Ah sugar!!

What a simple yet complex thing sugar is?


Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen combined to form a compound that stores energy. Plants convert sunlight energy to sugars, we consume sugars and release that energy which fuels our molecular activity

I’m not doing a science paper, but that’s one of the basic circles of life. Capture, convert, store, release. Energy just goes around the circle from one form to another, neither lost or gained though it feels like it in a long run!!

Everyone reacts differently, so I’m speaking about this from a personal point of view. If it resonates with you, I hope you can take something from it, otherwise, just store in in that bank of useless information that we all have! 🙂

I’ve always fought a spare tyre around my middle. I train like a divil and watch my diet but it won’t go. I’m not advocating a  “Lose 8lbs in 5 days!!” conversion and most certainly would never entertain the concept. Instead I have progressively changed little things about my lifestyle.

I’ve an inordinately sweet tooth. Always had, always will.

I now manage it. By cutting sources of sugar from my diet over the past 2 years I can balance the odd treat dessert (usually homemade crumble) without feeling guilty or the need to run 20 miles afterwards.

Lots of people speak about energy gels and energy drinks in the sense that they get this amazing ‘lift’, they feel the body react to the sugars. I don’t get it. The same with coffee, I don’t get palpitations, buzz and likewise no withdraws when I take a break from it for a few weeks.

Now the body needs fuel, the sugar is just a fuel and is perfect for refuelling on the go during a long training session or race. It’s light, portable, easily dissolved, easily consumed and packed full of energy.

Reading around the subject, I’ve self taught, that sugar spikes insulin response which triggers cortisol response which causes the body to store energy as fat.
Your body is under stress during exercise, fast sugar triggers more stress response, which triggers more fat storage or in fact restricts fat burning meaning you don’t get any leaner through higher volume exercise.

Here’s a good blog piece I found on the subject Hormones & Stress: Cortisol

Anyway this led me to think more about my body and reading more Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald advocating fuelling (correctly) before, during and after to minimise the stress response while others, Optimum Nutrition for Sport  have a more holistic consideration regarding mixing up fuel sources and training the body through adaptations to responses.

As mentioned on this blog almost a year ago (Stop Playing with your Food) I’ve adopted a bit of both worlds to suit me.

My main diet is protein rich (relative to how I used to eat) and a typical day would begin with porridge made on water ( sometimes a drizzle of maple syrup ), black pot coffee, some fruit in the morning and ideally dinner at lunchtime mid afternoon. (Usually meat and root veg, often just meat and no spuds). I’d often snack on mixed nuts and drink plenty of water.

This means I know there are no wild fluctuations in my blood sugars and with midday fuelling I can train in the evening / night. I can fuel with a gel before / early in session and after training I will have a recovery shake.

Elivar Products for the over 35’s (Birth Cert required)

What I’m leading to is my recent discovery of a new product on the Irish market, Elivar.
A nutrition brand tailored for over 35’s which initially (being honest) had me laughing before I realised: A) I’m long past that age group and B) this is the link I’ve been missing.

Using +Agave #9 gels sourced in +Amphibian King West meant I was already using low GI sugars, controlling my body’s blood sugar and avoiding stress response. (Agave is widely used in nutritional products for diabetics and Agave#9 is ideal for any #diabetic sports person to use)

Now using #ElivarEndure I can fuel my long endurance training sessions where longevity is more important that explosive power or speed. The blend of protein and slow release isomaltose ensure that I can go the distance and coupled with a handful of gels I can be certain that my body gets all the fuel it needs. (See my recent long training session as an example)

Having an #ElivarRecover shake immediately after a hard or long session will help set me up for the next day and subsequent sessions:

Most recovery products have a 3:1 ratio of high glycaemic index carbs: whey protein, but as you get older you need a higher proportion of protein to recover effectively. That’s why Elivar Recover has a 1:1 ratio – and for sustained recovery a blend of fast releasing whey and slow releasing casein. This creates a longer recovery “window” to get you to your next session in better shape and with less pain.

Enter a new period of training, fuelling and recovery for me as I explore the options that Elivar provide me.

Contact the compnay for a FREE sample or pop into me at Amphibian King Limerick for more information.

29th September 2013 – Week in review

This week past is Week 19 of my #running plan leading up to #AmsterdamMarathon on 20th October.

