14 July, 2010here follows a mini race report... it's not 'War and Peace' but you get the idea.
im not running a wet week but mt leinster was my 2nd favourite run to date behind 'Tonelagee & Lake'. i knew it was a relatively long climb so tried pacing myself unlike previous runs where i went off far too fast. As we parted company with the fire road i tried staying with Fergal Buckley more for fear of getting lost but the small yellow flag markings were plentiful and obvious.... as the ascent grinded on and on i surprised myself in keeping with him for nearly all the way up as Fergal is usually a good bit further up the field than me.
i made the the summit in 53mins according to my trusty casio stopwatch but had emptied myself on the climb. i had a great rush of adrenaline on the initial part of the descent over the boggy bits but as has happened in previous races when i went over the hour mark, i completely died on my arse. i felt like i was running on empty and was getting a bit disorientated as the yellow flags thinned out as we went further down to rejoin the fire road. Fergal Buckley was out of sight at this stage. i tried to stay with John Langenbach (high viz yellow t-shirt). I managed to do this only for a short spell. As he led the way he was a bit hesitant at a few junctions saying "i'll let you do the navigating" which was flattering considering he's usually way ahead of me in a race. He must have been joking though as he soon speeded up and dropped me like a bad habit too. i was feeling sorry for myself when 3 more swept by. One of which was Tommy 'tumble' Galvin who had his customary fall in front of me. He joked after he was like a over-turned turtle scrambling with his hands and legs in the air but as usual he lost no time (to me anyway) and a fall that would slow most mortals only seemed to make him faster! i now resigned myself to dropping down the field like a stone undoing all the hard work on the way up.
it was my first mt run in the rain so left my trail runners (dry weather only??) behind in favour of astro turf soccer boots. THey were light and had good grip and we're great on the way up but as the descent went on i felf less and less cushion/support from the soccer moldies and i nearly went over on my ankle several times. Regardless of that, i was completely spent and fading all the way to the line and had expected to lose more places. I was surprised and satisfied to finish in my highest position yet 26th although it was a small field... Thanks to the POrters for such a well-marked route which makes it possible for novices like me to participate. The bog, mist and wind at the top made for a fitting atmosphere....
The race winner's post race report raised a few eyebrows and there was some lively debate on the forum afterwards regarding the prickly subject of manditory gear. Phew! At least this may take the heat off the 'Seefingan-gate' directions fiasco. Yours truly was the 'last marshall' at the centre of that storm.
14 July, 2010Race day dawned reasonably dry but very dark and overcast. Personally I was a wee bit worried about the upcoming descent as I received ankle injuries before in different races and you tend to remember those things.. I also knew that in the heat of battle I would throw caution to the wind especially if things were going well.. I have an under used pair of Roclite 285 and they were a source of comfort at least for the descent. First time to wear them on a proper open mountain descent..I have over raced in the past eight days, I worry if this is a bridge too far..I have a slight pain in my right knee for quite a while now and this plays on my mind as I knew the descent would put it under pressure. My plan is to try and go with Martin and Aengus early but as I was setting up my Garmin, Jane quickly shouted go.. I was caught unawares and wound up at the back of the pack.. I see Gerry up front and then Aengus, Colm and two Slaney athletes (Martin Monahan and Des Kennedy). Martin Mc was a bit back but suddenly takes off, he is so good in the hills.. Martin draws level with the leading bunch.. I have to be patient, cant barge through, remember biding my time to pass Bruce, the gaps are there and I see Gerry and Mick Hanney about ten Metres up with another 20m to the lead pack.. I focus on Gerry and Mick, catch up and my tempo now carries me into the gap about 30 or 40m behind the leading five... I am determined to catch them but Martin McDonald, as usual, is driving the pace, and after 2 or 3 minutes I realise you cant give him that gap he wont let up...I am going well but its impossible to close that 40m, Gerry is behind and he is a warrior so I am now sandwiched.. We continue up the Fire road and I see Martin Monahan slip from the lead pack..This is good news for me as I now have a renewed focus. I have to reel him in... I can vividly remember the struggle to catch Martin, I dont know him, but he looks strong and is not weakening..Grass track comes and goes, the weather begins to change, it is now raining and I notice the wind for the first time..Visibility is reducing, I have to catch Martin otherwise I will get