26 September 2010

My First Race: Loughrea 10k

Woke up this morning, first thing I checked was the weather.  It was clear outside, not even a drizzle. First good sign of the day.  I got myself prepared and drove to Loughrea to register for the race.  Got some music going to build to the adrenalin. Didn’t want to build it up to early so with a few hours to spare, I hit down to my friends who were also taking part in the race. Paul was not feeling to good, down with the flu but insisted on doing the 10k.

Paul, Brendan, Me

Half hour to the race and my last pit stop to the toilet.  The starting line had changed to further up the road due to the road being in a state.  You would think they would fix that by now, its being months but back to race. Did a short warm up and a few stretches and soon I heard the bang. Were off.  Forgot to start the stopwatch and didn’t notice till 30 to 40 seconds into the race.

Based on my training, I was expecting to come in around the hour to hour and five.  I started near the back. I was taking in all in the first kilometre, getting a feel for the race. The main thing I was watching was my pace, I didn’t want to get off the blocks to fast but didn’t want to be relaxed either. As from starting at the back, some people were in a slower pace and overtaking became hard as they were all in one line across the road.  Everything settled down after the first kilometre and I came to my first challenge, a tough hill but with fresh legs it was alright. I was in a group and going at a nice pace. A few more hills came but also came the descents.

Around the 4k, a stitch came on and I was like, it’s too early and the head began to drop.  A fellow called Philip Greally caught up along side me and even asked to tag along with me. So we were chatting along the way on random topics such as the hurling matches on that day.  He seems to be a popular man as nearly passing every spectator; they all seemed to know him. I was impressed with my time and had a habit of looking at my watch every few minutes. He told me not to focus on time and check the watch when you pass the long point (i.e. Loughrea lake entrance).

As we hit the 5k marker, water bottle station was on hand, I already had a stitch and a sup of water wasn’t going to make it worse. I threw some down the back of my neck and took the final sip 700meters down the road.

There was no serious hill left in the race and around the 8k, the stitch seemed to ease up. I was on the way to the finish, passed the long point and was delighted with my time.  I could hear people behind me but I never looked around, I always was focusing forward. I noticed a guy was slowing down in front of me and I set my eye on catching him. He was my first to overtake in nearly 6k. I had being overtaken so many times since then.

The final six hundred meters, a girl sprinted by me and she began to ease off 400meters from the finish. As we took the final corner, we noticed the finish line was pushed a hundred meters further since the start line was changed. I told Philip who was beside me for the last 6k that I was going to see if there was anything in the tank. I was only expecting a small increase but when I picked up and began to sprint to the line, I felt like a 200meter sprinter overtaking 3 before hitting the line.   I got my official time of . I was so delighted with that result.  My first race and I managed under the hour. I won’t set any targets just yet but will look to knock a few minutes off it in the next one.
Paul speeding to the finish

Brendan had already finished well ahead of me and came in on a personal best of 42mins. We were waiting for his brother Paul to come to the line.   He came around the corner side by side with another runner.  We began to cheer and the other and the other runner began to pull away but Paul dug deep and came across the line just ahead in a time of 1h8m.  
Race to the line

Well done to the lads and I would like to say thanks to the organisers for a brilliant race. I hope other races will live up to this standard and atmosphere.  If everything goes to plan, hopefully I will be back next year.

Also big thanks to Helen and Stephen who took photos for me on the day. Click here for more

Sprint to the line
22 September 2010

Full pedal Ahead

I took out my bike out yesterday to see how it handle. I brought it onto a new stretch of road where its nice and smooth and has a good lane by.  I put up 16km on it and was flying it for the first 8k but the final 8k was a nightmare and a half.  The trees were not blowing but some how there was open Gael force hitting right into me on the way back.  As i expected some muscles were going to be sore but the worst pain came from my man parts. will have to toughen up down there.
Cycling is another aerobic exercise, it gives your heart, blood vessels and lungs a workout, thereby reducing the risk of heart problems. Being on the bike will help me tone up my upper thigh muscles.  I really could feel the workout on them the last day.

I was only going to plan and cycle as part of a cross training exercise but now as usual I'm up for a challenge and plan to do a 40k cycle race + 6k run in a duathlon.  I suppose the more of a challenge you got, the harder you work. Unlike the Commonwealth games going to be held in India. They are so not prepared in anyway to hold the games and many athletes pulling out in relation to safety issues.

I will keep peddling and running while also tyring to learn to swim.  It is a full load but i wouldn't put it down if they weren't realistic goals. So my first 10k is coming up this Sunday. In good form for it at the moment. Still taking it easy enough this week. Will do an interval session today and  a small run tomorrow and that will be that for Sunday.  Total relaxation Friday and Saturday.

