Cork County Senior XC 2018

10 Things I Think About The Cork County Senior XC

1. Michael Herlihy

I think I missed my chance to finally beat Michael Herlihy today. I was so close, so so close, I had a gap, I had a few laps of being ahead, it was wonderful, I was really enjoying it. It would have been excellent if I'd held on, I was looking forward to mentioning it to him on every single run forever more.

2. Meade

I think it was a great pity that John Meade didn't run today. I'm absolutely certain that I would have demolished him. He turned up on a mountain bike making excuses about not being entered. I was very disappointed. I was really looking forward to beating him. Beating John Meade is one of life's great pleasures.

3. Rain

I think yesterday was the worst day in history. It rained all day, incessantly, it was so dark, I didn't like it. I don't like that weather. I made purple porridge, got my haircut and watched Burn After Reading to pass the day. Thankfully it was beautiful today, almost perfect, sunglasses weather.

4. Five Coffees

I think I had five nespressos with my tower of power this morning, I wasn't counting but I think I only had six pods left, I definitely had four. I made the tower of power from corn cakes because they are yellow like my Leevale singlet. I took another nespresso with me in the car in my keep cup. I must buy more nespresso pods.

5. Rutted

I think that course was fantastic. Whites Cross is a beautiful place, its no surprise that John Meade lives there, it's perfect John Meade territory, rugged, hilly and treacherous.

6. Mushrooms

I think that I should take better care of my spikes, I made the mistake of leaving them in a bag in the car after the last cross country last year. They were in a bad way, almost as bad as an old lunchbox, thankfully no mushrooms grew in them. I took them to the car wash on Wednesday night to clean them. The car wash worked magic on them. I don't think the spikes are every coming back out of them, they'll be 12mm forever.

7. Mr Motivator

I think Andrew O'Hobbs is a great motivator. He is a very annoying man, he is especially annoying when he laughs and shouts at you "you're not just going to let Mikey Herlihy beat you, are you". This made me very angry, I may have cursed at him. I sprinted very hard, it didn't work.

8. Lead Leg

I think that every race should have hurdles. The hurdles in this race were particularly brilliant. There were two of them placed about 100m apart, they were made of a big ribbed pipe about the same height as my knees. I was getting quite good at jumping them by the end, I stuttered into them, led with my right leg and landed powerfully on my left leg, I think, well that's what I was trying to do.

9. The Bad Samaritan

I think I felt bad for Tim Twomey, he was well ahead of me all race but with 300m to go I saw him stopped up ahead like a Formula 1 car with a hydraulics failure. He looked like he was in trouble. I knew that if I passed him I'd be the fourth Leevale and get a shiny medal. Just as I passed him he got going again. I probably should have let him pass me again but I didn't know how close the rest were so I just finished. Cross Country is proper hard, this wouldn't happen in a road race. Tim will be back.

10. East Cork

I think that it was great to beat East Cork. I didn't know if we'd beaten them when I crossed the line because Donie was telling us different stuff every lap. I ended up on the flat of my back like I normally do. Then the maths started, we beat East Cork by three points, I still wish I'd beaten Michael, I would have beaten Meade.

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SMRC 10k Limerick

10 Things I Think About The SMRC 10k in Limerick

1. Cross Country

I think I would have preferred to have run a cross country race today, but I’ve been banned from running them for being too excellent. I don’t think this is fair. It should just be Cork 6k, Cork 8k, Cork 10k XC championships, none of this novice, intermediate nonsense. There aren’t enough XC races. More XC. More.

2. Anything but a Long Run

I think I had to do a race today for the sake of my own head, I don’t think I’d have managed a long run. I’d have been moaning a lot. Racing is much more fun.

3. A Sunday in Hell

I think I’ve forgotten that I used to be one of those cyclists in the sportives that block the roads every Sunday. I got caught in the middle of one outside Hospital. It’s a lot more fun if you’re on a bike and not in a car trying to get to Limerick. I know what it’s like so I was very patient.

4. Braces

I think my warm up brought back bad memories. I ran out passed the Orthodontist where I got my braces when I was a child. It looked exactly the same, exactly. I think Limerick peaked in 2002.

5. Kilometer 0

I think it was very clever of the race organizers to have a start line that was only visible to the race organizers. No one could line up ahead of the start line like they normally do because they didn’t know where it was with out the organizer. It really works.

6. Strides

I think I knew I couldn’t win the race at the start. I was one of only three guys doing strides before the race. I can normally only win if I’m the only person doing strides. This rule has never been wrong.

7. Wandering Thoughts

I think I’ll have to get better at concentrating in races, after about 6k I was really bored. If I had my phone I’d have checked Twitter for cat videos. Instead I started thinking about what would happen if the prize money in races was directly related to the number of people in the races. Then I started thinking about the prize money for the race that I was running in so I started concentrating again.

8. The Sprint

I think I made an excellent sprint today. I saw Mark Walsh do this choppy hand thing at the end of races so I thought about that when I got to 500m to go. It really works. I ran really fast and ran away from Gareth. I kind of felt bad because I’d basically sat on him for 6k but that’s capitalism for you.

9. Keep Cup

I think it was great that the race organizers were hipster enough to arrange keep cups for everyone after the race. It’s like the one that I have for my coffee except that it doesn’t have a lid. I think I was meant to give it back but I liked it so I took it home.

10. Back Baller

I think it is a miracle that I still don’t have a back baller. I have run countless races and I have somehow managed to avoid winning one. Instead I got a brown envelope containing lovely money. At least the money paid for massage. Some day, some day I’ll win a back baller.

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Culture Night 2018

1. I Like Walking Tours

I think a wine walking tour of Cork was a great idea. I didn't know that Cork imported four times as much wine as London in the 1800s. The wine tour should be a regular occurrence. I wish Culture Night was every day.

2. Hello I’m John Meade

I think that I'd like to be John Meade at least one day a week. He generously gave me his ticket for the wine walking tour because he couldn’t go. It was great, I think I did a good John Meade impersonation, no one copped that I wasn’t John Meade. I asked lots of intelligent questions and collected valuable information to be doled out during long runs.

3. Customs House

I thinks it's a shame that the customs house is only open on Culture Night. It's a fantastical building. It's like something you’d find in a proper old city like Seville, there must be hidden places like this all over the city. Tourists would definitely pay lots of money to look at the lovely chandeliers, take photos for Instagram and then exit through the gift shop.

4. Michael Lynch

I didn’t know that the Michael Lynch Bordeaux wine that you can buy in SuperValu is actually because of a clever Cork man that emigrated to Bordeaux and married into a vineyard. I always thought he was from Kerry.

5. Berlin

I think I’d still like to be in Berlin, in between the Wine Geese Tour and the Tara Flynn Tour I went to Waterstones and read a book about Berlin. It was about Berlin today, I didn’t buy the book because it just confirmed what I already know, Berlin is great.

6. No Tickets, No Problem

I think it was a great idea to chance turning up for the Tara Flynn exhibition without tickets and hope for a few no shows. We got lucky, very lucky. It was my idea, I think.

7. Lost in Translation

I think the Italian guy from Bergamo May that I met in the queue for the no show tickets may have misunderstood that the tour of the Crawford with Tara Flynn was not a serious art tour. I don’t think he understood why everyone was laughing at the paintings. He wore a very puzzled look.

