29 February 2012

An Cheathrú Rua Race Report (Race 2)

This is a long race report and is well worth a few minutes to understand the battle between my friend Paul and I. Paul won the first battle last year by under a minute. Last years race report can be found here. This year it could be even tighter. The race took place Sat 25th February @ 3pm in Carraroe.

We arrived in Carraroe around 2:10. Based on last years event, we were expecting a small enough crowd but this year doubled in the numbers. Queued  for registration where the panic and nerves began to set in.  Time began to fly by, a rush was in order where I started to get my bike ready and putting it on the rack.  I guess the event organisers were not expecting the crowd as there was no space to put my bike.  Some shuffling and moving was done to cater for more bikes. Final 10mins before we set off, I am still in jeans.  Rush back to the car, change and then gave the keys to Sarah with little time to spare. 

Paul Fahy, Paul Mc Donagh, Stephen Broderick

We lined up, little bit of shoving going on for people trying to get nearest to the start line. I was  happy in the middle. Stephen started up front and that would be the last time I would see Steve throughout the race, I wish I could say the same for Paul. I went out fast pace for my standard and just kept saying to myself "Push hard, Its a race" based on previous runs, i knew that Paul was way stronger running up the hills so I said if I get up this Cat5 hill I will have the lead into the transition as it was 1km of downhill running. Pain was setting in, the bugger of a stitch was locking up my right side. Began breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. I didn't relent on my pace as I said it would go away on the bike. 

In the transition,  time was over 17mins, pretty darn impressed with that time. I was fumbling with my helmet. Took me about 3 times to click it in but the shoes went in fast. Paul was in the transition area too. I thought I would have been out before he was in but he was also up for this race. Trying to get to the area before you're allowed to mount the bike was awkward with the cleats on the feet.

I thought i had a good minute lead in the cycle but after about a km or so, Paul came up on my right and overtook me. It looked like he passed me with such ease. I was confused by this and I told myself I am not letting this fellow out of my sights so I told myself again  "Push hard, Its a race" We began overtaking more cyclists. I never really had this experience apart from 3 or 4 cyclists in last years duathlon where those people were on mountain bikes. This time around we were overtaking cyclists.  On the first turn we were only inches apart. too close maybe but I was going for the dramatic effect. After 2km on that stretch then I overtook him again. I thought I had broke him and I was away. Gears were on high, off the seat. push push push. No looking back focusing on the front looking to see where the village is so we could do the lap all again. In my rushing in setup, I did put on my speedometer but its wasn't aligned up so no reading. My watch changed over to something else so didn't know the time either. I felt I was going fast and up in my previous time and I am in the lead against Paul.  In the final kilometer on the first loop, Paul overtook me leading back into the village.  

Mc on Attack

5 cyclists were coming in to turn together. Paul lead it out with me trying to catch him again wondering what do I have to do to drop him.  Stitch on the right side never let up and pains came down along my left side. I said this stage is for pushing my legs and maybe the pain will let up on the final.  Looked to take my energy gel but it travelled up my arm under my compression top. Didn't look to try and take it out so that was a stupid on my behalf.  The second loop was similar to the first with Paul leading into the first turn. I then just decided to push hard again. Head down. The cyclists ahead were getting harder to catch.  Motivation was on a high with passing other cyclists and the feeling I was making good time on this bike ride. Back into the village. I tried to pass out one other cyclists but he pushed harder at the end. 
Transition came. This was well fast for me. In, bike left to the wall. helmet off, cycling shoes off and runners on and out. I say the transition was over a minute. I was just leaving the second transition when Paul was coming in. 

The final run, I took my energy gel. Legs like jelly as expected but not this slow. I wanted to know why my legs wont pick up speed. Lack of energy came to mind. Energy gel needed time to kick in. I looked back to see Paul was just out of the transition area. I said If i keep at this speed I am going to lose. Runners were overtaking me again then Paul in his yellow top was less then 50meters behind me. My head began to drop a little.  Cat5 hill came around again then Paul overtook me around half way on it. That's it I said, No way now. 10 meters gained on me. I came to a decision. Walk for 30 seconds. Drop the heartbeats and take off again.  Them 30seconds became vital.  I decided I could still see him. My legs have come around now just to catch him. I am not going to do the same thing as last year and loose just under a minute.  Over the hill and I got a stride going. I could see I was catching him. Maybe 30meters ahead and then I pushed myself with some quick strides to about 10meters behind him. Settled back and finally caught up with him.  With the final turn coming, I looked to get a good few meters lead but my little push didn't have any effect as he came right beside me. We were coming back into Carraroe together. I decided to go for a bit longer of a push with about half a km to go but he came back again. Side by side.  Meters ticking down.  I didn't know what he had left in the tank. I remember one day running around the lake he finished it in good long strides that I couldn't match. We were running side by side coming around the final bend and we could see the banner.  He hadn't gone yet. I decided to make the first move. I said if he hasn't gone when we reach this point I would go. About 80meters maybe and I sprinted off.  Arms swinging wild and thankfully my legs had the final sprint in me. A quick glance over my right shoulder and Paul was still there arm distance. Finish line in 10meters so a final push was needed and there I crossed that line first. Delighted, ecstatic and fecked.  I didn't even look at the finishing time but Paul later told me 1:23mins. 

