Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Simply No Need To Be Nifty at 50!

As I sit and begin to write this post it's still a few days to go until the big day and I've already been asked a couple of times ' well how does it feel to be 50?'. Up to now I've given the same answer as I think I've given to similar questions asked of previous birthdays and one which I'm sure has tripped of your tongues too....'Ah sure it’s no different to the way I felt last year'

If that's true then why do I feel a little more emotional and reflective than I have on recent birthday's past. Perhaps it’s just the different level of hype, the association with doing the Ironman, or the fact that I share a 'Big Zero' birthday with Mary and indeed so many other close relatives - I can't quite put my finger on what’s different but it's definitely got me thinking and I hope that's lead me to a bit of clarity about what impact turning 50 will have on my life!

I've often been asked in the context of discussing Triathlon with family, friends, colleagues and now customers 'of the three sports which one do you like the most?' Well while I love cycling I find it the hardest of the three so it doesn't usually feature in my response. I've always enjoyed swimming but it really frustrates me because, despite my best efforts (well I regard them as my best efforts!), while I have become more relaxed as a swimmer I have definitely not got any quicker! So that leaves the run! Running was something that I never really did. Ok so I went for the odd jog but nothing consistent. In the last couple of years though I've managed to progress my running culminating in marathon completion last October and I'm slowly realising that I've grown to love it? Why? Probably mostly because, and I'm choosing my word carefully here, it's simple! To use the word easy might imply that I find it so ....I don't! There's no mandatory equipment apart from a good pair of runners, you can do it anywhere, anytime and with minimal preparation....I even leave out the stretching sometimes but Shhhh...tell no one!

I wonder if its that simplicity implicit in 'The Run' that's always made me turn to it so often? OK so I'm confusing you now I know...I'd only just said that I didn't do it very much! I was referring of course to the physical sense.... in a metaphorical sense I've certainly clocked up the miles! An example for clarity you say...?! Ok well I've had 28 different jobs in a 30 year working life! and for some of that time I was unemployed!! I know what a flake....the going gets tough and John sticks on his asics and he's gone. The funny thing is that I can only really remember 2 jobs from which I've moved on because I felt I had genuinely bitten off more that I could chew. Some moves, especially early ones, were to climb up the financial ladder however in the vast majority I moved on when things were going pretty well, successfully even. You see for me success was just luck or worse fraud wrapped in pretty paper with a bow and both  are fickle bedfellows capable of deserting you very quickly ...it's always better to get gone before they did!

It wasn't just in the in the context of work either where 'jogging on' seemed an appropriate response to circumstances which prevailed. Unfortunately in some cases, although thankfully few, people were offended or hurt by that lack of self belief and uncertainty that made me bolt and some relationships were irreparably damaged as a result. For that I am truly sorry and regretful!

So why am I expecting turning 50 to make a difference? Well you know I think it’s because it’s arrival is perfectly timed. It’s caught up to me when I’m already on a bit of an upward curve of realisation that I’m enjoying immensely.

I am realising that I’ve learned a lot in my half century, a lot about myself and about the world and to that extent can speak more self assuredly in defending whatever is my position. I am realising my importance in the life of others, that insight being gained mostly through the uncontrived and simple expressions of love from my Children Aidan and Niamh and Grandchildren Ella and Tadhg. I am realising that I again love my job – not just because it is immersed in a world with which I am enthralled but because I am actually allowing myself to acknowledge that I might just be good at it. I am realising that I have a deep sense of love for my family, immediate and extended, in-laws and all – I embrace fully the expression ‘there is nothing more important than family’. I am happier and more content now than I have ever been in my life – oh of course there are the days when I could kick the shit out of life but mostly it’s all good. I am realising that I have been extremely lucky to and full of gratitude for having no doubt met and shared the last 30 years with my true life partner – Mary thanks for putting up with me and loving me unconditionally – I Love You. Finally I am realising that while I’ve always loved the motto ‘ Live Simply’ I’ve never really lived up to it – that’s my commitment on this the 11th of February 2014 – to ‘Live Simply’ who’s with me?

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Preparing For The Big Year!

