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

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Slievenamon & Home

My route around Slievenamon & home
Last week started with a rest day but then I decided on a long slog of a day on Tuesday by first doing 17miles around Slievenamon on trails and then running all the way home, this totaled approx 36miles but I paused my watch for approx 1mile by accident so I'm going to say 35miles.

I'll admit that the climbs on Slievenamon took alot out of me, this is likely because I've not done any trail running on it in a few months now so I did alot more walking then normal.   Overall really I did more walking then I would have liked.

The good news however is the muscles in my left leg did behave throughout so that's something that's very much positive especially given the issues I've had lately.

The rest of the week included alot less miles but I still managed both a 10 and 13mile towards the weekend, this ends a high(ish) mile week and I'll be taking it handy this week ahead of doing the Vartry 50mile on Saturday.

Last weeks runs broke-down as:
- Monday: Rest
- Tuesday: 35miles @ 13:43min/pace (paused the watch for 1mile)
- Wednesday: 5miles @ 9:19min/pace (Recovery)
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: 10miles @ 7:48min/pace
- Saturday:13miles @ 8:49min/pace
- Sunday: 8miles @ 8:29min/pace & 1.67miles @ 25:33min/pace

Weekly Total: 73 miles
Miles This Year: 575 miles