The main thing is keeping the main thing, the main thing
Yeah - maybe I'm making the mistake of looking back too much at what I had done prior - when I was obviously Marathon Training.
Lets see what happens!0
Monday 5th: easy run - legs a bit meh still - kept it very easy paced.
5m / 8:30 pace
Tuesday 6th: Session 7x1m (90 secs) -
It still amazes me that you can be anxious about a session when you've been batting the sessions out of the park recently - but here we are!!
I got out a bit later than planned and ran to PP as my warm up - I didn't do strides or anything - was chasing daylight!
The route for the session was the familiar OS/Furze, then a couple of laps of the 2m path around the Visitor Center.
After the 1st couple of reps, I wanted to stop - didn't feel comfortable, breathing all over the place, pace felt harder than it should. (6.09/6.04)
I stuck with it and glad I did as I came around to the pace and the legs warmed up and got going - it was actually feeling easier as it went on.
Next few reps were 5.56 / 5.53 / 5.56 / 5.58 / 5.51 (with a sprint finish practice).
Was very happy with this 6/7 reps faster than HM pace - I recall thinking that I could probably do 1 more rep at 6.05 if required - so a positive sign.
11.8m / 6.49 ave
Wed 7th: Legs felt pretty good today - ran down to PP and back up - enjoyed the run.
6.7m / 8.07 pace
Thursday 8th: rest day - thought about going out in the rain - but took a rest day.
Friday 9th: 1 week to race day - what do you do? I settled on a 30E/30St/30E - volume with a bit of intensity.
the 30 steady came in at just under 4.5 miles (6.4x pace)
12.2 miles / 7.20 pace ave
Sat 10th: just couldn't get out - the day got away from me.
Sunday 11th: a few days out from the race and away with work on Mon/Tues - so wanted to get a 'pre-race' workout completed.
Done some strides / 2x1m at HMP with 2 mins rec / 5x200m - I must say the 2x1m felt like 5k effort (5.57/6.01)
Monday/Tuesday: Away with work - no running.7
Wednesday 15th: WU / 7x45 secs/ CD
Probably should have ran the 45sec reps a bit easier as legs felt a bit sore afterwards.
Thursday 16th: Easy few miles - 3.2m - no strides0
Friday 17th: Mullingar Half Marathon
Grab a cup of tea 1st - its a long one.
This race was a very interesting race as its the 1st time I've trained specifically for a HM - this training was a bit 2 sided as I was coached upto a certain point then handled my own training after Trim 10m in early Feb.
My training was primarily Tempo/threshold work with a sprinkling of faster stuff - the aim was to get stronger as opposed to getting faster - I felt I had suffered a lot in races in the later stages, which I put down to a lack of strength.
This race had a bit of a hiccup due to a work trip on Sunday, Monday & Tuesday which actually exhausted me for the rest of the week.
I had checked the weather and wind direction for this race and knew it would be sh!tty weather on the day and that the wind would not be helpful for the middle few miles. So I was somewhat prepared (apart from forgetting to pack socks, jocks and a towel for afterwards!)
I got to Mullingar early enough - I had about 45 mins to spare. My breakfast was 2 slices of toast and a Maurten drink on the way down. I'm not great at drinking water prior to races and also have noted that I've felt 'hungry' in some races - so wanted to try this. It worked a treat.
Warm up consisted of just under 2 miles - find the portaloos, back to the car, change the runners and off again. I was going to chance the AlphaFlys - I knew that there was a chance of rain - but still felt they were the best option (wrong choice!).
As I changed the runners and put on the MSB Vest - the rain was bucketing down - $hit - I knew there was going to be a risk of blisters with the AF's.
Got to the start line - a few hellos to some of the Mullingar crew who I knew (Evan & Eddie) and took my place in the pack - Fletch and a clubmate 'PF' joined me.
We were set off and I had a good line immediately, not too many runners ahead and all of the required caliber to be ahead.
I'll give my thoughts as the race unfolded as it was certainly a race of 2 halves.
