I might have experience the same issues running for that time also.

But then as anyone that reads this blog knows I'm awful stubborn when it comes to stuff, while I can push myself through hours of running or walking with painful blisters. Unfortunately in this case I couldn't push past the muscle cramping to keep any sort of reasonable pace....what I wouldn't have given for some blisters instead!

The outcome could have been worse of course so I'll take what good i can from the race including that I am very confident I can get that sub 3:20 time...provided I'm not trying to get it when sick or still recovering from being sick.

At this stage I still want to get the sub 3:20 time so I might pick a marathon in the next few months that I'll race in order to try hit that time, I don't want to wait until Dublin near year which is historically the only marathon I actually try and race.

Miles This Year: 1,492 miles

Saturday, October 17, 2015

STOP! Taper time!

So I'm officially tapering for the Dublin Marathon on the 26th October!

Training hasn't been very consistent since after the JJ Reddy Half-Marathon but I'm not overly worried as I don't think I've lost much fitness overall, so with that I'm putting my money on the counter and finally committing to a sub 3:20 marathon time.

For the last while I've been debating between aiming for 3.15 or 3.20 but after noticing Dublin doesn't actually have any 3.15 pacers I'm going to play it safe and aim for 3.20 and the 7:26min/avg pace required. I'm reasonably confident I can pull this off and hold the pace together on the day.

On a side note, for the last few weeks I've been enjoying some night trail running by taking part in group trail runs organised by the South Leinster Trail Runners, its early days but numbers are promising with the most recent runs having 16 and 14 participants respectively.

The runs so far have taken part in the Co Kilkenny area so far but here's coping it goes from strength to strength as its seriously good fun.

For anyone interested in coming along and you're curious about the types of routes, you can see Garmin profiles for the three trail runs so far below:
- Jenkinstown Wood
- Castlemorris Wood
- Knockdrinna Wood

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Noticing pace improvements,

I said previously I was planning on intervals and that's exactly what I've been doing!...well on and off when I remember.

I have a frustrating relationship doing intervals, they are so much harder to do when your on your own as it can  be hard to push yourself but 95% of my training is on my own but about 7-10 days after doing a couple of hard sessions I have always found some improvement in my pace.

So I really don't want to do them, but I know they are good for my overall performance and they certainly pay off as seen from the recent 1:29:33 half marathon time.

In addition, I've found that shorter runs like my usual 5mile morning or evening run where it would have been a massive push to do just under 7min miles is now down into 6:50min/mile - 6:40min/mile avg pace for the overall run. Its a push to do this but its alot faster then the same effort even before the summer.

Its times like this I wish there was a local running club so I wouldn't have to drive 10miles to do speed sessions etc with other runners (even that can be awkward to get to).    On that note, if there's anyone local reading this that wants to head out for few runs feel free to drop me a message.

Miles This Year: 1,444 miles

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Some pacing at the 24hr Edenderry Challenge

Paul & JP during the 24hr Challenge
Last week was a little different then usual, while I did my normal runs during the week instead of doing my usual
long slow run in Kilkenny City at the weekend I instead opted to pace JP in a 24hour event he was running in Co Offaly. 

Unlike many 24hr events which tend to be track based this one was on a 5mile loop which mentally at least has to make it easier for people taking part.    The aim of these events is simple,  run as many miles as you can in the 24hr period.
So on Saturday evening I drove up to Co Offaly to meet JP & Paul who at the time I met them had already been running for around 4hours as the event started at 3pm.I arrived shortly after 7pm and eventually caught JP and Paul on the next loop nearer to 8pm.   My plan was to give them a bit of company and distraction while they put in the miles.

The conditions were very good, cool, but not too cool. No rain and although mist was starting to settle in around the time I left it wasn't too heavy.

As well as JP and Paul running, they also had a crew supporting them. Nicola and Ray had taken on the very important role of crewing for the two lads for the entire 24hr period. Between making sure they were eating/drinking and keeping warm enough the two of them also cycled and ran the odd loop with the two lads throughout the 24hr period.

I took in 4 loops with JP and Paul during which we chatted about this and that and also played 80's music on speaker which was a good distraction and a little odd to hear Billy Joel We Didn't Start the Fire while running a dark country road at around 11pm at night.

I left the guys off to continue running when they were at around 45miles at about 2am and I finally got home at around 3.30am, keeping an eye on Facebook the next day I saw that Paul had dropped out at 75miles to be on the safe side after an injury from doing the UTMB a few weeks back.   To be honest I was surprised Paul was even running the 24hr event as he had run the UTMB so near to it.

At 3pm on Sunday evening I was delighted to hear that JP had finally hit 100miles with 30minutes to spare and was also 2nd male to finish.  After his performance on the TP 100 course back in May I had no doubt JP would hit 100miles during this event and I'm thrilled for him.

This was the second year the 24hr event was being operated in Edenderry by the Edenderry Tri Club, although I was only around for 5-6hours in total it seemed like a very well organized event with plenty of space for crew and use of facilities at the school where the start/finish 5mile loop was situated.

I must say that when JP mentioned he was taking part in the event I was seriously tempted to take part myself as I even had a few days off work at the time and I'm really curious can I get a sub24hour 100mile on 100% road when compared to the 75% trail/25% road situation for Thames Path 100.

Unfortunately as I've already signed up for the Dublin Marathon on the 26th October and I've been training towards it and aiming to set a new personal best I didn't want to derail this goal by running a 24hr event as I wouldn't be properly recovered in time for Dublin in a few weeks.

