Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The alcohol consumption has been sorted. No alcohol has passed my lips since Christmas Day, with the exception of some Champagne Truffles! I managed to stay on soft drinks at a poker night on Stephen's Day (and doubled my money), Lucozade was the order of the day on both the 27th and 28th which were both reunion type nights. Since then it's been plain sailing. The next tough one will be New Years Eve. Hopefully I'll get away with a few glasses of wine and then some fake drinking. Once the friends think there's alcohol being drank I'm safe. There is also the fact that fake drinking could turn real depending how the night is panning out. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it I suppose.

I'm fairly focused on the 5k on New Years day. Even with the Christmas break I still believe I can make a good show of myself. Do I think I can get a PB? Damn straight. Do I think it will reflect my recent form? No chance. Recent form being some savage training runs and the last cross country which saw me finish ahead of some good competition. Even though I've only missed one training session over the past two weeks I haven't been happy with how the other sessions have panned out. The best way to describe them is sluggish. On Stephen's Day I surprisingly hit a good 14 x 1 minute workout in the park, but it took everything out of me. Whereas a week beforehand I did 16 and felt like I could have gone on forever.

Cutting out the drink in the last week is one achievement but there was one other thing that has to be taken into account. The Christmas diet. I may have hit the booze on the head but mince pies, roses, Christmas puddings, cakes, and many, many cheeses were eaten in huge quantities over the past seven days. That probably has something to do with the below par training. On the plus side with no work for the past 10 days I've been getting more sleep than usual.

The race being on a Thursday has thrown my race week routine somewhat. I know exactly what I would have done on a standard race week but this time I had to wing it somewhat. Sunday's long run was the same as normal, then I cut Monday's run down by a few miles. Today was the issue. Tuesday is usually speed work, long intervals or a tempo run. Should I just jog it or throw in some speed work? I've only once raced on a Thursday and that time I got away with a track session on the Tuesday evening and had a great race on the Thursday, but that was a long time ago... In the end I compromised - 5 miles with 1 minute at about 70% at the end of every mile. Tomorrow will be an easy 4 miles.

Then race day. I can't really say how I plan my pre-race to go just yet as a large part of that will depend on what time I get to bed the night before.I seem to be full of excuses for why this race won't go well but my gut still says it will be fine. Even if the training hasn't been perfect of late, everything before that has still been banked. Come race day, no excuses.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Too hungover to think, let alone write

The Christmas season is defeating me. On Friday last I was flying around the park, completing my circuit in 11 x 1 minute intervals with a 90 second jog, whereas it usually takes 13 x 1 minute to do a full lap. In the end I did a total of 16 x 1 minute. Why is it that I when doing them I feel like I could do them all day, but throw me on a track and I want to die after 10 x 400m? Then came the weekend... my God was it a long one. Whenever I wasn't in a pub, I was on the couch, not on the couch, I was in a pub...

Sunday's long run never happened, Monday's easy run was one of the hardest runs I've done in months, Tuesdays "tempo" 5 miler was probably as fast as a normal long run, and all I can say about today's run is that I'm happy I actually got out the door.

What's in store for the rest of the day? Traditional pub lunch and pints with my Dad and brother before meeting my friends for traditional Christmas Eve pints. That's right, warming up for my evening pints with daytime pints. The forecast for training tomorrow looks bleak... there's only one window of opportunity and that's first thing in the morning. The chances of that are slim at best.

Just over a week until my attempt at my 5k time again... things are going in the right direction it seems!!

Happy Christmas

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Note to self

Leaving XC shoes in your bag until ten days after the race is not a good idea.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The search continues

Bah! Today I saw a link to even more marathons around the world. It displays them all on a google map by month. A list would have been helpful, by continent and date, but what you going to do. A few more marathons that I had no clue of turned up to be in the month of May. I kept my search to Germany (it's where you want to run 26 miles in May apparently), Holland (no option but to be flat) and the UK (it's close).

After turning my Tuesday morning into as productive a work day as yesterday I can now say there is a new marathon on my list of possible marathons. It has a video (see below), a 3D VIDEO, all marathons should have a video! Wuerzburg, I have no idea where you are, but there'd be plenty of time to find that out. You do have a video and fall on the date I'm after, from the looks of the 3D-ness you're also flat. Did I mention there was a video? Ok, I'm easily impressed. Wuerzburg is ticking all the boxes though - Wahey!

At this stage it appears that I'll have no clue where I'm going come January when training steps up a notch, but I'm not at all worried about that. Regardless of where I'm going the early part of the year will look the same... race, train, race, train...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pictures and other stuff

Another double weekend of races in Dublin means even more RacePix365. And guess what? I'm still to appear in any of the races! That's right, 3 months, seven races in or around Dublin and I am nowhere to be seen... God dammit... the next race, I'll hopefully be there somewhere. The new pictures are from the BHAA NSRT Cross Country race, which looked fairly muddy to tell the truth. The other race over the weekend was the Donore Harriers Jingle Bells 5k race. This was in no way a muddy race, 100% on the roads with no streams to cross. Seriously, there was a stream to go through in the cross country on Saturday. What joker had that great idea? I'd have been well pissed off if I came across that in a race...

My legs are finally back to normal after last weeks Cross Country race. A trip to the magician was called needed to help things move along. A hard 16 mile long run yesterday morning let me know that there's no longer any ill affects left from the race or from Friday's work Christmas party for that matter.

Next up on Private's calendar is a 5k race on New Years Day. The race is on in the Phoenix Park at lunch time so I should be well recovered from the night before's exploits by the time that kicks off. It should be interesting to see how a race will pan out in the middle of a hard drinking regime. As there's so many intense drinking sessions planned for the next few weeks I'm going to have to take it very easy on the days that don't already have a drinking schedule lined up. One day is down now with the work drinks taken care of. All though there's a chance Friday could lead to more as it's the last day before the Christmas break. This weekend coming I'll have the annual Christmas pub crawl with my group of friends. Then there's obviously Christmas eve and Christmas day which are going to be tough. If I can go from Stephen's Day to New Years Eve without a drink I'll be doing well. Not one of these (drinking) sessions are your quiet pints with friends affairs... they'll all start out that way but sure as hell won't end that way.

This could be the most alcohol fueled build up to a race since my ill advised attempt at Paris in 2004...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Today's specials are...

When I go to a restaurant I have to order quickly. There can be no hanging around, a glance at the menu and go with the first thing that catches my eye. Menu closed. Order. Everyone's happy. If the waiter is slow to come over and take our order trouble starts. The questions about who is having what start. I'll hear something better than what I saw. No one likes food envy. The menu reopens. Too many choices. I'll have about four or five options going through my head by the time the waiter comes over. Everyone's ordering. Shit. What do I want? The meal will come out... Damn it. How come I never see the mixed grill?!

That is where I am now with this marathon choice. What started out as "I'll do a marathon in May, how hard can it be to pick one?" is now the menu open and the waiter asking the rest of the table what they want. One option is booked out - Mainz - could that have been the mixed grill? Copenhagen, yes the girl that got away is from there but rumour has it there are loads of turns and you go up and down a few times on curbs. The girl can't make up for curbs, Copenhagen is out.

With two scratched off the list you'd think we're getting somewhere. But no, Belfast falls the same day as Dusseldorf - if Dusseldorf is still in the running then so to is Belfast. No flights for Belfast, I could even stay at a friend's place the day before. It's an option alright. Copenhagen may be gone from the perfect date slot but step forward Newry town marathon. Newry would probably be a tougher marathon than Belfast or Dusseldorf but it has the good date thing going for it. The elevation chart on their site looks fierce scary, but I reckon if you were to stretch it out a bit it wouldn't be anymore daunting than Dublin, plus all the hills appear in the first half. Another thing Newry has going for it is the choice of races leading up to it. The Irish Novice Road race falls on the same weekend as the Bel-dorf marathons. That would be the perfect final race before a marathon as it's 6km and only 3 weeks before Newry. Or even the Irish 10k championships falls 4 weeks before Newry. Then again I'm sure I could find suitable races as build up races no matter what date the marathon is on. Decisions, decisions... has anyone got a three sided coin?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Race Report #16 - Cross Country

The final race of 2008* has finally come and gone. I've been itching for this race for a while as it's been a good six or seven weeks since the last 10k. Sunday saw me taking the field, quite literally, in a 6k cross country. Soul destroyingly the course was 6 laps around a field. The ends of the field were caked in mud making for slow turns, with one side of the field being up hill into the mud and the other side down hill, again into the mud. Not being one to enjoy cross country (they just look cold), I wasn't particularly looking forward to this, even if I was feeling fairly fit leading up to the race.

The race itself went off on the downhill side and therefore started at a fast pace, before slowing down on the first sticky turn. I started off mid-pack to back of the pack until just after the first turn and then started to find a rhythm. As the race progressed I began to feel stronger and increased my pace, runners ahead of me slowly started to come back to me, bit by bit I was edging up the field. On every lap I was picking lads off and felt really good, the pace was suiting me and I was getting into a respectable position. On the straight parts of the course I was cruising by lads, all I had to do was make sure I didn't lose ground on the turns and climbs and I'd be fine come the next straight. The course was tough and the race felt like it was going on for ever. Slow, fast, up, down, pulling your feet out of ankle deep mud, this race had it all! A wry smile came to my face on the forth lap as I heard the guy beside me shout to the side "How many more laps do we have left?", then half a lap on he must have seen someone else he knew "How much fucken further?".

