Saturday, 16 November 2013

Eight Women and Two Men

I'm trying to be a little more creative with my post titles, as you never know what people are searching for on the web.  This morning Eight Women and Two Men (Bubbles and myself) went for a ten mile run. I was a bit worried if I was taking on too much in ten miles, but I knew the route and if I wasn't feeling well, I could bale out at different spots.  We ran Long Ross with Lynally thrown in, and I was happy enough to come home in 1hr, 43 min and 46 seconds.

Running in a group is definitely the way to go. I've said it here many times, how easy it is to stay at home when you're planning a run on your own, but that it's more difficult when others may be waiting for you to turn up, before they head off. I certainly wouldn't have got out of bed this morning only for that fact.  The other big plus of running in a group is that you'll push or pull each other on.  There were times on this morning run when I was going through a tough stretch, and on my own, I would have slowed down or stopped. However as we were chasing a pack ahead of us, I didn't want to fall too far behind, and so I just ran through it.  Then when I was feeling a bit better, Ray and myself caught up with the girls. This was around the seven mile stage.

One of the interesting topics that came up on this mornings run was Rays' musings on how difficult it can be to get the running watches working properly, and getting to understand which buttons to press, to get it set up right. He claimed the watch was a bit like a woman in that regard, but once you got the hang of it, and the worked out which buttons to press, (or not press!) great fun was to be had!

Anyway thanks to the two Marys', Hillary, Sharon, Josie, Miriam, Trish, Dorothy and Bubbles, for the company this morning. until next time, Slán.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Back at it!

It's been a while, I know. I felt it this morning when I ran 7 miles with Bubbles. In fact. I'm still feeling it now, especially between my legs, as I forgot to put on the Vaseline before the run. I started an Internship in Dublin two weeks ago as part of my College course. The office hours are 9 - 5:30, which means I have to get the 6:50am train in the morning, and I do well, to get the 6:15pm train home in the evening. This means early nights and early mornings, which doesn't exactly fit in with training at the moment. I'm trying to come up with a solution, and the weekend run, seems to be an obvious target. I've been reffing rugby matches most weekends, which rules me out of the long run on that day, and somehow, I've always found an excuse for the other day of the weekend. So a big thanks is due to Bubbles for getting me out this morning. In fairness, Ray has been ringing me regularly, to find out where I've disappeared to, and encouraging me to get back running. I had great intentions of going for a run today, but in all honesty, if Ray hadn't texted me last night, I probably wouldn't have gone.

What I found this morning when I did go, was a welcome as warm as ever. There were about 15 runners heading off at 8:30am, but Bubbles stuck with me, as I was going at a slower pace. We ran Short Ross(7 Miles) in a time of 1hr and 13 min, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We chatted the whole way around, me for the first half, and then Ray for the second half. We were joined by Adrian Martin(Club Captain) for the last mile, as he was coming back from a longer run, and just happened to meet us at that part of the route. So Adrian took up the conversation from that point until we finished. After we'd finished, Ray told Adrian that he'd gone for a ten mile run with the girls yesterday. Adrian seemed impressed and asked who else was in the group. After Ray had named some of the runners, Adrian exclaimed that they were a lovely group to go running with, and that their progress had been very good over the last year or so. He then asked with a bit of a frown, if they still chatted so much? I found this quite amusing considering, Adrian hadn't shut up since we met him on the run home! When I pointed this out to him, he laughed with his usual good humour and just shrugged his shoulders.

There's a table quiz on Wed night as a fundraiser for the Harriers. There were 40 teams at it last year, and Bubbles and myself are going to be part of a team this year. It's on in the Court Hotel at 8pm, and the cost is €40 per table of four, of course everybody is welcome and the more the merrier. Another member of our team is Billy Delaney, a clever lad with an insane general knowledge, so I'm hoping for once that I might finish at the head of the field, in a Harriers run competition!