On of the key sessions was the LPR on Sunday which would see me peaking out at 35k (or 22miles as I was encouraged to consider it) and with a planned week of 108k in total.

Rest day.

Planned –
10mins E pace, 5x30sec strides/30secs easy, 3x(3km T pace + 10secs with 1km E pace recovery) & 5min E warm down

Actual –
I was only getting into the flow of the workout when a car came up alongside me (running at night on country roads) yet slightly behind and I thought, “I’m in the ditch already, go past!” after another 100m and the car was still  there I thought what the heck and glanced over my shoulder to see this fellow hanging out of the window. Looking properly I recognised him as Greg, my go-to massage guy, Sh1te, I forgot he was calling over! He wanted to try / borrow my wetsuit for an open water event at the weekend.

Checking the watch, I told him “800m to go” as my intent was to pause at the end of the first phase, take a lift back and finish on the treadmill.

End of session 😦

Planned –
AM – 60mins E pace running, throw in 5x20sec strides
PM – 40mins E pace running

Actual –
Terrible nights sleep so awake early and got out on the road to do last nights session over.
The tired mind & body meant I was not on it properly for the phases, but session done.

Wk19 Tuesday – Phases

I knew this meant I was now backed up x2 sessions already this week and couldn’t afford to let them slip further. I was reconciling / clutching at straws that the 5.6k of last night would replace the 40min Epace run

Wk19 Wednesday – Summary

Planned –
10mins E pace, 70mins M pace, 5mins E pace to warm down

Actual –
Drop the kids to school, back, change and out the door. Leaving a gel & drink on the front pillar I’d a plan of a big loop and a slightly smaller loop to finish.

Wk19 Thursday – Phases

 On the money with the pacing, I was happy, relatively comfortable and not to stressed with the effort. We’ll have a look at Training Load later.

Wk19 Thursday – Summary

Planned –
60mins E pace running, throw in 5x20sec strides

Actual –
The last in the #FeetontheStreet series from #AthleticsLimerick and my second local race. With it only around the corner from me in +Amphibian King Limerick it would have been rude not to do the #Southill5k.

My Race Report is already covered.

Wk19 Southill 5k

Of course, not really being conducive to the training plan, the 5k served to show me where I was re speed work.

Planned –
60mins E pace running, throw in 5x20sec strides

Actual –
Just as it says on the tin. Nice recovery run, legs felt nice and loose after pushing hard last night. Good session, still rubbish sleep on account of the kids. But hey ho!

Wk 19 Saturday – Summary

Planned –
Long run as 5km E pace, 2x(12km M pace, 1km E pace), 2km M pace -10secs, 2km E pace

Actual –
Meeting my buddy Conor for our first run together in a long while, we decided mentally & physically we could feed off each other on this run even if we were at different paces.

We’d figured a 10k ish loop near Oranmore which was relatively flat rather than the lumpy hills around his place or the sharp draggy pieces around me.

Wk 19 Sunday – Phases

We set up the water station which we’d be passing on each of the three loops. I’ve been using a combination of +Agave #9 gels and #ElivarSport Endure drink (protein & slow release carbs) and I find they work a treat for me.

Wk19 Sunday – Summary

Both of us were delighted with the outcome of the session and I think it was mentally a great way to finish a tough week of work, poor sleep and general fatigue. Rolling on to next week I feel like magic, and can’t wait to hit taper fortnight to freshen up and loosen out.

Wk19 Summary – Load indicators & looking to Wk20

Over all:
Planned Week – 107km
Actual Week – 93km

Physically – some barriers of tiredness to push through
Mentally – BOOM!

Charleville International Half Marathon (22nd September 2013)

Been meaning to get stuck into this race report all week.

Rocked down to #Charleville on Saturday evening straight from work in Limerick to meet up with +Edel O’Reilly and the two kids who were already settled in the Charleville Park Hotel since the afternoon. We’d a family room booked for the night.

I got down in plenty of time, got registered and met up with Michael Herlihy the race organiser for a few words and introduction before heading out for a bit of pizza with the kids.

I was taking on the #CharlevilleHalf as part of a Long Progression Run that my coach had planned for me today.