The pace mightn't have beaten me, but the mud certainly did. On the last lap I could feel my right calf tighten up. It didn't slow me down as such but it meant that when push came to shove in the home straight there was nothing there to sprint home. I could keep the pace going but the calf had gotten fairly sore and there was no hope of upping the pace any more. Because of that I just got taken on the line lads who I'd overtaken earlier but who had a kick left when it mattered. Granted in the grand scheme of things a place or two doesn't really matter but no one likes being beaten to the line.

All in all I was very happy with how the race went. I showed great strength through the course and as I don't have the speed to shoot off at breakneck speeds I played it right by starting slow and building up throughout the race. I'd put the first 5 laps up there as the best I've run this year - just a shame the calf wouldn't stay with me for the sixth lap.

*words similar to these were uttered before but they were the final 'road race' of 2008

New Race Photos

A busy weekend for me and for my site RacePix365.com. There were two races in Dublin which have a hell of a lot of pictures for - first up was the Aware 10k fun run in the Phoenix park on Saturday. I went out there myself to snap a few pics but my hands got cold quickly so I headed home with only a few shots. Thankfully some others braved the cold and got more pictures than I did.

The second race was the BHAA 5k in Marley Park. This time I didn't get to take photos as I was elsewhere racing away (more on this later) but yet again there was photos taken and kindly uploaded for people to see. So if you were racing in either race, or know people who were, then drop in and have a look.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

To heel strike or not to heel strike...

After my last 10k race in October I spotted a picture of me during the race. I'm quite a fan of finding photos - why, I don't know, I very rarely look normal in them. That's beside the point. What I did notice in this photo is how pronounced my heel strike was. Looking through other photos of me I saw a trend, there was a lot of photos of a very straight right leg and the heel about to hit the ground first. I've never really thought too much on the topic of how I run, I generally just go with the idea of running is one foot in front of the other, and that we all have our ways of doing it that seem the most effective.

According to the sites I checked on heel striking the opinion was that heel striking is bad and should be avoided. The logic made sense to me. By striking your heel first means that your leg is straight on impact. As your leg is straight it is essentially braking forward momentum and you end up starting the movement from scratch again. If your knee is slightly bent as the foot strikes the ground your leg is not locking into a straight position and you should be able to move off it quicker, therefore running faster. I've kept this very, very basic as I'm not in any sense an expert on the way your foot should land or what's better than what. Google is where I went for my answers!

I'm not a huge believer in changing what feels natural to me. I don't want to invest in books that tell me how to run, or spend time doing drills that would bore me, I just want to get out and run. I decided to simply concentrate on my foot fall when on my easy runs over the past few weeks. Obviously I don't spend the full hour out running thinking about how my foot is landing each time, I'm just that bit more aware of it than I was before. The best piece of advice I saw was to simply lean forward at the hips while running. This prevents your leg from landing straight and makes it easier not to heel strike.

This was all well and good until this week. No changes in my training, nor am I injured. I was quite happy with the thought "if I can run 34+ mins for 10k while heel striking, imagine how fast I'll be able to go next time without my legs deciding to brake every stride"; then I saw this picture.

Exhibit A
This, my friends, is Andriy Naumov, winner of the Dublin Marathon 2008, in a time of 2:11:06. When was this picture taken? During the poxy marathon! He was heel striking, slowing himself down, his leg was straight acting as a brake, HEEL BLOODY STRIKING!!! Has google lied to me? Has the way I've been running fine all along? Am I wasting my time concentrating on the way my foot falls? Should I just go with what's natural?Bang on 5:00 minute mile pace for 26.2 miles... doesn't sound like the brakes did him any harm...

One picture has thrown doubt in my mind. I'll probably continue paying attention to the way my feet are landing on these easy runs but I'm now less of a believer in one way is right and one is wrong. Back to whatever feels natural is best for me!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hamstring Update

Thankfully this morning the hamstrings are a lot better. They're not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but they're definitely strong enough to train on tonight. As it'll be a speed session I'll probably sit back for the first two intervals and work my way into them. I reckon if the same thing had happened to me 3 months ago I wouldn't have taken it as easy on the Sunday and I probably would have trained on the Monday. Once you get out running for a few miles the pain always seems to disappear as the muscles have warmed up. Doing this is doing yourself no favours. By being given a week off training in September, then having the miles cut back while I was on holiday, and now running stronger than I feel I ever have has given me the confidence to realise that a day off every now and again won't hurt. I just have to make sure that I don't start taking days off willy-nilly! If after today's session the hamstrings start acting up again I have no qualms whatsoever about taking a few days of lower mileage or another day off if it means this clears up quicker.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Lend me your legs, I'll bust them up, but I'll replace them

Friday's training session has been haunting my legs all weekend. With cross country season just around the corner I took my XC trainers out for their first run since last February. For some reason the long spikes were nowhere to be found, so I had to make do with taking the short spikes from my track shoes. Spikes ready, on I headed to the Phoenix park for some tough mud running.

The session was a fairly tough 16 x 1 minute with 1 minute 30 seconds recovery jog. As the spikes weren't all that long I was still slipping a bit at times, but nothing that prevented a good solid session. The second I finished the last rep I felt a stitch coming on. Nicely timed. Happy with the days training I headed back home.

All was fine until Saturday morning I noticed that my hamstrings were particularly tight. Uncomfortably tight if truth be told. There was definite discomfort when I put pressure on them with my hands. Thankfully no training was on the cards for Saturday, so I took it really easy.

Sunday was the problem. The discomfort wasn't as bad on Sunday but hadn't disappeared completely. I had told a few lads I'd meet them for a long run and I had no numbers to cancel it. I can't really use the fact that I had said I'd meet someone as my excuse for running as I know me, meeting people or not, the Sunday long run would have happened. The fact that I met up with this crowd probably helped me for two reasons. First off, the pace was slower than I usually do on my own and secondly, they were only doing 12 miles, whereas I usually do 15. The pace wasn't overly slow, just a gear down from my usual long run pace; For the duration we could maintain a conversation without being breathless at any state. At the end I wasn't struggling at all whereas the norm would be to be pushing yourself somewhat come the end of a long run.

Today there's no improvement on the hamstrings but also no dis-improvement. The normal training today would be an easy 8 miles around the park. I think I've more to lose than to gain by doing that session so it's legs up this evening and a day off. Tomorrow's session is speed work with the club and I want to be able to do that. As I've been told from numerous sources my two speed workouts and long run are the important of the week. No point jeopardising being able to take part in a speed workout just because my routine has me jogging on a Monday. So today I remain sensible and fingers crossed that by taking my foot off the gas slightly this week my hamstrings will sort themselves out.

Title based on Fight Like Apes' track "Lend me your face"

Friday, November 28, 2008

Searching for a marathon

A spring marathon is a definite at this stage. What's still left out there is the where and when. I've a few requirements for the marathon itself, I'm looking for a flat and fast one, the date is important too. Ideally it'd be the middle to end of May but the last weekend of May is out as I'll be heading away on holiday that weekend. That means the likes of Edinburgh and Cork are a no go - Cork is doubly out as it's wouldn't meet the flat and fast criteria. Rotterdam, which is a notoriously fast marathon falls too early in the year so that also isn't being considered. A shame. I did it a few years back, during a heat wave, so I wouldn't mind having another shot at it to do myself justice. Some other time...

To be honest I'm leaning slightly towards a particular marathon at the moment. Germany seems to have a shed load of marathons around that time of the year for some reason and because of that it has to be out in front as the country I could more than likely end up. The leading destinations look something like this:

Hamburg, Germany - 26th April... Falls under the fast and flat category but comes up slightly short on the date. Filed under maybe for the time being.

London, UK - April 26th... Also loses on the fact that the date is in April and it would be super hard to get into. Getting into it would involve me having to find a half marathon before the 1st January and running sub 75 minutes. This would get me into the club championship as I'm still registered with a club in London. I have no half marathons planned though. The other option is to use my one and only contact that could get me in. I may hold out on that favour for another year when I'm not registered with a UK club.

Dusseldorf, Germany - May 3rd... The date is earlier than I'd like but the location is great. Both Ryanair and Aer Lingus fly direct from Dublin, the marathon has a small field (less than 3,000), so the flights shouldn't unexpectedly rise for that weekend. The website is in English, the course seems to be fast, along the Rhine (I like rivers), and allegedly well supported. Everything bar the date is perfect.

Mainz, Germany - May 10th... I'm a bit shy on information here. Looks fast, decent date. Doubtful as I don't know much about it.

Copenhagen, Denmark - May 24th... I would LOVE to do this marathon. Actually, I really just want to go to Copenhagen and the marathon seems like a good excuse. My reasoning here could be something to do with an ex-Girlfriend from Denmark! Is that a good reason to run a marathon there?! The date is perfect as my holiday is the next week so there'd be no guilt about not running and just getting drunk in the sun on holiday. The problem is the marathon itself... I don't know how fast it is, it's two laps, is Copenhagen windy? what are the water stations like? There's bridges to cross, bridges mean wind and a climb, don't they?

Regensburg, Germany - May 24th... Again Germany, again the date is perfect, but I have no clue where Regensburg is! I'm guessing East Germany, one of the pictures on their site looks east German. The site is all in German so my info on it is limited. The lack of information I have on this makes it look unrealistic that I'll be there in 2009.

