I didn’t COPE very well (June 12th Race day)

My first race in 4 years took place on Sunday morning. The family were away again overnight on Saturday and Sunday so I was looking forward to catching up on sleep and preparing properly for the race. I didn’t want anything to go wrong and wanted to be nice and relaxed.


After work on Saturday evening I mosied across to Salthill and got registered for the race, picked up my race bag, T-shirt, chip & number. Bumping into quite a few people I know from the shop, all wishing each other well and looking forward to, what for many, is their first race.

Returning home I had dinner and cleared the kitchen in order to lay out all of my race day equipment.


I cleaned my bike down and checked all the cables for fraying, adjustment etc and treated the running gear to a squirt of silicon oil to keep all the bits lubed up. Dug out my profile water bottle for aero mounting on my tri bars, no sign of a straw, that was the last straw! Bike spares, pump, helmet, glasses, bike shoes, water bottles, race clothing (tri shorts, compression top, tracksuit & hoodie for before & after) nutrition (gels, protein bars for afters) running shoes (iNOV-8 Road X 255) with lock laces, race belt, goggles, hat & wetsuit, HRM (new Polar RCX5, with speed, cadence and foot pod. Sorry Rick!) and of course the obligatory Amphibia Sport X-Bag to carry it all!

Think its all here.

I was fairly happy with my preparation, I knew I easily had the ability to race the course even though I have not had the last training checks I hoped for in the week. Early to bed, sleep and up nice and relaxed ready for the day.


4am.


No babies in the house yet here I am wide awake. Its not nerves, it not anxiety, its not caffeine it just bloody frustrating!

The Grid

After reading for a while (currently Total Immersion by Terry Laughlin, again) sleep was not making a return so up I got for a very early breakfast at 4.40am. I watched a bit of TV, did a bit of rolling with my trusty Grid roller and generally knocked around the house. Of course, I did my bit of cleaning & other chores like a good husband, but it was all about killing time until I was good to go at 7am.

Loaded up and headed over to Salthill to get setup. The morning started out overcast, calm and dry. Once the gear was set up in transition (hats off to the organisation, entry & exit was properly managed so not lost bikes!) the weather started to change.

A recce and discussion about the swim course, landmarks and exit points took place when I bumped into Damian on the prom. The wind was starting to warm up and blow from the East which meant we would be swimming into the wind & swell. Also the bike course out would be wind at the tails to the turnabout point in Furbo and a headwind on the way back in.


A cup of coffee and a chat with a few of the competitors as the temperature dropped and the drizzle started. The start was still a half hour off and the swell was getting bigger by the minute.


Time to get into the wetsuit and warm up ready for the off. Between organising my bike setup (helmet & glasses) a gut blew the helmet off the tri bars and as I went to catch it my glasses fell and shattered! Nice Spuik shades that I’ve had for years, in bits. Not happy!


Off we all toddled like emperor penguins to huddle around for the race briefing. It was cold and the briefing was thorough. Main point was roads were not closed so don’t start thinking your a hero on the bike, rules of the road apply. We’d be counted in and out of the water and the run was all on the prom so consider other pedestrians. 


Down to the start point we shivered and into the water for a warm up. And surprisingly the water was warm! Like a bath that had been left for 30mins and was just getting cool. Stupidly, though I cleared my goggles, did the warm up and came back out to the start line, I lifted my goggles while chatting to one of the fellow boards.ie friends. Without thinking I pulled them down as we ran to the water and, all fogged up. Instead of stopping for a couple of seconds, I burst on for the mass splash and swam out to the first buoy blind.

Get the idea?

Once I cleared the headland and turned into the wind, I could see nothing. I stopped and tried to sight, tried to clear the lens but the sea was actually quite rough and difficult to stay stable in. People were hanging off the kayak support teams. With the swell & troughs you could only sight the next buoy off the top of the wave and only then if the buoy was on a swell also. Got to the second turn and then it was a few minutes before hitting the calmer waters in the breakwater. Onto the beach and up the ramp to get to transition.



I was in two minds re the wetsuit. As it was 400m or so to transition I could have removed the suit at the water & carried it or as I ended up doing, run in the suit and remove in transition.


TT even factoring the wind in. There has been plenty of long tough distances with climbs and intervals over the past weeks, so not issue for me. Push on!


