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Last of the Summer Wine

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 8,689 ✭✭✭ Murph_D


    BQ or Bust is no more. It was a log I enjoyed writing, particularly during the ‘improver’ stage of my running arc: becoming a club member, training more extensively and (hopefully) more intelligently. I’ve been lucky enough to be quite resilient, rarely injured and therefore able to benefit from prolonged progression as I developed as a runner and experimented with more methods. I tried to experience all kinds of running – road, cross country, track, mountain – in at least some capacity. Doing more track events during 2017-19 helped keep the improvements coming as I improved at 800m and the mile. But that came to an end last year, and the plan for the next while is to get marathon specific again, starting with the next marathon major (No. 4), Chicago 2020.

    The log title, for anyone wondering, comes from an old BBC comedy series (that I rarely actually watched, as I’m not a big fan of British sitcoms). A certain boards wag used it to describe a club M50 team picture I posted on facebook a couple of years ago. My response at the time was something like “There’s a few cases still left”, but as the next major age category change begins to loom, I can’t help recalling that phrase, with its implications of advancing age and impending decrepitude. I am focusing on the ‘summer’ part, however, as I’m convinced there are still gains to be made. No easy ones though, those days are definitely over.

    That point is underlined by the first entry in the log. It begins, not in triumph, not in despair, and not even on the road. Somewhere in a forest, far from the madding crowd, and the reliable reach of the global positioning system. We speak, of course, of Donadea.


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Comments



  • Donadea 50k
    (4:24:55, 74th of 231, 13th M50 of 38)

    Second time doing this race, not counting last year when I just went down for four laps. First time out I aimed for 4:15 and did 4:18 – a reasonably successful debut for someone with a recent 3:28 marathon PB at the time. This time I aimed little higher – I’d go out at 4:10 pace, allow for the inevitable fade over the last three laps (even GOH slows down in this race). Hopefully I’d clock something under 4:15. The unknown was my endurance – I’d finished DCM 2019 strongly but had possibly not been ambitious enough with the target. To train, I followed the Fitzgerald 80/20 marathon plan reasonably closely. Some of the longer runs, however, had been a struggle – not very confidence inspiring going into a race of longer than marathon distance. I hadn’t adjusted the plan for the extra distance – partly an experiment, partly based on T. Bubendorfer’s theory that 50k is not different enough from the marathon distance to justify a different approach. (This was a change from my first 50k attempt, when I used a Pfitzinger schedule juiced up with a few back to back long runs at the weekend.) There was also a niggling doubt about the wisdom of running the Trim 10-mile race, at 50k pace, only six days before. Hmm.

    Pre-race

    Singer kindly offered a lift, picking me up nice and early, and we got to the park in plenty of time for a relaxed t-shirt/beanie collection and some hellos to various fellow runners. A race briefing just before 10, and we lined up in front of the castle for the run up to the course proper. This ‘extra bit’ is supposed to be 320m, but seemed a good bit shorter than that. I chose a spot in the middle and seconds later we were off.

    The first half

    Splits 1-5
    25:14 24:35 24:39 25:04 25:20

    The congestion eases out after about a mile, as the hill is negotiated for the first time. As I settle into the 5:00/km pace, it immediately occurs to me that this pace doesn’t feel as fantastically easy as it did last week in Trim. Hmm. I put it down to race day jitters and continue to work my way around people until the field settles. I’m on my own already. There’s a group ahead, maybe it will come back. Lap one ends and I discard my long sleeved shirt, down now to the singlet, buff and arm warmers. A lot of base layers and long sleeves and jackets still around me (many of them for the entire 50k), but I like to feel unrestricted and the temperature isn’t bad at all. I don’t take on any water at this stage. About a third of the way around lap 2 I catch the group ahead and slot in for a bit. Two Waterstown Warriors in vaporflys are leading the group, and there’s plenty of chat. The next couple of km splits click in around 4:50 though, and I decide to ease back. There’s a long way to go. I’ll probably see some of these lads later. Maybe this is a mistake. I run the rest of the race pretty much on my own, save for brief moments when I’m passing or being passed. Gel one at end of lap two. Handed a water cup at start of lap three but I drop it. The next person hands me a cup of sports drink. I walk through the station, sip and discard in the bin. Seconds later, I’m lapped by Gary O’Hanlon for the first time, paced at this stage by a former Cru clubmate. Looks incredibly fast. Settling in now, there’s good support for the singlet from a couple of gnarly coach types and the various photographers around the course. Lap 4 I’m in the groove, but the pace still feels a bit forced for a race this long. Get a shout and high five from FBOT who has come out to support. More leaders pass. No sign anywhere of G, who said he’d be aiming at 4:20. (What a sandbagger - he eventually clocks 4:08.) Gel two after four laps, followed by another walk through the water station. Lapped again by GOH at the lake. Halfway at around 2:04:55, on target.

