Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Long Way Round

Ticking along lately with my next big race due in Feb which is Donadea 50km, until then I'm taking it relatively easy.

Normally in November I try run Stook 10mile and in December I run the Waterford Half-marathon, but I've not registered for either and even if I wanted to Waterford is now sold out. Shame really as I do enjoy Waterford.

However, for the third year in a row I am doing the Long Way Round which takes place in Clonmel at night, for me its less of a race and more of just an enjoyable night trail run.   
At last years event I ran the course wrapped in Christmas lights and wearing a Santa hat, I also accidentally arrived at the start line very, very late and I was literally the last person to cross the start line so I was never going to do great with that sort of preparation.

The event is a fund raiser for the South East Mountain Rescue and for anyone that does hill walking or trail running I'd encourage them to come along, its a well organised event and a good laugh.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Kilkenny Medieval Marathon 2018 Race Report

Race day arrived on the 15th Sept and I headed into Kilkenny to do the Medieval Marathon 2018, although this race takes place only 10miles away from me as I've mentioned before I've never run it so I was looking forward to it.

I headed to race number pickup which was taking place just across from the very famous Langtons Hotel, collection was quick and it was good to see some familiar faces even this early on in the race.

One thing I've forgotten to mention is the night before race day there was an announcement that due to a large funeral taking place out in Church Hill area in Cuffesgrange the marathon route had to be re-routed as it would have created a safety hazard otherwise.  I'll get back to this later in the race report though.

The start for all the races (marathon, half, 10km) all started in the same location which was the CAS bridge, not a bad location as it was easy get to but it is a very busy area road traffic wise.

My aim for the day was somewhat hopeful, I was aiming to beat my sub 3:29 PB so I decided to head out and stick with the 3.30 pacers and speed up towards the least that was the plan.

Of course that was the plan and like everything I don't always stick to it especially at the start as crowds annoy me in races so for the start of the race I upped the pace to get ahead of most of the crowd, but by the time I hit the 3-4mile mark I met up with the pacers and I stayed pretty comfortable with them.

As we approached Cuffesgrange this is where the race route changed and I must say I was disappointed, partly because I knew the route off by heart and enjoy the route but also last minute changes are never good for people especially when it comes to races.   However, I fully agree with the reason for the route change as I'm local and was fully aware of the sheer size of the funeral taking place and the safety issues it would have represented to the runners.  

However I feel very sorry for the race organisers and I'm sure it created many logistical problems for them on the day including with stewards.

Due to all the changes instead of heading the route I'm used to running on we headed off on a different road and as the miles dripped by I dropped the pacers and headed off ahead of them as I felt comfortable.  This section of the course due to the route was an out & back (I'm never a fan of these!).

On the way back from the out-and-back I met the pacers and continued on, at this stage I was starting to feel the miles and when I reached the Kilkenny road (about 5 miles from Finish) I could see the pacers behind me and they soon caught up with me. By mile 22 the pacers caught me and very quickly I was dropped by them as I get a cramp in my left leg.

From here on it was a bit of a slog to Kilkenny City and it wasn't the most pleasant experience while I tried my best to try recover some sort of decent time out of the race.

Once I hit into the city the route took a lot of twists and turns and involved crossing some very busy roads which wasn't ideal. John's Bridge especially was very congested traffic wise and involved running between the cars in traffic to cross the road which I wouldn't expect to have to do in a race.

Coming up to Kilkenny Castle and the finish line was a little bit of a slog especially coming up from the Canal Walk but at least nobody was in the way, but once I reached the castle wall I started to meet people.  While most of the time these people seemed to get out of the way or at least be aware there was a race taking place as I passed the entrance to Kilkenny Castle a group of American's walked straight out in front of me and only for a quick jump out to the left I would have collided with them.

Shortly after I crossed the finish line in 03:40:22.

Not the PB I was aiming for but none the less I'm pretty happy with it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

I'm on Strava

I'm on Strava and I'm still training by doing about an average of 30miles a week,
but thats still not an excuse for not updating this blog

If you'd like to follow me on Strava you can find me here.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Finally a race!