Out to the turnabout at Furbo. Round into the wind, not too bad. I kept telling myself “Settle Sean, and control the effort, reel the next person in & pass them.”


Dipping into Bearna and up the short drag out my chain slipped. I couldn’t believe it, looking down to check all seemed in order. Must have missed a tooth. Push on!


Pick up a gear to bring the pace back up and same again! As I looked down inside my right leg, my left came off the bike. What?! As I looked at my left foot I realised my shoe was still attached to the pedal and the pedal was attached to the crank but the crank was no longer part of the bike!


Stunned!!


Off the bike. Dumbfounded! 15k down, 5k left and my race is over. Can I fix this? No, no tools for this.


Off came the shoe, pedal & crank to adorn my tri bars as I hobbled along.


How about right leg spinning? Yeah give it a shot! Back on the bike and round and round the right leg goes. Yeah!! Thank God for practising those push / pull drills. I can do this!!


No I can’t! The right crank pulls away. Nothing binding it to the bike. That’s it, 4k walk back to transition in the bare feet, in the lashings of rain, cold and shivering. I tried to remember where I had passed the Red Cross crew on the way out. Had I reached them yet? All I hoped for was a space blanket to stop the cold. I’d walk back or at least coast in when the downhill bits can on.


The amount of fellow racers, offering to help, tubes, pump etc was great. Thank you all very much and sorry for being a grouchy grump!


A bystander offered to fix the bike for me. As we stood clapping the other bikers along he put the crank back together (as I thought about the rules re outside help, I justified it to myself saying he would offer the same help to anyone). So I went from race being over and needing a lift back to at least being able to finish the bike stage.


I was pale blue / purple with the cold and knew I was coasting a thin line. Back on the bike I pushed harder than my body could feel and slowly warmed up a bit. All I wanted to do was get to complete the bike, into transition and declare my own DQ.


Dismounting the bike, the people cheering, standing in the bitter cold, wet, windy weather drove me to continue and complete the course. Out on the run I felt familiar ground. I can do this easily. What odds, so my race was over, I will at least complete the race course no DNF around here!

Thanks to Gerry Duffy for remote motivation!

My times? 

Total 1:40.31
Swim – 0:18:39 (128)
T1 – 0:01:49
Bike – 0:53:33 (170)
T2 – 0:01:29
Run – 0:25:01 (97)


COPE Triathlon – Report by Race Director Seb Locteau

I didn’t COPE very well (June 12th Race day)

My first race in 4 years took place on Sunday morning. The family were away again overnight on Saturday and Sunday so I was looking forward to catching up on sleep and preparing properly for the race. I didn’t want anything to go wrong and wanted to be nice and relaxed.


After work on Saturday evening I mosied across to Salthill and got registered for the race, picked up my race bag, T-shirt, chip & number. Bumping into quite a few people I know from the shop, all wishing each other well and looking forward to, what for many, is their first race.

Returning home I had dinner and cleared the kitchen in order to lay out all of my race day equipment.


I cleaned my bike down and checked all the cables for fraying, adjustment etc and treated the running gear to a squirt of silicon oil to keep all the bits lubed up. Dug out my profile water bottle for aero mounting on my tri bars, no sign of a straw, that was the last straw! Bike spares, pump, helmet, glasses, bike shoes, water bottles, race clothing (tri shorts, compression top, tracksuit & hoodie for before & after) nutrition (gels, protein bars for afters) running shoes (iNOV-8 Road X 255) with lock laces, race belt, goggles, hat & wetsuit, HRM (new Polar RCX5, with speed, cadence and foot pod. Sorry Rick!) and of course the obligatory Amphibia Sport X-Bag to carry it all!

Think its all here.

I was fairly happy with my preparation, I knew I easily had the ability to race the course even though I have not had the last training checks I hoped for in the week. Early to bed, sleep and up nice and relaxed ready for the day.


4am.


No babies in the house yet here I am wide awake. Its not nerves, it not anxiety, its not caffeine it just bloody frustrating!

The Grid

After reading for a while (currently Total Immersion by Terry Laughlin, again) sleep was not making a return so up I got for a very early breakfast at 4.40am. I watched a bit of TV, did a bit of rolling with my trusty Grid roller and generally knocked around the house. Of course, I did my bit of cleaning & other chores like a good husband, but it was all about killing time until I was good to go at 7am.

