CBS The Green 5k and 3k Run

If you are anywhere near Tralee on Sunday September 25th, come along to The Green School, beside Tralee Town Park, and take part in the CBS The Green School 5k or 3k. The run is being organised by CBS teachers Helen Kelliher and Karen Tobin to raise funds towards the construction of an all-weather pitch. Entry is just €10 for adults, and €5 for students and children. You can enter at the school the day before, or on the morning of the run, and there are lots of activities for younger kids going on, and the run is suitable for all abilities, including walkers. My eldest attends CBS The Green, and is looking forward to the pitch being finished, so he’ll be there, as will I, as long as I survive the 24 Hour Endurance Race, which finishes an hour before this starts. I hope to see lots of you there!

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Kerry 24 Hour Endurance Race

My next race will be the Kerry 24 Hour Endurance Race. This will be a big test of where I am mentally and physically after my travails in the 100k, and I’m really looking forward to it (though I wish I’d more training done!). The race was originally scheduled to take place on a running track, but has been moved to Tralee Town Park, where the Tralee parkrun takes place. This move could be interesting, and will certainly be more scenic!

The course consists of 0.75 mile laps of the park, and it starts at 12pm on Saturday, September 24th, and ends, not surprisingly, 24 hours later, at 12pm on Sunday.
If you are in the area, and aren’t up for running it, be sure to drop in and give us some encouragement.

There are 12 hour and 6 hour versions running at the same time. I’ve a feeling I’ll be very envious of those runners on the day! I believe there are still places available through Run The Kingdom for anyone interested.

My eldest son’s school, CBS The Green, which is adjacent to the park, is organising a fundraising 5k starting at 1pm on the Sunday, with registration available at the school – I’m considering entering it – surely an hours rest will be enough for a 5k……

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2016 Rose of Tralee 10k

On Sunday I had my first race since my somewhat disastrous Tralee 100k, and I was looking forward to getting back on the road.

I have run this race every year since it started, and it is one of my favourite events – there is always a great atmosphere, as it coincides with the International Rose of Tralee Festival, and draws a fairly eclectic crowd, different to most races.

This year the start was slightly different, as it went from the Rose Hotel. The weather hadn’t been great, and it poured rain all morning, so I had worn a compression top inside my running top, but, at the last minute I decided to ditch it, as it got very humid – I was glad I did, as it was very warm during the race.

After the usual preliminaries, we set off, heading out the exit road of the hotel, before cutting back along the Dan Spring road towards the western edge of the town.

I had planned on taking the first half of this race easy, as the first 5 or 6k is mostly gentle climbs, while the last few k’s are mostly downhill, but I was so keen to get back on the road that my plan went out the window from the start.
I definitely wasn’t back to 100% fitness, but I felt mostly ok, though the race was much harder work than it should have been.

We had great support despite the conditions, and I heard my name being called a good few times, and met a lot of runners I knew (mostly passing me in the later stages!).

I pushed as hard as I dared on the climb up Caherslee and the long drag over Bracker O’Regan road (known to us locals as The Fat Mile), but the heat, my lack of restraint in the early part of the race, and the after effects of the Tralee 100k soon took their toll, and I slowed considerably from 5k on, as we hit the last of the climbing section on the Killeen road. I knew the next section, Oakpark, was downhill, so I wasn’t too worried. I was delighted to finally make this stretch, though by now I had nothing left in the tank, and even the downhill didn’t help me pick up the pace much.

All that was left for it was to grind out the last few kilometres, and that’s what I did. I didn’t look at my watch, but I knew coming up The Mall towards the finish line at Denny Street that I wasn’t going to do a decent time, so I just got on with it, and enjoyed the last bit. As usual, it was a fantastic feeling coming up to the finish in Denny Street, though for the fist time in this race, quite a few people passed me in the last few hundred meters – my usual sprint finish just wasn’t there.

I crossed the line just 5 seconds under the hour, which is the slowest I’ve ever done this race, and the first year I’ve run a slower time than the previous year – this says a lot about where I’m at in terms of my fitness and recovery, and points to a lot of work required before the Kerry 24 Hour in a few weeks. At least now I have a benchmark to work from.