    The second half

    Splits 5-10:
    26:17 27:30 28:32 28:58 28:43

    I’m still feeling fine but the pace has never felt truly comfortable and I know it’s not sustainable. I decide to ease off a little and try to put together the next few laps at 26 min pace. Be realistic. Keep the wheels on. Still another two hours plus of running to get through. Middle third of the race – concentrate, keep it together. The GPS has dropped and the watch becomes even more useless for tracking pace. Gel three halfway around lap six. It’s horrible. By now I’m regularly lapping the back markers, and there’s often words of encouragement, which I try to reciprocate. By lap seven the 26 min strategy is out the window and I realise I’m hanging on for dear life. Lapped for the third time by GOH, now storming through the last lap for a new record. Yes, he’s wearing ‘the shoes’ too, as are most of the leaders who pass. A lad in a grey shirt bounds out of the trees and races ahead. I’d noticed him earlier. Strong but doesn’t look like he has the endurance. We’ll meet again. Pass a Naas AC runner I’d been tracking for a good few laps. Fourth gel at end of lap seven. The wrapper goes in my pocket (No fookin littering!) I’m slowing rapidly but not yet going backwards through the field . That starts to happen regularly in lap eight, but I limit the damage by going by a few runners myself (I think – it can be hard to distinguish between people coming back at you and people you’re lapping. A good few are stopping to walk occasionally and I resolve, yet again, that I will not be one of them. Singer startles me by drawing alongside, way ahead of the four hour target I’d envisaged for him. (Well done again on a great run, B.) He’s kind enough to stay with me and chat for a bit before easing on. It helps pass some time, a welcome distraction. I even test the pace to see if I can pick up but it’s a bad idea. At least by now the missus has arrived to take over from FBOT and the encouragement is much needed. I walk through the finish area again and take a sports drink from my stash on the tables, because I can’t stomach any more gels. Still 10k to go! Lap nine is just horrible, a blur of pain when you know you are leaking even more time and still have another circuit to go. Grey guy is there again, walking. I pass but he goes by me again on the hill. I reject this and decide I will stay ahead of him. By contrast, lap 10, while endless, is a kind of celebration that it’s almost over. Grey guy is close behind but eventually the footsteps fade. I’ve never felt a more powerful compulsion to abandon a race, but the feeling passes in this final lap. It seems like forever until I arrive at the 4k marker (like B, I didn’t notice any others). Then I can’t believe how long it feels before the final turn onto the dirt road ‘finish straight’. At least there’s no one in the vicinity threatening me for a place so I don’t have to produce a ‘sprint’ finish. And it’s over.


    I’ll save the reflections for another post. Hopefully I can learn something from this race and put it to use later in the year. It’s a bad performance – a paltry 41.5 VDOT and an AG of 67.8, well below the 70 percent I use as the minimum acceptable racing benchmark these days. OK, a 50k race is a different kind of beast, but nevertheless questions must be asked. Preparation? Performance? Mindset? Plenty to ponder.




  • Delighted to see this - I love how you write.

    Loved your comment on Strava earlier - had a good chuckle at that.

    Interested in your thoughts on the Matt Fitz book?




  • Ah excellent, great to see your return D!! Compo, Clegg or Foggy, which is it?




