Friday, 30 October 2015

Simple strategy to get better at things!

Here's a really simple strategy to get better at things regardless of the area of life you want change in.

1. Try new things.
2. When you find something you like and it's good for you, keep doing it.
3. Immerse your self in that thing and do more and learn more about it.
4. Do More and expand your limits.
5. Keep doing it until you loose the love for it (that might be forever and it might be 6 months).
6. Try new things.

That's a neat summary of what I'm doing constantly. By doing this I discovered my love for Speaking and for Running. And I'm trying new things all the time. I want to try much more travel in 2016 and cookery courses and writing a book and reading more.

Life is an adventure. Live it that way and wander and wonder.

And when you find a thing you love there is new things in that you can try too. Like I'm definitely trying Ultra running next year. I'll let you know if I like it or not. And I would love to go on some trail runs.

Do with this strategy what you like; ignore it, change it, use it! All I know is it works for me and I have seen it work for others.

Running wise I'm in recovery week from Dublin. Just did 2 x 10K's since Monday's race. Today is rest day then tomorrow morning 9.5 miles and Sunday 13.5 miles. Because I want to find that FLOW again I got in Dublin. It was so pleasant to run on an empty mind. So peaceful and joyous.

Sunday 2 weeks on November 15th I'll head to Sixmilebridge for the Annual Eddie Murphy Memorial races on their 1 mile loop course. Did a Half Marathon there last year, doing Full this year for number 15 of the 12 Marathons in 12 Months Challenge. You can donate to the Challenge on

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Dublin Marathon Race Report - PB and negative split.

I remember that the first time I came across the Find Your Strong ad from Saucony the final line of it hit me like lightening.

'Maybe strong is just what you have left when you've used up all your weak'

To me that means finding the things you love and enjoy, and immersing yourself in them to become stronger and better at sharing those gifts with others. I'm trying to do this with a couple of things in life I defined as my purpose. And that leaves no time for your weak, the things you 'should be doing' but don't want to.

Personally this is all based on my success applying the principle to my lesser gift of running. I am not the fastest and won't ever be. But I love running and that love coupled with immersion is leading to natural results. Like this weekend at Dublin Marathon.

Arrived on Sunday in Dublin to meet Katie and Eoin who were running their first Marathon and live near the RDS so we walked to the Expo. Dublin Expo is the largest and best running Expo I have seen in my short Marathon career. It is also really well organised. This means I got my number in minutes. Heading back down the stairs I went looking to meet up with the others and saw the Clonakilty Marathon/Team Kerr/Marathon Club Ireland stand.

I have waxed lyrically before about all these people so needless to say that's the only stand I visited as I ended up spending about 45 minutes with them. The positive attitude of these people really is infectious. I am not one to live in the future yet Clonakilty Marathon on December 5th is looked forward to.

Anyway I digress. I was staying with Reg and Brian in Dundrum as they are very hospitable hosts and I can just hop on the LUAS to Stephens Green in the morning. It is always special to take the LUAS at 7am on a Bank Holiday Monday while it is packed with runners.

I met up with Aisling and Rob from Wheelworx by accident before the race and after a nice chat went to the Black Gates for the annual MCI Club Group Photo. There was 94 of us running it this year and the photo shoot always ends up in a reunion and group hug of sorts.

Went to the Start line as part of Wave 3 which in hindsight was the right decision for me. I started at the back of it with the 4h50 balloons. I love starting slowish and the natural pace of these runners would suit me for the first 2 or 3 miles which were tough as I had picked up a bit of a head cold.

I had broken the strap on my wrist watch so as we started I pressed the button and put it in my back pocket. I didn't take it out again until 400m from the finish. I think this helped with my race. I ran purely on feeling.

After the initial tough 2 to 3 miles I felt warmed up and as we entered the Phoenix Park I picked of the 4.40, 4.30 and 4.20 balloons and pacers. The 4.20 were the top pacers in Wave 3 and I would not see them again.

As we ran through the Phoenix Park out at Castleknock, back in and back out at Chapelizod I settled into a rhythm and was going past runners the whole time. This would continue until the Finish. The Wave 3 start really helped mentally. I obviously have some running ego left as it was massaged by passing people the whole way around the course.