Mile 1&2: - "Sh!t - this is feeling tougher than I thought - was is 6min miles feeling so hard"
As I look now at Strava - I see that we were climbing for the 1st mile - I had planned 6.10 pace for 1st 2 miles while the GAP is 5.55 for mile 1 and 5.56 for mile 2 - so effort levels too high straight away. (6.04/6.03 on the watch)
Mile 3: "Ok - try to settle - get rid of those negative thoughts - remember Elaine talking about "staying in the mile you are in" - well lets do that"
We turned a corner and had stopped climbing - so effort levels came down a bit - I remember thinking that I had 10 miles left - but chastised myself for thinking this - focusing on the current mile, how I was feeling - running by effort now and not by pace. I had made a decision earlier to let the group go ahead - I wasn't feeling it today (already) so knew in my heart that it was the right decision (unlike Trim - which was the wrong decision)
(6.06 for M3)
5k in 18.57
Mile 4/5/6: "This is pretty bad, your not going to PB today, buddy - you've a 10k race in 9 days - so jog it in and dont impact that race - ok - lets keep it going at this pace - get to the turn 1st - then get to 10 miles and reasses."
"I'm glad I'm not doing any longer races over the summer - 5k's/10k's at most."
These 3 miles were kinda hard - but I knew they would be - the wind was in your face and the race was still coming down - I got a feeling in my right big toe of a blister forming. I had my 1st thoughts of DNF'ing here - effort levels were high, blister forming, bad weather, isolated from the group.
I needed to do something - so a simple act of taking off my gloves helped - gives a different sensation - something else for your mind to think of. The wind and rain were still impacting - I found myself trying to protect my toe - but was conscious to try not change my gait too much.
As the pace dropped more in mile 5 & 6 - I made a decision to get to 10 miles and reassess - do a 10 mile run and if you need to jog the last 3 so be it - Deal made. It helped remove the negative thoughts and focus on each mile more and more. The group ahead were getting further ahead - it contained a lady who I raced in the Roscommon 10 in the summer - KK - a very strong runner from Athlone.
During the 6th mile - I was conscious of the pace dropping but knew that the turn was up ahead.
5k in 19.15
Mile 7&8: "This is ok - this feels ok - the wind is gone - I'm feeling good - who put that Fcuk!ng flyover there" - "Only 3 miles to 3 miles to go"
This section saw us turn right and we got some respite from the wind - I was suddenly feeling very good and the pace was creeping up. I was catching the group ahead - Jeez - I'm now wanting to pass that group - the watch has moved from 6.20 pace to 6.02 actual pace - lets get going.
Holy God - who put that flyover here - my God - running on the path, its an never ending flyover - I get to the top and theres paths and cars held up and Garda and people around - its a bit stressful here - but we take the turn and use gravity to recover - the group I passed come alongside me - including KK. Mile 8 and the flyover has knocked the stuffing out of me a bit - so I take time to recover - this is my slowest mile.
(6.11 / 6.18)
Mile 9: "Wow - I feel fantastic - lets keep moving - this is a great race, I love racing" - "Must do more longer races - I'm actually loving this"
Mile 9 sees us join the canal Greenway - theres a good crowd giving encouragement here and I actually cant recall if its raining or not. I'm feeling quite good here and am using my arms a bit to push on - I'm ahead of the group and see 2 in front who I target. I cant believe just how good I feel.
5k in 19.09
Mile 10 & 11: "Is that my Quad or my groin? Why are there stones in my shoes? is my blister coming back as I'm trying to avoid the puddles - maybe I should have done some longer runs or even some 20 milers"
I started to feel a tension in my upper left quad / Groin area - wasn't too sure where it was, but I could feel it. Not too sure if it came as a result of the Blister changing my gait or was from a lack of endurance as the pace got tough. Either way - it was impacting my race and I couldn't keep pushing - I needed to manage it. I recall feeling something similar a few yrs back in Dungarvan 10.
The Canal Greenway is a poor surface for running - avoiding potholes with puddles, lots of little stones - I had a good few in my shoes but daren't stop to remove them as I felt I wouldn't get going again. Managing the quad/groin was important now.
(6.11 / 6.20)
Mile 12: "Nearly there - 13-14 more mins of running at most - just get through this mile"
The group that I passed were now alongside me again - I had heard people telling KK that she was 3rd lady - I was telling her to push on and keep hold of 3rd. And that she did as she plowed on!
I could feel the groin/quad shouting at me and I could feel the blister in my big toe screaming at me. Lets just get home.
Mile 13: "just finish this thing - I dont have a sprint 'cos I cant sprint, I'm sore, I'm wet - just get me to the finish line"
As the mile went on the pace was accelerating - we left the greenway and were into the town now - a few turns to navigate and was told by a Guard that we were on the home straight. I could still see a couple in front of me but wouldn't catch them.
