Raging Bill in Barcelona…..

Ok here goes. RACE REPORT: by Bill Barry….

I don’t mind saying I picked Barcelona partly to get a fast time. I was between Barcelona, Roth, Austria. But my mate in Waterford Tri Club said he was doing Barca and a good gang from Waterford were going. So Barcelona it was. I had a serious look at where I could improve, and after a while I set myself a target of sub 10. Some people said I was crazy. But I don’t see the value in doing something like this unless I set myself a serious challenge and push the boundaries of what i’m capable of. Unfortunately, LIFE threw me some serious curveballs and speedbumps in the last few months leading up to the race. So going out there, I knew sub10 was highly unlikely. But I was still gonna throw everything I had at it and go for the sub10. I’d kick myself afterwards if I didn’t.
Flew out to Barcelona with Alma and the kids the Wed before the race and hired a car. Drove up the coast road to get a feel for the bike course. Couldn’t get up the new added section, so was unaware of what that was like. But first impressions were good. Settled in to Calella, and couldn’t get over how easy it was to get around. Everything was easily accessible, and the kids were happy. That meant the boss was happy, so less stress on me!!!!

And so to race day. I was very chilled out on race day. Slept pretty good. Bike check-in was stress free. Felt ready. I didn’t do a warm-up, and it came back to bite me.
SWIM: Picked the 50:00-60:00 start pen in the hope of getting on some fast coat tails. And GO,GO,GO. Started ok in the swim. But my shoulders just could not get going. Felt as stiff as a board. Water was a little choppy, but that didn’t bother me. Got to the first turn bouy and got battered. On the the long section parallel to the beach their just seemed to be wave after wave of groups coming past and bashing the hell out of me. Nearly had my chip ripped off twice. Kicked in the goggles three times. And still I couldn’t get on the back of any of these groups. I was really beating myself up mentally at this stage. And the next turn bouy just seemed to take forever to appear. Finally I got into a rythm about 1.5k in. Ya should’ve done a warm-up numpty!!!!! Once I got to the end turn bouys, I really felt like I was motoring. I sighted really well, and literally hit every marker bouy on the way back. The short leg back into the beach seemed to last forever, but I finally reached the end. I don’t have a waterproof Garmin, so I had no idea of my time. But I was sure I was a long way off 1:05, which was my minimum target. Later found out it was 1:08:12. Very dissapointed with that. But I’d done very little swim training in the last two months before raceday.


