Thursday, June 29, 2017

Waterford Viking Marathon Race Report 2017

As part of my training for Connemara 100mile in August this turned into a race with a difference and a race report with a difference as it's really less about the race and more about the journey.

Originally I had planned to take it handy doing the Tullaroan Ultra at the beginning of June and then to race the Waterford Viking Marathon at the end of June before moving onto Connemara in August.

However, things change and I was mindful that although I had ran the Waterford Greenway out and back I needed some longer runs, so instead I opted to race Tullaroan with the aim of placing in top 3 (succesfully!) and then to just run the Waterford Viking Marathon but with a difference.  That different was of course to run the 30 or so miles to the start line in Waterford City.

Passing under the M9 motorway at around 4am
So with that in mind after working all week and with only 2-3hours sleep on Friday I was up and out my front door at 2am,.  Just as I was starting my run I met my wife Grace coming back from a night out...she was (understandably) worried about me running so late at night on country roads.

As I ran through the town I only met two people, one person looking out their front door at me seemed pretty amused by the sight of a man with a headtorch wearing shorts and a backpack running through the town at 2am, I suppose who could blame them really?

So off I went into the dark of the night as I left the town, the roads for the night were not busy and for the first two hours or so other then seeing the odd bat or hearing animals in the ditches I only encountered maybe 2-3 cars and just as I crossed under the M9 motorway I encountered a truck.

After a pretty disappointing sunsise at around 5am I pushed on and after spotting yet more wildlife (a fox standing looking at me with a bird in its mouth) I finally reached Mullinavat, on the Mullinavat to Waterford stretch I did the most walking as I figured that it could do no harm, it was good training and I was actually 30min ahead of schedule for reaching Waterford as I had planned on a 6hour run and instead I arrived in around 5hours 30min mark.

At one stage I did manage to stumble on a cats eye on the road a few miles passed Mullinavat, while it didn't cause me any problems at the time it certainly did afterwards....more on that later.

At around 7.33am I finally reached Rice Bridge in Waterford City and finally I could sit down for a while and get some more sugar into me, by right I should have taken in some sort of decent solid food at this point but I didn't and this was perhaps rather foolish, but then I didn't really feel like it at the time.

After a little bit of a stretch and getting down to the finish line I got to sit down for a while and it was most welcome, as the race start started to fill up however I started to see some familar faces and it was good to chat to a few people and catch up on things and share stories and experiences.

Heading towards the toll bridge
My aim for the marathon was to stick with the 4:30 pacers, this also happened to be paced by JP and Anthony who happened to be with JP so I figured it couldn't hurt to have some company for the day, especially after spending the previous 6hours on my own.

At 9am we were off and I started my second long run of the day with 26.2miles to go. The race started at the Mall in Waterford City and it headed down the quays and over Rice bridge turning left towards the interchange which provides exits to the M9 motorway and the new bridge and bypass.

This was the first challenge of the day as the road up towards the intercharge is a long drag of at least 1mile, after that we headed down towards the bridge and ran through the toll barriers, this is likely the only time you'll get through this toll bridge without paying!

After that we crossed over a temporary footbridge and ran for the first of two times in the day on the Waterford Greenway. Up until this point I had been fine but by the time we reached Mount Congrave I was starting to flag and feel tired so on the hill leaving the Greenway I walked for the first time of the day. Once I started walking I pretty much knew my goal of a 4:30 marathon was gone but I wasn't too worried as this day was about distance and time on my feet so even if it took 5hours it wasn't a problem.

It was at this stage that it dawned on me that this new Waterford marathon route was going to be much hillier then I had expected it to be and to be fair I hadn't checked out the course elevation or route too much before hand so I guess this was to be expected.

Once I lost JP and the 4:30 pacers it was basically myself and Anthony until the finish, always good to have company for a long day like this!

The day had now warmed up a good bit and as the miles ticked on I was glad of being able to pour water over my head, it really made a big difference!  Between all the walking breaks during the marathon myself and Anthony knew this wasn't going to be a 5hour finish for the marathon and as we started to count down the final miles we knew it was going to be much closer to 5hrs 20min.

As we approached the finish we could see the clock was 5:22 and I was glad to finally cross the finish line, after 11hours and 8min of running and 56miles covered I could finally take a proper rest.

As I was crossing I was surprised to hear the announcer mention my 2am start and my run to the marathon start line which was a nice touch.

Credit: Noel Browne
So, why did I mention the stumble over the cats eye earlier in the day, well it seemed to have cause a problem with my right ankle.  While not an issue during the marathon I found after the marathon it was painful and the next day I could barely walk with the pain, its now 5 days later and its 95% back to normal now so its nothing serious thankfully.

However, other then this injury and a blister on my right foot I had no other issues so overall a good day :)

Oh, almost forgot, here's my garmin log of this entire run.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Connemara 100 - Take II

Yep, it's official I'm doing Connemara 100 again!
Last year I learned loads and I'm doing it again but this time I hope to pull off the sub 24hr time.

I came awfully close to it last year as I think I could have managed 23hours only for I hit problems from mile 86 onward but I think I've learned enough in relation to gear and nutrition to overcome the problems I experienced and to get under 27hours as a finish.

In addition to doing another 100mile race, for the first time since my first marathon back in 2011 I'm running an event in aid of a charity and this time its a local organisation called Mount Carmel House, here's some infor about the organisation.

Mount Carmel House is a voluntary centre, established for the supported care
of low dependency elderly people from the local and surrounding areas. The centre
provides supported living and respite care for a maximum of 20 residents requiring minimal assistance in a homely environment.  A lively Day Care Centre environment also allows people to socialise and take part in a variety of activities.   Mount Carmel also provides meals and other services to people in the local community.
So between now and then I'll be aiming to raise funds for the local chairity, if you'd like to support the organisation please fee free to donate online at or if your local to me let me know and I'll drop by with a sponsorship card.

