Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wexford Half Marathon Race Report

Back on the 23rd April, I ran the Wexford Half marathon, but there was no tapering before it and there was certainly no personal best set during the race as this time I was pacing the 1:45 finish for a change.

It's been awhile since I've done a pacing job and it was nice to do one again, I've previously paced 5hours at the Limerick Marathon two years in a row and decided it was time to pace another event but this time I opted for a half marathon event instead at an event much, much closer to home!

The last time I ran in Wexford at this marathon I busted a gut trying to get a PB and I did by finishing in 1:42:07 which I was certainly happy with at the time. So this was going to be a refreshing change where instead of pushing myself I could instead get in a handy training run.

Myself and Grace headed down to Wexford bright and early on Sunday and when we arrived it looked like it was going to be a pretty cool day. But by the time I had picked up my number and pacing balloon the clouds were starting to break.

I met up with Michael who would be the second 1:45 pacer and we headed down to the start line, but the time we reached the start it was looking like it was going to be a very warm day!

The day did not disappoint and It certainly warmed up during the race, it also didn't help that I missed picking up water at two of the water stations...but I was more concerned with letting others pick some up.

Although we had a group at the start this seemed to drop off a bit especially in the last 3-4miles of the half-marathon but we still got a few people home under the time and I was happy to finish in 1:44:33, about 10sec earlier than planned but not too bad overall.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Waterford Greenway Out & Back Training Run

Finally got around to writing up this training report!

A week ago on Saturday the 15th April, I finally did the Waterford Greenway out to Dungarvan and all the way back to Waterford. Of course, I wasn't just me doing this on my own, there was, of course, a group of us that did the run.

It was an early start so I headed down to Waterford City and picked up Paul Croke and JP Tierney and we headed to the quays, just before we did this we dropped a few supplies with JP's wife Nicola who would be our crew for the day.

At the quays, we met up with John Boyle & Stephen Brennan. Myself, JP, John, Stephen & Paul would be the core group that would run the entire greenway out and back but we had others that either met up near the start or at the half way point and they'd run between 20-30miles each.

Overall it was going to be a productive training run for everyone!
The Starting Line, Courtesy of JP

So a quick picture of the group before we got moving and we were off, we started a pretty relaxed pace of 9:40-10:20min/miles.

However in hindsight, this was actually too fast and we'd have been better off actually slowing it down further as it would have meant we'd have kept a more consistent speed overall....but more on that later.

Before we knew it we were at the WIT Campus in Carrigmore beside the greenway and we met up with David Sheridan, he had planned on doing a 24hr event on Saturday only to find it was canceled a few weeks back so he opted for this training run anyway.

Throughout the run, we all chatted with each other and before we knew it we had 2hrs done and we were near the quarry a few miles out from Kilmacthomas. At this point Stephen decided he had enough miles done for the day so he headed back to Waterford, he'd still finish the day with around 26miles done by the time he got back to the quays.

By the time we reached Kilmacthomas David had been having issues with an injury so he decided to head back to Waterford, although we lost David we picked up another runner Paul Brunnock.

Paul had actually run out from Dungarvan to meet us and was now planning on running back to Dungarvan with us, this would mean he'd finish the day with around 30miles done, not bad considering he had taken part in a 4mile race the night before in Co Waterford.

We refueled and topped up our water and we were off again as we approached the Kilmacthomas viaduct we got a lovely view of the Comeragh mountains and the day had brightened up.

Approaching Kilmacthomas, Courtesy of JP

From Kilmacthomas onwards we finally started to meet people and it got increasingly busy as we approached the Ballyvoile tunnel, for those that don't know what the Ballyvoile tunnel is. It's a 400metre long brick-lined tunnel that was previously part of the rail line.   The approach to the tunnel is what I like to refer to as "Jurassic Park like".

Entering the tunnel, Courtesy of JP

Leaving the tunnel, Courtesy of JP
We crossed the third of the greenway's old railway viaducts and we then got to see Clonea strand below us, from here there is a nice 2-3mile downhill as we start to approach Dungarvan and this section was even busier than the tunnel.  In fact, as we approached the last 3miles into Dungarvan it got really very busy.

Considering we're not even into the summer I was surprised by how busy this section of the greenway was, it should be interesting to see just how busy the greenway is in the summer and how the numbers hold up as the years go by.
Clonea Strand, Courtesy of JP

Finally, we reached Dungarvan for the turnaround point.   The marker of the greenway start/finish in Dungarvan is a giant modern art sculpture of two fish so we rounded that and we started our return.   But before we left Dungarvan we met up with JP's wife Nicola for some food and drink which I think at this stage we were very grateful for.

After the refuel, we left Dungarvan and Paul Brunnock also left the group as he headed home. The rest of us crossed the causeway out of Dungarvan and started the 2-3mile slight climb up towards the Ballyvoile tunnel and not for the first time we also started walking on and off.