Loaded up and headed over to Salthill to get setup. The morning started out overcast, calm and dry. Once the gear was set up in transition (hats off to the organisation, entry & exit was properly managed so not lost bikes!) the weather started to change.

A recce and discussion about the swim course, landmarks and exit points took place when I bumped into Damian on the prom. The wind was starting to warm up and blow from the East which meant we would be swimming into the wind & swell. Also the bike course out would be wind at the tails to the turnabout point in Furbo and a headwind on the way back in.


A cup of coffee and a chat with a few of the competitors as the temperature dropped and the drizzle started. The start was still a half hour off and the swell was getting bigger by the minute.


Time to get into the wetsuit and warm up ready for the off. Between organising my bike setup (helmet & glasses) a gut blew the helmet off the tri bars and as I went to catch it my glasses fell and shattered! Nice Spuik shades that I’ve had for years, in bits. Not happy!


Off we all toddled like emperor penguins to huddle around for the race briefing. It was cold and the briefing was thorough. Main point was roads were not closed so don’t start thinking your a hero on the bike, rules of the road apply. We’d be counted in and out of the water and the run was all on the prom so consider other pedestrians. 


Down to the start point we shivered and into the water for a warm up. And surprisingly the water was warm! Like a bath that had been left for 30mins and was just getting cool. Stupidly, though I cleared my goggles, did the warm up and came back out to the start line, I lifted my goggles while chatting to one of the fellow boards.ie friends. Without thinking I pulled them down as we ran to the water and, all fogged up. Instead of stopping for a couple of seconds, I burst on for the mass splash and swam out to the first buoy blind.

Get the idea?

Once I cleared the headland and turned into the wind, I could see nothing. I stopped and tried to sight, tried to clear the lens but the sea was actually quite rough and difficult to stay stable in. People were hanging off the kayak support teams. With the swell & troughs you could only sight the next buoy off the top of the wave and only then if the buoy was on a swell also. Got to the second turn and then it was a few minutes before hitting the calmer waters in the breakwater. Onto the beach and up the ramp to get to transition.



I was in two minds re the wetsuit. As it was 400m or so to transition I could have removed the suit at the water & carried it or as I ended up doing, run in the suit and remove in transition.


TT even factoring the wind in. There has been plenty of long tough distances with climbs and intervals over the past weeks, so not issue for me. Push on!


Out to the turnabout at Furbo. Round into the wind, not too bad. I kept telling myself “Settle Sean, and control the effort, reel the next person in & pass them.”


Dipping into Bearna and up the short drag out my chain slipped. I couldn’t believe it, looking down to check all seemed in order. Must have missed a tooth. Push on!


Pick up a gear to bring the pace back up and same again! As I looked down inside my right leg, my left came off the bike. What?! As I looked at my left foot I realised my shoe was still attached to the pedal and the pedal was attached to the crank but the crank was no longer part of the bike!


Stunned!!


Off the bike. Dumbfounded! 15k down, 5k left and my race is over. Can I fix this? No, no tools for this.


Off came the shoe, pedal & crank to adorn my tri bars as I hobbled along.


How about right leg spinning? Yeah give it a shot! Back on the bike and round and round the right leg goes. Yeah!! Thank God for practising those push / pull drills. I can do this!!


No I can’t! The right crank pulls away. Nothing binding it to the bike. That’s it, 4k walk back to transition in the bare feet, in the lashings of rain, cold and shivering. I tried to remember where I had passed the Red Cross crew on the way out. Had I reached them yet? All I hoped for was a space blanket to stop the cold. I’d walk back or at least coast in when the downhill bits can on.


The amount of fellow racers, offering to help, tubes, pump etc was great. Thank you all very much and sorry for being a grouchy grump!


A bystander offered to fix the bike for me. As we stood clapping the other bikers along he put the crank back together (as I thought about the rules re outside help, I justified it to myself saying he would offer the same help to anyone). So I went from race being over and needing a lift back to at least being able to finish the bike stage.


I was pale blue / purple with the cold and knew I was coasting a thin line. Back on the bike I pushed harder than my body could feel and slowly warmed up a bit. All I wanted to do was get to complete the bike, into transition and declare my own DQ.