Although I already have plans to run the Vartry 100mile in April 2016 and the Connemara 100 in August 2016 I must say I'd be tempted to do this event next year as the 5mile loop makes the logistics very manageable, I guess I'll have to see how the year pans out.

The Edenderry 24hr Challenge wasn't the only event I knew people at and there was a number of people traveling over from Ireland to take part in the Spartathlon in Greece which started on Friday morning and covered 153miles.  

After seeing the race profile and weather conditions its seriously impressive to see people even take on this event, never mind finish it. Congrats to all that took part.   

Miles This Year: 1,394 miles

Monday, September 21, 2015

JJ Reddy Danesfort Half-Marathon Race Report

Massive lack of updates lately due to my iMac breaking so I have no way of uploading any of my
Courtesy: JJ Reddy Run Facebook Page
runs to Garmin to keep track of things....but I'm still training away and yesterday I ran a half marathon.

This was the first half-marathon being run as part of the annual JJ Reddy 10km/5km race and because it was likely not as hilly as Tullaroan's Half-Marathon course which was on the Saturday I opted for it instead.

The course took in parts of the previous 10km course which I've run in 2012 & 2014 so I had a very good idea about what was involved but it also had an extended loop on the Kells Road to make up the miles (I'll upload a Garmin profile when I get my iMac back).

From previously running the 10km course I knew that it was not going to be easy and it was likely going to be harder then even the Waterford Half-Marathon course which I've had a habit of getting personal bests at anytime I've run it.

Still, with all the above in mind I decided I was going to race this properly and I was finally going to the the sub 1:30 time I've been wanting for sometime now. I needed this as a good test before Dublin at the end of October.

As always during these races you start to notice some familiar faces and I was in good company within the 1:30 pace group starting at the start line, initially the group kept together on the first larger loop but by mile 4 it was starting to split and I think perhaps for a little while I got carried away and kept up with one of the lads from the group and then even raced ahead of him for a few miles.

In hindsight this perhaps wasn't the best plan but I felt good so I went with it and wasn't until the second loop at around mile 8-9 that I started to pay for it because I was heading into some long drags which I knew where going to take abit out of me....and they didn't fail on this.

By the time I hit mile 10 I could hear what was left of the 1:30 pace group behind me and then by mile 11.5 John the 1:30 pacer was beside me. At this stage I was really struggling on the hills and I'd likely have slowed only for John shouted words of encouragement to keep going especially before the turn back onto the last bit of the course towards Dunesfort.

Still I wasn't prepared to finish slow and in the last mile I kept the pace as best I could and even in the last 20metres I gave it one last push and just passed another runner just before the timing matt.

Official Finish time: 1hour 29min 33sec
(Results can be found here)

Really happy with the result as its well below the 1:29:57 time I was aiming for, also given the course was hilly it makes me think that on a flatter course I might even drop below 1:29.   134 in all ran the half marathon course and I finished 17th so I certainly can't complain to be in the top 20, that's a nice improvement over my first half marathon time set in 2010 of 1:56:48.

The race was very well organized with plenty of food at the finish even though most of the 10km race had finished there was enough for the half-marathoners which is always a good sign.  Plenty of water during the race (bottles not cups for anyone curious).  I'll certainly try and make it back next year...especially as its just down the road from me.

Its really been a boost for Dublin and its making me seriously consider aiming for 3:15 time. Finally the speed work I've been doing since May has paid off and I appear to have both a good endurance base and speed base built.

I have the endurance for the distance (thats not the problem!)...but can I keep the 7:26min/mile avg pace needed for all of the 26.2mile course?  That is the question....

Monday, August 24, 2015

Time to put the head down and train..

So the training situation hasn't been very structured lately. There's been alot of breaks and very very easy weeks with holidays and while I have noticed speed increasing (normal 5mile runs going from 7:40min pace to closer to 7:00min pace) I've not been following any sort of training plan and that needs to change.

To get things back onto some sort of proper training plan I began last week with a nice fast 10miles at a pace much lower then the 7:26min/pace I need for Dublin, I didn't want to overdo it when returning back to a week of higher miles so I took it nice and easy the next day and headed out for a very easy 20miles on Thursday.

Despite Thursdays 20miler I still felt fine on Friday doing a sub 7min avg pace for 5miles, infact doing the faster paces is certainly coming easier to me even after long runs like the 20miler. At times I've been running what I thought was a nice handy pace of over 8min, only to look at my watch and see its a 7:10min/pace or lower.

My aim this week is to work on speed by aiming to do two hard interval sessions....I really hate intervals!

Last weeks runs broke-down as:
- Monday: 10.01miles @ 7:14min/pace
- Tuesday: 2.17miles @ 7:21min/pace
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: 20miles @ 8:51min/pace
- Friday: 5.01miles @ 6:59min/pace
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: 2.10miles @ 7:33min/pace

Weekly Total: 39 miles
Miles This Year: 1,233 miles

Sunday, August 23, 2015

It was a nice week for a nice holiday

Very little running the week before last as I spent the week camping with my wife around the south east of Ireland

The week before we were very worried about how the weather might turn out but as luck would have it the weather was actually pretty good for the week and we spent the time camping in Co Wexford and Co Waterford.

I only managed about three runs the entire week, the first was along the seriously long beach at Morriscastle in Co Wexford which I ran 6miles of and I still couldn't see where it ended. (it seems its actually 13miles long!)