Plan called for:
Long run as 8km E pace, 10km as M pace +10secs, 8km as M pace, 5km as M pace -10secs, 2km E pace.

My predicted Mpace is 4:35/km so that’s the guide.

Up early on Sunday to get breakfast; scrambled eggs with croissants & coffee. I had a bag prepped with the bits & pieces for before the race which I would meet Edel for. Drove up to the muster point at +Charleville Gaa hall beside St. Joseph’s foundation. Kissed the family and headed off for the first 10k of the session.

I decided the best thing was to head out on the course 5k, turn and back to the start, timed so I would be back for 15 mins to the gun. Out I went 8k easy and kicked up for 2k at the Mpace +10 seconds before meeting up with Edel.

Quick change of singlet, drink of SiS GO Energy (I nibbed on a GO Energy Bar on the way in from
6k), put on my race shoes (Mizuno Elixir) took my race gels and headed for the start line.

All set!!

Bumping into my ‘nemisis’ Mr.Wiggle we had a bit of banter about our Amphibian King Vs Mr. Wiggle corporate challenge (one of these stupid things grown men find funny) 🙂

Anyway we both had our own plans and parked the challenge for another day, wishing each other well we parted realising that every wasp in the county was trying to mate with me due to the singlet!

I settled in among the 1:40 pacers knowing well this is my territory and off we went with very little preamble.

Lots of juggling for clear space, over the mat and plenty of sprinters up the outside and jumping in at the front, anyway, each to their own. Once onto the Kilmallock Rd it settled down a bit and the pace steadied, I settled into a 4:45/km ish pace comfortably for the next 8k. The one thing that surprised me was water station at 5k, most people took a slug from the bottle, dropped it or fired it into the ditch (#pethate).

It was a warm day and we’re racing, “you’ll need that”, I thought.

Anyway, and on. I took the first of my +Agave #9 gels at 5k (15k remember!) and sipped on my baby bottle of water. For the next 3k I tracked the pacers who seemed to surge ahead for a bit, I realised I had drifted slightly on my pacing as my ‘shoulder angels’ started fighting.

On one side I was getting “No need to push hard, you’ve an extra 10k done” the other saying “Stuff it, keep going”. The two of these argued back and forth for about 2k and it was only as I hit the end of the Phase I managed to shut them up.

At 8k in I stretched the legs a little as the next 8k of the plan was at Mpace. I’m sure people in the group thought I was mental, pushing on, I kept it steady though around the mid 4:30’s. Going through Kilmallock I dropped my water bottle in a bin (when empty I squish them, pop the top and stick in the back of the shorts until a bin / dropzone).

Around the corner to head back somewhere around halfway (my 20k) the HR stopped sending a signal. This was fine as I’d to run to pace. Taking a bottle from the station, over the mat, mouth rinsed, gel in (SiS this time), water sip, sip, sip. I kept going. Psychologically I was comfortable & confident in knowing what I was capable of due to the training.

I was fishing.

Throwing out a line, reeling people in steadily and passing with confidence leaving them behind me.

I struggled a little at 13-15k (23-25k) as there was a combination of turns, wind and drag. Also I was running very much on my own with no respite or body to hide behind. I did do a bit of creative slingshotting, but this was more of a mental advantage than physical.

Hitting the last water station just before the 16k mark I took my 2nd Agave#9 (check out Agave#Ireland) and another bottle of water, dropping my empty at the station. At this point one person that I’d passed came back at me. (This last 5k was to be run at 4:25/k but I’d mistakenly programed the watch to show 4:30/k.)

I let him drift off the front for a bit recognising that I’d passed him in the first half so he was running a negative split like myself, this was not just a ‘passee surge’ so I had to be careful.

Tracking him for the next kilometre, I pulled him back in from 15/20m and sat on his shoulder.

17.5k in RACE ON!!!

At 18k I stepped past him and ran off him and 2m in front. Then as we went over the bridge he went in front again. Floating down the back side of the bridge slope, I pulled steadily onto him and at 19.5k I backed myself and squeezed ahead again, gaining 5m, I drifted out to 10m and realising where I was with 1.2k to go I dug in.

Time for a haircut, methinks!

Passing straight through a group in front, sorry lads! (they were scattered across the road and I wasn’t going round the long way!)

