Thursday, 28 February 2013

2 Days to Go...

Twas the night before the night before the run... and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring... except for the dog who is currently disemboweling a cushion
The race clothes were hung on the wardrobe with care
In the hopes they'll see the finish line on Saturday

OMG it's only 2 days to the Rock & Road! I can't believe I'm about to say this out loud but... I'm actually really looking forward to it now. I am proud of myself for turning myself from this person:

into this person:

I am however taking this evening off as I have a cinema date with my lovely other half and I think my legs will thank me come Saturday following a busy week of clocking up some kilometers on the road.

I'm close to my fundraising target also (80% there) so if you want to throw a euro or two at me, I'd prefer if you done it online here as opposed to physically at me while I jog past on Saturday.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

4 Days to Go...

The Rock and Road is only 4 days away (eeeek!) and I have to admit, I'm kinda excited for it! I probably won't be saying that come 12.05pm on Saturday but for now, I am excited! I had no update for ye yesterday as I took Monday as a "rest day" following Sunday's epic run with Clair & Yvonne.

Sean from Amphibian King emailed me today (which was lovely) with some training advice in the run up to Saturday. He has advised I do the following:

Tuesday: Tempos session 5mins warmup jog, 2 x 10 minutes @ 5:45/km with 6 minutes recovery @ 6:15/km, cool down jog & stretch. Total 42mins about 7k
Pace is faster than your 10k race pace but not so fast that it's uncomfortable. Recovery is still fast enough, getting legs used to working when tired. Have a water bottle & something to eat before hand.

Wednesday: nice steady Homework session 1 aim for 30mins and 5k

Thursday: no need for intervals this close to the weekend. Repeat homework aiming for 40mins steady and 6.5k

Friday: recovery walk / slow jog for 20 ins max! Stretch session. Not too big a meal & early to bed, have gear ready for the morning.

Allow yourself a 10 minute warmup finishing 30mins before the event.

So who am I to argue with a professional! After work this evening I went to Weight Watchers (as I do at 6 every Tuesday evening) where I was delighted to find out I was down another 4lbs (TOOT TOOT!) bringing me down 61lbs in total in 26 weigh-ins. I'm delighted. I also got my 50lbs cert which is now sitting on my mantle for the world to see:

After Weight Watchers I ditched my work clothes and threw on my trackie bottoms and hit the road! As I jogged past one of the local shops I noticed a school bag beside the door. Weird I thought to myself as the shop was closed and there wasn't a soul to be seen. On my way back, the bag was still there, so I done my good deed for the day and brought it home with me. I'll drop it up to the school tomorrow and some kid will probably hate me for re-uniting him with his school bag but feck it! It's better than leaving it out to get wet/frozen overnight. 

Anyway, that's all from me for now. I'm off to lie on the couch now and stare at my Weight Watchers cert watch some TV. 

Also, if you do want to sponsor me for Saturday's 10K, here is the link :) I'm over 60% of the way towards my target!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Todays Lesson: Mind over Matter

It's 6 Days to go to the Kinvara Rock & Road... which will be my first 10K race (as you know). Up until today the furthest I had run was 7.5km. The plan for today was simple: Hit 8K. Plans as you know sometime never work as you think they will.

I met up with two friends of mine Clair & Yvonne who are also running the 10K on Saturday. It will be their first 10K too so we decided to meet up today and just get some training in. Yvonne started running two weeks ago and has gone as far as 5K. As I said, my furthest distance up until today was 7.5K and Clair ran 10K over the weekend in SIXTY FIVE minutes - we were seething with envy!

As myself and Yvonne drove out to Clair's house, we were busy chain smoking and talking about how brilliant Clair was getting on with her training and how we'd be eating her dirt next Saturday. Clair has run some 5K's before so in my eyes, she's a pro! Anyway, I'm digressing... The three of us hit the road for today's session each with the understanding that it was ok to be 'left behind' - as in, we weren't going to hold the others back.

What actually happened on todays session was magical:

BOOM! We crossed the 10K mark in... SIXTY FIVE MINUTES! Myself and Yvonne stopped at the 10K marker and from what I can only imagine an onlooker would have though... had a fit. Oh my God! We had done it - we had ran 10K!

My target for today starting off was to run 8K and then walk the remaining 2K. I learned a hugely important life lesson today in the power of your mind. You often hear the phrase: Mind over Matter - and today delivered a massive kick in the boy-bits in terms of this. I had told myself I was going to run 8K but what happened as I approached the 8K mark... I wanted to keep going - so I did!