5k in 19:31
Mile 13.16: "I dont believe it"
We came to a park entrance and turned left - I could now make out the gantry but couldn't see it properly - I actually had no idea what time I was in for - for a moment I thought eh clock read 1.22 but when I looked closer I saw 1.21.10 / 1.21.11 / 1.21.12 and I couldn't believe it.
I thought I had bled too much time - I was actually within a few seconds of a PB - I crossed the line in 1.21.16 and very content with that. Actually, no, very happy with that given how I felt earlier and having the groin/quad thing going on.
Was like a drowned rat at the finish line amongst other drowned rats - all our legs were full of little stones and dirt from the greenway. At that point I remembered not having spare jocks/socks etc - ah well.
I didn't do a cool down - just walked to the HQ with my MSB buddy PF and got a change of t-shirt - I met Rob Brown (formally of these parts who I raced with in Rotterdam).
Changed in the car - cursing that I hadn't got a towel with me. My legs were filthy and my top and shorts were soaked.
I checked the official results and was quite chuffed to see I was 2nd M50 (behind the Legendary Eddie N) - that really perked me up - I briefly considered going back to HQ but it was really chucking it down and I didn't want to get drowned a 2nd time - so just headed for home.
My last few HM's that I raced were 121.16 today / 1.21.08 (Sept 21) / 1.21.41 (Mar '20) - so I'm somewhat consistent.
For the 1st time in a while (ever?) I was quite content with a HM race. I felt I had given it all and was very happy that I could change gears and run a 6.03 on the 9th mile and only a tension in my groin/quad curtailed my gallop.
It wasn't the slog I had in Ratoath during the summer and while that was a faster race (by 8 seconds) - this was a better performance - a more rounded performance.
At the start of the year I mentioned that I wanted to run a sub 80 HM - well, it would have been a stretch too far today - even if I had not got any issues with the quad, I may have ran a 1.20 high.
However - I do know that my tempo training certainly works and my strength is coming back.
I'm excited now to bring in some faster work coupled with the tempos/TH stuff in the coming weeks.
But 1st - recover and get ready for a 10k on March 26th.
1.21.16 / 47th place / 2nd M50 / and quite a content auld man tonight.21
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Well done Alan. Sounds like a very tough race but you did great to keep going. You could have used quite a few excuses to stop and it’s good to see you were pleased with yourself after. You deserve to be. Did you get a prize for 2nd M50?1
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Ah brilliant, A, you certainly ran the gamut of emotions there, and what a performance in the end in what sound like pretty horrendous conditions. What a great result! Super report too. Love that bit about removing the gloves, I've done things like that myself (although rarely as effectively). Top man, as you say yourself. Congrats.1
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Well done ! A great read1
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Love the internal dialogue! Well done, great race, loads of positives from that performance.1
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Well done on PB in Mullingar. You toughed that one out in sub par conditions.
Read your message on my log earlier, wasn't going to wrote report report up there now
(or here actually https://www.boards.ie/discussion/comment/120380148/#Comment_120380148 )1
Well done A, a brilliant race & report to match it!
Glad someone listens to me🤣🤣1
The week leading upto this race was a bit weird - how do I approach it after the HM on 17th? I was away on Sun/Mon with wifey so just done a few miles on Tues PM and Wed. Done a mini session on Thursday (5x20secs/5x2mins/5x20secs) - which in hindsight was probably the wrong thing to do as my Hammys were shouting at me right upto Sunday morning. Another day off on Friday and a shakeout on Saturday.
The lack of structure and miles makes you feel like you are getting very unfit and very fat! I'm not a fan!!
I left my house about 11:15 for a race that starts at 12 - had all the gear with me in case of rain, but didn't need it.
Ran upto the start line and a few strides, said hello to the 'Raheny Three' from these parts and lined up next to ScotinDublin.
The start was slightly delayed and we were set off in the most unceremonious way - no whistle, no gun - just a 'Go' which wasn't even a shout.
I had checked the route and wind direction prior to the race and knew the 1st 3 miles would have a tail wind and the final 2 with a headwind - thankfully the wind didn't prove too much of a hindrance today - but it was a fast start.
Went through the village feeling comfortable enough - worried that I was too fast, but I didn't want any 'what if's' at the end. Its early in the season and theres plenty of races to come.
Mile 1: 5.44
We joined the BHAA 5m route (sadly no more) at this stage and turned left - I was still feeling ok and noted how far Craig was up ahead along with my MSB buddy RG.
