Wednesday, September 29, 2010

June/July Aug

I've deleted the previous 'holding post', so I'll try to do a short update here.

Following the Cork City Marathon Relay, I headed off for warm weather training - in other words a holiday/vacation - in Lagos, Algarve, Portugal for two weeks. Lagos is a lovely little town about 50km west of Faro and we've gone there for a summer break about 10 out of the last 15 years.


Praca Do Infante
The building in the foreground, on the right, housed Europe's first slave market



Promenade on the Avenida dos Descobrimentos, with the Ribera de Bensafrim and Lagos port.


Dona Ana Beach


View from Dona Ana Beach

I just 'ticked over'while I was here, going for a 5 mile run every morning, so 35 for the week, instead of my normal 55 - 60 miles. This was just R&R and dossing. I would have liked to get a race in while I was here but there weren't any in the immediate locality while we were there.

Shanagarry 5

Back home again and back to races. Thursday June 24th saw the second in the Ballycotton 5 summer series, the Shanagarry 5. I went out way too fast - at 2.5 miles, I was only about 30 secs down on one of my former arch rivals. Until now, I hadn't been able to get within 2 - 3 minutes of him. I paid for the early effort and came home in 33:49, about 1.5 mins faster than last year.

Corkbeg 5
Next up was the Corkbeg 5 in Whitegate, Co. Cork. The evening turned out very, very wet and a bit windy. The gear was soaking and, of course my pad was saturated, so everything weighed a ton. Despite a very strong run, I finished in 34:22 - I'd hoped to go sub 33. Anyway, this was the wettest weather I'd run in since resuming after the surgery. I learnt a lesson - there's no point whatsoever in wearing a pad in a downpour!

Donoughmore 7
Later in July came the Donoughmore 7, a tough run. The first two miles is undulating, followed by 3 lovely downslope miles. There is a sting in the tail! The last two miles are uphill and I normally 'fresh air' in the last 150m - the legs move. but I seem to be rooted to the spot! I went out steadily and let several of my peers make ground ahead. Several really went for it early on, but I let them go. I started working once we hit the 3 mile down section on the main road and started picking bodies off. The strategy really paid off in the last two miles, where I picked off most of my peers, except for two who still elude me to this day. Nevertheless, I picked off 27 of the 257 finishers, coming home in 70th place in 49:46.

Churchtown South 5
Next up was the third race in the Ballycotton 5 Summer Series, the Churchtown South 5. Of all 4 races in the series, this is the one I like least. About 300m after the start, the road narrows, with a green line down the middle, i.e. grass. Its a two lap course, with a deceptive climb in the middle. For most of this climb, you don't realise that you're going up, but you do need to work hard.

I was well outside the top 50 for the series and needed both to run very well (Prior to the first race, I figured that I needed to run 32:30 for each race, to stand any chance. So far, I'd lost over a minute on that target in both races). I finished in 138th place, 33:42. I found it tough but fell well short of what I'd been (optimistically) hoping for.

Incontinence Status - 28 months on
How bad are things??!! I'm now (Sept 30th) 28 months after major surgery and I'm beating myself up because I'm not performing at the very highest levels! I think it just shows how far I've come. Prior to surgery, I was prepared to accept that I might not ever run again (primarily due to severe incontinence). Now I am running very well indeed - I've been told several times "People are talking about you!", meaning that I'm running pretty damn well and making people sit up!. I still have slight leakage when I run - I have been fully continent (no pads whatsoever) since July 2008, 4 weeks post cathether removal, but I do have slight leakage when I run. This is normally of the order of a teaspoonfull or two, but can, occasionally, be heavier at about a few tablespoonfulls. Mostly its quite light. I certainly wouldn't call it incontenence, except maybe the heavier ones (happens about every 3 to 4 weeks). As I said, its mostly pretty light. I can see a time in the next 6 to 12 months, if even that far away, where I will not have to wear a pad while running. As time progresses, I notice the "spotting" is more noticeable, i.e. I'm rarely talking about volume any more. Recently, I forgot to wear my cut-down pad while on a 20 mile marathon training run and the leakage was minimal - spotting. Of course, incidents like this are great for self-confidence and this is a self-fulfilling matter.

August

August is usually a quiet month on the Cork racing scene. I was also ramping up my mileage in preparation for the Dublin Marathon on Oct 25th. Througout the year, I'd been hitting the 50 to low 60's per week, now I was upping to the high 60s/low 70s, as a consequence, racing, particularly the shorter ones, was taking a back seat. Nevertheless I planned to run two races: the Novartis 5k and the final race of the Ballycotton series: Ballycotton 5.

Novartis 5k

I like the Novartis 5k. Its a tough hilly course. The only bit I don't particularly like is the third mile, which is mostly downhill - the sprinters tear away and the 'speed challenged' (like me) struggle to keep up. There is a sting in the tail here though and the final 400m is uphill. I went out fairly strongly, but many left me for dead - the first 400m are slightly downslope, making for a fast start. The second mile is a long full hill/drag. I love it and make plenty of ground here...before the downhill section. Still, I made up about 30 places over the last 400m, finishing in 100th place, 20:42.

Ballycotton 5
The last of the series. I was 79th overall going into this. I had two chances of making it - None...and the other one! Conditions were dry but windy. I went out hard, hoping to hold the pace. This is another tough course - all the Ballycotton races are! The first mile is largely down, with a few bumps on the way. The second mile is more or less flat, but is still tough. It gets interesting after that. The third mile starts out flat, then rises...and rises...and rises. Then, just 100m before the 3 mile mark, it really kicks up. Incidentally, on this section, I passed a peer/rival, and he proceeded to tell me about the good results (clear) he'd got from a recent biopsy. All I could do is grunt .... and press on. The fourth mile is a fast on, largely downhill and the last mile is hard - mostly uphill.

Having gone out hard, I held the effort throughout. I never checked my watch throughout and really felt that I was definitely running at around 32 min pace. I finished strong, but holding on nevertheless. I was absolutely delighted with the effort throughout, but disappointed to clock 33:39, in 147th place. Nevertheless I had several peers in my wake, particularly some that I hadn't beaten since the op.


In the final standings, over the four races of the series, I finished in 68th place, well outside the top 50. Competition for the coveted Top 50 T-shirts is getting stronger....and I must face up to the fact that age isn't on my side. still,
I'll give it another try next year, God willing!

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