Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Racing Weight

At the start of last 2011, I weighed about 150 pounds (10 st 10, 68 kg). After years of figuring things out, I finally managed to gradually drop that to about 145 pounds (10 st 5, 66 kg) by the end of the year, without dieting or any other silly stuff. My reward was a year of fantastic progress with new PBs all over the shop; while improved training has much to do with this, carrying fewer pounds had an impact as well, I am in no doubt.

I was hoping this trend would continue, but not much luck yet. The arrival of lent came as a welcome excuse to partake in this quaint ritual again, even though I am not religious. For the third year in a row I am cutting out processed sugar from my diet, with the lack of chocolate being a particularly tough cross to bear (and the fact that I ended up creating some great desserts the other night for the rest of the family was a particularly cruel twist of fate). Anyway, cutting out sugar has worked spectacularly well the last 2 years with the weight dropping off my frame quickly and effortlessly, but so far all I have to show for it are sugar cravings, not weight loss. Maybe I am just impatient, one week is nothing in the great scheme of things, but when you’re having cravings and the end of the slog is not anywhere in sight, a little bit of progress would be nice.

By the way, I have read the book of the same name. I found it a good read but not too helpful; I guess my weight was already too low and my diet disciplined enough for generic suggestions to be of much use.

Anyway, running is much more fun than dieting. Donadea is still in the legs but last week’s easy mileage helped a lot and recovery is going well. While I never was sore, there was a certain “heavy legs” feeling. That pretty much went away on Tuesday; the first 2 miles of that run were the same, then all of a sudden I felt better with each step and was flying on the way home. Running was fun again.

I won’t kid myself and pretend to be fully recovered. 50 km take a bit longer to get out of the system, but I felt sufficiently encouraged to try some sort of workout on Tuesday. The plan was mellow enough, just 12 miles at 7:15 pace, and despite the breezy conditions it felt so easy that I inadvertently overshot the target and ran 7:10 pace instead. No problem, that’s close enough and the legs are perfectly fine. Maybe the nice mornings are helping, it’s a nice change from all the rain we seemingly had all winter.

And of course it’s Ballycotton on Sunday. Maybe it’s not the best preparation for Connemara, 4 weeks later, but I can’t miss it, it has become too much a fixture in my calendar – despite me saying I would not do it again after my first time there.
27 Feb
8 miles, 1:03:34, 7:57 pace, HR 132
28 Feb
8 miles, 1:02:42, 7:50 pace, HR 136
29 Feb
12 miles, 1:25:57, 7:10 pace, HR 147

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Long Overdue Update

I'm not sure if I ever left as much between updates of this blog - apologies! The main reason for the lack of updates is a distinct lack of news. I have been taking it very, very easy this week, and there simply isn't much to tell about a 5 mile jog.

I grew suspicious of the HRM figure displayed yesterday; while I had been taking it easy, the figure of 131 just seemed too low, especially as the pace had been (inadvertently) a good bit faster than on previous days. This was confirmed today. I was already in doubts when I saw a figure of 122 while cruising along, and when the number dropped to 100 on an uphill section it left no doubt. I hope a new battery in the chest strap will solve the problem. It has always done so in the past. Let's hope the new numbers won't be magnitudes higher than the previous ones.

All this leaves a doubt over any HR number in the recent past, but if past experience with a faulty HR strap is anything to go by, they should be okay until the last day or two. This would indicate that my cardiovascular system has already gotten a boost from Saturday's 50k while the legs are still in a kind of shock and will require more time until they bounce back.

I've had that wonderful "effortlessly-floating-over-the-tarmac" feeling on many runs of the past few weeks, but Donadea put a stop to that. It will take a while to return. But you do need to shock your system from time to time. That's how adaptation occurs. Six weeks should be just enough time to reap all the benefits for Connemara.

I'm starting to get excited about that race now. If recent training is anything to go by, I will have a stormer. Of course, you can never take anything for granted in an ultra.

Actually, there is still next week's Ballycotton, of course. It's probably not the ideal thing to do as far as Connemara is concerned, but Ballycotton is just way to big a day to ignore. Until last Saturday I was very much on course for a new PB there, but now all will depend on how quickly the legs can recover.

