Streets of Portlaoise 5k

10 Things I Think About The Streets of Portlaoise 5k

1. Andre Agassi

I think it’s great that athletics has a new sponsor. The last time I saw Kia sponsoring something was Andre Agassi advertising the Kia Sportage on Eurosport during the tennis. Personally I don’t like Kias as they generally have a seat to wheel ratio that exceeds one. This is a sign of a bad car as it means you use it to transport children. I won’t ever buy a Kia. Other people should though.

2. Just Another Dublin Suburb

Portlaoise, it’s not exactly Seville is it? Maybe it was the grey weather, but it reminded me of a big Carrigtwohill. It has a nice hotel though, sort of like if you moved Fota into the centre of Carrigtwohill without applying for planning permission.

3. Spitjack

I think the pre-race meal in Spitjack last night with my two sisters was good preparation. It’s only taken 25 years but we can now sit down for a few hours and not fight even once. It’s amazing. It’s kind of boring.

4. Tower of No Power

My tower of power was bananaless this morning. I forgot to buy bananas. John had bananas but he lets them go overripe before eating them because he’s from Cullen and they’re different up there so I couldn’t even steal them. Instead I made a tower of no power. It was just rice cakes and peanut butter, just not the same. I drank 5 nespressos to compensate.

5. The Right Number of Miles

I don’t think there is a right number of miles to run. No matter how many miles I run I seem to be running too many miles. Someday I’ll run the right number of miles per week and people will be happy. I think the right number is n, where n is the number of miles that the person you are talking is running that week or ran when they were running. I’ve run 70 this week, it’s still not right.

6. Mahabis Man

I think Ronán is the only man to ever have turned up to a 5k in a pair of slippers. I had to lone him a pair of size 12 Brooks Ghosts so that Aishling could walk around with him. I have many pairs of shoes in the boot of my Volkswagen so he was never at risk of walking around Portlaoise in a pair of slippers. He couldn’t run in the Ghosts but at least he looked less ridiculous.

7. Lobsters Wear Sunglasses

I like the 12 rules, standing up straight with your shoulders straight is a good rule. It’s very important when you’re wearing a pair of €5 sunglasses you bought off a hawker in Barcelona. If you look confident you can pull anything off, well you think you can which is all that matters anyway. Mick Clohisshey was wearing sunglasses too, perhaps he’s also a lobster.

8. C’mon Ya Bollix

I had to beat Claire today. I did. She’s amazing but I had to beat her today. I did. I’m sorry Claire. We’re still friends right?

9. Ichigo Ichie

I think each 5k race is different, you could run a 5k race every day and it would be different everyday. It’s always horrible but some days it’s less horrible and some days it’s more horrible. Today was very horrible which is good. I love 5ks, especially when they’re over, they’re really horrible.

10. The Wind Up

I had the perfect view of the end of the women’s race. It was like being on the moto following the end of a stage of the Tour De France. Kerry and Shona came up onto my shoulder at the 4K mark, then Kerry launched the most vicious kick, it was really impressive considering the equally vicious headwind. Shona followed, I didn’t, they continued to weave over and across the road until eventually the elastic snapped and Shona was cut free. I caught Shona before the line but Kerry was gone. A great race to see, Kia must be happy.



10 Things I Think About Snowmageddon

1. It’s Beginning to Snow Again

I think I forgot how much I like the look of snow, it’s so beautiful. It’s almost perfect like some genius artist has been out in the middle of the night applying just the right amount to that tree to make you think “I wish it wasn’t snowing so that I could go out running with out being afraid of breaking my leg and ending up on a trolley in CUH”

2. Syria

I didn’t think that snow would introduce me to Syrian bread. It was the only bread that was left in SuperValu on Monday night so I had to buy it. Well I kind of lie they also had gluten-free but everyone was kindly leaving that untouched for the poor coeliacs. Syrian bread is amazing, it’s perfect, way better than normal bread, I toasted it and ate it with some hummus. I’m almost addicted to it but I’ve run out now. I should have bought more.

3. Tights

I don’t like wearing tights for running, they amplify my ridiculously huge cycling legs and massive arse. I prefer wearing shorts, the only problem with not wearing tights is that the grit that they put on the roads dissolves skin, it’s very very painful. The advantage of not wearing tights is that the sun reflects off the snow and tans your legs even better than on a summers day. It’s worth the pain.

4. Gloves

I think someone should take a massive lawsuit against the manufacturers of gloves like they did with those silly barefoot Vibrams. Gloves don’t work they just make it worse. I never wear gloves running, it’s a con, if you wait 10 minutes your hands will warm themselves. Then the sweat can evaporate freely, with gloves the sweat gets trapped and removes more heat from your hands in order to evaporate making them colder. See it makes sense, say no to gloves.

5. Yaktracks

I’ve had a pair of Yaktraks in the boot of my car since the last ice/snow in 2010. They’re the best invention since Syrian bread, unlike gloves they actually work. You can run on any ice and you won’t fall and end up on a trolley in CUH. I might buy two more pairs in case the snow stays.

6. Enda the Snowman

I really like making snowmen, they’re fantastic, you’re never too old to like making a snowman. I gave my snowman lots of accessories, he was like one of those triathletes who buy all the gear, he had a nice NYC hat, sunglasses, ferrero rocher eyes, a banana (which unfortunately turned black), beer and some of the normal bread that I don’t need anymore after discovering Syrian bread. Snowmen love bread.

7. The Look

I had forgotten how great it is to get the look as you run along the road in a pair of shorts while it’s snowing. That owl like head rotating and nodding as it tuts at your madness. I love getting the look.

8. Aplazada Inclemencia

I was supposed to go to Spain this weekend for a 10k in Granada but literally everything got cancelled. The first thing to get canceled was the race, it has been raining in Spain which is very abnormal, it’s also slightly cold. I think they were worried no one would come out to run so they postponed it until July. Then the flights got canceled too. I miss Spain.

9. Snow Induced Obesity

I think there is a big danger of catching obesity in this weather. I have been eating relentlessly, it’s boredom eating. I had five bags of popcorn last night watching Laura Muir. Then I found a tub of dairy free ice cream in the freezer that Michael and Sinéad brought as a present when I first moved into the house. Dairy free ice cream is no Syrian bread but it did the job.

10. Here’s Johnny

I’ve never seen The Shining but John told me the general plot of it on Day 1 of Snowmageddon. After 3 days trapped with him I can understand how it could happen. Hop is lucky that I didn’t buy that axe in Woodie’s last Saturday. I did however buy a shovel and a screwdriver. It could make a good sequel, The Hoping


Barcelona Half Marathon 2018

10 Things I Think About The Barcelona Half Marathon 2018

1. Tracky Bottoms Tucked in Socks

I think Barcelona has improved massively since my last trip back when I was in college. I was so scared of pickpockets from that trip that I only brought a tracksuit with zip pockets this time. I didn’t even feel a hand go near my pockets all weekend. This could have been because I looked like more of a scumbag than the actual pickpockets themselves. Tucking the socks in was a master stroke.

2. Banna Badness

I think Banna did a lot of damage this year. I caught a terrible badness in that pub in Banna, it absolutely flattened me, I was shivering and had a fever. The fever was so bad that one night I thought I was in India without internet access, it was terrifying. I even had to take a day off work I was so sick. This never happens. Thankfully I managed to fight off the badness by eating mainly oranges and pomegranates for a week. The oranges and pomegranates worked very well and I was pretty perfect by this morning, just a little bit of a cough.

3. Bats

I think a city walk is a great way to spend the day before a half marathon. I’m too useless at running to warrant spending the day resting in bed, that’s for racehorses, donkeys might as well go fooling around the place. I went on the Gaudi Tour with a South African tour guide called Luke. It was brilliant, I learned that the Spanish for bat is “murcielago” as in like the Lamborghini. I found this fascinating. The buildings were nice too, especially the half finished church that people pay lots of money to go inside.

4. Art Cave

I think the AirBnB I stayed in was the best yet. Definitely my favorite, the walls were covered in scary art and the bed was ridiculously comfortable. I slept perfectly, it was so quiet and dark. It was also 100m from the start so I could warm up and go back to use the facilities before the race. I don’t think it could have been any better.

5. Fence Hopping

I think the most athletic thing I did today was hop the fence into the elite section. It was very graceful. I felt like a giant in with all the elites, they’re so tiny, I’m way too tall to be any good.

