January 2019 – Back on the Blog

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Climbing one of the many hills in the Donegal Wild Atlantic marathon with Darren in July 2018

I didn’t manage to get around to writing about any of the events that I took part in between my last post and the end of 2018. For a few of them I had some words done up in my head but that’s as far as it went. I hope to do better in 2019 and hope that I am lucky enough and fit and able enough to do the events I have planned. My first run out of the year will be tomorrow in the Kilmacrennan 10K and I will build from there. I ran this race last year and it’s a tough enough one with plenty of climbing but an enjoyable challenge and it will soon show you where you are at fitness wise.

A quick reflection on the second half of last year which was once again all about building towards the October bank holiday weekend and the Dublin city marathon.

In July Darren and myself took part in the inaugural Donegal Wild Atlantic Marathon which took the coastal road between the towns of Killybegs and Glencolmcille. It was incredibly scenic and incredibly hilly in equal measure! It was a great challenge and enjoyable in a strange way even after having to walk for a bit twice in the closing miles. It really is a stunning route. I finished in 14th place overall in a time of 3 hours 41 minutes with Darren coming in with a solid run in just over 4 hours. Sarah and our 2 boys Aaron and Caolan were there supporting on the day along with Darrens wife Valerie, my brother Michael and his wife Suzanne as well as her Mum Ann Marie who had put the crew up for the night at her home in nearby Ardara. It was great having the support as always and when I saw them again on the home straight I grabbed the 2 boys and enjoyed having them run over the finish line with me. What better way to round off the race!

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The MAD Adventure race in Milford took place 2 weeks later and I entered the sprint section of this along with Noel, Seamus and Michael. I hadnt much biking done in preparation for it so the 29km sprint course was plenty. It comprised of a run, kayak, cycle and short run to finish. Myself and Noel went around it pretty much together in a time of 1 hour 25 and we finished 27th and 28th out of 166 competitors. Seamus, who still holds a personal grudge against running finished a very creditable 67th with Michael close behind in 75th. It was a very enjoyable event and hopefully I will b back for the longer course this year.

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With Noel, Seamus & Michael after the MAD adventure race.

At the end of July I took part in the short Dunfanaghy Duathalon as part of a team of 2 along with Colm. It consisted of 6.5km of running and 16km of cycling. I did the running part unsurprisingly. Seamus and Michael also entered as a team of 2 with Darren and Sarah’s brother Shaun entering as solo competitors. It is a nice little event and hopefully it will continue to grow as we dont have many of these type of races locally. Colm and myself were runners-up in the team event.

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In August I ran the Ballyare 10k along with Darren and Michael where I clocked a time of 40:50 for 25th place. Next up myself, Noel and Michael again who had now really caught the running bug, did the Donegal half marathon in Letterkenny. It was my 4th time to run the half here and I found it tough enough going on the day finishing in 1 hr 30:26 for 37th place overall.

I didnt take part in any events in September but myself and Noel started to extend our Sunday runs in preparation for Dublin. We used the railway line a bit for the first time between Muckish and Falcarragh and it proved to be good for getting the fitness levels up.

The start of October brought another major moment in my life with the birth of our 3rd child Jamie. Another magical experience. It was great introducing him to his 2 brothers and sometimes I really can’t believe that we now have 3 boys! I hope that they will find the joy of running in their lives at some level.

In no time at all it was marathon weekend in Dublin. On the Friday beforehand I got a bit of a cold and the form felt pretty rotten. Darren made me a few hot honey and lemon concoctions on the way down on the Saturday but when I went to bed that night I really didn’t know if I would be up to running 26 and a bit miles the next day. Thankfully when I got up on race morning I felt pretty ok and hoped to have a go at beating my time of 3:17:55 from the year before.

I got into a nice rythm and as the miles clicked by I was settled somewhere between the 3:10 and 3:20 pacers. The race flew by with great support on the route as always. With a few miles to go I knew I was going to be very close to breaking 3:15 for the first time but it was now really hurting. I finally found myself on the long home straight but I could not go any faster than I already was, eventually coming home in 3:15:09. I would have taken that time in the morning in a heartbeat and was pretty content with my outing.11_3rd-2457043-cert-2506_077121-22692914.jpg

Noel had a big p.b. of 3:23 and I was delighted for him as it was probably the first time his training form for Dublin carried through to the race. Darren had a very broken period of training in the buildup but he still cruised home in well under 4 hours.

All in all it was a decent enough year with a good variation of events all enjoyable in their own way. My times for all events were a bit slower than any that I had also done in 2017 except for Dublin where I was certainly happy with a p.b. It was the first year in a while that I didnt get around to running any 5ks so hopefully I will squeeze a few in in 2019.

Its always nice to have an idea of the main events that you are hoping to do in the year ahead so you can prepare accordingly. After doing Dublin we were debating whether to sign up again in 2019 or to try a different challenge. There was talk that it was going to sell out very early as it will be the 40th Dublin marathon this year and there would be big interest so we signed up incase we would regret not getting a place. Sure enough the 20,000 places sold out in record time.

Myself, Noel and Darren had also put our names into the lottery for places in the Berlin marathon in September. Not really expecting any joy it was a great boost when myself and Darren both got drawn out but unfortunately Noel didnt. It is only 4 weeks before Dublin so it will b a hectic time on the roads. I am looking forward to the experience though and it will be great having Darren heading over too. I am also considering running an early marathon to focus the training and am looking at maybe doing Belfast in May.

Outside of these I plan to run the Glenmore 10 miler in 2 weeks, the Omagh half marathon in April and hopefully the WAAR adventure race again in May. The rest of the year we will take it as it comes but I hope to post a little bit more on here for a record for myself when things are fresh in my mind. Target wise I would love to get my marathon time down to 3 hours and 10 minutes but we will see how things pan out as every second is hard found the lower you go!

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With Darren and Noel after the 2018 Dublin Marathon

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