BIKE: OK. Was feeling pretty confident for this. I had put my training emphasis on this leg, as its my weakest. Bikefit, new bike and wheels, new helmet, a full year on Trainerroad. I had set myself a target of 5:00-5:15 for the bike split. I went out really strong on the bike. There were lots of big groups going out the road and it was hard not to be part of them. But luckily, a moped came alongside blowing his whistle like crazy and broke up the groups. I felt really strong going out the road and when I hit the flat sections I was motoring. Started taking in my nutrition and my stomach started cramping like crazy. It was cramping a little coming out of town, but as soon as starting my nutrition it got worse. Nevertheless, I kept the hammer down. By the time I reached the new section, which is a long torturous drag up a motorway, I had puked twice. I knew this wasn’t good, but I kept forcing down the Powerbar drink and gels. Back on the flat, and I felt a little down on power. Forced the nutrition down and kept the hammer down as much as I could. By the time I got to the first turnaround, and second aid station shortly after, I had puked again. But I was still on target for a 5:00hr split. Ok, I’ll take a bottle of water this time to see will that settle. Took two salt capsules straight away, and continued with my Clifbars. Gave the gels a break for a bit. The road back in was into a head wind and it was a real struggle. A couple of groups went past and I resisted the urge to jump on. Even though I was grateful for the brief respite from the wind. I felt a little drained going back in the rollers into town and when I got to the turnaround back in Calella, I decided to dial it back a bit on the way back out of town. The memories of completely dying on the second lap in Port Macquarie were fresh in my memory. Watch the heart rate and wait til yer on the flat and see how ya feel. Got to the flat and got the momentum going again. Stomach was starting to settle a bit. So pushed on again. It was noticeably starting to heat up now. But I pushed on. Got to the second time up the motorway climb. I died a death. I had picked up a bottle of water at the aid station at bottom of climb. And I guzzled it. I got really dizzy going up the climb and seriously considered pulling out. I was totally disorientated and energy levels were zapped. I got to the turnaround at top of climb and just rolled down. There was now a headwind going down the climb. Speed was way down on last time time, but I was thankful for the cool breeze all the way down. i got back on the flat, and after that cool down I felt re-energised. Picked it back up again and reached the turnaround for the second time. This got me going mentally. On the home stretch now. Again I was facing into a headwind, but not as bad as the first lap. Put the head down and stuck to the revised plan. Heart was telling me to push on. Head was telling me, you have a marathon to run ya big eejit. Listened to the head. Shortly after turnaround a couple of guys passed me, that I had passed about 10k back. And they slowed down. I was trying to keep my target speed pretty steady on the way back. So I passed them. And they passed me. We caught up with another long line of cyclists. And they sat in behind them!!! F**k this. F**k the plan. F**k the HR. I’m sick of this sh*t. I put the hammer down and passed everyone. Hoping the clowns wouldn’t follow. Kept the head down, hammer down, HR way up, all the way back to the rollers back into Calella. And the clowns all passed me on the last steep climb up passed the last aid station. Boy did i feel like the clown. Hammered it back into town and down the endless speedbumps back to T2. I saw i was close to 5:20, so raced flat out all the way back to T2. 5:21:34.


Set out on the run with a target in mind. I felt throughout my training that I was capable of running close to a 3:30 marathon off the bike. So I set off with that in mind, but also taking into account how I felt on the day. Ran the first 2K on target, and then the heat started to get to me. I had to think on my feet with regards to nutrition, as I was very aware that my earlier stomach problems could de-rail the whole day if they came back on the run. So the plan became, one gel, two bottles of water (one in the stomach, one over the head), EVERY aid station. Slowed the pace to what I felt I could maintain and ignored the watch a little. Just glancing at it every now and then to make sure I wasn’t going backwards. On the first lap the heat nearly killed me. It was up to 27deg and it was beaming intensely down on my head. I thought I was going to explode. I couldn’t wait to get to aid stations to pour water over my head. There’s a long section at the top end of the run course that seems to go on forever the first time. I just didn’t know where the turnaround was and it was mentally excruciating. But when I got to it, I got a mental lift. Ok, thats the tough part done once. Only twice more. You can do this. When I got to the end of the first lap, the sun decided to step in behind some clouds. It was still brutally hot, but it wasn’t burning a hole in my head!!!!. I got a lift from the crowd and especially from my family and a huge surprise to see one of my best friends Fran, who lives down the coast in Valencia, cheering me on. And I mean cheering me on. He was leppin and hollerin on a quieter part of the course and it gave me a huge lift. Between that and the sun giving me a break, I got a new lease of life. I pushed on as hard as I could. I felt really strong that second lap. I finished the 2nd lap and as I started out on the last lap, my legs started to feel heavy. Had I went too hard on the last lap? A few km’s into the last lap I remembered I had a few spare gels with caffeine in my back pocket. As i was expecting, I started to struggle a little about 35k in. So I took the gels. And a few from the next aid station. Got to the turnaround, had banana, more gels and water, and said “right, home stretch”. A few kms later my watch died after pouring copious amounts of water over it and my head. So I said to myself ” F**k the watch, lets f**kin do this”. I ran straight through the last aid station, and I ran as hard as I could the last few km’s. I was screaming like a mad man with the pain, screaming at people on the narrow finish to get the f**ck out of the way. Seen Alma and the kids about 200mts from the finish as she couldn’t get into the stand with the buggy. That really put a smile on my face. As I entered the finish chute I noticed a few finishers in front of me. I slowed right down to soak up all of it. I had sprinted through the finish in Port Mac and I wasn’t doing that again. I cajoled the crowd into a big cheer, and jogged over the line. A few seconds didn’t matter to me. I had really enjoyed my day, and I was taking it all in. I turned around to the clock to see I had finished in 10:30:17. With a 3:48:54 marathon.
Very pleased with that. Obviously a sub10 would have been amazing, but I’m very happy with that. I went into the finishers tent and it was like a sauna. I nearly passed out. Drank about a gallon of cold Coke (stuff on course was manky warm). Got a sandwich and went straight out to meet Alma and the kids, and our ex-au-pair who had travelled from Frankfurt to support me.