6. Bodyguard

I think I was possibly the most useless pacer in the history of pacemakers ever. There have been pacers in 1500m races that lasted longer than I did today. I was however possibly the most suitable human being in the world to deal with the slow runner that suddenly appeared in front of us after 1km. Lizzie is so lucky that I was there to manhandle him to the ground without even chopping stride. I felt kind of bad after it, it sounded like he fell quite hard, Lizzie definitely would have died if I wasn’t there to protect her, definitely.

7. Falcon Heavy

I think my pacemaking effort was like one of those reusable rockets that Elon Musk used for his Teslaship last week. I got Lizzie through the vital one mile mark in the half marathon, that first mile is vital, I’m surprised my pacemaking skills haven’t been requested before. Then like one of those rockets I peeled off and returned safely to earth ready to be used again. It was perfect really.

8. Gaudí 

I think I think too much in these longer races. I get really bored at half marathon pace, my brain fills with lots of demons and starts thinking lots of stupid things like: “God this is really terrible running isn’t it”. “This time is going to be so bad”. “You run 100 miles a week and this is all you can run, what a lampchop”. Today was particularly bad, there were demons everywhere. After about 9km I was hoping that a tram would just run me over and finish me off like Gaudi, it would have been a good way to go. Then I was caught by the 75 minute pacers and realized it wasn’t too bad if I could keep that flag in sight.

9. Instagram Abs

I think I should have taken a picture of my abs after the race. I could have put it on Instagram for people to look at, people would have liked that #moderatejanuary. Mine were absolutely fabulous because of all the coughing I did during the race. They looked wonderful, all toned and sticking out, at least an eight pack. They were really really sore though, if having abs hurts that much I don’t want abs.

10. Carrot Cake Pancakes

I think Cork needs Carrot Cake Pancakes. I met Michael Maher during the race when he passed me with the 75 minute pacers like a guy from Clare out for a Sunday run in Barcelona. We went for brunch after the race, Carrot Cake Pancakes are as good as they sound, all the goodness of pancakes combined with the niceness of carrot cake. It’s the perfect recovery food. I definitely don’t have abs anymore after them.

Barcelona Half 2018 1.jpeg

San Silvestre Sevillana 2017

10 Things I Think About The San Silvestre Sevillana 2017

1. Type 4 Fun

I don’t think I need to explain why I’m in Spain again. The weather back home is unsuitable, I don’t like it. I went running in the Ballyhouras on Christmas morning which normally would be enjoyable, on this occasion it was utter misery because of the perma-darkness, semi-freezing rain and howling wind. It wasn’t even type 3 fun, it was type 4 fun, it wasn’t fun and never will be fun.

2. The Disease

I don’t think a human being has ever suffered from as bad a disease as I’ve had this week. I had to take two days off running because my lungs filled up and stopped working. I tried lots of drugs, Sudafed, Actifed, Panadol Night, Exputex, Fluimucil and some random stuff I got in a Spanish pharmacy. Nothing worked. I even tried taking lots of Ventolin like Chris Froome but all this did was make me shake. I was utterly miserable even though I was in Spain, I even fell asleep on a small John O'Connell sized sofa in Conor’s AirBnB which was exceptionally uncomfortable. Thankfully the wine and sun made it better just in time for the race today.

3. Best Disease Ever

I think the fastest way to lose weight is to get a good disease. I think I should bottle my current disease as a weight loss drug. It’s both an appetite suppressant and a metabolic stimulant. If I could tame the minor side effects like incessant barking cough, profuse sweating and shivering then I’d definitely make millions. I was interested to see if I’d run faster today with there being less of me there than usual.

4. Safety Pins

Registering for Spanish races is very difficult, it’s all online and in Spanish, we managed to register two of the four of us that were going to run at the first attempt. Sinead’s registration seemed to get lost in the Spanish internet, and I entered twice instead of entering Conor, thankfully Conor was able to fix everything at the dorsal collection. Safety pins to attach the numbers were not so easy to come by. Safety pins are remarkably hard to buy in Spain, they don’t sell them in shops or pharmacies. I had one from the clockwork orange t-shirt I bought so I used that. They had loads at the start so it wasn’t a problem.

5. Approximados

This was a classic approximados race, everything was approximados. The start time changed from 1800 to 0945 a few days before, the race distance was advertised as 5k. All this meant was that the race wouldn’t start at 0945 and that the race definitely wouldn’t be 5k.

6. Orange Trees

I really really like the weather in Seville at this time of year. It’s perfect. It’s goldilocks weather. It’s not too hot and not too cold, it’s just right. This morning it was about 12degrees and kind of sunny. Perfection. There is no wind in Seville, it doesn’t exist, I think it’s illegal for it to be windy in Seville. I was able to wear my orange sunglasses to match my orange singlet and the oranges on the orange trees. Orange trees are my favorite type of tree.

7. Star Wars

The race started at the Plaza de España, it’s where they filmed a Star Wars film apparently, I’m not sure which one. It’s a very beautiful place to start a race. Unfortunately the race organizers seemed to have forgotten to inform the guardia civil that the race was starting at 0945. In Togher everyone would have died of hypothermia, but instead we just chatted and did some strides to try and intimidate the Spaniards. The guards arrived at around 1010 so it wasn’t too bad.

8. Cherry Cola

We got talking to a Spanish girl called Lola from Granada at the start who saw that we were from Cork because of Michael Herlihy’s beautiful North Cork singlet. She had worked in Cork and knew who Robert Heffernan was, he’s very famous in Spain apparently. She supplied us with some valuable insider information on the course like that it went left after the first roundabout and that it was only 4.2k. This made sense as all the faster looking Spaniards had lined up on the left hand side of the start and looked intent on running very fast. Normally I hate short races but as I was still a bit diseased I was happy to hear that it was only 4.2k. It was like a deci-marathon.

9. The Carrera

I think the Spaniards know how to run passionately. Every single one of them went off at a ridiculously unsustainable pace. I went off boringly because of my disease. There were many triathletes dressed in onesies ahead of me, I just about managed to stay ahead of the giant minion. After about a km they all slowed down and I started passing people which was unusual and only happens in Spain. My disease wasn’t too bad. The km markers were dramatically inaccurate, once we passed the 3k marker, you could see the finish. I wasn’t sure that it was the finish but it was. It was definitely the fastest 5k I’ve ever run. I managed to beat all of the triathletes so it was an acceptable performance.

10. El Campeón

I was very jealous of Sinéad today, she comfortably won the women’s race. As a result she got to stand on the podium and be sprayed with shaving foam by Spanish kids. Conor also got sprayed with shaving foam on the podium for 3rd place which made no sense as he came 6th. They both got excellent Spanish prizes, a voucher for El Corte Ingles, a big trophy and a massive Spanish ham. The local Spanish club ADSevilla were so impressed by Sinead that they tried to poach her. I wish that I was good enough at running that a Spanish running club would try and poach me. I’d love to be poached.


Despicable Me (and The Minion)


A Clockwork Orange

National Novice XC 2017

10 Things I Think About The National Novice XC

1. Instruments of Darkness

I think I should have taken the 11pm peasant wagon back to Glanmire on Friday night like I had planned. But sometimes the instruments of darkness win us with honest trifles like a box of quality street and you end up in Reardens at 230am when all the sensible people have gone home in all the taxis. Ah well at least John didn’t leave the key in the door and lock me out on the coldest night of the year.

2. Rest Day

I don’t like taking rest days, I don’t know what to do with the free time. I decided the Novice was worth one. It’s very strange behaviour really because I know it makes me perform better, it’s like having some EPO in your fridge and not bothering to use it ever, ridiculous. I felt fantastic today, ridiculously good, heart rate hit 187 during the race which is way higher than normal, I must have been well rested and very fresh. Supercompensation.

3. Fish Wife

Because I had a rest day on Saturday I had literally nothing to do on Saturday, thankfully I had been locked out of the house on Friday night at 330am so I slept in until 12. For some reason I decided that I needed a bag of chips from the Fish Wife at 630 on Saturday evening, I don’t know why, intuitive eating I think. I normally have pizza from Novocento before a race. I think the rest day might have confused my body. God it was good though, lots of salt. Salt is excellent for running.

