Thursday, 7 April 2016

Tied to the run

I got injured six months ago, not a running injury but it dropped me out of the running scene for three months and into a solo running scene on small mileage for another month or so. After mulling over varying degrees of expertise from "Forget your running now, your goosed" to "you'll be grand" I just had to wait and see how thing's would fare out and see what I could come up with myself.

A nightmare? a runner that can't run. I would have thought so, a bust ankle is severe enough that you can genuinely throw your running on the back burner without fear of remorse. That's the biggest obstacle to keeping your sanity, having a good enough excuse that put's to bed the 'guilt' of not getting out for a run. With that taken care of you can let the hair down metafollically and step outside the bubble that you didn't realise you were in to begin with.

The sentiment at the time was that I could get used to this, the underlying pressure to think out the coming weeks running plan, revolve it around everything else that's going on and actually carry it through was no longer there, leaving time and head space for a whole lot else. Two crutches and an orthapeadic boot limited the options but the mental freedom was there.

With less pressure for time the floodgates of ideas and alternatives to running opened, contentment at the realisation that I didn't have to go out and bust my balls in next Sunday's 10 miler or 10K took root. Laziness? maybe. At one stage back in January I nearly entered Ras Mumhan and had a full diary of open water swimming events laid out in front of me for the summer but common sense prevailed - on the Ras Mumhan idea anyway. The rotational non impact motion of pedalling a bike was easier on the ankle than road running or trail for that matter. With that mentality it was always going to be hard to get back running but that's the idea that prevailed, the need to get back running.

It suits. Less time constraints, time efficient and good bang for your buck on a return for the time put in. It took a couple of aborted attempts but I'm back running hard. Due to impatience and an irrational fear of not being able to get back to where I was before (irrational because the default is to think that you were flying before the injury, which wasn't the case and in reality getting back to your previous level is easier than you might think on the drive home from A&E) - it's just a pain in the ass, a bit like driving down the wrong road for 10 minutes before realising you've got to turn around and start again. I'm still walking a bit of a tightrope and the fear comes on anytime I run on uneven ground. After such a lenghty time out every other part of me started to protest on my return too, back, knee's, hips. It would be easy to stop and think you're injured elsewhere but consistent easy running brought everything back into line. If I could only gain an interest and give the time to those exercises I got from the Physio.

That's a long winded way of saying not to jump to the conclusion that your injured every time you feel a niggle I suppose. When problems surface I'v found it's best to work on them while continuing less intense running, don't just stop - cycling and swimming are two perfect alternatives. Self massage on sore quads or hammers will do the trick for most of us. Despite all the talk of over training and training mistakes, as non elites we don't have enough time on our hands to do real damage if we train sensibly - overtraining shouldn't be a word (or two words) and severe penalties should be served for overuse of 'recovery' as a training term. Regular decent work, rest and play should keep us right, most of us don't have the time to get injured through overtraining.    

Our running related injuries will come from overdoing it intensity & frequency wise more than too much time on our feet, fatigue will more likely be caused by late nights and life in general than running alone. This is why some get injured a lot more than others, bad habits and impatience at the time it takes to get to where you want - Do we ever get to where we want though?
  • A lot of injuries can be ran through with some TLC between runs, if you leave it out the problem will only compound itself. Like everything the more TLC that abounds in the everyday routine (not just while injured) the less chance you have of getting injured in the first place but this is real life and pushed to make a choice most runners on the work life balance thing will choose the run before stretching or regular floor exercises.
  • Flogging yourself day in day out will do nothing for you and your running career will be measured in weeks. Too far too fast too soon too keen.
  • Trying to match your fast club mate even though they've got a few hundred more miles in their legs since January. Umph, tough one - competitive instincts will often override common sense, learning to suppress them till race day is the key to survival. Discipline in training is one of the more difficult skills to master.
  • Following the plan even though you're in a heap. While consistency is the key to any good training block there are day's when you just have to knock it on the head. Keeping the TLC in the loop will limit the off day's. If you don't look after the body it'll come back and bite you on the ass (figure that one out).
  • One runners injury is another's  niggle.  
This showed up on my facebook timeline recently, the full interview is here but the best of it's below.