Anything after Mile 10 is a bit of a blur. I remember the people I know supporting me at Miles 16, 20, 22 ,24 and 25 and thanked them since for that. I remember meeting fellow MCI'ers, meeting the inspirational Team Kerr and talking to a guy from Marathon Club Germany. For the first time I don't remember any hills or severe inclines. I can't even distinctly remember Heartbreak Hill.

I was in the flow. It is a nice place to get to. Running smoothly, as if it all comes naturally. Oh, there is pain too, but it seems to not matter that much.

With 400m to go I took the watch out of the back pocket and saw 4.01 popping up. PB in sight. Cue dash to the line and in at 4.02.13. A new PB by a minute and a half. Revenge for the 9 seconds I missed it by in Brussels.

No pics from race so after race selfie has to do :)

When checking the app later I found I ran the first half in 2.03.20 and the second half in 1.58.53. Negative split, sweet. What's more is that the last section from 30K to 42K was my fastest with an average below 9 minute miles.

One of my first thoughts after the finish line actually was that I'm ready to move to 50K and the odd Ultra from next year.

I seem to be getting stronger. At my age like!

I think it is down to me immersing myself in what I love doing in sport, work and spare time. Immersion in what you love brings results. It also brings mastery and that I can share with others. Something I firmly believe in. Nothing is worth doing unless you can make other people's lives better or make your self stronger to more efficiently help others.

Once again I go to that line from the ad: 'Maybe strong is just what you have left when you've used up all your weak'.

Next Marathon and number 16 of the 12 Marathons in 12 Months challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa is a mere 19 days from now in Sixmilebridge at the Eddie Murphy Memorial.

You can donate for the Challenge at

Friday, 23 October 2015

Dublin is calling!

For the 7th time in 8 years (injury prevented me taking part in 2009) the October Bank Holiday weekend is Dublin Marathon weekend for me. I have not ran any race more often than this one. It was my first marathon in 2008. It will be my 31st on Monday.

7th Dublin Marathon, 14th this year, 31st in Total

The first 15 or so were always nerve wrecking events. Did I train enough? What was the weather going to be like? Have I packed everything? Am I sleeping enough? Am I eating the right food? How will I get to the start? Was that niggle going to act up? Etc Etc.....

I finished every single one of them though! I have so far never DNF'ed (Did Not Finish). And I started to relax in my running. Running became part of everyday life. It became a habit. Something you do in your day like taking a shower or putting on clothes. Something natural, unforced.

That's what happens when you love something, it becomes natural. As I mentioned in one of my last blogs, when you let something flow you will get better at it and enjoy it more. So my mileage is up, I'm definitely enjoying it more, am relaxed about it and am thinking about Ultra running from next year as I am not the fastest but have a Forrest Gump kind of feeling about endurance running.

Starting with Ultra running next year like Forrest??

Unforced, natural, living the passion and embracing it. You can do that with anything in life. Your gift becomes a habit. And it keeps on giving and you can pass it on to others to enjoy.

So know I am totally relaxed about Marathons and it shows. I still totally respect the 26.2 mile distance yet there are no worries or nerves. Just anticipation of a fun filled day. Because Dublin Marathon is called the 'friendly' marathon for a reason. The citizens of the pale show their best side every year as they come out in tens of thousands to support the 15,000 runners.

I'm looking forward to it. Naturally. Number 14 of my 12 marathons in 12 months in 2015 challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa. See yiz Monday at 9 in Fitzwilliam Street and about 4 to 4.30 hours later in Merrion Square!!!

You can donate to the Challenge on

Monday, 19 October 2015

Dublin, Sixmilebridge & Clonakilty. 7 weeks, 3 locations.

Goals can be self limiting. Purpose is unlimited potential. Therein lies the difference.

I made a decision to run 12 Marathons in 12 Months for Gorta Self Help Africa in 2015. The decision meant a change in sleeping patterns, food and drink intake, training and work schedules.

I needed to up my training and have naturally progressed this year from a starting point of 30 miles/week to 45 miles/week. Naturally as in I didn't plan this as my goal. It was simply finding the love for running in every single training run. Easing into only doing what I love. Dropping weights training and speed sessions and just run because that is what I love doing.

