Sunday, 30 December 2012

November December 2012 Update

Sorry for lack of blogging but to be honest since last posting there has been not much positive to write about. Anyhows I thought I would put a few comments on last two months before the year ends.

I have done a few more commutes to work on bike in early November. Now that its more dark and hazardous with colder wetter conditions I’m not so keen and have not done any more. I did get great waterproof trousers from my wife as a Christmas pressie, so who knows I might get out again before next spring. Heres hoping.

I have continued to do short runs a at least once a week with neighbour, but apart from that no more long runs. About 5 weeks ago to I got a foot injury on my right foot – 2nd metatarsal strain which plagued me for a couple of months last year. I was only doing a 4 mile easy run when it played up, but the pain stayed with me for a good 4 weeks easy. It was not major sore, just annoying more than anything. After long rest period I went and ran again and on my 2nd run back after resting I got injury on left foot toe area. Not sure exactly what it is called but it just felt as if I bent the set of toes inward quite severely and strained these also. That injury lasted about 2 weeks, but these last few days I feel better, thank god. I even went for a 7 mile run a couple of days ago with McGregor which I am really pleased with.

On the health side sadly I have been back on the smokes quite a bit but as I write this I have stopped yet again these last 4 days or so. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Tonight I did my first ever session on the indoor trainer forty minutes whilst watching X Men first class on the TV in the spare room. It was really good and something that I definitely should do more often as you can really work up a sweat. I was barely doing 12 mph and AHR of 110 so it wasn’t a hard effort workout, more a moderate level. The wife mind you had a few choice words to say when she heard the noisy racket I was making from the room.
I also tried out my iPhone app ‘daily workouts’ fitness workout for 10 minutes. These apps on smartphones are pretty cool and if prepared to use them you can program in them a set of exercises to do. They even time each set and you can listen to music and watch instructional videos whilst working out.

Hopefully I will do these again and have wanted to do some type of exercise routine for many years. Unfortunately I still find them pretty boring so I don’t hold much hope but I would like to include them into a weekly routine to help with core strength when preparing for next August.

Until next time…….

PS – Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

October 2012 - Bits and pieces

Since last blog I haven’t done anything special to write about but I have just tried to be a bit of a mixture of low mileage runs and trying the odd commute to work. 

I recently subscribed to a couple of magazines – outdoor fitness and one of the triathlon magazines. With both magazines I got freebies with them
Huub transition bag -
This bag has some good reviews if you do a google search on it. I haven’t tested it out in an event but I did see if it fitted all my standard gear in it and it does do ok. It has plenty of sturdy pockets which should be good and a wet bag for your suit. The only negative I would say is that it’s a bit tight. I normally use an basic oversized sports bag with a wide open top to it as I like to rummage around sorting and checking things on an event day and I think this type of bag whilst it carries everything you need and is quality made isn’t as user friendly to those that panic like me who want to check is they have packed their extra swim goggles and they are at bottom of your bag under everything. With this bag I would have to empty a lot before I can access what I need to get.

Trial runners i got as a freebie also -

These trail runners have the thickest tread on runners I have ever seen. Just because runners and thick tread don’t be fooled into thinking that makes them better. Sometimes too much tread can trap excess mud and stones causing you to carry this extra weight. They are basic low branded type. I have only used them a couple of times but hopefully I will do more trail running in the likes of cavehill in the New Year and get some use out of them

During this month me and Caroline went over to see good friends Agnes and Colin in Edinburgh for the weekend. Last yr I went over and during this I had gone to their gym which had a treadmill. I hate treadmills and they should be called ‘dreadmills’, so boring and so warm in those mini gyms that hotels and apartments have. I love running outside and this time when I went to see our friends I decided to get myself lost for about an hour each time and run around the town. Here are some pics –



Finally, this last couple of weeks I have managed twice a week to commute to work. Loving this but realising now that it starting to get darker, wetter and colder out there so I don’t know how lond this will last.