22 Feb
5 miles, 39:19, 7:51 pace, HR 134
23 Feb
5 miles, 40:31, 8:06 pace, HR 133
24 Feb
8 miles, 1:03:09, 7:53 pace, HR 134
25 Feb
8 miles, 1:00:49, 7:36 pace, HR 131 (???)
26 Feb
10 miles, 1:16:08, 7:36 pace, HR ???

Weekly Mileage: 46

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mmm, Pancakes

for me, that is, courtesy of Niamh. For you, more photos from Donadea, courtesy of Paul Daly.

I felt surprisingly sprightly on Sunday, so I didn't take any days off running after all. Instead I've been doing a short, very slow easy run every morning since the race. There is no soreness at all, but the legs do feel a bit heavy.

19 Feb
4 miles, 33:30, 8:22 pace, HR 129
20 Feb
5 miles, 41:55, 8:23 pace, HR 122
21 Feb
5 miles, 40:50, 8:10 pace, HR 130

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Grand Day Out

My biggest problem with the Irish 50K championship race in Donadea was not the fact that I would have to run 50 kilometres. It wasn't even the fact that I would have to recover quickly because of the Connemara race, my real goal, 6 weeks later. No, my biggest problem was how to get there.

Niamh needed the car for the weekend here in Kerry, the other side of Ireland and I was literally on my own. I took Friday off work to travel to Dublin. However, public transport to Donadea on a Saturday morning isn't an option, so I am very grateful to Rob Cummins from wheelworx for the lift to the start.

This was the official Irish 50k championship, but also open to non-elite runners like myself. I met plenty of familiar faces before the start and was left looking in awe at some of the best ultra runners in Ireland. No doubt, the quality end of the field was absolutely formidable.

Mick Rice warned me against wearing my racing shoes as some parts of the course were stony, but since they were the only pair of shoes I had brought along, I didn't have much choice. Luckily, they turned out to be just fine.

The course consisted of 10 laps in Donadea forest park, and since each lap had been certified as about 4.97 km, we had to run a little bit extra at the start. No problem. The loops were all on packed dirt roads, nor tarmac in sight, which suited me just fine as there should be a lot less damage to the legs that way. There was a bit of climbing on each lap, maybe 50 feet elevation or so, but the gradient was so gradual that I hardly even noticed the downhills. You could of course argue that I always felt like running uphill, but that would be a rather unkind view.

Since this was strictly a training run for me, I had resolved to take it easy for the first half at least and maybe run a bit faster for the second half if the legs felt okay, but never push it to anywhere close to race effort. Accordingly, I started off at about 7:45 pace (minutes per mile that is). I shared much of the first lap with another runner, and when he saw me checking the Garmin, he enquired about the pace. "Exactly 4 hours pace", which seemed to shock him a bit, I think he intended to run a lot slower than that and he soon fell away.

Lap 1: 25:23 (including the 300+ meters at the start)

I don't think I have ever run so slowly while wearing my racing shoes, and it was hard to keep the effort so low. My heart rate was in the low 140s and I kept getting sucked into other runners' paces, and every time I backed off a bit and deliberately fell behind, I caught myself right at their heels again within one km. This pattern would repeat itself again and again over the first few laps.

The route was well marked and there were a lot of stewards at each junction initially, though a lot of them left once we had completed 3 or so laps. That was not a problem, by then we knew the course and with the markings and the other runners around there was never the slightest danger of going off course.

Lap 2: 23:47

Just like in Sixmilebridge, I found that I love racing on loops just as much as I hate doing them in training. It's different when you share the course with plenty of other runners, and since I tend to totally concentrate on my effort during a race, the repeating scenery of a loop course makes it easier to concentrate inwards. The biggest drawback is that it makes writing a race report much more complicated. The loops start the blend into one another and it's difficult to remember if a certain occurrence happened in lap 3, 4 or 5.

Lap 3: 23:47 (consistent or what!)

I definitely started straining at my mental leash on lap 4. I started getting a bit bored by running so much within myself, but managed to keep those temptations at bay by promising myself to loosen the shackles considerably at halfway, which did not seem too far away at that point. It helped that a couple of runners started coming back to me already at that point. On the other hand, I was being lapped by some of the top runners on that loop. Their pace and intensity was frightening.

Lap 4: 23:05

I caught up to a lady runner, Charlotte Kearney, and she invited me to share a few miles. I didn't realise it at that point, but she was actually the first woman. She complained about a pain in her hip, but that did not seem to slow her down much. I noticed her running style, she landed very much on her toes and her heels hardly touched the ground, very unusual for an ultra runner. She told me that while she had run plenty of marathons, this was her first ever ultra. As a member of Donadea she had plenty of friends and support on the course.