 "If you could give one bit of advice to aspiring marathoners of all levels, what would it be? Favourite way to spend your down time?

Long-term consistency. Run when it’s wet, when it’s cold, when you’re tired, sick of running and couldn’t really be bothered. No secret I’m an advocate of miles with selective hard sessions that form only a small percentage of the total weekly workload. Don’t get too wrapped up in an individual session but rather the cumulative benefits of progress over time.
As for down-time, read a book, watch a movie or clean the car."

So where does that leave us? - Next time your limbering up before the group run, keep the niggles in your mind, sharing them is insurance in case we can't hang on out the road, there's no shame in not being able to hang on out the road or finishing 2 minutes slower than your pb and anyway - no one cares, everybody's more concerned with their own.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

The Pick'n'Mix five miler

Well into the 2016 running year I finally got to blow out the cobwebs last Sunday at the FACE 5k in Kilworth, 333 runners and like snowflakes no two exactly the same. Pre race nerves have people on edge, All forgotten in the hall after the five K blowout, the same people bursting at the seams to give their version of the race to whoever's willing to listen. Chaotic conversation, apres race tea and sandwiches, strained calves and you've the makings of a great morning out. 

Not yet fully in race mode I got a bit distracted with another hobby of mine - psychological profiling, that brought me back to this post from a few years back. The 'sultans of swing' guide to the local running scene and who you can expect to meet at the average five miler.
The Techie - Under the spell of his latest sat nav, he knows he's not going to run well because the garmin says so. He's been getting all the wrong feedback for the last 2 weeks so how can he expect to run well tonight? His new aerolite x-press maxigel shoes which promised so much on the magazine wont be any help this time.
The mullacher - works hard, trains hard, has a dodgy gait but when he lines up he knows he owes it to himself to give it his all, 20 minutes after finishing Mrs. Murphy's new patio, jumping out of the van and legging it into the community hall, he's the last man to register. The run from the van will do as the warm-up for this guy.
The Triathlete - Always looking cool and immaculately turned out, he's here for the training and to work on improving his speed for his 'big' season goal somewhere in the distant future. After dismounting his Felt b12 he'll stand proudly for a few moments to survey the scene before tying it to the railings of the primary school. Techie's and triathlete's can often be mistaken, the compression calf guards and/or shaved legs will give the game away for the triathlete.
The Guru - He's been coming to these races since the early seventies and could probably give you the results and times of the first 10 across the line before the race even starts. At this stage he's probably running 33/34 minutes for five miles well into his sixties, in his heyday he might have beaten a young John Treacy in the national half marathon and was knockin out sub 25's and 6's for five a couple of times a month at his ease.
The young buck/s - Like a greyhound out of the blocks, sub five minute miles from the gun. Still in his teen's, he's either home from his scholarship in the states for his sisters wedding or he's the local's answer to Jerry Kiernan, make no mistake, he's fast and works hard to be where he is. He could be a townie, a prolific winner since he took up running 6 years ago, or he could be helping out on the farm, working 3 days a week at the nearest sports shop. This guy is being looked after under the watchful eye of the guru.
The fun runner - Lives nearby and has been coming out to support the local race since its inception 12 years ago. Rigorous training starts 2 weeks before the event, just enough time to get used to the excrutiating pain brought on by such an abnormal effort. Is the Recipient of the biggest cheer of the evening and part of the team responsible for co-ordinating the after race spread down at the hall. A major player in the scheme of things.
The Tourist - Probably from the US or mainland Europe, came across a flier for the race in the local caff this afternoon while having his lunch, he's been psyched all afternoon since he got the nod from his partner. Running in his training gear 'cos he left his racing gear back home, gives the young bucks a run for their money in the first 3 miles and still manages to finish with a smile on his face in the top 10. He's probably a French/Belgian/spanish/American intervarsities cross country bronze medalist (or something) from a few years back.
The Convert - Coming from a reasonabaly successful background in another sport, decides to give running a go for a while. On the way to each race he's going to come good and find some of the old magic that he possessed in his previous game. On the way home from each race, he's wondering if he'll try one more ....... he'll always try one more.
The Born Again/Newcomer - would have taken part in the odd 5 a side until his late teens, college life put an end to all of that, now 10 years on in the university of life needs something to offset the stresses of everyday living. Back running, finding it tough but the new sensation of serratonin explosion has blown him away and he'll only realise this when he 'comes down' (probably sometime after 2am).
The Moaner - Unaware that running is to be enjoyed, constantly in trouble, achilles one week, knees the next, head cold, chest infection, trained too hard last ni ................. whatever, an endless list of negativity, the only person in the world working long hours, If only he could get it together, he'd be coming home in front of the young bucks.
The Mercenary - probably the highest level you can get to while holding down a day job. Regular winner and never outside the first five, he's there to top up the weekly pay packet and more power to him, he runs a tight ship to juggle the job and the family and keep race fit.
The Gifted - Doesnt train much, parties hard, eats what he likes, drinks what he likes. Never outside the top 10. Loves to go for a run on a thursday or friday night to clear the body and the head for another weekend of it.
Proof if it were needed of the social side of a morning on the run. 