8. Pockets

I think that it’s terrible that dresses don’t have pockets. Tara showed us a painting of a women protesting about dresses not having pockets. They should, it’s not right.

9. Stonecutters

I think my new favourite place in Cork is the Freemasons Lodge. It’s fantastic. I’d love to be a Freemason. The lodge is like an Instagram factory, they have thrones and flags and swords and everything. The photos were brilliant for Instagram.

10. Harry Potter

I didn’t know that JK Rowling got the inspiration for Harry Potter from the Freemasons. It’s easy to see when you walk around the big room at the top. Lots of pageantry and flags. I might even read Harry Potter after it, well maybe not. I will go to Culture Night again though, an excellent night.

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Pacing The Charleville Half Marathon 2018

10 Things I Think About Pacing The Charleville Half Marathon

1. Not Berlin

I think that Charleville is like Berlin if you knocked down all the buildings and replaced them with hedges and lots of Limerick flags. It's very very very boring. I prefer Berlin, much nicer, better walking tours.

2. Lazy Lads

I think it was very unfair of Comber and Alfie to make Conor and I do the 1:25 group. They're both very lazy. I like suffering so I had no problem accepting the faster pace group. I don't even know why I'm complaining, I suppose like complaining too.

3. Stingless Bee

I think I felt like a bee with no sting this morning. I had delusions that I could sting on the drive up but after a few steps I realised that my legs were still bad.

4. Cheesestrings

I think that the Charleville half marathon needs to get bears instead of Cheesetrings. I saw the giant Cheesetrings at the start and while I was tempted to get a photo, Cheesesetrings just aren't bears. You can't cuddle a Cheesetring, it's just wrong. I prefer bears. Michael sort it out.

5. Balloons

I think that Conor and I should have worn our balloons. It was a big mistake, no one could tell that we were the 1:25 pacers, we thought that it was too windy for balloons, it probably was but we could have let them go after a mile. We had to tell everyone that we were the pacers. My pink singlet helped.

6. Retinal Scaring

I think my pink singlet and pink sunglasses might be a bit bright. Gearóid Ó Laoi said that it damaged his camera. I still think it looks fantastic.

7. Instagram Pace

I think that the pace that we had to run was very nice. It's not easy and it's not super hard, it's the sort of effort that you'd run at if you were trying to get nice photos for Instagram.

8. Rebadification

I think that pacing the half marathon may have caused rebadification. I thought that I had successfully completed debadification on Saturday but after about 9 miles my quads we back to being quite bad. I'm not worried because debadification normally takes 10 days so I'm well ahead of schedule.

9. Old GAA Player Syndrome

I think that I should have tried the stem cells that they're selling in the Elysian for recovery from the marathon. They seem to cure everything, baldness, bad legs and old GAA player syndrome. I was slightly put off by the 10% discount for Bladez Barbers with every treatment. It's just not hipster enough, I prefer Tom Winters.

10. Pretend Pacing

I think that I should just pretend that I'm pacing someone for every run I do. I didn't whinge or moan, I didn't ask to stop for a pee and I didn't stop to re-tie my shoelaces just because I felt like a break. It was great fun, I really enjoyed helping people. It's nice. I kind of missed whinging.

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Berlin Marathon 2018

10 Things I Think About The Berlin Marathon 2018

1. Bouncy

I think I had one of those really good body days that you get every so often where everything is in a happy place. My legs felt incredible during the warm up jog from the hotel to the S-Bahn station at the Zoo, I’ve never had such good legs before, so bouncy. I wish I could have bouncy legs the whole time. I like bouncy legs.

2. Plan

I think I had a good plan in that I didn’t really have a plan, my basic plan was to keep the GPS pace under 6 minute miles while not breathing heavily, I wasn’t really worried how far below just so long as it was below. Marathon pace is easy to find, it’s as fast as you can run without making breathing noises.

3. Maor Uisce

I think we were privileged to have three fantastic water carriers. Alan, Sinéad and Frank did a great job. I wasn’t able to drink all of the water which almost feels rude but I gave it to the Spaniards in the group I was running with who said gracias.

4. Halfway

I think I was too happy at halfway, I was still bouncy and I got to troll John O'Connell mid race which was great. I wish I’d had my phone, it would have made an excellent Insta story.

5. Exploding Toes

I think I knew that something would go wrong during the marathon. I didn’t think that my toe would explode at 24k. I wasn’t too upset when my toe exploded because my toes have exploded previously. The danger with an exploded toe is that you start to compensate to stay off the exploded toe because it’s sore. I knew from past experience that if you run into the pain of an exploded toe for about 2k your brain will accept the pain and allow you to continue. It worked.

6. The Urge

I think that I probably made the quickest pitstop of anyone during the race. The urge came on me all of a sudden at 25k just as I passed the toilets, I thought about it for about a minute and decided that it was going to have to happen. I timed it at 28 seconds, although I’m not sure when the clock stops and starts.

7. Gels

I think I’ll have to start using gels for marathons. I took one from the water station at 30k because after the pitstop I was confident that my stomach was completely empty. It was a coffee cola gel, like a warm mister freeze, despicably horrible, it definitely helped a bit, I should have grabbed a few more.

8. Mystery

I think that the marathon is a bit of a mystery. It should be very easy and up to 20 miles it is. The last few miles are the problem. It’s not a heart rate thing like in other races, it’s just a gradual slowing of everything. I was trying desperately to run the same pace but the messages just weren’t being delivered to the legs. It felt like the same pace as the start but it wasn’t.

9. Bad Beating

I think I gave Vivian Foley a bad beating. He deserved it after he humiliated me at 41k last year. I was convinced that he’d appear there again this year. I was passed by a lot of people in the last k but no Vivs. In fairness Viv took his beating well and was kind enough to wait for me outside the medical tent while the carnage around my exploded toe was cleaned up.

10. Dynamic Dancing

I think that sometime I’d like to try recovering properly from a marathon just to see how much of the badness is due to running alone. My excellent dancing at the race after party has left me in a bad way. I felt and looked like John O’Connell after Electric Picnic, very shook.

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Night Before The Berlin Marathon 2018

10 Things I Think About The Night Before the Berlin Marathon 2018

1. The Fear

I think the fear is the worst thing about the week before a marathon. It’s unusual fear in that you fear not being able to run and being able to run. I’m not sure which is worse.

2. Enough

I think I have run enough miles for this marathon. I don’t know what enough is, but I think that I have run enough. I did 100s, 90s, 80s and 70s. I did a 15 mile marathon pace run a few times and a half marathon that wasn’t quite a half marathon. This should be enough, if it isn’t I’ll do the same thing again anyway and try again until it is enough, some day it’ll be enough.

3. Fresh Shoe Syndrome

I think that I have discovered a new injury. It struck me down three weeks ago. It was very scary, my lower right hamstring went bang. I screamed like I’d been stung by a massive yellow wasp. I still don’t know what caused it. I think it was the dreaded Fresh Shoe Syndrome. FSS happens when you run fast in a brand new pair of the same shoes that you always wear that haven’t been broken in fully, the muscles get confused by the softness of the new shoe and cramp up. Be careful.

4. Zero Zero

I think that alcohol free beer is wonderful. My favorite is Heineken Zero Zero, it’s possibly even nicer than Heineken. The bottle is so so pretty. It has beer flavorings added so that it tastes nice. It has definitely helped me become gaunt.