  • Delighted you're back! Loved the words you wrote even though the run itself didn't go to plan. You did well to slog it out, 50ks are a lot crueler than puny marathons :)




  • Very happy to see you have another log. I enjoyed your previous one, and the one before that which I've gone back to read a few times.
    It sounds like Donadea was a battle, but you came through it, which is all the more impressive considering the distance!


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  • Delighted to see this - I love how you write.

    Loved your comment on Strava earlier - had a good chuckle at that.

    Interested in your thoughts on the Matt Fitz book?

    Thank ye kindly.

    Well my thoughts have probably changed a little since the last time you asked. ;)

    At that point I was half way through one of Fitzgerald's 5k plans from the book. I found that plan very tough but there's no doubt it contributed to a good 5k race and PB, very rare for me!

    I found the Level 3 marathon plan easier to handle (mainly because the speed sessions were more manageable). It didn't bring results at Donadea though. I probably should have been more 50k-specific about the training though, so it's hard to blame Fitzgerald. That said, I'll probably go back to Hanson - by the book - for Chicago. I did enjoy the HR nature of the training, though. It gives you a different focus and helps you see things differently in terms of the effort/pace relationship.

    Have you read the book yourself and what did you take from it, if anything?




  • OOnegative wrote: »
    Ah excellent, great to see your return D!! Compo, Clegg or Foggy, which is it?

    Well, like I say I didn't watch it much. Maybe I'm all three. :)




  • ReeReeG wrote: »
    Very happy to see you have another log. I enjoyed your previous one, and the one before that which I've gone back to read a few times.
    It sounds like Donadea was a battle, but you came through it, which is all the more impressive considering the distance!

    It was definitely a battle. I've been looking through some of the posted lap splits on popupraces.ie. A lot of runners seem to fade pretty dramatically, even at the upper end of the results. Then again, as AMK remarked elsewhere, does anyone actually train for it? :pac:




  • Singer wrote: »
    Delighted you're back! Loved the words you wrote even though the run itself didn't go to plan. You did well to slog it out, 50ks are a lot crueler than puny marathons :)

    Yeah, the latter stages were certainly a slog, as you well know, and there were a few times I wondered would I quit. I was highly motivated to keep the no-DNF record intact for now, though, that definitely helped. It was good too that the watch splits were so unreliable during the later stages!

    Your comment on your log about the race being a boards rite of passage was interesting - hadn't really thought of it that way but I see what you mean, it does seem to have a fairly unique place in the hearts and minds of some very prominent current and former posters from around here. Think I'm over it myself now though - but it's a great event and I'd recommend it to anyone, a unique test that puts you through something pretty intense without having to stray too far from the marathon mindset. As someone who has always trained pretty well for the marathon distance, it does give me a better idea of the hell that people who don't train well (for any number of good and bad reasons) go through in the latter stages of the marathon.




  • Great to see the new log up and running. Sorry Donadea didn't go to plan, but even the mental side of it (10 laps!) is surely tricky to manage. What's next on the plan, or is it all to be confirmed?


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  • Great to see the new log up and running. Sorry Donadea didn't go to plan, but even the mental side of it (10 laps!) is surely tricky to manage. What's next on the plan, or is it all to be confirmed?

    Thanks J. Am signed up for Cobh 10m on April 5. I think I’ll concentrate on building endurance between now and then. Just not sure yet of the details.




  • Murph_D wrote: »
    Thank ye kindly.

    Well my thoughts have probably changed a little since the last time you asked. ;)

    At that point I was half way through one of Fitzgerald's 5k plans from the book. I found that plan very tough but there's no doubt it contributed to a good 5k race and PB, very rare for me!

    I found the Level 3 marathon plan easier to handle (mainly because the speed sessions were more manageable). It didn't bring results at Donadea though. I probably should have been more 50k-specific about the training though, so it's hard to blame Fitzgerald. That said, I'll probably go back to Hanson - by the book - for Chicago. I did enjoy the HR nature of the training, though. It gives you a different focus and helps you see things differently in terms of the effort/pace relationship.