I ran in the last km fast at 4:17 average up (8m gain) to the finish passing people all the way in.

My biggest, little fan!!

Finishing in 01:38:59 that hardest part was moving on to finish the session with 2k!!

Think I did 1.5k before necessity meant I’d to get back to the hotel, shower, change and up to #AKLimerick for an afternoons work with +Amphibian King West

+Polar training file is here. Happy to explain through comments.

Target phases.

Charleville International Half Marathon – 22nd September 2013

Last weekend saw us in North Cork for our first visit to Charleville. I had contacted the organiser +Micheal Herlihy during the previous week to see if there was anything +Amphibian King West could do to help support or promote the event which has been going from strength to strength since it’s inception.

I was also extremely lucky to avail  of an entry for the race and to take on the challenge of the Charleville International Half Marathon (my race report will be on Féileacán Mór shortly) which aims to meet all runners’ needs in 3 main ways

  • Provide flat, straight accurately measured course to allow runners achieve their best possible time.
  • Provide an enjoyable memorable event overall with a friendly environment on a scenic course.
  • Provide some of the best facilities and perks of a top class race with the best chip-timing, post race reception with good food and results provided quickly post-event.

 Mission Statement of Charleville Half Marathon ( #CharlevilleHalf )

As an athletics club, North Cork AC aims to provide both a high quality event for the more competitive elite and club runners while also providing an enjoyable experience for those who just want to enjoy the challenge of participating in the event without the pressure of being competitive. In the long term the Charleville Half Marathon aims to develop a truly top-class International standard event to take advantage of our flat course and our central location in the Munster area.

I would like to thank Michael, all his fellow organisers, volunteers and marshals for making this a great event. Thank you for having us and we look forward to working with you again in 2014.

Definitely a race to recommend and mark it down in your diary.

Feet on the Street – Southill 5km (27th Sept 2013)

#Southill5k is the third in a series of races organised by Athletics Limerick at Rathkeale 4m, Analog 6k and Southill 5k.

I got to do the Analog 6k last week and clocked in a time of 25:33 which I was quite happy with as I’d only planned to jog over (4.6k) and back (4.7k!!) and observe the race, pass out flyers and be visible in the yellow & black.

As it turned out I messaged one of the T/D/M guys to see if he was up for a run, between the jigs and reels we ended up racing the event too (I was half minded to do it anyway but had a laugh as the realisation of the race dawned on him), so nice unexpected tempo session at the business end of a high volume week.

Anyway, that 25:33 put me in mind for a sub or close 20ish 5k last night.

Right up until I saw the route.

Leaving work it was only a short 1k trot around to the Southill area. Having to ask directions to the community centre from a couple of kids, to be greeted with “You’re the guy from the running shoe” served to remind me that I’m in their territory for a change & better behave myself 😀

Anyway down to the centre, met a few familiar faces, nice to be welcomed as part of the scene, I feel like a local already. Bit of chit chat, “I was in earlier”, “Any XC spikes” etc and like most times I’m like “how’s the form? feeling good?”, “you looked good on the road in Charleville” etc.

Very quickly called to the start line, little bit of briefing on the course: “out here, down there, round that, up here, over there, turn there, back here and in there” as always I’m happy enough there’ll always be someone in front of me, its the pointy ended boys that have to listen.

Sure enough, GO!! followed by scampering feet to the first left. Out there, cross the road, down the hill, around through the estate (we seemed to provide a break in the usual entertainment on the road) back out over the road and then up! Up was up at the 2k point (I’ll link the elevation in later) and I wanted to test the guy who’s heels I was on so I said, “you’re looking steady” to see his response, judge his breathing, see how deep he was in the hurt.

It took a few seconds but he was “what time you aiming for?”, I said “20ish”, him “21 and half” and then I dug in to the climb putting a couple of metres into his as we were joined by ‘Pat ya eejit’ as bystanders seemed to call him. This young lad seemed intent on wooing his audience as he ran in front of me cutting off my feet.

Only for the liklihood of a riot, he’d have got a clip in the ear.

Anyway he blew up after 30m and I pushed on. Over the top, always run over the top of a hill, around to the left and sharp right for a long downward into the wind. This is around the 2.5k – 3k mark and I start to see leaders coming back to me. As we got closer, it was not who I expected at all.

