Sunday, March 23, 2014


Tralee finishing "sprint." Photo by Kieran Connolly
This week was obviously marked by recovery from the Tralee marathon. I had gone into that race with legs still not entirely recovered from Ballycotton and adding 26.2 miles on top of that leads to extra fatigue. While the soreness had gone within a day or two, I could clearly feel the marathon all week. Not that I'm complaining, that was always going to be the case. I had run the marathon a couple of minutes faster than planned and those extra minutes did some extra damage that I am now paying for. No regrets, of course - a county championship medal is well worth a some extra recovery time!

Kerry County Championship, M40 age group podium.
Photo by John O'Leary
I played it all by ear, just like I had done after Donadea. Back then I had ramped the miles up a little bit faster than planned because the legs had felt so good. This week it was the other way round, I ran a few miles less than originally anticipated, just because it felt the right thing to do on tired legs. The pace was okay, I was surprised to see sub-8 pace as early as Wednesday, but the effort was always exceedingly easy.

Until Sunday, that is. Our local primary school held their second annual local fun run fundraiser. Last year I had given it a miss because it was only a week after the Tralee marathon and I have a hard rule of 2 weeks recovery after a target race, only guided Maia round the kids' run. This year I was okay with it, and while the Tralee marathon was obviously still very much with me I felt up for a little 5k jaunt, though I did give the 10k a miss.

A very rare victory.
Photo by Niamh Swan
It was a really nice day, sunny and almost windstill, just perfect for a little runaround and I'm sure it boosted the numbers. The kids did their 1k run (Maia once more being very proud of her medal, though she kept wondering what place she had come in) and then it was time for the longer races. At the startline I could not help but notice that the Kerry Kenyans had all opted for the 10k, leaving me and Maria McCarthy to fight it out for the 5k. We set off and I was immediately at the front but kept hearing Maria's footsteps right behind me. We passed the school again after 1k where I did my best to smile and not let the effort show and then it was off for 2k down the road, around a cone and back towards home. I caught a glimpse of Maria at the turnaround and she was just a couple of seconds behind me, just as expected. I kept the pace honest on the homeward journey, not racing all out but still putting in plenty of effort. The finish is almost Ballycotton-like with an uphill drag that feels longer than it really is and some little downhill stretch to the finish. I was still in first place at the tape, Maria finishing just a few seconds behind me. We gave each other a hug (no worries, her husband was still doing the 10k at the time), received our trophies (chocolate!) and had some photos taken, and then I headed back out on the course, partially for a cool down but mostly to find Lola who was doing the 5k this year. I ended up doing most of the race course for a second time, but obviously at a much more relaxed pace.

I surprised myself by running 18:14 (on my own watch, actual time might even have been a second or two quicker), which is much faster than expected on heavy legs and not racing all-out, so I'm more than happy with my time. I don't exactly win a lot of races, so this is something to treasure.

20 Mar
5 miles, 39:51, 7:58 pace, HR 133
21 Mar
8 miles, 1:03:03, 7:53 pace, HR 136
22 Mar
8 miles, 1:03:04, 7:53 pace, HR 140
23 Mar
am: 5+ miles, 41:22, 7:52 pace, HR 138
pm: 6+ miles, including:
 Glounaguillagh 5K, 18:14, 5:52 pace, HR 174
   1st place :)


  1. you make it sound so easy. congrats on the 1st place and 18:14. most excellent

  2. Very happy for you Thomas, you made your kids proud today, congrats.

  3. Well done on the win Thomas. Glad you had enough in the legs to beat Maria - wouldn't have done for the first female to beat the first male. Good time too. You should reserve the arms up pose for race wins (or for when you run a 2:54 marathon).

  4. Congratulations, Thomas, 18:14 is very impressive!

  5. That is some impressive running so soon after a great marathon. Well done!!