Leader Of The (Mid) Pack
Impressed that you can speak the near-incomprehensible Donegal dialect. Good luck next week.2
Thanks D, I reckon it's the hardest one to understand, especially for a Dub non cainteoir dúchais like myself.
Fri 9/9 - 3.19 miles @9:11/mi
Easy lunchtime spin around Ratoath - not quite a full stingray lap, turn along the river trail back through the village.
Sat 10/9 - Ratoath Half Marathon
I made the short drive to the racecourse about an hour before the start, with the place a hive of activity as runners got their warmups going and collected their numbers etc. Met AMK beforehand, and I was glad to give him a bit of course info that he might have found helpful. I'm like that. Few stretches and strides at the start, then I took my place deliberately quite a long way from the gantry.
I have to say I was completely taken aback to hear of TFB's passing over the public address. Never met him in person, but enjoyed his work here and elsewhere. It was also him that gave me the good news that I'd been nominated to be the DCM Novices Mentor back in 2017. Quite a shock that was too, but in a rather different way, obviously. Some very nice tributes here and elsewhere.
Not really having a clue about race pace these days, I settled into a rhythm I reckoned I could sustain for the duration. Passed the 1:50 pacers about a kilometre in. At this stage I was in about 1:45/1:46 territory. Making a bit of progress through the field. No climbs as yet - passed a Raheny runner who I'd been tracking for a while shortly after the 4 mile marker. Not feeling under much pressure coming into Kilbride with over a third of the race completed (8:06, 8:07, 8:05, 8:16, 8:12).
Second water stop outside Sweeney's pub (5.5 miles) with a drag to follow. I got plenty on board, as the temperature was noticeably rising after a relatively cold start to the day. Couple of long straights here - great if you're in the mood, but a bit demoralising if you're just trying to get through it. For the first time since the first or second mile, people were passing me. I let them off, even though I might in theory have had a lot more pace. Turn off the long straight about 8.5 miles, onto Glascarn Lane, a series of rights and lefts bringing us to the 9 mile marker. I was getting weaker along here (8:14, 8:19, 8:13, 8:37)
As mentioned above, I was gradually deteriorating in terms of pace and energy levels. So much so that I decided to call a halt just after the 9 mile marker. I couldn't face another four more miles of this. Then remembering I'd left the car up at the racecourse as opposed to back at base, I decided to try and finish. I walked up to the water station, about 400 metres further on. Stopped to take more on board, tried to run again. Not working. Run walk run walk, through the 10 mile marker and back on to the main road. I walked up the drag which brings you roughly halfway back to the racecourse. Water just before the 11 mile mark, and I tried running once more. No sooner had I resumed than I got these shooting pains in both calves - not at the same time, thankfully. I resolved to fight through it. Started a lap of the track, as the Raheny runner I mentioned earlier was coming in to finish. Just trying to keep going. Both 2 hour pacers passed me early on in the lap, and pulled away quickly while I continued to struggle. Bit of downhill coming back towards the grandstand, and even though I felt like I'd bags of cement on my legs, I made an effort to at least catch them again. Just before 13 miles, I at least succeeded in doing that! Still not under 2 hours though (2:00:09). Bit annoying, that. No celebration, just relief as I went under the gantry.
Very surprised to see a few clubmates still around, despite having finished long before. I didn't hang around, gathering my goody bag and back to the car, mindful I was needed at base fairly sharply as I'd a fair bit of life stuff to look after. Especially when it took me about 15 minutes longer than anticipated!
No recovery run today. Too sore, too tired, bit hungover still (family party) and too wet. Normally the last one in particular wouldn't be so much of a hindrance, but my running motivation has probably never been so low in the almost ten years I've been on the road. With so little training over the last two months, I was never going to be able to run a strong race yesterday. Like I say, just glad it's over. Total contrast to the last time I ran it (2019), when I got a PB (1:34:05) which still stands.
Hard to know for sure. Hoping to get away next week, and I'll bring the runners if it does come to pass. I haven't entered any more races as yet. Cross country includes Dublin Novice (October 9, Tymon) and Leinster Novice (October 23, Bellurgan, Co. Louth). I'd usually be well up for those, but if the recent pattern of negligible training continues, I don't see any point in even entering them. Hopefully there'll be a better update next time. Thanks for reading! J.14
Tough one again J. It's good that you finished it out though - I know people always say that, but it's a good habit to be in (provided you're not making an injury worse). Hang in there! Maybe a little break would be good though, or a focus on something completely different for a bit, like a different distance or something.1
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Agree with the aspect of finishing it out. Very easy to step off the course but you're building mental strength/toughness by seeing it out until the end. Obviously no point if you are injured but would encourage it otherwise.1
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Aww no, sorry to read that your race didn't go well. Like MurphD suggested, try for a different distance or challenge. You don't sound in any way enamoured with the upcoming XC season.1
Thanks all, cross country will be shorter distances anyway, if I do take them on. The GAA season hasn't finished for us yet - the semi finals are either on the day of, or the evening before, the Dublin Novice.