Dismounting the bike, the people cheering, standing in the bitter cold, wet, windy weather drove me to continue and complete the course. Out on the run I felt familiar ground. I can do this easily. What odds, so my race was over, I will at least complete the race course no DNF around here!

Thanks to Gerry Duffy for remote motivation!

My times? 

Total 1:40.31
Swim – 0:18:39 (128)
T1 – 0:01:49
Bike – 0:53:33 (170)
T2 – 0:01:29
Run – 0:25:01 (97)


COPE Triathlon – Report by Race Director Seb Locteau

Lost week or Taper week ?

The week following the mini-epic cycle with Conor was to be a taper week of sorts before racing the COPE triathlon on 12th June.

Between one thing and the other I’m calling it a lost week.


A good soaking on Monday doubled the snuffles of the past few weeks and gave me a decent cough. Its getting better with practise and is now a deep resonating mucous buster. I reckon if I can get around Salthill / Furbo at the weekend on one lung I will be unstoppable in September.


The plan was to get a couple of decent runs in, short sharp intensive leg workouts. I have a nice 8km loop worked out from home with three attempts at the same hill included as well as the standard hilly work. A negative split on the two laps would be a great workout early in the week, plenty of time for recovery.


Didn’t happen!


I also intended to give the bike a good whirl on Wednesday or Thursday evening a nice 20k TT type of affair to test the legs, ensure all the set up was right (have been on my La Pierre mostly) and check for mechanical issues. 


Didn’t happen!


Of all the training plans, most important is the need to continue my swimming improvements and have a nice distance carried forward in the arms and body for the weekend. Again an open water, salt water swim would go down really well as I’ve been in the pool and lake (freshwater) mostly and need more than race day warm up to adjust.


Didn’t happen!


What did happen was a busy week in work coupled with a very sick little girl at home leading to very little time to train / test and even less sleep for the whole family. 

Anyway these things happen and family does come first!

Monday (6th June) mini-epic cycle

I’ve lapsed a little in the past week with keeping this up to date. So bear with me as I return to my usual regular updates.


On the bank holiday Monday myself and Conor had planned to go for a decent length spin through the Burren. From the conversation the night before I was told to “get hills into it and steep ones” into my route planning. When the said route was viewed and approved the comment “looks good” got me worried that I had more bitten off than I could possibly chew.





We made our arrangements for the following morning to meet at 9.30 at the shop and head from there. Bike checked, spares sorted and nutrition organised for the bike pouches.


Monday greeted us with a dirty, drizzly day where you couldn’t be sure how wet you were likely to get. The decision was made to leave the rain wear at the shop in the hope it wouldn’t be necessary (wishful thinking!)


The first section from Oranmore to Kinvara was especially difficult as passing the Londis in Kilcolgan the smell of breakfast pulled at us like sirens to a sailor. With great reluctance we moved on. All it would have taken was a moment of weakness from either of us and it would have turned into a sausage, bacon & eggs fest!

First wee break



The road to Kinvara was wet, it was miserable but the company was good as we were able to chat away about all sorts of things. What goes on Tour, stays on Tour, so no secrets being shared here!

As we left Kinvara on the road to Ballyvaughan we had made the decision to do some climbs on this spin, so climbing we did. Turning off at Leagh North (from km 27) we basically spent the next 20k going up with a few respites of downhill to ease the legs out. There was plenty of rain to assist the misery and at this stage I think we were both soaked to the bone. I was glad of my Wicklow Tri gilet which helped keep the chill off my core.


Its closed 😦

There were a couple of road signs teasing us along with the promise of “fresh coffee and scones 2km ahead”. Every 2km there was another sign promising “2km ahead”. Needless to say we got to Carran with no coffee or scones and a closed pub which could have done business on a couple of Irish coffee’s with scones! Its a spot to have on the map for the next session out which could turn into a session!

We checked our location and set sights on finding Boston figuring that we could get loads of hits on Twitter by mentioning Boston. 
 

Its around here somewhere

Despite checking the local map and our own maps we somehow missed the turn off along the way and went looking for the coffee shop in the Burren perfumerie. We found the perfumerie but decided that the entrance road was not worth risking tyres on, especially as its a fair distance home from where we were.