So I have finally booked my next race and its this Saturday the 15th in Kilkenny City, it's also a marathon!

I've not run a marathon as a race event in some time, while I had planned to run the Waterford Marathon the race organisers cancelled it because of heat during the summer which was awfully disappointing and frankly I think it was a overreaction.  It was also likely due to them choosing a poor route which they knew they could not provide adequate first aid support on due to the narrowness of the Waterford greenway.

After doing the Tullamore Half marathon I decided that since I'm not doing Dublin this years I'd opt to do another marathon so I've settled on the Medieval Marathon, its in its third year this year and although it only takes place 10miles from where I live I've never taken part in the race.

Although I've not taken part in the race over the past few months I had changed my regular running route in order to allow me wife to drive to work and then I would run into Kilkenny City and collect the car. The route I happened to take for this avoids the main and its a pretty nice route, some of this is incorporated in the marathon route so it should be interesting.

Friday, August 31, 2018

New Watch

Those that are connected to me on Garmin or Strava may have noticed I've changed my watch, I've
stuck with a Garmin but I've changed from my old Fenix 2 to a Forerunner 235.   

For anyone that's used a Fenix you'll know that the battery life is great but one problem I have with it is no matter what way I put it on the heart rate strap chaffs the heck out of me!   The last bit of chaffing on my chest it gave me took several weeks to heal up.

As I wanted to use my HR when training I finally opted to change my watch and I picked up a Forerunner 235 for around 120euro on Prime Day (normally 220+).

I've been using it for a few weeks now and impressions and so far so good. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Tullamore Quinlan Cup Half Marathon Race Report

Its been a nice easy week as I've been busy tapering for the Tullamore Quinlan Cup Half Marathon so a managed the following:
- Monday: 6miles
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: 2miles easy
- Thursday: 2miles easy
- Friday: Rest

While months back my aim was to run a target half-marathon with the aim of beating my PB of 1:29:33 running this half was very much a last minute decision only taken in the past two weeks and really only finalised when I managed 1:35 on a training run for this distance last week so I haven't been training for a half like I should be.
At first I wanted to run Clonmel but that was booked out for the Sunday so I opted for this instead as it still had spaces and it took place on the Saturday, Saturday arrived and it was time to make my way to Tullamore.     Driving the route to Tullamore reminds me of the times I used to attend the Charleville Photograpghy meetups back in 2008/2009 when we used to all stay overnight in the castle.   You can see a selection of photos I took in the castle on my old photoblog website.

Anyway, back to the running, with a race start of 11am and the fact I needed to collect my number etc it was a 8.00am start for the drive up and for a change I also had the support of my wife Grace which was nice to have for the day.

We arrived around 10am and it was off to register, number picked up and it was time to warm up ahead of the race.    My aim of course  to go out with the 1:30 pacers and stay with them until the last mile and then push forward to get a new PB.

11am rolled along and we all lined up to the start line, the race had fully sold out so there was a good crowd really for the off.  We were off a little late at 11:02am and from the start although we were running 6:40min pace it felt so easy, I actually remember thinking if it felt this easy for the entire race then this would be great.

Unlike so many other races where I've pushed ahead of the pacers I stuck right with the two pacers from the very start, this made easier by the fact that the pacers had flags rather then balloons as balloons tend to constantly get in the way of other runners.

To my surprise the first part of the half-marathon was much hillier then expected but I must say the pacers were good for giving pre-warning to various hills recommending people ease off the pace and not to really push on the hills and take it easier on the down hills.    However, by the time we reached the 6mile mark I was starting to feel it and it didn't help that I had stuck with lead 1:30 pacer who was really pushing the pace to the point where the second pacer asked him to ease back, for a short few metres I managed to drop out of the pacing group entirely but was able to catch up with them and stay with them again.

At this point in the pace the pacing group had managed to bank around 40seconds.