"Sure it's just the same as Vilamoura"
Since my last update, we made it to sunny Portugal, for a ten day family get together. FIL's 70th, almost two and a half years later. Plenty of eating and drinking. I brought the runners too.
Sat 17/9 - 4.17 miles @9:22/mi
Nice easy first run of the trip, even though there was a lot of uphill in the last half a mile. Down to the marina for a loop around and back up. Loads of insect bites already, way more than previous trips. Apologies to anyone offended by the Strava photos of my legs 😯
Tue 20/9 - 3.90 miles @9:53/mi
Legs were fairly rigid the morning after a trip to Slide & Splash water park, as on this occasion I ran to the casino and back.
Wed 21/9 - 6.00 miles @10:07/mi
On our previous trip (Sept/Oct 2019) we stayed a lot closer to Praia da Falésia, but I wanted to revisit the place anyway, so I threw on the gear and down I went. Another beautiful morning, but when I got back, I had my worst ever dose of chafing. I decided not to post any photos of that. Still hasn't 100% cleared up, hence no more running at the time of writing. The quote above is from a pensioner couple we overheard in Howth a few years back. Flying back in over Howth, in Saturday evening's setting sun, brought a smile as I was reminded of that day. The club had some fine results in Rathfarnham this morning, but unfortunately I'm still waiting to make my debut in that event. Next year 😀 Thanks for reading! J.14
Right then, where were we?
I wasn't going to log anything at this stage, but it's got to a point where the other night, wifey (who reads here from time to time) wondered aloud when I'd be updating my log. Truth is, running wise there hasn't been much to mention. In the meantime, my musings have slipped to a third of the way down Page 2, due in part to a number of old logs being revived. The more the merrier!
Since Portugal, I haven't really felt much motivation to run. Diet went completely off the rails, so much so that I'm currently over a stone and a half above my "competitive" racing weight. Drinking has been a lot more controlled than eating, thankfully. I've done a few parkruns lately, the most recent being the second edition of the new Dodder Valley parkrun - a welcome addition IMO, as opposed to crowding that area even more.
I'm now (I think) in a better position to get back to some kind of structured training. It really brought it home to me when I was recently asked how often I'd trained with the club. Honest answer. Once this year. That and maybe three or four Sunday morning group runs in the summer. Back when I was fit, I'd have been a lot more involved with club training. Along with plenty of my own stuff of course.
Upshot of all of this. For the foreseeable, I won't be getting involved in any extended training plans. Better to focus on the short stuff. The BHAA cross country races are recommencing soon, which should help to bring the love back. I didn't go to Dublin Novice (Tymon) or Leinster Novice (Bellurgan), as I just felt too out of shape to justify travelling to those more competitive events. Similarly, National Novice is off the table - even if I was fit, I'd be dubious about what would probably be a solo trip to North Cork. I'd have liked to run Jingle Bells, especially as it's on almost exactly the 10th anniversary of my first ever 5k (Jingle Bells!), but it sold out before I got around to entering. I'm looking forward to getting back to logging more often, and seeing if I can recapture some of the glory days, as I edge towards a new age category. Thanks for reading! J.18
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Good to have another legend logging again😉 It's tough when things aren't going to plan but you know this yourself & have acknowledged it. Best of luck with recapturing the glory days🤗2
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Good to read that you haven't lost the desire to keep running and intend to start picking things up again. And where better than these pages to get it down in black and white. I find that writing about it is half the battle.
Looking forward to seeing a return to form in the near future!!1
Excellent - and good to bump into you at one of those parkuns. Great to see things returning to normal. Pity about JB, a lot of people didn't move fast enough, it seems, but also good to see the race continue to be popular.1
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Good to see you back posting J. It's hard at the start of a comeback but it's amazing how fast 6 or so weeks can go and when you look back it can make such a difference! Keep her lit.2
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Good to see the update J, hope all is well.1
Thanks for the kind words !