This was another brilliant event by Run The Kingdom, and fair play to the people of Tralee, and the many visitors to the town who turned out to run and support.

Tralee parkrun 23 July – with the Kinematix TUNE

I did another Tralee parkrun this morning, and got my very first trial of the Kinematix TUNE wearable fitness monitor.

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The Kinematix TUNE ready to go

I arrived at the park to find a few of my Born To Run buddies were also running today – several of them were using it as a warm-up for a marathon tomorrow, while I was preparing for my first Olympic-distance triathlon with Tralee Triathlon Club tomorrow.

I had received the Kinematix TUNE on Thursday, and, after initially contacting the company to tell them my units were faulty (only to discover, embarrassingly, that I had them turned upside down!), I got them set up ready for today.

They consist of a pair of insoles that fit in your shoes, under your existing insoles, and a pair of electronic senders that clip to the side of the shoes. I was a little worried that I would find the units uncomfortable to run with (or that they would fly off into the bushes while I ran!), but, in truth, once I started running, I wasn’t conscious of them at all.

The devices upload to an app on your phone, and this gives you a huge array of information on your run.

Back to the parkrun, and I had no Lee with me today, as he is still suffering the after effects of his recent illness, and we decided it would be better for him to sit this one out.
It was very humid from the start. I ran with Conor and Kirstie for the first lap, as Brian and Simon took off at a faster pace.

I took the first lap nice and easy, but began to push on a little faster on the second lap. I kept in mind that I have a tough day ahead tomorrow, and tried not to go too hard.

I began to really feel the humidity towards the end of this lap, but I tried to keep my momentum going for the last lap.

By the time I crossed the line, I was really feeling the heat, and was pretty well done in, though I had managed to run each km faster than the last for all of it.

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Trying to stop my Garmin, and switch off the TUNE app at the same time (pic Tralee parkrun)

I was keen to have a look at the info from the TUNE app, and have a go at interpreting it.

It certainly looks impressive – as well as the usual pace, speed, distance etc. it also gives ground contact time, heel contact time, 5 of heel striking steps (way too much in my case), and cadence. I look forward to going through this, and seeing where my form needs improvement. More to come as I continue to test this interesting device over the next few months.

Well done to all the park runners today, and especially to race director Pat, and all the volunteers. See you all next week.

If you are thinking of doing the Landers Tralee Triathlon next week, you better get signing up quick – places are nearly all gone!

Tralee parkrun July 16th

I ran another Tralee parkrun this morning, in wet and humid conditions.

My usual running buddy Lee wasn’t with me, as he had spent the last couple of days in hospital with a suspected appendicitis – fortunately it turned out to be a false alarm, and he is on the mend, but, much to his frustration, he wasn’t well enough to run today.

Catherine joined me instead. We arrived in the park to a steady drizzle, which would continue pretty much for the duration of the run.

After instructions and introductions from race director Siobhan, we set off.

I took the first lap nice and easy to test my legs. I had completed a marathon and a triathlon over the past week, as well as spending the last 48 hours cooped up in a hospital with Lee, so I wasn’t sure how enthusiastic my body would be for this.

I was joined early on by fellow Born To Run member Niamh, who was just back from sunny California, and Catherine, Sinead, and Caroline soon pulled a few hundred meters ahead of us.

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Niamh and myself on Lap 1 (pic Tralee parkrun)

I felt fairly fresh by the end of this first lap, so I started to speed up a bit on lap 2. Niamh decided to stick to her pace, and I soon pulled away and started to gain on the others. I passed them on the “hill” (more of a gentle rise really) on this lap, and kept pushing as much as I felt I could.

By the time I crossed the line to start lap 3, I was starting to feel the pace, and the final lap was much harder work!

I slowed down considerably for the first half of this final lap, but by the time I hit the halfway point, I started to push on a bit again, despite really feeling the humidity, and I finished fairly strongly, passing a few more runners near the end.

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Am I there yet? (pic Tralee parkrun)

My watch gave me a time of 28:32 but I’m not sure how close that it to my actual time – I forgot to start it for a few seconds, and forgot to stop it crossing the line! (UPDATE: Turns out my official time was 28:36, so not too far off!)