Lap 5: 23:28

As soon as we went through the finish area at the halfway point at just under 2 hours I told Charlotte that I was going to push on from here on. We wished each other good luck and went our seperate ways. Well, the same way but at different speed. The idea had been to run the second half at about 7:15 pace, but to listen to the body at all times and never push the effort too hard. I didn't check the Garmin, at least not initially, and was a bit shocked when halfway through lap 6 I found myself running pretty much at 7:00 pace, and that was the uphill part. I backed off a bit, but next time I checked I was at that same pace again. It didn't feel anywhere near that fast, I was still running very much within myself, even at the higher effort.

Lap 6: 22:00

I passed plenty of runners now, but I was never able to tell if I lapped a runner or gained a place. Looking at the results page now I can see that I caught only 3 runners over the entire second half, moving up from 15th to 12th place. It was quite lonely at times, I ran almost an entire loop without seeing another runner. There were other people on the course as well, a few families and plenty of dog walkers. The other trail users were all very accommodating, only on one occasion did I have to run around a dog blocking my way, and the little children tended to be the most enthusiastic spectators.

I guess I ran a bit too hard on lap 7, sub-7 pace between km 30 and 35 isn't really training pace. But I can honestly say that I never really pushed the effort, I was never anywhere near race intensity. Still, I'm sure the coach would have had his misgivings had I done this last year.

Lap 7: 21:35

While I still felt good at the start of lap 8, I started paying the price for my slightly overenthusiastic pacing over the previous 10 kilometres. A certain weariness started creeping into the legs and for the first time today I started looking forward to the end; until that point I had been entirely in my Happy Place. But with less than a quarter left, the end was approaching fast.

I didn't put too much thought in my nutrition, but I was careful never to run out of energy. I had brought 5 or 6 gels to the race and between laps 3 and 8 I picked one up more or less every time I passed the finish area. I also took a water bottle on most occasions. It took me close to 4 kilometres to finish it and I kept passing the empty ones to the same steward on every occasion 4 times in a row. I think I made the mistake of not taking on enough calories in my early ultras, something I have become aware of only recently, and I am more conscious of this now. Mind, I still don't plan my intake in advance. I prefer to listen to my body rather than follow a set script.

Lap 8: 22:34

I knew I was slowing down, but this was still a tad faster than planned, so I just kept it going. I experienced the same phenomenon as in my first ultra, namely that I felt basically stuck in one gear, slowing down felt just as impossible as speeding up. Of course, back then this was at about 9 or 10 minute pace, today it was closer to 7, even if it felt the same.

Lap 9 was definitely the hardest one, but with an entire marathon behind me, feeling tired seemed perfectly reasonable. I had run far beyond any other distance I had run in training up to that point this year and taking this into consideration I was still in very good shape. I kept the effort ticking along, not worrying about the actual pace this would produce and stopped looking at the Garmin.

Just before the end I lapped Frank, the lonely 5-hours pacer, for a second time, and he three times asked me if I had one lap to go and I answered with "no, one lap to go". I guess I must have been tired at that point, I could not get the actual meaning of his question aboard. Luckily, he is an understanding sort of fellow. He knows what it's like at km 45.

Lap 9: 22:46

Now I could definitely smell the finish line. All sights were very familiar at that stage and I knew I was passing them for the final time. I lapped Medbh, the second lady. "Are you on your last lap?" "Yes, and on my last legs as well". The stewards at the midpoint were just as enthusiastic as on the first lap, and the last 2 miles were the glory stretch, the weariness lifted as if by magic and I stormed to the finish, setting my third quickest lap of the day. Unbeknownst to me I even gained one more place during that lap, moving up to my final finishing position. I soaked up the applause at the end and felt rather pleased with my effort.

Lap 10: 22:17

The organisation of the entire event was absolutely impeccable, my thanks go to race director Anthony Lee and his crew of the Donadea running club. I sure enjoyed my first ever race in county Kildare. I managed to get a massage, had a good chat with Gerry Duffy who remembered me from the Killarney marathon of his epic 32 marathon quest. Unfortunately, Mick Rice had to drop out after 7 laps, I really hope he is ok and will be recovered for Connemara. I congratulated some of the elite runners but for some felt a bit intimidated in their presence, very unlike me. John O'Regan seemed a bit annoyed about missing his 3:30 target by 2 seconds, but according to the results he had been pipped to 6th place by one second, which would have annoyed me too. But as he himself pointed out, the race was very competitive but still maintained that friendly atmosphere, a great combination. I can highly recommend it.