If I had told myself I was running 10K at the start of the run, I think I would have stopped/needed a walking break but without knowing it, my body carried me further than my mind had thought possible! I have found time after time again, once I know I can do something, I work on it! The first day I ran the 4K without stopping a few weeks ago was like a key being unlocked. I knew I could do it as I had done it once, so I done it again and again.

I'm not going to run another 10K between now and Saturday but having run the 10K has definitely helped my body and mind read from the same hymn sheet. I can't believe I ran 10K... I can't believe I ran it in 65mins... 

Yvonne ran her first 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10K and I ran my first 8, 9 and 10K... The three of us were so hyped after the run, we went down to the pier... and jumped in to the ice cold water :)

Yvonne, Myself & Clair at Annaghdown Pier

I'm no Daniel Craig...

So as today closes... I know that this Saturday's 10K is possible, I have an idea of the time I would like to come in at (65 mins)... and I know I can do it! It's all Mind over Matter!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

7 Days to Go...

I'm sitting here just thinking that by this time next week, the 10K will be over... I have no doubt in my mind that I won't finish it - I'm just wondering what % of it I'll have ran.

I had my 'Zero To 5K' running group session this morning at 8am so of course I woke at 8.15am. Not a great start to the day - especially considering today was meant to be my first run since Monday as I was taking it easy on my leg since I pulled/hurt my hamstring.

As I lay in bed staring at my the time on the phone, I had two choices... Roll over and return to slumberland... or get up and do something! The 'Zero To 5K' group meet at 8am and a second group meet at 8.40. I decided to get up and join the 8.40am crew who are a week behind us as they started later in January than we did (The 8am Group).

As 'punishment'... I walked to the starting point (1.5km) as a warm up before my run to make sure I didn't hurt my leg again. The run was fantastic! Sean (the guy who runs the group from Amphibian King in Oranmore) was great and gave me loads of tips in preparation for next Saturday's run.

At the 4K mark, Sean told me my pace was steady for the entire run, and my 'resting' run was at the same pace as my 'pushing it' run. He parted some advice which I feel may be extremely beneficial to me next week, saying how if I run at the same pace I'll be more tired on the day of the race whereas in training, if I push myself between harder and easier intervals, I'll find the race much easier.

He also made me follow his pace for the last kilometer of the run this morning and this happened:

Whaaaaaaaat!? That knocks over 40s off my best 1K time. The key: Slowing down for a few seconds before going for it...

Here is what the run looked like time wise:

The first K was slower as we had to cross roads to get out of the village before we hit the main Coast Road (where we run) so ignore the 7:13 for the first K but I'm quite impressed with my times. The -7% on the 4th K was from Sean telling me to slow back a little before going for it. I don't think I've ever seen the Fastest marker anywhere in the 2nd half of my stats before.

I'm well chuffed!

Anyway, tomorrow is another day and myself & two of my friends are meeting up to hit the tarmac again - BRING IT ON!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Busting Records... and my Leg!

With my first 10K a little over a week away, I just thought I better update ye with what is going on. I went for a few runs 5-6K over the week and am happy that I have consistently come in around the 31minute mark for 5K(which I am extremely chuffed with). I've been set the challenge by a friend to get that down to 25mins by June so that is something to work towards! (Eeek!)

In other happy news, On Tuesday, I passed the 4st loss mark since re-joining Weight Watchers... I was so happy sticking my 8th Silver 7 into my book. 

I could just look at those shiny glistening 7's all day :)

I was out for a run on Monday evening and about half way through I felt my left leg twinge... Instead of stopping or taking it easy, what did I do? Yep, kept on truckin' along. By the time I got home my leg muscle was tight and sore :( I've been smathered in Deep Heat since (I reckon I smell like a GAA Locker Room at Half Time - not that I actually know what a GAA Locker Room smells like but you know what I mean).

I've spent the past two days not doing any walking or running just to give it a chance to fix itself *fingers crossed* as I plan on getting back out on the road by the weekend as I've lined up a running session with some friends on Sunday morning. I've been advised by friends to stay off my leg as much as possible for the next few days hence my inactivity! 

It's kind of funny as after my run on Monday (the one which bust my leg), I bust something else... I passed those magic numbers 9-0-4-6...

Now before you get too excited looking at the figure above, it's accumulative. So my 181.9km minus the 90.46km from January is... 91.44km in 20 days! Considering my January figure was 90.46 in 31 days, I'm delighted with myself! Wonder what that figure will be by the end of the month... Suppose it depends on my leg but here's hoping it's higher than 100km :)

Chat soon,

Friday, 15 February 2013

T minus 3 Weeks to Go...

I haven't posted just this week, so here is an idea of how my 3rd last week in preparation for the 10K went...

Last Friday evening I won a Facebook competition in conjunction with Amphibian King and Saucony for their #FindYourStrong competition.

