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://