Well that's it for now, hope ye are all doing well in your own goals.
19 September 2010

I bought a road bike

Great news, I managed to find a racing bike online. It was at a good price so I couldn't leave it there. I was expecting it to be needing some TLC but everything was in good shape. Going to do some duathlons now when i manage to build up some speed and strength on the bike. There is a 40k cycle with a 6k running Humpty Dumpty event on in the 23rd October. Its a fair distance to do in a short period of training time and the cycling starts first which is unusual for a duathlon. However time will tell when i take the bike out for a few runs after the Loughrea 10k run next week.

Looking forward to the Loughrea 10k, I will taper off this week. Maybe two runs, 2 attempts at swimming and one cycle of my new bike for an hour. Must look up what to eat before a run and how to prepare on race day. I will go out and do my best. Hopefully it will be good.

Speaking of races. I was at a Triathlon up in Blacksod, Mayo. Went to watch a few friends take part in a team relay. Up on Friday night to Belmullet. Got up at 6.45am and went to Blacksod. Really was a tough to get up but i did and ended up down in Blacksod where the rain was coming down hard and a breeze that would cut you in two. Neil, Stephen and Paul had a great race especially for two of them being newcomers to this type of event. They finished 176 out of 222.

16 September 2010

Swimming 101

I decided to give swimming a go. I was reading the newspaper last week and I said if there is swimming lessons on it then I'm taking it. It was there twice so that was definitely a sign.

It was for total beginner lessons with Anne. She is an ex-international swimmer instructor in Clarinbridge. Don't think it could get any better. I was nervous entering the building. Just different surrounding and the new challenge I had to face but I managed to relax myself. I got talking to Anne and just by talking my nerves went away and my game face was on for my first swimming lesson.

The class of around twenty was split into two groups. One for the complete non movers and one one for people that could travel a few feet. I managed to make my few feet in my splisshy splasshy ways. Seven of us altogether made it.

I expected since it was Day 1, that it be a holding rail all the time and maybe venture out a bit with some floats. Ya it was holding the rail. getting the leg technique right. 5 mins that took. Then having ago going across in the float. 10 mins. Float with arms moving. 10mins. Then the no floats came, it was to see how far I could get across with hands out in front and just move the legs. breathing technique wasn't involved at this stage. But not to go on stage by stage. Yes I had a great time in the pool. Yes it was a superb swimming lesson. It was going at the right pace for me.

I am still along way of swimming but at least I'm off the starting line. Anne said to try and head to the pool one time before the next lesson. I really want to do this and hopefully I will find time to get in a session. Really looking forward till next Thursday. Bring it on.
15 September 2010

Inspiring Movies

I always look for inspiration to add to my motivation to my own goals. The movies industry plays host to many inspiring true stories in the sports industry. Here is a look at some of the movies that inspire me.

Cinderalla Man A boxing story, it tells of the man you had the opportunity to hit the big stage but to no success. He returns to the working industry along with his fellow Irish countrymen and begins to work at the docks just to try and scrape by. The work was very tough in those rock bottom days. he gets one opportunity to do a warm up match with the heavy weight champion of the world. James J Braddock takes the world by storm as he defeats the world number one to become Heavy weight Champion of the world.

Cool Runnings It is only loosely based on a true story. Like the fact that the sprinters did not fall in an Olympic sprint race but they were recruited through the military. Don't take anything away from this film though. They still had to face them obstacles in order to give one hell of a show in the 1988 winter Olympics. Also there are memorable quotes from this film.

The Flying Scotsman This is one of my favourites as the challenges are very deep. Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree suffers from a form of depression and from an early age he was being bullied. He felt free on his bike and so fast he could get away from anything. This lead to his passion of cycling and he took to breaking the one hour record in cycling by his own design made up of parts of a washing machine. However the record was broken one week later, the authorities in cycling just like the bullies in his childhood clamped down on the rules which made it impossible for Obree to win using experimental methods. A gripping story and a fight to the bitter end.

We are Marshall This one is not an individual challenge, nor a team challenge but a community challenge to come to terms will the loss of the Marshall university football team and staff who died in a plane crash in 1970. After the tragedy, the president was going to suspend the football program but many people stepped forward and showed the importance of having football. A new coach took the job and fought hard to bring the community back together as one. there first home game had players from different background of sports line up. They achieved victory in a remarkable game. The community were reunited and they remained on the pitch into the early hours of the morning. they only would go on to win one more game that season but the football remained and so did the community spirit.

Throw down a comment below and let me know what movies inspire you.
12 September 2010

Two Weeks

Great news on two fronts, Steve is back to full health so my first race will be in my home town this day two weeks.

I wanted to see all the commotion involved in race day and I am extremely interested in triathlons. Our home town hosted one today so I went along and watched Steve in the race. it was a sprint type triathlon and it catered for all kinds. There was bikes valued between 100euros to thousands of euros. I thought it would be all these serious competitors but each person was out to reach there own goals.

Steve finished strong and hard. Hard ripples in the water was causing a few tri athletes off course. One guy that came out of the water, he stopped up by me. His legs was suffering from severe muscle pains. I asked should I get him a medic. He replied.. "no, all I need is my bike, if only I can get to my bike". Then he walked off slowly towards the bike rack 100meters away.

