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Posts tagged ‘mycharity’

Fundraising Complete! Thanks for Your Support!

Well technically we hit €5,000 back on the 9th of January. But yesterday, it was with great satisfaction that I left in the last few offline donations with the guys at the ReachOut office. In the end, the actual total raised was €5,001.20!

I’d like to say a very special thank you to all my fellow bloggers who supported and contributed to the campaign. Thanks as well to ReachOut for the opportunity and everyone (online and offline) who was involved in putting this project together; it’s been a challenging but singularly rewarding year and I’m very grateful for the experience. For anyone who needs reminding of what the funds raised from all these marathons will be going to, Reachout.com is a service provided by the Inspire Ireland foundation that helps young people with regard to a wide variety of mental health issues – from drugs and alcohol to suicide and self-harm, from exam stress to bullying. If you know someone who might benefit from that service, I would urge you to please go to http://ie.reachout.com/ to get more information.

-Ollie

A 9-Week Marathon Training Program

I’ve been asked by a few people about my training for this challenge so I thought I’d throw together a quick post about it. First off, this is just what’s worked well for me in the past and there are plenty of pieces that could be worked into the program – for instance, I don’t do enough core exercises and I hardly ever have time to exercise with weights. For plans that are individually tailored to you, you should consult with your coach, a physio or other experienced members of your running club. (You should definitely be a member of a running club – and you should also do yoga with Emma Stafford for that matter!)

Week 1

Monday: rest or easy jog

Tuesday: rest of easy jog

Wednesday: 6 miles

Thursday: 4 miles

Friday: 4 miles

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 12/14 miles

Week 2

Monday: rest or easy jog

Tuesday: rest of easy jog

Wednesday: 4 mile handicap time trial

Thursday: rest or easy jog

Friday: 4 miles

Saturday: 4 miles

Sunday: 14 miles very slowly

Week 3

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 4 miles

Wednesday: 6 miles

Thursday: 1 mile easy 1 mile steady 1 mile easy

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Half Marathon (13.1 miles)

Sunday: rest or easy jog recovery

Week 4

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 4 miles

Wednesday: 6 miles

Thursday: 4 miles

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 1 mile easy 2 mile steady 1 mile easy

Sunday: 14/16 miles easy

Week 5

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: rest or easy jog

Wednesday: 6/8 miles

Thursday: 4 miles

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 4 miles

Sunday: 18 miles

Week 6

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Rest or easy jog

Wednesday: 6/8 miles

Thursday: 1 mile easy 2 mile steady 1 mile easy

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 18/20 miles

Sunday: Rest

Week 7

Monday: Rest or easy jog

Tuesday: 4 miles

Wednesday: 6/8 miles

Thursday: 4 miles

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 18/20 miles

Week 8

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6 miles

Wednesday: 4 miles

Thursday: 4 miles

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 4 miles Time Trial

Sunday: 10/12 miles

Week 9

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4 miles

Thursday: 3 miles

Friday: 2 miles

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Rest

If you decide that you want to run a marathon every couple of weeks (and why not?), a good idea would be to use the plan for the last two tapering weeks to fill the gaps in between. Also, this article by Hal Higdon, entitled ‘Running More Than One 26-Miler A Year‘ also has some useful tips. Now go do some running!

Weekend in Limerick

I’m heading off to Limerick tomorrow evening on another marathon adventure. It’s going to be a packed weekend; I have to go down to Limerick on Friday evening to pick up my timing chip at the Great Limerick Run expo. Then it’s down to Kilfinane for the Ballyhoura Mountain Marathon at 9:00AM on Saturday morning and back to Limerick City for the Great Limerick Run on Sunday, hopefully with a couple of physio sessions in between. I’m seriously bricking it as I’ve never done consecutive marathons before and it’ll be the biggest challenge that I’ve faced so far.