I’m already planning my next one and how I can improve. Definately a coach is required to go any faster. I need to drop a few more kg’s. A few other things. I’ve learnt so much in this last year about myself and about training.
A huge thank you to my wife Alma for putting up with me. I might give her a year or two off.

Tribute to Richie Byrne….


I remember back in 2010, when as a fledging club we (Racing795) had decided to run our first xc mtb race. We went looking for advice and help from non other than the Godfather of Irish mtb himself Richie Byrne. So generous was he, and recognising that we were complete novices he offered to come down and ‘mc’ for us on the day. He spread the word and ensured we would get a decent crowd. I remember standing on the start line with the whistle in my hand, and sensing I hadn’t a clue, just sort of took over and got things running smoothly. And yes he had lots of words of encouragement! But what I really remember was how he really sparkled when it came to presenting the kids with their prizes,and made sure that every one of them felt like a winner. I had lots of subsequent meetings with him over the years at races and he always had time for a chat with his country cousins. A gentleman who will be sorely missed. Condolences to his family and friends, and may he rest in peace…(David Furlong)



Ultimate Burren MTB Challenge.

Early start yesterday morning with Keith Carr as we drove to Ballyvaughan in Co.Clare to complete in the Ultimate Burren 79k MTB Challenge. It rained for first hour or so . We actually got to cycle thru some of The Famous Aillwee Caves and on leaving them we were met with Sunshine. Which we had till the finish. We got to ride across the Burren landscape too . Highly recommend a visit to this area and I hope this event becomes an annual thing.

“Galway Girl”…Elaine’s half Marathon..

Just read back over what I’ve written below ….it’s a bit long…oooops …but I have left loads out…lucky readers :lol: Also reads a bit like I have done something a more than a half IM…like the mad ones from 795 who have done the full thing [Joy, Louise, Mike, PJ, Frank and the rest…RESPECT]. I know for sure now that ye are stone MAD but brilliant [and I did suspect before]. I hope I never get that IM notion :o


Joy [my accidental mentor ;) ] sent me a text on the Saturday night and told me that I had nothing to fear – she was right of course. When I thought about it I didn’t really know what I was afraid of [maybe just failure!]. After 2 days of blind fear I calmed down, ate 3 fried egg sandwiches and was fast asleep by 11pm. I woke up to the sound of the rain on the campervan roof at 5.40 am, also swaying in the wind slightly…normally very soothing when we are out in the van, but when I realised what day it was I just broke out in a cold sweat!! What was I bloody thinking signing up for this?! It was a west of Ireland summers day – cold and wet and windy. I could see white bits out in the sea and was surrounded by ‘real’ athletes…outta my depth here! But I never really considering not starting. Kevin just kept pointing me in the right direction until I was eventually ready to go. I was hard set to get words out…I even cried for about 5 seconds. I made my way down to the start…when I got there the Ironmen competitors were already starting to come out of the water [they went it about 6am], the atmosphere was electric…and better still they were all alive and smiling, I was reassured! I calmed down completely and started to enjoy the atmosphere and was looking forward to getting into the water…


