Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wicklow Way Relay- 12 June 2010

I can be excused for milking my moment in the sun, here's a copy of our race report from Boards. We'll do up a leg-by-leg report from each runner, and link it here, but the the moment here's an account from a very, very, happy team captain

Boards A- 1st : Boards B- 7th
Well done to all who ran in this best race of the year. Results show that the race begins months before the start, with teams being picked, runners assigned to legs, and recces organized.

Before the race, I had hoped for a top 10 finish for our A team- although I secretly anticipated a finish of 5,6,7 or 8. Our B team looked stronger than their moniker suggested, particularly after some strong results in recent imra race, so I figured they might be around the same place as our Boards team from last year- 14th place.

After waking up and making some coffee,I was greeted to the great news that Gary Condon had a great run, finishing leg 1 in 7th place. More surprising was John Ahern's result from the B team- two minutes behind, in 9th. Truly those demons from last years mishap had been slayed, and how! Another cup of coffee and some porridge, and I nearly choked at the result that came in- Joe Cawley had made up 5 places over leg 2, Boards A were now in 2nd! I'll admit to mixed feelings around this time- it's easy to run in 10th team, slap on back, well done, no-one really notices: but when you are in a podium place, expectations arise.

Our scheduled leg 3 runner, Jo Fearon, had severe blisters on her feet following her recent epic run from Malin to Mizen, so sadly had to drop out of our team at the last minute. Our new replacement (from Rathfarnham!) Vanessa Sallier had a great run to hold second, as did Suzanne Kenny, whose time on leg 4 show's she's a force to be reckoned with! (Can't be too long until some of the vultures from "proper" clubs take notice of her talents- joking !). Mick Hanney took off on leg 5, and I was sat waiting at the end, watching the madcap antics of marshal Graham Porter, aided and abetted by Jane (and goaded by Peter!). Its strange to stand and chat with other runners before a leg starts, one eye on the road looking for your runner, the other on sizing up the competition.

Anyway, the Rathfarnham runner came in, and had a 10 minute gap on Mick, who ran a brilliant leg under the hour. I slapped hands, and set off. The idea was to pace this run, being a long uphill, a downhill, another uphill, and a couple of killer downhills to finish. I had run it in 62 minutes last year, while fitter, and chasing runners, but I would have been happy with 65 this year. As it happens, I paced too softly, with no-one to chase or be chased by, and finished in 63:xx, but with too much energy. Slapped hands with David Walsh-Kemmis, a little disappointed with the energy I still had, but never mind, I hadn't been caught, and I had held second, right?

Except I realised I was talking to Jason, who was meant to be running leg 7 for Rathfarnham. Took a couple of minutes before the penny dropped, and the Rath guys were asking me had I seen a runner wearing white on the course? The unfortunate runner had gone astray, and ended up running a 12k leg in 22k. This misfortune was our good fortune: Boards were now in 1st place.

I drove back to Tinahely, stopping along the road to run a bit with David, who was flying on this road section. The message at this stage was very much, hold it together, don't f*** it up, and if there was a sharp turn on leg 7 that might be missed, there was an overbearing team captain there, to make sure the right route was followed. On to Tinahely, and wait for David, who came in and set off Dominic Horan, still in first. Eleven minutes later, Jason came in for Rathfarnham, having ran a great leg and clawed back vital time. Still, 11 minutes over 10k would be hard to find, so we drove to the finish, with cautious confidence. Met Dom along the way, and ran with him- he was in real pain, his recent hip injury causing major discomfort. At this point, it was 5k to go, and I ran beside him, talking of glory and history, if only he'd get up over this last uphill bend (of course there was another uphill bend around the corner...). Anyway, after a while we decided it was cruel to be torturing the guy like this, and let him run his own race. Down to the finish, and wait, wait... Soon he came round the corner, and with a final sprint, took the tape, in under 8 hours, for a Boards victory! It wasn't long after that the Boards B team came in, 7th place, another magnificent achievement!