By the time we reached mile 10 I was really starting to flag and it was becoming a big challenge to keep the pace.     To his credit the second pacer tried his best to encourage me on as did two Tullamore A/C club runners who tried to encourage me to stay with them but I just couldn't maintain the pace anymore.

By the time I reached mile 11 I could no longer see the flags belong to the 1:30 pacers and I knew any chance of beating my previous PB was out the window completely but I kept up the pace as best I could.

The finish for this half involved onto the Tullamore A/C track, running past the finish line and doing one loop of the track, as I approached the track I was passed by two other runners but there wasn't anyone else behind me. As I approached the finish line I could see Grace cheering me on and so I pushed on to finish in 1:30:25.

Not the new PB I was hoping for but still a respectable time and place 116th out of 811 people running the half marathon.

I missed out on the new personal best but to be honest I'm not annoyed, considering I hadn't been properly training I finished in a pretty respectable time and if anything this spurs me on about what I could manage if I really put the head down and thought about maybe trying to knock 1-2min off my half-marathon time.

My garmin of the route can be found here.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Time to get back to races

So it turns out I have this Sunday the 26th August off so I decided that a half-marathon might not be a bad idea especially considering I feel I can pull off another sub 1:30 half.

However, it was not meant to be as Clonmel filled up about a week ago. I even contacted Clonmel A/C to see if there were any spaces because of people deferring till 2019 but no such luck (honestly I didn't think it held much hope).

All is not lost though, I spotted that the Tullamore Quinlan Cup Half Marathon is taking place on Saturday at 11am, its a flatter course then what Clonmel is so it increases my chances of a PB.

Although not yet 100% I also have in mind a marathon in the next month or so too, I may even aim for a PB depending on how this half goes.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Good to be back....

So I've finally got back into some sort of routine the last few weeks with running and its nice to be back to it, honestly I've missed it a lot.  I've missed the morning routine and getting out and about.

As it is I currently start work at 7am so a morning run means a pretty early start especially if I want to get a 8mile in before work but its something I'll need to make the commitment to and I'll be honest my mind just hasn't been with it for sometime to do this.  

I've thought about why and honestly I think the 100mile last year took a lot out of me mentally, compounded by Dublin in October and I think I sort of reached burn out to a degree, I just couldn't get back into a proper routine and outside of the Tullaroan Ultra which I booked in November I just had no interest in picking specific races to do anymore.  Instead I sort of plodded along with running now and then including the odd LSR.

This however has only started to change since around June when I opted for a 5mile race and signed up for Waterford Marathon (this was later downgraded to Half because they cancelled the marathon)

So anyway, to get me into the swing of things last week we were camping down in Clonea in Co Waterford which was lovely, no tv phones etc to distract us and every day I got to enjoy running on the Waterford Greenway for a change.

Nothing like camping for being relaxed
Runs on the greenway consisted of starting at Casey's Caravan Park at Clonea strand and either optiing to take the causeway towards Dungarvan or heading towards Waterford City and going through the Durrow Tunnel and back.   Each morning was a 7am or earlier start so was lucky to meet even 1-2 people while out running.

The Durrow Tunnel route was especally enjoyable as it allowed for a warm up section as far as the Rose Cottage Carpark for the greenway, an uphill seection towards the railway viaduct before the tunnell and then a flat section after that. The return trip then of course had a very enjoyable downhill section and then back to the park.  Overall I hit decent paces and it felt great.

Of course we weren't camping just so I could run parts of the Waterford Greenyway, myself and Grace also cycled around 20miles of it one of the days and generally got out and about in Co Waterford.   But mostly it was just about the total downtime and spending time together and it was lovely.

To finish our holidays I was up early on Sunday and decided to return to Slievenamon for a summit and back trail run. When running up on Slievenamon I normally do the circuit but its been a good while since I've run trail and I wasn't prepared to do a minimum of 12miles of trail around the mountain as a start!

First thing first!  I forgot how trail running is much harder then road starting off.   The climb to the
View from near the Summit
summit was a mix of walking and running (mainly walking I must admit) but the decent was all running and I picked the more difficult shale/loose rock path down the mountain to make it more interesting.