My wave was last, out at about 8.10 am…with all the female half IMs, 600 men gone out in the waves previous [they needed the head start I suppose]. We swam out to the starting buoy from the beach, fixed my goggles, looked up and couldn’t see a flippin’ thing…took the goggles off, still nothing! I had a brief moment then where I thought I was going mad and probably shouldn’t be in the water at all…I might get out…but we’d be bored then for the rest of the day, so I stayed in [and it was warmer]. There was a bit of a haze on the surface and a bit of a roll. There was ALOT of chatter and alot of nerves. We eventually figured out between the 170 of us where the first buoy was and decided we’d just go for that and hope for the best. We were off. I had decided just to break it down into smaller parts… just get to the first buoy, then the next one and the next one…bumpy on the way out but by the time I passed the last buoy and saw the exit I couldn’t believe it was over. I felt like I could have done another lap…I absolutely loved it…it was very empowering! Kevin was there on the way out, I could see he was very emotional [I must have wrecked his head in the previous few days!]…don’t tell him I told you that. Then from the swim exit there was a 700m run up to the changing tent and bike transition.


The atmosphere in the changing tent was brilliant, high pitched cackling anyone might think we were at the finish line, the relief was just huge. It was a good start and delighted with my time – 37 minutes. I’m always confused in transition and couldn’t think straight, lost my bike for a minute like I ALWAYS do. Finally on the bike, up the hill and away. Before I started training for this [20 weeks previously], my longest cycle was 60km, so I had never tested myself in a race environment, wasn’t really sure what I could do…thought I would aim for 25 km/hr, but might struggle to maintain that for 90km. But I felt like I was flying, I was comfortable and happy all the way to 80km and was averaging over 29 km/hr. The time was just ticking by and I kept myself going by trying to maintain the pace and passing people out as much as I could. I talked to a lot of people on the way round, the weather was awful – but I was warm and happy and just kept the legs turning as fast as I could…until that last 10km. Oh my God, I knew the moment would come where I’d have to start digging…this was it…the longest 10k of my life up the hill from Oranmore and straight into the wind. I kept noticing the distance signs to Galway and thought ‘you have to be kidding me…8 more km??’. At one point I saw a sign for a yoga centre and I decided ‘that’s what I’ll do next, just do yoga, I could be happy just doing yoga’. Finally got to town…Hoorayy!!! I was off the bike after 3hr 15m, delighted – I thought I’d be on the bike for the best part of 4 hours.


Handed over the bike to a marshall and told her to put it on e-bay. I was sooo relieved to be off the bike, there were so many punctures along the way and the roads were wet, I was just glad to make it that far without incident. I knew then that I had it in the bag…I was safe and uninjured and all I had to do was run, one step at a time for 21km and I was done. The run was 5km out the Salthill prom [against the wind] then back to town and once more after that. It was completely flat but still torturous, I knew it would be…I just tried to break it down again…just get to the turning point…then back to town then just do it all once more and I’ll be home! My hip got really sore [something new!] from about half way and made me limp a bit. Again I talked to lots of people on the way around, congratulated everyone I passed, I thought we were all mighty :P Supporting me along the way was a friend from Wexford Tri [who I had roared at all the way round the Olympic course the day before], my cousin and Kevin. Each time I heard one of them shouting for me I would choke up and hyperventilate a bit and had to try really hard not to pass out. The pace felt really slow but everyone was slow, people just dragging themselves around, I saw a lot of pain in peoples paces. I knew if I just kept running even at that pace that I could make 2 hours and I did – 1h 57m. Finally I got to turn in for the finish. Couldn’t believe it was over, I was an emotional and physical wreck, massive sense of achievement and relief. Final finish time 6h 02mins [I was going to be happy with anything under 6h 30]. Went straight for my free pint which turned out to be non-alcoholic :( we made up for it later :D


What a weekend, I was genuinely inspired. There were all ages, all shapes and sizes along the way, a man with one leg, a man with one arm [different man!] and I saw a woman in her seventies on the the full IM course. There was a lot of hugging of strangers that weekend! I knew how lucky I was to be out there and I relished every minute. I know I’m preaching to the converted here, but the buzz just comes from getting outside the comfort zone…when you get there you just feel SO alive. I am writing this 4 days after the event and I still can’t stop smiling and thinking about the days events. We are now on the boat to France for a little break, yipee! After that it’s Yoga for me ;-)



Romancing the Schull….with Ciara Bowe.

