It’s been a great year so far. Both in sports as in life in general which is a good place to be really. I thought I’d take some time to look back on 7 months so far and evaluate the highs, lows, progress and missed opportunities.
It may sound simple, but being fit and healthy is important to me. There are so many sick, injured, unfortunate people who cannot enjoy life in the way I do. So every day is a good day – well given that I’m lucky enough to exercise at least 6 days a week. In sporting sense, my highlights must be winning 2 races within a week in May. First off was a sweet return to Wexford for the Blackstairs Adventure Race. I won this race for the 3rd year in a row. It’s still the friendliest race around.
The following week I made a last minute decision to run a 10km in Dingle. It was wet and miserable but such a great event none the less. I won on the road, in an inaugural charity event organised for Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland. I was impressed by the 2 young organisers, who have created a huge running culture in Dingle, as well as running 12 marathons in 12 days (from Dublin to Dingle) – and raised lots of money for charity along the way.
I was lucky enough to represent Ireland in my age group 30-34 at the World Duathlon Championships in Pontevedra, Spain in June. It was an epic course and location, where I did perform well, with strong runs and a decent bike up a tough hilly course.
In triathlon, I’ve really enjoyed all the training with Belpark. The club is doing really well, both in results and in growing the membership. Winter training camps in Dublin and Limerick were fun and I’ve got to know lots of new club members. Plus I’m officially grown up now –as I’m now on a committee! All 4 races have been great – I’ve done my best and improved my swim, bike and run. My best performance was in Kinsale – I had the fastest run split ahead of winner Chris Mintern and my arch running nemesis and friend Brendan Murphy was sweet.
Competing against the best is what gives me a real buzz: so winning a national medal for Rathfarnham WSAF in cross-country was a nice surprise. As was facing up against the cream of mountain runners and racers at the Dingle Adventure Race in June. Always such an epic weekend. The National Duathlon Champs were great – a tough course against a packed quality field made me feel like I’d earned my place.
Continuing my efforts to improve my running technique has also been important to me – running injury free, incorporating natural movements, improved posture and flexibility have all helped. Thanks to the guys in ChampionsEverywhere for their inspiration and guidance.
Not too many thankfully, maybe my lack of progress in swimming and biking, relative to my running strength and some of my clubmates. Swimming technique and coaching are key – yet I haven’t enough desire/focus to improve my swim stroke. On the bike, I feel I should be much stronger and faster, given my cardio fitness – yet I lag behind my mates and clubmates. I think it’s down to my lack of specific speed training as well as never getting my bike fitted – my saddle, my pedals and my seat position could all be costing me power. Although doing functional threshold power tests in Trinity College recently made me realise it’s also mental not physical – pushing closer to the pain barrier. It’s what you see when you read sports biographies – Sean Kelly was one tough nut!
“Stay in your little box. Stay safe – where it’s nice and safe. What’s the point though?”
<unknown quote I read recently>
I was also disappointed not to improve my track 5,000m time by competing at the Nationals, as well as my road 5km and 10 km PBs. I’d also like to lose a few pounds – I’m partaking in the Biggest Loser at work, but me weight fluctuates around an average for 9 months now! I also got a penalty for drafting in a duathlon – it taught me a valuable lesson about honesty, racing clean, integrity and a level playing field. Sometimes we can all be equivocal on rules, but given that I lost out on a 3rd place cash prize, it was all the more bittersweet.
I’ve competed 17 times this year, in a variety of sports. My training has been consistent throughout the year, with running through the winter and a bit of swimming. I’ve enjoyed cycling in the good weather this summer. Here are my Garmin Connect stats from January to August:
- Running: 1,629km – 155 activities
- Cycling: 3,611km – 90 activities
- Swimming: 109km – 62 activities