How pretty are my new shoes?

I'm looking forward to going out and getting them worn in! I was advised these runners are better for off road, so I won't break them in before the 10K but it'll be something for me to look forward to post the 10K as the runners that I have are only a few weeks old - they do look a bit like an ugly child that only a mother could love. My friends call them Shrek - so they won't know me when I hit the woods in those bad boys!

On Sunday I went for a (hungover) run with Brad and this happened:

I was pretty much dead after it but it felt great (20 minnutes later). I'm 75% of the way there! Loads of people have told me not to worry about hitting the 10K before the race that if I can hit 8K a few times, the adrenalin on the day will keep me going the last 2K. I'm not so sure about that but look, 8K is my goal for the next two week and just improve on time and get used to running 8K.

On Wednesday morning (before work), I went for a run in the dark (it was 7am) in the wind & rain and this happened:

I'm so chuffed! I am a believer in the saying 'Hard work pays off as long as you believe in yourself' and I'm starting to believe! :) Ciao for now!

The Rock & Road is two weeks away! (Eeeeek!)

Friday, 8 February 2013

And the base keeps running running...

This day five weeks ago I had never run before in my life. I saw a friend had liked the Amphibian King page on Facebook so I went over and had a look. That was when I saw this:

Why not - new year new me and all that - so I signed up. The first week (12th of January) had a huge turnout, so much so they ran a second group from the following Saturday. So 55 of us turned up outside Amphibian King at 8am on that cold Saturday morning and that was the very first time I ran...

The red bits are where we walked

Our homework was simple... Repeat what we had done on the Saturdays twice during the week. Fast forward to last Saturday (2nd of February) and this is what my run looked like:

Yep... I ran 4km! Chuffed! i

Yes there are a few yellow-y/orangey bits on the route but I couldn't believe that I was able to run properly (without walking/stopping). I did slow down just to catch my breath for a bit but I was so happy with myself last Saturday morning.

Since then, I have contracted in a very good friend Brad, who went from not running to running his first half marathon in six months. He gave me the courage & self belief to know that it is possible to get to where I want to me.

Myself and Brad have been out running twice this week and it's been brilliant! So brilliant in fact, my Nike Running app awarded me this :)

Roll on the 10K in March!


FYI: Amphibian King are a sports & running shop with stores in Bray, Oranmore and Ballymount. Check them out on Facebook here:

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Jumping in at the Deep End!

I've bitten the bullet... and finally signed up for my first 10K! Here's the proof:

I've been training every second day for the past two weeks in the run up to the event. My times have improved from 5K in 37 minutes (which was walking & jogging intervals) to 6K in 42 minutes (contineous jogging) which is quite impressive considering I only started running four weeks ago!

This is how I imagine I'll look running across the finish line

I have set the ambitious goal (well... for my standards anyway) of doing the 10K in under 1 hour 15 minutes. Hey, I'm no Usain Bolt but I reckon it's a healthy target time to reach for my first race. I'll be spending the next few weeks out on the road in the rain, in the wind and in the dark trying to up my game before the big day in a little over three weeks time.

This is more likely how I'll look 1.5km in...

I've decided to add another layer to my first run... Accountability. This is achieved by fundraising for Pieta House who are opening their first centre in the West of Ireland this year (in Tuam). Pieta House are the Charity of the Year at work (I am on the committee) so I sent an email around and gathered 23 colleagues to run the 10K in aid of Pieta where we have a group target of €2,000 (but I'll leave that up to them to collect).

If you have even €1 spare, would you please click on the link below and sponsor me in running my first 10K - I promise I won't let you down.

I'll post more details about the event soon. In the meantime, check out the race website on 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


My alarm went off Monday morning at 7am and I hid under the blanket. I could hear the wind and rain outside, which amplifies the warmth of your bed for some reason. Like a plaster, I ripped back the duvet, threw on a hoody & pants, put the lead on the dog and we were out the door in 5 minutes for a run around the neighbourhood.

When I got back home I tweeted (which I do from time to time):

So I went about my daily routine, showered and headed off to work. About three hours later my phone lit up with a mention on Twitter from

WHAT!? So I contacted and yep, they asked for my address (which I provided - I'm a sucker for free stuff). Fast-forward to today when I get this in the post:

How amazing is that?! Especially considering my post from the day before about my Sportshop-aphobia!

Sunday, 3 February 2013


Thanks to my weight loss, a lot of my clothes are hanging off me (which I’m not complaining about). I was out for a walk yesterday and spent most of the trip pulling up my pants. My friend told me she rolls her son’s waistband to keep slightly larger clothes up – so I tried that but then ended up exposing my ankles to the cold spring wind!