Re: Fastnet Sprint Tri

Unread postby cibowe » Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:59 pm

Frank you must have read my mind!!! No pressure from Calamity Jane, but you have inspired me (Eimear) to finally write a race report ;)

So I decided to enter the triathlon in Schull a few months back, mainly as I quite liked the idea of myself and himself (or my other half as Brian refers to him) sneaking off to west cork for a night!! Schull could not have been prettier when we arrived on Friday evening. We parked the car and booked into the Schull Harbour Hotel for the night (really nice small hotel in the village, with a pool and only a ten minute walk from the transition area). I later learned there are holiday homes to rent, right beside transition. Once I had settled in,( himself went for a run up a mountain!!!) we went to register in the Sailing Centre, took a quick look around, familiarised myself with the layout and took a trip in the car to have a look at the bike route, there is a steep hill out of the village, so yes Frank, I will remember to have the bike in the correct gear! The village was buzzing with the anticipation of the triathlon for the next day, I felt more in holiday mode than triathlon mode, it was magic.

ci bow
Nice relaxed morning, cycled down to transition. The transition area is in the Schull Community College just beside the sailing centre. (imagine the kids have sailing on their curriculum there) I set everything up ,racked the bike and I walked back to the hotel room to change, thinking, how wonderful it is, to be able to wander back to the hotel. Made it back for the race briefing and my last challenge whenever I am at a tri on my own, I have to scout which poor person I am going to ask to zip me into the wet suit..Nice gentleman beside me kindly obliged and off we went to get ready for the swim. The 750 m swim is a triangular route swimming around three buoys in the harbour, the entry and exit for the swim are at the same slipway. The conditions were perfect, warm, sun shining, water a balmy 17 degrees and everyone in great form. I’m in the second wave, so I watch with trepidation at the pink hats swimming toward the first buoy, this is the part where I am most nervous, but there is no messing around and we are off 5 mins later. Swim went well,I really enjoyed it, (training with Liam has boosted my confidence) hardly a kick or an elbow and it wasn’t too messy on the corners, sighting went ok, except I couldn’t locate the second buoy for a while and followed the crowd, hoping for the best, this time it worked out fine, I got back on track, warmed up a lot more (I know, the water was warm but i’m a cold creature and it takes a while!!!), and I got into a nice rhythm,I got out of the water in 14.15 feeling good and I run up to transition. Nice cheer from the hubby, all smiles.

This was my first triathlon using proper bike shoes etc so ecstatic when I made it to the line, got on the bike, and clicked in without a hitch (Joy, Elaine,Bernie, Catherine,Eimear you’d have been very proud ), just to get up that hill out of the village in front of me now ! I made it, Sliabh Bhui stood to me women ;) The bike route was an out and back course on narrow country roads, sharp bends and hills. Surprisingly enough for me I felt comfortable for the most part on the bike. We were advised in the briefing to slow down and not to overtake on the descent back into Schull, I had no worries here, as I was going slow, concentrating hard on clicking out, dismounting and not falling off the bike, all to be completed before I reached the dismount line….tricky…I just about got away with it by smiling very sweetly at both stewards :D I stumbled/walked into transition, in one piece, not sure if the shoes will survive though. (note to self, the next time a practice brick session is kindly organised by Dena and Frank I need to practice in the proper gear) I completed the 21 km bike in 46 mins, thought I had done better during the cycle, however on reflection and looking at the splits, it’s the first time in a triathlon where I have not lost tens and tens of places on the bike, so there is hope.