You'd probably think from reading that it's Copenhagen that I'm leaning towards. Well, as much as I want to, you'd be wrong. The current favourite is Dusseldorf. Besides the fact that it falls earlier than I'd like it to, the marathon looks champion. It'll be another week or so before I decide on one so if anyone has any info on any marathons in Spring let me know. It doesn't have to be on one of these mentioned above, but if anyone has run some of them please give some feedback.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Too many bottles

Talking with CR this week about how my training was going led to a bit of confusion. At one stage his analogy of a bag that can hold 8 bottles and trying to fit 12 into it left me a bit confused. I've taken don't overload yourself with training out of the story - really it would of been simpler if he said that rather than the bottle metaphor. Pretty simply, I had a tough training session on Tuesday with the local club (5 x 1200m on the road), so he wanted to be sure I would take it really easy on Wednesday. Believe me, the way the legs were feeling on Wednesday, taking it really easy was the only option. I'm thinking more about this bottle analogy now and I can kind of see where he was going with it... I would lose the benefit of Tuesday's session if I pushed myself too hard and didn't recover, kind of like the bottles falling from the bag I suppose!!

Ok, away from the bottles now. The talk also went on about various different training programs and mileages and so forth. Everyone isn't the same so different programs will bring out different results in different people. He mentioned athletes he used to know that would run 10 miles in 50 minutes on a Friday morning, and again on a Friday evening and then 20 miles hard on the Sunday, not a bother to him. Other athletes who got by on 150 miles a week, while lads doing the same times as them were only doing 40-50 miles. When I wondered aloud how you can fit in 150 miles a week he informed me of his training plan when he was younger. He used to do 130 miles a week, 6 months of the year, zipping around the place at 9 stone, loving running the people he was with into the ground. The day to day of it pretty much looked something like this:
Monday: 6 miles AM - 12 miles PM
Tuesday: 6 miles AM - 6 x 1 mile intervals PM (with whatever warm up and warm down)
Wednesday: 6 miles AM - 12 miles PM
Thursday: 6 miles AM - 12 miles PM
Friday: 6 miles AM - 24 x 400m PM
Saturday: 9 miles hard as you can
Sunday: 22 miles

6 months of the year that was what he was doing... Completely and utterly insane!! I think I'll gladly stick with my 6 days of running, averaging about 60 miles a week, thank you very much.

Good God!!!

It's actually sunny outside! For the past week I've run in a fairly dark, wet and windy Dublin. Now there doesn't appear to be a cloud in the sky.... at least not in the bit of sky I can see from my desk. There may just be a 45 minute window of opportunity for a nice run going on... time to take advantage of it

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Miles don't count"

While I was away I was lucky enough to meet up and train with some pretty talented people... some more intentional than others! Anyway, one of the people I ended up in touch with through a random mail to a club in Southern California was J-Rod. J-Rod is about the same age as myself, actually he's a year younger, and what differentiates J-Rod from Private in the running stakes is the fact that J-Rod is fairly fricken fast. Recently he just ran a "slow" half marathon in 68 minutes... when he uttered them words I pointed out that his slow is my dream! He's currently training for his debut marathon, which he hopes to run in or around 2:17. Not bad for a first attempt. 2:19 is the realistic time he's shooting for, but he plan's on starting out at 2:17 pace and hoping to hold on. If worst comes to worst he should still make the 2:19 time.

My coach, CR*, has always been telling me about how he used to train with guys way faster than him and that he used the experience to find out as much as possible about the way they trained. With this in mind the two easy runs I ran with J-Rod pretty much turned into an interview with me firing question after question at him about his training routine.

What surprised me the most during this "interview" was how similar my training is to J-Rod's. We both run six days a week, one session a day, two speed sessions and one long run. The mileage covered on each run is pretty much identical. I think he covers a couple more on his long run and maybe a mile more on his daily easy runs. Actually, that's not surprised me most... what really surprised me the most was the fact that for the majority of his training he runs slower than me!

I started off asking him about his weekly mileage and the distance he covers on each run. "Miles don't count, what counts are your two workouts and 18-20 mile long run." Workouts, I'd established before this, are the two speed sessions a week. I quite like using "Workout" though - I may incorporate it more into my running chat! For fear of losing his speed during marathon training he does his midweek workout with a friend of his who got the Olympic B qualifying standard in the 5000m last year. That's a real difference to our training programs right there. I run around the track doing 400s by myself while he's out there legging it around with a future Olympian. Some people have all the luck.

The run we were out on together was one of J-Rod's easy runs during the week. These are the runs that surprised me as they were fairly slow, slower than I'd probably be running if I was out on my own. When I asked him the distance we were going to cover he told me that he didn't know. He just starts his watch, runs for 70 minutes and that's it. Nothing is measured. Hhe reckons that the pace on these runs are anywhere from 7 minutes to 8 minutes a mile. That day we were running closer to 8 minutes a mile. The goal of them is to recover from the last workout and prepare for the next, certainly not to push yourself. I don't think either of us were breathless or sweating at any stage on the run. These runs are carried out 3 times a week. So what about his weekly mileage? Usually he runs 6 days a week, covering 70-75 miles. Marathon training has meant that that's been pushed up to 7 days a week, with the max he covered being 95 miles in a week, all singles.

Finally, I pushed him on his long runs. "I usually do some sort of workout with them. The distance can be anywhere from 18-21 miles. I think the toughest one I do is 3 miles easy, then 8 miles at Marathon pace (5:15), then 1 mile at threshold (5:00ish), then 5 miles at marathon pace. This workout is tough. Sometimes I like to do a progression down to about 5:20 for the last few miles. With this progression long run, I am usually satisfied when I can average about 6 min/mile pace for the whole long run including the first few easy miles. "

So there we have it. Half the weekly runs are easy and not relatively easy but easy easy - have a chat as you go around, no sweating and no heavy breathing. Three of the runs we have to break our balls going round. Got it! Since chatting and running with J-Rod I have to say my easy runs have become soooo much easier. I always did them relatively easy but not easy easy. From now on it's easy easy all the way.

*I've got bored with referring to my coach repeatedly as my coach so from here on in he's named CR

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Sequence of events that make no sense

13:00 - Fairly dodgy pub in town for a couple of pints before the Ireland v Argentina game.
14:45 - Croke Park for the match.
17:00 - Grub and more pints after the match
20:30 - Stop in to yet another pub for more pints
21:30 - End up in final pub for pints and dancing
00:00 - Enough is enough and night bus beckons

09:00 - Wake up with a massive headache and decide to go back to sleep
11:45 - Finally get up and have a bowl of porridge
14:00 - Start into a long run without water or energy gels
16:00 - Arrive back chez moi

Now, what makes no sense is how the hell was that one of my best long runs? Coming to the last 3 miles I could feel my legs getting stiff but my energy levels were perfect. At no stage did I feel the need to drink water and the pace was pretty damn fast from about 4 miles until 13 miles when I started to wind down. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that over the last few weeks the long runs have all taken place in the heat. Or it could be the alcohol... either way I wish I had a race this weekend.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Back.... sort of

I've been back in the world of work for the past few days and the struggle to adjust to it and find my old routine has meant that blogging has come to a wee standstill. So here's a quick update on what's what over the past while.

- Ran 15 miles before the heat kicked in in LA only then to see a "No Sports" warning in the paper afterwards over breakfast. Probably not the smartest run I've ever done. In fairness the smoke filled air didn't really seem to become noticeable until around midday, a few hours after I'd finished.
- Currently suffering from withdrawal symptoms knowing that this weekends breakfast won't comprise of waffles, pancakes or French toast. Judging by the menu in Eddie Rockets they're not a typical American diner. Burgers and an Irish Fry seem to be the choices there.
- Leaving my sisters apartment at 13:30 on Monday to head to the airport and arriving chez moi in Dublin at 17:45 Tuesday was not as bad as it sounds. The worst part of the whole thing was taking over half an hour to drive the last 2 miles back to mine in rush hour traffic.
- Talked myself into training with the local club at 19:00 on Tuesday. Not too sure if this was a good or bad move... definitely a strange choice
- Decided there will be a marathon this Spring. Where and when is up for grabs at the moment.
- Along with the work routine I'm now trying to fit in a new training routine. Dublin is colder and darker than when I left at the end of October.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Back in LA.... and almost back to reality

The longest holiday of my life... OK, the longest holiday of my working life is almost over. When it's getting close to races I count it down by the number of training runs I have left. Using that formula I'll be home in one long run and one easy runs time. That's no length at all! Even shorter if I don't bother with the easy run that's on the same day as my flight...

America, it's been emotional.... I will return.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Please unload ammo before entering the store

After finding a bar serving pints at $3 a pop on Friday night Saturday was a wash out. I'm not too sure the hangover is related to the $3 beers, but more to the own brewed beers in the first bar of the night. But either way Saturday's hangover ranks right up there.

Thankfully Anto, the guy I was meant to train with this morning, pulled out and I had to start out alone. The reason why I'm thankful is this line of the e-mail on Friday:
"20 or 21 miles relatively easy... no 5.30 miles or any crazy shit like that"
I wasn't too sure what kind of pace he had in mind and 15 miles was my limit for the day so news of him not being able to make it wasn't all that bad.

Instead I headed out solo at a nice easy pace. After a few minutes I saw a group of lads up in front, jogging along at what seemed like a nice pace. Following behind them on a bike was obviously their couch. These guys must be part of a club on their long run. Sweet, up the pace, catch them, and join in.

