Blog of Random Thoughts and Pictures

Run Mount Juliet

February 15th, 2014

Back to picturesque Mount Juliet, Kilkenny for the first run of the season. I’ve been looking forward to this all winter long but disappointment has struck in as I’ve picked up an injury breaking in my new runners.

I know they say break in new foot wear slowly and I thought I had. I placed at least 20km in them but on a rare fast leg of a training run just one week before this race, pop went the left calf muscle.

As I had registered for this event ages ago I was determined to do it and so had some intensive physio on coming into the event.

Now it has been constantly raining for the past few weeks and a big storm has just passed so there was also a wonder as to whether this race would be run at all. Turns out on the morning registration desk the 10km was fine but the half marathon had to be cancelled, the course was flooded.

And sure enough as I made my way down to the start line we had to walk across a section of wooden pallets over a flooded road within the Mount Juliet grounds. Those that had come for the half were super disappointed and the consolation of running the 10km didn’t appear to appease a large section of the crowd.

Finally under starters orders and who’s there on the start line only Sonia O’Sullivan, Irish European/World/Olympic medallist and it was super cool to be able to run with Sonia for 2 kms and then that dreaded hill came into sight and sure enough it defeated me. I tried I really tried but it was just so steep.

The rest of the run was normal enough and I didn’t feel the calf muscle that much and closed the event with a time of 43:49 which isn’t too shabby and 3 minutes within Sonia’s time (which I’m sure was just a training stroll for her).

When I look back at my previous run here I had a time of 43:55 so a few seconds clipped off.

I leave Mount Juliet limping and not feeling too good I hope this isn’t a bad sign for future runs.

The Carers Association Clonmel 10Km

October 20th, 2013

I’ve been running this race for the past 2 years, and I find it a nice one to finish off the season with.

Given my recent injury from the last race I was unsure if I’d put in enough training for this last official run, but when morning came I felt good and the weather was fine too, so no excuses I had to be up for this run.

There was a super crowd at the start location, but I grabbed a nice spot by the timing van, which meant that people had to file back towards the back of the starting pack once everyone was called to the line. Some lady, quite possibly the Major of Clonmel said a few words at the start which for the life of me I couldn’t hear and I was near the front !!!!

Anyway under starts orders and as per usual the race started off at a great pace, but I really felt steady in the first few kilometres and in fact the incline at the Poppy Fields didn’t faze me at all, so it’s from here I knew I was up for this race.

There’s a good bit of down hill and flat from this point so kept the steady pace up, until I came to the dreaded long up hill stint on the Marlfield Road ! Once again the mental block kicked in, I must find a way around this, but my pace dropped way off on this hill. Got over the crest and it still took me a little while to truly get back on pace and then I just got it stuck in my mind that there was some one right behind me, right off my shoulder and it drove me on.

The last few km’s were great, I felt the pressure of someone behind me and I just didn’t want to be passed and so it proved to the line, the chap behind finished just 6 seconds behind.

Overall I finished in a time of 43:24, which placed me in 12th place … holy crap I’m over the moon with that result, given there were over 270 runners/joggers/walkers. The time was 2:22 quicker than last year, which again I have to say I’m really happy with.

Time to ramp down the training a little, take a break and aim for new start in December.

The 10Km Cat Run

September 6th, 2013

With a recent set of good runs in the blood I thought I’d give this Kilkenny Cat Run a go, well the 10Km version as I feel more up for the shorter runs.

Kilkenny Cat Run

The morning of the run was cold, the first cold day in ages, and by the time I got to parking lot at the O’Loughlin Gaels pitch, it was raining. There was a large field of runners for this race, and the fast majority took shelter within the club house. With just a minute or two before the gun, people started to file out to the start line and then it struck me, I’d forgotten my running watch, ah what a pain now I couldn’t pace myself correctly.

Anyway at the start line there was this weird little aerial device in the sky, more than likely a model helicopter but to be honest no one could figure out what it was, and I wondered if it was taking pictures, but in the end never found out.

Once the starter got us underway we went from the O’Loughlin Gaels club house at a mighty pace, a quick start again, but I felt up for it, so didn’t think much of it and nothing to report until the 3km mark. Then at this 3km mark I was running just fine and as I hopped a curve my bloody right hamstring just popped ! Ahh that made me mad, a cold day and I just hadn’t warmed up correctly, and that was it, race over.