    Have you read the book yourself and what did you take from it, if anything?

    I was of curse referring to the Marathon plan from the book - last time was the 5k.
    I'm intrigued about people who follow plans like this (me included) and how they work for some people and not others.

    Yeah - I have it - along with a moxy load of other books he wrote - he has one coming out in a few months that shows how he trained with Ben Rosario & the NAZ crew in Arizona - looking fwd to that one.




  • I found the Fitzgerald marathon plan a bit monotonous to be honest. You don’t get the same sense of progression that you do with Hanson, for instance (one of the things I really like about it). Some of the Fitzgerald long runs are fun to do all the same.

    I certainly wouldn’t blame the plan for my Donadea show - in my case more work was needed, on the lifestyle end of things as much as anything else. Not sure how good I will be at making that kind of change. I am also embracing vegetarianism since the new year which may or may not (I suspect not) have anything to do with it.




  • Murph_D wrote: »
    Am signed up for Cobh 10m on April 5.

    I was just looking at this myself as I may be in Cork that weekend. Did you see they've had to change the course this year and taken out most of the hills? I haven't run it before but I gather the hills were a feature of the race and the change has left many disappointed.




  • MrSkinny wrote: »
    I was just looking at this myself as I may be in Cork that weekend. Did you see they've had to change the course this year and taken out most of the hills? I haven't run it before but I gather the hills were a feature of the race and the change has left many disappointed.

    First time running it so I am not too disappointed about the fewer hills! My last 10 mile was The Stook so as long as it’s flatter than that I’ll be happy enough. ;)

    But it’s not a goal race, just a bit of fun and a weekend away, so all good.




  • Thurs 13 Feb

    5k on the Flyefit treadmill. In CHQ, they have the fancy ones where you can dial up video-based workouts on the screen where you have something to look at while you plod away, as well as auto-simulated hills as the treadmill incline changes to match the video. I'd tried this before, choosing the 'Rome Marathon' video, but that got annoying quickly because the GoPro-wielding runner or cyclist who filmed it keeps getting passed by fairly slow-looking runners who proceed to wave at the camera, so not particularly motivational! This time I chose some hilly terrain around the Golden Gate bridge with a couple of more hardcore looking virtual run buds.

    Mon 17 Feb

    16.4k easy

    First run of any substance since Donadea. I wondered would the legs feel fresh after only one short run in almost nine days. I won't say I bounded up the Malahide Road to Kinsealy before turning into the wind, but it did feel pretty good and I was delighted to get in a substantial run, even though I was quite late getting out and it would have been easy to justify turning for home a bit sooner.

    Tue 18 Feb

    9.2k easy/recovery

    I had booked a sports massage and ran over to the Docklands. Most of the massage was focused on my calves - quite a painful rubdown, and the jog home was a bit sore. Still took the long way back via East Wall and Alfie Byrne Road though.

    YTD: 420 kms (261 miles)



    With Donadea out of the way, it's time to start thinking about the next few months, before marathon training recommences in July. I think one of the most useful things I can do to help my endurance in that period will be to run higher mileage, with elements also of the kind of marathon endurance sessions (long tempos, hill sessions, etc.) recommended after last year's LT test. And the odd race too of course, to keep things interesting.

    Reflecting a bit more on Donadea, the 50k distance is a tough one to run. You certainly seem to have to plan around a bigger postive split than normal. Looking at the results, even the winner slows down noticeably over the last two laps. Some of the slowdowns are very dramatic indeed, and if you stay on your feet and keep running you can pick up a good few places over the last few laps. That was my experience the last time out moreso than this time, as I was overambitious with the target. If I'd aimed for 4:15 (like I did last time), I might have had a chance at a small PB. But it's a tough one to get right, especially if you go into the training believing your endurance is better than it really is. I really should have learned more from the difficult 20-milers in the runup.

    On a positive note, the last lap of the race brought me over the 13,000 'lifetime' miles mark (lifetime meaning since I took up running in 2012). Not a huge total, but a decent enough start! :)




  • Not much to report. Just ticking over and trying to get out when I can.

