Thursday, 31 July 2008

So who's joining me...

Starting Monday...if you want, you can update your progress by leaving comments on the blog.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

New 5km Personal Best

As mentioned in a previous post, after football training tonight I went out for a quick run around the block. Didn't really fancy bothering with a HR limit (it was set to 160bpm, but wasn't paying attention to the beeping) and jogged according to how I felt.

While I won't say the run was easy (it wasn't), it certainly felt easier in some ways than the running I'd been doing previously, limited to HR. I felt strong most of the way around (though the last km was tough) and was doing a decent pace up hills. Around 3.5km in I was thinking of taking a rest (walk), so that I'd still come home in under 30mins, but pushed on through it.

Eventually made it around in 28m 20s (according to Sports Track), which is a personal best by around 3 mins (I think). Average HR was pretty high (by my normal runs) of 169bpm. I definitely think that the lower HR training has had a big influence on this, so will probably stick with the for the time being, mixing in one of these sort of runs per week.

Here's the overview of the run for anyone thats interested.


Was back in Dublin at the weekend and used the opportunity to scout out what the Kayaking leg of the Gael Force might be like. Couple of my friends are pretty big into their kayaking and offered to take me out for a spin, which was pretty good of them.

So after sourcing a boat (kayak), bouyancy aids, helmets, wetsuit, decking, sandals, t-shirts and Lord know what else for me, we got onto the Boyne for a trip between Navan and Slane. The stretch of water has 7 weirs on it, which was news to me (probably should have done a little bit of research first I guess). Spent about twenty minutes just paddling around, getting used to the boat, which is definitely more complicated that I thought it'd be. These boats have two ridges underneath, either side, which unless you're perfectly balanced, seem to catch the flow of water and turn you.

After a while it was a case of just having to give it a go and seeing what happened. Went for the first weir (which as it turned out was pretty small) and after an inital good start, capsized and thought I was going to drown. Eventually got out of the boat, with no lasting damage, save having to empty it and get back in. Needless to say, this was going to be a recurring them for the trip.

The next two weirs were a very similar story and we then came to the biggest obstacle of the whole run, called the S-bends I think. The idea was basically to stay in the middle, where the water was flowing fastest and let it take the boat through, all the while paddling to more or less maintain balance. It was a disaster from the very start...didn't enter the run straight at all, and started ricochet of the walls on either side (around three times) before capsizing. Got out of the boat ok, but problem here was that the run was about 100m long and pretty fast flowing, so basically had to float the whole way to the end. Kinda wish I could swim properly for this bit.

Had an absolute disaster getting back into the boat after this but eventually did. Almost made it down the fifth weir, failing just as I thought I was ok. Thankfully made it throught the last two unscathed. Boy was I glad to get out of the boat...while not tired physically, I was still pretty wrecked. Thankfully, had some warm clothes to get into in the car on the way back.

I think the GF kayak stage will be pretty different (its on the sea and in a two person kayak for one thing), but I'm pretty sure this experience was definitely worth it. Its also good to know that its not going to be too much exertion and all upper body, but I guess that'll be a problem in its own right if my legs start getting stiff.

Anyways, I'd like to thank all the guys (Eamon, Ger, Ian, Niamh) for their help and patience on the day. I'd like to think it wasn't as bad as the skiing :) Also, I'd like to thank John for lending me the loan of his kayak...hopefully it wasn't too muddy when returned.

Bring on Gael Force now...

Recent Training

Following on from my mammoth session last Wednesday, I did the following:
  1. A 27km bike ride during lunch on Thursday
  2. A little bit of GAA training on Thursday evening
  3. Kayaking on Saturday ... more to follow on this.
  4. Got back from Dublin on Sunday and done a 10km run, of which I'd say 6km of which was in a torrential downpour.
  5. Re-done the cycle part of the monster session on Monday, doing it just less than 10 mins faster, logging my third fastest time on the bike. The two faster times would have been drafting (like in the Tour, where you take turns being the first rider), which saves a fair bit of energy.
  6. Tonight (Tuesday), went GAA training earlier.
  7. Afterwards, done a quick 5km lap around the block. Will be posting about this separately.
So, had a pretty busy week so far, with just Friday off. May be taking tomorrow off, or may have a quick bike ride at lunch.

Monday, 28 July 2008

GAA update

Some of you seemed interested in my refereeing career over the weekend, so here's an article about the game I refereed: (third paragraph being the only relevant part)

Also, some interest was expressed in my "full forward" career...more info here:
and here (I'd a shocking game, despite what the report says):

Monster session

Its almost been a week since I actually done the session, but figure I may as well write something about it for posterity. After realising that I was probably really under-estimating the Gael Force (my proposed finishing time would have put me in the top 50 out of over 300 last year), I figured that it was time to get serious training wise.