As it's been a while since I was on the blog, so I looked over some stats since I've last written. Obviously numbers have dropped off, due to the lack of fresh content, but I found it amazing to see that my post entitled "In The Kingdom of Kerry" has attracted a large audience. The average page views per post is around the 120 mark, with the first two and the Half Marathon post reaching 400. I can only imagine what disappointment, web surfers must have had when they clicked on the post "In The Kingdom Of Kerry" as I doubt all 996 page views came from people interested in a running blog.

Anyway, It's good to be back, and thanks for reading. until next time, Slán.

Friday, 25 October 2013

The big build up

There was a great atmosphere at training last night. The Dublin Marathon is on Monday, and at the last count, Tullamore Harriers have 28 competitors running. That's not to mention all the supporters that will be in attendance. As a result, last nights training was only a leg loosener- 4 miles around the town, with instructions to remember the rules of the road, stay on the footpath, and run no more than 2 abreast.  As I said, the spirits were high, and the everybody seemed to be talking about the marathon, their hopes, tactics, where to park, what time to get there, etc. You could nearly spot the first timers from the experienced runners, with the worries and hopes of each group being slightly different. The one thing all the experienced runners were saying is that The Dublin Marathon got a name of being Europes' friendliest Marathon for a reason, there is always great support on the route.

Having set yourself the goal of running the Dublin Marathon, whether it's your 1st or 40th, and whether you've a time in mind or not, it's obvious that this weekend will be special. The anticipation is often better than the event, but I'm sure the event itself, and the feeling afterwards will be something to be remembered.  The very best of luck to all the competitors, the work has been done now, it's time to make sure no last minute dietary changes, or ill advised exercise routines can mess it up. I hope you all get what you're looking for, out of the race, and that the tough parts wont be too tough, and the good parts better than you could have dreamed.

With regards to my own running status, while it was a small run for the others, I found last nights session medium to high in terms of work rate needed. I forgot to set my watch, so I've no idea of what pace we were running. It was interesting to see the effect of three weeks without a run. I've definitely lost fitness, as you'd expect, but then I haven't gone back altogether. It was still a four mile route, which I wouldn't have dreamed about at the start of last summer, and I was chatting all the way around.  I ran with Bubbles the whole way, and really enjoyed the conversation and the slagging. I think Bubbles is a bit concerned about me. He rang me to go for a run last weekend, as he noticed I hadn't been around the club for a while. It had been my intention to go, but then I realised I had to be in Edenderry for a rugby match  at 10:30am, so I had to pass on yet another run. Then as I was pulling on my socks to go training last night, he rings again, just to make sure I'd be going. He's certainly not letting me slip out of the routine we'd built up over the summer.

The reason for all my absences of late can be pinned down to the dancing. Training for that has really stepped up now, as the big night is on Sunday. There are 14 couples dancing, and on Tuesday we had to dance in front of one another for the first time. There are some great routines, and some routines that need some work before Sunday, but I'd say it'll be some laugh.  The music is brilliant, and there is plenty of lifts going on, which is always good entertainment. There are a few parts, which you just know will get a huge cheer from the audience. The voting is split 50/50 with the judges and the audience, so if any of you are going please give Jill and myself a vote. I've still got some tickets to sell if anybody is interested in going, just give me a shout. They're €20  each, and the event is on Sunday night, in the Tullamore Court Hotel, starting at 8pm.

That's a lot of writing for a small bit of running, but before I sign off, I'd like once more to wish everybody running on Monday, the best of luck. Especially, my big brother with less hair than me, Hugo. Until next time, Slán.

Monday, 14 October 2013

No Run, No Fun

Hi Folks,

I know it's been a while since I've posted, it's also been a while since I went for a run. I've been busy with the dancing and also reffing rugby match's. it just so happens that last week I was practicing for the Strictly Come Dancing on Tue, Thur and Sunday, while I've reffed a match on each of the last two Saturdays. I'm also coming to the end of the classroom part of my one year Higher Diploma course, which means that assignments are due, and exams are only a week away.