Slightly bemused I clicked off the next lad in front of me before hitting the turn back up what was a long drag with the wind behind (neutralised the effect) and backed myself to stretch out. Pushing on, I passed one more on this stretch before turning left and left again to complete the last of the hill at 4.2k by my watch.

Then came the down hill. Running downhill is not a strong point of mine but I’m getting there, so head up, arms loose, ‘fall’ down and high cadence.

Bit like the Midnight Oil song, “How do you feel now your Quads are burning?” hit the bottom and finish line fever lifts me ontot he toes and a last push. No idea what time is just that my pace was lifting through the second half and  over the line.

Very subdued finish area, and then I found out why.

Most of the front guys went wrong. A marshal was not in the right place, he didn’t realise that the race time changed from 7 to 6:45 so quite a few unhappy faces.

What it meant for me was the winning time was 20:10 and I finished 6th (4th O40) in 21:58. To put that in perspective for me the winner this week finished 2nd in the Analog 6k with 20:26. That’s how hilly the course was.

Take that, thankyou! 🙂

EDIT – to include link to +Polar training file here > Southill 5k

What’s the thinking behind this?

The reasoning behind my decision to run for a year (probably more as I develop goals) is simple. Work and family demands are putting time constraints on me and the amount of time available for training.

Originally I had planned 2014 to ‘go long’ (triathlete parlance for Ironman distance racing 3.8km swim, 180km bike & 42.2km run) but then we set about opening a second shop this summer in Limerick.

That was the end of that!

I would have been happy enough with my run, happy enough about my bike and the swim will do. But for my swim to become decent I need time to work at it. Time is not my friend in this instance and ‘happy enough’ doesn’t cut it for me..

Best use of my time is to become decent at my running.

It’s too early to say what goals are, but suffice to say 2014 will be all about me bettering me.

Where am I at now?

5km 20:46 July 2011
10km 42:xx Sometime in 2011 (I know, shocking I don’t know my times!!)
21.1km 1:35:05 2013
42.2km 4:08:35 Dublin Marathon 2011 (2012 was a disaster, read my other blog about it)

I want to be consistent about my running, embrace it more, enjoy it to its full and see where the times go.

I might break the 20min 5k tonight in Limerick, I might not.

The big race is #AmsterdamMarathon on October 20th. 03:14:5x is the goal & training has gone well for it so happy days.

Decision made

I was trying to be clever and call this blog Papillon.
Not after the book, though I am an avid reader and this was one of my first ‘grown up’ books to read. Instead I was using Papillon to identify a chrysalis like change that was about to happen. 
‘Papillon’ is gone, I didn’t bother looking at ‘Butterfly’ or other derivatives, ‘Irish Papillon’ ? m’eh.
‘Féileacán’? (Irish for butterfly) gone and in hibernation since 2006! Why aren’t old unused blogs and Twitter handles just blasted if unused for, say, 6 months?
However, ‘Féileacán Mór’, was available. Thus, this large butterfly has a blog title.
This is a separate blog from my work piece which is kinda of a mish-mash of training reports, events and work related musings. I want Papillon or Féileacán Mór to follow my transformation from triathlete to runner (for a season anyway). This will be my training log and race report area free from (most) commercial trappings 🙂
I’m not, not, being a triathlete, I’m putting it on hold for a while to see what I can be as a runner.
Going from the darkside to the light, as some might say, well, for 2014 anyway.

Heel to Toe, what?

There is so much talk about Heel to Toe drop / differential / ramp / profile of running shoes these days that it is confusing everyone.

At the end of the day whatever is comfortable for you is the most important aspect of H/T measurements. The footwear must suit your natural running gait and that’s what we are looking at here in +Amphibian King West.

I’ve blogged plenty before about #minimalism and you can find a lot of those articles through the labels at the bottom, just click on the word.

We’ll leave the good folk at +Saucony to give you the low down (so to speak) on what Heel to Toe is all about and how it impacts you as a runner.

Heel To Toe Offset Explained from Saucony on Vimeo.

Did you miss me?

Back from the DarkSide.

My flirtation with WordPress is over (for now) and time to get back to basics with Blogger.

Post coming soon.