All over 

Results in and I finished in 1:23:31. This is just under 17 minutes improvement from last year. I know having a different lighter bike saves some time but i know most of that times saved was from pushing myself. I didn't bring my spare tubes or pump in the cycle. It was a 10.5km loop so my furthest point be only 5km to walk back to the village. It was a risk i took to shave a few Kgs but I know where the best place is to shave them.

Not to forgot about our other travelling companion Stephen. He crossed the line in a time of 1:09:14 finishing  22nd. He was happy with his overall performance. Got held up behind a car and a cyclist undertook him while he was overtaking another. It nearly caused him to touch wheels only for his quick reaction to pull back out. I sometimes got caught up in the moment of cycling and double overtaking that I forgot that it was an open road. 

Great afterwards reception. Some coffee and cakes, buns, scones and more other delicious treats. Presentations were made. The winner was a 16yr old in a time of 1 hour. Looks to be a future star for Ireland. Tiredness was kicking in. A long drive back but there beers awaiting and that's when the next session started.  

My girlfriend Sarah and Paul's girlfriend Danielle turned up to give there support to us. So a big shout out to them and for the photos taken. Great day. Great Race. WELCOME TO CONNEMARA

Results:  Finished 70/111 in a time of 1:23:31. (Click here for full list)
Race pictures (Click here) and (More here from Sean Power)
A few pics I uploaded to my facebook blog page can be found here

17 February 2012

Tough week

Its just over a week to the Carraroe duathlon. Its fair to say its very competitive between myself and Paul as seen in many recent posts. All good competitiveness mind you. So this week Paul is off for the mid-term and instead of teaching, he is putting up the kilometers.

We decided to go for a cycle on Wednesday. He said maybe 20km, around the same distance as the duathlon but i said a little bit further. I planned a route that could either be 28km/33km/40km. so we decide how he felt since he has not being on a bike in months. He borrowed a Trek bike and we took off. One thing I noticed is that he has less revolutions in a high gear. He has being building up them muscles in the gym and it has paid off.

It is a pity i didn't time it, I would have to say we hit around 25km/hr. Wind was strong put we were pushing hard. We decided to push and do the 40km. He took to the bike like a duck to water. I thought i would have a little advantage there but it looks pretty even stevens.

So Thursday, a run was in order. I knew Paul had kept up the running over the xmas so I was expecting the worse. We decided the lake was in order and off we took. We set off on a fast pace (for us), strong headwind and light rain was the conditions. I pulled in behind him in the first couple of minutes.  It was defiantly noticeable for me as I was breathing heavily.  I knew i was going quicker then usual but I wanted to keep the tempo up. On the turn is the Bishops hill and we set up it. As i said from earlier,Paul's muscle workouts in the gym were paying off and I was losing ground on each stride to him. I was pushing myself downhill to catch up. Around 15mins in, i could feel a stitch coming on. Maybe this was no surprise but I hoped it would go away. We got to the church at 30mins. Great time and we were on for a good time around the lake only for the stitch got worse and I locked up. I had to walk for about 3mins. I let the pain settle down and took off again, there was still a small niggle there, It was starting up again then Paul told me, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. this worked like a treat. i usually find it hard to breath through my nose for a continuous length of time but I felt much better both for the stitch and my chesty asthma. We got to the 10km mark at 1:01. This was an amazing time especially as the time included the 3min walk. This time is even better then my Loughrea 2011 10km race result. We continued on for another 1km as the full lake loop is 11.16km. Total time was 1:07:30 (6:02 pace).

Along came today (Friday), weather was misty. it was originally planned to do a duathlon practice and see how we get on but that be fairly pushing it. So another cycle was planned, changes and planned again until we decided to do the same route again this time we will put a clock on it. 5km in to the spin and a spoke snapped in Pauls bike. I offered to turn back and maybe do a run instead but we motored on. Wind was in the face for the first 8km and the turn off then we had it to our backs. we pushed hard and into Loughrea via Craughwell. When we hit Loughrea, our average was 28.5km but we knew there was over 10km to go of full throttle wind in your face and by god did we feel it. We were taking long turns at the front the whole way through the ride. We pushed hard trying to keep our average up against the wind, every churn on the pedal was felt. I said to Paul on the final 2km to go ahead. I seen how that was mistaken as to go off ahead rather then carry me home.  The spin was great when pushing yourself, muscles aching but doing your turn at the front. 