By the time I got back to the car I had only completed 3.78miles but it was immensly enjoyable and it was good to get back on the trails.

As I write this I've just done a 2mile recovery run because of the other thing I forgot about really feel it in the legs when you've not done it in a while! :)

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Mile Marker (Danesfort) 5mile Race Report

Everyone ready to go!
Due to having one of my days off as Friday I decided that I'd run a 5km race up near Ballingary, at least that was my plan until the start of last week and my day off shifted from Friday to Sunday and I instead ending up working until 8pm. So that meant no 5km race anymore.

Still, all was not lost because a local race The Mile Marker was instead being held less the 10miles away on the Sunday at 12pm and it had distance choises of 5mile or 10mile so I opted for my first 5mile race.

While I've done plenty of marathons & ultras I've done hardly any short distances such as 5km, 10km etc and this would be my very first 5mile so I was interested to know what time I'd get.

This race was being advertised as a fast and flat race but I'm not so sure, I'm used to flat as afterall I run around Callan and most roads around here aren't very hilly.

The race started outside the primaryschool in Danesfort and then head up towards the Kells/Kilkenny road, this is where the small hills on this course were encountered. After that it was a turn right and another turn right onto the Danesfort/Kilkenny road and then back to the primary school. basically one large square course.

Throughout only two people past me so I kept an even fast pace, the last mile however felt like a flog to the finish.

As I approached the finish line my stitch was very far from pleasant at this stage but I knew I could manage under 34minutes and i got in under the line in 33:44:43. Finishing 10th overall out of 208 and finishing 8th male. Overall not a bad outcome :)

Race results found on popup races.

The Mile Marker (5mile Race) finish line
Race route found here.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Tullaroan Ultra-marathon (39.3mile) 2018 Race Report

Another year and another race report for the Tullaroan Ultra-marathon (39.3mile) which I ran back on the 3rd June, this was my third running of the Ultra course in Tullaroan and likely my most unprepared running of the race to date!

So, in previous years back in 2016 and 2017, I was using this race as part of my training for Connemara 100mile on both occasions so I was regularly running numerous 20/30mile runs and was also regularly running back2back 20mile runs to get my body used to running tired.  This year, however, was nothing like that by any stretch of the imagination.

While I have run a handfull of 20mile runs since January and around 2x 30mile runs I've not run very hilly routes and I'm certainly out of my normal running routine of 5-6 training days a week, instead, I'd say I'm averaging around 3 training days a week.  However, I had signed up ansd paid for the Tullaroan Ultra back in Novermber of last year so I didn't want the money to go to waste :)

So keeping all of this in mind I headed off to Tullaroan for my usual 7am start for the Ultramarathon and for the first time my wife Grace came along with me to see me off at the start, this year 17 people stood at the start line of the ultra and due to my lack of training I figured I'd arrive somewhere at the middle of the pack at the finish line, nothing like my 4th place finish in 2016 or my 3rd place finish in 2018.

So off we went at 7am (including a guy in a Wolf costume) and the morning was lovely and cool with mist on the hills so it was a lovely morning to be out for a run.

Now for those that have never run Tullaroan half/full or ultramarathon a quick recap of the route.... it's hilly, very hilly, in fact, its hillier then Connemara Ultra which is held in April.   Here's a brief comparison:

Tullaroan  Ultra course: 663m elevation gain

Connemara Ultra Course: 402m elevation gain

Tullaroan consists of a 13mile loop and you just do it as many times as you need to complete the chosen distance so in my case I was doing it 3x times.

Unlike last year where when we started I was determined to be top 3 (ideally second) I kept a far more conservative pace this time around and settled in chatting to a few guys including a group of guys from Carrick en Suir who were planning to take part in the Energia 24hr race in July (good luck to them) and also a chap who was planning to run the Extreme North 105 Ultra next year but after the first loop the field had spread out so much that I was pretty much on my own from then on.

As I was moving a slower pace I missed the marathon start and half-marathon start (unlike last year) so that meant it was at least 30miles before I actually started meeting a few more people from both races, the day had also warmed up by this point too and I was starting to feel it.  