    Wed 19 Feb

    6.7k @ 5:48

    Weary enough recovery run around the Collins Ave vicinity. Calves still sore!

    Thu 20 Feb

    8.2k @ 5:27

    Another easy one around the seafront and Clontarf. Not particularly enjoyable, just trying to get in the mileage, really.

    Fri 21 Feb

    No running. Finishing up some work stuff as my current contract comes to an end.

    Sat 22 Feb

    8.1k inc. St. Anne's parkrun @ T+

    Ferris was trying to persuade me to join him and give it a lash, but I'd had a kind of late night and wasn't feeling too fresh. Opted for a tempo-ish 22 mins instead. All good for lap one but started feeling it towards the end and, having had the cheek to pass a club mate on the home stretch, soon found myself battling the dry heaves with about 400 to go. Decent enough workout I suppose. Another couple of kms with C and F to cool down before the coffee. Enjoyable morning as always. It's hard to imagine a running life without parkrun.

    Sunday 23 Feb

    16.7k @ 5:38

    More parkrun. Junior volunteering this time, before packing up the gear and heading around St. Anne's for a couple of laps, joined for one of them by a clubmate I bumped into. Homewards then via Howth Road. A nice morning, but not much zip in the legs.

    This week: 65k (40 miles)
    This year: 460 (286)




  • Just trying this week to pick up the mileage a little, working towards 50 per week. Trying also to pick up the pace a little from the recovery plods I've been favouring the past while.

    Mon 24 Feb

    10.9k easy, mostly on the seafront. Crisp, cold night. Felt OK but not great.

    Tue 25 Feb

    No running.

    Wed 26 Feb

    13.4k easy, exploring Clontarf’s many laneways. Quite a network!

    Thu 27 Feb

    14.1k easy

    My birthday - still in the category, but only just. Don’t usually dwell on the number, but for some reason the new one gives me pause. Anyway, a jaunt up through Albert College, Ballymun and Santry. Trying to make the easy runs just a little less easy, and the pace hasn’t kicked in yet. No HR monitor the past week or two, will start paying more attention to that soon.

    Fri 28 Feb

    8k easy. Dropped off in Glasnevin after an errand, ran home via Finglas.

    Sat 29 Feb

    9.3k including parkrun #155

    On pacing duty this morning, joining R on the 25-min bus. Not sure how many we helped but plenty of talking anyway! PIcked up a number for Bohermeen - that will be interesting after no specific training. Should be plenty of endurance after the Donadea block, but not much speed endurance.

    Feb Total: 217k (135 miles)

    Sun 1 Mar

    16.5k easy on the Royal Canal. Nice to turn for the downhill, downwind second half, and a good uptick in pace.

    This week: 72 (45 miles)
    This year: 532 (331)




  • Belated Happy Birthday Sir, still maturing like a fine red wine!!




  • OOnegative wrote: »
    Belated Happy Birthday Sir, still maturing like a fine red wine!!

    :)


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  • This week is about being ready to run Bohermeen at the end of it. No more, no less!

    Mon 2 Mar

    8.5k easy with FBOT in St. Anne’s. Breaking in a new pair of Nike Zoom Fly 3. Felt pretty good - I’ve been wearing mostly Saucony Omni the past seven or eight years but the cushioning is no longer as comfortable as it used to be. Coffee afterwards and I haven’t seen my Donadea woolly hat since. Either M robbed it or maybe I left it in the coffee shop. :(

    Tue 3 Mar

    11.3k inc 4x strides, 2m @ MP

    A session from the final week of the FRR HM plan, just to get a feel for MP. (From memory it’s the only actual HMP session in the whole schedule.) Obviously I haven’t been doing the plan because this felt pretty good - the one time I followed this plan I found that session very tough indeed, although the outcome was a success. The strides served to wake me up and the 3.2k at pace ticked along nicely, even when turning into the breeze. Felt good to be doing a session again at last.