5. Alan Partridge

I think that I was very clever to book my hotel in Berlin ages and ages ago. I got a very nice hotel because of this. It would have been awful to have to stay in an IBIS like John O'Connell

6. Heroes

I think that the Bowie walking tour was fantastic. We walked for four and a half hours around Berlin learning about Bowie’s two years in Berlin, fortunately Bowie didn’t get very far in those two years. Perfect preparation for the marathon.

7. Expo

I think I really like marathon expos. I went to this one twice so I have two wristbands one for each arm. I met the bear mascot twice and got two excellent photos. I also got a massage from a very cross German physio who didn’t like talking.

8. Techno Restaurant

I think we found John’s favourite restaurant ever. They had a techno DJ in the restaurant and the walls move. The food was very hipster and very good.

9. Belly Top

I think I might not wear my Leevale singlet tomorrow. It has shrunk and become far too short for my long elegant torso. It puts my small belly and large backside on unwanted public display. I might wear my red Nike Gilead one, it’s much lighter and longer.

10. Too Good

I think that I could not be any better for tomorrow. I have no niggles at all, they have all gone away, my right knee is nonpinchy, my right hamstring is unstung and my left calf is untight. That niggle has to have gone somewhere, I’m worried, I’d rather have a niggle. I don’t like it, I’d rather have an excuse.

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Long Runs

10 Things I Think About Long Runs

1. I Don’t Like Running

I think that I don’t actually like running. 9 out of 10 runs are complete misery. Saturday’s 20 miler was the worst ever, it was 8 in the morning, everything hurt, Sean O’Keefe said I looked I had a bug and I couldn’t keep up with 730 pace. Friday evening’s 10 miler was the worst ever before that. On Friday I had a 25 minute dwell time in the car.

2. Grouchy

I think the rules of running are wrong. It makes no sense that all 20 milers must be started before 9am in the morning. I’m barely functional before 10am every day and I’m horrendously grumpy. People with children want to start at 7.30am. This makes no sense, why would people who are already sleep deprived want even less sleep?

3. Lucky Number 7

I think there is an agreed standard pace of a long run. A perfect run is precisely 7.00 minute miles. Slower than 7 is either a training crisis or being sensible depending on whether you ran it or are commenting on it. Faster than 7 is either a sign of great form or crazy training depending on whether you ran it or are commenting on it. In reality it doesn’t matter because no races are ever won at 7 minute pace.

4. Mile 8

I think the worst point in a 20 mile run is mile 8. Mile 8 is about an hour but no where near finished, there’s ages to go and even if you turn back you’ll have run 16 miles which isn’t enough. Pains are usually at their worst at this point.

5. Signifying Nothing

I think that nothing of any consequence has ever been said on a long run. Normally John Meade tells stories about people dying in extraordinary circumstances which passes the time. When John Meade isn’t there it’s just standard talking. I like talking, I don’t really know what I talk about. I think I might be annoying because when I run on my own and I have to talk to myself I end up annoyed.

6. Dwell Time

I think there is nothing more scary than the prospect of a solo 20mile run. The scary part is not the actual run, it’s starting the run. A solo run could result in a serious amount of dwell time in the car while you wait for that perfect moment to start. A good measurement of tiredness is the amount of time between turning off the radio in the car and getting out of the car. 10 minutes is perfectly normal. I normally use this silent time to pick the fluff from the grooves of the car key.

7. Routes

I think that it is very important to plan your route. I never plan my route, I don’t like knowing how long I have left. My favorite route is Raffeen because the hill comes at mile 8 and is a distraction from it being mile 8. I don’t like laps because there is a great temptation to stop. One lap plus Raffeen is 20 miles which is a perfect compromise.

8. Water

I think that you shouldn’t drink water on a long run unless you have a full bottle to drink. A small drink of water will just stimulate the desire for more water and you’ll be even thirstier than you were before. If you’ve a full bottle it’s probably ok.

9. Pains

I think that I have never run without some sort of pain. The thing with a long run is that you could have a number of different niggles over the course the run. This is very confusing because it’s hard to figure out if there is actually anything wrong with you. On Saturday I had many pains but they were all gone by the end.

10. Why?

I think that the only reason that I like doing long runs is because of the smug feeling that you get afterwards. There is no worse feeling on a Sunday morning than when you have to look through Strava and see all the people who have run 20 miles. The only defense is to join them in their smugness once you’ve picked all the fluff from the car key.

Reykjavik Half Marathon 2018

10 Things I Think About The Reykjavik Half Marathon 2018

1. Babies with Sunglasses

I think my favorite thing about Iceland is that all of the babies get to wear sunglasses. I wish that my mother had made me wear sunglasses when I was a large baby in my pram. It looks so cool.

2. Braud

I think that Iceland has better patisseries than Font Romeu. I didn’t think that that I would find something nicer than those raspberry custard tarts in Font Romeu but a hot rhubarb chocolate thing from Braud is better. I’ve no idea what it’s called, I just pointed.

3. City Walk

I think the city walk in Reykjavik was the best ever. I learned that Leif Ericsson was the first Icelander to explore North America and that his brother Sony Ericsson discovered Asia and Japan.

4. Dønal Timothyson

I really think that I should have entered the race using my Icelandic name. The race was their national championships. There are only 350,000 people in Iceland and most of them are American tourists so it wouldn’t have been hard to win. I even researched the name I would have had to use. It’s your fathers first name plus son. I prefer my Icelandic name.

5. Beer

I think that Iceland is very expensive. The cheapest beer that I found was 800 which is about €7. It was very nice cold beer called Gull so I had two. Icelandic beer is my new favorite beer, definitely the best beer ever.

6. Cold but I like It

I think I prefer cold sunny dry weather for running. It’s much nicer than hot. It was six degrees and crispy dry for the race like a nice February morning in Cork except in August and in Iceland.

7. No Trees

I think they should have planted more trees in Reykjavik, I like trees, I missed the trees when I was running, they protect you from the vicious wind that blows in off the sea. Trees are important.

8. Perhaps the Internet is wrong

I think that I got a benefit from my six days in Font Romeu. It can’t have been the altitude because Michael Herlihy says that it takes at least three weeks. The only thing that it can have been was the pastries and pizzas. I didn’t change anything else, I just ate pastries and pizzas for six days, lots of carbs, the internet said I should have gotten fat but I didn’t, perhaps the internet is wrong.

9. First they Giveth then they Taketh Away

I think fourth place is a terrible place to finish. It’s an even more terrible place to finish when they tell you that you’ve finished third and then tell you that it was a mistake. I was so excited. The prize for third was literally thousands of money but more importantly an excellent podium on a truck.

10. Blankie

I think that it was nice of them to give me a soft furry blanket in compensation for telling me I had finished on the podium and then deciding that I hadn’t. I like my blankie. Blankies would be a much better prize at races than a medal. Every race should give them. You can tie them around your neck like a cape and run back to your apartment like a superhero.

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 “Can we start on both sides?”

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Medal and Blankie

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Rrhona and Dønal

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Hello

 Jump if you want to go faster

Jump if you want to go faster

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Not the Hallgrimskirkja

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Happy Face

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Excellently Fitted Singlet 

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Nice View but windy

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The Start

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Nearly There

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The Finish

Cursa D’Age 2018

10 Things I Think About The Cursa D’Age 2018

1. John Meade

I think that someday I’ll beat John in a road race. I lost to him again today. I don’t like it. When I beat him, which I will because he will eventually get too old, I will remind him every day for a full year. I can’t wait. It will happen, eventually.