I am not advocating you drop weights and speed sessions as a runner. I am advocating that over time you do more and more of what you love doing most and drop doing things you don't like doing. That leads to being at one with yourself. At one with your natural instincts. And for me that has lead to now running 45-50 miles a week with ease. I know that my decision to slowly (naturally) progress to Ultra distances from next year will come as a result of that approach.

None of these are goals, but the result of daily implementation of decisions based on my core values and what I love doing most. Being in the Flow.

This will work for anything in your life; work, relationships, lifestyle, spirituality etc... Implementing decisions based on what you enjoy doing most and is good for you.

So when I got to my 12 Marathons in 12 Months in less than 9 months I wasn't finished as I would with a Goal. My love for running is stronger than ever, my life is better, mentally I am stronger. Why stop? Brussels became number 13.

And now over the next 7 weeks I am adding Dublin Marathon (next Monday), Eddie Murphy Memorial Marathon in Sixmilebridge and Clonakilty Marathon to the 2015 list. 3 more occasions to enjoy the company of fellow long distance runners doing what we love most. Getting lost in the moment together.

Here's a video of the Dublin Route for next Monday, bring it on!

You can contribute to the Challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa on

Monday, 12 October 2015

Sure if it was this easy....

Everyone would do it.

It has been a tough enough week training wise. The pep was not in the step. The lead up to runs was packed jammers with 'Should I not rest just 1 day?' 'Ah look it, just the one day missed won't make a difference' and other excuses such as 'my preferred running gear is in the dryer'. The legs were heavy. The joints were creaking. Enough excuses to write a procrastination book with.

But I got through it. I took Monday off after Brussels Marathon and then ran 6 days on the trot covering just over 46 miles. And I have 6 runs planned for this week as well. Dublin Marathon is only 14 days away.

How did I not give in to all the excuses???? Even for just one day????

Simples. Because of a very strong Why. And because of the love I have for running. Once the 1st mile gone it always turns out that running was the right decision.

Passion and Purpose. The 2 ingredients to make anything work for you. If you love doing something and you are doing it for the right reasons all that is left is immersion and action.

And living in the present. Taking your eye of maybe's, tomorrows and worries.

And that goes for anything in life. Do what you love for the right reason and immerse your self in that in every moment. That's called true living.

I have done that with running and am now doing it with work. What I love doing most with passion and purpose every moment.

In running my base used to be 25-30 miles a week. Then through following this process it moved to 35 miles a week. Now it is hovering around 45 miles a week. Without pressure, without forcing. A nice base to start thinking about Ultra's next year. And to get to 50 in '16. In the flow.

This week is a training week running wise, should be around 45ish miles. With a smile. In the flow. You see, it isn't easy all the time. But I'm getting better. At living in the now!

Have a purposeful week!!

Friday, 9 October 2015

How to recover without stopping.

I felt it on Tuesday. 48 hours after Marathon number 13 of my 12 Marathons in 12 months Challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa.

I hadn't slept well on Monday night. I didn't sleep on the flight Tuesday, something I normally do with ease. I felt lethargic. Didn't enjoy my food.

Nothing major, just that this Marathon seemed to have taken a lot of energy out of me. Time to go in recovery mode. That used to just mean rest for a week or when I first started running a couple of weeks.

Now I know more. When you immerse yourself in something you love you will always learn. From others, from reading, from blogs, from video's. When you do things you truly love you will always be eager to grow and learn. Just for you. So you can enjoy it better. And to give back, to share your knowledge with others.

I know now that for me recovery; apart from steady sleeping patterns, recovery food and drinks; means keeping moving just slower. I used to stop running. Then it would take me a week or more to get back into the rhythm. Not anymore.

I keep doing the same distances, just slower. 1 minute/mile slower at first and then naturally recover back to pace. It works for me and it keeps the mind from overthinking the rest periods. Because stopping to do what you love is not easy. So it's best to keep going. Mind over matter with a bit of clever thrown in.

So this week I've done 3 x slower 10K's Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Hoping to put in another one this evening. 9.5 miles tomorrow morning and 11 odd miles Sunday. That'll bring up the 45 miles for this week while running in recovery mode.

I'm already looking forward to my 7th Dublin Marathon in just over 2 weeks for number 14 this year and 31 in total. It's where it all started in 2008.

When you find what you love, immerse yourself!!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Brussels Marathon Race Report. 13 of 12 done!