Well not quite, I was in the middle of nowhere, so I had to run back to the finish line so I just kept on going, steady pace all the way, carrying my leg a little, well sweeping it really because if I ran in the normal way I could feel the hamstring pull again.

There was a stream of rain, but the course wasn’t that bad so I didn’t notice so much and as I made it back to the finishing area I caught a glimpse of the timing clock …. holy crap I was running my fastest 10km ever. I couldn’t believe it, this was really strange and I still crossed the line in a hobble, in fact a guy finished right beside me.

I stopped the clock at an amazing 41:34. Now I just cannot say how thrilled I was with that time, and yet I still had to slowly make my way back to the car park. Nothing more to say other than I’ll have the miss the race in Waterford next week, as there’s no way this hamstring is going to be ready by then. However this latest time is really going to set the bar high for next years runs.


Clonmel AC Half Marathon

August 18th, 2013

This race was another reason to keep  up the summer training, the Boston Scientific Half Marathon as coordinated by the Clonmel Athletic Club.

It was a lovely morning, sunny and yet not too hot, so just perfect conditions for a run. Got on location nice and early and to my utter surprise I bumped into a couple of work / football buddies from the Motorola Cork days, it was great to catch up and we all had a laugh in trying to suss out whether any one of us were going to run this in decent time.

Once registered I headed for the new walk way that’s been created along the N24 by-pass of Clonmel. It was a great spot for doing some shake down runs and stretches, and given that the starting line was along the same route it worked out perfectly when it came to joining the start line for the gun.

The number of runners was high and the starting line, come timing mat, was narrow so it made for some jostling at the start but it wasn’t that bad and off we went. Starting pace was mighty steady, I was really worried I’d burn everything in the first mile (yes miles, the course was measured in miles and I’ve finally got my head around what I should be pacing myself at, either in kms or miles and therefore the course markers become useful again). The 1st mile was actually too leisurely and so I picked up the run, I was aiming for 7 min per mile and I just wanted to do that time for as long as the legs lasted.

I found the legs lasted until mile 7.5 and then I had a complete and utter slow down in pace, tank was running empty and the next wee while was tough.

Number 451 finding it tough

Then for some reason between mile 9.5 and 10.5 I found something, was back on track with the 7 min / mile. I then made one of those really bad decisions, out on course around the 10.5 mark the race officials were offering sweets. Now I thought, well if they have them on course then they must be of some use. No, no, no, no, no. The bloody things just dried up my mouth and were a real pain and there wasn’t a water station in sight. That was just plain wrong! And then I hit the slow long hill of the PoppyFields. Oh that hill just killed me, it took forever to get to the top and once there I still didn’t have much left, however they did have a water station and I managed to rid that problem with the sweets.

The last few miles were funny, because in my head I was running as normal, but with everyone passing me, obviously I wasn’t, but I got towards the finish line and could see the timer, I was within goal time, fantastic, it was time to just bring it on home.

Had a great reception at the finish line, with all the family there and I got to share with them my great delight in finishing the run in 1:39:10, breaking the ton ! Truly I was, still am, over the moon with that result. Not sure if I want to try it again, I really like the 10km runs and the training for the half marathon is long, but still to reach an achievement is just such a great feeling too!


3 Counties Challenge: Piltown 10k Race

August 2nd, 2013

The summer holidays in Devon, which were great by the way, stopped me from participating in the Rathgormack 5 Mile Race mid July, but I kept up the training runs over the break and I was back and ready for the 5th and final run of the summer series organised by the Carrick Roadrunners.

This race was hyper-local given that it was in Piltown and even part of the course was on a regular training route of mine so I was excited and determined about running this race. More so determined as I bombed at this race last year and wanted to make up for that.

On picking up my number at the registration desk I was greeted with a pleasent surprise as I was presented with a money off voucher for Outfield Sports (Carrick-on-Suir) given that I was about to complete 4 runs out of the 5 run series.

I tucked that voucher away and made for the start line in Kildalton College, the number of participants seemed smaller but overall the start line was still crowded. On the off I was sure not to kill myself in the first part around the grounds of Kildalton, this is something I didn’t watch out for the year previous. Also I took note that the course was measured in miles so I have a better set of figures in my head now when it comes to my race pace in miles.