2. Croissants and Cakes

I think that it is very important to eat lots of food in Font Romeu. The thin air causes hunger, the only way to ensure sufficient calorific intake is to supplement with pain au raisins, croissants and custard tarts with berries on top. The tarts should be consumed from a nice box, preferably containing three tarts.

3. Perfect Conor

I think that it was very kind of Conor to be perfect Conor and do a perfect session with Michael rather than run the race. They would definitely have put me off the podium. I appreciated their dedication to perfect training. I wish that I was perfect.

4. Puigcerda

I think Puigcerda is my favorite bit of Font Romeu. Puigcerda is pronounced Poo-Cherr-Da. I learned this pronunciation from the mayor of Puigcerda who thanked us for coming to the race and being excellent at running. The Spanish hours are much better than French hours, it is nice to be able to eat after 9pm. France closes too early.

5. An Fear Garmiúil

I think that some one good always turns up to these races. On the line myself and John were very concerned by the professional looking Spaniard decked out in black Nike gear. He looked way better than us in our Edge and Leevale singlets, much more professional. At least I had my orange glasses. Myself and John communicated our concerns regarding the Spaniard to each other as gaeilge.

6. Put Them Under Pressure

I think the best approach when you don’t know who you’re racing is to try and run faster than them, or else just really annoy them by running faster than you appear you should be able to. I knew that John was just going to follow me and run away from me after 2 miles so I tried to get rid of the professional looking Spaniard for him. This kind of worked in that I made them both suffer but they were still there after two miles. I could hear that they were both suffering badly.

7. Dust and Mud

I think that I should have tried harder on the dirt road section. I kind of gave up when the two lads passed me. I was more worried about losing my precious podium place. The dirt road was very very very rutted and mucky. The lead car was kicking dust up which didn’t help, it was very hard to breathe. It’s still a great course, totally different to a road race at home.

8. Formula 1

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone pull over while winning a race with 1km to go. As we left the dirt road section, the professional looking Spaniard had gotten a slight gap on John, I could see that John’s muscly rounded shoulders had dropped indicating that he was giving up the fight. Then as I turned the corner back towards the finish I saw the poor Spaniard hunched over at the side of the road clutching his side. It was like a Formula 1 Race where the engine blows on the last lap. John and I continued on in 1st and 2nd. I tried to catch John and closed to within 10 seconds but couldn’t get any closer and had to watch him cross the line arms aloft like he does every time he wins.

9. 14 Times

I think it was rather sad that we denied the professional looking Spaniard a victory in his local race. Apparently he has being trying to win that race for 14 years without success. We found out that he is a physio from Barcelona called Oriol who has run sub 2:30 for the marathon. I’ll get to race him again in Berlin. I think that he will beat me badly then. 

10. Podium

I think I will only run races with podiums from now on. Thankfully Andrew was there to take excellent photos of me which I will put on Instagram when I reach an area with WIFI again. I had to do the left right kissing on the cheek with the nice lady who gave me my medals, I think I did it right, the photos look excellent anyway. We got to go up onto the podium twice because we finished first and second in both the senior and absoluto categories. I appreciated this. I like podiums.

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Medals taste good

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The Podium

Coachford 5 Mile 2018

10 Things I Think About The Coachford 5 Mile

1. Lies, Damn Lies and Race Flyers

I think the race flyer contained a lie. “Flat Fast Course”. Fake News. If it was a Tour De France stage Dan Martin or Valverde would have won. Very lumpy, lots of Cat 4 climbs.

2. Coachella

I think Coachford is a very nice place, I’d never been there before. They should hold a music festival there like they do in Mitchelstown, there are probably some Beyoncés in Coachford already. They could call it Coachella much better than Indiependance.

3. Anti Social Eating

I don’t think people appreciate the eating habits of runners. I had to dodge a work lunch because I was worried what it would do to my stomach. I’m getting very good at slipping off unnoticed to get a familiar safe known edible form of food, it’s easier than explaining that you’ve a race. Random food causes random problems.

4. Fat Head

I think that my head has gotten less big. I wore my nice yellow sunglasses during the warm up but they were falling off my head. I had to switch to a boring black pair, I did contemplate the pink ones but they just don’t go with the Leevale singlet. It’s always a good idea to have many pairs of sunglasses in the car. I had 6 to pick from. I picked wrong.

5. The Sash The Rose Wore

I think that they should have put that the Rose of Tralee would be at the start on the race flyer. I would definitely have worn my yellow sunglasses for the photo then even if they had fallen off during the race. The photos would have been excellent on Instagram.

6. Adrenaline

I think that it is amazing how adrenaline works. I have had apocalyptically bad legs for the last few days. They feel terrible, very slow and massive. My easy runs are so bad, epically slow, it looks terrible on Strava, people must think I’m diseased or injured. Then you go to the start of race, take some Ventolin do some jumping and you can sprint off at the start like a lunatic. It’s amazing.

7. The Tortoise and The Hare

I think that the battle between Eric and Andrew was more like a cycling race than a running race. I could see up ahead that Eric had dropped Andrew after a mile, after 3 miles it looked like there was the same gap between them as there was between me and Mike and I wasn’t even dreaming of catching Mike. Then the course started twisting and turning so I couldn’t see what was happening up front. I assumed Eric had won, I even said well done to him at the finish, I didn’t know that Andrew had caught him and passed him. I felt bad for Eric. I appreciate his style though, he races like me, I’d like to be like me, just faster.

8. The Sun

I think the sun is making people faster. I had beaten Cian Murphy in The Grant Thornton 5k before I won the race in Berlin (did I mention I won a race in Berlin). I knew that he would beat me today though because it has been sunny so he would have been out running a lot. He only barely beat me though because I’ve been running more too. I hope it starts raining soon.

9. Goody Bag

I think the goody bag was far better than advertised. When I crossed the line there was a kid handing out the goody bags, I asked him if it had anything good in it. “No, not really”. I took it anyway, it had lovely biros, an air freshener which I will never use and a flapjack which went very well with San Pellegrino. An excellent goody bag. The kid was wrong.

10. Race of The Year

I think they need a podium in Coachford. The prizes for the the race were just perfect but the lack of a podium was regrettable. How can you go to the trouble of organising a Rose and then not have a podium? Shocking. Those photos could have been so much better. I was so disappointed. Voted 5 mile race of the year last year apparently and no podium, democracy doesn’t work. Fake news.

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Ronán, Andrew and I

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Cian, Damien and I

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After half a mile looking fantastic.

Semi Marathon des Jalles

10 Things I Think About The Semi Marathon des Jalles

1. Death

I think my mother would have killed me if I had died trying to win some rinky dink French race in Bordeaux. Normally if I run hard in anything over 20 I end up in the tent so I was genuinely worried about it being close to 30. Death should be avoided if possible, its irreversible.

2. Medical Cert

I think it’s a good idea to make everyone who wants to run a roqd race in France get certified by a doctor. I’m not sure what is being certified though? Is the patient mad enough to run a half marathon in Bordeaux in July? Certainly.

3. Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

I think I prepared properly for this race, I went running at lunchtime everyday last week to try and get used to the heat. It’s interesting that the reaction to going out in the heat is the same as the reaction to going running in winter in Ireland. “You’re going out in that?” “Yes, it’ll be grand” “You’re mad”.