Still on the road, with another three parkruns in the bag since the last update. The first of those was a chance reunion with Murph_D, as he made the penultimate stop on his Dublin parkrun list, with a trip to Abbotstown (Sport Ireland Campus). The standard wasn't great - even trundling along as we were, we were briefly first and second, before those who wanted their win went after it. Anyway, nice to catch up with him - first time in a while I'd seen anyone from here, apart from occasionally spotting AMK running locally.
Some great results in the Jingle Bells on Saturday. Sorry I missed ye. Plenty of very enjoyable reading in the race reports, yet I was somewhat disappointed not to read of any tales of heroism at the finish this year 😁
I ran this (Monday) morning to try and make this running thing a bit more of a regular habit again. To hopefully give me some more motivation, I've signed up for a few races, including this Saturday's BHAA cross country, as well as the 2023 Raheny 5 (29/1/23). I don't think I'll be around for the Fat Turkey Run, unfortunately. Others I have in mind over the coming months include, but are not limited to :-
Sat Jan 7, BHAA Bank of Ireland XC, Tymon Park
Sun Jan 8, Dublin Masters XC, St Anne's Park
Sun Jan 15, Leinster Masters XC, venue TBC
Sat Feb 4, BHAA Garda XC, Phoenix Park
Sun Feb 12, National Masters XC, Gowran, Co. Kilkenny
Sat Feb 18, BHAA Central Bank XC, Wesley College
Sat Mar 4, BHAA Dublin Airport XC, ALSAA
Sat Mar 11, BHAA AIB XC, Maynooth University
So there you have it, no training blocks, no lengthy half marathon buildup. I'll just play the hand I'm dealt each day, and see where it takes me. Thanks for reading! J.15
Hope to see you again at some of those races, J. With any luck there'll be a bit of muck!1
Still going ! Happy New Year to all ! Congrats to all the A/R winners, some top class writing and performances throughout 2022.
Up until the last week or two, not much other than parkruns. Getting a tiny bit of fitness, with a shuffle through Hartstown parkrun on New Year's Day being the most recent outing.
2022 was very much a running year to forget for me. A DNF in the Connemara HM, with my final race of the year being an almost DNF in the Ratoath HM last September. Motivation was really low for a lot of the year I'm afraid.
Will 2023 be better ? I've signed up for this Sunday's Dublin Masters XC in St Anne's Park. Should I take the start, it'll be my first time to do so since 2018. Since then, with ever increasing numbers (apart from no event in 2021) it's become a victim of its own success, in a way. The upshot being, instead of all the women running together, followed by all the men running together, it's been split by age. Now, O35M will be the last race of the day, with O50M having raced separately earlier. Could they not have waited one more year to do this ? I might have a serious battle on my hands to avoid finishing last. Hopefully this week's training goes well, having kept up at least some level of activity through the holidays. I might see some of you there. Thanks for reading! J.18
See you on Sunday, J - I'll be churning up that course as best as I can for you. 😉1
Mon 2/1 - Rest
Tue 3/1 - No running
Not planned. Partly due to life getting in the way.
Wed 4/1 - Club session, National Indoor Arena
Four of us were under the Abbotstown roof for this one. I have to say I was a bit worried about it, even though the other three are (were?) all around the same standard as me. After a few warmup laps and stretches, time to get it going. First part was 6 x 400, with 200 jog recoveries. I think I did the jog recoveries for the first two reps, standing for the remainder. Even knowing I was slower than before, it was still a struggle. 5 minute break at the end of these, then six 200s to finish off. When I was training regularly I loved to end with these. This time, apart from the last one, I was struggling to maintain pace for more than the first 100 metres each time. First one back is always the hardest!
I wasn't sure how long it was since I'd done this kind of speedwork. Having just had a look back through my Strava, the last one was way back in May ! Sure no wonder I was gasping. The last time I ran up there was in December 2019, when we had maybe fifteen training the week before Christmas. It surely won't be another three years plus before I run there again.
Thu 5/1 - 4.13 miles @9:17/mi
Lunchtime shuffle around Porterstown. Bit of a breeze but other than that no issues.
Fri 6/1 - Rest
Sat 7/1 - BHAA Bank of Ireland XC, Tymon Park
It's now ten years since I made my official Business Houses debut, at the much missed K Club 10k. Hence, I really feel like a veteran going to these races. Their first event of 2023 took place on the Templeogue side, as opposed to the Tallaght side where the Dublin Inter normally takes place. I'd fairly low expectations for this one, even though numbers were down on previous years, primarily due to the Masters races taking place the following day (although some did the back to back).
Short warmup and a few stretches before we headed away. 3 3/4 laps or thereabouts.