Basically, all I had brought with me was water and although I had a backpack I was only wearing it to carry my water bottle as I hate holding water in my hand all the time, I was totally depending on the aid stations which stocked jaffa cakes and coke to keep me going. Thankfully they had plenty of both!

By the time I got to 34miles I knew it would be around a 6hr 30min finish but I wasn't bothered with such a slow pace and in fact I was surprised it wasn't pushing 7hours or more. But to be honest I didn't fancy spending 7hours on my feet on the day in question.  At this point I gave Grace a ring (as she had gone home earlier) and asked her to meet me at the finish line.

During the last 3miles I met a group of 4 half-marathons and I was happy to explain what test of the course would be (downhill and flat!) and they were delighted with this good news, I eventually upped the pace for the last 2miles and kept a 7-7.30min pace as I felt pretty good.   

I crossed the finish line in 06:27:15, almost bang on target for my predicated 6.30 finish I had figured earlier and it was nice to see Grace at the finish line too.   Oh and surprisingly I had finished 4th again!

Time for some numbers!
So that means out of 3x runs of this event I've finished 4th twice and 3rd once, here's the somewhat amusing part........      

If I had been training like I was in 2017 I could have managed 1st as the winning time this year was 05:47:15 and I finished in 05:47:58 last year so with a little more effort I may have managed first or at the very least a comfortable 2nd as 2nd place this year finished in 06:09:12.

Overall the winning times for the Ultra were much slower this year when compared to 2017 as the 1st place winning time last year was a blistering 04:55:46.

To be honest I'm not actually terrible bothered I just thought it was somewhat amusing, I actually expected to finish around 10th.

So that's it for another year, a very surprisingly results given my lack of any decent training and once again Tullaroan put on a well organised race. I'd def recommend it for those seeking a challenge regardless of the distance you are seeking.

New medal design from Tullaroan AC

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The pressure is on

The pressure is on.......
Why you may ask?  well, this year I've had no real training ragieme up until now but that mean I didn't sign up to any races, I've signed up for one...the annual Tullaroan Ultra.

For those that haven't read my previous running of this event I've run the Tullaroan Ultra on two occasions so far, in 2016 when I came 4th and last year when I came 3rd. Prior to that before the ultra option was introduced I ran the Tullaroan marathon on a few occasions.

This year unlike previous years I've not been properly training as in 2016 I was training for Connemara 100 and I was training the same last year too, but this year as i have no "big race" I have't been properly training like previous years.

In the last two months I have been aware of this and I have been occassionally running LSR runs of 20miles, I've also managed 2x 30mile runs under my belt so I don't think it'll be too bad in some ways but at the same time it'll be a challenge to get around the course especially the last third as after all Tullaroan is a very hilly course!

In prep for Tullaroan last week I managed to fit in two long runs of 20 and 30miles and these took me past the birth place of James Hoban, for those that don't know James Hoban designed the White House in Washington DC and also Leinster house here in Ireland.

This week will be more about focusing on speed which I kicked off with a fast'ish 5mile run yesterday evening and I am to complete some intervals during the week (I really hate intervals on my own!).  But, as much as I dislike intervals I can't argue with the fact that when it comes to improving pace they certainly help.

Spirit Of Place Memorial to James Hoban

Monday, April 23, 2018

Tour of Dublin City

  Two weeks back I happened to be in Dublin with about 6-7hours to kill so in the end rather than walking aimlessly around shops or seeing museums on my own (its never as fun on your own) I opted to run around Dublin for a few hours,

Now I don't know Dublin that well so after a quick post on asking for suggested routes and views on the route I was thinking about I opted for down the quays, through Ringsend Park, out towards Poolbeg lighthouse and then head towards Sandymount.
It was a early enough start so traffic wasn't hectic but as somebody who is used to running on low traffic country roads I must say its very frustrating to stop and traffic lights in order to cross busy streets, I honestly don't know how people in Dublin deal with it.