4. More, More, More.

I think I probably should have just run the 10k, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It just seems so pathetic. All I saw was a sign for suffering, would you like more suffering? More is always better, always has been, always will be.

5. Wine

I think you should only ever drink the local wine when abroad. We went to an Italian restaurant last night because I wanted pizza. Italian wine in Bordeaux is vinegar. It burns going down. We sent it back.

6. Warm Up

I think I knew I was in trouble after the warm up. I was sweating like an Irishman in Bordeaux in July.

7. Computer Says No

I think I had the right plan for the race, I was going to run Marathon pace and see how it went, I tried a mile at 6 minute pace, my body said no. It was ok with 6:30s so I ran that. It was still torture, like running in a sauna.

8. Secteurs Jalles

I think I should do more research into these races abroad, I was almost certain that this race was 100% sur route, it was almost. After about 4k we were directed through a field for 2k. On the course map they were called secteur 1 and secteur 2, sort of like Paris Roubaix but running, they’d have been lovely if it wasn’t so hot. The heat makea everything harder.

9. Die for a Box of Vegetables?

I think I’m glad that I didn’t risk dying by trying to win. I was the neuvième. I probably could have been on the podium if I hadn’t stopped for a break at the water stations every 4K. I had to as they only had those impossible to drink out of cups and I needed at least three or five every stop. If I hadn’t stopped I would have won a nice box of vegetables and some wine. I would definitely have been in the tent, definitely.

10. The Spread

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a race with such a good spread afterwards. They had everything, wine, beer, olives, bread, even a sit down meal if you wanted it. If this happened in Ireland people would bring their families to feed them for free. I settled for a pain au raisin and an orangina. I like pain au raisins.

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Courtbrack 5k

10 Things I Think About The Courtbrack 5k

1. Dingaling

I think I’m officially what Donie Walsh would refer to as a dingaling after deciding to race again. The problem with being a dingaling is that you know it’s not a good idea but you can’t help yourself. Ah well I’m a happy dingaling.

2. Courtbrack

I think the Google Maps lady has never been to Courtbrack before. She stopped saying placenames after Waterloo and started using miles instead of kilometers. Courtbrack is like Churchtown South, it only exists because a road race is on there. It’s not actually a place, it’s just another Blarney suburb like Tower for people who work in Apple. Nice though.

3. David

I think I’m happy that I beat David. I told him that I would beat him in the Fran Well last night. I was worried because he’s beaten me in 5ks before. I wasn’t really sure that I would beat him but I pretended that I was sure because that’s what the best lobsters do. I did beat David so its ok. I’m sorry David, I can’t help it. It’s a sign of respect though when I consider someone worthy of beating. I like winning.

4. Mike Corbett

I think I was very disappointed to see Mike Corbett this evening. I saw enough of him during the marathon. I thought that the race would be between me and David. It would have been a better race that way. Mike is too fast.

5. Boxes

I think that all runners are in a box. I am in the B box which is from 16:30 to 17:30 5k, anything else is suspicious. Mike is in the A box which is from 15:30 to 16:30 5k. As a runner you dare not try and switch boxes as people will think that you are doping or training too much. We all stayed in our boxes tonight so people should be happy when perusing the results.

6. H&M

I think I picked the right singlet today. I picked my light blue H&M singlet, it matched my dark blue sunglasses, blue shorts and blue shoes. I like blue. I wore my Berlin Braves singlet and Berlin hat after the race to collect my prize. I like Berlin.

7. Tar

I don’t think I’ve ever seen tar melting during a road race in Ireland before. The newly filled potholes were very sticky, the potholes would have been better unfilled, less sticky.

8. Gravity

I think gravity is my enemy. Gravity means that I’m incredibly slow at running up hills, because of this Mike Corbett ran away from me up the hill during mile 2. Once we got to the downhill I was just as fast as Mike but gravity had already decided the race. I’d most likely have won if it were not for gravity. I don’t like gravity.

9. Nimble Naoise

I think Naoise is a very talented runner. I was fully expecting him to be gone once he was gone like most young fellas are in races. After a mile they’re normally gone, Naoise was gone after a mile but he wasn’t gone gone. I really didn’t expect to see him dancing away from me after 4k, I was able to trudge back up to him but I couldn’t pass. Naoise nearly got the finish wrong as the finish line wasn’t actually the finish line, he realised just in time.

10. Coakley not Coffey

I think I should wear a t-shirt with Coakley not Coffey on it. Mick Dooley was on the mic at the finish line and congratulated Donal Coffey on his 3rd place. I told him that Donal Coffey has a bad leg and couldn’t possibly have been running. I don’t know how he mixed us up, Donal Coffey has never worn anything blue ever.

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Berlin Baby

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The Start

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Dave and I

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Pointing at Dave

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Face Off

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Start 

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Nimble Naoise

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Yes I combed my hair

Helios Grunewaldlauf

10 Things I Think About The 13. Helios Grunewaldlauf

1. Ich bin Vegetarier

I think that the Germans don’t like vegetarians. I told Helmut at the factory I was at all week that I was a vegetarian, not because I am, but because I’ve a real fear of kantine food. He proceeded to laugh at me for the week. The vegetarian kantine food was actually quite edible. I almost got fat. I kept the veganism for the weekends in East Berlin.

2. Reinheitsgebot

I think the German beer law is great. It means that you can drink beer every evening and still get up and go running at 7am. I was only mouldy one morning.

3. Mein Knie

I think that my knee doesn’t like the cobblestones in Berlin. My left knee doesn’t seem to mind them but the right one hates them, it told me so. I did a reconnaissance of the European marathon lap yesterday for my run, there were only a few cobbles so my right knee was happy today, it told me so, my left knee said nothing.

4. Fur Baby

I think I don’t like being a fur baby. Due to laziness and a lack of veet I have not removed hair from any part of my body for two weeks, I’m getting furry, I don’t like it, it’s itchy and scratchy. It’s being removed, soon.

5. Rucksäcke Verboten

I think I shouldn’t have brought my rucksack with me yesterday. I went on an excellent street art walking tour in the afternoon and had planned on heading straight to the Brandenburg Gate to watch the match on the big screen. When I got there I saw the sign with the X, it was like they’d taken a picture of my bag and put a X over it. I tried anyway. Not a hope. Instead I watched it in an Italian restaurant with a pizza and some disgruntled Italian waiters. The Ku’damm was fun afterwards. The Germans drove up and down all night doing donuts like Waterford people would if they won an All Ireland.

6. Tannennadeln

I think you see something new at all of these races abroad. Today’s new thing was pine needle course markings.  The km markers and arrows were “painted” on the path using pine needles. It really really works. Fantastic. Running art. Environmentally friendly. They just brushed them away afterwards, a pity because I wanted to take a photo.

7. Streckenverlauf

I think today’s weather, route and course was ideal. It was a damp dank day in Deutschland, way cooler than during the week, almost Irish weather, but no wind. The 10k course was one lap of 96% forest path starting and finishing on a gravel 400m running track, I love that kind of surface, nice and soft. Grunewald is like a massive humongous giant Doneraile park before they put the tarmac down and ruined it, probably the best place to go running in Berlin.