As soon as I caught up with them and asked if it was alright to tag along I thought their pace was a bit slow, but this was only due to the fact that I'd had to up my pace to catch them in the first place. As I settled in with them I explained how I wasn't to sure of the area so this was saving me some hassle from having to plan a route. Turns out they were from out of town and all. I asked the usual questions then, where you from? what has you here? what are you training for? and so on. This is where I learnt I was out of my depth. Three German middle distance runners over on a training camp, preparing for the indoor season. Two 800m runners and a 1,500m runner is who I ended up with.

"I know two runners from Ireland" says Janeth, "Liam... he's knew. I don't know him personally but I've raced against him a few times. Liam..."
Uhm... Liam Reale?
"Yah, Liam Reale and Alistair Cragg of course"
Ah yes, Alistair, of course, who doesn't know him? Shiiiiit! I bet he's saying "raced Liam Reale" more accurately than when I say I raced some elite in a mass participation race. I'm way out of my depth here.... Maybe I should tell them about the pub with pints for $3!
"Are you over here too on warm weather training?"
Isn't there more convenient places in Europe for warm weather training?! Eh, nooooo no no... just visiting family and now travelling for a few days.

For fear that in any second my new German friends were going to up the pace this guy shut up the small talk to save precious breath. All of a sudden Anto and his "no crazy shit" seemed like a much better option. The pace never picked up though. We stayed at a comfortable pace the whole way through. Each time something was shouted at us (them) from the coach on his relaxing bike ride I thought it was him telling them to up the pace but it never happened. Coming to the end of the session I actually understood when the coach shouted "letzten fünf Kilometer"... such a lovely language!

Private runs with elites and doesn't die. Monsieur Laget, the French 2:16 marathoner who pep talked me and left me for dead during training sessions back in France would be so proud... Suddenly Friday's shite tempo run is right out the window.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

BHAA Dollymount Beach Race Photots

Just a quick update for those out there who ran the BHAA Beach Race in Dollymount this weekend. There's some pictures uploaded on the RacePix365.com website for the race. If you raced then pop by and enter your bib number to see if there's any photos of you. I'm fairly sure that everyone will have been caught at least once in there as there's plenty of photos.

Over the coming weeks I'll be updating the site to allow users to browse the full gallery of a race rather than just the individual pictures of themselves.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Failure

Just as everything was going so well on the training front I get a day like today. The past few weeks the tempo runs, intervals, long runs and just your plain ordinary easy runs have all been going without a glitch. I was so happy with how they've been I even toyed with the idea of a race in the States next week before heading home. That decision was scratched as I don't want to sacrifice my last Saturday night in LA because I have a race on the Sunday morning. I am itching for a race though and can't wait to get home to see what's next on the agenda. Racing aside, I'm quite happy to keep this holiday going.

Back to today. I'm not too sure what went wrong with the session. It was meant to be 5 mile tempo run, if I got to three miles I'd be impressed. It just never started for me. My breathing was uncomfortable from before I started into the steady part of the run and from there I never really got going. A wrong turn or two on the way didn't help matters as I had to stop and retrace my steps. Annoyingly it was easier to call it quits than to try struggle on in the end. Now, a few hours later, my legs feel absolutely fine. Good enough to go out for a jog. I'm not going to do that, it just adds to the frustration that I didn't push myself hard enough. Usually I get Saturday off to recover from Friday's session in preparation for Sunday's long run. Maybe, just maybe I'll throw in a few miles easy tomorrow. Then again I have to get myself through a Friday night in a new town first...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yes we can

While I was in LA I didn't bother trying to catch up with other runners to train with because the times I had available to train and locations were limited. All training had to be done before it got too hot, before it got too dark, before everyone woke up or before everyone was heading for dinner. The choice was mainly the first thing in the morning, while other days it was the evenings and then again days like yesterday I simply didn't bother as I didn't want to stress myself by trying to squeeze a run in.

Now that I've left LA for a week I'm able to organise to train with some clubs in the towns I'm in. Unbelieveably all the clubs that I contacted got back to me. This is shocking considering that some clubs in Dublin didn't even bother replying when I asked them for information about joining a few months back. There were one or two clubs over here that couldn't accomodate me training with them due to time constraints, but they all still replied (you hearing that Dublin clubs!) and gave me contact details of other groups that I would be able to train with.

Over the past few days I'd been e-mailing one lad to get some help with meeting up with other runners while I'm in town. He suggested coming along to a group run with them this morning. When I got there it transpired that the group was made of athletes from three or four different clubs and the local university. The University team are currently training for their regional Cross Country championships and National Championships in the next few weesk. It's hard to put a figure on the number who were there and I didn't bother counting, but it was fairly sizeable. It reminded me of when I trained in France, the Tuesday and Thursday night track sessions comprised of all the local clubs. This way it's easier to find someone of your own standard to train with. Everyone's there with the same goal so why not all train together?

Granted I've only been back in Dublin a few months but what I've gathered is that most people seem to train exclusively with their clubs. I trained for a few weeks with different clubs while I was trying to find the one best suited to me. None of the clubs minded having me down, but would that remain the same if I was actually a member of another club? In London I was a member of one club, but from time to time trained with two others. There was also a session once a week that had athletes from three local clubs who had 10k times below 36 minutes.

If three or four clubs in Dublin joined up for a few sessions what's the harm? In France I didn't even know which clubs the guys I trained with were with. Did it matter? Did it fuck. I used them to get faster and they used me to get faster. Everyone wants to race their race as fast as they can, so you need to use every advantage you can. If by training with other clubs gives you this advantage then you should go with it. At the end of the day you race in your club colours but who you train with shouldn't matter. The more people that train together, the more people you find at your level and the better your training will beccome.

Today was certainly an eye opener for me on the way people train. I just hope it'll be as easy to find training partners when I get back to Dublin as it was here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

On a beach, out of reach, somewhere very far away

I mightn't be impressing anyone over here with my running skills, but the word will be spreading about my eating ability soon enough. Huge men are leaving restaurants with their left overs in boxes while I'm wiping my plate clean with bread. How this tall, skinny Irish man is demolishing plate after plate of food will become stuff of legends! I've got to hand it to them, Americans certainly know a big portion. They may not be able to eat all they're served in one sitting, but they can serve it. Granted there's no way I could eat this much week in week out but for a few weeks I'm loving it. Waiters are commenting taking my empty plate away from the table, my sister is laughing when she sees the food arriving and photos are being taken of these ridiculous portions.

For the past week now I've been chilling out in LA. My sister and her husband moved here a few months back so the opportunity to visit couldn't be passed up. The RacePix site annoyingly took up a lot of time over the first few days between hosting issues and loads of pictures coming my way but that couldn't be avoided. Besides that it's been a blast. Seeing all the places and buildings mentioned in various Michael Connelly books has just had me absolutely snap happy over here. Private beside Angels Flight, Private at Echo Park, Private at Bunker Hill... LA is definitely a place you feel like you know before ever having set foot here. Throw in some sunshine, cocktails, movies, a Lakers game amongst other things and you have a happy Private.

With the hectic schedule I've still managed to get some training in for good measure. The lifestyle of food and booze isn't destroying me just yet. I wasn't too sure how I was going to get by going training as there seems to be crossroads every 100 metres. There is a park a few miles from my sister's apartment but at a rough guess I'd say that works out at about 32 traffic lights between here and there! That ruled out the park for training early enough. Instead on day one I just ran around the block repeatedly. Not the most exciting, but it got the job done and there were no traffic lights or stops. My Garmin refused to work that day so I guessed the distance by the length of time it took. I estimated the block to be 1km and low and behold it turned out I was right. Day one was actually day three of the holiday but day one of training, jet lag prevented any running before that. Something I've failed to do time and time again in Ireland I've had to do here, that's train first thing in the morning. Due to the heat and not wanting to disrupt whatever was planned for the day early morning running is the only option. To be honset it hasn't been that bad. Maybe I'll give it another shot when I get back to Dublin.

Today I took on an un-fueled long run. I don't think I've ever attempted this so I was very wary that I'd have to call it quits early. I woke up at 7.30am, downed a bottle of water and headed out the door without so much as a slice of toast inside me. Normally before a long run I'm awake for a few hours before heading out and always after having something to eat. As I was hoping to do 13 miles there was no way I was going to do 20+ laps of the block. Instead I weaved up and down around 10 blocks off Hollywood Boulevard (Sorry, now I'm just dropping in names!). The plus side about all the weaving was that if I started to struggle I could just head straight home along Hollywood Boulevard (yeah I know, name dropping again) and I'd be no further than one mile away, whereas by weaving it'd have taken 5 miles to get there. The down side about the weaving was that every block seems to be on an incline. This meant that 50% of the run was going up but then again 50% was nice and easy going down. Cutting the long story of the long run short, I shocked myself. This was an un-driven, un-fueled (over 12 hours since a turkey sandwich was eaten), un-hydrated (once I left the apartment there was no water) 13 mile run up and down inclines and it wasn't that bad. Aye, it started off rough over the first few miles as my body woke up, but there after I was cruising. I had the Garmin on for a change (No matter how much I hate the thing, it's a God send when you go travelling... when it decides to work) and it surprised me when I saw my average pace for the session - 6:40 min/mile - not bad for un-driven.

