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! :)