This is the first time I have been part of a winning team since under sevens hide-and-go-seek, so I'll be milking it for a while. Far, far, beyond what I had imagined- its a dream come true. Well done to each and every Boards member who gave their all today, for the two teams. Commiserations also to Rathfarnham, who had some of the fastest legs of the day, only to be undone by a wrong turn. Talking to Jase, Donna, Peter, and the others after, they were gracious in applauding Boards winners, if a little downbeat about another defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. There's always next year to avenge, guys. Although this time Boards will be defending champions, and victory tastes very, very sweet!

Training for places on the A team starts tomorrow! Well done to Joe, Nora, and all their helpers on a truly great day.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

National Road Relay

Well done to the first Boards AC team to take part in the National Road relays.

The Team finished with a new Club record of 52:46

Well done to

  1. Aonghus O'Connor
  2. Niall Kearns
  3. Matt Tobin
  4. Gerard Mangan

Monday, November 9, 2009

Group session III Sat 21th November

Group session Sat 14th November
Pheonix Park meet at Papal Cross 10 AM

4 X 1000m @ 5k pace +15/20 seconds.

This weeks session will be 4 X 1000m with 90 secodns recover. After this week the session will increase in distance to 1200/1300 m.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Winter group - Session 1. Sat 1st November.

Anyone who would like to join the BAC winter training group please let me know. I’ve been dragging information from anyone who will listed over the last few weeks and months to put together a training plan.

The aim now is to start a 6 weeks base phase with some strength work included. Once that is complete then some race specific training can be done.

The training plan will be very simple and easy to follow and ideal for anyone who would like to focus on Raheny 5 mile or races early next year. It should also have you in good shape for the Aware 10k in December if that is a target.

Sessions are open to everyone of any standards.

Each week there will be a CV rep session and a Tempo run, The CV will be the group session and the Tempo run can be done at any time during the week.

Apart from the two session that will be updated lots of easy running and one 70-90 min run a week should be included (depending on your key race distance)

If anyone has any questions or specific training needs let me know and I will try to help.
This weeks two session will be as follows.

Session 1.
Tempo run. 3m tempo @50(per mile) sec slower then your 5k pace..

Session 2. (Group session Pheonix park)
Session type : CV reps.
When: Sat 1th November
(4) X 1000m
Location: Pheonix Park
Time: 10:00
Meet: Meet at Papal Cross
Pace: -5k pace + 15 sec's Distance: 8 miles aprox, But can be changed to your needs/ability.

The rest of your week should include one long run of 70-90 mins depending on your ability and lots of easy running.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Congrats to the guys that turned out yesterday, the standard was extremely high and they gave it a go. Kieran was our first man home just piping Robin by a couple of seconds and two places. We finished as the 13th team out of 14, which sets a nice benchmark for next year. Next up the intermediate cross country at the end of November.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Boards AC and our first championship outing

We're a new club, not even a year old but yet we feel we have a team strong enough to compete in this weekends Dublin novice XC. So very exciting times ahead, we will be meeting at 12:15 pm at the papal cross, Phoenix park. Our club captain Mark has put a good team together and according to Mark it's about building a healthy team/family mentality that will see us grow closer for events such as the club road relays in early 2010.
Best of luck guys.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Bulletin' Boards and the Wicklow way relay