Fail to plan...plan to fail! I've heard that little saying plenty of times throughout my life and in relation to many pursuits. But another, that I have probably heard equally as often, is one which I am sure has rang true as much for you in your lives as it has for me in mine and that is 'Life Is What Happens When You Are Busy Planning Other things'. The month since my last post has reflected a mixture of both those statements ......I've been doing lots of planning in order that I might do my best not to fail in July and I had a big surprise too!

So what have I been planning. Well firtsly I'd like to share with you an outline of the training plan that I hope will see me getting to the start line in Zurich in the best condition that I can and will see me cross the finish line still on two feet rather than all fours. Before I do though I'd like to emphasise that while I have loosely based this plan on one provided on the Ironman website (Six Month Ironmman Plan) I've adapted it to what I think I can manage - if its useful to you as a guide then happy days but I'm no expert!

The first significant thing I did was change how I measured my training volume from distance based to hours based effort. I did this for the simple reason that given the time pressures involved in balancing work, family life and community commitments it's easier to calculate how I can fit training hours into my schedule as opposed to having to think ' I need to do 4K Swimming 30K running and 100 K cycling this week - now where do I find the time for that?' Also most of the commentary on Ironman training out there seems to refer to hours trained rather than distances covered.

Next I broke my time between the beginning of November and July 2014 into managable blocks, trying to take account of rest periods, events, holidays etc and then set myself a training volume for each block that I thought I could achieve e.g. Right now I'm in the middle of a four week block of winter training where I am aiming to achieve 8-9 hours each week divided between the three disciplines with the addition of a little bit gym work focused on building speed and strengthening my core. A typical week for me at the moment looks like:
  • Monday - 45 Minute Swim (AM) and a 2 Hour Turbo Class
  • Tuesday - 45 Minute Run
  • Wednesday - 1 Hour Gym Session followed by a 30 minute swim
  • Thursday - 45 Minute Run
  • Friday - 1 Hour Gym Session followed by a 40 minute swim
  • Saturday - Day Off
  • Sunday - 1 Hour Run
I have 3 more 3 or 4 week blocks leading up to the 23rd of March and I will increase the training volume target at the beginning of each block to a peak of 10 hours. At this point 'winter training' ends and I take a two week break for recovery (meaning much lighter training) before commencing my more intensive 16 week program building on that 10 hour base. The plan during those 16 weeks will be to peak at a training volume of approximately 16-17 hours per week before I begin to taper about 2 weeks out. 
Throughout all of this as I say I will be putting effort into all 3 disciplines but I will definitely be placing additional emphasis on my cycling which is no doubt my weakest discipline of the 3.

An integral part of my training will of course be participating in in a number of events at the rate of about one per month. So far I plan on including:
  • Jan/Feb/Mar - The three Naas Duathlon Series events
  • April - Run Kildare Half Marathon
  • May - I'm hoping to find a Cycling Sportive of approximately 100Mile distance
  • June - Tri An Mhi CXIII Middle Distance Triathlon
  • July - Tri Athlone Olympic Distance
  • 27th July - IRONMAN ZURICH
Others, but not many, may be added to this list

My training and event calendar of course aren't the only things that I've been planning. I've also been trying to have a look at how I might raise a few bob for my chosen charity LauraLynn House. My biggest efforts so far have gone into setting up an event called 'GOING THE DISTANCE' where I have managed to enrol the the support and time of a number of eminent experts in the field of Endurance Sport preparation and participation. Making contributions in the areas of training, coaching, nutrition, psychology and motivation will be people such as:
- Gerry Duffy of 32 Marathons and Deca Ironman Challenge fame and author of 'Tick Tock Ten'
- Andy Holgate Author of 'Can't Swim, Cant Bike. Cant Run - Common Man to Ironman'
- Aisling Coppinger Ultrarunner, Coach and co-owner of Wheelworx Bike and Triathlon Shop
- Barry Murray Performance Nutritionist and Owner of Optimum Nutrition4Sport
- And a host of athletes with lots of Marathon, Ironman and Ultrarunning experience under their belts

The event will take place on February the 22nd in Wheelworx Bike and Triathlon Shop, Fonthill Retail Park, Lucan from 11am - 4pm and at a cost of €20.00 it is fantastic value with all profits going to Laura Lynn house. You can register at http://www.wheelworx.ie/Going%20the%20Distance or contact me for tickets.