4. Froomebutamol

I think I prepared excellently for the race, I got up at 11 had a tower of power and 5 coffees for breakfast. I took my thyroxine, vitamin D and probiotics all washed down with a yakult. Then I had a Fluimucil in some sparking water as I was a bit congested, great stuff that. Before the race I had 2 puffs of the Froomebutamol that I got in Spain. I had an Irish one too but I reckon the Spanish one has to be better. I was definitely under 1000ng/ml.

5. Warm Up

I think that I would run 200 miles a week if I lived in Waterford, not because there’s absolutely nothing else to do there but because they have that beautiful greenway. I did my warm up with Iain and his GAA short wearing friend. I’m pretty sure that wearing GAA shorts in a cross country race is more illegal than wearing sunglasses. It definitely looks more ridiculous.

6. Posers

I was glad to be back on an Irish start line today. There were no Spanish posers with impeccable hair, the closest thing to a Spaniard was probably Denis Coughlan. I couldn’t wear my sunglasses because my lux meter was reading less than 200 which means that with a pair of category 3 sunglasses you’d technically be blind. Mitch wanted to wear his too, it was very disappointing. I had bought new ones in Spain and all.

7. Doubleplusgood

I think cross country is a lot like 1984, you have to learn to love cross country. At the start line all the lads looked terrified like they were about to be sent to Room 101. I don’t think they love cross country. I on the other hand love Big Brother. I’d turn the pain up more if I could, hurt more, hurt better, turn the pain into power. War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength and all that.

8. Course

I think I hate that little evil hill on that course, if they’d take that out of it I’d probably have won, it’s too steep for my long tanned shaved legs. They don’t like it, they told me every lap, screaming they were like a GAA player in February. The main hill was ok I can run on that gradient, the descent was beautiful, I floated down it like a giant gorilla chasing a smaller gorilla.

9. Conor and Others

I think there is no passion in Conor’s running style, it’s like he has been programmed by an excellent software engineer. He pranced past me on the third lap looking like he was running up Raffeen on a Sunday long run listening to John Meade telling excellent stories. It’s horrendously irritating, I really hated him at the time. Then Brian pranced past too in a similarly detached dispassionate manner. It’s almost like he learned from Conor. Ah well at least it helped the team.

10. My Precious

I think I like winning shiny things, we somehow managed to finish as third club team so I got a nice shiny medal. It’s a pity they didn’t have a podium like they do in Spain, that would have looked excellent on Instagram especially as Gearóid Ó Laoi was taking lots of photos. Some year Athletics Ireland should run the Novice in Spain like the NFL play in London, people would like it and I could wear sunglasses. I’d probably still beat Mark Walsh too.


Lanzarote 10k

10 Things I Think About The Lanzarote Marathon (10k)

1. Alarm Clock

I think this morning was the first time that I was woken by the sound of a marathon starting. I was too lazy to get up and watch it but I did hear it going off. When I finally got out of bed I met a bear that was dressed in exactly the same colours as me. I like bears.

2. The Wheels on The Bus

I think it’s very intimidating getting a bus to the start of a race, I was on my own and everyone else was in groups, it was like being back in school. The bus driver tried to make us sing songs, it was awful at 10 O’Clock in the morning. I dislike buses even more now.

3. Inhaler

I forgot to bring my inhaler with me on the bus to the start. Thankfully this is Spain where drugs are easier to buy than coffee. I simply walked into a pharmacy dressed in a singlet and shorts and asked for salbutamol. That’ll be €2 gracias. Excellent. Problem solved. I should have asked for something stronger.

4. Coffee

I had 2 hours to kill in Arrecife before the start of the 10k so I had a wander round. It’s a gorgeous little town, genuine not fake like the rest of Lanzarote. I went into a coffee shop and ordered a coffee, then uno mas. When I ordered a third the waiter looked at me like I was asking for an inhaler in a pharmacy. I eventually got my third coffee.

5. If you don’t like the Heat in the Kitchen

I think it was too hot to run today. That was why I ran slower than in the cross country last week. Donal Coffey agrees with me. I don’t know how Brian Hegarty ran so fast. It was boiling. Really hot. Nollaigh O'Neill even said so, so it must be true. Really hot, not making excuses like.

6. Hairspray

I think I’m going to have to make more of an effort with my hair in order to run better. The start of the 10k was incredibly stylish, I was definitely the least excellent looking. One guy looked like he had my haircut but had combed each hair individually over the course of many hours and then used hairspray. It looked excellent. He only passed me after 6km though.

7. Drums

I really want to learn the drums after seeing them at the start. They’re fantastic and it looks so much fun to play them. The world definitely needs more drums.

8. Mad Dogs And Spaniards

Despite the ridiculous midday heat I went off like a scalded cat at the start of the 10k and was on the back of the two skinniest Spanish guys in 3rd place after 2k, then I started to overheat and get slower and slower. Every km a well coiffuered Spaniard would pass me in a stylish colourful singlet. It was really annoying.

9. Ultimo Kilometre

Coming into the last kilometre I was about 7th but my central governor was pleading for exit. The heat makes you question why you are running, even Gary Ohanlon said he was thinking of stopping. I kept going anyway but was passed by two more Spaniards. I didn’t care at that point.

10. Barter

After the race I met the nice lady who gave me ultrasound treatment on my knee for free last night before the race. She remembered my name which was nice. They were doing massage so I hopped on the table. It was €20 but I had no money, I said I’d come back later. At the prize giving Brian Hegarty gave me a bottle of wine. When I me met her later I gave her the bottle of wine instead of payment. She seemed very pleased. It must have been expensive wine. Lanzarote wine is really good, trust me.


Night Before The Lanzarote Half Marathon

10 Things I Think About The Night Before The Lanzarote Half Marathon

1. The Duel in the Sun

I’m very scared of racing Donal Coffey at the moment, he told me he has been doing 5:13 mile repeats on the track, I couldn’t do that.

2. Frozen

I’m so happy not to be frozen at the moment. It’s really nice in Lanzarote, the sun removes all miserable thoughts from your head, everything becomes happy and there’s no frost on your car in the morning. It’s excellent.

3. The Volcanoes

I love running around the volcanoes, they’re fantastic, it’s like running on the moon. They’re so fantastic that I haven’t been able to bring myself to taper. When will I get to run around volcanoes again.

4. The DRN

I have a dancing related niggle, it came on after the Christmas party on Saturday night, my knee is swollen like John O'Connell’s knee. It doesn’t hurt at all running but it looks awful and feels full. I got some free ultrasound from a nice lady at the expo so I should be perfect tomorrow.

5. Radiator

I’m a bit worried about the heat, it would be easier if it was cold like my house at home. I don’t operate well over twenty, my surface area is too small because I’m too big.

6. Teachers

I don’t understand why more people don’t go on holidays in December, it’s fantastic. Everyone on the flight out from Cork was really retired. It must be because everyone else is either a teacher, married to a teacher, going out with a teacher or is looking for a teacher.

7. Moon

I think Lanzarote is like the moon, it’s a good backup plan if the place you’re living in becomes ridiculously cold and inhospitable.

8. Not Belgian Because it’s Cold

It’s very hard to take these races seriously on holidays, when it’s sunny it’s so tempting to have a cerveza or three especially when it’s served in an ice covered glass. I think they serve it that cold to hide the taste. It tastes terrible when warm.

9. Prohibido

I couldn’t believe it today when they wouldn’t let me run in the Parque Timanfaya, it’s prohibido, you can only see it by going on a peasant wagon with a load of old people, like a trip to Knock. What’s the point of a National Park if you can’t run in it. That’s like having a running track and not allowing people to run on it in case they might damage it.

10. The Fight is Off

It probably would have been a good idea to register for the half marathon before getting on the flight to Lanzarote. I kind of forgot, when I went to register over here they said it was full and that only the 10k was left. Not even Nollaigh could fix it. The duel in the sun with Donal Coffey is off, instead I’ve to take on Chema Martinez over 10k.


National Senior XC 2017

10 Things I Think About The National Senior XC

1. The Hay and the Barn

It causes me great great great pain to say it, but I think Lizzie Lee was right on Thursday. She said the "Hay was in the Barn". She was probably right, sometimes you have to know when you've enough hay. I just like the process of collecting hay a lot.