Friday, 16 October 2015

Cross Country Dreaming

If I could just go back 5 minutes in time, have you ever felt like that? There are times when I'v interrupted my thoughts and tried to figure out a way to go back - actually thinking I'd come up with something. The day is drifting on by and then it's turned on it's head. Fuck it, how did that happen?

Last time I was on here I'd planned on running the county novice cross country until a characteristic change of mind got me to the start line of Cork to Cobh instead. I'd had a few nice weeks training with the marathon crew on Saturday mornings coupled with regular wednesday night or 'Sergi sessions' on the track that had got me in reasonable shape if a little short on mileage to think I could run good for the fifteen miles to Cobh. In any case the road scene was going to be quiet for me after this so destination Cork. One of the oldest races on the Munster scene, theres a good atmosphere here and it's one of few point to point races on the calendar.

A strong headwind sorted the race out into a few front runners, a few groups of evenly matched runners and a few misfortunates that got stuck between groups in no mans land. Myself and Don got cosy in the 2nd group running steady 6.20 miles into the headwind. It might have been on the easy side of comfortable at times but I'm confident I wouldn't have lasted too long if I tried to leave them into that wind and would have found myself out the back soon after.

This is my third time running here and the entrance to Fota island and crossing Belvelly bridge seems to be the place to push on if you have the legs. Its a bit more sheltered along most of this section and if your feeling strong there are a few hills to test yourself and those around you. I ended up with some lad from Clonmel who had a bit of an edge on me and made sure I got a good workout all the way to Cobh. A lot of those running here use it as a testing ground for Dublin marathon and anyone hoping to do well in Dublin should be running strong here too, they're easy to spot as they have the legs to finish strong all the way to the line.

I had sore legs for the week after and wound it down in an effort to be fresh for this Sundays County Intermediate cross country. I'd seen the video of the novice race and I decided if I wasn't fresh it could turn into a slog. I have yet to run cross country but its an itch thats been there for a while, long before I started running. Thing about running with Grange Fermoy AC is there's a bit of a daunting history and there's something in the back of your mind that makes you feel you can't let the side down so I'v been doing some thinking about it and it seems theres nothing for it only to toughen up. John Hartnett ran for Grange AC, went to America and did some damage while he was there. Maybe its just the passage of time but there is something fascinating about these guys and that generation. Tough as nails, not a whole lot of technology behind them, none actually - Run lots of miles and run them hard - take it or leave it.