I broke the first hill nicely and was well into my run by mile 3 and then we hit the Bog Road, my training patch. I needed a good strong pace on this stretch and found it. I was feeling good, really good and was well on my way to the finish line. Then in the final 500m there was a little hiccup a stumble and then I hear in the crowd, “Come on Miguel you’re nearly there”. A supporter, it was brillant, just what I needed to get that head up again and burst for the actual line.

Once the race clock came into sight it was fantastic, just to see I was right on track for what I wanted to achieve and I stopped it at 42:21.

Number 662 making for the finish line

This was a personnel best for 10km which I must say I am delighted with, makes me feel all the training runs over the summer break were worth it. It seems the camera man at the finish line caught that feeling just right too.

Number 662 happy out with the final result

3 Counties Challenge: Carrick ‘Deadmans’ 5 Mile Race

June 7th, 2013

This run was close to home, in Carrick-on-Suir and the middle race of a 5 run series organised by the Carrick Roadrunners.

Twas a hot and humid night in Carrick, so I was juicing up however I definitely did the wrong thing by have some peanuts some hour or so before the race, but more than that a little later !

The start of the race was by the tutor castle in Carrk and I must admit I’ve seen the signs, passed the town a million times however I had never ventured up the small street to see the house nor castle so it was great to final set eyes on it.

The start was bunched but I tried my utmost to stay calm and take it easy through the first mile. This first mile took us up through the main street of Carrick which was great fun, and I’m glad I took it easy as the first hill we hit was at least one of the Deadmen, the title of the race was referring to.

That first hill was long but I felt good going up through that first 2 miles, however at this point I hit another steeper hill and for sure this caught me, the wheels were a turning but the rubber wasn’t really hitting the road, and I was at a snails pace. Then to top it off those damn peanuts started to dry out my mouth terribly , it just went barren and not a drink of water in sight, I was rightly of course by this stage.

I think it was the three mile mark that we hit a water station, and not longer we started to hit the down hill section. More wows as my technique was slightly off and didn’t get the power in, I was feeling a bit frustrated at this stage.

A few people passed and I couldn’t keep up but as I reached the line I heard a few words of encouragemnet to get me across the line, Niall an ex-colleague from the TSSG was there cheering on with family and when they spotted by I got a great cheer.

I crossed the line and off the stopwatch (I had lost my running watch) I caught a time of 0:34:04 and the official timer [pdf] had me at 0:35:08.

Number 306 heading for the line

I cleared the finish line feeling a little disappointed but then in talking to others they made it clear that the heat and those Deadman hills had slowed up most people on the run, so maybe not so bad after all.

Stoneyford 10km Challenge

May 19th, 2013

In flying form these days after a few quick races, so I entered the Stoneyford (Kilkenny) 10km with high hopes of bettering last years race.

I arrived in Stoneyford in good time, and managed a decent warm up, although my only slight worry was the fact my left ankle has been acting up a little recently so I was trying my best to monitor it, in the warm runs.

Due to the layout of the initial start line, which runs up the village main street and then back down again, I was determined to find a good starting position. I did and really the next thing to get clear in my mind was to pace myself from the start, which simply isn’t easy to do !


The first 1.5km was good, then I hit the long up hill stretch out of the village, I felt I was tipping along fine until the 40 min pace runner cam flying by me and then I knew two things, one I had started too quick again and two at the 3 km mark I was starting to slow from that early quick pace.

I found my stride and took on the hills as best I could, I know I still have to do some training work in regards to hills, I’m just not achieving the right pace on them. There was a great down hill stint at the 6km mark, however the 7.5km mark hill that came up next was really tough ! There was a lady that passed me at this stage, but she was great in giving encouragement as she passed, which really helped as I pushed towards the end goal.

The last stint of the run was super fast, mostly down hill, although there was one chap on a real flyer past me at this last stage, but never the less I was feeling good coming into the finishing line area.

Beating 43:35 from last year was the target and as I looked at the big digital clock coming into the finish I was over the moon 42 something was on clock, I could do it, I could break it and sure enough from the official time sheet [pdf] I grabbed a time of 42:52.


A full 40 secs better and not only that but broke the 44 minute mark, I was really, really happy with that run, not that the picture shows it !

3 Counties Challenge: Tom Jordan 5 Mile Race in Portlaw

May 10th, 2013

The Portlaw to Kilmedan road is one I travel a lot as it’s the main part of my journey to work every morning so getting to run on this road was a small treat I was looking forward to.