Over the last weekend did my first proper hill run training session. 3 by 1 mile repeats (total of 6 miles)

I have always wanted to try this as I hear hill running strengthens your legs. I have to admit a loved it, although tough very enjoyable, especially as I really felt my upper leg muscles pretty sore the next day, do I must be doing something right. Also at the bottom of the hill i was pretending to be a 'pro' in a race whereby i was swinging around a lampost with my arm and slinging myself back up the hill - i must have looked like a real egit to drivers passing by.

Yesterday was Dublin marathon. Wish I had done it. Might do next yr but it is double the price of Belfast marathon plus the fact that travel and need to take a day off work kind of puts me off it. Might do next yr.

Tonight I tried my first proper night time running following the change in time and the clock going back an hour making the evenings really dark. We are currently minding Tess, my mum and dads dog for a while instead of trusty McGregor but Tess really enjoyed the 4 mile run around Carryduff.

Finally, I am really pleased with myself for achieving something I have been trying to do for couple of yrs. i have been using a familiar 6 mile route around queens pec stranmillis area and I have been trying to do a 8 minute mile pace for it. Over the last couple of weeks I twice got under 48 minutes and well chuffed. Yepee!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

212 in 2012 - Autism Charity Event by Eamonn Sheehann

Since last blog i was lucky enought to take part in helping support my good friend Eamonn Sheehan doing his part for Autism.
212 in 2012 –
My good friend Eamonn Sheehan was doing a Autism Charity event earlier on the 2nd weekend of September. This involved a 106 mile cycle then 106 mile run. I had intended to go up to support Eamonn on the run part towards the end however when I found out when checking my facebook just after midnight the Friday night that he was running straight from the bike and not having any sleep and at one stage he was a bit low on support crew during the night stage I decided to head up earlier than planned. That night I had decided to head up was quite funny. When I look back now I at one stage was settling into bed one moment, then a half hour later was knocking some coffee in me and a banana sandwich and getting dressed into running gear with a plan to do some serious pacing – something I have never done before. I knew that Eamonn was an awesome runner but I thought my main job was to just to keep the big lad from falling asleep whilst doing 4 back to back marathons in a row.
As for me, I knew I could prob do 10 miles ok, but I wasn’t sure that I could run anymore. I was afraid of letting Eamonn down and leaving him without a running partner by about 4 or 5am in the morning when I thought I would get knackered. I decided on route to Dungannon to just see how I got on and do what I could and that that would be better than nothing.
I arrived just after 1.00 am and by about 1.30 am I joined Eamonn and Jon. Eamonn’s good friend of his Jon had already been running with him for a long time. The guys had a small headtorch with them and I offered my strong bike cateye torch which has a strong beam which we took turns running with. We later joked about how the light was bouncing around like a disco as we ran in the dark.
The banter was great and although I had never met Jon before and only knew Eamonn from a few chats we had at recent triathlon events, the three of us got on as if we knew each other for yrs. Jon has a good deal of triathlon experience and has already achieved his ‘ironman’ status in Germany and was able to give me some sound advice from what he has learned over the years.
Every lap or so we went into the motor home (borrowed by Deca Keith Clarke) fuelled up and ticked off the mileage on the scorechart whilst trying not to let the midges eat us alive.
Poor Eamonn was later on finding it pretty tough especially on the knees, yet he fought through the pain and kept going. Don’t know how he did it. Amazing.
The hours past, the ducks and birds began to wake up and bring a bit a noise to the eerie silence we were experiencing, then the beauty of the sunrise came and a gentle warmth was a welcome after the long hours of darkness. By this stage Eamonn was entering his final marathon run and it was nice to start clicking off those final 26 miles.
I noticed Eamonn didn’t have any specific nutrition/hydration plan or walk/run strategy set in a plan. Eamonn said he just goes on how he feels. I hope the big lad didn’t get too upset at me bullying him with the odd ‘Eamonn, you need to eat/drink something’ and ‘right, we have rested too long, let’s go for a wee run’. At one stage I thought he looked pretty tired so I got him to take a power nap for half hr which I thought he needed after being up without sleep for so long.
I felt terrible for waking him up but later when the Deca lads Keith & Bob turned up they said power naps are useful so I didn’t feel so bad.
In the early morning Eamonn’s whole family turned up, it was great. Each lap we came around you could see all the kids playing and laughing and Eamonn’s wife dishing out the best chocolate cookies; yummy. His mum gave regular updates on who was coming and going and helped a great deal in overseeing the managing of fundraising to help Eamonn.
Mid-morning Jon had just completed over 50k and decided that was enough for him. Well done for Jon as he had been there long before me. At this stage Keith and Bob the Tri Limits lads had turned up to pace Eamonn until the end. We slagged the lads off for not running with us as they were on bikes, but to be honest we can’t really call them lazy after just completing 10 ironmans in a row recently.
Towards the last 10 mile or so Eamonn started to get quicker and quicker. He was also his usual happy self which is no feat after coming through all he had already done. He still found time to chat and be friendly to everyone. A real decent down to earth guy.
Eamonn continued his good pace and finished just after 3pm. It was an emotional time for everyone and something that I was privileged to be allowed to take part in my own little way.
Shortly after finishing I had to make a quick departure as I had to be back to look after the wee rascal Aimee as Caroline (my beautiful wife) was heading out with her friends at 5pm. But from last I heard from Eamonn after he finished he was heading out into Dungannon town to do some bucket collections; what a top fella! 
You can find out more about the event at -
Other things happening –
As for other stuff I have been up to I have increased my frequency of running but only doing about 4 or 6 mile at a time with the weekly 10 miler if I can.
I would have liked to be out on the bike a bit more but I haven’t been out that much. My last bike ride was fun getting kinda lost in the castlereagh / drumbo hills. I was using a new iphone app ‘Strava’ which is similar to mapmyfitness however it is more bike specific giving more technical specific details ( Came across what I thought to be my steepest hill to date on the bike and thankfully I was going downhill ‘pinehill descent’ 0.7 miles of 6.6% gradient. Very steep and a bit scary trying not to press too hard on the brakes going down. Later found out I did a 3min.21sec time for it and the fastest person on the Strava chart did it in 1.24 time. Holy moses, how did they not fall ! I was ranked 18th out of 18 people on the ride chart. I have to try going back to that hill and I wouldn’t mind trying it uphill however I think that I would not be able to stay clipped on the bike without having to walk someway up the hill.
As for planned future events I have only made plans so far, next year I have signed up for some event in Bolton at the start of August 2013. Can you guess what it is? giv u a clue – IMUK J