So two weeks is when I will hit my first race. Still looking forward to it. Will go up to Mayo next week and watch my friends take part in the relay tri. This will probably involve a few drinks afterwards so I will put in a hard effort of training this week.

Well that's the news anyway. Let the new week begin.

09 September 2010

Now im motoring

Well if you read my last post, you would have seen how I didn't do quiet well from my last run at 8k.

I didn't know what type of run i was going to do today but knew I had to do something. As I said I started a new weight program this week and really feeling the DOMS from it. Really tough new program and it is a real challenge. There was no running outside completed this week. Last Monday i completed my first session of interval training on the treadmill.

Back to today though, so i said id go for a run, if the DOMS gets worse ill finish at 4k. I was talking to my friend who is taking part on a team triathlon on Saturday week. He informed me that our other friend (Super Steve) had just came down with an injury and will be unlikely to do the 10km run for the team. He has asked me to be a back up. To tell ya the truth, he didn't really ask, he just said be ready. I will be on back up duty as i know he has worked hard and shed sweat to manage the 43km bike ride. I wont let a mate down.

So in the run today, pain was setting in at 3k and knowing the possibility of having to race next week gave me the motivation and kick to push on. soon that pain disappeared around the 4k and i was in good time so I planned to do another one or two kilometers. Small cramp did set in but i told myself you ain't stopping me today. As I was meeting people again for the second time on the block, they look of amazement they gave me. This all added to my inspiration. Even if they were not looking with amazement, I told myself they were.

I got under the 50minutes (49: 32) as I planned. Gave a good 300 meter fast sprint to the line. Really proud of this result and hopefully more proud results to come.

I wish Steven all the best in his recovery. He would have finished the 10k in that time with some spare. someday hopefully I be there too. More sweat needed first.

Hope your back to full fitness soon Steve.
06 September 2010

Keep moving

Last Saturday, I was looking forward to a good run, planned on running my block twice (8km). I took off in a steady pace but 3.5km in, a lorry passed and I was holding my breath as I knew a bad smell and horrible air was going to rush down my mouth. By holding my breath had caused big cramp to come on. What was i thinking, I found out the lack of oxygen will cause this to happen and silly me for holding my breath. Next time I will just put up with it and keep breathing.

I wanted that run to be a good run, I lowered the pace in order for the cramp to go away but it didn't. I had to walk a good bit of the way. maybe 1.5km. Heart ache was setting in. i was thinking about the Loughrea 10k. The week before i said I am going to do it good, Last Saturday, I was wondering in taking part at all. I finished the 8k in 54mins. I ran hard in the last kilometer since i had plenty of energy left. I wanted to finish in 50mins.

Well my first race is just under three weeks away. I'm going to look at last Saturday as a minor set back. I did a fitness test today. Massive improvements in all areas. Lost another few pounds. I'm going doing a more running program now. Did my first interval session today, will be pushing it to the max over the next few weeks. You can check out my program on the tab ahead.

I think i will attempt that 8k again next Sunday. Hopefully the outcome be much happier.
03 September 2010

Rest Day

Today is a rest day. No exercise to be done whatsoever.

To people who don't know the importance of rest, They come up and say things like " I know a guy who goes to the gym 7 days a week" or "Most runners run 6 days a week" well first of all I'm not them guys and second, most runners are over trained and chronically injured.

When you work out, you muscles get sore because of the build up of lactic acid. Resting is so important when your muscles are still sore 24 to 48 hours late. This is called Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS is caused by rupturing the muscle when exercising and time is the best healing method. A runner using the same muscle from one day to the next is not giving the muscle time to heal and thus leading to an injury.

Sometimes, I do get the feeling of going out for a run on my day off. Perfect weather and location are just inviting me out there. But no, I ain't pushing that hard just to fall over.

I'm not a total religious type of guy for a saying that fits to this article. "Remember the lord made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he rested" So enjoy your rest.. put your feet up.
01 September 2010

Catch 22

I never wanted to look like a body builder nor do I intend in trying to finish in the top 20 in marathons so I always was quiet content in doing both weights and running.

However running and taking part in events and getting some personal bests has taken over so I have decided I want to do a program of just running in order to increase my speed. Yes this does mean that the poor muscles I have gained in the last few weeks will wither away.

I do want to run this 10k around the hour mark and will not be able to do that if focus on both running and weights.

My gym trainer will outline a new program for me Tuesday. I suspect there be interval training involved. I was going to outline some factors on interval training but this article says it all. My best read of the day. CLICK HERE Really has got me looking forward to this challenge.

I will be still doing weights. Lower weights with higher number of reps. This be build up for resistance training. Wont be muscle building but keeping my muscles in shape.

Also looking to pick up a racing bike, really cheep racing bike. around the hundred euro mark. Just to do a bit of cross training. If anyone sees one, give me a shout.