I got away fast - too fast, and was already regretting it, as we turned away from the M50 and down the steep bank before running three sides of a GAA pitch and back past the start area. Three laps to go and I was already stuffed. It wouldn't be considered a hilly course, but there was little respite, as what drags there were were into the strong wind. Also, there was a stiff breeze along the stretch parallel to the motorway.
I couldn't get into it at all. I got passed by dozens, and only passed one - a fella coming back after a number of months away from running. Seeing the people passing me later on was disheartening - some who I don't think had ever beaten me before. Crossed the line in 32:43, which is surely my slowest ever 6k. Despite a number of sticky sections around the course, this was dreadful, even allowing for all the extra weight I'm carrying - a few pounds down this week, but a lot more need to go. 85/117, 15th M45 (of 18 I think). Nice to see RedRunner and Mr Skinny. Usually we're good for a team prize if we have the bodies, but somehow we managed to miss out there too. We were convinced one of the lads wasn't declared properly !
Sun 8/1 - Dublin Masters XC, St Anne's Park - DNS
Saturday's events meant that giving this one a miss was an easy decision, much as I enjoyed it in the past. At least next year I shouldn't have to worry about being lapped by half the field. I didn't get out for a run at all, as I missed my chance to go early, and other activity took over then. Swap rest days around so.
I've also decided not to travel to the Leinster Masters, as the fitness just won't come back in seven days. A few good weeks will hopefully change that. My next cross country race will be the BHAA Garda XC, on February 4 by the Magazine Fort. How I perform there will most likely have a major bearing on whether or not I go to the Nationals, which take place on February 12 in Gowran. Here's hoping. Thanks for reading! J.16
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Glad to see you back racing J, regardless of times. Well done for getting back out there.1
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Like I said on my own log J it would be great if you could join us next Sunday. Hopefully there's a little group, a nice run and some coffee and cake after. Paces won't be strenuous!1
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Well done for getting back out there ! Fair play .1
Mon 9/1 - Rest
Tue 10/1 - 4.78 miles @9:28/mi
Early morning local plod in the wind. Could have chosen the route a bit better, as the breeze was in my face a lot of the last two miles.
Wed 11/1 - Club session, National Indoor Arena
Back to Abbotstown, with the rain hammering down outside. Few warmups and stretches before the session. This time it was a pyramid - something I'd never done indoors before, and not outdoor in probably the best part of two years. Anyway, the longer spent thinking about it, etc. 200/400/600/800 on the way up, with either 200m jog or standing recoveries. I found keeping consistent pace on the 6 and 8 quite tough. We decided not to run the 1000. 5 mins break, and down the other side. Energy levels were better this time. So much so, that I led out the last 200 from the gun, powering clear on the home straight ☺️ sandbagging or what. Races are taking place next Wednesday. Much as the five of us enjoyed this session, when one of the coaches asked us if we'd be racing next week, there were no takers ! I still think the indoor mile I ran five years ago was one of the harder events I've run - to the extent I haven't raced indoor since.
Thu 12/1 - No running
Fri 13/1 - Rest
Sat 14/1 - Porterstown parkrun
I was half thinking of pushing hard in this one, but by the time I arrived at the start area, I'd dispensed with that notion. Instead, I settled into the back half of the field, and worked my way through slowly. Loads of little kids in a group - one took it on himself to race me it seemed, as he passed and was passed by me about six times over the first couple of laps. Back in more familiar company after that. We're still on the five hills course here, with talk of moving back to three laps some time in March. Today, we had our first 250 parkruns milestone runner at Porterstown - one of our true unsung heroes, who's also volunteered 138 times (mostly in pre and post event setup/closedown) without ever seeking plaudits. Delighted to be part of the guard of honour which cheered him across the line. 25:06. Nearly forgot that bit !
Sun 15/1 - 11.00 miles @9:00/mi
This was the Boardsie meet advertised elsewhere on A/R. Even though a comfortable pace was promised, I was still a bit doubtful about my ability to complete 90 (?) minutes of running, having not spent that long on my feet since Ratoath. Anyway, off we set from the PP visitors centre, downhill to start then up the North Road into the wind and rain, with a detour to Castleknock Gate. Glad to reach the downhill into the Furry Glen. Not so enthused about the uphill back out. By the time we'd passed the Wellington Monument, I'd fallen back a bit, so S took it on himself to stay back with me. We followed the others towards Conyngham Road, but as we were passing the CCJ, we couldn't see them, so turned up Infirmary Road. Turned out they'd gone through the rose garden, while we went up North Road and took the back way into the visitors centre. Bit sore and tired at the end, but cakes and chats in Phoenix Cafe sorted that out ! Great to be able to be part of this meeting of many of the finest minds of Boards A/R. Hopefully I can make the next one. Thanks for reading! J.