I do realise that all of the above is just one big excuse. I know there are people with busier lives than mine, who are out running every day. I'm also guessing that I'm not the only who makes excuses this time of year, and I suppose the question is just how am I going to deal with it? The last time I went training, I really struggled and felt I'd gone backwards. I think I need to start afresh with the same attitude I had in the Summer. I need to set myself a target and start working towards that. Other than trying to improve my times for 5k's or 10k's, I'm not sure what to aim for. Any Ideas? The chances of getting to training tonight are slim, as I'm back on the dance floor again this evening. Thursday might be a possibility, but I'm going to have to do something, maybe tomorrow evening, or else it'll be two whole weeks without a run, and I didn't buy a decent pair of runners just to use as a home for spiders with blocked noses!

I'm sure by now, all the Marathon hopefuls are winding down their training and starting to get extra cautious as they run over bumpy ground. I'm really looking forward to going to the Marathon this year. Hugo is of course competing, as well as a whole bunch from the Harriers. I've yet to work out what parts of the course I'll be of most use to the runners as I offer my bit of encouragement, once again, I'd love to get any of your suggestions.

Anyway, Thanks for checking back on the blog, I'm thinking of posting once weekly from now on, probably after a weekend run, so until next time, Slán.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Back with the group

It seems like I can only get to one out of every three sessions with the Harriers these days. Last night was one of those sessions. I arrived just as they were starting, so I was straight into it, without any warm up. Of course the slagging about the dancing had started before I got to the first bend, but sure, that's the way I like it. The drill was to run at whatever pace you'd run a 5k, for 12 minutes, followed by a three minute rest, repeat 3 times. Training took place on the outside track which is 625 metres. We'll be there every night for a good while, now that it's dark from 7:30pm. We're lucky to have such a safe place to train, as with the numbers up training, it would be impractical to do a group session on the roads, or footpaths around the town.

The smaller circuit gives you a good chance to see how fast the leaders are going, as they passed me on a regular basis. I was getting around the track in around 3:27 per lap,(8:49 minute miles) which meant that I was getting in 3 and a bit laps in each 12 minute segment. I thinks the leaders were doing around 5 laps in the same time. I was trying to stay to the outside of the track so as my fat ass, wouldn't be an obstruction to the rest of the athletes. I might have ran further around the track on the 4th lap, if I'd kept a tighter line but my target however wasn't how far I run in each segment, it was to put in a consistent effort, which I did. I was running on my own for most of the actual training, which suited me fine, as I wouldn't have been able to hold a conversation anyway, but I did enjoy the banter in the gaps in between and also on the cool down laps.

I've a very busy weekend coming up. Tullamore Rugby Club are playing their first ever home game in the All Ireland League, after winning promotion last year to Senior status, and the Club are holding a pre-match lunch, which I'm involved in organising. Margaret is heading to Limerick to see a friend of hers, and watch the Munster v Leinster match, so I'll be looking after the two boys aswell. Frank has a rugby match in Longford, and Rory has training at 11am. Then on Sunday, the two lads are running in a cross country race in Charlivelle, while I have dance training. I'd love to be able to run in the Novice race, but I'm going to miss it as I've to work on getting my feet and body to move in a co-ordinated effort.

