Saturday, December 28, 2013

This Was My Year

2013 had started in rather spectacular fashion on New Year's Day by breaking 18 minutes for the 5k for the first time ever. While I don't particularly care about my 5k time, I was rather chuffed to be breaking into 17 territory and subsequently managed to lower that time twice more over the next few weeks, picking up a nice prize from the Gneeveguilla  race series in the process. Another big PB followed in the Ballycotton 10 miler, incidentally also lowering my 5 miles and 10k PBs, though that was overshadowed by missing out on a top-100 finisher t-shirts by 5 seconds/3 places. However, the big prize for Spring 2013 had always been the Tralee marathon where I more than made up for the missing t-shirt by not only setting a new marathon PB but also winning the M40 trophy, which has taken pride of place on the shelf ever since.

Focus shifted immediately to the Connemara 100, but I managed to place 3rd in Killarney and Portumna, run 10 marathons in 10 days and a new 4-mile PB during that training, the latter one especially coming as a complete surprise because I thought my legs would be sluggish as hell after all those marathons and no speed work. Connemara went very well, reaching my dream time of sub-17, but coming second once more. With that the running year was basically done, it took a few months to recover from running 100 miles on the road and a couple of marathons in Dublin (running as a pacer) and Clonakilty (running as an idiot) sandwiched yet another second place in Sixmilebridge.

I ran new PBs over 5k, 4 miles, 10 miles, marathon, 50k and 100 miles (plus unofficial PB split times over 5 miles and 10k), which at the age of 43 and after 9 years of running is a rather spectacular return. Things could only have been topped if one or two of those second or third places had turned into victories, but you can't have everything I suppose.

One particular highlight was running my 50th marathon, with the chairman of the Marathon Club handing me my medal. I was chuffed to bits by that one.


Since Christmas I have run 10 easy miles on St. Stephens Day, giving the Farranfore race a miss as I did not think a sudden load of anaerobic miles would do much for my only just emerging conditioning. Then the weather turned very nasty indeed. We've had an unprecedented series of storms hitting us, but all others hit land further up North. For this one Kerry took the brunt. Apart from a very interrupted night of sleep we actually got away lightly in Caragh Lake, there was no real damage when half the county was without power, but running in the morning was still out, it was too dangerous. I did manage to catch up at lunchtime and do another 10 miles, but the pace and HR were a bit too high without me noticing. I think running later in the day had something to do with it, it always throws out my gauge.

That might have had some impact on Saturday's run where I tried to do 8 miles at a higher effort, my one faster run of the week. The legs were a little bit sluggish at first but I thought I had the effort very much under control. When I checked the Garmin afterwards I found that once again I had run a little bit too hard, something I tend to do when not paying attention (or, in that case, only running by feel without paying attention to the watch). I'll get it right one day.

26 Dec
10 miles, 1:17:10, 7:43 pace, HR 144
27 Dec
10 miles, 1:13:21, 7:20 pace, HR 151
28 Dec
10 miles, 1:11:09, 7:06 pace, HR 157
   incl. 8 miles @ 6:56 pace (HR 160)


  1. What an amazing year you had Thomas, congratulations on all of your great achievements!!! No wonder I also could remember the broken record reference in your earlier blog, we are the same age, I'm 43 too:) 7 years behind you in running, though, I wish I could have found it earlier... Wishing you another successful New Year!

  2. another awesome year thomas, both for running and your writing. keep on inspiring and making progress. i suspect there's even more for you in 2014. hope to see you next year - a trip to ireland is top of my list.

  3. Its been an impressive year, year on year progress is something you have excelled at. Training and recovering consistently seems to be the key.

    I get the sense that perhaps you did too many big events in the summer and autumn and have paid for it with a slower return to fitness than in previous year's that I have been following your blog. Wobbles in your usual displine seems to have shown through when it comes to pacing too. These are things you can improve upon next year, so I am sure there is still room to set a few more PB's in 2014.

  4. No one likes a winner ;-) Well done Thomas on a brilliant year. Amazing consistency year after year which very few people can match. Inspiring

  5. A great year with rucks of PB's. I'm sure 2014 will bring more deserved success.

  6. You've had a great year Thomas. Duplicate the training that led to those results (and stay injury/illness free) and 2014 will be just as spectacular. All the best to you and the family.

    A lovely cool 22C now. Must go out and run!