So for my big surprise! Well as you can see Wheelworx Bike and Triathlon Shop feature heavily in 'GOING THE DISTANCE'. Its where I bought my bike and I've always been a big fan of the store and it's proprieter Rob Cummins who has 9 Ironman finishes to his name including two at Kona in the World Championships. Needless to say I was delighted when I needed a venue for the event that Rob and Aisling offered to host it at Wheelworx. Anyway during the course of setting it up an opportunity presented itself to work for them which I went for and I'm now a pround member of the Wheelworx team. Well they say if you do what you love it will never be work! My role is in the area of corporate sales with initial emphasis on promoting general uptake of the Government Cycle To Work Scheme and selling specifically the unique Wheelworx Cycle To Work Service including their renowned 'LIFETIME GUARANTEE'. Now forgive me for the unashamed sales line - If you would like to know more about the scheme and Wheelworx truly unique service offering please do get in touch with me or check out the Wheelworx website, the link for which has been a permanent fixture on my blog homepage since I launched it.

Well 2014, the year of my 50th Birthday, is upon us and it's shaping up to be a busy one filled with fun, challenges and excitement. For 2014 I'll be trying to do a little bit of additional posting on the blog to give you more regular updates on my training progress(about every 2 weeks) as well as my usual monthly post.

It only remains for me to thank you all for reading and sharing my blog in 2013 and to wish you one and all a very happy, healthy, fit and prosperous New year.

Remember if you like it share it and do think of LauraLynn house when you are looking at the One Percent Difference you can make in 2014.

Take Care 

Monday, 11 November 2013

A Huge Step for Grandad a Giant Leap Towards Ironman

Hi as I begin to write this latest post I'm finding it more than a little difficult to motivate myself to even lift the pen (yes I do still write it first!) Not because I have little to say, that'd be a first, or because I don't want to give you my months news, I do, but simply because I am still in my 'post marathon recovery phase' and I have to take it easy! That phrase has a lovely ring to it and of course is missing only one word 'success' to be inserted neatly after marathon.

Taking part in the Dublin City marathon was of course the highlight of the month so I'll start there ....well not quite there. I'd like to take you back to July when I contracted pneumonia just at the time when training needed to be cranked up a gear. I'm not sure that I really believed at that point that 600 training and event km's later that I would cross the line of the first of what I hope will be many marathon finish lines.
Crossing the line while still upright was of course success in itself but having done so I have received a vital psychological boost on the way to Ironman completion next July. OK I still haven't completed all 3 elements at the relevant distances in the same event but now, having done so seperately, I believe is something that will stand to me in 9 months.
No.1 Fan, Ella my Grand Daughter and Aidan my Son

How did I find my first marathon experience? Well I'll describe it to you in the same way that I did to Mary, Aidan and Ella shortly after crossing the line - 'that was one savage test'. It tests fitness and stamina of course but it also tests perseverance, spirit, resolve, guts and patience and it is passing these tests about which I am perhaps proudest. My highlights from the day, apart from finishing the damn thing, were  undoubtedly hearing the cheers of my loved ones as I entered the finishing chute, (isn't it amazing how, amidst all the shouting, cheering, announcing and general din of the finish you can still pick out their voices the clearest) and the amazing support from the thousands who ran with me or lined the course. Do I hear you shouting 'what was your time John'? Well it was 4.49 and therefore 20 mins the far side of the goal time I'd set myself to break - but you know, and I didn't think it would, the time it took lost all significance about I second after stepping across that line!

What is significant however is the news that this month I got myself my first sponsor for the IRONMANAT50WTFN challenge. The Westgrove Hotel, Conference Centre and Leisure Club, Clane have generously agreed  to sponsor my training leading up to July. Given the level of swim and gym training that I will need to do it will present me with significant savings not just in terms of finance but also time- its literally around the corner from the house and in the same building as work!  And if that wasn't enough they have provided me with the services of their senior physical trainer, Niall Herbert, who has put together a training plan for me which will have me at 'my' peak fitness level by next July. Thanks to General Manager Jerry Russell, Michelle and Niall I'll display and wear the logo with pride.