Also had did a lovely run along the coast near Dungarvan on the Friday, other then that I took it all pretty easy

Last weeks runs broke-down as:
- Sunday: Rest
- Monday: 6.59miles @ 7:59min/pace
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: 8:01miles @ 7:27min/pace
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: 6:09miles @ 7:25min/pace
- Saturday: Rest

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Back to business as usual

Training for Dublin City Marathon in October is going well, my pace is gradually increasing and although I really dislike doing intervals I'm pushing myself on them and managing 5.30-5.40 pace on many of them...something I'd never managed before.

Doing the intervals is also paying off on my longer runs as I find the effort to start going down to sub 7.20min pace is less and less, so all in all its good. I think this was also evident during the recent Waterfront Ultra as I found it so much easier to do those faster miles for the first 24miles or so.

Of course there's some difference between doing a 3:41 marathon and doing the 3:15 marathon I actually want in October but its still great to see I've had some improvements during the past few weeks and its even better to feel back to normal after Thames Path 100. 

Despite getting sick after it its evident that my recovery after the 100mile race has gone much better then my recovery last year after the 100km in Portumna, but then I did very little running during May and June and this I guess was badly needed as a resting period.

During the week I didn't do a mad amount of miles, but out of the miles I did do I felt good and also did a mix of paces. So for example on Friday when I did 11miles about half of these miles were near or close to 7min/miles.

Last weeks runs broke-down as:
- Sunday: 5.5miles @ 7:05min/pace
- Monday: 11.01miles @ 7:56min/pace
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: 5.53miles @ 7:57min/pace
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: 11.01miles @ 7:50min/pace
- Saturday: Rest

Weekly Total: 33 miles
Miles This Year: 1,178 miles

Monday, August 3, 2015

Morris Oil Piltown 10K 2015 Race Report

So after last weeks 36mile Ultra I opted for a much shorter race this week by taking part in the Piltown 10km race in Co Kilkenny on Friday night.   I've not done a large number of 10km races but I've always seen an improvement when I run them and I'm still chasing the elusive goal of a sub 40min 10k.   To get a sub 40min time it meant I had to run an average pace of 6:26min/mile for the entire distance. This is a big ask after last weeks 36mile Ultra but I was hoping I could pull it off none the less.

This was a race starting at 7.30pm so I headed off for the start of the race and met up with the lads from town, between all of us we were aiming for times ranging between sub 40 - sub 45. The conditions were good and the course was advertised as fast so there was a lot of hope of reaching our goals.

The race started on time and we were off; the first mile was a slight decline and as always it was fast as during the first mile I averaged a pace of 6:03min/mile, I spotted this and I eventually slowed onto the second mile. By the time I was heading into mile three I have to say I felt like my legs were heavy and I knew that to try push for a sub40 time was going to be extremely difficult! However I pushed on and headed for what appeared to be an endless section of straight road which began just before mile 4 and eventually ended around mile 6.

By the time I was coming up on mile 5 I pushed the pace and passed two runners; I kept ahead of them for approx half a mile but eventually they gained back the space I had put between them and eventually got maybe 100metres ahead of me.

As we approached mile 6 there was a slight incline on the course and we headed into the GAA grounds where the surface changed coming up to the finish line to gravel and to eventually grass as we raced towards the finish. I tried my best to even catch one of the two runners ahead of me but I just had no more energy in the legs to push any harder.

I finished 37th across the line (out of 128 finishes) in a time of 40min 50sec and was happy to lay down on the ground for a well deserved rest!

Its not really the sub 40 I had hoped for but still a new personal best I can be proud of as it shaves 7 seconds off my previous 10km distance set during the Danesfort 10km in September 2014. 

I think without a doubt if I had not done the ultra last week, I would have broken sub 40 but overall I'm very happy with how things went. Also, after the start and with the exception of the two runners at mile 5 only one other runner past me after mile 1, that's always a confidence boost.

Garmin of the course and my laps can be viewed below:

Miles This Year: 1157 miles

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Keith Whyte Waterfront Ultra Marathon III (36miles) Race Report

Yesterday I did my first run of the Keith Whyte Waterfront Ultra Marathon III in Co Cork, it was very much a last minute affair as I signed up during the week.

One interesting thing about the Waterfront Marathon is as a guest it featured Team Hoyt who came all the way from the USA to take part in the event, inspiring stuff.

Initially I wanted this to be my 24th marathon with the aim of Dublin in October being my 25th but then I realized the next day that the Keith Whyte Waterfront Ultra Marathon actually was my 25th, oh well.

So instead of the marathon I opted for the 36mile Ultra for a bit more of a challenge, the course also had a 100km Ultra, Marathon and 10km race.   The loop for the three big races was a 9mile out and 9mile back route so for the 36mile event you just did this route twice and you're done.

My initial goal was to run the entire race at an avg pace of 8.30min/mile, my reasoning for this was I previous ran the Connemara Ultra in 5hours 52min and 17sec at a avg pace of 8:53min/mile so I wanted to see if I could better this for a race that was only 3miles shorter.

So I headed off down to Cork very early and arrived at the start line at 7.30min, met a few familiar faces including Vincent who is the race director of the Tullaroan marathon here in Kilkenny.

Before everyone headed off at the start there was a warm welcome for Team Hoyt and they started off just before everyone else, with the exception of the 100km which started at 6am the rest of the races started at the same time and so I headed out for the first loop of 18miles and for the most part I kept to plan for the first 10miles or so but as I felt good I ended up upping the pace and eventually dropped my overall avg pace to 8:11min/mile. Far faster then I had planned but I felt good so I kept things up.

