Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mungret St Pauls 10k

So after a productive 5k run on Thursday and an insane workout on Friday night, Saturday was well earned rest day ahead of Sunday's race - the Mungret/St Paul's 10km.

On the morning of the race I was feeling a bit nervous that I wouldn't be able to reach my target of 75-79 minutes. I was feeling sluggish and my legs were a bit shaking. On top of that the weather in the morning looked miserable.

I wasn't sure what the route would be like having heard everything from "its a nice flat route" to "its full of hills" and everything in between. Those who mentioned the hills all talked about the monstrous hill from the cresecent shopping centre up towards the Regional Hospital and St Paul's church.

However when it came time to get going, everything came together. I ran comfortably along with the 60min pacer for the best part of the first 2km before dropping back to my own pace. To my surprise I was very comfortable running along and was doing longer sprints than I've ever managed. I kept my pace at consistantly at 7.98km/hr from 2km to 9km. Despite the warnings I found the hill from the Crescent to St Paul's Church to be grand - it was a gradual climb with a nice road under your feet. I was very happy with my progress and looked like i'd be able to meet my target time.

As I hit the 9km mark, I was hit with a proper hill. This was one tough bastard of a hill. I could see the finish point of the GAA Club ahead but it was taking everything I had to keep going. The thoughts of reaching my target started to see less and less likely. It seemed to be taking forever to get up that hill.

Even as I turned into the GAA Club, every step was a challenge but as I crossed the finish line I was shocked to see a time of 1hr13mins. I couldn't believe it. Not only had I got in under my target, I had smashed my Personal Best by six minutes! On top of a new PB, I've managed to go from 86 minutes to 73 in just six weeks!

I'd like to thank fellow Scouter Theresa Kielly and her gang of cheerleaders at the roundabout who gave me great support at the start and finish of the race. Really pushed me through. Also to Derek from the UL Arena who's advice during the Campus Run sessions has really helped me along. Thanks to everyone else who has encoruaged me - you're all amazing

I'm still on a high and i'm all set for my race in 2 weeks time - the Sixmilebridge 10km. This time we're aiming for 70 minutes or less. Watch this space

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

fitness update 3

So after the excitement that was the Great Limerick Run, it was time to recover and start working towards my next race - the Mungret/St Paul's 10k which is coming up this Sunday. Probably a bit nuts to try another 10k so soon but make hay while the sun shines.

So the next few days were spent recovering from Sunday's run. A bit of walking and some light stretching before heading back to circuits on Wednesday. I must say I found this week's session touch. In particular anything that involved jumping seemed like a real struggle.

This week's Mystery Friday session was.... circuits again! This was due to a school's basketball tournamenet and the national gymnastics championships. Must say I felt much more comfortable on Friday than I did on Wednesday.

I was hoping to get out onto the hills on Sunday but an orange weather warning. Monday was an other running session. This time we were covering 5k from the arena to the kilmurry roundabout up to the vistacon roundabout and back down via the Plassey park road. After doing the last run in 45minutes, I set 40 mins as my goal for the night and managed to get around in exactly that time.

Another circuit session tomorrow and a mystery session (not circuits) on Friday before the race on Sunday. I'm setting a goal of between 75 and 79 minutes to do the route. Might be a bit much to ask so soon after the GLR


I should probably thank my sister Katie who has been a great source of encouragement and support in my bid to become fitter. Katie and I have been swapping streching techniques and discussing tips for improving our running in the lead up to the GLR. On the day of the race, I joined Katie on the starting point but she took off flying ahead and finished in an amazing time of 01.00.01. Since then the two of us have been discussing other races we could do.

Another friend who I must thank is Daan from the Netherlands. Daan is a nutrition coach and has kindly offered to give me some coaching on my nutrition. This is one aspect of my life that has always been negelected so I think its time I work on it. I had a very productive skype chat with Daan last Thursday and we discussed my standard diet and how we can improve it. It'll be interesting to see what I can achieve with Daan's help. (Might do a special blog post on this)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Great Limerick Run

So this year I took part in the Great Limerick Run for the first time. I was blown away by the sheer scale of the event. The buzz around the city was incredible.

As I've been concentrating on my general fitness instead of just running and my endurance isn't the best, I wasn't expected anything spectacular out of the day. My aims were to do better than the Plassey 10k (87 mins) and run for as much of it as I could.

I finished in 1 hour and 20 mins which is equal to my PB (Human Race 2013) and 7 minutes faster than the Plassey 10k. The big difference from the Human Race is that I was feeling fantastic both during and after. I was much more comfortable running and my calves didn't hurt anywhere near as much as previous races. I was feeling so good was actually able to go out around the town later that evening - something i've never managed to do before this.

The banter along the route was fantastic. Everyone was cheering each other on. The crowds along the route were amazing - especially the marathon runners from earlier and the kids with the arms outstretched for high fives.

Before the race my sister and I took part in a workout session led by Ireland's Mr Motivator Richie Clifford. As being the only male participant near the front I was dragged up near the stage as an example by Richie. Later on, during the race, I met three women who "remembered my arse from" earlier. These women were great craic on the final two miles and really helped me to keep going - even if they had me in stitches.

Today was a real boost for my confidence on so many levels and I can't begin to describe how ecstatic I felt as I crossed the finish line. Its amazing how much an impact a day like yesterday can have on you. For now, the attention turns to the Mungret/St Paul's 10k (May 18th) and the Irish Runner 5mile (June 28th). In the distance, loom October's Human Race and next year's GLR.

Well done to everyone who took part no matter how quick or slow you did it - you did it. You are all legends each and everyone of you. Well done to the organisers and volunteers on running a fantastic event (its no mean feat organising an event with 12,000 participants and countless number of spectators and shutting down a city for an entire day).

BarryGetsFit - update 2

So I've achieved a lot since my last post. After six weeks of track attack on a Wednesday I'm really starting to get the hang out it. I'm more comfortable doing the stations and I'm increasing my reps each week.

I started the Limerick Sports Partnership's Summer Fitness Challenge. This is an 8 week programme (lead by Derek who runs the Track Attack sessions) that runs 3 nights a week out of the UL Arena. We started with a fitness test that included a BMI test, a grip test, sit ups and a mile run. All our scores we're recorded and we'll compare them to our scores in 8 weeks time. Turns out i'm even unfitter than I thought I was but now I was a score to beat. And I will beat it!

The challenge is quiet varried. On Monday's we take part in the Camus Run. Last week we had to walk and/or run 5km from the door of the Arena up to vistacon and back. I've always found running tough but persevered and managed to run most of it.

On Wednesdays we'll be doing the Track Attack session. Having been doing it for a few weeks, I took two beginners around with me. It was interesting to watch the perspective of a beginner and it made me think how far I've come in the past seven weeks.

Fridays are the only session that changes. Each Friday we're going to try a different activity that the Arena offers such as Step Arobics, TRX, Kettlebells, Boxercise. Due to the GLR Expo being set up we were restricted to the track on the first night so we did the alternative Track Attack course (normally run on Tuesdays and Thursdays). This meant we got to try a number of different stations or variations of the stations I'm used to. For this session, I was paired with Andrew who is a lot fitter than I am but that pushed me to keep going even when I felt like given up.

So that's 4 sessions out of around 26 done. I'll post more as I go on. So that leads onto yesterday - the Great Limerick Run, but I think that deserves a post of it's own