Thanks to all this week’s parkrun volunteers, and I look forward to seeing you all again next week – hopefully with Lee back to his usual form!

Tralee Tri Club Sprint Triathlon

On Tuesday evening, I took part in the Tralee Triathlon Club Sprint Triathlon, which was part of the clubs mini-tri training series.

Myself and Catherine were both doing this triathlon, and I was looking forward to it, despite having slightly tired legs after a parkrun on Saturday, and a marathon on Sunday.

I took delivery of a brand new Zone3 Aspire wetsuit (thanks Zone3!) just a couple of hours before the triathlon started, and I was keen to try it out.

Once we got set up in Fenit, and received instructions from race director Niall, we set off for the walk to the slip, from where we would swim back via the buoys, to the beach.

Once in the water, we got the start signal from John, and off we went. The conditions were good, with a slight swell in places, but fairly calm overall. I loved the new wetsuit, which has excellent buoyancy, and I was surprised at how free my arms and shoulders felt. I had paired it with a new pair of Zone3 goggles, and, having had bad experiences in the past with trying out new goggles for race day, I was a bit wary. However, the goggles performed faultlessly, and, for the first time ever in a sprint swim, I didn’t have to stop once to adjust them, or leave water out!

I slogged away on the swim, but my lack of speed training soon showed, as I saw most of the pack pull well ahead of me. I eventually got to the beach, and headed straight up the ramp to transition.

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Out of the water after my first swim in the Zone3 Aspire (pic Tralee Triathlon Club)

I had a look down at the water from transition, and was pleasantly surprised to see a few swimmers still in the water – unusual for me! The new wetsuit was surprisingly easy to get off, despite this being my first time removing it – in fact, it was easier to get off than my old suit, which I’ve worn for several seasons. I grabbed my bike, and headed out on the cycle.

The cycle route was from Fenit to the roundabout in Tralee, and back again, a distance of 21 kilometres, with a few minor enough hills. I got stuck in, and I was surprised that fatigue didn’t seem to be too much of a problem. I had overtaken a couple of people in transition, and now I could see a few slower cyclists ahead, so I got stuck in to trying to pass them – I overtook one cyclist near the halfway point, and only realised afterwards that it was my sister Hazel. I caught a couple of more on the return leg, so I was very happy with my cycle – the Ribble Aero 883 possiblely has something to do with that!

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Back off the bike (pic Poshey Aherne)

I got back into transition feeling surprisingly fresh, and, a quick change of shoes (and only remembering to remove my helmet because my son shouted it to me) I headed off on the run. I had arrived into transition just when a few of my Born To Run club mates were leaving, and I was determined to catch them – I gave Fiona O’Connor a shout as she passed that I’d pass her before the end!

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Feeling unusually good heading out on the run (pic Poshey Aherne)

 

The run route was just over 5k, with, again, a couple of small hills included. I know this route extremely well, as, not only have I run it in training many times, but I have also run it as part of the route on 2 ultras, 4 marathons, and 2 triathlons!

Again I was pleasantly surprised by how little fatigue I felt as I set off on the run – I had expected my legs to be tired, but this was one of my freshest ever runs off the bike. Perhaps I should do a marathon as prep for a triathlon more often.

I could see a good few runners ahead of me, as pushed myself as much as I dared to try to catch up. Just before I reached the halfway point, I met Catherine, and soon after the bunch I wanted to catch.

I pushed myself hard on the return leg, and I slowly began to reel in those ahead of me. I passed a couple of runners before Fenit, and I could see Fiona grab a bottle of water from another runner. I began to sprint on the downhill into Fenit, but as soon as Fiona heard me coming, she began to push on too, and, despite getting within 10 meters of her, I couldn’t catch her before the line!

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Me, Fiona, Orla, Lee, and Catherine at the end (pic Poshey Aherne)

This was my best ever sprint tri (though to be fair, I don’t have a great record with them!), and as far as I can make out, not only did I do an overall PB, but I’m pretty sure I got PB’s in every individual leg as well.