I've two more weeks to go over here. A few days more in LA before I go out alone into America for a week. Then I head back here for the final couple of days to top up on the tan! The way things have been panning out so far I'm beginning to think this will be the first ever holiday that I come back from fitter than before I left. Then again if I have many more breakfasts that comprise of 3 pancakes, 3 eggs, fried potatoes and an 8oz ham steak I may not....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

On Jealousy

With this weekend marking my 5 year anniversary I had great plans of a post all about it, but I really can't be arsed with that post. 5 years since what? Since I lost my marathon virginity, found out that running was in my bones, joined the famous club, since I ran the 2003 Dublin City Marathon.

Personally, I hate the talk of "go slow and enjoy your first marathon, if you don't enjoy it you won't be back for more". What a load of toss! As far as I'm concerned running is either in you or it's not. If you hated every minute of the marathon and swear never to run again then you're not a runner, that simple. If you blew up on that first marathon and afterwards swear to come back and do it better and not blow up next time, then you're a runner. You don't catch the bug, it's already in you. You've just found the joy that marathon running brings. People always ask you why you run? There's no answer to this. Running is boring and anyone who says otherwise is lying. The thing is though it just feels right. I don't do it to be held in high regard by others, because I feel like I've done something other people don't or because it makes me feel tough. I do it because it feels like the thing I should be doing.

Since my first Dublin marathon I've only missed one, the following year through injury. Four Dublin marathons under my belt and I really wish I was out there adding my fifth this weekend. This is also the first year since the first marathon that I've lived in Dublin, and everything about this week says marathon. Missing the other marathon while living in a different country, in a town that had a marathon that about 200 people participated in, wasn't a big deal. This year, it's tough. The road signs going up, the expo, and the park suddenly getting quieter... with those that are in the park just tipping around. Reading the supplement in the paper today actually got me nervous and I'm not even running the damn thing.

I've a holiday booked for next week... how I wish I'd booked it for last week and missed the build up. Best of look to everyone running in it, bloggers and non-bloggers alike. I'm so jealous I've surprised myself. Next year is the 30th anniversary of the marathon and, touch wood, will be my 5th time running the 26.2 miles of Dublin.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Easing Up

The last conversation with my coach involved him telling me that for the next 3 or 4 weeks my miles would be cut down. I argued, said I'd only recently had a week off, I felt good, there was no need for a reduction. I was told to forget about the week off, it did me no harm I lost no fitness, this is just to wind down the legs before starting all over again. He had said no more than 5 miles a day Monday to Friday, now that's 6. I scoffed at this being too easy. He pointed out that after this time I will increase my work load to a tougher schedule than I did over the past year, I'm now a tougher runner and should be able to deal with it. He even suggested that after these few weeks of low mileage I'd come back fitter than I am now. I laughed at this... doing less and getting fitter?? Riiiight!

And today I was proved wrong... Yes, my coach knows more than me.

What happened today? 5 mile tempo is what happened! I'm not used to tempo training. 1 minute, 2 minute fartleks, 400s, 800s, 1500s... no problem. 5 mile tempo? Hurts like hell. And it's a regular part of my training for the next few weeks. According to my coach, it's what Jerry Kiernan based his training on - 8 mile tempo runs. Except he was doing them at about 4m 40s mile pace. So three miles more and a fair whack faster. This was meant to motivate me to do them? It bloody worked. At 3 miles when breathing out my ass I was thinking how Jerry Kiernan could do 8 and he probably hurt like I was hurting right then and he wouldn't have quit. I was not quitting. I didn't, possibly slowed, but I pushed on.

For the next few weeks Friday is tempo day. Tuesday, I can do the 6 miles as I choose. 6 x 1 miles, 2 x 3 miles, anything I please. Every other week day shall be 6 miles. Sunday's I still do 15 miles, just less driven than over the past 6 months. Could I finish these 3 weeks fitter than I am now? Damn straight I can.

Moral of today. I will forever trust the judgement of my coach!


Well, I've been a bit busy over the past few days. Not running but with this site - RacePix365.com. I started toying with the idea of creating a running site a while back, and then a running photo site this week. As I started into developing it, yesterday, it started to move quickly along so I thought hey, I may get this done in time for the Dublin marathon. I got a friend of mine to get me some images and then, bang 24 hours later RacePix365.com is born....

So what is it? You could just go the site and have a quick read about it but I'll fill you in here anyway. Basically it's a photo search community for runners. It works using the very simple idea that all runners are identifiable after the race by the bib number they were given. After each race anyone who took pictures at the race can upload them and they are then searchable by these numbers. The photographers don't have to be professional, hell it doesn't even have to be me (and probably better too, as I've got races to run). The beauty of it is that anyone can take the pictures at the races - once you have a digital camera you're good to go.

At the moment I've only got the Dublin Marathon listed in the search but this will be increasing over the coming months. If anyone out there is at the Dublin marathon over the weekend then please, take your camera along and take some pictures of the people running in it. If you're not and you know someone that is going then tell them to bring their camera. The more pictures taken the better chance people have of finding themselves afterwards.

More events will be added shortly and if anyone is going to any other races with their camera then let me know either through this or the site and I'll get it listed in the search options.

Happy racing people and happy snapping...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Race Report #15 - Wimbledon 10k (34m 42s)

As I turned the final bend and could see the home straight with the digital clock saying 34 minutes and thirty odd seconds I have to admit my first feeling was one of disappointment. It had been a good race, a race that I thought up until that second could have been a PB, then in one instant, just be seeing that clock I could see I'd already missed out. Nothing else to do but put the head down and use every last bit of energy to finish. In the end I crossed the line in 34:42, a mere 17 seconds from my PB. The fact that two people passed me in the last kilometre was always going to add to my immediate frustration, whereas in the preceding 9 not even a handful had passed me. The disappointment lasted all of a minute I'd say. I copped on that I'd run a tough race, a tougher course than my last 10k but by far in more favourable weather conditions. Some day I'll find the perfect course and get the perfect weather as well!

The early morning race time had me slightly concerned beforehand, but on the day in question it wasn't a bother at all. I woke up (for about the umpteenth time) at 6.30am and had a bowl of porridge. After that it was back to bed until 7.45am. From there it was up and out and to the race. I got to the race just before 9am which allowed me plenty of time for stretching and a 20 minute warm up. As I jogged around the rugby pitches by the start I felt great. My legs felt so fresh that I couldn't wait to get started.

I got myself right to the front for the start. It was a big field (750+) with a narrow starting chute so I'd lose a bit of time if I didn't get that start at the front. As we set off one lad, who looked the part, shot off to the front and it was clear as the day that he was going to keep that pace and I wasn't go to be anywhere near him come the end, so I let him go on. No one came near me though which surprised me somewhat. For the first kilometer I was out in second, a good distance from first and no one behind me. Bollix! The pace didn't seem too bad, I could still see the lead car at the first kilometre marker. How annoying must it be to behind a car with a clock for a whole race?! The clock read 3.20 at that point. That's about what I would have wanted it to say, a sub 34 minute pace. I still wish there'd been a few around helping me through this pace.

Running on my todd ended soon enough, before or after 2km I'm not sure, a group of four glided past me. Again, Bollix. My thoughts went to had I gone out too fast? Was I now going backwards? Will the next 8 kilometres see me struggle? Have I fucked this up so early on? My breathing was heavy and the four were getting further ahead of me, while also spreading out a bit amongst themselves. Soon enough my breathing got less laboured and I was closing on the last of the four. Heading up an incline, I went past him. Now it was his time to have negative thoughts! The last thing you want in a race is to pass someone and then have them re-pass you later on. I could tell when I went by that his breathing was heavier than mine and I wasn't going to see him again.

Usually when I'm told a race has a big hill or is hilly I take it with a pinch of salt. They never seem to be as bad as I'm led to believe, and seriously in France every race had a hill in it bigger than anything I'd had to run up in Ireland or England. Sunday put an end to that. There was a massive hill just before the half way point. It lasted for around 600m and really took it out of the legs. Between that massive hill and the winding roads, we never went more than 400m without turning, this course was proving to be a tough one. Soon after the hill the quads got another test. Going back down! This wasn't as steep as the climb up, but it was longer, probably just over a kilometre. This saw a huge increase in the pace I was going at, but not enough to close the gap on the person ahead of me. By the time that ended and we were back to undulating it was 8 kilometres and my quads were burning. Just before the downhill section I'd picked off another of the group of four who'd passed me early on. With 2 kilometres to go I was up to forth and pushing hard to get home.

From there on in it was a battle to finish. I think I was slowing up a bit. Every now and again I inserted bursts of speed to try get the tempo moving again. As I mentioned at the start, 2 lads past me over the last kilometre to push me further down the rankings. One of them breezed past me far too easily and nonchalantly asked me if we only had 1 kilometre to go. I grunted something and on he "jogged". At first I thought that he mustn't have been in the race and he was out doing some training or other, but a glance at his ankle to see a chip attached to it proved that suspicion wrong. That was probably more soul destroying than the fact that someone else passed me a minute later.

All in all a good end to the road racing this season. It would have been nicer to have PB'd, but I'll take the time I got. Only this morning when I clicked on the results I spotted that I was actually on the winning team. No idea if there was a prize for that or not. I didn't even think of it after the race. Two other lads from my club, who I never met before, finished 19th and 20th to give us first place. Now it's time to figure out what I'm up to next... I'll keep you posted!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Last road race of the year?

Tomorrow afternoon I head off to London to gather the last of my belongings that are taking up space in two friend's apartments. They'll be glad to see me get rid of it I'm sure. The Frenchies, who have a lot more of my stuff, will be wondering if I'll ever take it home. Uhm... maybe next visit.