Two Corkmen doing damage back in the day. John Hartnett (435) is a local legend around here and Donie Walsh (447) is the same in Cork.


I'v seen this in real life and maybe that's why it's a bit of a thing with me. A seed planted back in the early 80's during a Sunday afternoon visit to see the International cross country race held just outside town. Bitter cold, the only comfort coming from the smell of hot chips and the heat from the generator at the back of the van. All the heads were there - I didn't know them but someone told me Neil Cusack won the Boston marathon and sure shit, that was good enough for me. It was the Africans though, effortless through the fields of Fermoy. I'd never seen anything like this. For those involved in the running scene at the time it must have been huge. That bit was lost on me though, I thought it was normal, always like this - like when I started cycling during the Kelly/Roche era, I thought it was always like this, glory days. Someone mentioned 3000 spectators. It was the toughness. Not a spare ounce and not an inch given. No hiding place, you either had the legs or you hadn't. Jumping ditches! Elbows, It was all new to me and since then I'v always cocked an ear at the mention of cross country. two lines in the paper, 5 seconds on the sports news. I'd hear it. John Treacy winning a world title, everyone knew about that one.

So finally I'm going to have a go. Fully aware of whats involved but ready for a go. Easy week planned out - bit of a session Wednesday to keep a bit of sharpness and tick over 'till Sunday. Simple.
A sickening snap, a fibrous tear, vividly audible even now -  did I really do that? I knew that Kerb was there? How do you turn back time again? just five minutes. Think, think, think hard, its a distraction from the pain.

On the plus side (theres always a plus side) I'l get another year from my cross country dreams before they're smashed. Anyone want a pair of still in the box spikes?

For Sale :-(

Nice article here from John Walshe on the years before I got there.


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Cork 10 mile

It was pretty heavy. According to one newspaper 180 trillion litres of water fell on the country over the weekend, enough to fill 800,000 olympic sized swimming pools? Who am I to disagree? Glad to be running though, memories of racing a bike around the centre park road loop in similar conditions would have had my nerves in a heap. Concerns of staying upright on the greasy bends and continuous spray from the wheel in front would have meant putting my life in the hands of the one person in the line who could see where he was going. In the self preservation stakes running comes out way on top.

It's become a bit of a habit after this summer that I use this train of thought to make light of the notion of running in the rain, It's actually grand and reminding myself that I don't have to deal with those old bike racing issues makes it almost enjoyable. The John Buckley, St. Finbarrs 10 mile was just the latest in a growing number of races where we've been drenched by the time the starting gun went off. The rain is just a slight distraction from the job in hand and it seemed to dumb the wind down a bit last Sunday around the 6/7 mile mark on the waterfront.

The race was a pretty awful affair for anyone standing in my shoes. Suffering from a bit of sleep deprivation the overiding thoughts of wanting to lie down at every mile marker were kept in check by the growing levels of rainwater on both sides of the road. This is a great course for a city race and the inclement weather meant we had more room to ourselves on the waterfront and the old railway line on the 2nd half of the course.

Indifference on the start line settled me in to the idea of running a steady 10 as a good training run, if only to offset the notion that I might run an ok race if I was up for it. Thats something I need to sort out, how to actually get in the frame of mind to be 'up for it', it normally takes some extra miles and a confidence boost somewhere along the line. The first mile was the usual mental and physical mosh pit trying to go from a five minute warm up to race pace in 30 seconds and wondering how on earth I was to expect to carry on like this for 9 more. Bringing up the rear of the 60min. pace group at mile two wasn't the best place to be and the reality of a long slow countdown to the line started to hit home. There was nothing fluid about it and while the legs seemed ok the battery was flat. One of the benefits of consistent speed work I guess is that my cruising pace has improved and the speed I can run with a flat battery has now increased.