"Goodnight Springton. There will be no encores."14
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Great to catch up this morning J, hopefully the first of many meet up over the year.3
Another super week in Lanzarote, apart from having to abandon the warm weather training. I was delighted with myself for completing my first ever session there - 10 x 10 sec up a "cardiac hill" described by a mate of mine a few weeks ago (the one up from Murphy's in PDC, for those who know the area). Then a couple of days later, I'd barely started my LR on the promenade, when the left ankle and achilles started playing up again. Both long standing problems on and off, which I never gave enough time to recover, hence I look like I'm running on one leg lately (not much different to running on two, to be fair). Anyway, I haven't done any running since, so I stayed at home rather than get to hear tales of 2023 Raheny 5 heroics live and in person. A great pity, because there's some brilliant reports up already.
I'll leave it till Wednesday or Thursday before I (don't) enter the BHAA Garda XC, taking place this Saturday in the Phoenix Park. Hopefully I'll be able to line up, as it's my favourite BHAA race, and I haven't quite abandoned hope of going to the National Masters (Sunday 12th) yet. Thanks for reading! J.11
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Hope you get to run this weekend in the XC.1
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Thanks all !
Well in the end I did get to run in the XC. However even that was touch and go. I only registered late on Thursday night. The warmup lap was tough going, even on a dry course, as I could feel my Achilles rebounding back into me with almost every other stride. I thought about not starting, but decided to give it a shot. I also considered stepping off at the end of the short (1 mile) lap, but matters improved somewhat, at least to the extent I felt like I could complete a hilly 4 mile cross country. Not much more to be said about it, other than I finished, in a time almost seven minutes slower than my course PB, set three years and three days prior. Any lingering hopes of giving the Nats a bash are long since extinguished. There are three races remaining in the BHAA cross country calendar :-
Saturday February 18, Central Bank XC, Wesley College
Saturday March 4, Dublin Airport XC, ALSAA
Saturday March 11, AIB XC, Maynooth University
The Wesley race, if I take the start, will be my last race before I change age category 😁 Fingers crossed I'll be a bit fitter and lighter by the time that one comes around. Thanks for reading! J.15
So what's happened in the five weeks since my last update ? Not a whole pile, from a running point of view.
I started and finished all of the three races above, although somewhat surprisingly the first (Wesley) was a particular battle of wills to get through. I actually stopped for a few seconds, before continuing to the finish of a dry course without any hills. Tendonitis has been a major problem in my attempts to get anything going of late, but a bit of vaseline on the Achilles and on the heels of my runners helped me get around ALSAA, in my first race since turning fifty. Thankfully, this was the driest that course has ever been in my experience, apart from one or two spongy bits at the bottom. Yesterday was the BHAA cross country season finale, in pouring rain at Maynooth University, and I was just happy to complete (57/75) on the coldest race day I've encountered in years. One or two heavy sections on each of the four laps, but no hills, thankfully. I managed to find third gear in the last couple of hundred metres, taking out two as I did so. I remember wondering were either of them in my new age category. Both, as it turned out ! For the first time post Covid, showers were available after the race, and just as well, as even after spending ages under a hot shower, my insides were still freezing for hours afterwards.
Sin an méid go fóill a chairde. Tá súil agam go mbeidh mé ar ais go luath. Go dtí an chéad uair eile....9
Good to have done those races J. You're a BHAA stalwart. Mind that achilles.1
The spiders have had a few field days around this log of late. Sure not to worry.
Great to read about all the wonderful racing around here, and looking forward to reading many more reports when time allows.
Only one day really makes it in here for me.
Thursday, March 23, 2023 (23.3.23)
This morning, we left our house, with the two of us having lived there for almost nine years.
Hours later, we got confirmation that our lives, and not just our house, would never be the same again.
Our beautiful daughter Isla was born at 11:10 AM.
She is an absolute treasure, a little stunner, and completely worth the wait.
Who knows, she might even be a runner one day. But we won't be putting any pressure on her 😎
So now you know why I haven't been as active around here. All good in the hood. She's doing great eleven days later. We all are. Thanks for reading! J.19
Wow, was not expecting that one! Many many congrats, J. Welcome Isla (lovely name by the way). Congrats also to your lovely mrs.1