Monday, 30 November 2009


This post probably doesn't belong with my last few posts - but since I've been back from the states, I've developed an addiction to pancakes - mainly blueberry and\or banana. I've tried a few different recipes but I think I've concluded that the best one is this one.

Try it out - it's dead easy (even I can make it) and it tastes great. Really easy to make up on a weekend morning. Just don't use too much syrup (have to use Golden Syrup as I can't seem to find Maple Syrup anywhere).

Please note that this recipe is not good if you're looking to lose weight :)

Saturday, 28 November 2009


After my massive feat of restraint on Thursday, yesterday (Friday) was back to my old bad habits. Someone else had brought cakes into work and this time I ended up stuffing my face. Didn't weigh-in this morning but did get out for a run with Idoia and I've been pretty good so far today, so I'm not feeling to bad about yesterdays slip.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Last few days

You may have noticed the weight charts on the right-hand-side of the homepage over the last few days - I've started doing daily weigh-ins again and as you can probably gather, things ain't been going well for a while.

My main goal for the remainder of the year is to get under the 110kg mark - that'll have me at a 1kg gain (or so) loss for the year, which is a bit disappointing, but thats life.

I've been eating pretty well over the last four days, mainly porridge in the morning, plenty of fruit, a baguette for lunch and a decent dinner. I've also got out for two runs this week with Idoia, so thankfully getting a bit more active.

Today was a really good day - one of my colleagues brought in a truck-load of cakes to celebrate his birthday and thankfully I resisted the temptation. We'll see if I can keep that up over the weekend.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

This sort of attitude really annoys me

Came across a link from an internal social networking site we use at work about "plodders". If it wasn't that it was in the New York Times, I probably wouldn't be so bothered.

Thankfully, the same message trail offered a reply by the president of the New York Road Runners association which probably summed up my sentiments better than I ever could.

In any case, all I've to say is that I wouldn't begrudge the experience I had running in NY (and by extension any where) to anyone from the fastest runners to the last finishers. They're all their for their own reasons - sure the finishers medal \ t-shirt are important to some runners, but I doubt anyone does a marathon for just that!

Monday, 23 November 2009

So what next?

Over three weeks now since the marathon and I've done pretty much nothing, save for 2/3 runs. Motivation is pretty low and all I want to do is lounge about and eat :( I've probably put on around 7kg since my low a few months back, with about half that being in the last few weeks. I really need to turn that around, so I'm starting to log my weight daily again (111.7kg this morning).

My other goal is to get back into the pool at lunch-times. My gear has been sitting in the car for over a week now, but between being busy at work and the aforementioned motivational issues, I haven't taken a dip.

I might also try and get a 10km or maybe even a half in before the new year, but only if it's extremely convienient. I still haven't officially broken the 10km hour mark (one of my goals at the start of the year), so it'd be nice to get that in the bag to finish off the year.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

New York Marathon Thanks

Been meaning to write this for a while but been pretty busy (again). I'd just like to thank anyone reading this for the support and encouragement you've provided since I started the marathon training all those months ago. You've kept me honest when it was easier to be lazy and my crossing the line is testament to that.

The support has been expressed in multiple forms, from in-person (Mum, Bart, Eamon, Lisa, Archie, Aoife, Maria, Thomas), text (Tim, Christine, Conor, John, Mauri), email (Brian, Thomas, Tom, Maurice), instant message (Eamonn, Paul), blog comments (Matt, Alan, Andrew (x2)), etc. It was pretty cool getting text messages during the race (Aimee (mile 8), Fintan (mile 15), Ger (Mile 18), Idoia (multiple times with encouragement and to arrange meeting places)) which certainly helped buoy the spirits, even if some of you thought I'd finished. A few people (Declan, Paul, some of Idoia's family) followed my progress on-line which I was surprised at.

I've missed a load, but to the many who I haven't mentioned, thank you - I'd be here all night and I'd still miss people.

Finally, I'd like to thank Idoia for all her support over the last few months - whether it was getting me out of bed (I'm really not a morning person) for early morning long runs, your constant encouragement during the highs & lows. I'm delighted that you were in NY to share the experience with me.

Anyways, time for bed I think :) I'll leave you all with two pictures - first is on the finishing straight (about 125 yards to go) and the second is just after the finish line.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

New York Marathon Part 2

So my previous post had me up to the start line on the morning of the marathon. Forgot to mention that the weather was absolutely perfect for running - cool, overcast and dry. Definitely my running weather.