I'd settled on calling it a slog and by the time we got to mile 7, make or break time for me in a ten miler, between verses of some Taylor Swift song I gave myself a talking to and managed to see mile 8 with the group. Somewhere round here Johnny, who's reaping the benefits of  increased marathon mileage enquired as to my welfare and a one word reply left him in no doubt. He didn't ask again as he kicked for home on the straights of the old railway line with two miles to go. A reminder that racing is as much mental as physical, with two to go I started to run more comfortable than I had for the rest of the race. Knowing it was flat to the finish with a good tailwind, the smell of the finish line was enough to tow me the rest of the way at pretty much the same pace as the previous miles. The rain was horizontal with 400m to go around the Atlantic pond and only added to the occasion for those running. The relief of still seeing 59 on the clock by the time I got there was worth a million quid on a day that I probably shouldn't have.

A category prize (3rd) and a counter on the 2nd place Grange Fermoy AC team for a county team prize was a nice surprise to hear later in the day as Don & myself headed home after the cuppa without realising our good fortune. These are nice roads to race on and the 'Barrs did a good job keeping the show on the road in those conditions, not to be found slacking John Meade led them home as 1st team with three runners in the first four. Next year!  

After a slack summer on the racing front it's nice to come home thinking I might be fitter than I thought but with three weeks to my first attempt at Cross Country that smug notion won't last long.

@keelo51  :-)



Thursday, 27 August 2015

Back to school

Back at the track last night for the 1st term of 2015/16 was like 1st day back at school. Sergiu headed for the hills of Romania in search of some thin air for the summer and left a lot of us scratching our heads wondering where to turn to so the first night back was a bit of a wake up call. Summer is a time to down tools a bit (for the non elite) and the disappearance of the Wednesday night session left some of us rudderless and scrambling for the easy life. Non structured running and racing was the order of the day - a summer of hard focused training could at this point have left me uninterested (disinterested?? huh?) and stuggling to keep interested for the winter months. The beauty of the running season is it goes all year round so your never far from the action when you decide to get back to work.

It was giddy at the school gates diluted only by the nervous tension of what the headman was going to throw at us and just like homework it was up to ourselves what effort we'd put in. Fortunately or unfortunately the effort I put in here is leaving my school days with a bit to be desired and I'm thinking maybe I should go back and do the leaving cert.

Kicking off with the first of three mile repeats left me cross eyed, jelly legged and bemused. Not knowing what to expect beforehand I thought I'd be near my average mile times for last year, I wasn't but not too bad considering the break.

The old 'what the fuck are you doing' voice turned up for the start of mile 2, I couldn't answer so I just kept at it. If you can't go fast go hard regardless. There's only one more after this one (gulp).

Mile three was a misery fest - lock up with lactate, clock's going quicker, the legs get tangled and the struggle to keep form is as hard as the struggle to keep pace. All this while a repousse artist pounded out a masterpiece right where my heart used to be.

A few easy laps later or call it lunch break and into a few 400's to finish us off.  I headed home with legs feeling like they'd been caned and that I was the only unfortunate (misfortunate?? huh?) one that got the lactic acid treatment but just like head lice I think we all got it at some stage.

These sessions (I read an article recently that reasoned they are not 'speed' sessions as 'speed' is the pace you might run if you had a gun pointed at you at close range and while this might be impressive you would probably have slowed down after 15/20 seconds to a more fatal pace which isn't great for training the body to run 10 miles at a relatively even pace and while 'interval' is a name that could be used, it is important to remember that the interval is the easy bit and the other bit is the hard bit. Mixing them around would have a devastating affect on the plans for your next pb, ha.) are a great focal point for the week and go some way to keeping motivated for the extracurricular stuff that goes on for the rest of the time - easy runs, long runs and the like. luckily unlike school it's only one hour a week and not 34.

Now where's the calendar, must try and make the cross country team?


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Dungarvan 10

There were no fist pumps or high fives not even a subdued 'yeeeah' at the back of my mind. Relief was the overriding emotion and a big 'thank fuck for that' gave way to a contented silence and stoned grin rather than the usual high speed post race chat. Five years after coming down here thinking I could run under the hour as good as the next man I did.