2. Grudge Match

I think I'll have to pick my targets for these races more carefully. I think they're actually using it as motivation and thriving off it. Conor and Mark Walsh were my targets today. I was confident, I don't know why. Andrew Hobbs found the whole thing so funny he came to watch. Comedy cross country.

3. Bertie Bowl

I think that it's just as well they didn't build the Bertie Bowl in Abbotstown. It can barely cope with a few hundred cross country runners. Imagine if there was actually an event on there. It would make Pairc Ui Caoimh look like it was planned by the Germans. There were cars everywhere.

4. Cold

I really hate the cold. It's terrible. It makes men buy tights on a Saturday evening when they should be doing other things.

5. Ned Flanders

I don't think I'll wear those tights again. There were lots of wandering eyes. The lads just laughed at me, I might take them back to the shop.

6. All Duck or No Dinner

I think the only way to approach the start of this race is to go all in. It's terribly intimidating at the start to see that everyone is way lighter, much fitter and look like they live in the gym. The only way to combat the fear is to pretend that you're just as good, confidence overcomes a lot of problems, it also causes a lot of problems.

7. I Really Shouldn't Be Here

I really enjoyed being up in the top 20 or 30 after about 1 km, it was so so fast, it really really hurt. It was absolutely epic. I really felt out of place, I was right.

8. Don't Look Back in Anger

I thought I was having a great race after 3 laps, Mark Walsh had annoyingly just passed me but I was able to stay with him. There was no sign of Conor and I couldn't hear anyone calling his name behind me. I could have just looked back but that's illegal in cross country. Then I got very tired.

9. Deathbed

The fourth lap of a cross country race is I imagine what it's like to be on your deathbed. It's horrendously painful, you're running out of oxygen, you've lots of regrets, you wish you'd taken more drugs and you wish that you'd tapered, well maybe not the tapering. The last lap is probably like childbirth.

10. Ralph Wiggum

I don't think I've ever been so heartbroken at the end of a race. I was certain that I had beaten Conor badly, then coming into the home straight he appeared over my tall tanned left shoulder. It was really annoying to see that all too familiar sight of his ridiculously perfect running form sprinting away. I bet if there's a video of it you'll be able to see the point where my heart breaks. Ah well at least he didn't gloat...yet.


Munster Senior XC 2017

10 Things I Think About The Munster Senior Cross Country

1. Glorious Galbally

I think I forgot how beautiful the Galtees are. I think I forgot because they’re normally covered in cloud and you can’t see them. It looked like they were watching the cross country race today, looming in the background. The four of them have probably seen more interesting things over the years.

2. Acceptable in the 80s

I think 100 miles a week is fine while running cross country races. You don’t need to be fresh to run cross country. I was perfect today despite 90 miles before the race. I know I’d probably have won if I’d tapered. Some day I will, be worried Mark Walsh.

3. Niggles

I had but one niggle today, the dreaded fourth toe blister. A terrible niggle to carry. It looks like my toe has a hood. It doesn’t hurt when I run fast so it was fine. This was probably my favourite niggle ever. Everything else was perfect.

4. Dreams vs Reality

I think it’s important to get good sleep before a race. I got nearly 10 hours last night. 10 hours means a lot of dreaming. I dreamt about lots of stuff. In one of the dreams I died crashing off a mountain road in Font Romeu. I hope this doesn’t happen. I’m too young to die, I haven’t even gotten the chance to run old man cross country.

5. Oakley not Coakley

I think it was a good idea to buy proper sunglasses. I bought a set of Oakleys with prism lenses at Kildare Village (I had to buy something). They amplify green and brown for trail running. It’s not marketing nonsense, they work. As normal I was the only fool wearing sunglasses at the start, however I knew that the sun was just hiding. After two laps sunglasses were almost essential. The sun is great. I felt stronger once the sun came out.

6. Semenya

As usual there was no timetable for the race so you had no idea when it was going to start. Poor Andrew was there at 11am Myself and John Shine arrived at 1230 and soon realised that the race was not going to start before 3. That’s a lot of time to kill in Galbally, it’s not exactly Ennis. Thankfully my home is 5 minutes from Galbally. I hadn’t been home in almost 6 months anyway. Unfortunately there was no one at home except Caster the cat. I made some Nespresso and caught up with the cat. This didn’t take long.

7. Plural of Chesser

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a strong field at a cross country race. There were lots of Chessers and every runner in East Cork. I really feared finishing last. It was very scary.

8. Turn 8

I think the course was like a Herman Tilke F1 track. Probably Istanbul, although I’d say it was designed by someone from Galbally. Unfortunately the muck made it very slow. It had particularly deep, dangerously malevolent muck. I nearly fell many times, so did everyone else.

9. Humble Soup

I was very happy to administer a bad beating to Vivian Foley after he humiliated me in Berlin. He never even got close to me. It was an utter annihilation. It was so bad that he had to get soup from the organisers immediately afterwards to recover from the shock. I plan to administer a similar beating in Berlin next year.  I don’t think they’ll give him soup in Berlin though.

10. Carwash

I think I should have visited the car wash after the last cross country race in Clare. I definitely transferred Clare muck to Galbally. It might make the ground better for hurling. I transferred the combined Clare-Galbally muck to the Esso car wash in Mitchelstown. My spikes are immaculate for €1. John was very impressed. His spikes are shining too, just like the bronze team medal we got. Bloody Chessers and East Cork.

 Andrew Sheehan, Myself and John Shine. Eric Curran had gone home.

Andrew Sheehan, Myself and John Shine. Eric Curran had gone home.

Palma Beach 10k

10 Things I Think About The II Palma Beach Running Course 10k

1. Jerry Kieran is Right

I think lunch in a Michelin starred restaurant the day before a race is very bad preparation for a race, lunch in a Michelin starred restaurant followed by a three course dinner in a Belgian restaurant that specialises in Belgian beer is exceptionally bad preparation. I woke up this morning feeling like one of the GAA players that Jerry Kieran was ranting about yesterday, big, heavy and not very mobile.

2. Orval

I think Orval is my favourite beer. It's absolutely perfect, I should have just had another one instead of asking the crazy Belgian guy what he'd recommend. "Ah zee Westmalle Triple, excellent beer".

3. Scorchio

I actually needed sunglasses today. I don't think you could have run the race without them. I wore my orange ones because I like them. The sun is brilliant, it makes your head happy and your skin brown. I like the sun a lot.

4. German Santa Ponsa

I know I like Germany and Spain but the two combined together is an apocalyptic vision. The race was on in a German version of Santa Ponsa just down the coast from Palma. It was horrendous, like Youghal on a sunny day with lots of retired Germans. All the signs were in German and the people were waiting at the traffic lights even though nothing was coming.

5. Queue

I think I knew that the race was not being run by Germans when I saw the queue for registration. It was very Spanish and very long.

6. The Parade Ring

I think it's great fun to wander around the start trying to figure out who's any good. It's not as simple as pick out the skinny ones. It's like picking horses in the parade ring, you've to check for conditioning. I asked one of the locals who le meilleur was, he understood my French, but he didn't know who el mejor was. He said the race would be won in 3:15kms, he was right, he didn't seem to think I was any good, he was right.

7. Start

Unsurprisingly due to the Spanish queue the race started 10 minutes late, no one really cared because it was sunny and you don't care about these things when it's sunny. Due to feeling like a GAA player I had no interest in taking the lead and decided to follow the leaders and sit in like people always tell me to. I couldn't even do that though so I settled for what felt fast which was about 6th place.

8. Traffic Cones

I think the Mallorcans may have contracted out the placing of the traffic cones that marked the two turning points at either end of the course to one of the many Germans in the area because it was exactly precisely 10k. Either that or it was pure luck.

9. The Sprint

I spent the whole race chasing a guy in a blue t-shirt who had clearly gone off too fast, he was coming back to me the whole race. I thought I was going to repeat my heroics from last weekend and outsprint someone again. I tried my best but there was no response. My sprinting superpower just doesn't work on the road, it needs grass or muck or both.

10. Majorly Spained

I thought I was going to get to stand on the podium today. I really like podiums, the photos look fantastic on Instagram. They had loads of trophies so I thought I'd a chance having finished 6th because there were lots of fast old men running. I asked one of the Spaniards if I had won anything. He showed me a sheet with my name in second place in the senior men category and said to wait one hour for the prizes. I waited and waited and waited while all the trophies disappeared, there was no trophy for me. I didn't really care mainly because it was sunny and hot, the sun makes everything better even a good Spaining.

