Paddle4Play: April 2012

Monday, 30 April 2012

Nice Half Marathon

So after my minimal amount of training the weekend had finally arrived, as we set off for Nice in the heart of the French Riviera.

A short flight with Aer Lingus landed us at Nice airport and the gateway to southern France.


As we drove along the spectacular promenade the first thing to strike you except for the heat was the beautiful turquoise coloured water lapping onto the pebble beach.

We found our hotel right on the seafront and close to the old area of Nice.

as we set about exploring the area you couldn't help but notice the mix of modern tourism with the old traditional French customs.


As true athletes we set to work right away heading for a beach bar to purchase the most expensive drinks at 8e for a pint of local beer We savoured the single drink while relaxing on the fantastic Mediterranean beach with nothing but sea between us and Africa.


The weekend took us throughout the city exploring and generally eating with a selection of breads chocolates and ice creams it could of been worse,


we took a trek up the overlooking hill to see the remains of a 18th century 'Chateaux' the over looking view some 92m above sea level left us in awe of the full glory of the coastline with a semi circular promenade leading to the spit of land which contained the airport, looking out the view was breath taking knowing the following day we would be running that route and again it would be breath taking!

So D Day was upon us with the run starting at 0930 we were up fed and trying to drink as much water as possible staying hydrated was going to be a mission especially in the heat. Luckily for us we awoke to rather different surroundings.... water falling from the sky - could this really be?, a gift from the Gods! As we set out to join the race start the rain had subsided to a slight drizzle enough to keep everyone cool and refreshed, As the gun went we were away, I had lost the girls i  the start as we ran around the first corner heading into the centre of Nice less than 2km into the race I could feel my calf's like daggers fighting not to go any further but I carried on being passed by Maia as she shot into a fast sub 2hour group i could only imagine how much that would hurt me so I continued catching Cathy soon after. As we ran together through the streets up and around the corner into the Port we could see the 10km and the high performance athletes already turning. We plodded on after a brief shower which soaked everyone the weather turned, with the sun poking out from the clouds we knew it was about to warm up and fast, as we closed in in the 10km mark we were making good time 1:02 we were going well. I was well up on my targets and my legs and lungs knew it, as I glanced at the watch I knew I had gone out to fast. As I reached for the water stop dropping off Cathy's shoulder I knew she would be out of reach. I continued following for another couple of KM knowing i would burn out if I tried to push on. As my pace slowed, she continued on at a great pace, we were now heading along the promenade towards the airport with my pace slowing I continued on both clockwatching and trying to calculate times and distances. All I longed for was the turn and to be on the home straight. As we eventually turned at the airport in the shadow of private jets of the rich and famous we could think of nothing but my legs exploding, the turn meant we were on the final leg unfortunately this was another 6km long as I grabbed an energy gel I had been handed at the 10km I ripped off the top and poured it into my mouth, as the taste hit me I though someone was having a laugh with me the sweet sugar filled gel was coffee flavoured definitely not what I was expecting as the next water stop drew closer it was a PowerAde stop at least it was something to wash coffee from my mouth.

Having been passed by both Cathy and Maia I knew I was behind and the only form of redemption was to finish! One thing I hate is quitters weather it be finishing a training session early or giving up that's not me I want to work hard and know I've put 110% into it. As I pushed on every inch if my hurt but I knew with every step the finish was ever closer visualising my training run with 4 km left I was at the water tower on the Celbridge road heading for Lucan the time didn't matter but I was going to finish. With 2km left I felt energy and will power pushing me on and knowing the girls would be now sitting at the end while I was still on my feet. I tried to save this energy not wanting to push to hard worried of blowing up. I held the pace running off the shoulder of another fella knowing il push it on in the final KM as the 20km sign stood up to meet me I lifted my head and pushed through. Working hard to keep a steady rhythm lengthening my stride and cruising counting down the metres, the finish was in sight!




As I crossed the line totally exhausted I knew I had finished in approx. 2:14 knocking a good 30mins from last weeks practice time. I hobbled through to the checkpoint collecting my medal and removing my foot chip before drinking as many different cups on offer, water, coke, PowerAde I hobbled out of the athletes enclosure to a smug looking Maia having broken her Personal best coming in under 2 Hours approx. 1:53. As we caught up to Cathy she too had run her heart out producing a great time of 2:08 approx.