    Wed 4 Mar

    7.3k easy

    A few miles around the Docklands while one of the boys was GAA training in Cathal Brugha St. Bumped into DD on his nighshift lunchbreak and joined him on the campshires. Big toe a little sore - I have several damaged toenails dating back to NYC marathon 2018, believe it or not, and a couple of them are finally starting to fall off.

    Terrible news later about that runner killed on the seafront past the causeway, a spot I know very well and where you'd think you'd be safe from traffic. RIP.




  • Thu 5 Mar

    No running

    Fri 6 Mar

    Still no running. No reason except didn’t get round to it.

    Sat 7 Mar

    5k very easy at Poppintree parkrun (#156) with the Sanctuary Runners crowd.

    Sun 8 Mar

    Bohermeen Half (416th in 1:36:34)

    I hadn’t done this storied race before, and picked up a relatively last minute bib, which I managed to transfer to my name. Picked up Ferris and mister paul and headed down to the Meath, full of stories of global contagion etc. Would the water stations be safely managed? And what about the sambos? We arrived in good time and parked in a rapidly muddying field and took a walk down to the clubhouse, returning for our gear when we’d gotten our bearings. A few hellos, not much of a warmup, and I wished P well as I took my place halfway between 1:30 and 1:40 pacers, as I’d decided to have a go at 95 mins pace. The target was chosen not out of any recent indicative form, just an arbitrary number really, based on not being in PB shape, and no specific training. But then again, a reasonable amount of mileage in recent months. Not much speedwork or tempo work, though, which I was a little wary about - rightly so, as it turned out.

    It was chilly enough and I augmented the singlet with a hat, gloves and arm warmers. The race started a few mins late without much fuss, and I found I had no trouble quickly getting into the required 4:30/k (7:15/m) pace, which felt reasonably good for a while. That changed in mile 6, into the teeth of the fairly stiff breeze on the second half of the extra bit added on to to lap one, but I got back on track reasonably enough once back on the loop proper, enjoying the tailwind as we looped back past the Bohermeen track, getting a generous shout from the sidelined Claw, out supporting his clubmates.

    Bang on the 13k mark, just before the turn down towards the motorway bridge, the heavens opened and we were greeted with a nice fresh hailstorm. I was glad to be in a crosswind for this soaking, and I didn’t mind it at all - in fact it seemed to enourage the runners around me to bunch up and work together, and there was a sense of camaraderie as we braved the elements together. Hitting the steep motorway overpass for the second time, I began to feel the burn in earnest. I struggle on any type of incline at the moment, to be honest, and though it was soon over, I failed to recover. Hit the nine mile mark soon after and I fell off the pace. Strava flyby tells me that Laineyfrecks passed me at the turn onto the main road, where again I hated the headwind and fell back even more from the group I’d been more or less in touch with since the beginning of the lap. Passed by quite a few runners between here and the finish. I didn’t feel terrible in the legs or in the lungs, just no real appetite for the task at hand. I’ve struggled before at this point of races and managed to dig in and grind it out, but I didn’t feel like I had the appetite for this today - although in retrospect, looking at the HR data, I’m maybe being a bit unfair to myself. It just felt dramatically slow once I had no one around me at the same pace, even though I was still passing the odd straggler. Spotted crockmac up ahead and, knowing he’s been injured, fancied my chances of catching him, which at least provided some focus for a while. Right on the final turn, figuring there was about 500m to go, I went past. Of course he noticed and decided he was having none of it, revealing a quite impressive change of pace on the penultimate straight, although I started to close the gap again towards the tight final turn onto the track. If there had been another 100m, I might have got him. Terrible timing for my audacious pass. ;)

    I was disappointed with the eventual time, although in truth, given the conditions, it wasn’t a million miles away from the target, and the data say I had an honest effort (‘overreaching’, in fact.) Something to give me an idea where I am, I suppose, and what I have to do (Strength and conditioning will be on the list).

    Some excellent runs today. Well done to mister Paul especially on a great result - thoroughly deserved. Ferris did OK too (for an aul fella), and we enjoyed a couple of very nice pints after, once safely back on the northside.