Mile 2: 5.49
As we approached the 3rd mile, I was thinking of slowing down a bit and running the next 4 miles at 6's - this would give me close to a 37min time - but I discounted that and said to keep going. We turned left again and all was good in the world.
Mile 3: 5.49
I crossed over 5km in 17.58 and knew that it would be a tough ask to keep the pace going, especially with a difficult mile at 4-5 to come. (Its always been the slowest stretch each time I do the BHAA 5m). But I was prepared for it.
At about 3.5 miles - I was leading our group and feeling it slightly, so I moved aside and let some of the others take the lead and tried to tuck in - it only resulted in them moving on and my pace dwindling. I hadn't even reached the difficult part yet and I was feeling it.!
Mile 4: 5.56
This next mile stretch went on forever - its not even uphill but has a little drag and is into the wind (not a very strong wind though) and the demons were shouting at me. I was really feeling the fatigue in the legs - a lot different to the Lactate I was feeling in Raheny - this was pure fatigue, heavy legs - like mile 24 in a Marathon - minus the cramps.
I really wanted to stop and jog it in, but I was still moving - I started to use my arms a bit more - theres a thing I do where I pump the arms and act like I'm pulling on a rope (a trick an old MSB coach told us for hills) - my pace increases slightly and I keep it going. There are people passing me now and no matter what - I cant go with them - its a case of maintaining it and trying to keep it together.
Mile 5: 6.08 (felt a lot slower) I went through 5m in 29.26 - 20 seconds faster than Raheny in late Jan.
As we're approaching the last mile - I can hear the announcer on the mic and gives me a little lift - the legs are getting heavier - I see a person stop ahead and I shout at him to keep going (I was actually also talking to myself as I wanted to stop!) At this stage, I'm trying to do the sums in my head to see if I'm on for a sub 37 or not, but my brain isn't working that well.
I see the 9k marker and know the turn for the track is up ahead - there's a good crowd around now and plenty of shouts and cheers.
Mile 6: 6.11
The finish on the track is sweet - I've taken over a couple of guys who passed me at 4m but one comes back strong in the last 200. I'm pumping the arms and trying to get the legs to respond - I'm also regretting taking that beet it shot this morning :) -
I can see the clock moving in the high 36's and push it for the last 50m or so - making it in under the 37.
0.21: 5.33 pace
10k in 36.52
I hung around the track to watch Elaine and Murph finish - while both got PB's only Murphs face registered it - Elaine looked like she ran a $h!te race but told me she had a big PB!!
Great to catch up with the Raheny Three and a lot of others - my favourite part of racing!
Overall a great race - I'd seriously recommend it - I'll definitely be putting it on the calendar next year and wont be doing a HM prior to it :)
I do not like Sunday races - but for this one, I'll make an exception going forward.13
Well done A, nice solid race from you!
Haha I need to work on my facial expressions more🙈 I was thrilled with my PB & more than that my performance! Will do cartwheels next time😉
Really nice to chat to you afterwards!1
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Nice one, Alan, great to see you looking suave in that Size 10 MSB singlet again. Excellent account of the race, that difficult mile five was a b$tch alright. Well run.1
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Great effort after Mullingar and thanks for pointing out where the correct pre race toilets were 🤣🤣1
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And you wonder why I can never figure out if you're actually happy 🤣1
🤣🤣🤣as I said I shall work on my facial expressions going forward 😉1
This has probably been my biggest time away from Boards since I started running - and I didn't miss it 1 bit! I also took a step back from Strava for a month and that was also fantastic.
Not too sure what updates will come in the future or if it'll only be race reports or maybe neither?
Since late March, training has been going very well - consisting of;
10k paced intervals: 8x1km / 6x1200 / 4x5mins (after a 3mT) / 10-8-6-4-2 mins at 10k
Longer Tempos: 3m+2m / 6m at 6.20 / 5m at 6.08 / 60mins at 6.20
Smidgin of V02: 3(3/2/1) / 3x1km + 3x800 + 3x600
I've been managing a mild form of Plantar Faciitious (poor shoe choice) / had a groin strain for a few days / some knee niggles (new shoes with support and off the shelf orthotics causing me knee issues!) - but I have these under control now - I think.
Mileage been around 48-52 mpw
No races in this time period as I wanted to get stuck into training.