However, eventually after clearing the quays it was off through Anne's park and heading towards Poolbeg chimney stacks, this was my first mistake as I should have gone a different route....I honestly didn't realise just how rough and industrial this area would be.   However, once I reached the chimney stacks there was a right turn and I entered a nature park which I stayed running on the sand until I hit the pier out to Poolbeg.

Although the pier has a very uneven surface (much like many of the roads in Co Tipperary!) it was a pretty nice experience and I couldn't get over just how long the pier is.   So it was out and back on the pier and then back through the nature reserve and onto Sandymount.

I had planned on running on the beach but sadly the tied was right in so that was not going to happen but I must say its still a lovely area to run and I'll def be back again. After an out and back I then headed back to Heuston station to the car to clean up.

It was a slow enough pace as I had run a fast 12mile the day before but it was still enjoyable, here's the route I took.

Overall it was nice to run different routes but I'll certainly be taking the suggestion from one of the posters on and I'll be running to Dalkey next time via the coast, although the headwind was annoying on the coast the views were lovely so I'll def back n again sometime in May, here's the route in question for next time.

Some more catching up

I'm aiming to get the blog upto present day so here goes...

Very little running at the start of the year due to being well in January and also work commitments, however in February I decided to start making more of an effort and got back into more of a routine as I was really missing getting out and about.  

During the first week of February I happened to be in Finland so I got some lovely runs in some very different conditions!

The area we were staying in made for some lovely running with a good mix of flat and hills and unlike here in Ireland where everywhere has ditches and high hedges you can just run into any field beside the road.

It was cold though as it was between -5c -8c most days, as much as I normally where shorts when running for this trip I brought running tights and its the first time I've used them in maybe 4 years.

It wasn't just running tights I was using again, I was also  obsolutely delighted because after buying Yaktrax Pro's back in 2010 I finally got to use them for the first time and I must say I highly recommend them when running on snow, I never slipped once!

Of course after coming back from Finland we also had some snow in Ireland at the start of March and the country went into emergency road but that that didn't mean you couldn't run in it :)

Although much harder work then running in Finland because Finland had compacted snow and lots of ice on roads I managed a number of runs in the much softer Irish snow including in a local wood where it was upto 8 inches deep...that made for a very hard 11mile run!

Towards the end of March I continued trying to get back into a routine and opted for my first 30 mile run, for this I made my return to the Waterford Greenway which I regularly used last year in prep for connemara by doing numerous 30 and even 60mile runs.

Right now I'm running about every second day but I've started regularly running the 12miles from where I live to Kilkenny City at a reasonable pace of 7:20min/mile and the route is a lovely mix of flat and hills so its nice for a change.

I'm also mixing in shorter recovery runs and the odd 18-20mile,

Friday, April 6, 2018

2017 Year in Review

I'm a few months late posting it but here is my 2017 year in review!

What a varied year it's been last year, a new PB, placing top 3 in an ultra, taking on another 100mile and finishing off the end of the year with an injury (none running related) and some nice enjoyable runs.

While my big race of the year was again the Connemara 100 which I ran in aid of a local charity I'll begin with my return to Donadea 50km after a 4-year gap since my last Doneadea 50km race,

This was a sizable improvement on my previous PB 50km time of 4:49:33 which I also set in Donadea back in 2013, my rough plan for the day was to aim for a sub 4hr 30min finish. After experiencing some issues with my quads from the 7th of the 10x 5km loops for the race I just missed out on my goal time but I still finished with a very respectable 4hrs 37min 17sec.

My next race of the year was in April where I had opted to pace 1hr 45min for the Wexford Half Marathon.

The last time I ran the Wexford Half I set a PB of 1:44 with a lot of effort since then I've improved to the point of a 1:29 PB so this was going to be a nice return to the course. The day went to plan but it was much warmer then I had expected which was not helped by the fact I missed picking up water at two of the water stops.

Throughout March, April and May I had started regularly running the newly completed Waterford Greenway and in April myself and a few other runners got together to run the entire greenway, more details at Greenway Out & Back as a day-long training run.