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Bits & Pieces - 2 Sept 2012

Thought i'd do a blog entry about a few odds and ends -

Have been meaning for a while to put on my blog some info about podcasts I listen to from itunes.

Triathlon/ultra/swimming/running/swimming/cycling –  

·         Age Grouper – triathlon couple of age groupers

·         Simplystu – high energy triathlon podcast

·         Zen and the art of triathlon – Brett – easy going guy from texas, brilliant podcast; guy just chats away about his life and sprinkles in odd stuff about triathlon and other bits and pieces he gets up too. Even if you’re not fitness person, I would recommend, my favourite!

·         Ultradad – self explanatory

·         Ultrarunner – bit highbrow / serious / interviews ect with proper elite runners

·         Trail runner nation – as above

·         Endurance Planet – 2nd favourite. Anything endurance related, loads of interviews and inspirational stories etc. since new owner taken over ‘ben greenfield’ more nutrition focused with more adverts, however still very good. If downloading try to download the early episodes from creator ‘Kevin’ some great episodes

·         Training bible coaching – very techy

·         Tri swim coach - techy

·         Fredcast – cycling news

·         Phedippidations – prob a joint 2nd favourite , average joe runner, very easy going

·         Quadrathon – English bloke now living in America, average joe, easy listening

·         Run the ultras

·         Running with the pack- couple of age groupers – good

·         Get your geek on – they don’t podcast anymore, but this is one of my first triathlon podcasts I listened to. Worth downloading old episodes if you can for inspiration