So, last Wednesday, I decided to try and mimic the bulk of the first half of the race by running home from work, the long way (14km) and to follow that up with at least a 35km bike ride. In Gael Force, that would more or less get me up to Croagh Patrick, without doing the Kayak section and also saving 1km from the runs.

Run, went ok for the most part. Seemed to struggle a bit in the early part, taking a walk after around 3km. Got into a rhythm though, keeping the HR around 155bpm to 160bpm or so, but the pace wasn't too blistering. Still, I'm pretty sure that'll be my strategy in GF, so thats no harm.

Got back to the house, after 14.1km in 1hr 41m 40s, an average pace of 7.13 per km (157bpm). A brief transition onto the bike and I set off. I'd always assumed that once I got onto the bike in GF that I'd be grand after that, but this session definitely opened my eyes. I was hating it almost immediately, and it didn't get any better as the ride went on.

The km's just seemed to drag and drag. As I've probably mentioned before, Cambridge is pretty flat, so I can only imagine what its going to be like in the actual event. On a few occassion I had to stop pedalling and let myself recover briefly before continuing.

Eventually made it back to the house after 40.4km, which I done in 1hr 38m 27s, an average speed of 24.6kmph (average HR 142bpm, cadence 82.8rpm). Given my state at that point, I was struggling to climb the stairs in the house, never mind Croagh Patrick.

Still, it was a useful experience and at least its proved to myself that I should definitely get around, even if it means crawling the last bit!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Must be doing something right

Since the weekend, five totally unrelated people have said to me that I've lost weight. These people varied from people that see me daily (secretary at work), to people who only see me every few weeks. Might have to start keeping a count :)

Monday, 21 July 2008

Last few days

Main thing over the last few days fitness wise was the championship game on Sunday, which we won comfortably enough in the end. Made hard work of it at times, conceding goals at key moments, but we kept the heads down and pulled through. Played the full game at full forward and got three points for my troubles. Really should have got another 2-1, but the keeped made two good saves to deny me.

Then tonight, went out for a cycle with one of the lads. Another one was supposed to join us, but had mechanical difficulties. Idea initially was to do an easy cycle after the game yesterday, but that quickly developed into a hill session over the course of the day. The final draft had us going up and down the hill three times from each side, followed by a run over and back.

Thankfully, when the main instigator of the above plan dropped out, we decided on over and back four times. We'd an easy cycle to the hill to act as a warmup, and gave the hill part a good go. Found it tough, especially the last set but probably could have done another set (if pushed). Had a nice easy cycle back, mainly talking football the whole way.

Gael Force is just over a month away now though...can't wait.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Jeez, your 6/7ths of the man you used to be...

Weigh in today meant that I'd passed the 108kg average mark for the first time since I started keeping track (Jan 06). Bit of a milestone, considering I weighed in (on average) at (just over) 126kg at my heaviest, back around April 2007.

So far, the loss has been eighteen kilo's, or one seventh of 126kg. Don't know why I noticed that (as opposed to one eighth\one ninth\etc), but just feel its worth mentioning. Its been a long sixteen months, not all smooth, but I'm delighted with the progress so far. I definitely notice the difference, especially in the fat suit department (its still there, but no-where near as big).

In the overall scheme of things, I guess I'm about half way to where I want to be. I'd love to hit around 90kg, which I think is a good place to aim for. For the last few years, the lightest I've been is just over 100kg, and I definitely still had some to lose, so 90kg at the moment seems about right. It would still put me over the 25 BMI (85kg!!), but it still a damn sight better than my max of 37. (I don't particularly put too much belief into BMI, at least on an individual basis).

Obviously, the next goal is 107kg, and we'll take it from there :)

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Another hour run

These are getting easy :)

Considering, I left work with the intention of doing a 10km run, followed by a cycle (probably around 40km), got home, fell asleep for 90 mins and felt like doing absolutely nothing when I woke up, I consider this run a great achievement.

So initially setting out for a 30min run, I felt I was going well enough to stick with the original distance (still had no intention of doing the cycle). Aim was to stick at (or below) 160bpm, but for some reason, I seem to settle around 162bpm. I'm not going to argue over the 2bpm.

As per usual, wasn't the fastest run, which is generally the case when I stick to a HR limit. Done the 10km in 1hr 8m 32s, five and a half minutes slower than my (race) PB. Still, it was a darn sight better than the last time I tried this route, which took me an extra ten minutes (didn't really seem up for a run that night).

Swimming update

Managed to get down to the pool for the first time in a few weeks at lunch today. It was a bit overcast, so the outdoor pool was pretty quiet. Pretty cold initially, but was fine one I got into it.