It took the bones of 13hours to complete the 59mile (or so) route but it was a really enjoyable day out.

At the start of the year I sort of set myself two goal races, my big race of the year would, of course, be the Connemara 100mile but I had also decided that when I would run the Tullaroan Ultra in June.

Previously in Tullaroan for the Ultra in 2016 when I ran the 39.3mile course I finished 4th so when I looked at the results and noted this I had decided that with some planning on the day and effort I could definitely place in the top 3,

Initially and certainly up until the 32mile mark I was in 2nd place but towards the end, I was passed by another runner and I eventually crossed the line in 05:47:58 to finish in third place. I was thrilled!

After the Tullaroan Ultra at the start of June it was back to training for Connemara and as part of that I was planning to run the Waterford Marathon, this was my first time running the Waterford Marathon which is more than a little strange I suppose as I used to live in Waterford City for around 10 years and I live relatively close to the city still.

Rather then just run it like a "normal" marathon I opted for something different, so with that in mind and with the marathon start being at 9am on a Saturday morning I left my house at 2am to run the 30 or so miles to the Marathon start line.

I eventually arrived down in Waterford City at around 8am and the marathon started around 9am. My biggest mistake for this day was not paying attention to the route profile before setting my pace and as the miles went on I realised there were lots of very steep climbs and these took a lot out of me which resulted in a lot more walking then I would have liked.

Still, I didn't mind the walking as it was all good training at the end of the day for Connemara.  As I approached the finish line it was nice to get a mention over the loud speaker of having run from Kilkenny and doing over 56miles as I crossed the finish line.

After the Waterford marathon, it was taper time for Connemara 100, but it was also back to fund raising for Mount Carmel House.

Mount Carmel House provides supported care for low dependency elderly people from the local & surrounding areas. The community resource has a link to my family as my mother has been on the board for a number of decades and my Uncle who at the time was the local GP was involved in founding it.  So I kicked off fundraising for this community organisation by going door to door in the evenings.

After finishing work each evening I kept going to houses door to door and explained what I was doing, most of the responses I got were a sort of disbelief and by far people were very generous in relation to what they gave.

Eventually, the weekend of Connemara 100 arrived and while it didn't go to plan it was certainly an experience and I have a very detailed blog entry about the weekend here.

How did I do with the fund raising in the end?   Well, in the end, I helped raise over 4,600 euro in aid of Mount Carmel House at the end of the fund raising so it was fantastic. I even got a mention in the local paper once or twice :)

After Connemara, I took it easy and I opted to do easy runs and cycling in order to maintain fitness, I didn't want to over do it because in previous years I learned that if I, for example, start into a new training cycle for another race I very quickly end up injured or sick.

All was going well until the end of September when I was coming back from a morning cycle and the bike just slipped from under me approx 200metres from my house and I hit the ground hard!  I cut up my arm and I thought I bruised myself pretty it turns out however I had actually managed to crack a rib!

I'll admit this fall but an end to my cycling and much of my running for the next few weeks as while it didn't hurt to run for example a 9min/mile pace I couldn't drop the pace to 7min/mile as it would hurt to breathe, this was more than a little annoying!.

Healing from the fall seemed to take weeks and weeks and despite the discomfort or pain if I run some fast miles I was still determined to maintain what fitness I could so I opted to run the Dublin Marathon as a training run, the same with Stook 10mile and I also took part in  the South Eastern Mountain Rescue which was in Clonmel.

The mountain rescue race was especially fun as I approached it as a bog standard training run but I decided to have a bit of a laugh and ran it with a Christmas hat and Christmas lights wrapped around my backpack, this got a lot of comments from people I must admit.

After the South Eastern Mountain Rescue race, I did opt for running the Waterford Half-Marathon but I ran it at the slowest race I ever have, for 11miles I took it seriously easy but I only upped the pace for the last 2 miles.  Nothing very special to report on this race.

So that's it for another year, I've nothing big planned for 2018 just yet but I'm going to resume regular blog updates now :)