Results with lap splits can be found here.

Thanks to Dave Lee and Larry Boyle for the photographs.

16 Feb
8 miles, 1:05:48, 8:13 pace, HR 130
17 Feb
5 miles, 39:15, 7:50 pace, HR 136
18 Feb
Irish 50K Championship, Donadea Forest Park
   3:50:43, 7:24 pace, HR 150
   12th place overall, 4th M40
19 Feb
4 miles, 33:30, 8:22 pace, HR 129

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Putting On The Brakes

Right now my main problem is that Connemara is still over 6 weeks away, and the most recent runs have clearly shown that I am nearing peak shape - a bit too early. This has taken me by surprise; the pace over the last two weekends seems to have come out of nowhere. I'm pretty sure I peaked too early last year for Vienna - I would have had a better run a couple of weeks earlier. This year, I tried to compress the schedule by a week or two, but I can see the same thing happening again.

In an attempt to slow down the peaking process, I changed my schedule this week. Initially I had planned another volume speed session on Wednesday, following the by now pretty much customary two days of easy running at the start of the week. I left the easy runs as they were, but swapped the workout for a longer run at steady pace, a bit faster than the planned pace for the Ultra.

I really had to reign myself in over the first few miles, the Garmin saw a lot of use. It took a while to tune into the effort, but once I got into the right mindset, the miles ticked off nicely one by one - until about mile 12, when fatigue started to creep in. I was a bit surprised by that, on Sunday I had run 20 miles a little bit faster and on pre-fatigued legs feeling fine and I did not expect to feel challenged this morning, but obviously I haven't quite recovered from the weekend yet.

Saturday will be Donadea day. The weather forecast is rather unkind, apparently that rain front will cross Ireland right when we're out there on the course.

When I first heard about that race, it seemed like a great idea; a long 50k training run 6 weeks before Connemara sounded just perfect. Now I'm a bit nervous, I hope I will be able to recover in time, not just for Connemara but for a bit more training beforehand (and Ballycotton).

This will be mainly about time on feet. I'm trying to get this into my head, Do No Race This! I started with the same intentions in Sixmilebridge and failed. Then again, I won't be anywhere near the front of the field in Donadea; no winner's trophy to tempt me. Lucky me.

Do Not Race, Thomas. Do Not Race!

13 Feb
8 miles, 1:04:56, 8:07 pace, HR 132
14 Feb
10 miles, 1:20:51, 8:05 pace, HR 131
15 Feb
15 miles, 1:48:33, 7:14 pace, HR 140

Sunday, February 12, 2012


The ideal training scenario is to improve a little bit from week by week. In reality it's never a linear progression, some bad days are mixed with the good days, the conditions are never quite the same and real life might interfere, especially if you have small children.

But right now I'm in the enviable position of being able to look at my recent training log and see clear improvements week by week by week.

Wednesday's volume speed workout had felt great, but I did pay the price on Thursday with some heavy legs. Nothing too bad, but it was clearly noticeable. I responded by running very easily, both on Thursday and Friday. I did raise my eyebrows after Friday's run when I saw that the HR had been particularly low, and for once even wondered if this time I had taken it a bit too easy?

Silly me! Like Andrew said, that's definitely the right side to err on, and if you run your easy days very easy, you might just be able to run your hard days very hard.

The proof was to come over the weekend with its back-to-back workouts. I had to drive Cian to Cork again and did my workout while he was in class. The plan was to do 7 miles at half-marathon pace, maybe a bit slower, for 10 miles in total.

Like the week before, I felt very good from the start and the pace kept dropping as the run went on, without me forcing the issue. I did sneak a few peeks at the Garmin and liked what I saw, but also eased up on a couple of occasions when I seemed to run a little bit too hard. The result was much faster than I had expected, 6:16 pace, and I can honestly say that it was nowhere near a race effort, this was a controlled training run, finishing with plenty left in the tank.