My mission for this weekend was simple… Buy some new workout clothes. Now this task wouldn’t faze anyone, however it involved conquering one of my biggest fears… Sportshop-aphobia.

I think I’m an alright dresser – Anyone who knows me knows my love for stripes, bold colours and check shirts. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t own any branded sportswear. The two tracksuit bottoms I had were from Penneys/Dunnes and were very generic in their look/shape/feel.

My aim for the weekend was to buy two new (smaller waisted) bottoms and maybe a top/jacket too. As I was spending the weekend in Limerick (which is essentially the birthplace of casual-sporty wear) you would imagine my objective would be easily realised…


I went into Elvery’s in the Cresent Shopping Center and felt immediately intimidated. First off I was wandering around the women’s clothes (I was thinking there was a lot of pink), then I found myself looking at shorts, cloth-y tracksuit bottoms, then I was looking at hurleys.

I knew I didn’t want to wear a new two-piece tracksuit as I would look like a complete newbie/spanner so I avoided them. I knew I didn’t want shorts as I don’t think the world is ready of my jelly JUST yet.

I found the ‘running’ section only because the clothes actually had ‘Running’ written on the tag but everything seemed a bit… skintight. Other items of clothes had ‘Base Layer’ written on them – Does that mean they go under clothes or they are the only layer?

Anyway, I was so confused and overwhelmed by the whole experience, I quickly fled the shop before someone came over talking to me/reported me for loitering.

My next stop was Lifestyle where the shop assistants were too busy talking about last night ‘out on the town’ to care about the customers in the shop. Confused and even more scared, I found myself in Costa Coffee discussing the function of Sports clothing with my other half.

I think my fear is two-fold:

  1. I don't know what I am looking for and therefore could be sold a heap of stuff I don't want/need/know how to use
  2. I don't know what is worth spending the extra money on? Do I really REALLY need a tight 'Dry-Fit' top? Do I need those skin-tight leggings? Do I actually need that heart-monitoring watch thing?

I know if I was left alone with the right opportunist shop assistant, I'd end up looking like this and thing I was shit hot.

Equipped with my other half, we went into another sports shop where he picked stuff for me and I gladly queued at the counter and paid. I am now the proud owner of a single pair of tracksuit bottoms as I felt buying two would stress me out too much.

What is wrong with me? My Sportshop-aphobia is crippling me!

Friday, 1 February 2013

0 to 90 in 31 days...

As January closes and February reveals itself to us, I am smiling down at my phone like some loved-up teen who has just gotten a text from his crush. Except I'm not looking at a text, I'm looking down at the numbers 9-0-4-6.

No it’s not the PIN number to my better half’s laser card, although I wish it was – ka-ching! It is the sum total of my walking/jogging efforts since January 1st this year! I actually can’t believe it. That’s from my house in Galway to… Foxford! Or Moate! Ok maybe not the most extravagant places to visit but it's still the same distance to one of these places. Admittedly I’m pretty sure work/friends would be pissed if I disappeared for 30 days and only ended up in Moate but still…

In January, I moved myself that distance 9-0-4-6... which is I imagine is 8-9-0-0 more than I moved in the past year!

90km over 20 separate trips equates to 4.5km a trip. Not too shabby for a newbie! The most interesting thing about all of this is the amount of calories I burned off…  According to the most health/fitness websites, an average man consumes around 2500 calories a day to maintain his weight. This means I burned off three whole days food! I’m so proud of myself. This is three whole days food that used to find a comfy squidgy corner somewhere in my body to cosy in for the long haul.

Then I worked out that a Mars bar has 242 calories… So I have burned off 31 mars bars (conveniently one a day!). Looking back at my past food habits, I would often just grab a chocolate bar from the vending machine/local shop to get go with my coffee to get over the 3pm slump. Or I’d stop in the shop on my way home from work for milk or the lotto (which I will win one day just so you know!) and I’d grab a bar just because they are right beside the till. Where were those calories going but straight into that cosy comfy squidgy corner.

It’s crazy to think looking back that I was that person – one who made lazy choices at every opportunity. Yes – I used the word ‘choices’ there as everything we do, consciously or not is a choice. Yes I still see the chocolate stand in my local shop when I stop to do the lotto (which I’m raging I still haven’t won) but I am no longer going for a chocolate bar.

Having never worked out before, or having never tracked my exercise before, I had no idea what I could achieve in a month. So at the start of the month, I had no set goal in mind when I took myself off the couch and out the front door for my first walk of 2013. Without a goal I didn’t know what I was working towards but I guess I was happy out seeing that number increase after every walk/jog I had completed.

Now I know what I can in a month. 9-0-4-6… And with that, my goal for February is to beat that number!