Saturday, August 02, 2014


I'm finally back home, after what seems like an eternity. Since last stepping out of my house I have competed in the Irish 24 hrs championship and then went on a holiday with the family, all of which has been almost overwhelming with so many happy memories.

Because we took off for Austria almost as soon as I had stepped off (ok, being half-carried off) the Mary Peters track, I had much less time to think about the race and its aftermath than I would have had I returned to work straight after. However, the warm afterglow is still with me. I have to pinch myself that this really has been happening. Over 9 years ago I struggled through the 2005 Belfast marathon in 4:37. The next time I ran in that city I averaged a better pace for 24 hours! It  really shows how far you can come with consistent hard work, you don't even need a lot of talent (though that would not go amiss). 

Compared to the elites I am still a very mediocre marathon runner that will never worry the best. Even over 100 km I am far, far away from the top. It's only when the distance goes into mental territory that all of a sudden I can hold my own. It's all in the head.

The aches and pains from Belfast have all gone. For the last couple of hours of the race my right shin had been rather painful, so much so that I had feared I had developed shin splints, but after the race I realised that the area of discomfort was just an inch or so above ankle height and was therefore only an overworked ligament that has sorted itself out with a few days of rest. My feet were rather swollen and full of red marks, and that too has long gone. I had a few bruises from hours of chafing on my back (which I never even noticed during the race), and all has healed. The skin on my face has calmed down to almost back to normal, which was a really strange reaction but never a serious issue.

I had planned to take 2 weeks off from running and deliberately left my running gear at home, but on Wednesday Niamh basically kicked me out of our holiday house and threatened serious consequences if I would not go for a run, so I jogged for just under 45 minutes, without gear and obviously without Garmin, but called it 5 miles. My first "real" run was this morning, back in Kerry. The legs felt awkward, the pace was very slow initially, the HR was sky high, but all of that will sort itself out very quickly. I only have 5 weeks until the Dingle ultra, which almost has me in a state of panic, until I remember that I followed a very similar schedule 2 years ago and that went ok. I won't be anywhere near my best in Dingle but I could not possibly miss the last ever run of the 50 miler! Somehow the shortened course next year doesn't interest me at all, even though all the best bits will still be there.

Last night was a novel experience after Marcus Howlett, the organiser of the various Tralee races, had asked to me hold a talk before today's 100k. I only arrived back home at 5 pm, had a quick bite to eat and had to head out straight away to Tralee (and still arrived late), so my talk was a lot less prepared than I would have liked and a bit rushed. Let's call it a learning experience but I picked up a few things on how to do it from John O'Regan, who thankfully didn't contradict anything I had said.

30 Jul
~5 miles, 44 minutes
2 Aug
5 miles, 39:39, 7:56 pace, HR 151


  1. My Grandma was from Austria, beautiful country! Gorgeous photos from your vacation, especially the one with your daughter on the big green and flowery field! Niamh is an awesome support for encouraging you to run even on your holidays just days after your 24-hour-victory, hats off to her! And finally, I'm glad that you're healed up from the big race and ready for another one!

  2. Hi Thomas, It is one hell of a journey you have had so far buddy. Still in awe in what you have far.

    It is simple..put the work in and you will take a great deal out of it.

  3. I'm glad you've displayed the same symptoms as be after the race (not that I'd wish you any pain or injuries) especially the shin splints & swelling which I was sure was a stress fracture. The most surprising thing I found about the event was how quick the body just shuts down afterwards. It reassuring to know so many others experienced the same as I did. Austria sure looks like a lovely place, great holiday pics Thomas.

  4. Looks like the family enjoyed a fantastic holiday. All the best with easing back into the routine. I'll remember to smear my back with vaseline before my next 24-hour race.

  5. I thought you were the Bubendorfers and not the Von Trapps. One thing is true: Mental strength is the key asset in these events, not physical ability (although a bit helps!)