The roads through the Burren were not much better that those that stopped us getting to the coffee shop, plenty of grass in the middle and gravel in the verges to keep you on your toes during the downhill sections.

We wound our way back to Kinvara and stopped of for a quick coffee and bun in the garage before motoring back to the shop ready for home & lunch.

What I discovered later was a stupid mistake in starting my Garmin 305 (which I have been using for the pretty mapping) left me with only the homeward leg of the trip being tracked. I had the Polar RS800cx on for HRM and other data.

Conor had his Garmin 310xt on so hopefully he has the complete route mapped out. When I update my diary I’ll transfer my own data across, in summary:

Training Time 3:25
Heart Rate Max 174 (96%) Min 87(48%) Average 131 (72&)
2043kcal
Total 520m of climbing

Thanks to Conor for updating the results map. I didn’t realise that we did 3 Cat 5 climbs during that spin. I remember the big downhill though, I enjoyed that!
 

Sunday (5th June) Swim

Inspiration for my swim this morning came from the June edition of Triathlete Europe magazine. The drill of the month is a race specific interval set.




I have always struggled with my swim, I suppose, being self taught and self trained has had a lot to do with this problem. I’ve done a lot of reading, a lot of practising and more reading and only recently it feels as if the bits are actually starting to come together.


My swim in the lake on Friday was all about control & focus on the stroke technique. Having decided to hit the pool this morning and skip the planned spin I wanted to continue that focus and try and increase some components of the overall race swim. 


COPE Triathlon is coming up next weekend and I would like to have my swim ready for that.Yes, technically it is probably too late to get race ready, but as lately, I feel I’m improving each time I swim and I’m improving my swim stamina it can do no harm.


I get bored trying to do sets or lap after lap so I am always looking for an edge or something to add interest to the swim sessions, enough to keep me in the pool and avoid an early sauna visit.


So the interval set went like this:

  • Warmup  5-10 mins of easy swimming with some technique drills. I did front crawl for:
    • 1 x 50 slow
    • 1 x 100 steady
    • 1 x 50 steady focusing on catch / feel for water    
  • Main Set 
    • 1 x 50 sprint to simulate the start of a race. 5 seconds rest before
    • 2 x 100 strong effort simulating settling into race pace. 10 seconds between each 100
    • 1 x 50 sprint to simulate the chaos aroun a buoy. Immediately put on paddles & pullbuoy.
    • 1 x 300 smooth effort pull and focus on relaxing the heart rate.
  • 30-60 seconds rest & repeat 3-4 times is recommended (I did 2 this time) 
  •  Cooldown should be relaxing. I did 1 x 100 steady and 1 x 50 messing 🙂

I did stretch out the recovery times as I wanted to be sure to keep a good rhythm going. I found a really nice sweet spot where my reach, catch, kick & breathing all slotted together nicely all I have to do is replicate that feeling but faster!


My total swim was 45 minutes and I covered 1450m.

Sunday (5th June) Morning run

I was awake at 4am, again! I’m convinced it does not get truly dark in the West of Ireland during the summer night. Read for a bit, dozed for a while and hauled out of bed at 6am and went for a run.

I had been planning to run what I hoped would be a good race course around Renville Park so I could get a measure of the length of the route, but also a view of the elevations of the course.

Off I went with my Polar RS800 on one wrist to track my HRM, pace & distance of my ‘main’ run with my Garmin 305 on my right wrist set to record what I considered the race course.

I had my iPod and a decent soundtrack (Foo Fighters, The Who, Wolfmother)to accompany me on a beautiful running morning.

All in all in covered 7.7km at a nice easy pace in 43 mins maintaining an average HRM of 146bpm which was Ownzone training.

Another lake spin / swim / spin, this time with sunshine!

Friday afternoon (3rd June) again saw me keen to get out for an open water swim in Loughrea. I had been tempted by Renville a couple of evenings on the way home, but just didn’t seem to make time for it.

Anyway this time crunched triathlete is enjoying the doubling up of training sessions where possible so a cycle out and back was on the cards.

This is more about the swim so I’ll leave the bikey bits out of it, the details are in the Garmin mapping below.

There was a definite need for the sunscreen for this afternoons cycle to the lake. It was a bit like the beach sceen in Jaws where everyone was in the water up to their waist with plenty of people sitting on the shore watching the shark circling off shore. The difference was this is Ireland, all the watchers were getting sunburnt and the shark turned out to be Laurent.