Thanks to Sinead, Niall, and all the Tralee Triathlon Club volunteers for another fantastic event. I’m a bit more confident that I’m heading in the right direction for the Landers Tri Kingdom Come now!

 

MCI Tralee Marathon Race Report

On Sunday I hit a bit of a milestone – my 25th marathon (well, not exactly, it was my 18th marathon, but with my 7 ultras, it comes to 25!), and it was nice to hit that number in my hometown, with none other than my running buddy Brian O’Sé as race director.
Sunday’s marathon was the second of two back-to-back marathons over the weekend, and many of the hardy Marathon Club Ireland (MCI) members were doing both. Brian was running today as well, so MCI legend Vincent was running things from the start/finish marquee.

There were two start times, and I went for the earlier 8am start. Things looked ominous on the way in, with dark skies and driving rain. I had escaped the worst of it in yesterday’s parkrun, but I had a feeling I wouldn’t be so lucky today.

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Ready to go with the MCI crew (pic Vincent Guthrie MCI)

I arrived at the Rose Hotel in plenty of time, and got registered, had a chat with a few of my running buddies, and we were soon ready to go. The rain was relentless as we lined up at the start, and wasn’t going to get much better.

We were soon under way. The route was a 2.2 mile loop at the start, followed by 6 loops of the 4 mile course we ran a few weeks ago for the Tralee 40 Mile Ultra. Those of us who had run that race would be thoroughly sick of this loop by the end of the day – I can only imagine what those who had done that race, and the back-to-back marathons, must have felt like.

By the time the first short loop was done, I had settled into a comfortable pace with my club mates Mazza and Cilla (I can say whatever I like about Cilla, because she doesn’t read my blog 😉 ), and I have run enough marathons with Mazza at this stage to know that, as long as she is not on a push for time, her pace suits mine.

I had initially planned to run this marathon on a 25/5 run/walk pattern, but my two running mates had other ideas, so I stuck with them on a reasonably continuous run, though we did walk the two hills on most of the loops.

We escaped the rain for most of the first loop, but that was as good as it got – it poured for most of the remainder of the run. We did our best to ignore it, and I went through every pair of socks, shoes, and running tops in my bag before the end – thanks Kirsti for keeping everything dry in the car!

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This must have been early on because Cilla looks fairly relaxed…. (Pic Mary Mockett MCI)

We had some great banter on the loops – one thing you can count on the Born To Run crew for is a good laugh to take your mind off being wet, tired, and wondering where the chafing is going to start!
Myself and Maz were suffering from the usual aches and pains of multiple marathoners by the halfway point, but Cilla looked to be a bit worse for wear – she was falling behind a bit, and we knew she was in trouble when she started to go very quiet. I thought to myself that, if she’s this worn out at this point, we’ll be carrying her before the end….

We slogged on, taking advantage of the downhill bits, and walking the uphills. We got great service at the start/finish pitstop on each loop from Vincent and the MCI crew, and this helped keep our spirits up.
When we came in to the pitstop on our third lap, someone mentioned that we had “only” three laps to go. This had an astonishing effect on Cilla, who reacted like a dog that has just heard a squirrel. I have run many marathons where I got a second wind, and have seen plenty of others do the same, but I have never witnessed a recovery like Cilla’s. She left the pitstop a completely different person, practically dancing down the road. She would spend the next three laps in annoyingly good form, sprinting ahead of us and shouting at us to hurry up, running around us, and generally being far too perky. Maz and I took to persuading her that we actually had further to go than we had in an effort to curb her enthusiasm. When you are tired and bedraggled at the end of a marathon, you really don’t want to run with someone who looks like they could run the whole thing again.

On our second last lap, she actually took off with a faster runner as she got sick of waiting for us, but she soon arrived back to us. I really wish I could have that kind of energy late on in a marathon.

We kept going, and soon we were on the last lap, and none too soon – my last running top was now soaked, and the rain was getting heavier. I found to my surprise that I was very fresh on this last lap, as I had expected some residual tiredness from the excesses of the last few weeks. This is the first marathon in a very long time (maybe ever!) where I felt I could have run the last few miles fairly hard if I wanted to. I was happy to keep it at a nice leisurely pace, as knew I had a triathlon on Tuesday, and, perhaps more importantly, the Tralee 100k coming up in a few weeks.