The start line was a nervous affair. A below par marathon last October left me with a bad taste in my mouth and I wasn't in the form for more of the same today. I didn't give myself the option of going slower than six min. miling. A simple plan, stick with the 60min. pacer leave him with two or three miles to go if the opportunity arises (Ha!). This is fast by my standards but to put things in perspective there were guy's on the start line who were capable of running over a minute faster per mile which would leave them with enough time to boil the kettle and have a cup of tea by the time I'd see the finish line.

Blocking out the doubts became a full time job during the warm up and for most of the race I had a real problem with the fast approaching 7/8 mile mark where I blew my lights last year to come home in 60.43. I had always envisaged that if I were to run sub 60 that I'd do it comfortably on a day that I wouldn't feel the road. The truth was the exact opposite. A congested and edgy first few miles left no room for comfort and by the time we hit mile four it seemed to have taken its toll. Elbows and knees fought for the smooth line, a few close heel clips didn't help the flow and with heavy legs approaching mile 5 it took a big effort to hang into a dwindling group which left me thinking I could be the next one out the back door. Too close to Groundhog day for comfort, how was I going to deal with that shit for the next thirty minutes?

Through mile five in 29.40 meant nothing apart from the fact that I'ts a time I'd be happy with on a summers evening down in Ballycotton. Conventional wisdom would have said the next few miles should pass a bit easier with the help of a tailwind and thankfully the nerves did settle a bit and I finally got somewhere close to cruising, if only for a mile or two.

Miles seven and eight were sick. Mentally as much as physically, Once I pass 10k at this pace I feel like I'm in uncharted territory and again I find myself fighting the demons. 'Whats the point in running a fast mile around the track on a Wednesday night if you can't run a solid 10 when it matters?', cursing myself approaching mile nine I momentarily lose contact with the pacer, 'Never again, 10k's max from now on, fuck this'...... 'shit I better keep going!'......'Not for this all those murderous wednesday nights at the track'..........'Not for this the..........'.

Turns out his pace was a bit erratic. I didn't have a watch on so I didn't realise it at the time. I didn't wear a watch 'cos my race plan didn't require that kind of technology. With a mile to go the pacer started dropping back which was proof he'd brought us out fast. (Understandable I suppose as he's one of the faster men in the south and was drafted in late to do the job after the race organisers were left short) This was good, it meant there was time to spare and meant that as much as I'd try to I didn't have to do the last mile in under six minutes .

Mile nine - on schedule, in bits. The head keeps rolling, you find a little something to give to the legs and the smell of the finish line get's stronger but your still not there. 'Whats the clock going to say when I come round the last bend?'

The Holy Grail - finishing The longest hour 59.27 (Pic - Kieran Minihane)

By the time my eyes adjusted to the low winter sun I could see 59.14, it took another thirteen seconds to cross the line. One milestone that a few years ago I didn't think I'd see. If I could just squeeze eleven minutes out of somewhere I could be in with a shout for the podium.


It was a good day for Grange AC
Joan Ennis - 1st o50
My co-driver (perennial hardman) Maurice Tobin - 1st o65
John Murphy - 2nd o45
3 of us in the top 100, all of us finishing.
Full Results

The latest mode of transport Brooks Running - Pure connect 3

So long                

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

5k it ain't

"I guess you shouldn't be sweating by the time you turn off the quays entering mile 4 but hey, this is the Dublin marathon. I'm feeling a bit rough at the mo' but that's ok. I'v never felt good at the start of any of my long training run's and I'v a habit of coming round later in the day. I'll be grand".........says I. 

If a fraction of the advice I'd come across over the last 6 week's had sank in I'd probably ease off a bit at this stage but listening to advice is not my forte and learning from experience seems to be the only thing that works.