Lest you think that I'm resting on my laurels I'm also well into my very tough turbo sessions with Niall at Wheelworx and putting together some nice plans for a bit of fundraising for LauraLynn house which  I will tell you more about in future posts.

I'll finish this months post with a bit of a challenge to you. ...don't discount yourself as a potential marathon finisher, or any distance for that matter,...it might take time but if I can do it so can you. Decide, Sign up and Follow a simple training plan...don't put it off any longer take your own huge step.
Till next time.......

Friday, 11 October 2013

Another Perspective!

The 11th of October 2013 not only signals that I am now 4 months and counting from the magic number 50 but it also marks another very important date in my annual calendar.  The 11th of October is the day I married Mary, and this year makes it 28 years ago! Now I'm not going to get all gushy or anything like that but it has to be said that without Mary's support on my IRONMAN journey it genuinely wouldn't happen, she is always there cheering me on (her definition of which is sitting in the car and arriving at the finish line with minutes to spare!) and is the first smile I look for when I complete every event - For all of that and more I Love Her. 

She's been going on at me for ages saying that the readers of my blog don't really know the story of what it's like with the training, competing and preparing for my IRONMAN Challenge - that is of course, she maintains, because you haven't heard the story from HER perspective.So I told her to put pen to paper and write a post that would do just that...and she has....and here it is:

The Wife of an IRONMAN in training......The Real Truth!

To all you lovely people out there who so kindly read my husbands blog each month , Thank you. .. Having read Johns blogs I felt that I had to share my side of the story... “the no. 1 fan experience” so to speak of what it’s like to share life with John on his journey leading up to this Wonderful Iron Man Event..Zurich 2014!!!

A brief account of what happened the weekend we were going to Tri an Mhi.......

Its Friday evening , Yipee.. Finish up work for the weekend.  Arrive home and as I enter the house all I can hear is the Dolby sound blaring from the TV, Its like a Cinema ..Then I notice a bicycle race on the TV and it dawns on me that tomorrow -Saturday John is going to participate at the “ Tri an Mhi” event .. oh Sugar .. no wine tonight!

As we eat our dinner together (It has to be pasta and bread- Carbs for the race !!! not my favourite I might add! )the main conversation is about the IRONMANthat is replayed for the tenth time on the TV, from some country or other, the timings of races, the different bikes, the hills etc... mother of sweet divine .. its going to be a long night ! I better seem interested... “ a glass of wine would do the trick “

 John is very excited preparing for the following day...the madness begins    

He paces the floor scratching his head, about 5 lists of what to bring, I just wish he could put all the stuff in one box and have it ready, but NO it has to be a big drama.. then just when I sit down I get “ you didn’t happen to see my nose plugs “ nose Plugs ! even if I did I would probably not know what they were and would have thrown them in the bin.. I’ll play dumb .. No I say didn’t see them and I give him one of my very false smiles.. in order words will you stop wrecking my head..

Decision made,  I’m definitely having a glass of wine..

 I smile, you ok John? as he arrives in from the shed with the wet suit.. that wet suit is like a person in our kitchen and it really spooks me out.. especially if I come up for a drink during the night ..I get such a fright, it’s like a ghost in the kitchen – an instant reminder of what’s to come (mind you I do fancy him in lycra)!!       

Imagine This In The Dark - Especially After 3 Glasses of Wine!

Not  1 , but 2 hours later  all seems to be packed, then suprise suprise he does a check list , ah for F... sake .. its at that moment that I come up with a plan, for the next Triathlon  I could go out the night before ? I’ll say nothing just yet..(my secret)
The bike rack has to be put on the car, another drama ! the amount of noise and fixing is unbelievable and this happens every time.. John I say don’t make to much noise the neighbours might be asleep! His look said it all - I think I ll have another glass of wine

Makes Talking IRONMAN Interesting!!
Eventually he’s all happy packed and ready to go !! I’m happy to after 2 glasses of wine, I might even have a 3rd one !!!

 I casually ask what time we setting off at? John replied 6 am... well you could hear me in Meath 6 am !! oh good God..( now that’s torture)...I replied in Mrs Browns best voice  “THATS NICE!
So I guzzled the  3rd glass of wine...6 am no longer seems to bad. and off we go to bed..