·         100mileultrarunning

‘Do’ drink and run

When relying on fluid intake over long runs I usually do a pre drop off, of a bottle somewhere usually for when I pass by. Eg leave a bottle in plastic bag in hedges at a ten mile point into a fifteen mile run. I have done it this way for two reasons, I really dislike carrying bottles in my hand and also I still haven’t got to the stage where I really need a hydration pack to run with as I rarely do long runs. Also I never really thought it was too much hassle to leave a bottle in hedge enroute to my starting point. Despite this I have always had a fear if a dog or a rat or something wee’d or something on the bottle. Also one time on a long run the bottle was lifted and put in nearby bin before I got to it and I suffered due to no fluid intake. I decided I would try this new product by camelbak. Its pretty good as the way it works is that your natural hand position whilst running naturally closes slightly thus holding the grip, so you don’t actively have to tense your fingers as in normal carrying of a bottle. To be honest I didn’t really think it would work that well, though I have taken it out and tested it and it works a treat. I heard on an ultrarunning podcast a guy runs with two of these. One with energy drink, the other hand bottle just plain water, thus he take a sip from each when running. The other thing he said was that if he falls when running, the bottles actually act as a kind of protection from hurting his hands when running.

New bike - Trek

Got a new bike which im pretty pleased about. The 2nd hand Giant I had for last couple of yrs has served me well, however the new basic entry Trek has a carbon frame and is a lot better. My Giant I have is a 58 cm XL which was my first road bike. I didn’t realise it at the time but it was too big for me and thankfully I know a bit more about bike sizing so I made sure I got proper size this time, a 56. Setup includes shimano road pedals and shoes (I had mountain bike clip ins previously), gel saddle (the saddle u get with bike is a rock to sit on) , rear saddle bag, cateye front and rear lights and clip on tri bars. Also transferred my garmin speed sensor to new bike to get read out of my workouts on my Garmin forerunner 410.

Hopefully this bike will do me a fair few yrs and im looking forward to getting good use out of it. I will continue to use the Giant bike for commuting etc but the Trek will be more training specific.

Unfortunately I had bad experience one day after getting bike. Within 20 mins of taking it out up the Carryduff Ballynahinch road I began testing out the rear brake for the first time. Immediately when doing this the rear end spun out from under me and I had fall. Cut my leg and hand a bit.


Was a bit of a scare at the time and I wasn’t best pleased at the various scuff damage caused to the bike. I later took it back to the bike shop but they said that there was no faults with the bike. After shop staff advised that they could not find anything wrong with bike and Trek rep would be reluctant to assist.

After all this feedback I was told I could collect the bike again but there was no reason that they would be replacing my bike as in their opinion there was nothing wrong with it.

I agreed then reluctantly to collect bike the next day. Before I finished the call I asked them to take bike out themselves for a test run on the road instead of merely looking over the bike in the shop itself. The mechanic advised that he could do this for me. Half an hour later the shop advised that yes the back end did spin out for them too when testing on the road itself.

After this the bike mechanic ended up loosening the cable and advising me from now on to use both brakes at same time to avoid same happening again. I tested the bike again after getting it back. Unfortunately the rear wheel when the rear brake is applied still spins out dangerously. Seems a bit strange for this to happen so I will continue to test out and see if I need to ask about it again in first service check in about a month’s time.

Apart from this problem the bikes a dream to ride and feels a lot more responsive and lighter, thus capable of higher speeds I predict. Still, I have only been on it a couple of times in last week so early days and hopefully in future I can give it a better review.