So it’s race 2 of the 3 Counties Challenge summer series 2013, a series of 5 races organised by the Carrick Roadrunners.

For this run I’m finding it hard to get the miles right in my head, it’s so strange I have kilometres ingrained in my brain, but thinking of a run in miles is just off putting.

There were loads of people under starts orders and even with the wide roads of Portlaw, it was pretty packed for the first “mile”. Again and again I just seem to rush things I caught a glimpse of 5:55 off the watch at the 1st mile marker, which by quickly calculations was just way too fast for a first mile, in in the scheme of my target time. The next mile wasn’t too bad either, but then, just then the quick start caught up with me and from the 2.5 mile point I say until mile 4 I found it tough going.

However the final mile run into Portlaw was great, I recognised the scenery (and it was more down hill), which placed me a in comfort zone I managed a good run to the line.

Number 377 heading for the line

Off the watch I caught a time of 33.57 and from the results sheet I had a gun time of 33:58. Finishing 91st out of 245 runners.

Happy to see the finish line

I was really happy with this, the goal time was 34:00, I was right on track with 33:58, even though I was a bit off cue at the start, and as the photo shows just a few steps ahead of a number of runners.

3 Counties Challenge: Faugheen 5K

April 26th, 2013

This was the first run of the 3 Counties Challenge summer series 2013, a series of races organised by the Carrick Roadrunners.

The Faugheen 5K was out in the lovely little village of Faugheen, which is just north of Carrick-on-Suir and really is on the boarder of Kilkenny – Tipperary and believe the centre of a lot of rivalry.

The course in this case was essentially a run around the block of Faugheen finishing up in the centre of the village. I’ve not been feeling the best for the last 2 weeks, blocked nose and all so there hasn’t been too many training miles put in, so I was unsure as to how this run would pan out.

It was cold, damn cold at the start line, but the crowd of over 200 at the start line kept the breeze away.

Number 3 heading for the start line

The pace at the start was mighty quick, in fact too quick I clocked a time of 3:45 for the first 1Km and even 3:55 at the 2Km mark, but I just wasn’t able to keep that pace going for the remainder of the run and so dropped back a bit. Once I found my rhythm my legs were a little heavy, but I carried through and clocked a time of 20:21 on my watch.

From the official timer I had a gun time of 20:27, a chip time of 20:22, and out of 213 participants I was placed 77th.

I’m not unhappy with the overall result, but I must get back into the training plan.


Gaol break half marathon was tough !

March 24th, 2013

My first half marathon was tough, purely tough out. The up hill climbs of Wicklow just didn’t seem to end and to boot I forgot my normal running shoes, which worried me at the start, and then mid way through the run everything seemed fine, but by the time I got the end, the feet really did truly hurt. On reflection everything about this race was tough !


Wicklow Half Marathon

The trip to Wicklow had us over the hills and far away, as we attempted to use a different route to get to Wicklow town, but we turned off the M9 too early and ended up having to going over some mighty hills, snow and all was seen.

We made it on time, but the bitter cool was plain to feel, so a full warm up wasn’t too easy. I was a little surprised that the rally point Wicklow Goal, was in fact away from the start line, I wasn’t expecting that and for the start of this race I got stuck a bit at the back of the pack. There were also so many starters for the half marathon (418) it took some time to get through the pack and it was at the 2km mark before the run started to really get in to its stride.

The up hill runs started around the 4km mark and never seemed to end although re-looking at the course it seems to indicate that we got to the top at the 10km mark. Having said that even with the uphill burn I was on target at the 10km and things seemed to be going fine until the 14km mark, I hit a hill at this point and my legs just seemed to go to lead, from there on in the run was tough.


Miguel running to the finish line

Miguel running to the finish line

There was nothing in the tank until the last 1km and as I started to up the tempo I could feel the cramps coming in, but I pushed on through. I had supporters at the finish line, Mam, Dad and little Daniel, I knew they were all frozen to death, but they stayed and cheered on any way, that helped with the final spurt to the finish line!

Now I aimed for 100 minutes I got there in 101 ! On the watch 1:40:11 and from the timing chip 1:40:07. I’m really, really happy with that time, given the last 6km or so were so tough.

Rafa, Miguel and Daniel at the finish line of the Wicklow Half Marathon

Rafa, Miguel and Daniel at the finish line of the Wicklow Half Marathon. Poor Daniel is frozen.

It will be back to the 10km runs for a while I think.