On a side-note, if you’d like to write a guest blog-post or would like me to write one for you (It doesn’t have to be about running, I also have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Back to the Future movies, amongst other things), please let me know. I won’t have my laptop with me so I won’t be updating the blog until next week but I’m sure plenty of tweeting and “facebooking” (if that is indeed a verb) will be done! Thanks for reading; be sure to check back here next week for the full race reports!

A Madventure on a Mountain

Long distance running in the modern day is a far cry from the scenarios of yesteryear when its main function was either to bring news of battle or escape being eaten by a lion. Some other things happened in the history of running, but mainly those two. However, as we near towards the summer of 2012, running purely as a participatory sport has never been in better shape, with road-races such as the 5K, the 10K, the half and the full marathon all enjoying growing popularity. In America, the marathon has become a cherished institution; the Running USA’s annual report from last year states that for every 607 Americans, one person finished a US marathon in 2011. Running-fever has been spreading to Irish shores for some time now; the expected entry for this year’s Dublin marathon in October will be around 10,000 people while last Sunday, 11,000 runners took to the streets in the biggest Great Ireland Run ever. But even with the wide variety of races on offer, situations arise where running down the beaten track just won’t get the job done. That’s when it’s time to think outside the box and there are plenty of options; we’re talking ultra-marathon, we’re talking triathlon, we’re talking Man vs. Horse. Is it really all that crazy?

Yes. Yes, it is.

“But wait,” I hear you saying, “I value my hips, ankles and other joints; this kind of thing is for the birds.” Well, fear not! If you want to dip your toes into the weird wild world of extreme running, the Clare Madventure Marathon may be just what you’re looking for! It’s a standard-length marathon, with a few crucial differences. You’re running up a mountain so the elevation is serious, and it’s all off-road with not an inch of tarmac in sight. Last Sunday, this was my destination for my third marathon in just over a month. It all began at half five that morning when I packed up the tent into the back of the jeep and began the long drive from Louth to Killaloe, the “tent” being shorthand for the assortment of sheets, pillows, books and running gear that I lug around with me on most of the overnight trips.

I arrived about an hour before the kick-off at the UL Activity Centre, (giving me time for a sneaky nap!) just down the road from Ballycuggran Forest. After registering and loading up on coffee, fruit and Turkish Delights, it was time to head up to the starting-line. The turn-out for the event was quite small; most of us were members of the 100 Marathon Club Ireland and had run in the ‘West of Ireland’ series earlier in the year. There were about fourteen people doing the full 26.2 miles with a few others running the relay.

Sure what else would ya be doing on a Sunday?

In the background of that photo, you can see a steep hill leading away from the starting line. Mo summed up the opening section in his run report perfectly, “When 90% of the participants are driven to walk within the first half mile of a race you know you’re in for a challenge.” He also compared the effect of the first 4.2 miles on your cardiovascular system to a vicious kick to the nether regions, which I would wholeheartedly agree with. Not that we were complaining though!

And they're off!!!

The layout of the course was fairly simple in theory; run up the Moylussa mountain and down again, then repeat. Each lap is roughly the length of a half-marathon. That first lap took us over a wide variety of terrains from wooded pathways, to firebreak trails, to boggy peat roads, to a forest with a distinctly Blair Witch feel to it. I got slightly carried away with myself on the first lap; Dennis and I crossed the halfway line together after 2 hours and 7 minutes, so naturally my head was starting to swell a bit…

However, I couldn’t keep that pace up for much longer. Alas, some lessons just have to be learned the hard way. I later uploaded my route performance to the GarminConnect website (which can be accessed by clicking here) and it makes for some painful reading. Around the 14-mile mark, I hit the wall … hard! The next four miles were spent walking through bog, woods and loose shale; this section really made Connemara’s “Hell of the West” section seem like a stroll in the park. This finally culminated in summiting Moylussa for the second time, a section which was only one mile long, but which took me over half an hour to finish. But man, when it was finished, it was sweet!

I was smiling on the inside.

