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Posts tagged ‘Sports’

Ben McGilloway’s 250Km Challenge

I have been decidedly less than stellar when it comes to updating the blog, especially since finishing the last marathon in Leixlip. But I’d like to let you guys know about a friend of mine, Ben McGilloway, who is embarking on a loony running mission on his own. By next November, he plans to clock up 250 sanctioned racing kilometers to raise money for charities that help those affected by still births or neonatal deaths – namely the Sophie-Ellen Foundation, the Little Life Time Foundation and Feileacain. Ben is already seven races (or 60 kilometers) into his challenge with many more still to come.

If you’d like to support Ben on his journey, the 250KM Challenge for the Sophie-Ellen Foundation is now on Facebook, Twitter, and you can sponsor him by going to MyCharity.ie

ben

Ben at the finish-line of the Wexford 10k race in April

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

…And That’s A Wrap! 20 Marathons Finished in 2012

Well it was a close thing, but after a long and wet day in Kildare, I finally completed the ‘Running for Reachout’ challenge! The last marathon of the year was from Kinnegad to Leixlip and ran alongside the canal for the most part. I’ll throw up more details tomorrow but for the moment, I’d just like to wish you guys a very happy New Year, and offer my very sincere thanks for sticking with me throughout 2012!

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Crossing the finish-line with Finn O’Mara

Running in the Kingdom

This is the 32nd post I’ve uploaded since I started this blog. Over the last few months, some of the posts have been really difficult to write. When the other guys are chugging the post-marathon Gatorades and relaxing in their ice-baths, you’ll find me frantically trying to throw together a race-report and maybe even organise a fundraising event in time for the next race.  In spite of a ton of work, I’m pretty sure I didn’t properly convey the experience of running the 100-miler in Connemara or even the Madventure or the 3-in-3, but today … no sweat! This week, the pictures are going to do the talking, and I’m just going to kick back, and maybe pop my head up from time to time to throw in a few half-assed observations and some lame picture-based humour. This week’s post is quite literally a walk in the park. It’s all about a race in the one of the most spectacular corners of  the country, a place called Dingle in Co. Kerry, and if this doesn’t make you want to run a marathon in Ireland, nothing will.

It seems that whenever I go to Kerry, it’s exclusively for crazy purposes. For me, getting there requires a five-hour drive and my last visit was nearly a year ago, to climb Carauntoohill (Ireland’s tallest mountain).  Co-incidentally, this was on the same weekend as the Dingle Food & Wine Festival. Having lost my wallet on the way down the mountain, I spent most of the festival wandering around Dingle while guzzling nutella straight from the jar with a spoon.

Cos I’m classy!

Fast-forward to this year and despite the travel requirements, a huge international crowd descended on Dingle for last Saturday’s marathon. Although I haven’t been able to find official reports, I’ve been told that somewhere around 2,300 people lined out for the half, full and ultra-marathon events (The 50-mile ultra alone attracted 60 hardy competitors)  All of which made for a festive atmosphere at the start-line.

Dingle is what my Drogheda club-mate Gerard Fay calls a “real” marathon – lots of elevation (gaining roughly 1500 feet), unbelievable scenery and a great atmosphere. It takes place right at the edge of the peninsula, and the course passes bays, historic sites, famine cottages and goes up plenty of hills!

I had to run backways up a hill to get this shot … but totally worth it.

I do have one good story though; about 15 miles into the race, I met up with a runner from Cork named Barry who was running his first marathon. (Doesn’t anybody just do a nice easy course for their first marathon anymore?!) Barry was running in aid of a cancer charity and had set a goal for himself of finishing in under 4hrs30min while his friend had set a goal of 5 hours. As I hadn’t any particular plan in mind other than finishing, I decided to try and pace them. By Mile 20, it was just myself and Barry, at which point the course took a rather arbitrary turn, requiring runners to hang a left down the Emlagh East Road towards Gallarus, before reaching a traffic cone, turning around and coming back up the way we came, and continuing on. This little head-trip is immediately followed by the monster hill that everyone was telling each other about before the race (about 320 feet of a climb), followed in turn by a mile-long straight section that appears to stretch out forever, on the way back into Dingle. Barry was in a great deal of pain with cramping but managed to put in a massive effort. By the end, he was moving really well and we both ended up sprinting into Dingle, crossing the line at the same time and beating his target by about a minute. His friend crossed the line shortly afterwards, beating his own target by about twenty minutes. It was a really extraordinary display of willpower on Barry’s part and a fantastic result, especially considering it was his first marathon. For my own part, I’ve rarely gotten as much as satisfaction from a race, and was very happy to help out. Roll on Sligo!