Just to give you an update on the dancing, Jill Cobbe is going to be my dance partner for the competition. If I could have hand picked a partner, I would have picked Jill, so I was delighted when we got drawn together. I know Jill from the rugby club, and I'm sure we'll get on, she's also athletic, competitive, a good dancer and good craic. I'm not sure if Jill was as happy to get me however. The commitment I've made to Jill is that I'll work hard to get the moves right, and I'm not hung up about which dance we get. On Sunday morning we'll find out what music, and style of dance we'll have for the big night. We'll also be taught half of our routine, which we'll have to have perfected by the following week. So, a lot of work ahead. The picture is of Jill and myself, and you can click on this link(Strictly Come Dancing Launch Tullamore 2013)  to see  a video of our opening dance, from the launch. The dance was a bit all over the shop, but we'd only two sessions in which to learn it, and not all of the 30 dancers were there on either day. Until next time, Slán.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Getting ready to Dance

Do you remember a few posts back when I said I'd be stepping out of my comfort zone? well I've signed up to do Strictly come Dancing in Tullamore in 4 weeks time. It's to raise money for the town to put in a bid to host the All Ireland Fleadh Ceoil. For those who don't know, the Fleadh, is a basically a competition between traditional Irish musicians and singers, but in reality it is much more. It is a celebration of what makes us unique, and it gathers together every year the best, most skilled and most passionate people who keep our heritage alive. It was a privilege to witness the event a number of years ago, when Tullamore hosted the competition for 3 years, and it really brings the community together. People open their doors to accommodate strangers, who leave as friends, and for one whole week, there is a feel good factor, and sense of excitement and enjoyment, that could only be matched by an appearance in an All Ireland GAA final, which unfortunately hasn't happened too much recently for us Offaly folk! (Last weekend excepted, Congratulations to the Offaly Ladies, for their triumph).

Anyway, we've been learning some moves for the last two weeks, and tonight is the official launch. We'll be expected to perform a group dance in public, at the Tullamore Court Hotel tonight at 9pm. The event is free and open to all, I suggest you come along if you fancy a laugh, but please remember, we're only two weeks into it, I'm sure we'll be a lot better for the big night on the 27th October. The draw will also be taking place so we will find out who our dance partner is going to be. All I can say is, God bless the poor person that gets me. I think my best dance move is when I sit down. I've been looking at some videos of the Strictly Come Dancing that's on TV, and I'm kind of worried. I have as much rhythm as a rock, but I am willing to learn, and work hard. I'm also prepared to make a fool of myself because I think that's more of a probability than a possibility.

What's all this got to do with running, I hear you ask? You're right, maybe I should have posted this under a blog called "Fat Dad Dancing", but I don't think I'd find as much to write about dancing, as I do about running. In order to accommodate the dancing tonight, I went for a run early this morning, I ran the same route as last Saturday, but two min and six seconds quicker. I left at 6:30am,  in the dark and misty morning, and I enjoyed the run. It was good to see people out early, I saw at least 10 people walking at different stages, and I also saw a lad sweeping up leaves on O Moore st. Early mornings mid week, have a different vibe than early mornings at the weekends. When I got home, I saw I'd missed a call from Bubbles last night. He left a message wondering if I'd go for 6 mile run this evening, around 6pm. I would have enjoyed that, because this morning I missed having someone to talk to (or Listen to, in Ray's case!) while I'm running. That shouldn't be a problem when I train with the gang again on Thursday night. So until then, Slán.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Early morning run

I woke as usual around 6am this morning, the difference today was, I wasn't able to get back to sleep. I had a million things flying around my head, stuff that I had to get done over the weekend, College projects, and the like. I was trying to figure out when I'd get in the run, because tomorrow I'm refereeing a rugby match, and I'm pretty busy all day today as well. (I'm just taking a short break from my studies to write this). Anyway, I decided to get up and go for a run, to get the day off to a good start. I ran the same route as last Sunday(5 miles) and I finished 3 seconds slower. I can't figure that one out, because I felt better, and was enjoying the run. I suppose that's all that really matters on the weekend runs, but it's hard not to compare your times.

The Town was only starting to come to life when I left at 6.50am, it was a beautiful dry morning, and the temperature was perfect for running. I was home and showered by 8am, but more importantly, fully woken up and ready to get on with my day. I know I'm going to enjoy this evenings hurling match all the more now, as I'll have the satisfaction of putting in a good days work beforehand.

That's it for this week, until next time, Slán.