Garmin 410 Review

Got the Garmin forrunner 410 a while back. It’s my first GPS heart rate monitor. It has a lot of features for biking and running including the cool virtual partner function, but it is also garmins first effort at a touch bezel interface. To be honest its not that user friendly and a lot of work when your switching from one thing to another and you have a lot of ups and down movements using bezel which half the time doesn’t work or you end up getting lost in the numerous menu fields. The main good thing going for it is the GPS function as opposed to my previous footpod sensor I used before it. The problem with the footpod is that its not as accurate as I would like it to be. The FR60/70 for example may say I did a 11.5 miler when the GPS may say I did 10 miles. Ok, I may be a bit of a fuss pot, but I like to be accurate. A couple of other probs is you practically need to recharge the 410 watch to your computer after every couple of runs as battery life is poor and also it can take a minute or so to find a satellite when all you want is to start running and your patiently waiting for satellite to be found outside. I would advise others if getting their first garmin, not to get this model and to go with the FR60 which was the first one I used for a couple of yrs. Although not 100 percent accurate, I think it was more accurate than the FR70  if going for a push button type monitor. I loved it as my first HRM. The only reason I started to upgrade is because I wanted a HRM to use with bike and also could use for future interval pacing.

Talking of pacing, I did my first test of lactate tests for running and swimming.

These figures illustrate according to the website my training zones for running.

I will do a test for biking soon and work out my zones then I will start to look into how I use these training zones to apply for training. To date I still just basically just go for a swim/bike or run with no interval training whatso ever. I never push myself when running and average HR is about 165 when running and I only do 20 or 30 laps when going swimming. As for biking, I have never really tested speed as road cycling clubs would do the likes of time trials. That’s not to say maybe in the future I might join a cycling or running club.

In addition to the garmin I would also use my trusty iphone for workouts. The phone is pretty good when running as u can listen to music with or without headphones and a very good app I use is ‘Mapmyfitness’ app which is gps cycling/running monitor which you can upload to website post workouts and review. Pretty good especially as you can look at the maps online like mapmyrun website.

As we are approaching the end of summer and soon the darker evening will be drawing in I came across this reflective vest in Lidl for £4 and thought it might come in handy. Its quite reflective; photos with and without flash to show effect –


Listened to decent audiobook  recently ‘Lance – its not about the bike’


It was pretty short read and I was reading it at the time big Lance was stripped of his tour title. Its a good book and in it he talks about his cancer struggle and then briefly talks about his entry into competitive biking finishing with his first tour win. Whether he is a drug cheat or not, I don’t really care too much as I don’t follow cycling, but I do recognise him as a cancer campaigner champion primarily

Also I read - Cant swim, cant bike, cant run – Andy Holgate

If getting into triathlon, this book is a lot better that I expected. Bestseller for newbe triathletes. About a normal bloke Andy getting into triathlons and his journey to becoming an ironman. Great fun to read, quite funny and down to earth kind of guy, well written and he has a decent facebook page which I now follow as well.

Went down to Dublin recently to pick up a book from some woman selling books


Yes! I met the amazing Chrissie Wellington! It was a great inspirational talk she gave and is a true ambassador to the sport and for women generally on what can be achieved. The crazy thing she pretty much talks about her OCD complex when it comes to training. She trains herself into the ground, then trains some more and then after all the training she goes crazy analysing any weakspots on her training. She appears to be very hard on herself  and thus is probably one of the most determined sports athletes out there. The other thing about her is after consistently winning every ironman race she enters (by huge margin / no Olympic torso finish photoshoot needed for Chrissie) Chrissie then decides to jack in triathlon and go and so some international development work that she was involved in before triathlon came along. The reason..because now she has can use her newfound status as (famous) athlete to promote worthwhile project work in developing countries. Hats off to Chrissie!


As for what iv done training wise since last event not much. The odd run 4 or 6 milers usually with a couple of ten milers. My next door neighbour Neil did well doing his bit on this year’s Marathon relay and recently asked could he do a few training runs with him so I have been doing the odd 4 miler around Carryduff with Neil. Have so say this is first time having a running partner and its good craic and can make the run go faster as we chat away on our runs.

No plans as of yet as what events to do next. Me and Caroline kept busy with our new wee addition of beautiful Aimee Elizabeth born 3 August 7 lbs 7. She is adorable and has already been told by daddy that when she grows up she is going to be out running with me, whether she likes it or not J

Until next time.. catch up later and enjoy being out there tp://

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Iron Distance - 14th July 2012

After completing the maracycle I had no plans to do any more events as I was getting ready for my wife due a baby at the end of July. All things changed when on facebook on July 8th after completing his own iron distance, I congratulated my good friend Eamonn Sheehan on his facebook page, to which he replied Fella why dont u sign up during da deca, they have 7 days to go, do the 12th or 14th or 15th and I’ll stay out on the course and support as much as i can until ya finish, thats a good deal ;p Uve been training, u can swim, had a few long rides lately and ran a marathon not so long ago, mind over matter, u can do it!”