Next up the 5 k run. I’m glad I like running as it’s very disconcerting starting the run when other people are finishing their race! The run is out and back along a narrow country road/lane with some blind bends this time and yes, more hills. Once I got past the 1 k and recovered from the jelly legs, the run went fine. I felt quite hot and bothered initially and I was delighted to pour water over myself at the 2 k water station to cool things down. Feeling better I continued along, for the next while. Near the finish line, himself was encouraging me along, saying its all downhill from here you can sprint now….all fine for him to say that, but its not downhill enough for me to gather up any speed!! Still I finished the run in 22.37, very happy considering the heat, the course and the fact i’m bet :)
I would really recommend this tri to anyone, testing route, friendly atmosphere, well organised, spectacular scenery and venue, the entire village gets involved. Nice medal, water, coffee/tea, muffins and fruit at the end for all competitors, everyone chatting about the race. I enjoy the buzz post race, exhilarated by the fact I have just completed a triathlon, this is infectious. Get a cup of tea for himself, he’s happy too ;)

Finishing time, 1.29, respectable for me, very pleased, yes, still lots to learn and lots to improve upon. But for me that’s part of the enjoyment in it. My transitions, both a good minute behind almost everyone else, so guess what I’ll be practicing for the next few weeks!!!

Special mention to Jarlath, in Westport on the same day, well done to you, it did not feel like you were so far away with the encouraging texts and phone calls. Eimear well done on Blessington, haven’t we come a long way…. Next up is Wicklow in July, can’t wait

Calmity Jane and the Blessington Tri….


Unread postby Eimearbowden » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:14 pm

I’d like to entitle this, my first race report; “Calamity-Jane” :)
eimear b

So while marshalling at the fabulous Tri795 in Carlow a few weeks ago, I met the lovely Willie Purcell from Tri Ireland, who, in between warning me to be firm and “take no crap” from anyone who might be put in the penalty box which I was manning, managed to convince me to sign up to this triathlon. I said yaaaa go for it, have never swam in a lake before, I’ll give it a go. Well I must have picked the day the Loch Ness Monster came to visit Blessington given my luck on Sunday!!!

With no one else from the club competing (Jarlath up the North West and Ciara in the South West- Congrats to both!) I dragged along my friend Lorraine for the day out! (I don’t know will she ever come again after the day we had!) Morning went well, felt I had plenty of time and preparations leaving Gorey all went to plan….car loaded up and we headed for the Wicklow Mountains. It was a cloudy, overcast, humid day. Arrived before nine, registrations for the Sprint Tri were from 8:30 onwards. This was a charity event in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland and wasn’t a national series event, held in Blessington Sailing Club. There was a lovely friendly atmosphere from the minute we set foot in the field- which should have been cut for silage the week before! Registered; got the timing chip, number and swim hat and back to the car to collect the gear. There was tea, coffee and snacks provided before and after the race in the sailing club.


As I do every time I meet any of ye in Bunclody or Kildavin for a spin, I took the bike out of the car and put on the front wheel, clip in front brake thingy and check the brakes….SNAP. AAAaaah, I assured Lorraine that this is not the norm for race prep! Clearly I didn’t have Niall Ó Múirí on hand with his toolkit/expertise (I may have had a wobbly saddle before :) ) and even with the few bits and pieces I had in the bike box I wouldn’t have had the first notion of what to do with them anyway!!!! So we decided I better go check if any nice man would help me out (sorry to be sexist ladies but ya know I was gonna take the opportunity to check out the talent while I was at it). I can’t speak highly enough of the stewards at this event, they were so friendly and helpful from start to finish. I found a lovely steward who didn’t know what was wrong, and so passed me on to another lovely steward, didn’t know either, but thought steward over there should know and thankfully he did!! The Furlongs would obviously have spotted it ages ago…cable had gone on back brake….loosen this and tighten this…”do you have an align key in this saddle bag here?” Me: “amm no, just a tube in there ” and then I get a pat on the back from a lady who said here I’ve an align key and the problem was sorted finally. Lovely lady then informed me she has recently joined the club….Welcome Yvette! I was wrong, I had a clubmate competing!

