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....