It was now time for a shower and to find the biggest best alcoholic drinks we could.

After showering and me hobbling much like John Wayne we headed for lunch finding traditional French bread, soft cheese, we had know bottle opener so had to deal with a bottle of champagne and large screw top bottle of Kronenbourg before sitting on the steps of the city courts of justice to savour the moment.


As the sun was shining and were savouring the moment we headed for a French bar in the sun to continue our rehydration this time I got my 1Litre of beer "the size which dreams are made of!" And the girls of course French wine. The pricing this time was much more realistic only 11e for the litre.


After an afternoon siesta we headed for dinner in the old town finding a small French restaurant serving traditional foods I headed for the stuffed veg while Maia the salad and Cathy a gorgeous fish pie. With one small moment the waiter told Cathy "their was no more red wine" the look on her face,

the mixed emotions not knowing weather to laugh or cry she tried asking a different waiter with the same response.

Luckily after a few minute the waiter returned with what they said was the last glass of red, the colour returned to her cheeks and the smile grew as she sipped the French Riviera's finest export.

After three days in sunny Nice our luck had well and truly run out awakening to the sound of heavy rain and this time it wasn't to subside as we darted between shops and market stands hiding from the weather, after a quick lunch it was time to head back to the airport where our journey began to catch our flight back to Dublin Terminal 2.

After completing the run I can honesty say I did enjoy it even though yes I was beaten by the girls and my knees, feet, toes, calf's, quads, ankles, hips, arms, neck, back and groin are all in quite a sore way, the experience of running in the crowds is a new experience and actually quite fun. Thank you to Keen Europe my A86`s proved their worth, light and nimble whilst being well ventilated and offering good support combined with Keen socks make a great runners option whether pushing mile on the road or out on the train they definitely helped me through.

So at about 17km I was thinking up my retirement speech from competitive running it was going to be an epic. But after reflection I want to train with the aim to do another half marathon in the future and maybe even some 10km races and adventure races.


See you on the river / road ;-)


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Monday, 23 April 2012

Run Forest Run!

Ok So after yesterdays post of me feeling lazy and not impressed by running I decided to do something about it, so after a handy 8km paddling K1 yesterday morning @ Salmon Leap Canoe Club after a bit of lunch I was bored and decided to go and put some miles through my legs.

1-5km I headed out the house towards the canal a route I had come on the bike previously thought it would be a nice place to run only I misjudged just how far it was to the canal so knowing I was already 5km in I had at least the same to go home again

5-10km Running along the canal was nice with blue skies sun and no traffic I headed back in towards Lucan village but decided to take a detour along Tandys lane a road I've seen but never ventured. on reaching the end of the road I realised it didn't come anywhere near where I had expected. So after a minor detour and I was up to 10km and in familiar surroundings, the legs felt good so decided to push on

10-15km As the rain starting I was heading roadside towards Celbridge firstly enjoying the cool refreshing weather before it continued heavier than before into a full on downpour, I was already wet so pushed on to the cross roads before crossing the road and heading back along the road not a clever idea with the traffic but a good experience.

15-20km As I got back to the airport I knew I needed more distance before heading home set now to run the full half marathon on a Sunday afternoon I headed towards the airport in a jaunt upto the small motorway footbridge before returning back towards the main road, as I headed down the hill the watched ticked over to the magic 20km something id never of imagined seeing earlier that day

20-23km Heading back down the hill and the long way around Lucan village passing the famous Lucan Weir saw the watch tick on with the battery dieing just short of 23 km my run was complete a huge distance I will have to do again next Sunday in a real race.

The Pace wasn't fast but I completed it! knowing I can go the distance gives me a huge mental advantage going to Nice next weekend and now with a time to beat im looking forward to the race.


today run

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Running somewhere...

So with just 7 days left before the big run in Nice, the excuses are starting my small interest in running is in the mud and not going anywhere fast.... well actually not going anywhere at all yhe thought of running brings tears to my eyes of boardom the constant plodding km after km. Some may say ive hit the wall but that would of involved running. My fitness is good and training is going well both on the bike and on the water especially in the slalom boat. I spent the day yesterday paddling with the irish slalom development squad with some good success. With a medium release from leixlip lake the river liffey was alive paddlers swarming to make use if the water with the Salmon Leap canoe club WWR taking place upstream at Sluice went to palmerstown, setting short courses of varying difficulty and taking advantage of the flood.