eimear bowden portlaiois 2016
Right so all set, ready to rack up and put on the wetsuit. Stewards at the entrance to transition were getting great entertainment out of me…they were delighted to see I’d got sorted, checked the helmet, brakes all good and next thing…..”aaah jeez Eimear have you pumped those tyres at all, get a bit more air into them or you’ll be going up hills all day”. So over I went to another lovely steward who was pumping up the tyres of a girl doing her first triathlon and a nervous wreck. ( Meanwhile steward at transition was asking Lorraine if this was my first triathlon and was I always this disorganised?!!! ) As the steward so kindly pumped my tyre, I was chatting to the girl trying to calm her nerves and pass on the tips I’d been given last year….assuring her the buzz at the end would be worth it and that she’ll be addicted in no time. Next thing…BANG…”whoops I’m after blowing out your tyre”. All I could do was laugh….just one of those days eh?! Turns out it wasn’t the tyre that had blown but the pump- got another pump, pumped and ready to go AT LAST!
The most mortifying part of all of this is that I joined Bernie, Joy, Clare, Ciara and Elaine for a spin a Saturday morning recently and couldn’t hack the pace at all, put it down to having not been out in a while and spinning classes just not being the same…now I reckon I may not have had my tyres pumped enough :oops: :oops: :oops:
I somehow managed to find space on the rack and change in time for race-briefing. I said it’ll all be grand, this extra adrenalin will help. Not so much.

The lake was nice and warm actually and it had just started to drizzle as the sprint swim started (Standard distance had gone before us). Most disappointed with the swim which was took me 20 min…(had 14.55 PB last year in KK)…..I suppose its different conditions, different circumstances. I was conscious of my drifting after doing a lot of it in Dunmore East recently but felt I stayed with the pack for the majority of this one. After analysis with Ciara Bowe I reckon I might be sighting too much in the open water and losing time. More practise needed! It was a triangular course, like Dunmore East Hook and By Crook. Yvette was doing the ‘aqua bike’ and clocked 900m and reckons she didn’t drift much either so there’s a possibility the course was longer maybe….. Drizzle was getting heavier….As I took off wetsuit I decided I’d try put the hat and goggles into my sleeve as I’d seen a few do in Carlow (I know, I know never try anything for the first time on raceday…yup sure enough lost the goggles enroute…ara sure for the day that was in it :lol: )
Transitions were nice and quick, brick sessions have helped, thank you Dena and Frank :-)
Off on my newly serviced bike!! Felt good on the bike and then it started bucketing down, it literally felt like hailstones the shower was so heavy. The course is lovely for the first 15km, hill out of transition and then you are onto a main road after another 2km….the final 5km; which Willie had informed us in race briefing would be “nice undulating hills” was pretty testing!! I really pushed it on the bike – in fairness I’d this whole new feeling of totally pumped up wheels… but as a result paid for it in the run. Had an ok-for-me 47min on the bike and a 31 min torturous run. I knew from the beginning of the run that my legs were screaming and it would be a struggle but was glad to finish given my few episodes. And the sun shone for the final 3km of the run! Run course was hilly, lovely scenery though! Strange folks that actually enjoy running hills (Mike, Joy) would love it. Yvette, Lorraine and Tracy at the finish line were super supporters and spurred me on for the final sprint!


Personally it was disappointing 1:41 overall time for my fifth sprint tri. I still had to write a race report though to fill ye in on all the days events! It might encourage anyone considering doing a tri to give it a go, and to be assured no matter what your times or goals, enjoying it is important too.
Overall I have to say its a triathlon I would recommend for first timers or seasoned triathletes, beautiful setting and lovely relaxed atmosphere. Stewards made it, I’m going back next year for the craic with them!

The Limerick Marathon….2016


brian limerick - Copy
Goal number 1 was to try and out Dempsey Dempsey on the race report! But I quickly realised this was only a pipe dream and instead concentrated on breaking the 2 hrs 3mins….