We crossed the finish line together in around 5:32 (haven’t actually checked the results yet!).

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Me, Cilla, and Maz about to cross the finish line (pic Mary Mockett MCI)

I really enjoyed this marathon – it was fun, taken at a nice easy pace, and was run with some great friends – for me, this is what running is all about.

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Me and the girls with their “suck it up buttercups” (pic Mary Mockett MCI)

Well done to Vincent and all the MCI crew who helped us get it done, to Kirsti for storing my gear, JJ for helping me put on those awkward fancy socks, and Ash for all the help (but especially for the killer combination of sausage rolls and Neurofen, the breakfast of champions). Well done to Brian on his first RD job, and to everyone who ran this race. Can’t wait to see you all on the road again.

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Mazza, Me, Cilla, and Vincent (pic Mary Mockett MCI)

Tralee parkrun July 9th

Myself and Lee did another Tralee parkrun this morning, despite terrible weather conditions. It was windy and raining heavily on the way in, and I wasn’t terribly keen, but Lee was determined to do it, so off we went.

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Sheltering from the rain before the start (pic Tralee parkrun)

Once we got under way, conditions improved a bit, as they often seem to do for parkrun! It ended up being slightly damp, and quite humid for the run. I decided to take it fairly easy, as I am doing the MCI Tralee Marathon tomorrow, but Lee was gunning for a PB after overshooting the finish line and missing out on one last week.

After the usual preliminaries from race director Tony, we got going. I took the first lap nice and easy, while Lee took off – I had a feeling Lee was going to crash and burn before the end based on his early pace….

The first lap was uneventful for me – the hardest part was keeping myself from pushing on and suffering the consequences tomorrow.

By lap 2 I was into my stride, and felt good, with no pre-marathon niggles, and, although I had planned on keeping my pace to around 10 min/miles, I looked at my watch at the end of this lap and found I had averaged 9:12. I could see Lee ahead visibly slowing, and, as I had suspected, in his determination to hit a PB he had burnt himself out.

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Halfway there (pic Tralee parkrun)

I caught up to him early in the last lap, and he was out on his feet, so I got him to walk a little, and recover. We trotted most of this lap at a fairly easy pace, until Lee got finish line fever near the end, and we both took off in a mad sprint for the last few hundred meters. Lee beat me in by a single second, crossing the line in 30:34 – a slightly disappointing time for him, and well off his best – he’ll hopefully learn in time to pace himself a little better – or else his stamina will improve!

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Racing for the line! (pic Tralee parkrun)

Well done to all the volunteers who made this weeks Tralee parkrun possible – hopefully I will see you again next week!

Meanwhile for me, it’s a marathon tomorrow, and, just to keep the legs moving, a triathlon with Tralee Tri Club on Tuesday!

Tralee parkrun July 2nd

This morning I continued my recovery from the last couple of weeks madness by taking part in another Tralee parkrun.

I travelled to Tralee Town Park with Catherine and Lee in very heavy rain showers, but as soon as we got there, the skies cleared, and it turned into a sunny, if breezy morning.

We met lots of our club mates there, including husband and wife team Brian and Lorna White, and my frequent running partner Brian O’Sè.

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Brian, myself, Lee, Tracy, and Catherine getting in a pre-run stretch (pic Tralee parkrun)

After instructions and introductions from race director Mary, we set off.

Myself and Brian fell into step, and took it at a fairly leisurely pace – this was down to me, as I definitely didn’t have a pep in my step, and I still have some recovery to do.

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Getting there (pic Tralee parkrun)

Lee took off fairly quickly, with Catherine not far behind.
The first couple of laps were fairly uneventful, other than one rain shower, but I certainly felt every lap. I think I’ll need a bit of TLC on my legs before next weekends marathon.

As we approached the final lap, we briefly caught up to Catherine, but, when she kicked off  a third of the way through the final lap, I had to let her go, as there was no way I was keeping up. Brian stuck with me, and I struggled in to cross the line in 29:29.

