Tá sé i bhfad ó rinne mé rud ar bith leis an mblag seo, agus sula ndéanfaidh mé athbheochan air, tá sé chomh maith agam roinnt rudaí a thabhairt suas chun dáta.
Aclaíocht, i dtosach báire, ó tharla gurb é a bhí mar spreagadh don bhlag sa chéad dul síos. Rinne mé dhá rás eile i 2011 tar éis Ironman 70.3 na Gaillimhe (an rás deireanach a scríobh mé faoi), rás amháin i 2012 agus níl rud ar bith déanta i 2013 agam. Tinneas ab chúis leis an díomhaointeas ach le rudaí ina gceart arís (tá súil agam!), tá mé ar ais i mbun traenála.

In ionad cur síos a dhéanamh arís ar rásaí a bhfuil dearmad déanta agam orthú, tógfaidh mé an cur síos a rinne mé ag an am i mo dhialann traenála ó boards.ie agus cóipeáilfidh mé thíos é.
I measc na rudaí eile atá athruithe ó 2011, tá post nua agam, agus mé anois mar Leascheannaire ar Raidió na Gaeltachta. Athrú mór é seo ó thaobh cúrsaí ama de. Níl an oiread ama agam do rudaí ar nós riaradh an club tríatlan agus srl, ach tá an-sásamh le baint as an obair!
Freisin, tá leabhar ar a raibh mé ag obair le fada críochnaithe faoi dheireadh, agus le cló an mhí seo chugainn. Scéal an dornálaí, Seán Ó Mainnín, atá i Rocky Ros Muc, agus beidh sé dhá chló ag Cló Iar-Chonnacht.
An t-athrú deireanach, is dócha, ná an blag féin, agus súil agam nach faoi thriatlán amháin a bheidh sé as seo amach, ach gur meascán a bheidh ann de rudaí go leor. Cúrsaí litríochta, cúrsaí rith, cúrsaí an tsaoil. Feicfidh muid linn!
Loughrea Triathlon Race Report

After only doing three triathlons all year before last weekend, it was a case of two in a row over the past two weekends. I was particularly keen to do Loughrea as it was the first and only triathlon I had ever done prior to 2011, and wanted to see how things had developed over the past year, especially with the swim.

The comparison was not to be, however, with another miserable day in the west leading to another shortened swim. In a way, it suited me, as my latest arch-nemesis (hi Cian!) and uber-swimmer would be put at a disadvantage, and I had to put things even, after he came in one place and 18 seconds ahead of me at the Brian Boru Olympic, and after both us finished Galway 70.3 in exactly 5:00:27! Now, if that’s not nemesis material…

The swim was shortened to 400 metres and all 300+ participants sent off together. You can imagine the bunch-up at the first buoy, only 150 metres from the start due to the shortened course. It was so thick with people, you could almost stand up and walk over them around the buoy.
The swim was uneventful other than it was rough, between people and waves, with no rhythm in the choppiness of the lake compared to the sea.
Coming into the shore, I noticed lots of people walking from about waist depth. I kept swimming but noticed one woman was walking faster than I was swimming into the wind. “Feck this”, I thought, and stood up to walk. Thinking that there was no way walking could be more efficient than swimming in that much water, I went back to the front crawl but people were still walking faster than me. Back to walking, only to be greeted by a mocking Catweazle on the pier!

Swim Time: 9:42, 107th, 33.2% (2010: 22:10, 351st, 80%)
I’ve no benchmark time from last year to compare the swim with, but I was 351st out of the water then, so things must have improved. Very happy to be in the top one-third, but I reckon rough-weather swimming suits hackers like me as it makes it more difficult for the handier middle of pack swimmers to find a rhythm and levels the playing field. For example, I finished in the top 50% here and in Galway last weekend, but the one day of flat water swimming (Brian Boru) had me back in 73%. Just a theory but there might be something in it.

A bit of hassle getting the suit off, and on the way onto the bike, one of the straps on the side of the shoe broke off, making for an awkward foot into shoe process. The tri shoes on the bike are beginning to fall apart

T1: 1:32 (last year 1:26, slower this year despite last year being my first ever wetsuit transition!)

With the nemesis posting a blistering time on the bike last weekend, I knew I had to put in a big effort. There was no regard for HR but to pound away. The Loughrea bike course is not a course for speed though (at my level anyway), with few straight sections to up speed, and lots of 90 degree turns and undulations. At one stage, on the one fast section, I was sure I had a puncture as I was getting all sorts of vibration and noise up off the back wheel. When I stopped and looked, the tyre was fine however
A few gusts of wind through hedgerow gaps after one of the last turns had me wobbling a bit, but there was no sign of the nemesis.
Finally, on the last corner into the Loughrea, I passed him, and while he passed me again as I was taking my feet out of the shoes, we both hit the dismount line at the same time. Game on!

Bike Time: 36:19, 21st, 6.5% (2010: 39:34, 127, 29%)
Happy with the bike and first time inside the top 10% in a bike split.

Straightforward, no hassle
T2 Time: 39 seconds (2010: 1:06)

Last year’s run was tough as I had torn an adductor muscle somewhere during the race, and just couldn’t get any pace going. I felt good from the start of this run, however, but after about 1.5km, I started feeling what I thought was a stitch on my right side. Every time I tried to up pace, it would get worse, so it was a case of running at a certain speed so as not to aggravate it, but watching some targets ahead not get any closer was frustrating. After about 3km, though, it eased up and I picked up pace a bit. There was a good tussle going on between two lads just ahead of me, and watching them overtake each other repeatedly, I tucked in behind them before the last hill. At the top, I passed them, but there’s nothing as disconcerting as hearing two runners right behind you and not knowing what’s happening. With 200 metres to go, I put in a spurt, heard a reaction from behind but managed to pull away.
The effort took a bit out of me, as I was puking while coming into the finishing chute, and emptied my stomach of all liquid once I got past the line (if only that poor kid was more patient in taking the chip off my ankle
). This vomiting thing seems to happen a lot over the shorter distances!