8. Gruneberg

I think I thought I was going to win again until the hill. At the start line I did the usual looking around and could tell that it would be a bit harder than the Wasserlauf which I won, did I mention that I won a race in Berlin. I was in about 6th or 7th after the first pine needle km, then I moved through to the front like a boss. I dropped everyone badly except one guy who was breathing as badly as me. Then we came to the “berg” at the fifth pine needle mark and he got a small gap. The gap remained. I tried to close it but I failed miserably.

9. Podium Review

I think I’d like to have won today. It’s just not the same on the second step of the podium. The second step is smaller, the prize is smaller and the photos don’t look as good on Instagram. Today’s podium was blue and yellow, my fourth and fifth favourite colours, the top step was yellow, I had to do with the blue step for second place which was on the right of the first step as you stood on the podium. Third place was also a blue step like the second step but on the left. Having the second and third steps both blue doesn’t make any sense, the third step should have been green or perhaps white. I like podiums. They make me happy.

10. Nudie Father Jack

I think that a nudist race would have been very interesting. Apparently Grunewald is a known nudist bathing spot. An English guy living in Berlin told me this interesting fact which I later verified using google. The English guy said that the weather saved us from some alternative sights, he said that they do a nudist race sometimes. I think a nudist race is a great idea, just as long as I can wear my shoes, I need my insoles and perhaps my orange sunglasses.

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Lichtenauer Wasserlauf in Berlin

10 Things I Think About The 13. Lichtenauer Wasserlauf in Berlin

1. Mission Impossible

I think I left it a little tight to get to Dublin airport. I have an intensely vicious hatred of spending any time in airports so I always cut it tight. The flight to Berlin was at 17:45, when I was only on the M50 at 17:10 I was pretty sure that John O'Connell would finally get to tell me “I told you so, should have been there the day before”, I got to the car park at 17:25, sure I may as well try, short term car park and fast track fast track security saved me, the queue was gone when I got to gate 414, last on the plane at 1740, it was fun, kind of, worth it, definitely.

2. Hotel Coffee

I didn’t think it would be so hard to get a coffee this morning. Hotels are terrible places to stay, I prefer AirBnB but the hipsters banned it. The hotel breakfast has to be avoided at all costs. The coffee that they have in pots at hotels should only be available on prescription as an alternative to picolax. I eventually got two espressos. They really don’t like it when you refuse the €25 breakfast and eat your own rice cakes like a wierdo. Hotels should offer a runners breakfast, coffee and rice cakes in a separate room.

3. Recycling

I think you always see something new at foreign races. Today’s new thing was recycled numbers. If you give your chipped number back after the race they give you €5 of the race entry back. My number had been used at least 4 or 5 times, you could count the pin marks. I think my sweat finished it. I didn’t give it back, I might keep it as a souvenir.

4. Warm Up

I think it’s a very bad idea to race the day after a flight. I didn’t feel any good, I almost felt bad. It was probably the hipster Brlo Helles beers I had with the falafel burger when I arrived. There was a bear on the bottle, a bear, I know, a bear. Really good beer.

5. Course

I think today’s course was made for me, it twisted and turned along by the river spree. There was path, gravel and even a 400m stretch of grass like the farm. Two laps of 5k made up the 10k. I normally win races with two laps so I was happy.

6. Meandering Muppets

I think I liked having the two guys on bikes ahead of me during the race. They shouted at people like I would have if I had been on my own. I approved of this. I nearly came a cropper at 9km when a meandering muppet wandered across in front of me. I’m very agile so I gracefully pranced out of her way like a gazelle.

7. Heiß Plus Ein

I think it was too hot today. Cork was hot. This was a different level of hot. Hot plus one. Relative Body Surface Area. Big problem. As Martin Mc said “You looked very big out there”.

8. Cillian Murphy

I think the heat put me in the medical tent. The world started spinning when I crossed the line. I was taken to the medical tent immediately. I gave out to them because it was even hotter in the tent so they took me outside (Rome 1960). I told the paramedics that I was Cillian Murphy, I pointed at my cheekbones, I told them I was filming a terrible Irish Netflix series about an Irish runner who wins road races abroad and that the camera is in my sunglasses, they found this funny. I eventually came around and they let me go.

9. Podium

I think I really standing on the top step of the podium is hard work. I had to wait for ages as the world champion bicycle trick guy was doing excellent tricks using the podium and other boxes to do excellent tricks. This podium was very tall, much taller than previous podiums, It hurt getting up onto the number 1. I don’t know how Michael Schumacher did those star jumps, I think I did a wave. These podiums are tough work.

10. Flowers and Sunglasses

I think the organizers gave me the perfect prizes. I got 6 bottles of Lichtenauer water, a bouquet of beautiful flowers, blue sunglasses, an actual winners medal and a €100 voucher for a sports shop in Berlin. I was so happy. I had to leave the water there as it was too far to run back to the hotel. I really enjoyed running through Berlin with a bouquet of flowers and orange sunglasses, you know you’re different when you get looks in Berlin. I like Berlin, I really like winning in Berlin.

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Grant Thornton 5k

10 Things I Think About The Grant Thornton 5k 2018

1. Raymond Poulidor

I think losing is a bad habit, I really don’t like finishing second in races. That’s two in a row, no one remembers who came second. I’d prefer to be Jacques Anquetil or even John Meade.

2. Something To Tell You

I think I like going to gigs the night before races. I went to see HAIM last night in Dublin. I like HAIM.

3. Trinity

I think I would be more polished if I had gone to Trinity instead of UCC. I stayed in the student accommodation there last night. Dublin is very expensive, even the student accommodation is expensive. UCC is better. My mother would prefer if I’d gone to Trinity. It would sound better, “my son who went to Trinity”.

4. Roghanna

I think I prefer vegetarian restaurants. It’s much more of a skill to cook good vegetables. I ate a new vegetable called daikon, it’s like a white carrot, very good for running apparently. Cornucopia should come to Cork.

5. Richard Simmons

I think I could have a potential career as one of those pre-race jumping around warm up guys. My jump up and down on the start line was very popular this evening. It works.

6. Red and Blue

I think it was a good idea to wear my blue sunglasses this evening. I wore blue because it matched my new blue non-falling down shorts and my blue shoes. I had a red Nike Gilead singlet on. I think red goes with blue. Feidhlim said my shades were cool. This made me happy.

7. Making The Calculation

I think I’ve forgotten how to win races. It’s actually very hard. You have to be much better than the other people in the race. I tried to win by running faster than everyone else, in theory this is the most logical approach. I thought it was working because I was winning all the way.

8. Will The Real John Meade Please Stand Up

I think John Meade has an identical twin. I was very happy to be winning until 4km, I was worried about Cian Murphy because he is from Kerry and he is much better than me. Then at 4km a John Meade doppelganger came past me. My heart kind of sank. Then I realised it wasn’t John Meade so I tried to follow him. I didn’t believe I could win so I didn’t win. I came second. I don’t know why I didn’t win. Gareth is John’s name.

9. Silver Medal

I think they should stop giving everyone medals at races. When I crossed the line I was given a nice silver medal, I thought “oh great, a silver medal for coming second”, I even showed it to someone who asked how I got on, “I came second (showing my silver medal)”. Then I realised that everyone else had a medal. Then I took off my medal. I felt sad that it wasn’t my silver medal. I’d have liked a silver medal. I might still pretend.

10. Campione

I think it was great to defend Gilead’s title as best company at running in Cork. Pat and I were presented with a nice trophy and had excellent photos taken which I will post relentlessly on Instagram and send to all of the people in Gilead to get kudos for being excellent at running. I like winning.