While I'm there I'm taking in what should be my last race of the year/for a while at least. There could well be one cross country before the end of the year and I suppose if I start to get bored in the next few weeks throwing a race into the mix could be an option. Going into this I'm treating it as my last race this year so as to give it my all. It's a 10k in Wimbledon bright and early on Sunday morning. Too early if truth be told (9.30am). Luckily for me it's close(ish) to one of my friend's apartments so I'll crash there on Saturday night. If I was luckier my friend who lives in Wimbledon would be about, but no, he's off in Amsterdam this weekend marathoning.

The pre-race routine is going to be tough as the race is so early and there's a bit of a commute as well. There'll be no waking early to get a few miles jog in to wake the body. It'll be wake, eat and head off to the race. I'll have to get a good warm-up in to be sure that my legs are good and awake. A 20 minute jog, some stretching, change into race gear, some strides and relax for the final 5 minutes before the gun should do it.

My race tactics will be fairly simple. Start off comfortably for the first kilometre, and then upping the pace after each kilometre. By the half way point I should be digging in completely. The early pace will depend on the standard of those around me. My biggest fear pre-race is always the starting pace. You don't want to start too slow and just tip around, and then you don't want to go off too fast and die over the final half. Generally when you race a few races in an area you get to know those around you and who'll be the best person to attach yourself to. This weekend I'll recognise no one so I'll be trusting myself from the off. If I get the pace right at the start I know my strength will carry me through to the end alright.

Before I sign off I'd just like to say best of luck to Nick and Grellan who are both taking on the Amsterdam marathon this weekend. It's meant to be a lovely fast course so two PBs are definitely there for the taking

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Skinny Fit Private

Walking around town on Saturday afternoon I noticed something bizarre. My boxers kept sliding down, meaning that every few minutes I had to start yanking them back up. I did get very wet on Friday's training session... Did I shrink in it? Thank god the trousers stayed in place or it could have been a whole lot more embarrassing. The past few weeks I'd become aware that I'd more than likely lost some weight, but this was ridiculous. Since moving back to Ireland I've had a full length mirror for the first time since moving away almost 5 years ago, so it was a lot easier to spot my weight, or lack of it. What I don't have is a weighing scales.

I jumped on the parent's scales on Sunday and was even more shocked then than discovering I'd shrunk in the wash. About two months ago I'd have said I was in or around 78 kilos (171 lbs / 12 st 3 ). That would be the lowest I've weighed since... uhm, well, since I've grown up. Generally I'd have been a few pounds heavier. On Sunday I weighed less than 75 kilos (164 lbs / 11 st 10). That's a lot of weight to be dropping off in a few months. The odd thing is that I'm definitely eating as much as before, not training more, sleeping well, not sick, I'm pretty much a very healthy individual. Where did all the weight go? Why did it choose now to leave and not over the course of the last year. I've been weighing between 78 and 80 kilos for near on 18 months. What makes these last two months so special? I don't particularly want it back as I'd assume the less I weigh the less I have to carry when I run. What I want to know is how come it's gone.

Pre-running Private used to weigh slightly more than 80 kilos. Back in my final year in college, when I used to box, I was boxing heavy weight. For my first fight I was 86 kilos (189 lbs / 13 st 7) for the weigh in. Most of that weight was carried in my face... my cheeks to be percise!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What perfect conditions for running in...

As we used to say when I was younger... Not! Friday's fartlek session was a bit of a washout. All day the weather had been threatening. A bit of drizzle. Dry spell. More drizzle. Stop again. Drizzle, drizzle, drizzle. When I started out it wasn't so bad, but by the end it was relentless. For my last rep I was into a full on head wind, with equally heavy rain, blurring my vision, vest stuck to me and shoes sloshing with water, similar to if I'd just fallen in a swimming pool . It's odd how the stronger the wind against me, the stronger I seem to push it to hold on. The last rep felt the best out of the lot of them, it more than likely wasn't, just all down to the fact that it was run into the worst conditions of the session. On the jog back to chez moi afterwards what would have bothered me on any other day didn't even cause me to blink or break stride... just as I turned a corner a bus was going in the other direction covered me from head to toe with a puddle. At that stage I was wet enough that I wasn't going to be bothered by that soaking.

The session itself went well enough. I ended up feeling better about it, probably more so psychologically from having headed out in that weather. 14 x 1 minute hard with a minute and a half jogging in between. It's probably my favourite of all the hard sessions I carry out, and generally I do it year round, at least once a week. It's a session I'd recommend anyone to carry out for a bit of speed endurance. A couple of miles to warm up, then the session, followed by a couple of miles to warm down.

It's getting harder to go out in the evenings now with winter getting that ever closer. I don't know what exactly it is - probably the darker evenings making me feel tired - but as I'm getting ready to head out I definitely feel a bit more fatigued than usual. My training hasn't changed, or the time I'm running at, so it has to be the fact it's greyer out there. In the coming weeks I'm going to have to adjust the times of my runs to take this into account as when the clocks go back (/forward? - I never know which way they go... all I know that this time it's the "bad" one!) it's only going to get bleaker and harder.

Tomorrow I'm going to try get out and run with the local club for the Sunday long run. I've failed this far to ever be up and ready to meet people for 9 o'clock. Hopefully tomorrow will be different. If not I'll still get out and do 15 miles on my todd, as per usual, when I get up.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

One more and we're done

The time to switch focus is coming soon. The swap from road to muddy fields is just around the corner.... or just over the hill. Why I'm looking forward to getting back into cross country I have no idea, considering last year when I was doing it I couldn't wait to get out on the roads. I think I wanted to get back on the roads last year because no matter how hard you're running ankle deep in mud you're never going fast, you're just slugging it out, and in the back of your head you're left thinking about how fast the equivalent effort on the road would be. At the end of the day the cross country season is more about training for me than anything else. By the time February comes around again I should be left confident in my running strength.

But before I get into all that there's one more road race to come. I suppose it'll be the last race of the year. I won't be racing in November; December is cross country; so unless I throw in a road race for good measure around Christmas this next one is the last of 2008. The race is on next Sunday. No rest really, I'd prefer if it was the week after to allow me to prepare better. This week has been winding up after Sunday, no speed session until tomorrow. Next week will then be winding down for the race, no speed session after Tuesday. I don't really seem to have a chance to focus on the race or feel like I've done much race specific training but that's when it is, I've got to go with it.

I checked around the various Irish calendars and there didn't seem to be anything going on here over the next few weeks on the roads. There is some marathon or other in 3 weeks, but I think I'll give that a miss!! As I have the last of my things to pick up in London I decided I could kill two birds with one plane - find a race and pick up stuff. I had a choice of 3 races over there, a 5km, a 10km or a 10 mile. I've gone with the 10km race. The last one went well so why not another? I've no idea about the course or standard, but sure that's all part of the adventure.

My coach told me after the last 10km that the time I set there was the new standard for me. From now on no matter what my training build up has been I have to know that I won't run slower than 34 minutes. So no pressure then!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Onwards and upwards

I think writing the blog post soon after the race finished really helped me on Sunday. When I was talking to my coach later on he asked me why I thought it didn't go right and as I had it fully analysed earlier, and typed out, I knew exactly what to say... when I needed to be a tough bastard, I wasn't. It's a learning curve I can deal with. Trying to find the fast pace that hurts but is maintainable is going to be hard. All I've got to do is keep trying. Like every other distance it will come about eventually. Every race isn't going to be perfect.

About 10 weeks back or so I ran a 10k in 36.40... A few weeks later I took over two minutes from that time. Before that I spent a lot longer than "a few weeks" trying to get my marathon time down. It was two years and three marathons before I took it down to what I knew I could run. One of them failed marathons isn't talked about much in these parts, infact I tend to pretend it didn't happen. We'll skim by it very quickly...

Rotterdam 2007... I heard that the conditions were so bad that day that the elite athletes didn't have it put on their records. This may or may not be true but I heard it and I'm sticking with it! The times not on my record either! I'm not sure exactly what I ran (crawled) that day, I've never gone back to look at the results. I knew on the day, I texted it to my coach and I soon wiped it from memory - it was definitely my slowest ever. I also don't have the medal for that day. It was binned, but not on purpose. Although when I realised on the train home that I'd left it in the bag of crap I got after the marathon, which I'd left by the bin in the hotel room, I didn't care to be honest. 6 months later I toed the line in Dublin and took 15 minutes off my marathon time... about 45 minutes off my Rotterdam time!

By no means whatsoever does Rathfarnham on Sunday come anywhere close to the heat wave that April in Rotterdam. I know that with perseverance I will run a 5k race that I'm ecstatic with for a few days. Then I'll start to think "now I can run faster", just like the marathon last year, the 10k just gone, and the first time I ran 1.21 half marathon. I took some lessons from Sunday's race, I'm not disappointed with it, it's just another race that's a platform to the next one. All I took from Rotterdam was severe dehydration.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Race Report #14 - I hate 5k! (16m 42s)

What a horrible distance! Great course, great conditions, super fast field but my God did it hurt. Officially I've got my fastest 5k time to date there - 16.42 - I'm neither happy nor disappointed with it, just pleased it's over! It was the kind of race where I was going to learn a lot about myself. As I said I'd wanted to put my body under stress and race through it. I certainly managed the stress part... the racing through it wasn't as successful.