Palma 10k Start.jpg

Munster Novice Cross Country 2017

10 Things I Think About The Munster Novice Cross Country

1. Clarecastle

I think Clarecastle is a beautiful place, it’s like the Glanmire of Ennis. They have a big Centra and a river that looks like it floods a lot. There’s a pub called The Castle too. It’s very pretty. I’d still rather live in Glanmire though.

2. Yucky Mucky

I think I was the only one there today that was actually looking forward to the muck. It probably needed more rain to be honest. The muck was absolutely fantastic, utter misery, never the same pace, slow fast, slow fast, surging and searching for lines. It’s a different type of running. It’s like Formula 1 in the wet, a good driver in a rubbish car can suddenly be the fastest.

3. Badly Behaved Boy

I think that the more I try and not care about these races the better I run. Voodoo Rooms on a Friday night has to stop. I don’t even like it, it can’t be good for running. At least I went to Badly Drawn Boy beforehand to get some culture.

4. Performance Enhancing Spikes

I think I need to get a new pair of spikes. They really don’t last more than a year. It was a big mistake to stuff them with J-cloths last year and then leave them in the boot of the car for 12 months fermenting in a bag. I reckon the green mould that grew on the J-cloths is some sort of performance enhancing drug. I might try and isolate it in the lab.

5. Fang Club

I think it was a good idea to stay out of the mosh pit in Cypress Avenue the night before the race. It looked like great fun, a lot like the start of the race today, lots of pushing, pulling and dragging for no particular reason. Nothing like a bit of grunge to get you amped up before race. It’s good stuff.

6. War Paint

I think it was a bad idea to try and daub some local muck on my face before the race. I couldn’t wear my sunglasses so I decided on a bit of war paint just to try and intimidate the others at the start. I now understand why a mirror is very important when applying make-up as I just looked like baby who’d enjoyed a chocolate ice-cream on Ash Wednesday. I think I’ll stick to the sunglasses or actually use war paint.

7. West Cork Mafia

I think I was really worried after 200m of the race. Normally I’d be well clear but today I was back in about 15th after picking a bad line into the first corner. I quickly figured out where the dry line was in by the ditch and caught up to the early leader Denis Coughla. I knew Denis wouldn’t last more than 1500m, I was right.

8. Super Domestique

I think it was a pleasure to work in the service of Mark Wals today. I felt like a member of Team Sky working for Bradley Wiggins in the Tour De France, burying myself for my leader on the front and then pulling over on the final climb with 400m to go. I even shouted “Go Mark Go”. All I was short was a team radio with Donie shouting into my ear, “Dats grand now”. Some day I might be good enough to get my own domestique. I could be the next Chris Froome.

9. Height Matters

I don’t think I’ve ever been beaten by someone who was way taller than me. I’ve been beaten by fatter, smaller, shorter and wider but never way taller. That guy from Ennis Track must be 6’6. Logic would suggest that the muck would favour the short skinny stumpy runner but it seemed to be the big lumps like me that prospered today. I’ve no idea why. It makes no sense. Perhaps it’s because it was on in Clare, things are different up there.

10. Rocket Fuel

I don’t think I’ve ever beaten anyone in a sprint finish before. I’m normally utterly hopeless. I thought all my work today on the front was in vain as I’d dropped to fourth coming into the last 200m. The Ennis giant was uncatchable in second but I sensed that Conor O’Mahony from An Riocht was vulnerable in third. I waited until we were just entering the home straight to launch my vicious kick. I don’t know where the huge kick came from but I bounded past like a rather large gazelle. The Satzenbrau from Friday night must be rocket fuel, I’ve no other explanation.

Conor and I Munster Novice.jpg

Cork County Senior Cross Country 2017

10 Things I Think About The County Senior Cross Country

1. Misery

I think I still love cross country. I really love the misery. God it's great, absolute pure pain and suffering. No cash prizes, just medals, pride and beating people. It's perfect. I was trying to explain it to Mitch on the drive up. I think he understands now. Hopefully they won't cancel it like Ballycotton. That would be awful. I don't think I'd have any reason to live in the country if both were gone. I'd probably move to Spain or Germany if they did.

2. Marathon

I think I would have beaten Mark Hanrahan if I hadn't run the Berlin Marathon two weeks ago. You're supposed to take many weeks off after a marathon. If people are right (and they normally are) then it's absolutely amazing that I was able to walk let alone run today. I have however mastered the debadification process after three marathons. Drink and eat recklessly for three days in Berlin, run 5 miles on the Thursday, 5 on the Friday, 10 on Saturday and then back to normal. Drinking definitely helps, the alcohol kills all the damaged muscle fibres.

3. Leave Before the Lights Come On

I think it's a good idea to leave Voodoo Rooms at 1am on the Friday before the county senior cross country. Any later and you might do something silly like lose your phone and want to cancel all your bank cards.

4. Polytunnels

I think that it's important to do something on the Saturday before a big race to take your mind off the imminent pain and misery. A tour of the polytunnels in the gardens of UCC with John Meade, Conor and John took my mind right off the cross country. I have a new appreciation for polytunnels after it.

5. Palmetto

I don't think I've ever run badly the day after a pizza at Palmetto. It must be the healthy sourdough base. It doesn't matter if you have beer or cider with it, it's excellent fuel for running. I had San Pellegrino this time and it still worked. I still prefer Novocento though.

6. The List

I think it's important to have a list of names of people that you'd like to beat in a race. I had a nice list, some were in red, underlined. It's not a list of hate, it's a list of respect. If you want to beat someone it means that you respect them. I hope that I'm on other people's lists if they're mad enough to have a list.

7. Tool

I think I looked like a tool running around a farmers field in Conna with a pair of orange sunglasses on. Well Mark Walsh said I did. They didn't even match my singlet. I'm pretty sure the conservative cross country crowd didn't approve. There's probably some county board by-law against sunglasses in races. There seems to be one against everything else. I did have a reason for wearing them though as on the warm up with Michael Herlihy I noticed that the orange tinting definitely helped distinguish the cow shit from the green grass on the course. Marginal gains and all that.

8. Start

I think my starting procedure for cross country is perfect. Everyone else seems to think it's mad. Someone even shouted at me to calm down this time. They're definitely right for road races but in a cross country race you need to be up the front. The places don't change much after a lap. Plus I was the only one to see that Mark Hanrahan very nearly fell and broke his ankle at the first corner. I think he was worried about me, not that I'd beat him, just worried.

9. John Meade

I was very happy to finally beat John Meade. It was more of an annihilation than a bad beating. It has been approximately 2786 days since I last beat John Meade, it was cross country then too. He tried to pass me after 3 laps but I was having none of it and immediately crushed his rebellion like a Spanish policeman in Barcelona. I think I should retire now. Although I'd like to beat him again. I really like beating John Meade because he's really really good.

10. East Bloody Cork

I think I don't like East Cork. They're very good at cross country races. We had about a million runners, they had about five and they still won. It's not fair. I don't know how they do it. It's like North Korea beating the USA in a war. That should never happen.

Cork Senior XC Start.JPG

Berlin Marathon 2017

10 Things I Think About The Berlin Marathon 2017

1. The Snip

I think I'm going to avoid Vivian Foley for a while. I'm very scared. He beat me badly today in the marathon (seven seconds). I had been promising all week that I would beat him badly again like I did in Churchtown South. The forfeit proposed at dinner last night was that I would get the snip if I lost. I really don't want to get the snip, it sounds very painful and it might impact my running.

2. Chariots of Fire

I didn't think that I would ever end up actually racing someone in a marathon but I did. I really wanted to beat Vivian today, primarily because I was afraid of the snip but also because of pride. We had a great race long battle although he did sit on me for the sum total of 41.8 kilometres before unleashing a vicious kick. The finish was like the end of a stage of the Tour de France, the two of us striding down towards the Brandenburg Gate side by side. In fairness we did agree that we would stay together until then for a dramatic sprint, we even fist bumped. Sprinting at the end of a marathon is a very bad idea, things can easily tear. I wisely decided to save myself for the XC. I can always beat him then. I hope I don't regret not sprinting.