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Glanmire 4 Mile

10 Things I Think About The Glanmire 4 Mile

1. Debadification

I think that I'm needing less debadification the more marathons that I run. Cork took very little, I was back running by Wednesday and felt only bad. By Saturday I was almost completely unbad and even did a double. I think the sun sped up the debadification. Burned off the badness.

2. Beethoven's Symphony No.9

I think that pink gin I drank in Costigans the night after the marathon has cured me of alcohol. It's been an effort to drink ever since. It was bad. Monday was very bad.

3. Casanova

I think Casanova Gelato is one of the best things in Cork. They have black cones. Yes black cones. Black cones are amazing. They definitely accelerate debadification. It's the charcoal. Adsorbs badness.

4. Dalí

I didn't think that Cork had clubs like Dalí. I'd never heard of Greg and Shane. John O'Connell is a small, big, big fan. Dalí has a very nice roof, Gaudiesque almost, I was way too sober due to that bloody pink gin. It's a bad sign when you're appreciating the architecture in a club.

5. Nutrition

I don't think diet matters the Saturday after a marathon. My Saturday diet was rice cakes, ciabatta toast with apricot jam, a croissant, a green smoothie, melon and berry gelato in a black cone, a blueberry skyr, a pizza bianca, some stonewell cider, two bags of walkers and more rice cakes. I had lots of coffee too and I took my tablets with a yakult. I think I ate all of the colours of the rainbow so it's ok.

6. Meade

I was really hoping not to see John Meade this morning. I had stupidly reminded him about the race via email during the week, he replied but due to the length of the reply and many european languages used in the reply I was unsure of his intentions regarding the race. John Meade is impossible to beat mainly because he's John Meade. You just look at him and go I can't beat him, he's John Meade. Conor can beat him, but he's Conor.

7. Pink

I think I looked really fantastic today. I found a pair of pink Fila sunglasses in TK Maxx a few weeks ago for €12, they were reduced from €80 apparently. I had to buy them because they match my pink singlet perfectly. It's an excellent outfit.

8. Recorrido

I think I really like that route. It's the perfect combination of mainly flat with a nice little kicker of hill at 2-3 miles so that John Meade could drop me at a respectable point in the race. Plus I could jog to the start from my house. The whole race was ridiculously well organised, chip timed from start to finish. I knew it would be when Niall was involved. It deserved more than a battle between me and Meade. Conor and Meade would have been better.

9. Juan Manuel Fangio

I think Meade only beat me by 10 seconds which was excellent although there was an element of John winning at the slowest possible speed. It's nice to think that I'm almost as good as John Meade.

10. Idiot

I think I'm probably officially an idiot after running a race the week after a marathon. I know it's not perfect, I know I should have taken many weeks off, I know, I know, I know I'll probably regret it, I’m sorry, but it was fun and it was a local race. You can't always be perfect. Perfection isn't fun.

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Cork City Marathon 2018

10 Things I Think About The Cork City Marathon 2018

1. Sure You Can Always Walk

I think my mother doesn’t understand marathons. Her pre marathon advice was “If it gets hard sure you can always walk”. I think she’d have preferred if I played hurling for Limerick. I’m nothing compared to those hurlers.

2. So So Early

I don’t think 8.30am is a good time to start a marathon. I hate mornings. I had to get up at 6am to drink a lot of coffee. It was surprisingly bright, I always presumed that it was dark at that time of day. I think they should start at 5.30pm. Sleep is important.

3. 100%

I think the humidity was a big problem. I hate humidity so much. It really affects me. You don’t really notice it until you start running. If you look at the results it was pretty much filtered by height and width. The shorter less wide runners ran quickest. It’s all about relative surface area, heat dissipation. The marathon should be moved to February.

4. Bushes

I think that even if you lined Patrick Street from end to end with portaloos there would not be enough to accommodate the needs of a group of marathon runners. At least in Berlin the start has lots of bushes, perhaps we should move the start out to the Straight Road to provide more bushes.

5. Where’s Cathal

I think my plan to follow Cathal was an excellent plan. The first mile was funeral pace, after that it was steady 6 minute miles. The only problem I had was that he runs the hills hard. I let him go on every hill and caught back up on the downhills. I was very happy with my plan. I’m not sure if Cathal was very happy with my plan.

6. Does My Bum Look Big In This?

I think I’ll have to consider different shorts. I must have lost weight because they were slipping down all race. I was getting shouts of “Pull your shorts up” around the course. Thankfully they don’t normally photograph you from behind so Instagram should be safe. I have a lovely bottom anyway.

7. Holding Hands

I think it all went wrong at mile 14. I was just jogging along behind Mike and Cathal when they suddenly started holding hands and disappeared up the road. I looked at my watch to see if I was going slower but I wasn’t, they were just going faster, a lot faster. I tried to close the gap but the two Barr’s singlets just kept on getting smaller. Small and Far Away.

8. Signs

I think I like having my name on signs. They were excellent colorful signs. Signs make me happy.

9. Ken

I think I might not have been very nice to Ken on the Straight Road. I was not in a good place as I turned the corner onto the most miserable two miles in Cork. Then I saw Ken coming towards me with two bottles of luminous liquid. Off all the things to see. He tried to make me drink it, I think I might have thrown the bottle onto the ground quite hard, I wanted to do something else with the bottle. I’m sorry Ken.

10. I Didn’t Walk

I think I really suffered a lot that last mile down North Main Street. You try to think logically, like it’s only a mile it’s not even 7 minutes, it’ll be fine, but you really just want to stop. I didn’t walk and I didn’t stop. I just got home. It was grand, a Cork P.B. Cork is different.

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Bored The Day Before The Cork City Marathon 2018

10 Things I Think About Being Bored The Day Before The Cork City Marathon 2018

1. All Ready For Sunday?

I think it’s nice of people to ask if you’re ready for Sunday, I really should make an effort and come up with some Instagram style inspirational quote like;

“I’m not ready.......I AM READY“.

Instead I just reply “I’m grand”.

2. Pinchy Knee Syndrome

I think I still have the dying embers of pinchy knee syndrome. I was hoping that the taper would kill it off but it’s still hanging around. It worries me slightly, but lots of things worry me so I’ll just add it to the list of worries. It’s a long list and that’s just the running list.

3. Jack Daniels

I think I found an acceptable taper plan. I read it in a book. It was under the headline >120 mile/week marathon plan so that made me happy. I tried to follow it. I did fairly well. I like plans. I still feel like a dog that hasn’t been walked properly.

4. Giro D’Italia

I think that if you look at the elevation profile of Cork it looks like a stage from the Giro. A stage where Chris Froome would attack at halfway, drop everyone and win by three minutes after being useless for the previous two weeks. I hope I can be like Froome tomorrow, I’ve definitely been useless for the last two weeks. I probably won’t, I did go to the doctor during the week, although he took blood from me, I should ask for it back.

5. Jiggling For Justice

I think the taper has tipped me into the jiggling when you run category. The pinchy knee syndrome induced break definitely didn’t help. I haven’t weighed myself as I don’t want another worry on the list, but the jiggling is a bad sign.

6. Frizzy

I think the humidity will be a big problem tomorrow. It causes lots of issues. It’s terrible for your hair, makes it all frizzy. The excess water molecules disrupt hydrogen bonding between the keratin strands causing frizziness. I couldn’t be bothered getting mine cut before the race because of it. The Albanian who cut it two weeks ago did a good job anyway.