The first loop went great and I felt I made great progress as I lopped back and headed out for the second loop but by the time I approached mile 24 the wheels started to come off and the pace had really started to drop off, by mile 25 it had dropped further and I was down to 9:00min/mile.

Although by the time I hit 26.2miles I had actually run my 3rd fastest marathon by running it in 3:41 I knew my pace goal was totally out of the window!

Really I only have myself to blame for the wheels coming off as I got too cocky far too early on in the race, really silly mistake to make.  

Despite this I still managed another improvement as I hit the 50km mark in a time of 4:38:51, this beats my previous best time set at the Donedea 50km in 2013 of 4:49:33, not a bad improvement considering I still had another 5miles to go in this race.

In the last few miles I found that my calf muscles were cramping up (not something I usually experience) and I had to stop and stretch a few times to relieve the pain, I also ended up walking a bit.  I did eventually however increase my pace for the last 1/2mile to a respectable pace of 7:39min/mile.

My finish time was eventually 5hours, 41min & 04sec, the split times from the race mats can be seen below (click to enlarge).

So the plan is now to get back into training for Dublin and perhaps do the odd 10km or half marathon between now and October. Although I got carried away during this race and it cost me my pace goal it still really helped my confidence to see a 3:41 marathon time as part of this race and it makes me think that if I had actually raced the marathon distance I would have easily beat my current marathon PB of 3:33:33.   This gives me a fair bit of confidence when heading to Dublin in October.

Pants, Myself and JP
Garmin link for anyone interested,

Miles This Year: 1128 miles

Friday, July 10, 2015

1000miles and its now time for some training...

I've finally committed to the Dublin Marathon 2015 and I've officially signed up to run the event and with that in mind I've also officially started training for the marathon as of the 1st July, up until now I've been taken it relatively easy with a few runs now and then and varying distance of between 3-10miles.

Kilcash Woods Elevation
My pace on my runs is slowly increasing and I'm now starting to run my 8-10mile runs at between 7:20-7:40min pace once more, it feels like finally things are returning to normal after the Thames Path 100.

Course Route, Kilcash Woods
Last week I got back on the trails and headed to Kilcash Wood at the base of Slievenamon and put in 8 miles. It was also a opportunity to test out my new Montrail trail shoes.   I must say it was seriously enjoyable and some cracking views of the mountain and parts of the wood, its certainly a trail I'll be running again in the future!

Overall the course was a simple out and back route (Garmin Link) but it could easily be converted into a nice 8-10mile loop through the Forrest and then back via the road to Kilcash, anyone living in Kilcash is lucky to have such a nice area for walking/running.

On another note I finally hit 1000miles run since 1st January, I'm behind last year as last year I hit 1000miles during the Portumna 100km in the middle of July. This year I didn't hit it until the first week in July.   Being sick in both Feb & May has really thrown off my target for 2015 of 3000miles, oh well...

Miles This Year: 1020 miles

Monday, June 22, 2015

Still taking it easy

Only a few runs lately but they are starting to feel easier, so recovery is getting there bit by bit, I even
First time trying Montrail..
had a run this morning with some sub 6:50min miles.

I received two new pairs of runners last week, one for trail (Montrail Rogue Racer) and another for road ( Saucony Phoenix 7).

I was in very bad need of replacing the road shoes as the last pair had 1200+ miles in them at this stage.   I opted for new trail shoes because they were cheap and also I wanted a lighter non-gortex pair of trail shoes.

Why did I want non-gortex? Well, Thomas was right about encountering problems with them. While the first pair of trail shoes I bought are great for running through low streams, puddles etc.      Once water gets into doesn't get out!  This can be seriously annoying if water gets into them early on in a run and you have miles and miles to go.

Last week I also picked up my first peice of running related stuff that I'm going to put on the wall in my house, I decided as Thames Path 100 was my first 100mile race that I'd frame the route map/t-shirt, race number and include the event and finish time on it.  Its due to take pride of place in my office at home.

Miles This Year: 959 miles

Thursday, June 4, 2015

It's time to start planning for Dublin

So, I've been thinking. What do I want to achieve out of Dublin this year...after all one way or another I'll be running it. (yes Cathal, I’m going to be training for Dublin)
Well, after abit of thought I've decided I'm going to try aim for sub 3.15 this year.

I figure its pretty do-able as I've managed a 1.31 half marathon in the Waterford half in December and I have the endurance built from Ultrarunning.

This means that I just need to work on speed work for the next few months as I'm my previous marathon PB is from 2013 and that was only 3:33.

Speed work however has never been my strong point, I've never enjoyed it much and I find it hard to do when running on my own when compared to running with a group of people.

Ironically though, anytime I have actually done speed work I've always noticed some improvements in pace so I certainly do benefit from it. Noticeably so in my past experience.

So with that in mind now I need to work on a training plan with the aim of starting into training in July, this will give me 12 weeks before Dublin Marathon.  Until July I'm taking it relatively easy and I'll just tick away at the miles.

Anyone suggest any good training plans with this time in mind?
Miles This Year: 895 miles

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tullaroan Marathon Race Report 2015

As a last minute decision last week I opted to take part in the Tullaroan Marathon, partially because its the nearest marathon to where I live and I want to make sure to support it and partially because I just wanted to do some long'ish miles at a leisurely pace and see how my body is since the Thames Path 100.