lost.. I cant see the lead group now just Martin. Fear of gettin lost drives me on, dont lose sight, rocky ground is upon me. This is going to pose problems coming down I thought. Through the rocks a slight descent, go for him and Im up with him. I remember leading him through the flatter section. The weather is deteriorating fast, the wind is gale force and the rain is lashing. It is not an exaggeration to say visibility is down to about 10 or 15 metres. I see a silhouette above, it must be the other slaney runner, renewed focus and I chase , Martin is with me.. Bog holes now, literally jump in and climb out, dont know how many.. I remember saying to Martin "this is a different world up here". Lose sight of Des, I take the wrong line once or twice, Martin seems more alert than me.. I remember thinking where is the top it has to be close, where is the leader.. Then Colm comes out of the near zero visibility followed about 100m later by Aengus. Martin McDonald appears,time for a light hearted anecdote now that really sums up the conditions..Tommy Galvin is familiar with Martin McD. over many years and when he sees Aengus, instictively shouts go on Martin (Now Martin and Aengus are of similar stature)..He pushes on, sees Martin again about 1 minute later, shouts again and wonders is he going delirious in the conditions. Hope Tommy does not mind me recounting this as it encapsulates the ghost like conditions. Back to the race, I see Des, Martin Monahan and I are virtually on top of him. I reach the Cairn first but slip and Martin (I think) gets to Graham before me..That one moment at the top was pure magic and the conditions were the reason. It was totally Ghostly and surreal.. Im worried now, these guys are faster than me going down. We meet Gerry and Mick (i think) and for a moment im ahead. The wind blows me into Martin, bog hole, shoe almost comes off, damn it did not tie the laces tight enough.. Lesson here in soft conditions. The guys are not gaining , the 3 of us are flying now.. Suddenly Des yelps , he has jarred his ankle but he pushes on.. Bog hole, this time my shoe is off, I shout in frustration as I knew it was going to happen.. I just force it on quickly and Im now 25m down on them. Cant get lost, I throw all caution to the wind now and start to take risks. Im going too fast and cant slow down but it works and im up again.. I am way too fast when the rocks suddenly appear, too late ,I jump and just hope I land on soft peat. But my heel hits a rock and I feel pain.. Im lucky its not serious and I slow down to negotiate the rocky section.. I take Martin's slipstream now and decide to wait for the fire road..We have come this far, enough risks taken. We are flying now and Im feeling more confident. Martin is getting lots of support from the ascending runners who keep shouting "Come on Farmer".. He is obviously a Farmer like Martin McDonald and as tough as nails because Im running fluidly now. Down the grassy slope, and Im pulling ahead, Des has dropped back, maybe his ankle is slowing him... the fire road, visibility good, and I see Martin McDonald about 200m ahead.. I go flat out, cant see Martin, whats happening. I didnt know then but Martin had turned right into the forest. Fair dues to "the Slaney Farmer" he called me. I stop, damn was 30m up on him now about 20m down, have to do it all again. About a mile from home, Jeep ahead left turn, down towards the farmhouse. I am under pressure now , laying it on the line and pass Farmer and am gaining on Martin. I can see the Farmhouse, I have to keep going because Martin Monahan just will not give up. I get to Jane about 4 seconds in front of him, my Garmin registered 4.55 per mile for the last mile down to 4.52mile pace for the last 400m.. Total pace for the whole race was 7.51 per mile covering 8.23 miles....It was a fantastic race, one of the few I will really remember when my running days are behind me. It had everything and I thought the conditions made it spectacular. Never met Graham and Jane but they have set up a race to be proud of and the best of luck to them.. Pity the bit of controversy about the Jackets but luckily it had no negative Impact on the race.. Congrats to Colm Hill on winning, youth is vital in this sport and he has obviously passed over the easy social life to be competitive..I wish him success going forward. His reports are combative and he should continue to write, arrogance and confidence is ok and a plus in an individual sport but he must be careful with off the cuff writing when references are made to fellow athletes.. Congrats to Aengus at 46 years for making such a battle of it, he is one tough athlete,who does'nt know the meaning of the word bluff where racing is concerned.Thats why he was in the top 20 national vets cross country the last 2 years and won an individual medal in this years national 10k road race ... Also to Martin who had been up late and was very tired the morning of the race but still represented North Laois. You can always count on him...Indeed congrats to everybody who took part as Its not all about the people at the front. Everybody is equal...