    Splits:
    7:11 7:21 7:24 7:14 7:14 7:28
    7:19 7:14 7:25 7:34 7:52 7:28 7:15

    PB: 1:34:17 (Ballycotton 2017)
    Target: 1:35:00
    Result: 1:36:34
    416th place (of 1,244)
    11th M55 (of 38)
    VDOT: 47 (Age grade: 73.2%)
    Verdict: Nonplussed.

    This week: 55 kms (34 miles)
    This year: 586 (364)




  • Love this!!
    Verdict: Nonplussed.

    In all seriousness, you ran well - I think its a very misleading course.
    I checked strava of a lot of people and they found mile 10-11 equally tough.




  • A very decent performance with no specific Half training in the legs D, well done.




  • Love this!!
    Verdict: Nonplussed.

    In all seriousness, you ran well - I think its a very misleading course.
    I checked strava of a lot of people and they found mile 10-11 equally tough.

    A lot of them found it tough alright, but most people who got a result managed to grind out far more consistent splits than I. I see you a tough couple of miles there yourself, relatively speaking, so at least I was in good company! ;)




  • Found it hard yesterday too, grateful to have a familiar face to try and run away from :D
    In fairness though I think you were faster on chip time.




  • I’ll take any victory I can at this stage. ;)




  • Well, that was some week, wasn’t it?

    Mon 9 Mar

    No running. Quads pretty sore and I knew I’d been in a race the day before. Mellowed in relation to the post-Bohermeen disappointment and it was nice to receive some kind comments on the ‘performance’, even if I didn’t necessarily agree with them. It’s not back slapping, it’s support, and we can all do with an arm around the shoulder sometimes.

    Tue 10 Mar

    8k easy around the south city. I’d just received word that the job would be moving to online teaching for some (but not all) activities. I felt somewhat vindicated after kicking up a bit of dust the previous day about a hygiene issue in terms of shared equipment. We are all learning fast I suppose, in these unprecedented times. Students gobsmacked when asked to sit 2m apart. This all seems so long ago.

    Wed 11 Mar

    10.4k easy

    I met up with M for a few nighttime miles around the Clontarf vicinity. Distancing protocols observed of course. Good run, and just after we parted ways I got absolutely drowned when the skies opened. Didn’t mind, except it was cold.

    Thu 12 Mar

    No running. Home early when we were basically shut down and all activities moved online. Would have been nice to get out but it kind of never came up. Got a bottle of wine instead and had a glass with the mrs.

    Fri 13 Mar

    8.9k @ 4:56

    Impressed with the boys’ determination to follow some sort of school schedule, at least until lunchtime. ;) Meanwhile some work-related frustrations had me fuming and I eventually got out and blew off some steam on the seafront. Enough said. Did I feel better after? Of course.

    Sat 14 Mar

    10.8 k @ 5:28

    No parkrun. I’m proud of our Irish parkrun people for being resolute during the week about the direction that would be taken.

    As covid developments continued at a dizzying pace, I got out in the afternoon for a few miles. I decided to head townwards - the streets were very quiet so it was easy to socially distance. A beautiful sunny afternoon added to the surreality of it all. Stopped by the ma on the way home. She was grand - hasn’t run out of fags yet!

    Sun 15 Mar

    16.4k @ 5:39

    Another late run - don’t think I managed to get out early all week. I headed out along the seafront on another balmy enough evening. As I drifted past the causeway and out to Kilbarrack I came across the spot where a runner was tragically killed the previous week, in truly bizarre circumstances in a spot where you would normally feel safe from traffic (except the bikes). The site is marked with flowers, candles, some books, and a Bohermeen medal. I stopped for a moment and paid my respects. It could have been anyone. It’s a strange world we are living in right now.

    Low miles this week but who cares? Stay safe!


    This week: 54 kms (33 miles)
    This year: 640 (398)




  • This week we have decamped to Donegal, as we'll be working from home for the foreseeable future, and it’s easier to isolate the ‘vectors’ (although hard to keep their granny away from them). Hills, here we come.

    Mon 16 Mar

    No running.