I open one eye, NO WAY am I getting up its the middle of the night, I hear Johns Alarm.. I try to reach over to knock it off so as we could sleep it in but no he is out of bed like a lark, I don’t think he slept all night.. I pretend I hear nothing.. no way I am getting up...All is quiet and then John arrives with a cup of coffee.. oh dear I better be nice and get up its 6am.. I look out the window and nearly collapse with palpataions its pouring , gale force winds am I dreaming or what. !

Are you still going John? And I’m hoping he says NO ..Oh yes ..he says.. that sorts that out.. breakfast finished..ready to leave , and guess what another check list...
We start off on the way to Meath never seen the like of the weather before. Due to arrive to register before 9 am we were there for 8am!!
I take one look in at Lough Lene and you know what I think they are all stone mad... I look around bleary eyed and see people arrive, the excitement is mounting..

John registers, cars arrive and people from all walks of life arrive but yet they all look the same as they are dressed alike.. All ages all sizes...all freezing
John is engrossed looking at the various bikes and he is telling me all about  the different types ...  yippee so exciting at 8am does he realise how tired I am.. !!
I have to go to transition to see where his bike is placed ..on route I get the full run down .. then John needs the toilet, here we go again ... I hope he does not hold up the que!!

It’s time for the briefing I always listen to this, well I pretend to listen, I look around , the bodies are now shaking, Lough Lene is so rough. 3,2,1 ready to go and  I get the kiss , off he goes , I follow them down , it’s hard to pick out your own as the swim hats are all the one colour.. I say my silent prayer..
Look after him God.. I wait for him to arrive out , wet suit half off, into transition for the bike..off he goes....I’m going back to the car for a long sleep...

By now and after many events I know his timing, so I set my phone, Ill have a sleep for an hour and a half. Wake up and head back to finish line and wait..people start to arrive ..not many fans out today it’s so wet..10 minutes after his due time I see my John, my IRONMAN running down to the finish line, I’d know his run/waddle anywhere.. My heart leaps Thank God he made it.. he looks for me and we smile.. I get a sloppy sweaty kiss..I am so proud of him.. The getting back home is another long story but I will save that for some other time.

I will finish by saying despite my moans and groans and believe me I do a lot of that. I love to be part of this big challenge for John...I think I might even become his coach !!! so take care to you all and remember “LIFE IS NOT MEASURED BY THE NUMBER OF BREATHS YOU TAKE BUT BY THE MOMENTS THAT TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY”  ..ps..Marathon in  2 weeks !!  Mary

Thanks Mary......Love it....Happy Anniversary ......... but folks ..........don't believe a word I'm totally organised....Honest!

Till next time...Post Marathon

Take Care

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Perfect Timing - But No Picnic!

My Teeth Were Actually Chattering
Its been another busy month on the journey to completing IRONMAN 1 but one which I have thoroughly enjoyed. Having created a nice platform with a decent run in the Frank Duffy 10Mile in the Phoenix Park I have been upping the ante on my training. This week I have started doing 12k as my routine training runs (3 days per week)and a 1K swim and 50K bike once weekly. For my long run I have peaked so far at 18K and this will rise steadily in the coming weeks till I compete in the Athlone 3/4 Marathon on the 6th of October. And on the 7th day....I rest!!!
While preparation for the D.C.M.on the 28th of Oct is my main focus for the coming weeks I have retained my Swim/Bike elements, mainly for the sake of variety however all research would suggest that they are good to provide a more holistic training regime than that which might be achieved by running alone.

 The fact that I had continued swimming and biking also told in my performance in my last triathlon of the season. Watching the weather forecast in the few days leading up to Tri an Mhi on the 7th of September I was not too hopeful for a dry event but nothing could have prepared Mary and I for just how wet the day was when we set off at 6.30am.....and not only was it wet but the car told me the air temp had dropped to 6deg...wet and cold....brrrr!
Flashing a smile!!

Transition set up was a bit more challenging than usual and any thoughts of having dry anything, including trainers went out the window.  The spirit of Triathlon is an amazing thing however and there is still a palpable buzz of excitement and anticipation in transition despite the weather.  During the time between getting the wet suit on and entering Lough Lene I got absolutely freezing and while anyone who has done a triathlon before probably won't believe me I am not joking when I tell you that the water in the lake was bath like compared to the air temperature and it actually warmed me up.  The lake was fairly choppy as the winds were also getting up a bit but after the usual early scuffling at the start I settled into a decent rhythm and exited the water about 20 minutes later..... to a very unusual sight for me...there were still bikes in transition !!!