7. Dracula

I think my new blinds might be my biggest worry. I got new blackout blinds and blackout curtains but they’re letting in the light at the top of the window. It’s terrible, I’m waking every morning at 800am. I’ve resorted to covering the windows in bin bags as an interim measure. It kind of works.

8. Lone Wolf

I think I’m a lone wolf tomorrow, I don’t really want to be a lone wolf. I’d rather be in a pack. I might see if I can join Cathal O’Connell’s pack. Lone Wolves have no fun.

9. I Think You’ll Find it’s a bit More Complicated Than That

I think a marathon is very simple. You just run at the pace that you’re supposed to run at for 26 and a bit miles. It’s very simple. Simple things are complicated. I hope it’s simple.

10. Karma Police

I think I might be one of those people that people follow on marathon trackers secretly hoping that the next 5k split is horrendous. “He’s in trouble now”, “I knew it, too many miles”. Hopefully the karma police are out there somewhere protecting me from such evil thoughts. 2:40 plus or minus 3 minutes hopefully this is what I’ll get, hopefully.

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John Buckley Sports 5k 2018

10 Things I Think About The John Buckley Sports 5k

1. Australia

I think that everyone in Ireland should get a free pair of sunglasses every year like they do in Australia. It would stop people crashing into each other on the South Ring because they can’t see where they are going in the sunshine. I don’t like traffic. It should never take 50 minutes to get from Glanmire to Pairc Uí Caoimh. Sunglasses would fix it. Definitely.

2. Runners World

I think tapering is wonderful. I had to run very little the last few weeks because of my iatrogenic exercise band induced pinchy knee syndrome. I feel really good because of all the tapering. This must be what people are talking about. I still don’t like it though, it doesn’t make sense. It’s like something you’d read in Runners World, “Get Fatter and Run Faster”. If it’s in a magazine it’s nonsense.

3. Rule 3. Never Enter The House Before Running

I think it is a very bad idea to enter the house before going running. I normally never do it because I’m permanently hungry and will end up eating the minute I walk through the door. I go so far as to park in the driveway and get changed in the car to go running, this greatly limits procrastination as there’s only so much you can do in the car. I disobeyed the rule this time and ended up drinking 5 or 6 nespressos and a packet of rice cakes. Always obey the rule.

4. Ryanair

I really really don’t like queues. I think that the BHAA should introduce priority registration, I’d definitely pay extra not to have to stand in a queue. It works for Ryanair, yes people will be annoyed but I will be happy and not have to stand in a queue any more. I didn’t like the look of the length of the queue for the online registration so I joined the much shorter registered runners queue, pleaded ignorance and just jumped across. I didn’t feel guilty, I felt clever.

5. Plumbing

I think the same guys who were responsible for the flood lightning in Pairc Uí Caoimh were responsible for the plumbing. It was bad. Perhaps they’re collecting it to try and revive the old smell.

6. Better the Devil you Don’t Know

I didn’t enjoy the warm up, I saw lots of excellent runners, it seemed like everyone was there, there were even Kerrymen. I don’t like racing people I know because I don’t like having to be nice to them afterwards when they’ve beaten me badly. Plus when they pass you it’s like being passed by a giant time sign, there goes 16:00, there goes 16:30. I prefer Spain.

7. Jellyfish

I think I’m a little bit stupid, but I like the way I am. I got a little bit over excited at the start. I had taken a lot of coffee and my salbutamol. I felt like Mo Farah before London 2012, tingling like I had just hugged a giant jellyfish. It was very stupid. I did have some logic, normally marathon training makes you lazy and lethargic so that full on effort is just the right pace for 5k. I think the tapering made me too fresh. I suppose at least I was winning for a while. I hope Gearóid Ó Laoi got a photo, I was really only there for Instagram.

8. High Tog Value

I think the weather wasn’t as perfect as it looked. The air was very very thick, like bad canteen soup, it definitely contained less oxygen. It was like one of those winter duvets, warm and uncomfortable. It was far from perfect running weather. Someday it’ll be perfect. Someday.

9. The Fallen

I think it’s important to remember the fallen on days like this. Donal has a bad leg, John has a bad knee and Ciaran has a bad tendon. I felt kind of sorry for them as it’s terrible not being able to run a race as good as this, it’s really fantastic, one of the best. I’m lucky to be so good at minding myself.

10. Marathon 

I think it was a good idea to get all of the stupidity out of my system before the marathon. I think I will be less stupid for the marathon. My knee is getting more perfect every day. I think I’ll try and follow Cathal O’Connell around for the day, I don’t think he knows this but there’s nothing he can do about it. I think it’s a good plan.

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Pfizer 6 Mile 2018

10 Things I Think About The Pfizer 6 Mile

1. Are You Not Injured?

I think running is the only sport where you can be injured and still compete. My knee is still not better but it is in that phase where it gets better everyday no matter what stupidity I do to it. It’s like when you have a headcold, it doesn’t just go away all of a sudden, it just gradually disappears until you wake up one morning and you wonder what am I going to do with all those tablets now.

2. Museum

I think I caught a headcold in the Picasso museum in Málaga. As a runner I have a finely tuned ear for diseased people, I can hear a headcold a mile off. When I was watching the film in the museum in Málaga about Picasso’s photographer there was a particularly diseased person sitting near me, I could hear them before I could see them. I would have left but the film was very good so I stayed. Now I regret it.

3. 6 Mile

I think 6 miles is a strange distance. It’s not quite 10k and it’s not 5 miles. It’s like a Spanish distance for a road race. I like it. I think I ran a PB.

4. Good Pharma

I think we should be thankful for pharmaceutical companies. They are great. Pfizer, Gilead, Eli Lily all great. I’d work for any of them. They make excellent drugs which make people better when they are very sick. They also pay me money which allows me to go to Spain.

5. 8pm

I think 8pm is a wonderful time for a race. I hate running in the morning. The only problem with an 8pm race is that the pre race coffee clearance routine can interfere badly with sleep. It’s going to be a long night.

6. Alan O’Shea

I was hoping that no one would show up for the race tonight and that I could win like I did in Austria. I was very disappointed to see Alan O’Shea. He must think I don’t like him because I probably always look disappointed when I see him.

7. Start

I wasn’t sure about the start. I didn’t want to do my usual nonsense because my knee was a bit sore for the first step. I still went off just behind Alan. Then I sat in a group behind Alan with Andrew, Colin and Darren for about a mile. Then I got dropped. These races have a familiar pattern, someday I’ll get bored of them.

8. Joe.ie

I ran most of the race with Joe. Joe is great to run with because he is virtually the same size as me and he doesn’t make annoying noises. This means that I can match his stride and run with him without getting angry. I could run with Joe all day. Joe beat me badly in the sprint.

9. 14 or 6

I think I have the answer to the question “What effect do shots have on running?”. The answer appears to be 14 seconds per mile or 6 places.

10. The seaweed is not always greener in someone else’s lake.

I think it’s terrible that I got older on Tuesday. It is reassuring and terrible that most of the people who beat me are older than me. I wish I could pause at this age. This is an acceptable age. I have all of my hair in the right colour. I don’t want to have to run in the old man category. It shouldn’t happen. It wouldn’t look as good on Instagram. Good Pharma should invent a drug for it.

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