My friend Eamonn -

This got me thinking. I had initially no intention of doing a full distance this year. The babkins was due this month and I had recently completed my last race on this years checklist – the maracycle.

However, the idea of doing a cheaper and local iron distance event was very tempting. Especially as part of the entry fee was towards Cancer Focus Charity and I was familiar with the race course area having now completed two half iron distances there and also due to the fact that Eamonn quite rightly pointed out that I can cover each of the discipline distances.

On the other hand, putting a long swim, long cycle and maracycle all together in one go is another thing. I decided mentally to try to forget about that part. You have to have a good mindset sometimes when facing something that may be cumbersome. I have discovered this year especially that sometimes what you ‘don’t’ know, sometimes can do you great benefit and does you no harm! if anything it can prove benificial. Every time I thought about doing a full distance event I pretended in my head that I was merely doing another half ironman.
I tried not to think about it further than that and this worked very well for me. I knew that I would be out for most of the day. If i thought about strategy and nutrition etc too much I knew this would have freaked me out. So I decided the days leading up to it just to go with the flow and enjoy it as much I could. I kinda thought that I could try to do as much as I could and if I give up during it I would treat this event as a dry run for doing a full iron distance next year.

The other reason why I wasn’t so sure about doing the event was because things lately have been not the best. My nanny had recently passed away on 30th June and just before going into the event on 7th July my Uncle Terry had taken seriously ill with heart failure and was in a coma (passed away later on 18th July). With these things on my mind and also the worry about my wife due soon (23rd July) things were a bit hectic to say the least. I decided then to have a think about doing the event for a few days then sign up. After a few days contemplating I decided to sign up for the event that weekend on the 14th July.

Pre-race preparation with regard to following a training plan was nonexistent, however I had some base running experience from the half ironman in June and some cycling experience from the recent maracycle so I knew things weren’t that bad.

The Big Day

On arrival in Dungannon all things were pretty quiet as I arrived just after 6am with not a soul to be seen. The three deca guys i think stayed in tents and caravans on site -

I chilled out and checked out my bike and set out my race gear in the white transition tent which was beside the field car park. After 6.30 me and few other guys got changed in the tent and got ready for the swim. When chatting with them I found out that not all the guys were doing the full iron distance. Some were only doing the swim. The way the decaman 10 day event was running was basically that anyone could do parts of the event on certain days or do a full iron distance if they wanted. The three guys doing the deca (Robert, Keith and Andrew) would be doing the full distance every day for ten days.

Here is a picture of Robert and Gerry Duffy (Gerry completed  his first and won last years UK Decaman )

You could do a relay team event if you wanted. The course itself was pretty close nit whereby the swim was on the lough, the cycle would be 12 laps of adjacent road and the run would be 41 laps of route adjacent to the transition area beside the lough, there would be little chance at any time of being lost. The other benefit was that if you needed the loo or extra fuel, you were always close to transition. On the downside the run especially would become very monotonous as it was 41 loop laps.


We entered and started at 7am, however we were told just before the start off that we would only being doing 5 instead of 6 laps of the lough as the water temperature was slightly colder than expected at 14 degrees. If 15 degrees or higher we would have been allowed to do the full 6 laps, so to be exact we ended up only doing 2 miles instead of the 2.4 miles.

At the start of the swim I stayed with the pack of 6 guys for the first couple of laps however over the next couple I began to drop and eventually at the end I was dropped to the last out. The swim went okay. I used the group in front to keep me right ‘sighting’ what direction we were going, however in the later half I had to at intervals stop and take my goggles off to see where the next bouy was to see if I was going the correct way.