With only 7 days to go until the half marathon im determined to do it, the excitement and buzz if the crowds will get me in the mood, and if not the motivational beer on the beach at the finish line will!

So my aims for this week are to do something exciting and to do at least a couple of handy runs make sure the feet and legs remember what they need to do!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Canoe Slalom Ireland - team selection and open event

Over the weekend 31st-1st April saw the Sluice weir in St Catherines park, Lucan come alive with athletes looking for a coveted spot at the European selection event in Augsburg, Germany in May.
Leading the charge was double Olympian (4th place in Beijing) and Salmon Leap paddler Eoin Rheinisch looking to retain his spot on the team with Ciaran Heurteau quickly coming through the ranks as an extreamly talented international paddler close on his heels.
With the men's selection taking the headlines with experience and technique a important a fitness and strength the races were fast and technical.
One weekend 3 races - top placing take the team spots for Olympic selection.
The first race of the weekend kicked off starting with senior men running through women's, u23 and Junior a fast start saw Eoin take 2 clear runs with Ciaran faster but dropping valuable seconds with an unfortunate touch. Fighting for 3rd place Patrick Hynes another experienced paddler was being pushed hard by yougster Samual Curtis (18) of Wild Water Kayak Club. With Sam taking the 3rd spot in the first race leaving Paddy trailing in 4th.
The second race saw a reversal of placings with no practice time the athletes could only study the course from the bank, this time a single run meant they had to make it count this time Ciaran took 1st, Eoin 2nd, Patrick 3rd and Sam 4th
In the women's the places were hotly contested with Hannah Craig, Helen Barnes and Aisling Conlan all fighting for the 3 available spots. All keen to take the title as Irish number one.
In the junior ranks Cade Ryan was looking smooth dropping time overcooking a tough downstream but a master class if technical paddling really showed the gathering crowds he's a telent for the future.
As the water levels dropped on a cool Saturday evening the athletes knew it would all come down to Sundays 3rd race with everyone still well in the mix.
Sunday morning saw a glorious day with a larger release of water by the ESB tidying up a few shallow lines and really creating a fantastic third day of racing. With the final selection race up first followed by the Irish open event 47 competitors eagerly awaited the start.
Once again senior men led the proceeding showing the crowd why he is Irish number one Eoin Rheinisch took the win with a fast run followed closely by Ciaran Heurteau. Both Eoin and Ciaran travel the world competing and training as full time athletes, both an absolute pleasure to watch and really nice guys always on hand to support the developing juniors a real credit to the sport.
The battle for third place really came down to the wire with paddy taking unfortunate touches and Sam having an unusually bad run of form, the times were close but the young Wild Water youngster just nipped in front of Patrick to take the 3rd spot and a place at the Olympic qualifiers in May.
In the women's race the three lined up knowing they each had to paddle to their best to guarentee themselves the top spots with the pressure off the European qualifiers all three would be representing. The races were fast with the women showing spirit and skill to negotiate the tight course.
With the runs results in, saw Hannah Craig in pole position and Helen Barnes in 2nd place leaving Aisling in third.
Once the selection races were finished it was time for the open event this was the fun event with competitors ranging from Irish team paddlers of other disciplines to those long retired but still out to have a go. With the aim to get through as many gates as possible the runs were counted as opposed to tenghths of a second as in the selection in the less serious open event we were discussing minutes. With Niall Power taking the much converted win followed by Adrian Durrant in second and Bernard Walsh 3rd in the men's event. The women's event was won by Mairead Barnwell of Rockhoppers kayak club.
The selection event was an opportunity to see Ireland's top paddlers back on home turf with many spending the majority of the year competing and training as full time athletes. We wish all our athletes every success in the European Olympic Qualifier in May and hope to see them representing Ireland at the London Olympic Games 2012.

Run run run

So after a successful first week of running both my motivation and van faulted, with the van temporarily off the road I was set for a week of riding everywhere with my lovely new spring water II from Keen I was set riding too and from work because of this I only ran on Tuesday with tom and Kevin the 9km route. The beautiful weather also meant evening paddling was the thing to do and pushed running even further down my list.

So with 26 days until my run and a handy 4km today to check the legs work I've still a long way to go!