I had a fairly speedy transition by my standards and probably one of my most enjoyable 20k cycles followed. One problem I had in transition 2 was that I could not feel my feet and really struggled just to get my trainers on however less than 2 minutes later I was out on the road. I took on a gel for a bit of a boost but for the first couple of KM's I was not running comfortably .  However by 2 and a 1/2 KM I had settled into a rhythm enjoying the fact that on my way back towards the finish there was still a decent number of people coming to meet me. I crossed the line in a PB of 1.36.41 and immediately looked for my adoring fans... well fan...!! with whom to share my personal victory and she was no where to be seen ...... She says that such was my good time that she miscalculated when to be at the finish line...mmmm... I just think she had no intention of standing out in the wind and rain....couldn't really blame her it was atrocious for spectators. Weather aside it was a great day and another triumph for Tri an Mhi in terms of organisation. Oh! ... and I discovered why I was so uncomfortable for the first couple of KM on the run.. I ran the whole 5 k with my socks crumpled up in the toes of my  trainers .!!!
No Smile Now !!

The decision about which IRONMAN I would do as the pinnacle for this journey I am on was one, which in the end, I pondered over long and hard. I had done a lot of research and in the end thanks to an article forwarded to me by my friend Ken Kearney I realized that if my goal is to get to the finish line within the 17 hour time limit I needed to play to my strengths.....well at least minimise the impact of my worst weakness out of the three disciplines... which in my case is most definitely the bike. Now there is no easy IRONMAN but in some the bike discipline can have less climbing and therefore might be considered 'easier'.The one which in the end was jumping out at me, was still open for registration and could be traveled to with relative ease was ..... IRONMAN SWITZERLAND, July 27th 2014.  The total bike climbing on this 180km course is about 1200m compared to IRONMAN UK which is about 1600m - so a piece of cake then !!! With two hills which they have actually christened 'THE BEAST' and 'HEARTBREAK HILL' to be taken on twice in the two lap course and the fact that I have to it complete in 16 hours...not the 17 hours I had always been banking on means it isn't going to be a 'Picnic in Zurich'. So my friends that's where me and my fans....well fan.. are heading. The one thing I'll know for sure....the time will be right!

                    Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRide

Audrey Jones
Head of Fundraising LauraLynn House
My blogging month finished beautifully on the 11th of September when Mary and I visited LauraLynnn House to introduce ourselves, tell Audrey Jones, Head of Fundraising, a little bit about what I am doing and have a tour of their wonderful facilities. For a place which touches peoples lives at times of much pain, suffering and sadness you find it has a most uplifting energy. With its bright and colourful reception areas, vibrant multisensory playground and peaceful Butterfly Suite I can only imagine the sense of reassurance that it must provide to the families who have to cross its door. As you can imagine it costs millions to run a facility such as this and the fact that amazes me is that NOT ONE CENT for this service is state funded....its all done with fundraising efforts. I am all the more motivated by my visit to at least reach the modest fundraising target set and extremely proud to be associated with this fabulous organisation.

Laura and Lynn's Pictures Framed Top Left
..........and yes that is Mary's finger !!!

Well thats it for another month everyone. I hope you've enjoyed the read and that if you have you might decide to share it with some of your friends.

Remember comment, tweet etc at will and take care untill next time.


Saturday, 31 August 2013

'STONEMAD' - Frank Duffy 10Mile Race Report

'But your better at making the porridge' was the response I got from my better half when  the alarm went off at 7am and I suggested that it was time to get up for the Frank Duffy 10mile. I was pretty sure that this was just a ploy to ensure that she would have another 20 minutes in the cot given that typically she tells me that my porridge is muck!