3. Familiar Faces

I think it's reassuring to see so many people you know while running a marathon. It gives you a great gauge of how bad or good you're running. I was delighted to see Derek Griffin at 20k, I knew then that I was running ok. I was going to ask him if his glutes were firing but I didn't as I didn't want to spend the next 22k debating the rights and wrongs of sports medicine, that's what Twitter is for. I also tried to beat Derek but failed miserably. I'll add him to the list for future beating.

4. Baldricks Cunning Plan

I think it's safe now to reveal the cunning reason why I drink San Pellegrino sparking water during my long runs. It's because it makes you exceptionally good at burping. I bet no one else practiced burping before the marathon. When you're forced to drink water from a cup like you have to in Berlin, burping is an essential skill. I reckon I cut at least a minute off my time by being a brilliant burper. Although I didn't have to rely entirely on the cups of water thanks to Ian O'Leary and Ronan's daughter Aisling who had lovely bottles with sports caps out on the course. There was no repeat of the John O'Connell mouldy water incident thankfully.

5. Seagulls

I think my pre-race breakfast of three bananas, peanut butter and countless rice cakes (at least 10) was ingenious. You don't need to take gels if you can regurgitate your breakfast continuously throughout the race. Even at 40k I could still burp and taste rice cakes, bananas and peanut butter. This made me extremely confident that I wasn't running out of energy. I was right. Who needs gels when you can be a human seagull.

6. Continental Tyres

I think I know why Kipchoge ran such a bad time and couldn't break the world record. It was because of the rain last night. The roads were actually really slippy and oily, especially the busy roads. It probably doesn't matter when you're 80kg and wearing Brooks Ghosts, but I'd say being 50 something kg and wearing Nikes which don't have Continental Tyre technology like the Adidas shoes makes a huge difference. A big German conspiracy. Adidas probably made it rain last night. Next they'll have wet and dry shoes like in Formula 1. They'll double sales immediately. I should patent it.

7. Spain

I still think Spain is a great country. I followed two Spanish guys from Madrid to the start when I got the U-Bahn in the wrong direction by mistake. I was a bit worried about following Spanish people because they're normally not the most reliable but they got me right to the start without delay. In truth I really only trusted them once I saw German people wearing ponchos going in the same direction. I was wrong to doubt them. Spain is brilliant.

8. The Jagged Key

I think I have some sort of curse hanging over me regarding keys to apartments and Berlin. In the last three trips to Berlin someone has lost a key. Today it was my turn. I put the key in the pocket of my trusty Saucony short shorts before the start. I checked that there were no holes. Unfortunately it was a particularly jagged key. I think the jaggedness combined with the sweatiness and jostling over the course of a marathon resulted in it cutting itself free. I rang the owners of the apartment using a phone from a volunteer in the finishing pen after the marathon. Unfortunately the owners of the apartment don't have a spare key as some other fool lost the original key the week before and I actually had the spare. They did kindly leave me in to the apartment with the master key so that I wouldn't die but told me not to leave. As a result I'm stuck in the apartment, sitting in the bath hoping that a German locksmith will work on a Sunday. This would never happen in Spain.

9. Hypothermia

I think cold misty rain is brilliant for running a marathon but absolutely terrible immediately after the marathon. The race was like one of those rare cold calm misty murky beautiful Sunday mornings in Blackrock where running is effortless. It's not so nice when you stop and have to walk 4km back home after running 42km, I'd much rather have gotten back into my car and gone for coffee. I had the cheek to ask for a second rain poncho after the race because I was a little cold and it was raining. They literally had millions of them but no the old stern German woman policing the ponchos said "Entschuldigung, Nein". I really could have used that extra poncho. This would never happen in Spain.

10. The Science of Running

I think Ronán Boland has a fantastic marathon training group. He's like a Cork Steve Magness. Scientific training applied holistically but also great fun. Everyone of the guys he coaches ran brilliantly today including himself. Even better they're really nice guys, even if they do threaten to give you the snip. I better not drink too much beer just in case they were serious. That's if I ever get let out of the apartment.

Berlin 2017 25.jpg

Bored the Night Before The Berlin Marathon 2017

10 Things I Think About Being Bored The Night Before The Berlin Marathon

1. Full Back

I think I picked the wrong sport. I'm not designed to run marathons, I should have been a GAA player. The doctor who first set eyes on me as a 11 pound baby said "Galtee Gaels have a new full-back" not "the Berlin Marathon has a new winner".

2. For God's Sake Take it Handy at the Start

I think I'll listen to Donie Walsh this time. Normally he doesn't even bother telling me to take it handy at the start of a road race because he knows that it is utterly pointless. Lizzie Lee has also suggested a sensible approach. I might just listen this time.

3. Boxing

I don't think I've ever gotten to the start line of a race in such good shape. There is literally nothing wrong with me, nothing. This isn't some David Haye style boxing nonsense where I'll reveal tomorrow that I actually have three broken toes and a torn ACL, I am actually perfect. I even survived a dramatic ankle roll at the Marina on Tuesday. Perhaps the robust ankles of a full back are exactly what's needed for a marathon.

4. Plague

I'm very happy to have avoided catching any diseases before the marathon. I had the misfortune of sitting beside a very diseased person on the plane but I seem to have avoided contracting whatever plague was going. I was going to ask him to move but I don't think that would have worked.

5. Beige Food

I think the best approach to the day before a marathon in a foreign city is to adopt a beige food policy. If it's beige you can eat it. Bread, croissants, rice cakes, bananas, pizzas and tiramisu are all ok.

6. Veins

I think I regret all those croissants in Font Romeu. I wish I looked like a heroin addict. It's horrible walking around the EXPO and seeing all these people who have veins like the U-Bahn map of Berlin. I wish I had veins.

7. Sleep

I think beer is great for sleep but I'm too afraid to drink one the night before the marathon. I had two on Friday after arriving and slept like a baby. I don't think I'll sleep as well tonight. I'll take some paracetamol instead.

8. The Da Vinci Code

I think there are two restaurants in Berlin called Da Vinci.

9. Rowdy Barber

I think deflation has struck in Berlin. My haircut only cost €44 this time. I think I like it. It's sort of German, it certainly wasn't worth €44.

10. 16071

I think my number has a nice symmetry to it, 1+6=7, 7-1=6. I hope it all adds up to a good time, whatever that is.

Berlin U-Bahn.JPG

Charleville Half Marathon

10 Things I Think About Pacing The Charleville Half Marathon

1. Something borrowed, something red, something mouldy.

I think the reason JEP (Jonathan Escalante-Phillips) ran so fast is because he was wearing my exclusive Gilead Nike singlet, a "clean" pair of Michael Herlihy's shorts and my used blister proof socks. At least he remembered his racing shoes. I'm probably going to have to retire the singlet because it ain't ever running a sub 70 half on my shoulders.

2. Ownabwee Honey

I now know that the secret to a 68 minute half marathon is half a bottle of SuperValu's cheapest honey in the 12 hours before a race. That and a few nespressos. Rice cakes seem to be beneficial too. The dietary habits of a 68 minute half marathoner are interesting.

3. Food Doping

I think the day before a half marathon should include mainly/entirely Italian food. Myself, John Meade, JEP and Paul Gallagher had a stereoptypical lazy italian lunch at Italee featuring paninis, Italian hot chocolate and blackberry crostata. Myself and JEP shared a 16' Novocento pizza for dinner. Novocento must add clenbuterol to the parma ham, I think it's one of the extras.

4. Iarlath O'Lionaird and Steve Cooney

I don't think JEP will be rushing back to Cork for another sean-nós gig. Although I think sean-nós might help with sleep. John Meade understood every word. I'm sure we will be hearing about what the songs meant for weeks. I think I saw him taking notes.

5. Greyhound

I still think Swedish House Mafia is the best pre-race music. It really does make you want to stab someone. It's 6 minutes of brilliance. JEP is converted although he didn't have much choice.

6. Lady in Red

I think my Sevilla FC ensemble was the perfect pacing costume. Who needs a balloon when you've a bright red  hat, immaculate white sunglasses and a lovely red jersey on. Although the guys in the pace group said they'd have preferred a lady in red.

7. Perfect Pacing

I did feel a bit bad running an even pace for an entire race. It's against my religion. It's no fun, terribly boring, just run along at your prescribed pace, no element of surprise, no misery, no blowing up and so clinical. I'd much rather go hard and drive it on, it's much more fun. It was good practice for Berlin next week. I just need to be clinical for one more race and then I can go back to my usual madness. 