    Tue 17 Mar

    8.8k on the local loop. Passed a few walkers, and an old woman on a bike. All keeping their distance. Actually very impressed with Donegal’s embrace of social distancing. The shops are very well organised too.

    Wed 18 Mar

    11.3k easy

    Another circuit on the local loop. Spiced it up by reversing direction and extending down the Killaghtee road, site of many’s the session of 200s way back in the summer of ’18.

    Thu 19 Mar

    11.4k easy

    Same as yesterday, but in the normal direction.

    Fri 20 Mar

    No running. A bit of gutter cleaning instead!

    Sat 21 Mar

    18k easy

    Headed down to St. John’s Point, doing most of the route of the local 10k race that I hardly ever get to do. Sunny but cold.

    Sun 22 Mar

    17k easy

    A stunning spring afternoon, belying the armageddon to come. A bit of garden work then out over the hills. Legs a bit tired from this week's rolling hills, but still moving. Run ’em when you can, I say.

    Maybe a couple of sessions next week.

    This week: 67 kms (41 miles)
    This year: 707 (439)


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  • With no obvious reason to head back to Dublin, and a few reasons not to, we decided to stay a bit longer in Donegal. Never a hard decision, to be fair. I love it up here, and we are fortunate to have plenty of space, and to have the choice.

    Mon 23 Mar

    No running.

    Tue 24 Mar

    13k easy/hills

    Chose one of the less travelled loops for a bit of a change. This one has a monster hill in the middle, and every time I do it I’m wary of a not-too-friendly dog that likes to give me a bit of grief, although it tends to chicken out at the last moment and retreat to the gate. So I could see it eying me as I approached, before it went into the usual barking frenzy. Out of nowhere a second dog, a labrador, bounds through the slats in the garden fence, encouraging his companion to get closer than usual, and the two of them are circling me. The lab look friendly enough and I pat him on the head, which is enough to send the barkier one back to his domain. I breathe a sigh of relief - it’s a nervous moment when two country dogs come at ya! An owner appears in the garden and I point at the lab sitting in the middle of road admiring me. Too subtle a message, and to be fair I’m probably the only runner these pooches see all year.

    Wed 25 Mar

    Fartlek session: 3 x 3 mins, 1 x 5 mins, 3 x 3 mins @ ~MP (60 sec jog recovery)

    With club training off the menu, our clubmate Mick ‘Claw’ Clohisey suggested this session via one of the (far too many) club-related whatsapp groups. Although I haven’t been feeling great physically since Bohermeen, I felt it was time enough to do a session and this seemed like a good reintroduction. Tougher than it looks on paper, especially on the local loop’s rolling hills, but I really enjoyed this and felt great after it.

    Splits (4:44/k aspirational):

    4:43 4:44 4:47
    4:44
    4:53 4:33 4:50

    That works out pretty well on average. Total for the session: 11.3k

    Thu 26 Mar

    8.8k recovery

    Another easy circuit of the local loop before dinner.

    Fri 27 Mar

    Weary 8.9k

    A good bit of work outside in the garden today, eventually getting out for a few miles. Haven’t been sleeping particularly well the last couple of nights and this was one of those runs where nothing feels like it’s working properly.

    Sat 28 Mar

    With the new restrictions in place, I did a bit of measuring on Google Earth before going out and was delighted to see that the local loop is all within a 2k radius of the house - the most distant part being a matter of metres inside the boundary. Happy days, and the good news put some pep back in the step. It’s not far from civilisation but a fairly underused route - usually pass one or two walkers at most, none this morning.

    I’m glad to be getting through this week - there’s a lot of increasing anxiety out there in the world and it’s important to give people their space. This has become more apparent in the last fortnight in shops, on the road, on the beach, everywhere really. People are are wary of each other and conscious of proximity, and understandably so. I’m trying to give people room, and enjoy my own space too. I’m not looking forward to this anxiety increasing over the coming weeks as things start to really ramp up. Let’s all try to just do our best and understand where everyone else is coming from. Stay mostly at home, and stay safe.


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