This is the second year that the marathon is being held in Tullaroan and as well as hosting a marathon they also hosted a 5km, 10km and a half marathon. All in all its well organised and its great to see so many races being available to people of all abilities.   Its a credit to all involved.

The marathon course is pretty straight forward as its 13.1mile loop, but it has plenty of hills on it to test you none the less. 

Elevation Profile

My rough plan was just to head out and take it pretty easy for the day, walking some of the hills and to just chat away for the way this was going to be very far from a race and my rough plan was to finish between 4:30-5:00hours.

JP & Myself
The morning didn't have a great start though as I headed out the door at 8:20am on Saturday and went to start the car and found the battery was flat.   I realised I didn't close the boot properly the night before (doh!).

A quick job with the jump leads from the other car and everything was sorted but the clocking was ticking away.

I made good time to start and met up with JP, Nicola and the lads. this time round only JP was running the marathon and he had roughly the same plan as myself so we headed out from the start together.

I must say that the first mile or two were abit challenging!  Not because of the hills though, but because I had spent the previous 3 days painting fences which involved standing up and kneeling down which caused abit of discomfort in my legs when going down stairs etc afterwards.   This also meant my legs didn't like the idea of running for the first few miles.

Eventually however they settled down and I could start to run along at an easy pace without any discomfort.   We ticked through the miles at a handy pace and basically spent the time talking about everything and anything.

As the miles ticked down to the finished we past a few people but continued to take it pretty easy by walking some of the hills, but for the last mile - mile half we kept up the running pace to finish in 4:33:06.

Overall I'm happy with how things went, it wasn't a race to me as I just wanted to stretch the legs for a few hours. I found afterwards that the legs were abit sore but by the next day they were fine.   

I feel that the body is bit by bit getting back to normality after Thames Path and being sick, its not 100% yet though.

Miles This Year: 890 miles

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Recovery, Recovery, Recovery

So that's all I've been doing the past few weeks, straight after the Thames Path 100 I was completely floored when I got sick and now thankfully I've recovered from being sick and energy levels etc are all starting to return to normal.

I've mostly done a few short runs in the past two weeks with the longest run being 10miles last Sunday.   I'm not really pushing pace too much on any of these runs as the effort to run them is certainly harder then usual.

So all in all pretty uneventful, on a side note I've taken the time to finally update my marathon and race stats to include races that I did back in 2014.

Miles This Year: 860 miles

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Thames Path 100 2015 Race Report

Finally I've written a race report!
Why the delay?  Well, you'll find out if you read on.

It was an early enough start on Saturday morning as we headed to the starting area in Richmond, we wanted to beat the crowds at registration as we knew they'd be checking out mandatory kit prior to the race.

Once that was all sorted and checked out we were able to relax before the start, having a bit of a chat and of course take a few photos before the start.

Ready at the startline, David Sheridan, Marie Chapman, Ray Lanigan, JP Tierney & Myself

As the 10am start time approached we were all requested to file down towards the start area for a pre-race briefing about some minor changes to the course route and also any safety issues to be aware of.   

Throughout you could feel the nervous energy from everyone building up as everyone just wanted to get underway, finally the countdown started and we were off!

0miles - 30miles:
So we were off and the aim was to run at around a 11min/mile pace for as long as possible with the aim of running the first 1/2 - 1mile after each aid station while taking on food....or at least that was the rough plan.

I decided to put the head down and enjoy the easy feeling miles during the race.  Within the first 8 miles we experienced our first crossing and it became clear that if you weren't going to pay attention at these crossings as the miles went on and as the mind got tired then this was going to be a a very easy race to get lost in.

I continued my run out of London, passing Hampton Court and other tourist sights.  Just before the 1st aid station at mile 11 I met up with Marie and we decided to put in a good few miles together to help pass the time.

It was also at aid station 1 that I saw Ray, unfortunately he had to drop out at this early stage in the race. Given that Ray was well capable of finishing top 3 in the race it must have been a hard decision to drop out like he did.

After a very quick stop at the first aid station myself and Marie carried on. I must say its a credit to Marie as she was maintaining a solid constant pace throughout the time I ran with her.  But I managed to encourage her to walk on occasion, we even stopped at an ice cream van and got some HB Calippo's to enjoy since the weather had warmed up a bit.
Time for a sock change!

The miles continued on and we chatted about this and that and we finally started to approach Windsor and we could see the castle off in the distance. We finally hit the aid station at mile 30.5 and it was at this point that I lost Marie as I had decided to take a few minutes to change my socks as I felt I was starting to experience a blister on my left foot.

After a few minutes break and a new pair of socks I started up again passing another few miles.

30miles - 60miles:
The miles after Windsor were pretty uneventful for the most part, the blister on my left foot was causing me problems now and then. Thankfully, it stopped bothering me after a just seemed to have been beaten into submission.

The miles eventually switched to farm land and there were some slight climbs along the fields, at one point I passed an area that seemed to be hosting a party and could hear the music drifting along the river.

As the final miles counted down towards the aid station at 51 miles and I could still hear the music floating along the river the darkness started to set in. I held off putting on my headlamp as I figured I'd wait for the aid station at mile 51 when I could get a full change of clothes and sort out my headlamp, hat etc.

I met Ray & Nicola and my drop bag was quickly located.  I moved into one of the tents to sort my full change of clothes and to make sure everything was re-greased up.
I also opted to get some food into me in the form of wraps, crisps and pasta.