There's not much to say about the whole race as it all followed the same theme, just keep going. I probably covered the first mile the fastest I ever have in a race, which would make it the fastest mile I have ever run. There was someone giving splits at the first mile marker and I went through it sub 5 minutes, as planned. Granted I didn't think the mile had been that fast. The start had been congested and hard to get going, slightly downhill with what wind there was today into our faces. I probably didn't need to weave as much as I did in the opening mile, but I didn't think I was running fast when I was stuck behind people so I pushed on.

I've no idea on any other splits over the course. Up to the 2 mile mark I was hanging onto those around me and working off them. It was tough and I could feel my heart pounding like never before in a race... infact I don't think I've ever noticed my heart beating in a race. The last kilometre was hard, very hard. This is where I was going to learn about myself racing under stress. I was definately running, but I wasn't racing. I was simply just trying to get to the finish line at that point. In them kind of conditions you have to be tough, a hard bastard as my coach always says to me. Today I wasn't hard enough, simple as.

I have to be pleased with getting my fastest time over 5k and finishing poorly, and belive me I am. I just know there's more in there. I could think that I started too fast and paid for it down the line but that's not how I think. That's the kind of pace I need to start out at, I just have to work harder to maintain that... become tougher.

I'll update this with the time the race was won in when I know it. I head it was low 14 minutes but not too sure on that yet. I'll be struggling to have made the top 50.... quite a fast race it has to be said

Friday, October 3, 2008

Here we go again....

What is this? My 14th race of the year? I think that's a record. I can't remember off hand how many I did last year (that was definitely the most), but I think it was under fourteen. There should well be a few more in the last 3 months of 2008. But will I run further than 10k this year?

The mini taper has been going quite well. Mini is the word though, as up until today I've only taken a mile a day off my usual training program. On Tuesday I did run on the road rather than the track. It was far too miserable a night to be bothering busing around Dublin to be blown away on a track. The park had to do instead. Tonight however I only have to do 3 miles. Wahey! Then it's nothing until the 7am on Sunday morning.

I'm going with the same race day routine as the last race. I'll be up at 7 o'clock, go for a quick 2 mile jog before breakfast to wake the body up. Then it'll be flake on the couch until race time. The race kicks off at 11am and yet again is right beside the parent's house. I'll crash there on Saturday to make things all the more convenient. The warm up will be around 2.5 miles, hopefully finishing 10 minutes before the race starts. A quick change of shoes and then a couple of strides to get me up to race pace and we're off.

This 5km is going to be fast, very fast. I'm not talking about me here mind, I'm talking about the rest of the field. I'll be lucky to push a top 30 spot. Last year the top 30 all finished under 16 minutes. My goal is as close to 16 minutes as my legs will let me. That means I'm going to have to start fast, which means the warm up will have to be good. I have to be ready to race from the off. The first mile should see me through in close to 5 minutes, hopefully the second one will be about the same. From there on in it'll be trying to put the effort in to run fast with the body under pressure, something I've been lacking from past races. When I cross that line I want to know that I couldn't go another mile. The last race I finished strong and the more I think about it, the more I know that I could have gone on.

My goal time is a tad on the optimistic side. I've never run a 5k faster than 17 minutes, although there was a 6.6km race last year which would indicate that I went through the 5km mark in 16.40 or faster. The Mcmillan calculator, which we all know and love, says that based on my last 10k I can run a 5k in 16.30. I was thinking about it yesterday and there's not going to be many more races where I smash PBs like a few weeks back when I took 1.15 off my 10km time. This could well be the last chance I have to take a big chunk from a 5k. If I hit 16 minutes then more than likely, from here on in, I'll only take small bites from it. That's an incentive for me to go out an take as much as I can off it in this race. Here's hoping I don't finish the race at 11:17:03 on Sunday now!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Return

The Under Armor cold weather running tops have been busted out the last two nights training. Yep, Dublin is that cold already! It's more the wind than the actual temperatures mind. According to the BBC these 20+ mph winds are going to continue until Saturday but Sunday (raceday) should be a mere 7mph. Wahey!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Race Week Training

With another race week here, another plan is needed for the week. I'll be going into this the same way I approached the week leading up to the last 10km. The main difference though is that this race is on a Sunday, whereas the 10km was a Saturday... oh and this race is half the distance!

I'll be taking a mile or so off my usual easy runs. This will go right up until Thursday. On Friday I'll just go for a quick lap that will be around 3 or 4 miles. During this session I'll do 6 stride outs of about 100m. This should keep the legs sharp and fresh. On Saturday I'll have a complete rest, not even a little jog around the block. Tonight I was told to hit the track and do 8 x 400m hard... or if it's very windy outside to cancel that and do 10 x 1 minute on the road. The reason for this is that running on the track in windy conditions can be so disheartening that it's better to get a strong session in on the roads. A quick glance out the window has suggested that I'll be on the roads tonight!

What I'm expecting as a time on Sunday is anyone's guess. The time that's been thrown around is close to 16 minutes. It will be head down from the start and just trying to hold on. The first two miles should come in at just over the 10 minute mark. Then it'll be a battle to make it to the finish without blowing up, working off who ever is around me to get home. I'm not going to worry too much about the exact time I get. If I prepare and race well I'll get the right result out of it. After the last race I can't wait to get out and see what I can do this time...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Run like we're awesome

Ever since the first hard training session, on the second day after my week off, my legs had been feeling stiff. The session in question was 6 x 1,000m which took in a fair few hills. What legs wouldn't feel tired after that? The only thing is that I could still feel the stiffness in the quads over a week later. Granted in that time I only had one day off to recover but still, I'm not used to having stiff legs. To get this sorted I went to see the Magician on Thursday evening.

I still haven't got my head around how a massage sorts out the legs the way it does. I arrive with stiff quads. I get put through pain for an hour or so. I fork over some money. I leave and the next day the legs are fresh as a daisy! It doesn't make sense... where did the stiffness that had plagued me for a week disappear to?! To be honest, does it matter? The moral of the story is that my legs now feel good again!

On Friday evening I hit the track again for my third consecutive speed work session of 400m reps. These sessions are all geared towards the 5km race this Sunday. The coaches reasoning is that I won't get fast running up hills in the park on a Tuesday night but by running fast on a track. It makes perfect sense really, you don't get fast by running slow. The hills would be great for speed endurance, which I feel like I have plenty of at the moment, but not for the pure speed which I lack. The 10 x 400m set surprisingly went better than the last time out. By the end I still had a little bit left in the tank but I decided to call it quits there and then while feeling good rather than putting in one or two more that were below standard. For the first time in a long time I felt a rhythm on the track as I was going around, each 400 felt strong rather than fast, but the times still fell below the 70 second mark I'd been set.

The only other session over the weekend was the Sunday long run of 15 miles. This was a particularly weird run to be honest. I never felt overly comfortable, my legs were slapping the ground as I ran, and I think the pace was probably chopping and changing throughout. I was never going slow but I was definitely not fast. The plus side is though at around 13 or 14 miles I wasn't feeling as drained as I usually would be at that point.

There was a slight change to my pre-long run routine that could well be the reason behind my sluggish running. Usually before the long run I'd have my breakfast two and a half to three hours before heading out. Yesterday I tried a replacement drink thats meant to give you all the energy you need for training. I had this when I woke and I was out the door one hour after waking. Maybe the drink provided me with the energy required but my body hadn't fully woken up. Chances are it was nothing to do with this but simply an off day. I'll keep messing around with different routines over the next few weeks in any case and see what I come up with that works best.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kiss my face!

Ten, not eight this time, but the full ten. All 1:10 and under with a 1:15 recovery. Wahey! The legs were fairly tired afterwards but I knew after the fifth 400 that'd I'd be able to push all ten out. Looking back at the training calendar it appears I haven't had as good a session of 400s on the track since the end of July, when I was still in London. Back in May, when I started back on the track, I used to be doing 400m reps most Fridays. The times then were 1:12/1:13 per 400m with a 1:15 recovery. I was doing about eight or nine reps then, so it's nice to see a bit of progress there.

I'll get back out to that track on Friday evening now for some more. Hopefully I'll be able to push out one or two more than ten, but I'm not going to push myself too hard. Finding the balance of pushing yourself hard for a tough session and not leaving it all out there is a tough act. Especially when you're training by yourself. At this stage I haven't quite figured it out... I'm sure I will soon though.

There was nothing like last Fridays debacle getting out to the track. I learnt my lesson, I went straight to Belfield this time. What I wasn't prepared for was what was going on on the track during my warm up. The UCD athletics team were obviously initiating their new members. As I was jogging around the outside lane I could see crates of beer at the 200m mark and loads of people standing around on the track getting ready to partake in whatever was going on and getting ready to laugh at what was unfolding. At this stage it looked like my session was going to have to change to something else rather than 400s. Probably 14 x 1 minute with a minute off. Around 10 minutes into my warm up their 'race' started. One mile on the track, but they had to down a beer before starting and at the end of every lap before they could start running again. Brilliant stuff! Why didn't I join the athletics team in college? Thankfully by the time I warmed up, put on the racing shoes, did some strides, they had more are less cleared away. Those that remained were drinking on the infield so didn't get in my way at all. Some smell of beer at the 200m point, but I can put up with that.