FINAL TIME: 4:29:26

‘Running for Reachout’ goes Ultra

There’s a race on this weekend in the west of Ireland and it’s not just another marathon. This Saturday sees the country’s longest ultra-marathon begin at 6am, continuing through until (at the very latest) midday on Sunday. It’s in Connemara, it’s 100 miles long, and I’m going to be there. Never having done anything longer than the standard 26.2 mile marathon before, it’s going to be nothing short of miraculous if I complete this. I have a support crew put together; updates on race-day will be coming thick and fast at http://www.facebook.com/runningforreachout and http://www.twitter.com/runnin4reachout and you guys will have all the gory details  in the race report next week.

Let’s do this thing.

Back to Portumna Forest and onto the Midnight Marathon

Earlier this year, I ran the West of Ireland series marathon in Portumna, which I may have tried to sell to you guys as “brave marathon runner battles on to finish event despite injury” instead of the more accurate “idiot tries to run too many marathons in a week, walks/hobbles for last twenty miles and finishes in probably the worst time ever on that particular course…” Well it seems I’m a glutton for punishment; June 15th saw a return to the forest park in Portumna where over 150 men and women took part in events ranging from 10 to 100 kilometers in length. Unfinished business was the order of the day; I was pretty determined not to repeat the previous meltdown and so began eight loops of the forest.

Jittery nerves at the start-line
© Iain Shaw http://flic.kr/s/aHsjA47EBE

As I just alluded to, on my last excursion to Portumna I was trotting along on my merry way until I passed the six-mile marker and promptly blew out both my hamstrings. What followed was six hours and fifteen minutes of excruciating walking that turned both my legs to jelly (this despite the course being as flat as a pancake).

This time, things panned out slightly different, it went like this: I had gotten up at 4 o’clock that morning for the long drive from Louth to Galway. Not realising that the marathon didn’t start till 10am, I arrived while the early registrations were still taking place and so retired back to the back of the jeep for some extra sleep. End result: five minutes before the bus left from the car park to the starting line, I got a loud knock on the window and a shout to wake up and get ready! There followed a mad scramble to get my all my gear together in a flurry of straps, backpacks, belts and compression t-shirts…

Just swap the giant red S for a ReachOut logo and that’s exactly how it went down…

Unlike the previous occasion in March, we began half a mile back up St. Josephs’ Road into Portumna. One of the best things about this particular course, owing to the fact that it loops around the same route several times, is that you always know when the next snack station is coming up; there was one situated at the finish line and another right at the end of that windy taily bit on the right hand side.

I think I just ruled myself out of the running for any blogger awards by using the phrase “windy taily bit”, but whatever – editing is sooo time-consuming….

Bolting out of the traps too quickly is still proving to be a major problem for me. For the first 13 miles, I was ranging from about 7:27 to 8:11 minutes per mile. In the second half, this collapsed somewhat, ranging from 11:14 to 13:50 minutes per mile. My heart-rate also dipped sharply around the two-hour mark. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a bit of a double-edge sword. On the one hand, I’m going to have to work a lot harder to repeat the sub 4-hour performance in Kildare. On the other (more positive) hand, I am finally finding my feet.**

I finished in 4hrs:18min:57 sec (cutting nearly two hours off the previous day out in Portumna) and I’m getting to the point where I can settle into a rhythm and feel comfortable finishing in this sort of time. By comfortable, I mean I probably won’t want to throw up on my way over the finish line.

Anything faster than that though, and we could have a problem

All in all, this was a pretty successful day out. No injuries to report and I am officially no longer the slowest man in Portumna! The next event would be a Midnight Marathon which was part of Le Cheile Athletic Club’s 24 hour Run.
Race report coming soon.