Initially I had opted to leave the aid station just in my compression top (which Ray wasn't happy about) but I had kept my long sleeve top tied around my waist.    I'm glad I kept it within easy reach as within 300metres of walking I could feel the cold starting to set in so I put the long sleeve top over the compression top and I kept on walking for a little while. 

What I didn't know at this point was I was about to enter one of the lowest parts of the race. During the next 7miles or so I went through an awful low patch as I started to experience a blister problem with my right foot.   This was to become a major problem as the race progressed.
But I kept on running, by the time I hit the next aid station at mile 58 I was so very close to just calling it a day.

My energy levels had dropped to an all time low and I must have looked awful as one of the aid station volunteers suggested I eat some black cookie thing that was very clearly laced with tonnes of sugar.   Still I knew this was just a bad patch and I knew from experience that it would eventually pass.........even if it took 1-2hours.

As I left aid station 58 in the darkness the rain started to pelt down and this did nothing to lift my spirits, I was on my own for the next few miles and I was still at a serious low point as I headed into the detour near the center of Reading.

60miles - 84miles:
Just after Reading my spirits started to lift as I started running in the fields on the softer mud/grass surface. This started to give me much relief compared to the concrete or gravel track where I could feel every little stone on my right foot.   I'd imagine the sugar from the aid station at mile 58 had also finally kicked in. I decided to up the pace from walking and run as many of these miles through fields as I could and it felt fantastic! I felt like I was starting to make progress again and every so often I'd reel another runner in as I passed them running.  

Some of the runners for some odd reason had red lights on their back, one chap had two red lights (one at either side) which for a while I was convinced must be a car or a quad bike driving through the fields.  When I eventually realised it was actually a person walking he made an easy target to aim to pass.

Eventually the fields ended and I came across Nicola & Ray again at the crew stop just before the aid station at mile 67. At this stage I figured switching from my road shoes to my trail shoes might be the best plan as they'd give me some relief from stones/gravel underfoot. I was also mindful as I'd heard from a few people that the later parts of the race can get pretty muddy if it rains. So I switched them over and headed to the aid station.

The aid station location and Thames Path signs were somewhat confusing at this stage and I met 1 or 2 people coming back towards me who shouldn't have been walking towards me at all. Eventually after chatting we all figured out the aid station location and were able to check in.

Once checked in I must say I felt in a better mood and I was determined to make some progress in the trail shoes and I got the perfect opportunity to do just that!   About 1-2miles after the aid station at mile 67 the trail surface returned and the trail type became far more technical with a lot of small climbs and twists and turns.   I was glad as hell I had switched to trail shoes for this!
Throughout this entire section I ran and I felt great but eventually the pains from the blister in my right foot returned and I was forced to walk more and more.  

The next few miles were once again a period where a low point returned with a vengeance but I kept moving forward, it was around this time that I remember mentioning to somebody that when I cross the finish line the first thing I want to do is just lie down....the simple pleasures! 

During some periods I'd get the occasional boost and was able to run a mile or two but eventually the pain would become an issue and I'd have to walk again.   In addition to the pain the rain decided to lash down on and off which made the running more difficult to manage in the mud.

When it came to trying to run in the rain my only way to manage this was to wear my rain jacket as a sort of cape to keep the bulk of the rain off; if I wore it as a normal jacket I'd start to overheat when running after only 100-200metres. I may have looked silly but it did the trick.

It was at aid station 10 (mile 77) when I knew my foot pain could put me out of the race, I hobbled into the aid station and did my best to try sort something with the blister but to little relief.
In addition to this the section after mile 77 was awful as I found the trail surface seriously painful with each footstep, at this point it was about 6.30am on Sunday morning, I knew I could finish this but knowing I had hours and hours of walking ahead of me was not a very uplifting thought.

It was around this point that JP passed me, I hadn't seen JP since the start and apart from Ray telling me at a previous aid station that I was around an hour ahead of JP but I didn't know how his race was going.  

Just after passing Benson Lock I met JP coming towards me, at first I thought we had all made a wrong turn.      As I found out later unfortunately JP and the guy he was with had made a wrong turn a number of miles back and they had completely missed aid station 10 at mile 77.  They now had to run back approx 2miles to the aid station and then run back 2miles just to get to Benson Lock.

Unfortunately Eventually JP ran into difficulties and by mile 85 he was unable to keep down food or water and he had to make the difficult decision to drop out. I'm dead certain that had JP not made the wrong turn he would have finished the race well ahead of me as he looked in good shape when he initially passed me.

The next few miles just seemed to be endless fields, they seemed to be never ending and while I had initially hoped that the surface might be kind to my feet it wasn't as my right foot was in agony with almost every-step.

85miles - 100miles:
By the time I hit the 85mile aid station I was in a bad way, my foot was in complete agony and I wanted anyone to do anything they could to try give me some relief, I met Nicola and Ray before I went inside and Ray checked to see if anyone might be able to help.

Luckily there was a nurse on hand so he taped up my foot while I was trying to hold back tears of tiredness, frustration and pain. When I arrived at the 85mile aid station I was convinced that I had actually done 87miles so when somebody mentioned I had only 15miles to go my heart sank.

Then off I went again into the pouring rain.....shuffling forward. I must have looked as miserable sight.

The first few miles after the aid station really didn't help my feet, the path was very very narrow and many parts of it had two levels. The mud was also being an issue as it was just clumping at the bottom of my shoes which meant I had no grip what so ever and I just kept slipping from time to time.