So at 10.20am, we're off. I don't hear the gun \ cannon \ whatever started the race but we start moving - slowly at first, then a bit faster as we get up to the start of the bridge (the starting point for the marathon is on the bridge, which is only nominally in Staten Island). The waves are split into three parts, and my part is on the left hand side of the upper level (the others are on the RHS and the final one is on the lower level). Fortunately we're on the Manhatten side and get some awesome views of the NY skyline. The bridges are the biggest hills on the route and the first one is probably the toughest, but the adrenaline helped make short work of it. We passed the first mile marker while STILL on the bridge (1.6-1.8 miles long in total)! Of course, what goes up, must come down and soon enough we were in Brooklyn.

Once we get of the highway (i.e. the bridge) and into Brooklyn proper, the crowds and atmosphere start to pick up. The next 11.5 miles or so are in Brooklyn and it's sub districts. There's plenty of people around, cheering us on, loads of bands (over 100 on the course! That's over four per mile!). I was going well in the first part, felt great and was really loving the occasion. Probably my most enduring memory of Brooklyn though was the long, long, long straight road we were running down - all you could see forwards and backwards were runners! Pretty impressive.

The night before I'd made some loose arrangements to meet up with Idoia at two or three points on the course. We met up for the first time between mile 8 and 9. It was good to see her and I stopped briefly to grab a drink of water and a quick chat(I'd started walking through the water \ gatorade zones which were every mile). Soon enough I was off again, with two thirds of the race still ahead but still feeling good.

Next few miles were ok, settled into a routine of walking through the water zones and running in between. At this point, I'd passed out the 4hr 30m pace group and was still going strong.

My next rendezvous with Idoia was between mile 14 and mile 15 - which was a positive thing to focus on. Another brief stop there and I was back on the road. I was starting to feel a bit bloated at this point and fancied a bit of solid food, but had planned this aspect of my nutrition poorly. Still, nothing I could do about it now but soldier on.

The next challenge was around the mile 13 mark - the bridge over the Pulaski Bridge from Brooklyn into Queens. I decided to follow my usual advice and take it easy on the uphill part of the bridge. This was the point in my mind where it started to get tough, and looking at the split times, they seem to agree. We'd a short 2.5 miles in Queens before we came up to the Queensboro Bridge - quite a sight normally, but really impressive after 15 miles behind you and 11 to go!

I walked up the first half of the bridge which seemed to take ages - was looking forward to the downhill but when that arrived, I started to cramp up - nothing major, just little twinges, but it didn't bode well. Still, I was in Manhatten now, over the half way mark and on the way home. The next few miles were dead straight as well - straight down First Avenue. The crowds here was pretty good also which was great.

At this point I was just in "get home" mode - run a bit, walk a bit - repeat. 19.5 miles in brought us over the Willis Ave Bridge into the Bronx! We only spent a bit over a mile here, but it was good to see a place I probably wouldn't have seen otherwise. I'm not too sure I'd be in a rush back either - I don't mean it in a bad way, the support was pretty good here but from my brief visit, it just seems pretty industrial and even then, a bit derelict. Thankfully crossed the 20 mile mark in this neighbourhood, which is probably the most memorable thing I can say about it.

Crossing over the next bridge, brought me to the 21 mile mark and into Manhatten again. We get onto the iconic 5th Avenue at 138th Street and it's more or less a straight (literally) run home until 59th Street - so I'm counting those blocks down one by one :)

One by one, one by one - its pretty busy in this area and the crowds are picking up a fair bit. The closer we get to Central Park the busier it gets and the more the buzz picks up - its actually exactly what's needed at this point. I'm keeping pace with the same people - I made a conscious effort to finish as strong as possible. I passed a few people I'd been battling with, which help pass some of the blocks.

The 5hrs pace group passed me which was a bit disappointing, I couldn't keep up. I knew I'd a few minutes leeway on that target, as I'd crossed the start line a few mins after they had. At 86th Street, we passed into Central Park itself and soon crossed the 24 mile mark soon afterwards.

I was struggling a bit with borderline cramps, so next two miles were pretty tough, but eventually crossed the 26 mile mark. Idoia had bought a $75 ticket to the grandstands that were erected along the finishing straight and I spotted her pretty easily, giving her a celebratory pose. Soon after, I crossed the line absolutely chuffed with myself.

My finishing time was 5hrs 03mins and 28secs! One or two have commented about the 3 mins or so, but I don't care - absolutely delighted to have finished and those three minutes are the challenge for next time.

I picked up my finishers medal, got an official photo taken, grabbed a goody bag (with a lovely bagel!) and started shuffling towards the baggage collection area. This was probably one of the most difficult parts of the race - huge crowds of runners, down a relatively narrow chute which emergency buggies also needed access to. Finally picked up the bag and made it through the throngs of people to my pre-arranged meeting point with Idoia.