Just focused on breathing and also some skulling work. The couple of attempts I made at freestyle were at least as good as the last time i was down, if not slightly better. I made it about one third of the length (100yds) in my furthest attempt today. Hopefully, I'll be able to build on that in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


Busy enough few days, training wise. Had a blitz tournament on Saturday, which more or less took up the whole day for about an hours worth of a game. All the waiting around between games meant I was pretty stiff on the Sunday.

Reffed a game on the Sunday, which loosened me out a bit. Got a serious amount of abuse, but that seems to the be norm, rather than the exception. Then last night, done some some sprints with one of the lads and tonight had GAA training.

Weight seems to be on the way down again, which is good. Had an upward bit there last week where I wasn't really doing much after hurting my knee\hamstring, but seems to be on the way down again. Knee still isn't right, especially when turning, but its not really causing too much problems besides.

Haven't been out on the bike in about two weeks, so might try and get a ride in over the next few days.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

That seemed easy...

Went out tonight for my first run in about a week. First part of the week was a voluntary rest, after I was just feeling spent after a few tough days of training. The remainder of the rest was forced, after picking up an injury during a game at the weekend.

Went down to football training tonight but didn't train, so decided to go for a run when I got back, to see how the knee\hamstring was? Initial plan was to do 30mins or so, but I felt pretty good, so kept pushing that out until I'd got an hour in.

Inital plan was to stick to a 155bpm HR limit, but didn't seem able to do that. 160bpm was the next plan, but seemed to settle around 163\164bpm. Anyways, here's a link to the run.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Brisk walk

Knee felt an awful lot better today, but still want to take it easy on it for a day or two yet. Called down to GAA training briefly, didn't do anything besides kick a few balls. So when I got back to the house, went for a brisk walk around the block. Done around 7km (my normal route) in just under an hour. Knee felt fine, but calf was a little stiff.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Week off

After more or less killing myself with too much effort last week, I decided on Thursday to take a few days off to recover. We'd a big game on Sunday in the football, so it was probably a sensible idea I figured. So cue three days of basically eating anything and everything I wanted. Happy days.

Done absolutely nothing besides some walking around London on Saturday. So on Sunday, thought I was fresh for the game. Conditions were a bit wet to start off with, but then absolutely poured in the second half. I figure I'd done alright in the first half, but really struggled in the second half conditions. Anyways, despite being nine points down early in the second half, we pulled back to win by a point in the end.

Got back home last night and went to the cinema. Knee really seized up during the film and it was a bit of a struggle on the walk home (only about 250m). Had a very patchy nights sleep and dropped into the Sports Injury Clinic in the hospital this morning. Turned out its more than likely a lower hamstring problem, as opposed to a knee problem, thankfully. Its a lot better this evening, so will wait a few days before doing anything on it.

Got to stop eating though...

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Tough day

Pretty wrecked right now after a tough day. Was meant to play football with a few lads at work at lunchtime, but only three turned up. Its been the same way for a few weeks and to be honest, unless there's at least eight people there, I struggle. I'd much rather go for a run instead, believe it or not...I certainly get more out of it.

So instead of playing football, done a few laps of the park with the other two lads that turned up. Didn't bother putting the Garmin on, but it seemed like the pace was faster than what I was normally used to. That said, having someone there to run with made a massive difference.

After work, met up with the lads for the weekly GF training. Had a hill session planned for the bike tonight, basically six reps of the biggest hill we know of near Cambridge. Only managed five, probably the main reason being that one of the lads pedals fell off, but I guess I was also looking for an excuse to stop. Very tough going and was definitely glad to see the end of it. No doubt will do it again a few times before GF.

Probably the main reason I was suffering so much on the cycle was that I had zero energy. After the exertions at lunch, I just had a bowl of soup and some rolls. For breakfast, I'd a (biggish) bowl of muesli. Probably not enough in hindsight.

Left the car at work, so going to cycle in tomorrow morning, probably taking the long route. Hopefully, will clock up 40km or so, which isn't a bad start to the day.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Last few days

Well I failed pretty miserably on the 7 day challenge. In total, done four 30 min runs in the seven days, including last nights run which was an interval session. Also got three cycles in and a longish walk.

Made it down the pool as well, which is a first for the last few weeks. One of the sessions was actually a couple of hours of swimming tuition, which was excellent. Still not flying, but definitely got a few pointers that I'll focus on over the next few weeks.

Finally, had two GAA training sessions. Don't really find these too tough, for the most part, but still much rather be playing with a ball than running for half an hour.

July 1st Weigh-in

Still going in the right direction. Slow and steady Smile Really happy last night when I came across an old belt and could fasten it one extra notch comfortably, while two notches was possible but a bit more of a squeeze.

02/01: 115.64kg
01/02: 113.79kg
03/03: 114.04kg
01/04: 114.39kg
01/05: 112.37kg
03/06: 110.13kg
01/07: 108.34kg