A busy few months

The last few months have been busy, even if I’ve squeezed in 3 holidays in that time. I’m getting abuse at work as all my holidays have involved some sort of race or sport. What’s wrong with sitting on the beach drinking mojitos all day they say?

My focus has been on training for both the duathlon championships in September and the marathon in November. I’ve built up the distance in my training, getting long runs of over 30km down. Training plans are key for marathon training, but things went out the window with injury. Shin splints struck me, so after a few visits to the physio I’ve had to lay off running in September and early October to allow my legs recover.

With 2 weeks to New York City Marathon, I’m nearly set, having started to taper my running and now getting excited about going. Watching the Dublin City Marathon next Monday should really get me buzzing (plus watching @blackmambodog and a few other mates do the race).

Here’s a recap of the last 8 weeks:

Galway Ironman 70.3: Ireland’s first official Ironman 70.3 series race landed in Galway in September, on All Ireland Hurling Final day. The 2000 competitors realised pretty quickly that this wasn’t Hawaii (I was a spectator thankfully), as the sea looked wild at 7am and the pros shivered at the start. The freeze continued on the 90km bike ride into Connemara but it was fun watching them on the run through the city as the sun shone. Celebs like Keith Duffy and Ray D’Arcy got the cheers. I’m not ready for Ironmen yet…happy to get faster at Olympic distance races first.

Doonbeg, Co. Clare - with mayor and his chain outside the local pub

Doonbeg 10km: My marathon training plan needed a half marathon in early September, so I headed West with @mossyb for a weekend in Clare. Plans were revised as my shins were in a bad way, so I decided that morning to switch from the 21km race to the 10km race. Good choice in the end, as I came home 1st in the 10km race, to my surprise. Nice to get a medal and a prize. I really enjoyed this race, as it was a real local community affair, with the mayor and his chain on show, as well as plenty of tea, biscuits and cakes in the parish hall afterwards.

Waves in Peniche (that's not me!)

Portugal Surfing: I’m not a surfer, or I wasn’t until now. Didn’t think I’d get hooked. Five days surfing in Peniche changed that. Lovely weather, great waves for all abilities, beachside apartment, cold beer and tasty seafood. It’s a nice way to spend a holiday. Surf in the morning, chill out for lunch, read a book, have a beer, then go for an evening surf. Plus the added surprise was Lisbon – what a great city to explore for a weekend.

Crossing the finish line in Gijon

ITU World Duathlon Championships: Running up the blue carpet to finish my first race in a green tri-suit was one of the best memories this year. This was the toughest race I’ve run all year, as the entire field was fast, so there was no letting up. I finished 28th in my age group (25-29) in 2h03m. I was delighted as I ran a PB in the 10km run and finished the 5km run strongly. These championships are worth qualifying for – racing against people from all over the world is a special feeling. There were people from South Africa to Colombia and people aged 16 to 85. Plus northern Spain was a great location – I’d definitely recommend Gijon and the Principality of Asturias.

Athlone ¾ Marathon:  This was a perfect race for marathon training. 19 miles or 31km with pace makers allowed me check how I was set 5 weeks out to NYC. My shin splints held up and I settled in with the 3 hour marathon pacers. I found it a faster pace than I would have liked, but hung in there and was delighted to finish with them, so a great confidence boost for November.

Barcelona Triathlon: An amazing race in a cracking city, what more do you want for a holiday? This race is one of Europe’s largest, with over 6,000 competitors. The swim is in the balmy Mediterranean waters, the bike is a twisty, technical route around the city’s streets and the run is just as twisty running under the Arc de Triomf. We’d a great holiday too – @mossyb and @blackmambodog blitzed the race and the weekend. 23 degree sun in October isn’t bad, along with fab food. We even got to see the magic of Messi in the Camp Nou (3-0 vs Racing Santander) and tried out the Harry Potter in El Chupito Bar.

New York Marathon - 1st bridge

New York Marathon: so only 2 weeks til we hit the streets of Manhattan for the NYC Marathon with over 45,000 other runners. I’ve hit my maximum mileage, running 32km a few weeks ago. I’m now tapering down. The more I read, the more exciting it sounds. Team Crumlin will be joined by Eamonn Coghlan in NYC, so we should get some good tips from the ex-world champion. My target time is 3 hours, which will be tough to hit, but I’m hoping the adrenaline will push me on once I hit Manhattan after 15 miles. Plus it’s all for a good cause, the children at Crumlin Children’s Hospital. I’ve hit my fundraising target of €5000 but if you’d like to donate, please do so, as every penny makes a difference.

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