Over the coming months they'll also be some fund raising events as well.

Onwards and upwards!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Waterford Marathon.....with a difference?

Although the Waterford Marathon has been on for a few years I've decided this year will be the first year that I'm going to do it. However its not a "goal" race and I never planned on racing it and finishing it in any specific time, instead I'm going to run it with a difference...

How, You may ask?  Well, thats mainly down to how exactly I'm going to get to the marathon start line. Origionally I was planning on treating it has any old race and arriving as normal but as this is a local race I've instead decided to run to the start line.

If you know your geography you'll know this isn't a 5 or 10mile run however, Waterford City is approx 31miles from Callan via the old N9 road, so this means I'll have to run 31mniles before the marathon and then run the 26.2miles of the Watrrford marathon. It's a big ask and its going to mean a very, very early start to the day.

I've run the 31mile route to Waterford twice already so I know I can do it but the challenge will be then to run the marathon afterwards without walking and to push me I plan on sticking with the 4:30 pacers.

So here's the plan, it's going to be a 2/3am start which will allow 6hours to get down to Waterford City, this will mean 11:30min/mile pace for the 31miles. To finish the marathon in 4hours 30min this will mean a avg pace of 10:18min/mile so its going to be a challenge to up the pace to complete the days 57miles.

Few people I've mentioned this to have asked do I plan on running home, certainly not. I think 57miles is enough for the day.

Waterford Marathon takes place on Saturday the 24th June, It's going to be a challenge thats for sure but its an ideal very long training run for what I have planned later in the year.

Below is the route I'll be taking and the elevation for the run from Callan to Waterford City

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Tullaroan Ultra-marathon (39.3mile) 2017 Race Report

Welcome to another race report, its the June bank holiday weekend and that means the Tullaroan Half/Marathon & Ultra took place on Saturday.

This is the forth year that Tullaroan AC have put on a 5km/10km/half & marathon races. Last year they added a 39.3mile Ultra for the first time after previous requests for the distance and you can read all about my race report from last years running of that course here.

It's been exactly a year since I ran a 39.3mile distance and prior to last years run I hadn't run this distance since Connemara Ultra in 2014 where I managed to finish in 5hrs 52min 19seconds.

Last year in Tullaroan after running part of the third loop way too fast and experiencing a good bit of cramping from the 34mile mark onwards I finished it in 6hours, 3min and 36seconds and came in at 4th place.   I was determined to improve on this and maybe, just maybe finish top three!

As always it was an early start for the Ultra as it set off at 7am, it was a small enough field with only 13 taking place and I got number 12!

and we're off....
This year I had opted to take on less food during the race and to only carry 4 gels and because I hate carrying water in my hand, I opted to use my Ultimate Race pack for the day.
In all honesty I didn't need the race pack and I could have just dropped the gels at certain points before the start but I didn't bother.

We were off at 7am and it was a slow and steady start with the aim of averaging an 8:30min/mile pace for the entire race. For the first 4miles or so I was chatting to a few people but after that I was pretty much on my own for the rest of the day.

I knew from this early stage in the race that I was actually in 3rd place (overall) and 2nd place (male) as both the 1st place male and female had raced ahead of the main group after the 2mile mark and we lost sight of them.

Although I had set the goal of running an 8:30min/mile avg pace early on I had noted that I had run the 1st loop at an avg pace of around 8:20min/mile so I opted to slow things down a bit and do my best to stick to my goal pace on the second loop.
This started well enough but I pretty much knew anyone I was spotting behind me after the 13mile point was also part of the Ultra as both the 8am & 7am marathon starts were in front of me. After spotting somebody at around 15miles I kept the slightly faster pace but I did drop it down to around 8:23min/mile average.

By the time I hit the 26mile mile mark I felt I was in decent shape, unlike last year I completed my second 13mile loop ahead of the half-marathon start who I had actually met up with just as I started my 3rd and final loop. I did however meet some 10km walkers and on some of the hills I ended up walking and chatting to them from the 28mile mark as the hills were starring to really effect the legs.

Still, I didn't forget I was in a race and I knew I was still in 2nd place for male finish of the Ultra so this spurred me on. I passed the 31mile (50km) mark in 4hours 31min which was a personal best for this distance and eventually the half marathon runners started to pass me coming up to 32miles.

Still, it wasn't all bad, but the time I hit the aid station at the Valley Inn I was still in pretty good shape and unlike last year I didn't cramp up and end up on the ground, thats always a good thing!

Shortly after the Valley Inn from around the 35mile mark it was a run/walk to the finish, although I didn't know it at the time one of the male Ultra runners past me between the 35 and 37mile mark, at least this is when I'm pretty certain they passed me as from 37mile to the finish line nobody else passed me and prior to this I had kept an eye on the race bibs for the people passing me. I pushed it on for the last 2miles and I kept up pace with one of the half marathon runners I finished the last mile in 7:51min.

As I crossed the line I was pretty sure I was top three but I wasn't certain if somebody had passed me or not while I was walking so I checked things out with Vincent the race director and was delighted to be informed I came in as 3rd male for the Ultra.

Considering I came in 4th place last year I'm very happy with this results and it'll be my first top 3 finish for anything other then a 3mile race I once did a few years back.

Official finish time was 05:47:58

As always you can check out my Garmin of the race here and you can see the full race results on the myrunresults website.

If you're interested to know how this 39.3mile Ultra compares to the Connemara Ultra held in April each year check out last years race report.

Finally a trophy for the cabinet!
As always, an enjoyable event put on by Tullaroan AC, well organised and plenty of stuff at the aid stations. Thankfully it wasn't as warm as last year but the course will always make it challenging!