Liam (Ciara’s other half) hatched the plan to run a marathon in 2016. I hadn’t run one since my hurling days 14 years ago so easily convinced. Limerick is approx. 18 weeks from Christmas and given the date in early May we hoped for decent weather. Not too hot and decent light to get the long runs in, people advised that the course is pretty fair with nothing too steep.

liam bowe limerick

We followed Hal Higdon’s Advanced 2 plan which we both felt was excellent – challenging without being mental and topping out at a max. of 55 miles a week. 6 days on and one day off, I generally run 7 days a week so that part was easy but the increase in intensity was new and I think necessary as we both didn’t race much over the 18 weeks. It was easy to follow. It has three 20 mile runs – most of the advice out there says unless you are doing 70-80 miles a week there is little value in going past 20 miles. I would agree with this – the long runs were taking us 2.40 – 2.50 to do – was there much value in adding another 15-20 minutes when we had to do some hard intervals 48 hours later? Staying injury free and getting to the start line were key to us both. We both had a few niggles but got through all the key sessions, Liam had a problem with a hamstring but took a few days off and that did the trick.

dena l

Pj gave me a lend of his cycling jersey which was great to store the food once shoved into the shorts to stop it bouncing up and down. 3 Isogel gels and a packet of Dextrose 95% glucose tablets was the plan and both worked out very well. They had some Isotonic drinks on the course as well. Dosed myself up with some beetroot capsules as well in the days leading up. About a pint of water that morning before the race was plenty, was well hydrated the days before. Porridge 2hrs before and a jam white bread sandwich 1 hr before.
We were staying with a family friend of mine the night before who volunteered to cook us dinner – it turned out to be a big fry up! Liam being a gentleman never said a word and we both moped up 2 sausages, 3 rashers and a couple of black puddings – no problems but not recommended! Liam had brough some sambos and I had some homemade rice pudding and raisins with me and ate these at 10pm. We both had been eating plenty of carbs the days proceeding.

tom hogan dingle

The Race
We parked up at 8.25am 500m from the start line and strolled to the startline – fantastic setup with none of the usual hassle of big marathons and having to be in place a hour before the off. Limerick the city looked great and the people nicer. We met Tom and Dena at the start line and it’s always nice to see another 795 vest. Unbelievably Dena had to pull out of a race the week before after 2 miles – how she managed the 26 miles on a gammy leg is mad – no stopping this woman! A nice gang from SBR and Slaney at the start and off we went at 9am. 11 degrees, overcast and no wind really – perfect! The course is very nice with good variety on it, some rolling hills but nothing killer. I went out with the 3 hour pacer who raced fast down the hills and easy up them. He delivered us to half way in 1.29.55 perfect. In pretty good shape at this stage. Then some some reason right at half way and going up a tough little hill he went into race mode! He finished in 2.58?! I let him go at about 15 miles and decided to run my own race, was starting to feel it now but still felt okay. At mile 21-23 there is a pull, not much if you were fresh but enough to tip the lactae needle in the wrong direction. Hanging on for dear life here and just hoping to get home in under 3.05. The last 3 miles are great(ish!) downhill or flat, life was gone out of the legs at this stage and just trying to hold some sort of decent pace. I though I saw the finish gantry but the cruel f***ks have 4 of them over the last mile or so to just tease you! Home in 3.03 and in absolute bits. Liam came home in a great 3.11 after 2 pee breaks and a stretch and smiling. Really lovely to see Aidan and Rachel at the finish looking up at their Dad and so proud and a very happy looking Ciara. It puts all this running stuff into perspective there and then – it’s not life or death! The 3 were great support along the way. Dena home in a fantastic 3.16 considering she is in full training for the big ultra. Hard luck to Tom who had to pull out at 16 miles while leading with a calf pull.

Limerick is a great race and a good course, couldn’t recommend it enough. Hope to be back next year and maybe have a few more 795ers next year. No temptation to do Dublin at this moment, hard enough to clock a time without crowds and hassle! Thanks to the 795ers for the messages before and after, always feels great to represent the club.

(Report by Brian Shaughs)

dena limrick 16