As bad as the mud was with my trail shoes I was very glad I had switched from my road shoes and I had my gaiters on as I'd have been taking off my shoes all of the time to remove mud and stones from inside them otherwise.

I went through some awful low points before I hit the next aid station at mile 91, at which time I found out I had only reached the aid station with 30min to spare!!  

Now I was getting really worried, I had kept going for hour upon hour and now the only thing that might take the finish away from me was the cut-off time and ironically not the pains in my feet!!
With this new information in mind I decided I was going to push things as much as I could towards the finish, what I didn't know was that basically all of the route between mile 91 and mile 95 (next aid station) was very sticky mud, and some of the route also had some small climbs especially around the 92/93mile mark.

By the time I hit into aid station 95 the place was almost deserted with the exception of one runner who had decided to drop out and was just being collected, as I entered the aid area they informed me I had 1hour 45min to complete the last 5 miles...plenty of time according to them.  Ordinarily I'd completely agree with them as most of my training runs are 5miles completed in around plenty of time! However, on this occasion between exhaustion, and blister issues, I wasn't sure that I would be able to complete the race before the cut-off time.

I wasn't planning to stick around and wanted all the time I could to cover the last 5 miles so I filled up on water, grabbed some gels and soldiered on towards the finish.   Once again the surface underfoot was agony!  It was full of sticky mud and lots of twigs and branches which seemed to be left over from recent tree cutting.   Eventually after about 2miles of this the surface finally changed to a field and then onto concrete.

Once I hit concrete I knew I was on the home stretch as I kept meeting more and more people out for walks and the Oxford boat crews were out training; but I wasn't taking any chances so I kept pushing myself. Urging myself to try keep some sort of pace faster than the slow walk my body and feet wanted to do, it must have been worked as I passed perhaps 3-4 runners in these final miles.

Finally after what seemed an endless time I finally caught my first glimpse of the blue finish line and I knew I was safe to finish under the cut-off. So I decided to try up the pace and finish the race the way I had started it...running.

I finally crossed the finish line in an official finish time of 27hours, 35min and 43sec, cutting it pretty close to the 28hour cutoff limit. 

I was never so happy to just lie down on the ground after a race, this was something I had promised myself and my feet over 14hours previously. I can honestly say that this was by far the hardest race I've ever ran both physically and emotionally. But it was worth it!

So why did I take so long writing this race report?
Well, I didn't start it until almost two weeks after the race as I've been absolutely floored by a seriously bad chest infection and fever.

While I was pretty okay after the race and on Monday morning (outside of the expected sore feet, legs etc.), by the time I eventually got home on Monday evening to Ireland I knew something was starting to set in.

In all honesty its been a very long time since I've been floored by such a bad chest infection and fever.  The fever meant that if I wasn't roasting I was shivering like mad. Over the time I was sick I also lost an additional 8lbs below the weight I was two days before I ran the 100mile.

As I write this report right now I'm still not 100% as my appetite is only coming back to normal, in addition my energy levels are completely shot and I'm still finding I get tired during the day. All in all its been great fun the last few weeks!

It goes without saying that I've not done any running since the 100mile race.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Thames Path 100 completed!

Thames Path 100 completed in 27hours 33min (approx),  was on track for sub 24 until around mile 70 after which I was forced to do ALOT of walking for last 30miles

Race report to follow.......

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Final Countdown....

Oh crap!
In less than 48hours to go and I'll be starting my first 100mile race!

I've finished my tapering as I ran my very last easy 2mile run yesterday morning before work and now its all systems go.

Almost everything is prepared, I've worked out more or less whats going into drop bags (mile 51 and mile 71), I've worked out what I'll be carrying and I've worked out what I "think" I need to stay warm throughout the night.

Of course trying to work out what I'll need to keep warm during the night is abit of a pain, two weeks ago I would have said I'd be fine. But with frost etc lately it could potentially get pretty cold so I've pulled out my Waterford Half Marathon woolly hat to be on the safe side. (this hardly ever gets used)

Months of training have come down to this and I'm sure I can pull it off, I felt comfortable during the Vartry 50mile a few weeks back and on a flatter course I'm sure I can keep up the pace to reach my goals for this race.


Miles This Year: 730 miles

Monday, April 20, 2015

Minimum requirments

Its less then two weeks to go before the Thames Path 100 and I've started to check I have everything
in order, this includes the contents of the backpack which I must have with me during the race, these include:
  • Fully Charged Mobile Phone including the numbers for the Race Medic and Race Director (on the number you have given at registration) 
  • Water Bottles/Bladder capable of carrying a minimum of 1 litre. 
  • Survival Blanket: 1.4m x 2m minimum. 
  • Route Map. GPS will not suffice
  • Waterproof Jacket: Gore-tex or similar (must have sealed seams). 
  • Compass. Must not be electronic or on your phone. This must be a usable working compass.
  • Whistle 
  • Headtorch plus backup Light source.  
  • Warm Hat & Gloves 
Its a good bit of stuff to carry before I even factor in carrying stuff to eat etc. Other prep has included marking out my route map to show aid stations, drop bag points and also crossing where I need to cross to the other side of the Thames.