I had planned and prepped well from the night before so we were all ready to leave the house by 8.10. Having initially toyed with the idea of going to the Red Cow, taking the Luas and getting the shuttle, we decided to drive as far into the Pheonix Park as possible. You know I get more like my dad the older I get ! He would get to every appointment he had way before time and I mean way before - Doctors appointment at 2...he'd be there at 12.30..It used to drive my poor mother insane because of course he would drag her along! You see, I hear 5000 competitors and I think if we don't go on time we'll end up having to park miles away, walk for an hour, end up running cos we're late and be knackered before I start at all...well i'ts plausible is'nt it? Anyway it took us 20 minutes to get there and we were able to park in the park and as close to the start as made no difference......of course the refrain is still ringing in my ears 'I told you we were leaving to early'!

For a while we sat watching other competitors arrive and they all looked 10 times fitter than me to a body. Again I let  that 'am I deluded?' question off its leash for a moment but quickly coralled it again by telling myself - 'no you've trained and your ready - now get on with it' 

c.I spent the next hour in the lead up to the start chatting to Mary, taking in the atmosphere, getting my bearings, changing, warming up and queing for the loo - 3 TIMES !! OK HERE'S A BIG REVEAL - in the words of Michael Caine - not many people know this ! I suffer from stage fright ! - C'mon I can't be the only one..you've got to know what I'm talking about lads! That need to perform and the complete and absolute inability to do so because you just can't get the thought of that queue of people, just outside the door, waiting on YOU! Doctor's surgeries are the worst, once that question is asked ' Now if you would't mind peeing into this, the Doctor is WAITING ON YOU !!! 
You see...it is a real condition....now stop laughing!
With relief finally achieved, I gave Mary a squeeze and slotted into my chosen Wave 2, 80-95 Minutes (90-95 was my goal). After a bit of soft shoe shuffling to the start we were off. I had decided to go out easy and steady for the first couple of KM's fairly confident that I could pick up any lost time as the race went on. Staying with the pack I knew would help with this, however with a couple of glances at the watch, although it felt I was running easy and comfortable, I was already in my goal pace zone - I put it down to excitement and adrenaline!

At about the 3KM mark I found myself on the shoulder of a lady wearing a luminous orange running shirt with the word 'STONEMAD' emblazoned on the back. I decided that 'STONEMAD' was going to be my run buddy for the rest of the race - apart from the fact that her shirt I thought accurately described the challenge upon which I am embarking, her pace and rhythm seemed one close to my own and I knew from previous experience that having a persons pace to focus on as well as my watch would help greatly. The next 10KM or so was pretty uneventful...and flat...I love flat. I tick tacked with STONEMAD and she with me...there wasn't a word spoken but I think she had made the same decision as me. I took on a Gel as planned at about 10KM and that gave me a much needed boost and I hydrated pretty well throughout..something I often forget to do.

Of course I knew the course was going to get tougher at some point and about the 12/13 KM mark they stuck a hill in which wasn't particularly steep but inclined for about 500 meters or so. Having already run further at this point than I had so far this year, the hill took its toll on my legs, lungs and the nice steady rhythm that I had maintained to this point which made the remaining, slightly more technical, 3km of the course a bit more of a struggle for me than I would have liked. I also lost 'STONEMAD' at this point the hill doing its worst on her efforts also.

The last KM was tough going and I was glad when I finally glimpsed the finish line ahead. Fearing that I might not make it in under my goal time I sprinted (Ha..Ha..Ha) in to complete in 1.34.28 - Just made it (it was a little longer than 10Miles!!) 

Overall I was delighted with my effort and really enjoyed the run. I had intended to turn around and watch for 'STONEMAD' to cross the line and thank her for being my 'run buddy' but all I could think of after crossing the line was satisfaction and fatigue. Did she finish...of course she did...of that I have no doubt.!

Looks like STONEMAD had been there before and was definitely wearing the SHIRT 1

Sunday, 25 August 2013


Please check out my new page - RED BUTTON - I will be using to bring you additional features between my 11th Blog Postings. I hope you find whats included informative and useful....go on have a look.

Here's the stats from my Frank Duffy 10 Mile run in the Phoenix Park yesterday. Up until now I had not really been to bothered with setting myself time goals, I was always of the mind 'isn't it an achievement just to finish'. Of course it is but I think it inhibited my improvement ...and improvement was something I sought. It's such a confidence boost to set yourself a goal, albeit a moderate one, and to reach it...just. Try it if your not...you won't regret it!