The Sunday run will always show if you overdid it on Saturday, every second too fast on Saturday makes you suffer a little bit more on Sunday. The idea this time was to run entirely at 7:15 pace; I want to get efficient at that pace, and you do that by running at that same effort in training. I eased into the effort over the first few miles, let the pace come naturally and then pretty much tuned into autopilot for the next 2 hours. There was never any question of not being able to finish and I didn't take either of the two gels I carried with me just in case.

Again, the legs got a little bit faster as the run went on and I finished a few seconds ahead of target, with an average pace of 7:10.

Please excuse my language, but fuck me, I'm in awesome shape. So much for my fear of slowing down once I hit 40. If I were training for a marathon right now, 2:55 would be my minimum target, and I would even eye a more ambitious time. What could I achieve on a good day? 2:52? 2:50 even?

The biggest worry right now is not to peak too early. Connemara is still 7 weeks off and I don't want to stand on the start line feeling exhausted and worn out.

Anyway, I'm not training for a marathon, Connemara is an even better target. Next week is Donadea, which will be my one and only really long training run and I need to show plenty of resolve and discipline not to race it. The most important aspect will be to recover from it. It's a bit risky, but with big potential benefits; I'll find out, I guess.

9 Feb
10 miles, 1:19:50, 7:59 pace, HR 135
10 Feb
10 miles, 1:20:21, 8:02 pace, HR 131
11 Feb
10 miles, 1:04:33, 6:26 pace, HR 159
   incl. 7 miles @ 6:16 (HR 167)
12 Feb
20 miles, 2:23:29, 7:10 pace, HR 147

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Is This What It's Supposed To Be Like?

I simply cannot believe how I am feeling right now. This is incredible.

I took it easy on Monday and Tuesday, recovering from the weekend. I was still feeling highly satisfied after Saturday's great tempo run. I cannot help but compare the workouts to the equivalent ones from a year ago. This time round I'm running them faster, at a lower heart rate and, crucially, running them much more controlled.

Mystery Coach gave me some highly challenging workouts, but he always warned me not to push too hard in training. I didn't always stick to that, on a couple of occasions I pushed as hard as I could just to reach the pace he had prescribed.

It all feels so much easier right now. I can honestly claim that I am finishing each workout still with a lot in the tank, the same (or at least very similar) workouts that had me sprawling on the floor.

Recovery is also good. I happened to run at exactly the same heart rate on Monday and Tuesday (that wasn't planned) but was 12 seconds per mile faster on Tuesday. It felt so easy, like floating over the pavement, effortlessly. If only I could bottle that feeling.

I felt so good on Tuesday that I didn't hesitate to run a workout this morning that almost knocked me out last year: Volume speed, as the coach called it. Warm-up, then 2 miles at 6:30, 2 mile "recovery" at 7:15, 2 miles at 6:20, another "recovery" at 7:15 and 2 more miles at 6:10. That last one almost killed me last year, which is why I didn't attempt a fourth fast segment at 6:10, something the coach had suggested I should try if, and only if, I still had plenty left at that point. What I had completely failed to comprehend back then was the extra challenge of the "recovery" mile being pretty damn fast. It makes a massive difference.

It was raining, it was windy, but neither bothered me too much. The 6:30 segment required a fair amount of fine-tuning with the Garmin, as did the 6:20. The first recovery was a tad fast, the second pretty much spot on. I wasn't exactly looking forward to the 6:10s, but ran it purely by feel, not really looking at the Garmin, pushing just enough to feel "comfortably hard", but always in full control. That resulted in 2 6:06 miles, slightly net downhill but also against the wind, which may or may not have cancelled each other out. My only regret was that I did not have time for another 6:10 segment - that's the problem with running in the morning, I don't think the boss would have accepted a "sorry for being half an hour late, I had to extend my run by 3 miles because I felt too good to stop" excuse. Mind, Niamh wouldn't appreciate the same excuse for being late for dinner either.

Real life has another hurdle. Maia is sick at the moment and I had to sacrifice a fair amount of sleep comforting her. I hope that won't catch up with me.

6 Feb
8 miles, 1:04:12, 8:01 pace, HR 136
7 Feb
10 miles, 1:18:13, 7:46 pace, HR 136
8 Feb
10 miles, 1:07:36, 6:46 pace, HR 155
   incl. 2 @ 6:28, 2 @ 6:19, 2 @ 6:06

Sunday, February 05, 2012


Despite the not entirely universal approval of taking it easy during the week, I did manage to reap some benefits this weekend - which is the entire point of doing easy runs, of course. Run your easy runs easy so that you can run your hard runs hard. Otherwise you just end up with medium runs all the time.