So where do I stand now. I would have to say its fairly even stevens between us maybe Paul edging out a bit quicker.  Main thing about these workouts is that I pushed myself hard and I am going to have to apply that to the race. You never know, it might come down to the final minute like last year. who knows.

Got myself some lock laces. They arrived today. Might test them out tomorrow. Its being a tough week so not sure on the plan for tomorrow. Heading off to Tommy Tiernan sat night where I will enjoy some well deserved pints.  

13 February 2012

Just a little update

Just look at the week in review.

Last Monday I took off just over 7km run.  The run involved running uphill for about 12mins.. Nice workout for a Monday. The following day, I decided to do my longest cycle of this year. 52km might not seem alot to many cyclists out there but it was long enough for me. the cycle involved going up the mountain behind my house which includes two Cat5 climbs. the climbs were spaced out which allowed me to get my legs back.  The legs were sore and tired so decided to rest them up the following day.

Thursday, Legs still feeling it from the cycle so a a handy run was selected and off I went. I put in 11km and was happy with the day itself.  It was another long session which was taking its toll. I decided another day off and would do another good session on Saturday.

So i was re energized for Saturday. Was planning on getting up early, do a session and then head into town and watch the Man United versus Liverpool 12:45pm kick-off. So anyways, getting up late, I decided to miss the match and head out on my session.  This involved a Run/Cycle/Run. a practice duathlon for the real thing coming up in a few weeks.

I started of on the 3.6km run, went out to hard and was like what did i get myself into. Negative thoughts were running through my head in will i be able to complete the carraroe duathlon in a few weeks. I slowed up and just focusing on finishing the distance.  In the first transition, taking off runners, SLOW Changeover, over 2 mins. Felt good on the cycle, really great weather to be out in.  Lost track in time. Didn't measure how long my cycle was, my focus was on finishing and that involved another run. Jelly legs to start off with, i enjoy that feeling for some reason. the next Km in, it was all getting tough but i knew I was close to finish, hoping in for a shower and have a major sports day.  

So i finished up in 1:38. Happy completing it. I know its slow but I did it that's all that matters. I did the Carraroe duathlon last year in 1:40. This one involved a Cat5 climb in the run which was covered twice. The cycle is 22km so i think I be on for another 1hour and 40mins this year and will be happy to reach that target. I might be a bit disappointed not expecting to beat my old time out of the park but last year was a year to forget and this year I will be in good health.

So that Saturday. My sports that day. Gort lost the hurling, Liverpool lost the football. France versus Ireland was called off.. My day fairly dipped after my session..

I think all in all though it was a good week. 99km covered. 73km of that in cycling. 26 in running. Main aim this year is distance.
02 February 2012

Well....Long time

Not sure were to start but i will rumble on.

First off, this is my post in 2012 and first post in a long time.  It was 2 months of no training. (middle of November to middle of January). i came down with something causing my throat to close up. just started finding it hard to breath. My inhaler was in use alot over them months. I will point out that over some of them days I was feeling fine so laziness also played apart.

My last race was a disappointment for me. I was on record to breaking my 57.48min record for 10km and took the whole week of for tapering. Stomach was sore on race day and legs felt heavy causing me to cross the line over 1:02:26. So in a year, i got slower by 5mins is what i think but I need to say i wasn't feeling good and I had just one of those days.  There was a positive to take from that day and that was my friend crossing the line in 59:08.  As he passed me on the course that day. He was determined and he succeeded in passing the finish line under the hour mark. The Loughrea 10km was full of incidents on that very humid day. Two people collapsed I guessed due to exhaustion. My lips were so dry after 10mins so I suffered till I got to the half way mark. Then the winner Jorge Torres won't be calling back anytime soon with a vehicle ran over his foot causing it to break.

So today. 2 weeks back into it. Back cycling 40kms and did my longest run came yesterday with a 11.33km done in 1:12:43. Around 6:25pace. Very happy with that and very happy how quickly I am back in it. My aim of course is to get that under the 6min pace.

So to challenges. Last year in the AnCheathru duathlon, seeing myself and Paul battle it out coming down to under a minute to decide who should take bragging rights. I had the advantage in the running while Paul in the cycling. I now believe its the other way around this year where I got myself an entry level bike compared to my metal frame last year. Paul has being putting in the runs over the last few months so he is doing nicely and working out in the gym on the thighs will stand to him on the cycles. So i got a major challenge on my hands and will have to work hard to overcome this challenge.

An Chreathru duathlon is taking place on Saturday 25th  at 3pm. so just in 3 weeks to build up a bit more, hard work needed.

Paul Mc & Paul Fahy Loughrea 10km 2011