13 July, 2010MEN
1. North Laois 9 (2 Aengus Burke, 3 Martin McDonald, 4 PJ Carroll)
2. Slaney Olympic 31 (5 Martin Monaghan, 8 Mick Jordan, 18 Mick Morrissey)
3. GEN 74 (12 Alan Ayling, 25 Joe Lalor, 37 Brendan Doherty)
13 July, 2010A wet and windy day in Wexford for this one. The sun in the south-east had deserted us. The numbers of runners were up from last year despite the conditions. We were set on our way at 12 noon by race director Jane Porter, who can happily rest easy after having directed 4 races in recent weeks including the Enniscorthy half and the marathon for the 32 country marathon guys during the week. Take a bow Jane.
We headed up the fire road at a steady pace. Some of the runners discarded they running jackets immediately after the start.. a point that was picked up on by the race director afterwards.. when you are recommended to wear a jacket for your safety you should do so. They know who they are .
A lead group led by Colm Hill and the North Laoisers (Martin, Aengus and PJ) with Des and Martin Monaghan moved ahead. I was in a following few running alongside Gerry Brady. You climb steadily for the 1st 4 kilometres. After the fire road the track breaks out onto a grassy and stony track. After the overnight rain there were small streams running down the track I was slowly ascending. The wind was rising and making things that bit more challenging as we ran. Gerry Brady found another gear (or I lost a gear on this section) and he moved off into the distance. Low cloud meant you could only seen nearby runners before they disappeared from view completely. The 3rd kilometre has most climb and possibly most suffering. The trail was in parts stony, muddy and pools of water â€“ a bit of everything really â€“ and I was well glad I wore my salomons. Anyone wearing just road shoes would be trouble on this terrain. Kilometre 4 and yet more climbing on similar terrain. Wind had really gotten up at this point and I was glad of the extra cover of the rain jacket. Iâ€™ll have to trade in my luminous yellow jackets though for something resembling khaki camouflage as my jackets make me a target for runners behind me. Over the intermediate peak (black hill?) and onto the flat ridge between this and Mount Leinster.
Visibility was really bad and I was very glad that some markings were out on the track to show the way. Difficult to keep the footing at times in the muddy and wet conditions. The climb started again and this time itâ€™s the main climb to the summit. The area up here is pock-marked with peaty / boggy areas and has suffered due to quad bike damage over the years. The trail was quite slippery in parts but I made slow shuffling progress along it. At one stage I was easily past by Hugh Kinsella who was motoring. We reached the stoney section which surrounded the main peak. Not far to go now. Followed the marking as the wind threatened to lift you off your feet at times. Colm Hill ran towards me on his way back down the mountain. Despite the underfoot conditions he was really moving. I reckon Martin McDonald was about half a minute behind him. Through boggy pools and up and down peaty stacks near the summit. More descending runners past. Aengus Burke, Martin Monaghan, PJ Carroll, Des Kennedy, Gerry Brady, someone I didnâ€™t recognise (one of the Slaney guys?) then Hugh Kinsella. Running on tarmac then concrete now as the incessant wind against the TV antennae at the top of Mount Leinster filled the air with a vuvuzela like whistle sound. Up and around the cairn where summit marshall Graham Porter was squatting down in vain looking for some cover from the wind and rain. Just over 6.5k to the turn. The ascent had taken approximately 45 mins.