** I used to think that I got all my best writing done during these 2am cramming sessions. After re-reading that sentence, I’m not so sure…

We Would Like to Apologize for This Delay…

No, your WordPress account is not broken. If you’ve frantically been clicking refresh on your internet browser for days on end in the hopes of a new post, (and why wouldn’t you be? This blog is awesome….) then first of all, an apology! Things are been crazily hectic lately and I haven’t had time to write up full race reports but there is so much I have to tell you guys about! I completed two more marathons – in Portumna Forest on June 15th, and also the Midnight Marathon in Kildare on June 23rd. I’ll have reports up for those two events very soon; the photos are already up on facebook. Also we had another fundraising drive for Reach Out two weeks ago and raised €459 for a total of €1,314 – still a long way off the €5,000 target but it’s definitely a big step in the right direction. Talk soon!

Oliver

Go West: The Reckoning…

Big news today. Just registered for the first ever Waterford Viking Marathon which takes place in 3 weeks … 1 day … 9 hours … and some five minutes (I’m quite excited). It will be one of only a handful of marathons held in the east of Ireland and by all accounts is going to be entirely amazing. Also this guy will be there, the 35-marathon man. When you combine perseverance, awesomeness and giant cojones, this is the kind of thing that happens; Alan Corcoran is taking on a challenge that most people would find impossible – running 35 marathons in 35 days -and just straight-up doing it anyway. You should definitely check out his website here.

So that’s my plan of action. Except before all that, there is one piece of unfinished business. You might remember that one week after the mountainous Madventure Marathon in April, I was running in a ‘West of Ireland’ series marathon in Portumna.

Ireland was a simpler place before Google Maps came along…

After about six miles, both my hamstrings blew out and I was forced to walk the last twenty-something miles to the finish-line.  That whole ordeal ended up taking nearly six and a half hours, which I’m told is probably the longest it has ever taken anyone to finish that course. Well, nearly two months have passed, and it’s time to go back west and have another crack at it. The Portumna Forest Marathon is coming up on June 16th and I’ll be there to get the ball rolling on the next stage of this campaign. At this stage, how it will go is anybody’s guess!

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!

Finally Breaking the 4-Hour Barrier

On Sunday the 13th of May, I ran in the Kildare Marathon. It was only the third time this marathon, which starts from the world famous Curragh Racecourse, had taken place.

My preparation was to put it mildly, less than ideal. The previous weekend, I had run three marathons in as many days. On the second of these, in Limerick, I had come tantalisingly close to breaking four hours, missing out by just a few minutes. I managed to avoid getting injured, but my legs were completely swollen the whole way down and my feet wouldn’t fit into my shoes for two days afterwards; it took the whole week for them to return to their normal size. So naturally, training was pretty unpleasant that week!

Also, there is a rule of thumb when it comes to marathons. It’s usually left unwritten but most runners seem to agree with it, and that is that one should always try to get plenty of sleep  … and should definitely never EVER go out partying the night beforehand. So to cut a long story short, I went to my rather fantastic friend Meghan’s birthday party and ended up getting somewhere in the region of two to three hours sleep that night.

I regret nothing!!!

Also, I hadn’t really followed my diet plan at all that week. I had a forty minute drive the next morning to get to the Curragh Racecourse and got a sandwich with a gatorade from a petrol station on the way there. I hadn’t even thought to buy more gels, so I only had the three that were left over from the previous week. Finally, it was a swelteringly hot morning, and it would only get hotter as the day wore on. So to sum up, I was expecting nothing special.

I ended up surprising myself. The full route results are uploaded here; I started off with the 3hr45min pacers and kept them in sight for as long as possible, although I eventually fell slightly further back. At time of writing, the main details that stick out for me occurred during the last four miles as we were coming into Kildare town. Hills were run that normally would have been walked, all the gels and water had long since been used up, and to put it delicately, there was some stomach unpleasantness towards the end.

The first four miles were fun, the last four – not so much…

When it comes down to it, finishing under four hours is simple – you just can’t stop running. You can briefly stop for water but that’s about it. This is obviously easier said than done but I think the fact that I have a worthy cause to run for does help. Also I have wonderful friends that love and support me, and think that what I’m doing is good. You wouldn’t believe how many tough spots that dug me out of, it makes all the difference in the world.

Next marathon is in Portumna on June 16th.

Final time: 3:56:53

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