As we approached Kilmacthomas we met up with Nicola again and for a quick refuel and we also picked up another runner Anthony O'Neil, Anthony had decided to run with us the remaining 22-25miles back to Waterford as a training run. We were delighted to have him, the more the merrier.
Fuel stop before Kilmacthomas, Courtesy of JP

We headed off once again and our plan was to continue to Kilmeaden where we'd meet Nicola again for the last crew stop.

I will say that at this stage especially in the last 2miles coming up to Kilmeaden I was certainly starting to feel it, I also got my first blister of the day but like always I ran through it to where it stopped hurting me anymore.

Finally, we reached Kilmeaden and we had around 4-5miles to go to the finish. As we sat down a cyclist pulled up and sat down at one of the tables next to us and asked how long we were out for? We mentioned since 7 and he had to stop for a second and as "7 am??", we explained we'd been out since 7 am and were just coming back from Dungarvan after running to Dungarvan.   He seemed very surprised at the whole idea of this.
Me at around the 55mile mark

We then headed off for the home straight and again it was very much run/walk from here until the finish, I was happy when we reached Bilberry which is the actual the official start of the Greenway in Waterford City but I was happier still to see the Clock Tower on the Waterford Quays which had been the start of the day's training run (also my car was parked near it!).

Overall it was an enjoyable day out and it was fantastic to have a group training run like this as it made the time fly as we chatted to each other, this was especially good as we had spent the bones of 13hours running and when you're on your own and you're tired this amount of hours can start to feel awful long!

Now, who's for doing the Waterford Greenway Ultra 50km & 100km as a race event!? :)

For anyone interested you can find the Garmin log of the training run here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

First training run over 50miles of the year!

The countdown is on to the 98km Waterford Greenway group run this Saturday, I'm sure I'll find it hard going towards the end bit I'm really looking forward to it.

Its funny how these things change, back in 2014 I ran my first 100km and it was a massive deal to do it. It took my awhile to recover after it as well. But for this I'm just seeing it as a long day on my feet.

It's strange how things can change so much....

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Thanks Dog

I mentioned in the last post that our dog knocked me to the ground on Monday and I hit my knee on a rock which caused a lovely bruise.          Well, the next day she knocked into me again and caused another bruise, this time on my shin (though thankfully no where near as painful)

So for getting the dog out and about I end up with two bruises on the same leg within 2 days, my knee still isn't 100% yet but its not far off it thankfully.

she's an awful hard life our dog!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Another jaunt on the Waterford Greenway

Another week and another jaunt on the Waterford Greenway and thankfully these longer runs only get easier over time.   On Thursday last I went out for another run on the greenway, this time I started at the WIT Carriganore campus and headed off towards Kilmacthomas and ran around 4miles past it (15miles in total) and then 15miles back.

An enjoyable run for the most part but the conditions were pretty crap throughout the entire run with mist, wind and rain. But I had packed accordingly for bad weather and was very thankful for my jacket.

One thing that was slightly annoying but not at all surprising is part of the greenway past Kilmeaden is currently closed due to works that are still underway. I say I'm not surprised by this because when I visited the greenway 2x weeks before it was "officially opened" this entire section was still mud with no fences etc.

When I headed off for the 30mile run I expected this so when I was asked to detour I wasn't pissed off, however the same couldn't be said for other greenway users who according to the workman I was chatting to gave them abuse about the need to detour off the greenway track. 
Kilmacthomas Railway Viaduct

After the 30mile run I took it easy with only a very handy 2mile run with the dog the next morning. On Saturday there was no run but on Sunday a fast 11mile run with Mossy who's also a member of the local athletic club.

This fast 11mile wasn't the plan to begin with as the pace started slow enough with 8min/mile but by the end the overall average had dropped to 7.30min/mile and a several of the miles were sub 7:00min/miles. I certainly felt this effort so soon after the 30mile run on Thursday!

Overall while it hasn't been a massive mileage week it was pretty good and I felt the training is bringing improvement which is only a good thing.

On Monday evening I brought our dog Buffy to the local wood for her usual run and she managed to run straight into me at full speed knocking me to the ground in the process where I hit my left knee on a rock      So for my troubles my knee was really sore on Monday evening to the point where it hurt to bend it, a few days on its not too bad as it's just a little bruised but its not hurting much otherwise.

While due to shifts at work I'm not getting many pre-work runs done during the week I'm still managing my long slow runs.

Of course getting the long runs each week is important as I have a nice long run on the 15th April as I'll be running the entire Waterford greenway out and back which will clock in at 60miles (approx 98km) so it'll be a good day out and it's looking like they'll be a nice group of us running the route together.

The entire route we'll be running can be seen below, anyone interested in joining us can visit the Facebook event page

Entire greenway route

In general, if you're interested in running, walking or cycling the Waterford Greenway then I'd recommend that you checkout the greenway website. It has lots of helpful info including a useful Greenway App which allows you to very easily find all the parking locations.