Catherine was a little before us on 28:57, but Lee had a bit of a mishap – he ran a storming last lap, including a sub 5 minute kilometre and passed the line in a new PB – however he literally passed the line, and headed off on an extra lap before realising his mistake! He turned after a few hundred meters, and came back to finish in a very respectable official time of 26:51, though he is very annoyed he missed out on a PB – I think he’ll blast his PB to bits the next time!

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Crossing the line (pic Tralee parkrun)

We went for Coffee with Lorna and the two Brians afterwards, before heading home.

Well done to all the volunteers who make the parkrun possible, I look forward to the next one.

Tralee Tri Club Mini Tri Series

Last night was the latest in the Tralee Triathlon Club Mini Tri Series, and there were two distances on offer – a Tri-a-tri, and a Sprint distance.

After my exertions at the weekend, I decided to opt for the tri-a-tri (though I nearly changed my mind on the way out!), while Catherine was doing the sprint.

When we got to Fenit, there was a good crowd starting to gather, and Race Director Sinead was getting everything organised. It would also, incidentally, be the first night the club tested our new timing system.

After a bit of chat, and getting my transition area ready, I gathered with the other short distance triathletes for final instructions, before we set off.

The swim was to be straight out to a buoy, around it, and straight back in – looked nice and easy….
As soon as I was in the water, I discovered that it wasn’t going to be as easy as it looked – there was a choppy swell, and, because of the direction of the waves, and my inability to breathe bilaterally, I swallowed a LOT of water on the way out. As is usual for me, once the swim got difficult, my sighting went out the window, and I ended up doing a bit of a zig-zag course, despite Trish’s best efforts in the kayak to keep me on the right line.

I finally got back to shore, coughed up a few litres of seawater, and trotted to transition. I was surprised to discover that I wasn’t actually in a bad position – I thought coming out of the water I’d be last!

I pulled off the wetsuit, grabbed my shoes, and got the bike on the road. This would be my first ever spin on the brand new Ribble Aero 883, and I was a little nervous setting off, as I hadn’t done any shakedown spin at all, and wasn’t even sure I had it set up right for myself.

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My Ribble 883 looking very pretty near transition in Fenit

As it happened, the bike behaved faultlessly, and felt very close to perfectly set up. I’m more used to Shimano 105 gears, but the Ultegra are so similar that the only difference I noticed is that they seem to be a little smoother. The weight (or lack thereof) of this bike is immediately apparent – it just leaps forward, even with my low power, and it handled beautifully on the fairly rough roads of Fenit.

The outward leg of the cycle was fast and pleasant – a slight climb out of Fenit, followed by a mix of mostly flat or downhill. We turned around 2 miles out, and I immediately discovered that I’d had the benefit of a strong breeze behind me until now! This meant a lot more work on the return leg, but I kept going as hard as I could, and, for once, nobody passed me on the entire cycle.

Back to transition, and I parked the bike (I really must learn to do a flying dismount off this bike. Though it may necessitate some hospital time). A quick change of shoes, dump the helmet, and off on the run.

The run was nice and short, and, despite my tired legs from the last 2 weeks, it was one of my better runs off the bike – I didn’t have nearly the amount of “jelly legs” I usually have – maybe doing a couple of ultras the week before a tri helps prevent it….

The run was on the same route as the cycle, except much shorter, with all of the outward leg climbing, but, happily, all of the return leg downhill. Again nobody passed me on the run, and I came across the line in exactly the same position I had come out of first transition – definitely a first for me.

I waited on for Catherine to finish her race, and she came in strong. After some chat and a change of clothes, it was time to head home and put the feet up.

This was another well organised and well attended Tralee Triathlon Club event – well done to all the organisers and volunteers. I look forward to the next one.

My distances and times:
Swim: 0.28 miles (450m) in 12:50 (distance from my watch – seems long)
Bike: 4.12 miles (6.6km) in 16:12
Run: 1.16 miles (1.8km) in 10:12
Total time incl. transitions: 41:28

If you are in the area next month, make sure you sign up for the annual club triathlon on July 30th!