Talking of watching people run. The Dublin half marathon was on Saturday last. As I wasn't taking part I decided to pop by and have a look as it takes part in the park by my flat. What a glorious day for running. Although the minute the sun comes out runners tend to say it's too hot... I know I have before! I wouldn't have classed it as hot myself but then I wasn't running in it. I'd never watched a mass participation event before. It's quite surreal isn't it? You can see about a mile down the road and there's just wave after wave of people coming at you. The funniest thing I found was that as I was standing about clapping, mesmerised by all the people jogging by, someone shouted out "Alright Private". Puzzled I took a quick look around and off went one of the lads I trained with when I first arrived back. Surely it was me that was meant to be shouting encouragement at the runners and not the other way around. I also saw the two lads who finished behind me in the last 10km race. Both of them ran nice times of 1h 16m which gives me great hope for smashing my half marathon time the next time I take part in a half, when ever that may be.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Struggle

A solitary figure in white running laps on the empty floodlit track, late into Friday evening. The rest of the country getting ready for the night to start while the night on this track was coming to an end.

As much as I enjoyed having the track to myself it'd probably have been nicer if the hours before hand and the training that preceded the warm down laps had gone a little smoother.

Dublin didn't want me to train last night, but I persevered! 5 hours after I left my flat to train, I returned. FIVE HOURS!! All I did in them 5 hours (300 minutes) was commute and train... that's all. It all started with the trek to Santry stadium. I left at around 4.30 hoping to beat the traffic. No joy. Friday evening, there was plenty of it. I must have made it to the track an hour later to find it closed because there was a football match on. Only thing I could do was hop on a bus and head back towards town. At this point I had to decide what to do next. Head home and do a fartlek session or go to a different track and hope it'd be open. I wanted a 400m session because 400s don't lie. You can't cheat yourself on a track session and I wanted to know where I stood. To Belfield track with me. 6.20 I got on a bus heading to UCD. The bus actually passed Irishtown track on the way but I chose against getting off and trying out that track. I wasn't sure what the costs were and as I had initially been heading to a free track, with no changing or storage facilities, I had left all cash at home. Staying on the bus, getting out to Belfield and hoping they haven't closed off some of the lanes with barriers was the only option. At around 7 o'clock I arrived at a barrier free track and striped off quick fast to get started ASAP.

The goal was for 10 x 400m under 70 seconds. I set myself a recovery time of 75 seconds between each rep. I felt good on the first one (1:07), strong on the second (1:09 seconds), then it started to be a battle. The next two were about 1:10 before another two at 1:11, then 1:12. Eight reps down and the times progressively getting slower, I called it quits.

It seems the only session that I quit earlier than I initially set out on is my 400 sets. The fact that I do them by myself probably plays a large part in this. It does really annoy me though. I've done plenty of track sessions with various clubs this summer and not once did I give in early, but stick me there by myself, when I have to do all the work, and I shut up shop a few reps earlier than I planned. Last year in France I could manage 10 x 400m at 1:14 with 60 seconds recovery by myself, no problem. This year I start faster, but give up sooner. This has to stop.

This week I was told to go at 68% before pushing it to 98% next week. That was kind of playing on the back of my mind last night as I didn't want to push myself too hard to get the 10 reps out when I'm only meant to be easing back into training. Tuesday's session will see more 400s, but more than likely the bar will be set higher than 10. I'll be interested to see how I fair.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Race Record

The excel sheet I use to track my training progress has been mentioned before on here. It's a handy little gadget that has stopped me from using the trusty notepad and pen method that had worked for years. I kind of miss the notepad and pen method as at any stage I can open up one of the notepads and see where I was this week last year in terms of training. I then feel a sense of satisfaction that last year I was taking days off left, right and centre for no good reason at all. Next year though I won't be able to do it at a glance. I'll have to be on my computer and open an excel sheet and scroll through a list of dates. Not as easy, but I'll survive. The sense of satisfaction mightn't be there however as I don't miss days that aren't scheduled, my long runs of 15 miles are 15 miles and I do them every week without fail (race weekends are the exception to this).

There are things that my excel sheet does that my notepad didn't. It keeps track of how many miles I've run in a given pair of runners, making it easier for me to know when to change them. With the notepad I only had one pair of training shoes and a pair of race shoes. Every few months I'd start adding up the miles I'd done and once I was around the 400 mark I knew it was time to order a new pair. Living in France, where shoes in large sizes do not exist, a pair of size 12 UK would have to be ordered in my local running store. This could take a few weeks, which at times led me having to eventually just buy whatever they had in stock in my size. The incident where I got lumped with Brook Beasts has probably put me off ever buying Brooks shoes again. It was like trying to run with weights attached to my feet. These days however I have a few pairs of training shoes on the go, which I swap about every other day. Where my legs may not get a rest the day after a long run, my shoes do. The fact that the excel sheet keeps track of what I'm wearing when and the total miles run in them is a god send. I can't imagine trying to store that in my notepad and keeping totals every week of what I ran in what shoe. I can, at a glance, see that my old Nimbus are coming to the end of their life with 430 miles on them, the Kayano have 280 and the new nimbus have a mere 80 miles on them.

The second feature that I'm a fan of is the race record. Pretty simple stuff to start with, you enter the distance and the time and it will tell you your average mile pace. I know many watches tell you that and what you had for breakfast on the morning of a run but that's not what I really like about it. It calculates this Prairie Inn Harriers Island series points (PIH). These points allow you to compare race performances where the distance is different. For each race you'll get a score up to 1000 depending on the distance and time. 1,000 points being the level for elite athletes. I tend to be in or around the 750 mark on most races.

For a year now my best race by PIH points has been a 6.6km race in France. They love their odd distances there - I did a fair few races that were 10.5km, 6.9km, 12km and 6km. The good old 10k, 5k and 8k races were few and far between but there was always a race of some distance on when you wanted one. In that race I scored 797 PIH points. This year I failed to get above 780 points. I think my second best score to that 797 is 779. My pace averaged 5:24 min/mile in that 6.6km race, a pace I haven't come close to equaling. My 5km pace from this year peaked at 5:30 min/mile. Someone suggested to me that maybe the distance was shorter than the 6.6km which I thought could explain it but that wasn't the case. I remember the race as the last race I wore my Garmin for. As my watch beeped at me to say I'd gone through 1 mile I looked down at it and it said 4:55, mile two was slightly slower, but still a fast 5:10. I can't remember the other splits for the next two miles, probably because I was dying and just trying to keep going. I know I slowed in the third before finishing strong in the forth. The first two I remember because as I glanced down I thought "fuck, that's fast" and "fuck, it's still going fast". Them initial times I remember plus the race great conditions and the perfectly flat tarmac course indicate that the distance and the time I set are both correct.

The reason why I'm waffling on about this PIH thing is because as I was racing the last 10km race I had said to myself that this was the best race I'd ever run. But how did it compare to the 797 points I got on the 6.6km race? 801 points, the new leader on my excel sheet! Wahey! It's now the standard that all races will be compared against.

This 5km race I'm preparing for will be the one where I expect to see that 5:24 min/mile pace for 5km broken. If I can run 5:32 for 10km, sub 5:20 for 5km must be possible. I was talking to some people who've raced the 5km race about it this week. The opinion is that it's a really fast course but the last stretch is deceptively long. A lot of people blow up early on it for some reason. Maybe this is because you do one complete lap and then head off to the finish and a lot of people push themselves coming to the end of the lap, not realising there's still a bit further to go there after. One thing's for sure though, there'll be plenty of people to work off in the race. It's still a bit away yet, four speed work sessions and two long runs to be precise.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Glad to be back

If there's one thing that a week off training thought me it's that I can't cope with the life of no training. The week flew by and not once did I contemplate pulling on the runners and heading out the door. The issue with the not training was the amount of alcohol drank. I tend to drink these days but hold back somewhat as I'll be training the next day or I won't have started drinking until late because I'd been out training. This has made getting very, very drunk near on impossible. But Friday night there was no training to keep me busy after work, no training on Saturday to hold back for, so I just got drunk with the rest of them. Essentially my weekend was gone as I was in bed until all hours there after, wishing I was in bed the rest of the hours, before doing it all over again. Ugh... I'm feeling tired just thinking about it. I used to be able to mix both training and drinking quite well. Now it's a no go and I'm even struggling to do drinking* on it's own. I've become everything I've always feared running would make me... a light weight!

Training started back last night. A lap of the park that'd have been in or around 7/8 miles. I wasn't overly comfortable because since the last time I ran I've managed to get a cold and get rid of the cold. I'm feeling healthy now, just a bit bunged up so my breathing was a bit askew. The aim of this week is just to ease myself back into the routine so I'm not too concerned how the sessions go. This week I should be giving it 68% before next week giving it 98% in preparation for the next race in 3 weeks time. Tonight I'll be doing something in the line of 6 x 1000m and then later in the week I'll be back to the track to do some of the reliable 400s. I'm not going to kill myself on either of the sessions, the idea is to get through them strong and not fast. Next week is when I'll be converting them 400s into a faster pace.

The race I've decided on going for next is the Rathfarnham 5km road race on the 5th October. For this race the course is fast and the field is generally strong. 2 years ago the top 30 all finished in under 16 minutes and 50 faster than my PB. If there's a course to break the 5km PB time it's this one. I have to get used to running fast and hurting while doing so. With so many people running them kinds of times in the field it should be no bother finding someone to tuck in behind and dig in for dear life.

*I have to clarify by drinking I don't mean a few casual drinks. I'm classing it as out as a solid session that ends up with you dancing about the place like a mad eejit.