8. Cold

I think I'll have to consider leaving the country from September to March. It was really cold this morning, it was awful. I could feel my tan fading with every second. It's terrible. I don't think it'll last 6 months. I might have to consider sunbeds.

9. Taper

I think I've got the taper right this time. I've just ignored it. I feel much less fat and my legs and head are much happier. Sure no one even knew what a taper was back in the 80s and they ran fine. I think a taper is only necessary if you are running proper high mileage like say 140 miles per week, Then it might be sensible to drop back to 80. I've only been running 80-90 miles a week so there really is no point in cutting back. I'll be fine.

10. Charleville

I don't think you'll find a better organised half marathon in Europe. It really is perfect. A perfectly flat arrow straight course, no queues, no problems and no nonsense. You'd almost think Michael Herlihy was involved in organising it.


Ballycotton 5 2017

10 Things I Think About About The Ballycotton 5

1. The Wedding

I think that weddings are exceptionally bad preparation for a road race. As my sister will probably only get married once or twice I thought it was a good idea to enjoy it. I survived the wedding relatively unscathed, unfortunately there was a wedding day plus 1.

2. Gin

I think that gin is the best drink for runners. I asked the guy who won the 5k down the marina last week how he got so good. He said he stopped drinking pints and started drinking gin and tonic on nights out. This made sense so I drank nothing but gin and tonic for the wedding day plus 1. I definitely didn't put on weight.

3. Recovery

I think I recovered quite well from the wedding. I had no hangover on Monday thanks to the gin but my head felt like there was a Frenchman living in it. It was extremely unproductive and constantly thinking about holidays.

4. Tuesday Track

I don't think it was a good idea to do 6x400m on the track on Tuesday. I know it was hot but I was sweating a lot. It was great to have Robert Heffernan jump in in the middle of our session. He made all of us look like fantastic runners with his horrendous running technique. I think he's forgotten how to run. I don't think it'll take him long to remember.

5. Shades

I think it was a shame that Bryan Crowley was too vain not to wear the lovely orange shades that Claire O'Brien gave him. I think he was afraid that they didn't match his hair. He was probably right.

6. Go Hard or Go Home

I think I'll have to stop running the first mile as hard as I can in every race. It's just so tempting when the photos look so fantastic on Instagram. Unfortunately even with my madness I wasn't able to get ahead of Alan O'Shea, by god he's fast. This made my whole race pointless.

7. Mark Walsh

I think I was utterly insane to think that I could beat Mark Walsh tonight. I thought it was possible based on sessions but I was very wrong. It was a pathetic effort. I failed miserably. He does have a few advantages in that his father was an Olympian. My father worked in Dairygold.

8. That Bloody Hill

I think that Donal Coffey only beat me because of that hill at three miles. I was very far ahead of him at the base of the monstrous hill because I'm a much faster runner. Hills don't suit me so he was able to close the gap on the vicious climb. I think he's so good at hills because he's from Millstreet. Once he saw that I was suffering majorly on the climb he cruelly tried to crush me, this wasn't very nice. On this occasion he was successful. I tried as hard as I could to catch him but I couldn't as he had an accomplice in Vivian Foley who also gets great pleasure in beating me. It was all very unfair. I definitely would have beaten him if the race was flat and I didn't have that wedding.

9. The Purpose

I think that kid shouting at people at the finish has the right mindset. "At least you didn't come last". I'd love to know what he shouted at the guy who was last.

10. Door Mat

I think the prizes for the race were quite apt. Our team prize was three sets of door mats. I felt like a door mat after that race as Donal Coffey literally walked all over me. I will get revenge.

Ballycotton 5 Shades.jpg

Galtee Runners 8k

10 Things I Think About the Galtee Runners 8k

1. You Are What You Eat

I think that I may have accidentally discovered the optimal body composition for running. It is that of a croissant, light and puffy. No need for low body fat and lots of muscles. In fact the less muscles the better, croissants don't have muscles.

2. The Body Mechanic

I think it was a good idea to get a massage from David Kenneally three hours before the race. Chris Froome wouldn't get on his bike if the mechanic hadn't looked at it in a few weeks. That massage was badly needed after Font Romeu. I was pretty beat up from all those hills. I was as loose as an IAAF rulebook after it.

3. Transdermal Doping

I think I may have picked up some talent from Mo Farah when I touched him while taking the photo in Font Romeu. Transdermal talent delivery works. I don't know if finishing fourth had anything to do with meeting Team G.B, perhaps I caught that off them too.

4. Home Town Hero

I thought I was going to win my home town race. I was very disappointed to see Eric Curran and David Mansfield at the start. Although with my new tan I don't think anyone in Mitchelstown would have recognised me. Johnny O Sullivan said I looked like a foreigner. This pleased me. It's much better than looking like someone from Mitchelstown.

5. The Warm Up

I think I forgot how beautiful Mitchelstown is. I used to run a laps of the town every evening. I forgot how nicely the Galtees frame the town. The Kingstons picked a nice spot. It's like an inverted Font Romeu without the croissants.

6. Ayana Not Quite

I think I may have to reconsider my starting procedure. Yes it feels great to lead every race you run but you do feel like a fool when you get passed after a mile every time. I'll keep plugging away for a few more weeks. Eventually I'll make it stick.

7. Eoin Sugrue Unattached

I think it was a little unusual for the athletes to be talking to the commentator mid race. I had to tell the commentator in the back of the lead car that the "guy in the blue singlet" was Eoin Sugrue. He said "Thanks Donal". I was sorry I told him as he proceeded to repeat this fact every 30 seconds until we finally fell out of earshot of the car. I don't think Mo Farah has to put up with this.

8. Alone Together

I think I need to hurt a little more in these races. I had a great race long battle with Eoin Sugrue, we spent the whole race exchanging third and fourth. I really should have beaten him. I let him get a small gap on me on the climb up to the final roundabout. This was just laziness. I'll hurt more the next time. It hurt more not getting that prize.

9. Peasant Wagon

I think being run over by a peasant wagon at the end of a road race would have been a terrible way to die. I emptied myself trying to pass Eoin on the line like I passed John O'Connell in Chipiona. Unfortunately this resulted in me collapsing onto the ground right in front of an oncoming peasant wagon. Thankfully it stopped before rolling over my large head. I'm very lucky. I think I banged my head but I can't remember so I probably didn't. I don't think they do HIAs for runners.

10. Altitude

I think altitude is fantastic. I don't think that the altitude in Font Romeu made any difference. The only real difference I noted was that my heart rate was higher than normal, perhaps I had more oxygen. I think the best form of performance enhancement is a downhill course. It really helps make you look fast.

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Font Romeu

10 Things I Think About Font Romeu (and Carraig na bhFear 5k)

1. Altitude

I think converting every house in the country into an altitude house would solve the obesity epidemic. You can eat relentless amounts of pain au raisins and almond croissants with no ill effects when living at altitude. Two dinners? No problem, in fact it would be dangerous not to. I'm sure a doughnut tax in Ireland could help fund such a project. If you want to eat more just turn up the altitude in your house. We'd have way more athletes to watch in the world championships too. It can't fail.

2. Breakfast

I think I'll miss breakfast in Font Romeu the most. I went to Cafe Le Joffre every morning for two coffees and two pain au raisins. On the last day I was a little late and thought all the pain au raisins would be gone. Thankfully my new friend Chloe had kept the last two pain au raisins especially for me. France is great.

3. Injuries

I think getting through 10 days in Font Romeu with only one horrendously sprained ankle is miraculous. I have the agility of a dyspraxic polar bear which means that running on rocky trails is risking career ending injury and or death at every step. I thought my uselessness was down to my massive clown feet but Donal Coffey has the same feet and he glides down the trails effortlessly.

4. Track

I think the track in Font Romeu shows that you don't need perfect facilities for world class athletes. The track is pretty battered. It has ruts, dips and dives even in lane 1 but no one seems to mind. You're supposed to pay €3 to use the track but you can slip in through a hole in the fence at the back for free. There's a great atmosphere about the place with elite athletes everywhere. You're very unlikely to need to shout "track" at some headphone wearing fool walking in lane one, everyone just moves out into lane 2 and 3 when they're done. It works.