Run Time: 19:31, 9th, 2.8% (2010: 21:09, 50th, 11.4%)
Again, the comparison with 2010 isn’t really valid, as, if anything, I had a bit more speed in the legs then but couldn’t get going on the day. I think the stitch wasn’t a stitch but more of a muscular thing as I still feel the sensation when I breathe in, two days on.
While I might have improved my run time a bit on the day, I don’t think it would have made any difference to my overall placing. More importantly, I finished ahead of the nemesis (one-all, I might just retire now!)

Overall; 1:07:43, 14th (or 12th if you don’t include pesky relay teams
, 4.3% (2010: 1:25:25, 151st, 34.4%)

The last triathlon of the season for me, during what has been an eye-opener and a big learning curve. I know what my limitations are (the swim, and there is plenty of improvement to be done on the bike), but I’m delighted to be in the first half of results for 2011, as I was sure I would be further down in the field.

I’ll post a proper review and and 2012 plan later on in the year, but briefly, these are the things that I now know compared to this time last year:
• Three training sessions a week isn’t a heavy workload
• Last year, I didn’t own a swim cap. Now, I have nine of them
• Even if I can’t use them, I now know what HR zones are
• The wind is a b*tch during cycling
• The wind is a b*tch during swimming
• Recovery drinks are an excuse for drinking chocolate
• Recovery tastes good
• Getting up to train in the morning is normal, not an exception
• Triathlon is way more expensive than running
• Triathlon races tend to be at stupid early times, compared to run races

As for Loughrea triathlon itself, it was another well-organised Predator event, and it was great to have 12 TríSpórt members from what is a very new club participating.
Dublin Half Marathon Race Report

Sometimes, the worst days turn out to be good days! Having driven up from a wedding in Conamara the night before, I was no in mood for racing on Saturday morning. The hotel bed was really comfortable, I was tired, and all I wanted to do was go back to sleep. My wife had signed us both up for the Dublin half, as part of her DCM preparation, and without any real target, I had little motivation for the race.

Skip a couple hours forward, and standing in the sub-100 minute corral with a few thousand other people, and seeing the sub-1:30 balloons about fifty rows up ahead, I thought I might as well give it my best seeing as I had come so far. My half marathon PB of 1:30:17 had come last year while trying to stick with pacers, and having had the same thing happen to me at last year’s DCM, where I fell short of the pacer target by 8 seconds, I decided to ignore the tempting green balloons and go on perceived effort.

When the klaxon went, I started weaving between people, and by the time I looked up again, the green balloons were almost out of sight. A combination of the over-ambitious, the inconsiderate and the plain thick had plonked themselves in the first wave of starters and the first mile was spent negotiating obstacles. The crowd thinned out, and settling into a 6:40ish pace, I passed the 1:30 group and hoped I wouldn’t see them pass me later. A shout from Racoon Queen was welcome just before the hilliest section. Not having run a race in the Phoenix Park before, I was surprised at how long the hill went on at around the four mile mark.

The sixth mile, up Chesterfield Avenue, was my slowest at 6:51, but seeing the leaders coming the opposite direction, with their combination of effort and form, was a great fillip. “Focus on form” was my mantra for the next mile and a half. When I got to eight miles, I thought to myself, “now is the time to start racing.” Five miles to go, two and a half miles out and back from the house, easy peasy surely! Keeping the pace going was beginning to prove a little difficult though, especially on the long sections into the wind. I tucked into a group of three others that were moving well, and stuck with them until the group came apart at about 10.5 miles.

The Garmin was annoying me as I was getting a good bit further away from the mile markers every time the mile alert went off. At the eleven mile mark, I figured I could get in under 1:28 if I kept the effort going. The last mile uphill was a tough slog, especially Acres Road, but the target of sub 1:28 kept me going. At 6:23, 6:24 and 6:15, the last 2.26 miles were my fastest, which is a big difference on previous runs where I’ve always faded near the end. Looking back, I reckon the extra fitness base brought on by the cycling and swimming backed up the Furman three day week running.

I finished in 1:27:29, a new and unexpected PB, and delighted.

Afterwards, I bumped into Racoon Queen again, nice to meet you RQ! Had a good chat later with Jackyback, fresh from 1:50 pacing duties. Plus I got to see my wife surpass her ambitions for a great HM debut.

Now for a week off training, and then to pick up a half marathon plan for Waterford.

13.1 Miles, in 1:27:29
251 out of 6080 (4.1%)
62nd in Category
Great Race Galway Race Report

The Dublin half marathon last September was my last race, and having not run 10k without stopping for a break in an awful long time, I felt a bit anxious about this race. The purpose of the race was to get things going in my head again, if nothing else. Be it good or bad, I've never done a race that hasn't gotten me foccused on what need to be done, training-wise.
It was a cracking day in Ballybrit for the inaugural Great Race Galway 10k, and my self and Bren, who had also been away from racing for a good while, lined up together. The plan on my part was to stay comfortably enough that I would be able to complete the race without stopping but to push myself enough to give me a test.
It was a tough course, plenty of drags and two tough climbs. I got through it okay, no earth-shattering time but still faster than I had expected. Good to be back.

Position: 40th of 285 (14%)

Route: Great Race Galway
Time: 42:44
Distance: 10km (+ 1.5km warmup)
Ave Pace: 4:18
Ave/Max HR: 181/190

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