With no specific plan on the start line only to run out a bit ahead of the 3hr men and meet them a mile or two down the road once the field had spread out a bit but three consecutive 6.38 miles threw that idea down the drain when I couldn't see them behind me on Chesterfield avenue. I had no particular reason to run out ahead of the three hour man only that I thought I could manage it, instead of trying to convince myself to run under three hours I had decided that this was going to be my hardest training run to date. Turns out I wasn't wrong but I couldn't remember what race I was training for. A bitch of a crosswind made it hard to get shelter after finding myself between groups (this was the one thing I promised myself I wouldn't let happen) so I took my foot off the gas a bit (at 6.40min mile my foots not normally 'on the gas' but as I was to discover in the context of my relationship with 26.2 mile's it was on the gas alright) and waited for three or four lad's coming from behind.

Out the gap at the top of the park and my familiarity with the course came to an end, the short climb on Castleknock road was more of a shock to me than the park and I didn't handle it too well, I was using caution as an excuse to ease off but in hindsight I was already struggling and was glad to hit the long descent back into the park. A nice reprieve before a block headwind came to greet us on Chapelizod road, the first real kick in the arse and a realization that my second marathon could be going sour. Meeting the 3hr group on the hill after Chapelizod was confirmation. I got through the toughest section from 12 to 14 with these guy's and as it said on the tin it was all downhill from here, it certainly was and in more ways than one in my case.

This was where I was supposed to pick it up in the race that I had imagined I was going to run, pick it up and power on home, leave the group I was in and start picking up a few of the lad's up the road, power on to the four mile to go mark and let gravity do the rest but (Knock knock, hello anyone home), this is a marathon. I hadn't given that as much attention as I probably should have in my pre race prophecy. I visualised it as a race. At my level it can't really be a race until you get to the last five or six miles feeling strong. (I'm sure I learnt that before somewhere but the dog ate my homework). It's all coming back to me now "If the first mile feels ok your going too fast", "The second half of the marathon starts at the 20 mile mark", now I'm learning. "Don't get carried away in the first few miles, it's easy to with the crowd" (I was actually told that ON the start line with a minute to go).  Ah yes a 5k it ain't and by mile 16 I was a temporary member of Thomas the tank engine's 3.10 group.

I won't get into the gorey details of the last 10 miles but If I told you to make up a paragraph using the word's walk, jog, water stops, people watching, plodding, water, disorientation, hallucination, elation, water, high, low, anger, indifference, gel, Ray D'Arcy, nasty marketing at the top of Roebuck hill and the waste of a good downhill into the finish you'd probably come up with something close to what I'm trying to get at. Despite sharing the road with fourteen and a half thousand other's it's a lonely old place when the shit hit's the fan. Disappointment doesn't come into it. You just know it's going to be a ball breaker to get to the line and on the practicality side of thing's how else are you going to get back into town to pick up your gear? So not to put too fine a point on it, with four downhill miles to go I, like a lot of my comrades was deep in the proverbial.

There were some big effort's from Grange AC, with Johnny (10th), Joan (2nd) & Clo (3rd) leading the way running out of their skins to get top 10 in their categories in the national Champs. Enthusiatic crowd's, recognisable face's and pig headedness carry you to the line nearer to the finish but that's fair payment as I'm holding them partly responsible for an over eager first few miles too. The masse's that stood on Parliament street turning onto the quays just after the two mile mark didn't have to work as hard as those on Merrion road to keep me going with a mile and a half to go. Like I said pre marathon, it's a long way. I had to do it (again) to convince me though.

- More miles.
- Diminishing pain threshold (getting soft).
- Questionable concentration levels.
- Under raced. Though the need for recovery is important I think I could have done with another race between Charleville half and Dublin. 
- Giving the whole thing too much thought.
- More sleep.

On Monday afternoon I was convinced I'd run my last marathon, by Tuesday evening I'd isolated the finer points of my downfall and by Wednesday I was kicking myself and wondering how to turn back the clock to the start line on Monday morning for a second chance. 

That's why we can't turn our back on it but for now some rest and back to the short stuff.