5. Dropkirk Murphy's

I didn't think that Shipping Up To Boston would be the soundtrack to a session at Font Romeu but Andrew Butchart seems to be a big fan. It's great to have music at the track. Perhaps we should install speakers at the Mardyke. It makes sessions way easier but does tend to make you go a bit mad on the first rep.

6. Dreams vs Reality

I think Team G.B are still talking about my first track session at Font Romeu. I got a bit carried away on my first 400m rep and ran 71. It's hard not to when all the Team G.B coaches are standing around watching you. I'm sure they were impressed by my novel 8x400m session where each 400m rep got one second slower with each rep. At least no one shouted "track" at me.

7. Maps

I don't think there was a run where we didn't spend 10 minutes looking at a map deciding which trail to run. There's a fantastic network of trails. My favourite is number 30, 8 miles of single track, forest road and a little bit of tarmac. Where else could you run a 10,9,8,7 and 6 minute mile in the same run for the same effort. It's great. The possibilities are endless.

8. Chamber of Commerce

I think the new bar on the main street is way better than the Irish bar. It's just a timber shed with a permanently drunk stereotypical French bar man making up the prices. There are different prices for the locals and the tourists. The pints are very strong. All the locals go there. It's great but it doesn't open if it's cold. The Irish bar is terrible.

9. Photos

I think I'm going to have to stop asking Team G.B athletes for photos, it's a bit childish. I think they like it though, they all seemed delighted, I suppose I'd love it too if random people knew my name and asked for a photo with me.

10. Mission Impossible

I always thought John Meade was amazing. Now he has proved it.

5.10pm flight to Cork.

6.20pm land in Cork,

6.30pm ring the brother,

6.50pm the brother arrives and chooses/is forced to accept mission.

7.00pm magic gear change

7.20pm arrive in Carrignavar.

7.25pm register.

7.30pm start race.

7.46pm win 5k.

Altitude works.

Cursa Popular D'Age

10 Things I Think About The 35th Cursa Popular D'Age

1. Recce

I don't think I like doing reconnaissance missions on these road races in foreign countries. It's much better when you haven't a clue what the locals decided would be a good course over a few bottles of wine. The fact that we had to turn back at one section tells you all you need to know about the course. Michael is still convinced he could have gotten the Seat Ibiza up the rocky trail.

2. Le Chat du Font Romeu

I think it was a bad idea to do a five mile trail run the morning of the race. I went over on my ankle for the 42nd time in Font Romeu, my nine lives appear to have run out. My foot is finally sprained. It probably wasn't the best idea to run the race but I have very good drugs. Unfortunately taking them is like turning off the fire alarm when the house is clearly on fire. It's not good when you wake up the following morning.

3. Patisserie Le Joffre

I think a pain au raisin, a chasson aux pommes and three cafe grandes is the perfect breakfast at altitude. It's just a pity that my friend Chloe wasn't there to serve me this morning.

4. Bib Gourmand

I think a three course set menu for €23 at a Michelin Bib Gourmand with Conor and Donal four hours before a race is perfect preparation. Jambon, Bouef and Sorbet. What more could you need. The waiter even complimented me on my belle moustache. I think Mo Farah and Andy Butchart eat there the whole time before races.

5. Altitude

I think it was a good idea to go down from altitude to race. Age is at about 1000m compared to 1800 for Font Romeu. I don't think we would have performed as well up in Font Romeu, it's much harder to run up there. Age is also in Spain which is good.

6. Dorsal Collection

I think chip timing, a t-shirt and a fairly accurate course is a lot to get for €6. The chip timing was via a dorsal which you tied around one leg. I much prefer the chip on your shoe. The dorsal irritated my achilles.

7. British and Irish Lions

I think I really enjoyed representing my country. We had a in-race race between the Irish and British residents of Font Romeu. Instead of a singlet we got green rocky style bandanas. Only John O'Connell wouldn't tie his around his head and wore it on his arm instead. The Cork Athletics Board wouldn't have been happy about that. Country before County and County before Club.

8. Carrera

I think I thought I could beat John Meade today. I tore off at the start like a Kenyan trying to beat Mo Farah. Just like the Kenyans it was pointless. I got to the bit where the road ended on the back of Conor and John but the minute the gravel bit started they tore off. Ah well I was closer than before. Project beat John Meade might take a while.

9. Trail

I think we should have more half trail half road races in Ireland. It makes the race more interesting when you have to slow down for rocks and holes in the road. It also means that finish time is irrelevant, all that matters is where you finish.

10. Podium

I think podiums are fantastic. I didn't get to stand on the podium today but Mike did along with Jonathan and James. It looked like great fun. In the Ireland vs Team JEP battle, Ireland emerged victorious 29 points to 30. I don't think the locals appreciated an entirely foreign top 10. The local hero was well down the field.

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Churchtown South 5 Mile

10 Things I Think About The Churchtown South 5 Mile Road Race

1. Squalls of Fun

I think John Walshe forgot to pay the weather man. Normally the weather is perfect for the Ballycotton series. This evening we had squally schizophrenic weather. It didn't know what it was doing. Big black clouds, with howling wind followed by glorious sunshine then freezing cold. It wasn't very nice. It even rained, I haven't seen rain in a long time.

2. Tower of Power

I think I could patent my pre-race tower of power. It's made with bananas, peanut butter and rice cakes. The bananas are the pillars. The rice cakes are the floors and the peanut butter is the cement. The higher the tower the more energy you get. David Cody was very impressed that I could eat such a tall tower.

3. San Pellegrino

I think drinking San Pellegrino sparkling water every day has improved my performance. I saw Macron drinking it in the Netflix documentary. That means it must be good. French people normally don't drink Italian water. It's either that or the extra beer I've been drinking. Alcohol increases haemoglobin according to one study I read, perhaps I'm onto something.

4. Kauto Star

I think Seán Hehir running the Churchtown South 5 Mile Road Race a week before the World Championship is like Kauto Star turning up at the point to point in Kildorrery the week before Cheltenham. Just like Kauto Star he won at a canter. I could still see him after a mile so I suppose that means I'd probably be ok in the Bumper. Ah well every horse has his race.

5. Teachers

I think I'd be a better runner if I was a teacher. Before the race I had to work very hard doing particle size testing all day. I was very tired. Normally I just sit at my desk and write excellent reports. All the teachers were resting all day, they probably didn't get up before 12. This is very unfair. They shouldn't be allowed race in the summer as punishment. It's not fair. They all run fantastically in the summer, it's no coincidence. Teacher doping.

6. Wardrobe Malfunction

I think you should only ever wear sunglasses that you are willing to throw away in a race. This is why I don't wear Oakleys like everyone else. My ones cost €10, if it rains or you take a dislike to them midrace you can throw them away. Thankfully Mark Walsh was on hand to collect mine when it started raining before the start. You kind of need to be able to see when running on such a pothole riddled course. They had marked the potholes but this was like pointing out the acne on a teenager, it only made things worse.

7. Coffey vs Coakley IV

I think I really enjoy beating Donal Coffey in road races. I handed him an unmerciful beating again just like Millstreet. Revenge for last week when I was fat after holidays. I think the key is to get to the first mile marker ahead of him. He knows he's beaten then and gives up. I had to correct the commentators at the finish line though. They thought that I was Coffey. "Coakley not Coffey" I shouted. They were happy to make the correction. This made me happy.

8. Just for Men

I think Bryan Crowley has stepped up to the mark with his new haircut. I mean I veet my legs and get €55 haircuts in Berlin but Bryan's new haircut definitely cost more. Respect. Perhaps I'll have to get a similar job done. I wonder what colour I'll get. I like blonde. It might help my running. Blondes are normally faster. It would match my singlet too.

9. Rollercoaster Rainbow

I think that rollercoaster section between miles 1 and 2 is my favourite part of any road race in Cork. It suits me perfectly, a nice rolling road with the wind behind you. My big frame acts like a sail with the wind. We even had a rainbow to chase this evening. I like rainbows, they're pretty. It's a pity Gearóid Ó Laoi wasn't there to take a photo. I took a mental photo instead.

10. Lasagne

I think it was very kind of Donal Coffey to donate his prize to me as a house warming gift. I really needed that lasagne dish, set of drill bits and a fire blanket. I can't wait to use all three. I don't think he'd have donated it if it was cash.