I was later than planned getting down so missed the options of joining Laurent in his swim or Damian on a run.

We still had a group of five for a swim and rather than going from the jammed beach & pier we opted for a start around the point and out round the first & second buoys, round the rock & back. All told 1200m or so of a swim.

I had brought my fins, not for propulsion, instead I wanted to use them to help float & stretch my feet so that I could focus entirely on getting a steady, controlled rhythm of reach, catch, pull, (breathe every now and then!) push and recover.

During the first leg out to beyond the pier, I was all over the place, I didn’t settle down at all, was lifting my head, breathing wrong, pulling stronger on one side, not controlling body roll to point out a few things. I stopped, looked around and regathered my thoughts and dumped them all in the mental “trash folder”.

Face down again I admired the clarity of the water, spotted some fish, felt the warmth of the day and relaxed.

After this I found a groove. Nice and easy, slow and steady. In the shallow parts I was really conscious of the glide effect through my stroke cycle, I could see my shadow moving deceptively fast. This felt good!! I got to the 2nd buoy and chatted to the lads before we set off on the return leg. I let them go. I was slow and steady, reach, catch, pull, push & recover. Again and again. I was breathing out under water, not blowing like a surfaced whale, which meant I simply breathed in naturally when I was ready not when I felt forced to do it.

All too quick I was around the rock, heading for the pier, the 1st buoy, the spectacular shallows again. I was so far in my relaxed zone I swam straight into a guy who was minding his own business, probably frightened him half to death thinking he was being attacked. Apologies! We did have a laugh about the size of the lake and all that. And that was that, out, on the bike & home.

I really, really enjoyed that swim and need to repeat, repeat, repeat to keep the groove.

Thursday (2nd June) on the bike

First time in a while both of us managed to get out for a spin together, in fact we haven’t got to do any training together for quite a while so it was a bit like getting out on a date again.

We set out from home with a plan to loop around Clarinbridge / Kilcolgan to do a drive by on a house that is up for rent. While where we are living is great, beside the sea, forest & park for the kids, the thoughts of another wild winter with ginormous electricty bills due to drafty windows & storage heaters is not appealing. Hense window shopping for a new abode.

This morning was a nice easy paced spin as Edel has not been out on the bike for quite a while, so I dropped into the big ring and a low back gear and just pushed along at very low cadence which required a much higher power output to maintain a steady pace. On hills I only allowed myself one gear lower as a comfort zone. This should all add up to increasing leg power overall.

We cut across on the back roads from Maree to Clarinbridge and did a loop around the back of Colga woods and out the Kinvarra road to do a turnaround at Ballinderreen before heading back along the main road to Clarinbridge and homewards.

We got to the see the house so the letting agent got a call too. The benefits / perils of bringing a mobile phone on the spin with you!

Not a bad mornings work covering 40k at an average 23km/h.

Galway 5k series – Dangan race report

Another evening where I was substituted in. This was on account of our daughter being sick and child minder on a day off. Yes, I could have stayed with daughter, but she only wanted her mommy so in aid of continuity for the series T-shirt off I went.

Having done a fair bit of running on Sunday as well as a decent bike spin I was surprised at how fresh my legs felt even though I had been cycling in and out of the shop, especially this evening into a good headwind home.

I had a quick recce of the course online before leaving the shop so at least I knew where I was going. Parking in the car park, lacing up the shoes and getting organised for the start had me looking around admiring the way the course had been organised and set up. Bumped into Paul again, becoming a regular habit and we headed over to the coral starting area. Again lots of familiar faces and club mates knocking around, warming up and stretching.

We stepped over the rope into the starting gate, it must have looked like the starting area of the Grand National with everyone hemmed in by a 5mm nylon rope! There was a proper starting pistol and BANG!! away we leaped.

Starting on a playing field meant this was my first experience of Cross Country! Through the gap in the corner of the field and out to the open space across the car park and through the residences. The wind seemed to be everywhere, whipping around and gusting into our faces all the time. I settled quickly into a good pace. I knew I was going faster, earlier than normal, but I felt good.