Grabbing a subway back to the hotel was going to be a nightmare so we actually ended up walking all the way back (25 blocks or so) - it probably done me good :)

Monday, 9 November 2009

New York Marathon

Got to bed early the night before the marathon and much to my surprise slept pretty well. I was allocated the catch the 8am Staten Island ferry to the start, which I knew from the Statue Of Liberty sightseeing would take 20 mins on the Subway - I left the hotel at 7am just to be sure. I was in the third (and last) wave and was expecting to see plenty of runners on the subway, but there were only four other runners at my stop! The train took an absolute age to come and I was starting to debate whether or not to go overground and flag a taxi.

In any case, got to the Ferry in plenty of time - there was an absolutely huge crowd, mainly all runners. Actually missed the 8am ferry (too many people) but another ferry left about 5 mins later. On the ferry, met up with a Dublin guy who'd been in NY for 20 odd years. This was his third marathon, his first being the 2008 NY marathon - he done so well there that he qualified for Boston which I though was pretty impressive. Had a good long chat about a whole range of subjects, but probably the most relevant was the overview of the route which was pretty good.

After the ferry, hopped promptly on some busses to get to the "staging area" close to the start line. I still had about two hours to kill, so some idle chit chat with one or two people, but nothing much - I thought there'd be a lot more "craic". Still, there was a really good buzz around the place. There was plenty of free coffee, bagels, water, etc there and no end of toilets. At 9.40am, we heard the cannon go for the first wave which resulted in a massive cheer!

Soon enough we were called to our corral. I had been thinking of following the 4hrs 45m pace group but I ended up miles behind the 5hr guys in the corral, so just decided to go at my own pace. AS the second group got underway, we started moving up to the base of the Verrazano-Narrows bridge and our 10.20am start time. At that stage, the elite men would be 1/3 of their way through the race!

Anyways, that's enough for now - will do the rest of the run tomorrow night.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

The run-up to the NYC marathon

Sorry for the delay - had a pretty hectic week since returning to the UK. In this post, I'll cover the few days before the marathon. My girlfriend (Idoia) and I arrived in NY on Wednesday afternoon, with a rough plan which consisted of a few days shopping before the marathon, the marathon (Sunday), suffer like hell on Monday, before flying out on Monday night, suffering Deep Vein Thrombosis on the way home!

First day there we hit an outlet store about an hour outside of NYC - pretty disappointing, but still managed to pick up some stuff. Main problem as far as I was concerned was my legs felt a bit tired that evening, which didn't bode well for the sight-seeing we'd planned the following day!

On the Friday, we'd pre-booked tickets on the first ferry out to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The trip down to the ferry was a good reconnaissance of the route I'd have to take the morning of the marathon. Statue of Liberty was pretty cool, if not a bit smaller than I'd imagined. Views back to Manhatten were probably the most impressive thing though. We actually skipped Ellis Island - I'm sure I've had family pass through there, but we'd a fair bit of sightseeing planned for the day and it got cut.

Arrived back at downtown Manhatten and checked out the financial district + Ground Zero. Walked up to Chinatown and grabbed some lunch there which was pretty tasty - absolutely huge portions as well! Rest of the afternoon we ambled up 5th \ 6th Avenues, checking out the different districts \ shops \ etc. on the way.

We finally ended up at the convention centre where I had to register - we'd initially planned on this being a quick in\out job but the place was absolutely massive! Idoia signed up for the International Friendship Run the following morning (I already had an automatic entry). Spent absolutely ages there and just went back to the hotel afterwards. Legs were pretty tired so made the decision to do as little as possible after the IFR in the morning.

The IFR is a 4km run held for international runners (and family, friends, etc.) on the day before the race. It goes from the UN to Central Park, mainly down 6th Avenue, which was pretty cool. Traffic was stopped (though it seemed like life went on as usual). Lots of fancy dress and generally a good atmosphere.

Runners were encouraged to run with their compatriots, but with Idoia running with me, it was always going to be a tough one whether to run with the Irish or the Spanish :P Either way, we just ran together, soaked up the atmosphere and the surroundings. The finish line in Central Park was under the 26 Mile banner.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in or around the hotel - Idoia went off to the MoMA and I just rested my legs and started to get nervous about the following morning.

More about that in the next post.

Prior to the

Monday, 2 November 2009

The morning after...

Pretty stiff this morning, but thought I'd be a lot worse. Calves and groin are the worst, but I'm up and about. Plan is to do a few hours of last minute shopping / sightseeing in NY before catching an overnight flight tonight back to the UK.

Just looking at the provisional splits on the website - as I knew, very good first half, after which my 5km split times start going out to about 40 mins! Anyhow, who cares - I'm delighted to have finished.

I see the (lottery) entries for the 2010 marathon are opening today - if any of you are interested. I'd highly recommend it, if you're lucky enough to get a place.

Thanks again for all the comments and texts. Will write a proper race report when I get back to UK.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Quick update

Completed the NYC marathon earlier in 5hrs 3m 30s (by my timing). Will update again when I get back with more details.

Thanks for the support!