Back down through the boggy pools. Saluted other runners that were ascending and werenâ€™t too far away from me. Amidou and Alan were probably the nearest to me. I knew that both of them were very good descenders so the descent would be interesting. Nearly took a wrong turn at the top as I struggled to see where the next marking flag was. Justin, ascending, shouted â€˜this way Mickâ€™. Then, Amidou came along and now instead of running on my own I was running in someoneâ€™s wake and he was flying. I kept up as best I could and we made it across the wet ridge towards Black hill. From previous yearâ€™s races I knew the rest of the descent was fast and furious but wasnâ€™t short either. I climbed over Black hill ahead of Amidou and started down the wet, stony, muddy trails. Found myself criss crossing the trail at times looking in vain for the best non-rutted non-pooled running line. Amidou got a 2nd wind though and on a wider section he surged past and ahead and much as I tried I couldnâ€™t keep up. I tried to limit the gap but it was growing. I ran hard knowing that Alan wouldnâ€™t be too far behind either and I didnâ€™t want to lose another place. I wasnâ€™t wearing a heart rate monitor but I was probably near to maxâ€™ing out on the descent as I put in some fast kilometre splits (3:19, 3:16: 3:21). The runner ahead was doing the same or better though as the gap didnâ€™t narrow to any great extent. Crossed the line in 11th place in a time of 70:44, a faster time than my previous 2 Mt Leinster outings. I canâ€™t quite believe that given the conditions today but itâ€™s a time I would have taken beforehand. More incredibly the course record was broken today with Colm winning in a fantastic 59:59 time â€“ a time set despite a fall at one point and a loo stop ! A pity Brian, Peter or Jason werenâ€™t there today to make for a Leinster Champs showdown. Defending champion Tom Hogan was missing too with injury. North Laois filled places 2 to 4. Great running. Dena Hogan finished 1st lady ahead of Niamh Garvey. A wet but happy bunch of runners decamped to the Holy Grail pub in Ballindaggin for some post race grub and chat. Always a nice feature of the Wexford races hosted by the Porterâ€™s of Castledockrell. Great day guys, thanks.
13.05k, 70:44, 5:25min/k pace, 612m ascents
12 July, 2010Report pulled because it reads the same way as the rest of them.
No delete button
11 July, 2010Great race and the weather just about behaved. What I remember most from the race is the thousands of little yellow flags, I kept thinking they are going to run out of them and wondering who was the kind soul who made them! They led us all the way to Graham at the summit and then back to Jane at the finish. Nice varied course, quite similar in profile and length to Black Mountain. Lots of twists and turns on the ridge run meaning you had to keep a high concentration and alertness to stay on course.
Up front a small group moved away early on and then Colm Hill and Aengus Burke went off for a head to head tussle. Martin McDonald running his fourth hard race in eight days chased valiantly after them!!!
A fast descent by Colm to break the hour barrier and the course record. He probably turned for home in around 38 minutes so back down in 22 minutes. I use an average of around 60% of your time for the climb and 40% for the descent. Between Colm being a good descender and the wind against us on the way out, Colm had a relatively fast descent. In 2009 Tom Hogan had ascended in 36:40 and descended in 23:48 for an overall time of 60:28. PJ Carroll ran one of his best races in finishing fourth.
Good to see so many Wexford/Carlow runners in the race, and a good day to start the compulsory bringing of windsheaters / rain jackets on championship courses as it could take quite a while to get an injured runner off the course, and the misty damp windy weather was not the sort to wait around in. Bruce appeared in his pink t-shirt and in good fitness.