The bike I was looking forward to. This year I have enjoyed doing the cycling during the maracycle and I decided to just do the bike portion at a moderate pace. I drank plenty and ate every half hour to 45 mins and even declined an offer of a ‘tow’ from a cyclist who came across me on the course on his weekend long ride. I said to him that I wanted to do the hills on my own and didn’t want to get the benefit from the draft riding behind him. He praised my efforts and we chatted for ten minutes before he headed off in another direction. I was out on the bike for most of the day and had a lot of time to myself. I had time to think about my nanny and my uncle. I knew they would will me on in true ‘Magee’ fashion and this helped me during any periods I was feeling low.

Marathon  5 hrs. 31 min

The run was the bit I wasn’t looking forward to. Not that I was over worried but I knew it was going to be a long time out there and eventually the day would take its toll on me. Initially when off the bike I took my time in transition and then started running. Looking back now I realize that if I had followed a proper training plan I would have done better on the run. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to maintain the non-stop running strategy I prefer.

There was another guy completing the iron distance, not sure what his name was but here is a picture of him I came across (on the left) (well done mate!)  -

I ended up by about half way during the marathon by walk, running with increasingly reliance on walking the more laps that I covered towards the end. Thankfully I never stopped but seeing that the three deca lads had to resort to run walks, this helped me a little bit and I never felt so bad (I tried to forget the fact this was the guys 9th Ironman in a row they had done, so no wonder they were walking at times! I have to admit these guys really inspired me and I got a real thrill when my good friend Eamonn came later and joined me for a few laps. This gave me a good lift as there were not that many spectators at the event, I think it was mostly volunteers and friends and family of the three deca guys. I alternated water and Gatorade during the run with using gels throughout.

Eventually my stomach started to suffer from all the sweet stuff I had during the day so I started looking out for some basic foods with no sugar but the aid station was lacking at this latter part of the day and I was lucky to get half a banana and a few pieces of caramel bar to keep me going. I eventually had to resort to running to my car and getting a banana and a few buns to keep me going.

As the day began to close I watched as the sun began to set over the lake. It was a beautiful sight. I recalled in the morning as I had been there since the sun had just risen in the morning, and now I was there as it began to get dark again. Although I had ended up walking quite a bit I was happy in realizing that I was probably going to finish ok. I was surprised that I didn’t suffer from any injuries and the weather throughout the day had been perfect.

As it got dark it ended up being just me on the run course with the three guys with only a handful of people around, with the day getting eerily quiet. They each had a few pacers with them to help keep them going and each time I passed I gave them the thumbs up in admiration. How they did what they did I will never know. Here is a picture taken of them the next day after completing 10 Ironmans !

Eventually I was on the last lap and I heard Paul from the race timing crew shout ‘last lap Philip, come on, nearly there’. I decided I was going to try at least to finish in style. I walked half of the last lap and ran the second half and ran through the finish line with a massive smile on my face. I was so pleased and my emotions were all over the place. As for time I later found out it was total time of 15hrs, 31 mins, 55 sec. I was so pleased I finished under the cut off time of 17 hrs!

Since the event my uncle has sadly passed away. I do believe however that both Nanny Magee and Uncle Terry were there with me on the day watching over me and helped keep me going through the darker periods.

Today it’s been a couple of weeks since the event and I have done a couple of short runs but nothing special. With all the stress of recent times I was on the smokes for about ten days but thankfully I’m off them again. As for what’s next, I have my biggest challenge yet to date. A baby! My lovely wife Caroline is due and any time now we should be ‘signing up’ for parenthood. I’m so excited, yet so scared; wish me luck!

Bearing in mind this might be my last blog entry for a while, I thought I would look back and review this year based on what I had planned initially. I had at the start of 2012 planned on doing a swimathon, marathon followed by the half ironman with a desire to beat my time. Unfortunately I didn’t beat my time in the half ironman, but I did achieve to get a PB on my marathon time and get just under 4 hrs. I also managed to do my first trail ultra 50k and do my first Dublin maracycle. And to top everything I even did a full iron distance! Yippee!