During last week I took it pretty easy as I'm still in taper mode....I never enjoy tapering and normally when I taper I decide to break up the lack of miles with a cycle which I always find enjoyable as I don't normally cycle alot during my normal training schedule

Last weeks runs broke-down as:
- Monday: 18.32mile cycle @ 17.7km/hour
- Tuesday: 10miles @ 7:28min/pace
- Wednesday: 5miles @ 8:10min/pace & 2mile walk
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: 5miles @ 7:56min/pace
- Saturday: 12.48miles @ 8:39min/pace
- Sunday: Rest

Weekly Total: 35 miles
Miles This Year: 697 miles

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Recovery after Vartry 50mile

Its been just over a week since the 50mile and I'm very surprised at the recovery,

First of all besides the legs feeling abit heavy at the start of the week I have no blisters what so ever and no pains or stiffness in my legs. More importantly I passed the stairs test as I have zero problems walking up or down stairs.

I feel better then I did after numerous marathons I've done in the past and I certainly far better then after Portumna 100km last June or Connemara Ultra last April.  

Just to be on the same side at the start of the week I took it nice and easy with slow paced recovery runs. By Friday I had an enjoyable sub 8min/pace 4mile run and when I went out with the lads for the weekly LSR in Kilkenny City it started as a slow run but the last 5miles were sub 7:40min/pace with the last mile finishing at 7min/pace. 

So overall I feel I'm in good shape, certainly alot better then I would have expected after the 50mile run.

From next week I'll get back to running every day but as I'm in tapering mode ahead of Thames Path on the 2/3rd May I won't be going too crazy (maybe one more 20mile run?).  Between now and then I just need to think about what I plan to bring, what I'll be carrying and whats going into a drop bag...decisions, decisions!

One thing is for sure, its going to be an experience......

This weeks runs broke-down as:
- Monday: 2.08miles @ 9:2omin/pace
- Tuesday: 5.04miles @ 9:14min/pace
- Wednesday: 2miles @ 8:49min/pace
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: 4miles @ 7:32min/pace
- Saturday: 14miles @ 8:28min/pace (last 5miles at 7:40min or lower)
- Sunday: 5miles @ 9:28min/pace

Weekly Total: 32 miles
Miles This Year: 662 miles

Monday, April 6, 2015

Vartry 50mile 2015 Race Report

I've always seen Vartry 50mile as my test race, a race where I wasn't pushed about time or anything. I just wanted to test what I'd eat, my pace and what it would be like to carry my backpack for so many hours.

Overall I'm happy with the on for more details of course.

It was an early start as instead of staying up in Roundwood I choose to drive from Kilkenny, thankfully most of the journey was via motorway so it was pretty quick.   Arrived in plenty of time and was greeted by Don the Vartry Race director just before I got my race number sorted.

As time rolled on the lads arrived and so we all lined up at the start and we were off in the dark.

Route Map
Route Elevation
The Vartry 50mile race route consisted of 5x 10mile loops, a small portion of this loop also included a short out and back stretch of road. The route overall included a good numbers of hills as well. (see elevation and route map)

During the first loop me and the lads took it pretty handy as there was no real point in trying to run up all the hills, especially when we had to do the same loop 4x more times. The plan was to finish somewhere around 10hours and to pretty much take it handy for the day and effectively use it as a training run.  Except for Ray who planned on finishing first and even after some problems still managed to cross the line in 1st place, impressive stuff.

On the second loop with the lads I managed to lose them at the start/finish area as I thought they had gone on ahead of me after I stopped for a min or two but I was 2-3miles into the next loop by the time I realised they were behind me.

I figured I'd meet up with them again at the start/stop area at the end of loop 3 (30miles) as my plan at that stage was to change my socks, re-grease everything again and take on some food and drink before heading off again.  So I did this and still no sign of them so I ran on maybe 2miles before meeting them coming towards me. It turns out they stopped for some photos at an armored personnel carrier at Specialops Paintball which we had been passing during each loop of the course.

At this stage I figured I wouldn't be meeting up to finish the 50miles with the guys so I kept on going. By about 35miles in I was starting to feel abit tired but surprisingly I still had no signs of any blisters starting on either of my feet.  This is particularly surprising given the amount of blister problems I've had the past 6-8 weeks.
On the last 10mile loop I took it handy enough at times and I was starting to feel abit tired but as I approached the final few hundred meters I figured I might as well finish running and I finished in 10hours 10min. 

Overall I'm happy with the result and it was a good test run ahead of the Thames Path 100 next month as I've learned I was carrying stuff which I simply didn't want to eat and other stuff that I can just substitute others items for at the Aid stations. 

This in turn means my backpack would be lighter which is very much a good thing as I found my shoulders hurting abit towards the end.

As for the Vartry 50mile event itself, Don (Race Director) and everyone else involved did a excellent job organizing the event. The location was great and although the course was tough, it was an enjoyable course none the less. I can certainly see myself coming back next year.

I can only imagine how tough the 100mile race at Vartry was considering that by the second lap anyone doing the 100mile race was already running in the dark and then had to continue to run in the dark for a further 10hours or so. Mentally that has to be hard going as most other 100mile races often finish in the dark after starting very early in the morning.  

So many of the people running the 100mile still looked fresh at the 80 or 90mile mark and many just looked like they were out for their normal weekly runs. Really impressive to see.

I will say that doing the 50mile race has reassured me somewhat in relation to my physical ability to finish the Thames Path 100 after my doubts a few weeks back, however I will admit that mentally it has perhaps made me doubt if I can stick it out when the times really do get tough when it starts hitting 20+ hours into a 100mile race.  

Only time will tell in relation to that I guess,

Weekly Total: 54 miles
Miles This Year: 630 miles