Leg 1 by John
Out of bed at 5.15am even though I lay awake all night, afraid that I would sleep in and miss the start. Quick brekkie and out the door to meet David at his place. Arrive bright and early - surprised he was up and about actually- and then on to Killmashogue. It hadn't been raining as we made our way there but of course as we sat in the car the rain started to fall, eventually turning to hail stones. I busied myself sizing up all the other runners and convincing myself they all looked leaner and faster than me and that I was up against it.At about 2 mins to 7 I strolled up to the starting barrier and very quickly we were off.Pre race plan was to try to stay in touch with Cormac O Ceallaigh. He's better than me but I would doing OK if I could stay near him. The first hill starts immediately and goes on and on weaving its way up the mountain. It was tough but I could see Cormac a little ahead and I tried to keep the guys behind me where they were.We made the turn right that David and I had missed in our recce and kept going up. Around this stage I was stripping - taking off my rain coat and T, just running in the singlet. I was hoping this would give an extra edge.On the downhill to the Glencullen road, Conor Short got ahead of me and opened up a distance between us. I thought I was bounding down the hill well but I couldn't keep up with him.Thankfully I got him on the stretch in the road and opened a distance up behind me. For whatever reason he was slower than me on the road. I was happy enough - could see C O'C 100m ahead, focused on keeping CS behind me. There was another guy hadn't seen before behind me too.As I went up the long second hill I just kept on thinking about the route. "After a couple of bends in the track you come to THREE tracks. Take the track to the RIGHT and keep going STRAIGHT all the way past the pillar on your LEFT..." I came to a junction, turned right and just kept going. It didn't register that this was a two prong junction.I remember thinking that I didn't remember running on newly laid gravel on the recce. I remember not seeing a JCB on the recce. It was all looking a little unfamiliar. But, I was in a race. No time for doubts now. Don't let the team down. There's a guy on your ass. GO!Of course, it all came to a sad end. We came to a junction I couldn't remember. I turned to the guy and shrugged - he said go straight on. After a few mins we were at a cul de sac. It was immediately clear that I went wrong about 2 miles back. I was screwed. I just turned and started to run back, despite the fact that it was all uphill back to the Wicklow way.The journey back was bloody miserable. I rang magnet to let her know what was going on and just kept running. I knew we were in this to compete and not really purely just for fun. I knew we had a pretty good team and knew people had their eye on a respectable showing. I trudged on...Then to make matters worse I got a stitch. When I should have been sprinting downhill past Price Williams Seat, I was walking. Every time I tried to start again the pain made me stop.Then I think I made a call to Paul after I read a group text suggesting I might be lost. I wanted to reassure everyone that at least things weren't that bad.Then, all of a sudden no cramp. I went full blast all the way down to the bottom, tagged magnet, and that was it.109 instead of 70. I have to do this event again to put this years relay behind me. I'll be back. I have to come back.

Leg 2 by Valerie
Up at 5.30, put on my lucky shorts!,had breakfast and on the road to Wicklow by 6, quick text to confirm Curtlestown with Mick (if I`m up so is everyone else!!)Arrived about 7.50 and found David waiting patiently.2 runners were through already so I went off for a warm-up along the route, as I got back to the start I spotted Eoin Keith and thought this was great company to be in on this leg!! About 8.15 got the call from John to say he was lost, oh dear! The wait turned into a countdown of runners to catch...Another call from John to say he was back on track and would be along shortly..The last runner had gone through 15 mins earlier, the marshall asked me if I wanted to head off but I declined saying this was a Team event and a Relay so I`d wait for him! Shortly John came through and I was off...Going off course was a real fear now and starting in last place I had lots of ground to make up, I was ultra careful not to miss the "little yellow men" I went OK through the first few k`s although a bit slower than planned because it was wet and slippy and especially hairy on the downhill section, a few more twists and turns and by a few tents by the river,next obstacle were the horses,(I`ve a fear of horses) I more or less ran around the entire field to avoid them then onto the footbridge, onwards and upwards away from danger..turned right and up the hill and through the car park and onto the forest trail. Up ahead were a few walkers and although they weren`t runners I made them my target, passed them out and away from them and uphill as fast as I could, This next hill section was tough and took a lot of effort which was well rewarded with a lovely view of Powerscourt Waterfall, through the next section of tree stumps and the like I spotted one runner on the far side uphill section, This was great having a real live target! I gave it my all on that downhill, screaming,flailing and I even had my arms out thinking that flying was an option?! Over the footbridge and uphill again, power walking, panting and slow/fast running, up to the top of this section and turning left and then a right, gaining on him with each step and caught him just before the Djouce track! Now I was feeling on top of the world or at least Wicklow!!!, we were now second last! From here on the route was easy to follow and I was feeling good, then came the boardwalk and although it was wet and I was getting a good beating from the hail and rain, I found this exhilarating and I could actually go at a real speed all the way down to the forested section, 2 right turns and I was on the home stretch. I could see John at the barrier and gave a really big shout so David would be ready!A quick high five and he was off to hunt down a few more...I would definitely do this relay again and again, I loved the driving to each stage end/start and the camaraderie amongst the runners was second to none!! Without question I`ll be back.. I`m awarding our Team 1st place for "Most Improved"