Anyway, after yet another easy 10 on Friday (the fourth one in succession), I had to drive the kids to Cork on Saturday morning, because their CTY course has started again. The choice was either to get up at stupid o'clock and run in Caragh Lake before driving to Cork, or to drop them off and do my run while they're in class. I chose the latter.

I ran two loops from Blackrock castle, following the Cork marathon course from about mile 11 to 15 but heading towards Blackrock from the Marina. Each loop was just under 5 miles and I added an out-and-back section to make up the distance. I believe this is his playground. The run also doubled for breaking in my new pair of Lunaracers - the old pair was literally falling apart after 650 miles. Wearing these shoes always makes me run fast, even first warm-up mile was at 7:00 pace. The plan had been to run at about marathon effort for 10 miles, but I just got faster and faster with each mile, but still without going anywhere near race effort. The 10 mile segment ended up averaging 6:29 pace, which until 4 months ago would have been faster than my half-marathon PR pace. One fast looking lady runner gave me a "moving well" comment, and for a while I wondered if that by any chance had been Sonia O'Sullivan (I wasn't wearing my glasses and am blind as a bat, which is why I can never identify people while running), but as far as I know she's in Australia at the moment, so it wasn't her. I got another ego boost when a cyclist told me I was doing very nice pace - during my cool-down mile!

1:26:38 for a half-marathon distance training run. I must be in good shape!

I was back on my familiar Caragh Lake loop this morning, and when the big climb started after the initial 3 flat(-ish) miles, the quads immediately started protesting, telling me to go home. Instead I somehow managed to tune into autopilot and since I kept feeling better and better with each passing mile I decided to put the foot down over the last few miles. Last year, Mystery Coach had given me some back-to-back runs that really pushed me to my limits, this year they feel easier, because the effort is a little bit easier, owing to the slower race pace of the Ultra I'm aiming for. Still, the numbers of this weekend have been nothing but spectacular.

3 Feb
10 miles, 1:19:05, 7:54 pace, HR 147
4 Feb
13.1 miles, 1:26:38, 6:37 pace, HR 160
   incl. 10 miles @ 6:29 pace, HR 160
5 Feb
18 miles, 2:16:23, 7:34 pace, HR 143
   incl. 5.5 miles @ 6:56 pace

Weekly Mileage: 79+ miles

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Easy does it

Despite feeling very good, I have been taking it easy this week.

Let me rephrase that.

Because I was feeling very good, I have been taking it easy this week.

The reason for this apparently counter-intuitive training is that my former coach’s warnings are still in my ear
When you are in peak shape your mind ignores fatigue, good for racing but not good for training.

Connemara is still 2 months away, I do not want to peak just yet, but the fact that I ran the second half of Sunday’s workout at 7:07 pace without feeling tired, even though I should have started the run with already fatigued legs after a reasonably tough run on Saturday tells me to be cautious. As strange as it sounds, not feeling fatigue can be a real problem in training, leading to overtraining and injury, and it’s a trap a lot of runner fall into. I’d rather not.

So it was a succession of easy runs, all at a HR that was below the threshold the coach had set me last year. I got a bit bored after running like that on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, so I spiced things up this morning with 4 sets of 4x30 seconds sprints, 2 minutes recovery between sprints and about 5 or 6 minutes recovery between sets. That’s a fair amount of sprinting, but the legs took it in their stride, so to speak.

I received an email this morning that cheered me up no end, and which more or less finalised my racing plans for 2012. After Donadea and Connemara there will be my big goal race in July (no further details yet, even though I have told a couple of people already) and then, mostly for fun, the Dingle Ultra in September. Excellent news! I had my doubts if this race would be resurrected, but this has now been confirmed. It’s a fantastic course, taking in Conor Pass as well as Slea Head, staking a big claim for the most scenic road race ever. I also want to improve on my time from 2010, but mostly I want to have at least as much fun as last time round.

Can you tell I'm excited?
30 Jan
8 miles, 1:05:17, 8:10 pace, HR 134
31 Jan
10 miles, 1:18:49, 7:53 pace, HR 137
1 Feb
10 miles, 1:20:17, 8:02 pace, HR 137
2 Feb
10 miles, 1:18:41, 7:52 pace, HR 139
    incl. 4 x 4x30 sec sprints