Bob Heffernan / Mary Hanley 5k - 16th May 2023
I ran this race once before and really liked it, so had it penciled in an an introduction to the shorter stuff.
I had tapered for this, mainly due to some knee pain from dodgy show choices to help with PF + a very old pair of VF's being used on sessions (which are now binned). I done a good session on Sat of 4(200/400) + 800 - which really woke up the legs.
When I woke on Tuesday - my legs felt sensational - probably the best they've felt in quite a while.
I felt 17:30 would be a good result for the 1st 5k of the year. My plan was to start at 5.40-5.45 and work down.
Made my way to Enfield in good time and set off on a warm up towards the start line, doing some strides before hand - bumping into Beep Beep and DD along the way.
The start line was a bit carnage, the road wasn't closed so it was a bit of a $h!t show to get a good position - I didn't even know where the starting point was! I was about 6 rows back - maybe more - me and my buddy David Gillick rubbing elbows. I thought once it started, the front few rows would come back right away - but how wrong I was.
It was like charge of the light brigade. The one thing everyone was saying at the finish was - I ran the 1st mile/ km too fast!
After a couple hundred meters, I checked the watch - 5.15 pace - slow down there pal.
I could see some of my team mates up ahead - a good bit ahead - I knew I'd see them again :)
I was feeling very comfortable at 5.30 pace - so decided to keep at it and see how it goes - if I blew up, so be it. We came to the 1st turn just after the 1st KM, some guy decides to cut across and nearly trips up about 6 people.
We keep going and I know this is a long road to the next turn - so I settle in - Mile 1 beeps at 5.29. (a long way off 5.45!)
I find the group I'm with getting complacent as the time dips a bit, so I move out, overtake and latch onto the next group - I'm behind my MSB buddy a young whipper snapper who beat Lizzy Lee in the Road Relays - she went out a bit fast (but she still ran a PB) - I overtake her and come along to another MSB runner - my long run buddy who I infamously led the wrong way in a Car Track 5k in Mondello during Covid - I go by her and dont say a word, just focused on the next target, the languid running style of DD - he looks like hes out for a morning jog, smoking a pipe while reading the paper. I'm a good bit behind him, so I focus on Maria McCambridge - I had a good battle with her 4 yrs ago here (I wonder if she's thinking the same about me?)
I recall checking my watch and seeing 1.5miles gone - I was feeling very comfortable and thoughts of a PB entered my head - I was doing the calculations.....Before I know it - Mile 2 has beeped at 3.37. At the time I was quite happy with that, but looking back I wonder if I could have eeked out another few seconds here. The effort levels are very very high here - I get the demons here for a few seconds - trip yourself up, slow down, say your knee was at you.........I ignore them - not today lads - this will be a good one.
The next few hundred meters go ok - moving nicely, waiting for the turn to 1km to go. The turn comes and I notice an immediate increase in energy around me, I get caught up in it as well and looking back at my pace profile, theres a significant uptick here - I was running 5.40's for 2 mins of the 3rd mile and then jump right up. 3 and a half mins to go. 3 mins to seeing the gantry. lets go.
I'm passing a good few people still - 1 or 2 come passing by me. I catch Maria McC and motor on - David Gillick is in my sights - DD is too far ahead, having pushed on too. The effort is nearly maxed out - no idea what pace I'm running but I'm redlining.
I spot a 500m to go sign - 90 secs or so I tell myself - keep pushing - looking back - mile 3 was a very very good 5.32, very happy with that and I push on. I see the gantry counting down, Gillick has pushed on ahead of me - 17.10/ 17.11 / 17.12 - I cross the line with 17.17 on the clock and know that I have a PB - delighted - did not see that coming!!
Official time of 17.15 - a 5 second PB. Delighted to be still PB'ing at 50.
5.29/5.37/5.32/ (5.08 for 0.12)
a 17.15 time gets me 131st place / 7th M50 - just shows what a quality race it is.
Great to meet up with so many people from here afterwards - a few miles cooldown with the MSB group and head off for home with a happy head on me.19
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This has probably been my biggest time away from Boards since I started running - and I didn't miss it 1 bit!
FWIW Boards has missed you ☺️
Congrats on the brillaint PB! I have a lot of hope for my 50s 😎2
Well done on the PB, brilliant stuff 😁1
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Lovely run Alan well done!0
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What a cracking race, and a cracking read too. Well done A.0
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Well done in the PB. That’s great going. How’s the PF now?0