Leg 3 by David
I was up at 5:30 this morning to drive Johns car Didn't have any brekky and started to regret that decision as the morning went on. I saw Magnet coming and got ready, I was the second last runner to leave leg 3 but I flew like the wind for the first mile as it's mainly downhill and after a mile I passed a runner and the garmin beeped at 5:40 for the mile, couple of gentle climbs to come before the mostly downhill comes, I found it hard to dig deep as there was no one in sight, mile 2 in 7:15 (I was hoping for under 7), made the sharp right turn up through the forest(yay), nothing else to tell, lonely stretch, mile 3 in 7:45(was hoping for under 7:30). At this point I started to lose the cool a bit as I felt I could dig deeper but again with no one around I found it hard. Soon after this I had a fall, got quickly back on my feet and that seemed to shake me up a bit, made the slightest of wrong turns in a field but then finally I saw life and made it my mission to pass her(albeit the long way through the long grass) out of the field and I'm back to running on my own. Mile 4 in 6:57(still too slow). With about 1k to go I saw a runner in a red top so went after him and finished the mile in approx 6:20, my garmin broke down but just before it did it said I was on 6:30 pace and I knew since then I had picked the pace up again. So I reckon 33:47 for my 8k. I was hoping secretly for 32 sth but still happy, it turns out I passed another runner she had taken a wrong turn and I got to see her finish after me.

Leg by Jo
When I met Magnet to reccy this part of the course, I got lost trying to get out of Rathfarnham and was almost an hour late. I was worried about the same thing happening again so left Dundrum at 7am for an estimated 10am start! I was there before 8 My leg starts at a road sign, It's never inspiring to begin where the roads people feel the need to tell you that cars are going to struggle up the hill.... My poor body has nothing like the 1.6l engine in my car. The first 2 km of leg 4 are up a road section, all uphill but uneventful. I took this rather conservatively because I didn't want to knacker myself from the outset. In hindsight, I could have pushed it a bit more. Near the top of the road I made a right turn onto a fire track. This was really the only possibility to get lost on my leg (thanks Paul for putting me on this leg). The fire track was more uphill but at least the loose gravel makes it feel like hill running not just running up a road. There were a couple of gates at the top. One of them wasn't very well hung and it took a bit of "put your shoulder into it" for me to lift the gate to get it closed behind me. I guess the fire road was about another 2km. At the top there were a couple of fences to climb over and then the terrain levelled out as I went around the side of a forested area. I caught my first "scalp" here, we exchanged a couple of pleasantries and on I went. Fair play to the walkers who were on this section, they stopped and stepped to the side to let me past without any complaints. After the forest, I was out in the open and long grass under foot. It was pretty flat but it was hard to hammer it on the wet grass for fear of tripping. The best views of my section came on this part. Next was downhill around a field and across a road. There was a marshal on the road with words of encouragement "2 people have already brained themselves here, slow down"! After the road came my favourite bit. Through a forest, over bridges, stepping stones and real off road stuff. I caught my second guy here on one of the climbs. He was giving it everything he had and really suffering for his team. I felt a bit bad leaving him behind. I had one last serious ascent up another track before turning back into the forest again. This last section was twisty and slippy. On a dry day and with more experience I'd love to go back and give it wellie. As it was, I did my impression of a fledgling bird, flying for the first time, lots of squawking and frantic arm flapping! The very end of my leg saw me come into the car park at Gelndalough. This was the only bit I hadn't tried before. I ran around the visitor centre as instructed and ran straight into a tour of about 50 school kids. Yells of "runner coming through" did nothing to make a path for me so I was very naughty and ran across the perfectly manicured grass, across a footbridge and handed over to Mick. I had a great time on my run and also before and after with the others. I definitely hope the others on the boards team will be up for doing this again next year.