Around by the Kingfisher Gym under the bridge and then we looped back along the river on a gravel, dirt type path. The km markers were clear and I knew at the 2.5km marker that I was doing really good. My stride felt good and strong so I pushed on a bit. Again the wind seemed to whip off the water into our faces but I made sure to draft off anyone who was in front of me.

At the 4k marker I dug in and stretched my legs and ran for the finish. I felt a new PB was possible and hoped to hit 22 minutes. The last stretch of the race was marked down 500 / 400 / 250m on the path so I really knew what was left, or so I thought!

No matter how far I looked I could not see the finish line so I really trusted the markings. I saw a big group of spectators ahead and thought “Great, there we are!”. Just before the final 100m the spectators parted and exposed a sudden steep bank up the side of the playing fields.

All around me a chorus of “Oh!! FFS!!” broke out (if you need to know what FFS!! means, just ask). I suck my head down and pumped my arms and legs up the bank and burst off the top into a sprint for the line. (Thanks, Joanne from GTC for roaring support at me!)

Across the mats and my faithful Garmin 305 showed me a new PB of 21.33!! (Later adjusted to 21.35 by redtagtiming)

Sunday Run / Spin / Run

Sunday morning found me awake good & early so I did a little bit of work on some blog items that were catching up on me. I knew that my plans were to go on a spin with the club from Craughwell at 9.30 but I was feeling up for a run as well either before or afterwards.

The family were away overnight so I had a free house this morning.
A cup of coffee, pulled on my running shoes and I was on my way to do a steady loop of the point around from Renville. I haven’t been running much lately and it is long over due time to get my distances & pacing back to where it should be.

I went out onto the Maree road and had a moments hesitation as to which direction to go, hence the meandering in the mapping. I went left towards Oranmore and turned down towards Maree facing to the oncoming traffic.

I always run back roads about 1 meter off the kerb or ditch line. This position not only gives you better visibility of the oncoming road users, it also allows you to be better seen. Should a car come at you too quickly the extra space you have given yourself gives you somewhere to go. If you give a car an inch, it will take two, so be sure to give yourself the option.


Another point, if like me you run with music, do not ever forget your lifesaver look. Before you step off a kerb or go to cross a road, or change position always check behind you for something that would hurt. A quick glance can save your life – “lifesaver look” don’t forget!

I did the loop around by Renville and back into the park for a little recce of part of a route that I’m planning for a summer run. I think the wood lane up by the Tower and across into the woods by the Marine Institute is beautiful and will definitely be part of the run.

I finished up the run and got home to have a good breakfast and get organised to meet the gang at Craughwell for the club spin.

I drove out to Craughwell and got my bike gear organised. There was a decent sized group getting ready to head off and after a brief discussion a route was decided, the reverse of one that we did a couple of weeks ago, about 60-70k approx.

View from the top of Peterswell(?)

The route was smashing with a lovely blend of flats and hills.

There were plenty of options for interval training, with Enda & Diarmuid tearing off at every opportunity. When we got up around the wind farm area I got involved in a little bit of drag racing myself, using whatever downhill sections I could get to help push up the rises.

At one stage on the way back Derek pointed up off in the direction of a “shortcut” as some of us needed to get back for about 12.30. The short cut was maybe short if you were a flying crow, he definitely did not factor the hills into his calculations! Anyway it was a bit of fun as every now and then we stopped en mass to consult one or the other of iPhone / GPS units to see were we going the right way.

Peloton!

By the time we finished faffing and found the main road there were the other lads on their way up the main road to meet us. So proof, it’s not a shortcut!!

We took it nice and steady back into Craughwell and bar meeting with an ignorant hackney driver who bulled his way through on a tight road with an atrocious surface (no one was hurt) the spin went without incident and all arrived back safe.

Here’s a summary of the climb information:

28.07 m Start Elev 
274.0 m Max Elev
333.0 m Gain
-333.0 m Descent
Distance Elevation Grade
Cat Start End Length Min Max Avg. Max
17.27 km       21.93 km     4.66 km      113 m      225 m    2.4%
23.24 km       24.79 km     1.55 km       219 m       258 m    2.5%

Sunday Spin 29/05/11

Back at Craughwell there was just about time for another run off the bike. Having checked the Map my Run website the route was 5km, leaving me back at the community hall with enough time to get home, showered and into work for 2pm, just !!

Not a bad mornings exercise with 3200cals disappearing before lunch time.