There was still the small matter of getting off the mountain-top. While running through a bog road is tough enough, walking through it is also pretty demanding, especially when you’re out on an exposed mountain-top in running shorts. At this stage, I genuinely thought that I’d be walking for the rest of the way until the finish-line. Gradually however, I started picking up the pace on the downhills. Pat O’ Keefe’s assistance was invaluable at this point; he gave me loads of encouragement (and his spare gels!) as we pushed through the last few miles. For some reason known only to myself, I decided to take off down the last downhill mile. Sheer dumb luck kept me from tripping and rolling down to the bottom but I finished that section in 8:30 for a total time of 5:41:55. Some interesting numbers from the race overall:

Average Pace – 13:20 minutes per mile.

Total Elevation Gain – 4,126 feet

Calories Burned – 3,160

I really needed to lose the weight...

So to sum up, “Ireland’s toughest marathon” lived up to its billing although there was a fantastic buzz as usual and we all got a great sense of satisfaction after completing it. Remember all this is for a great cause, which is the Inspire Ireland Foundation (ReachOut). So please don’t forget to sponsor me using the links below! Also please share the mycharity link on facebook and twitter, where all the photos (together with some excellent shots taken by Pat) will be uploaded this evening. Roll on Portumna!

Shoot-Out for Reach Out!

If you hang around on Twitter or Facebook, you might see me post this link up quite often. That leads to the mycharity.ie page I setup to raise money for Reach Out. Mycharity.ie is a website that faciliates donations to charities by creating fundraising pages, like the one I’ve setup for this marathon challenge. (Clicking on the little green buttons scattered throughout these posts also takes you directly to my fundraising page)

Recently however, I’ve also been trying to raise money in that magical weird world out there beyond the computer screen. Raising money without using the internet – surely impossible?

Luckily, my local Gaelic football club came to the rescue. To my friends reading from abroad, Gaelic football (also called GAA, Gah, or somtimes, Irish football) is sort of like a cross between soccer and rugby. It’s played on a large pitch with a round leather football that is like a soccer ball but heavier. At each end of the field is a goal that looks like an NFL goal post, except that under the crossbar is a net similar to a soccer net. Two teams try to score points by getting the ball into the net or over the crossbar. A ball that goes into the net is worth three points, while one that goes over the crossbar is worth one. That’s a fairly trite summation of my favourite sport but for those who haven’t seen it played before, this video should provide a pretty epic introduction.

Anyway, back to the fundraising! As I was saying, my local club Lannleire GFC came to my rescue last weekend. While I was away running in the Connemarathon on Sunday, Lannleire were playing local rivals St. Kevin’s GFC back in Louth. I owe a huge thanks to everybody involved as the gate receipts from that match were all donated to Reach Out Ireland. Also, last Saturday, the players in the youth development squad participated in a very successful fundraising penalty shootout!

Penalty-taking right out of the top drawer

Everybody took three shots, with those scoring all three progressing to the second round, where they fired off three more penalties. After about an hour, Donal Clare (pictured above) emerged the winner, scoring six out of six. More information and photos from the event (including a few of me trying to take a penalty and making a fool of myself) can be found here on Flickr and Facebook. And of course, we ended up raising €400 for Reach Out, bringing the total raised so far to €670, which is absolutely fantastic. Major thanks again to everyone that took part, it was a great day.

Also, the next marathon I’m running is the Madventure Marathon next Sunday. This event is my first trail run, it’s 100% off-road and involves hacking up and down the highest mountain in Co. Clare, on the west coast of Ireland. Fun times! What I’d really like to hear though, is ideas that you guys might have for more offline fundraising events. I’m being absolutely serious, I only have maybe two or three other ideas! Maybe you shaved your head, jumped out of a plane or had a worm-charming event (yes, apparently that is actually a thing). Whatever it is, I’d love to hear your suggestions.

For more information on the work done by Reach Out, check out Reachout.com and InspireIreland.ie

Also, don’t forget that following ‘Running for Reachout’ on Facebook and Twitter is guaranteed to instantly make you 32% cooler.

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