Leg 5 by Mick
Very early morning text from Magnet woke me up (thanks Magnet!)... Where is leg 2 start she says? Curtlestown I replied almost in my sleep, before trying to get more shuteye, but that was difficult. Pre-race nerves I think.General Pauls text messages come thick and fast. The schedule is 'out' due to Johns leg 1 excursion, but we still get to Laragh before 11 I think. Rain is pouring down and its quite cold. Dawdled quite a bit on clothing decision. The downpour before HM appeared persuaded me to wear jacket.Whilst I was waiting the leg 5 runners for other teams were heading off every few mins. I think from our progress later on we would get to pass a lot of those teams (go team boards!).The moment came... HM was on the finishing straight... Touch hands and go. Will the legs hold up 6 days after Edinburgh... we'll see. The start of leg 5 is deceptive as its flat so you go out too fast. 1st k split 3:43 The steps up towards the Poulanglass waterfall put an end to that pace, but still kept it going solidly. Whats that above me on the zigzag trail? Its the previous runner? Ahhaa, a target... Kept a steady pace (next few ks: 5:27, 4:53:, 5:04, 5:00) Passed the target, as he walked a bit of incline just past the 4k mark. He put on a spurt but couldn't keep up... happy days. 6 mins and 5:34 were the last of the uphill ks, then it was slipperier downhill through the steep muddy steps and onto the fire road, where the pace picks up. In my minds eye I could see the runners ahead of me - even if physically I couldn't. I could also envisage Paul waiting for me impatiently if I was late (he was expecting me to do c. 60 mins) . Dig deep and try to turn those legs faster. 4:39, 3:31 , 3:36 , 3:23. My total time of 61 mins may not be strictly correct as I hit the stop button clearing condensation from the timer. Still it was round 60 which on marathon legs + 6 days is a good result. On the final run-in I could see a girl finishing her leg.. Nearly caught her, but Paul wasn't too long catching her running mate on leg 6. Changed into dry gear in the p**sing rain, and drive on from leg to leg til Shillelagh where we had a nice get together. Everyone had a great day. Everyone chuffed with 12th place. Next year we WILL do better.Congrats all.

Leg 6 by Paul
Standing in the rain, chatting to Anto, my Garmin died, and as I dawdled and put it in my pocket, SJ turned the corner. I had given him a tough 60min mission, never expected him to do it, so I ripped off my jacket at Anto, slapped hands, and took off. Passed my first runner after 200m or so, then my speciality, went to hurdle a barrier, whacked my foot and tumbled hard, sh*t, get up you moron, and started the slog uphill. I had two recce's done of this stretch, so was pleasantly surprised it was shorter than I remembered. Watched out carefully for the turn into the forest, and started on that slog. Towards the top I saw a runner, and bit by bit ate up the ground between us. Upwards again, and where I would have walked last year, experience helped me run all the way and pass another. The crest came sooner than expected, and soon my legs were taking in a nice run down to the road. Managed to run faster here, and I saw two heads on the second uphill ahead. Again, I just kept slogging away, passed one (she put up a fight but I soon had her), the other lad I knew I had to get before he interfered with my downhill, so I squeezed the juice out of my quads and passed him before the crest.Flew downhill, my new shoes were ideal in grip (Salomon SpeedXC2), and kept it up until I hit a slight incline, legs wanted to stop here, small though it was, but soon I was over, and started opening the stride again.When I hit the steepest downhill, I let rip, faster than I'd gone before, branches brushed aside, each footfall quickly calculated, tried going even faster... this was so much fun! I grandstanded a bit on the final stretch, probably running my fastest ever 100m, and slapped Daithi on his way. Shouted something American like "I LOVE THIS RACE WAHOOO!!!", but I was so happy. That was my best hill run ever.

Leg 7 by Daithi
I tried to do a warm up in the pouring rain at Ironbridge but decided that I was going to stay warmer under an umbrella than jogging around in the cold. Paul came flying round the corner right on schedule, and I set off far too fast (as usual) looking to catch two runners who I knew were only a few minutes ahead of me. It's a flat first km, and then about 200m of climbing on forest tracks over the next 3km. I caught the first runner as soon as we hit the climb, and the second one about 5 minutes later, so felt like I was making progress.Got to the top of the climb feeling good and tried to cruise down the far side. Made it onto the tarred road and started to find a rhythm putting in a few 3:30s and 3:40s before there was a slight but definite kick back up again. I still couldn't see anyone ahead of me, and then found out from a marshall at halfway that I was about 4 or 5 minutes behind the closest runner, so kicked on again and put in a few faster kms before the start of the second big climb.Went through the river ford at 13km and knew that I had almost 3km of solid climbing on slightly rough terrain. Survived the first 1500m of it, but then really started to suffer as the legs began to complain that they really weren't used to this, and did I know that there really were more pleasant ways of spending a Saturday afternoon. Ignored them and kept running, but it felt like walking pace at times. Nearly, nearly took a wrong turn when my head was down and the path forked, but managed to stop and head back up the right path. Once I was at the top, it took about 5 minutes before my legs were back up to pace on the flat again, but I eventually got moving again and got back down to 4 minute kilometers.Got to the old handover point and cursed all involved in extending the leg by another 1200 metres and then started the final short climb. Short in retrospect, but at the time it felt like every corner should have been the last but wasn't. Eventually saw a crowd in the distance, and put on my sprint finish to show that I'd been flying all along and happily sent Dom on his way.It's two days later. My ankles are in bits and my hamstrings have never felt so tight after any marathon, but I can't wait until next year already.Fastest km: 3:32 (km 5)Slowest km: 5:28 (km 14)

Leg 8 by Dom
Probably started a little quick knowing there was a body about 30 secs ahead of me and that was duly disposed off after about 2 mins.First couple of k was difficult to get going on, there was about 6 gates to get over which kept breaking the momentum and then about 400mts of slop, only one shadow of doubt WW sign straight on or left - what did Paul say - left I think, fook a For Sale sign - don't remember that last week, no fook it I'm right - phew another WW sign.But then some decent running on a fire track style road and then onto the roads just after 3k.What's that, another body ahead turning the corner - check the watch 17:00, hit the corner - check the watch again 48secs, head down round the corner bit of a climb - what did Mick say - look at the ground fast short steps - up and over the hill, bit of a straight can see the target go past a gate post - check the watch and again at the gate post down to 30secs - what was that about 1.5k - quick mental arithmetic, 12 secs a k = another scalp, through the cross roads ignoring the WW sign to the right, a cheer from the old couple in house on corner was welcome, another hill, this one longer, head down feeling good, look up touching distance, road levels, there's the T junction, 3k to go.Take the spot just off the bend, there's another 100mts head looking a bit ropey, start to stretch out take him on the next hill, flying now - there's the wheelchair sign 1.5k to go, check the watch 36:30 - must have lost a bit of time on the first 3k. What's that more bodies - must be 200mts ahead, foot down closing, steep downhill through the bends, can't see them, there's Paul means the end will come to soon, hit the corner and sprint home, great welcome, pity there wasn't another k, I could smell 11th place

So we finished in a time of 9 hours and 7 minutes with 3 teams only 40 seconds in front of us. There was alot of ifs buts and maybes but overall very happy with our revised 14th place finish. Can't wait for next year.