Brussels is where I grew up. I left it behind nearly 21 years ago and only return to it sporadically. I am a bit of a nomad. I know I would settle in lots of places around the world.

This time I returned to take part in my first 'foreign' Marathon as I ran all 29 of them so far in Ireland. This was also to be a bit of a celebratory race as I had completed my 12 Marathons in 12 Months challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa 2 weeks ago in Tullaroan and 3 months early. I have decided to keep running Marathons this year for the Charity to keep the funds they need coming in. And Brussels was the first of those.

The place for registration on Saturday and race start on Sunday is a spectacular building  called the 'Cinquantenaire' in the 'Jubelpark'. It was built to commemorate Belgium's 50th Anniversary of it's Independence.

Cinquantenaire in JubelPark is the start place.

The race is littered with 16th to 18th century buildings, runs through the Grand Place, tree covered Avenues and beautiful parks such as the 'Ter Kameren Bos' and 'Park van Tervuren'. It is a truly stunning course.

Brussels Grand Place is at Mile 25.5!

Another great plus of this Marathon is the military style organisation. I could not find fault with anything. I did not use the baggage drop so can't vouch for that but the rest was very well organised and marshalled. No queues for anything. Very friendly and efficient registration. Plenty of toilets on the course and 15 water stations with water, energy drinks, gels, bananas and figs. Excellent. And for the benefit of those who want to try it in coming years English is spoken by most in the organisation, including the volunteers.

The only thing I want to mention is the lack of support by the Brussels citizens. The course was virtually devoid of atmosphere and people except for some small pockets. And it affected the runners who were all very serious throughout the race. There was a lack of banter and fun. Or else I am simply spoilt with all the 'craic' and fun at Irish Marathons :)

Personally I thoroughly enjoyed the race. It is quite undulating with some 1 & 2 mile long drags especially those at kms 18 to 20, a short hill at km 28, a drag at km 30 to 31 and a killer drag from km 35 to 38 that made quite a few people crack. I have discovered before these kind of courses are my favourites and the same happened yesterday.

After an even paced first 10K in the excellent company of 2 runners from Teignbridge Trotters from Devon, I decided to pick up the pace a bit and surprisingly I lasted through to the finish in my second fastest Marathon ever and fastest of the Challenge in 4h03m53. Funny thing is my PB is only 9 seconds less and I wasn't aware at any stage I was this close! Funny how my 13th in the same year was one of the fastest. More does mean stronger if you do it right!

So that's it! Number 13 done this year and 30 overall. Flying back to Dublin tomorrow morning and then on to Limerick by road. I am working on some big projects I love right now and will be busy straight through to next year!

Running wise October Bank Holiday Monday is a tradition in Marathon running in Ireland and it will be my 7th time taking part in Dublin Marathon. This is 21 days away and will be Number 14 of the Challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa. You can donate to the Challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa at 

Talk to you Friday for my next blog post! 

Do what you love on purpose with purpose!!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Greetings from Brussels!

This blog is taking me twice as long to type. The reason is that I am in Brussels, Belgium for Number 13 of the 12 Marathons in 12 Months for Gorta Self Help Africa.

For all the smarty pants out there it is not that Belgians use smokesignals for broadband nor that I consumed too many Waffles and Stella. :) It's just that I'm typing this on an AZERTY keyboard ;)

When I was compiling the list of races for the Challenge, Brussels Marathon was one of the first on it. I never ran a Marathon in my native country and it would be extra nice seen it goes through the village where the Mammy lives.

Landed at Zaventem (main Brussels Airport) yesterday Thursday lunchtime. Here's 3 slightly controversial and in jest observations since I arrived that will stop me from moving back to live in Belgium.

1- I prefer the colder weather and rain (I really do). It's October and early 20's in the sun here for feck's sake.
2- The food. I'm a food lover and if you are too Belgium will excite you. The food is rich, tasty, complex yet simply divine. Like yesterday I had a Trappist Beer soaked Rabbit Stew and on tonight's menu is Chicory wrapped in Ham covered in a White Cheese Sauce finsihed in the oven. See pic. I would gain weight living here so no good :)

3- Can all Belgians please take note. Irish people are infinitely friendlier. And I mean infinitely. I had spotted that when on holidays in France this year as well. I am privileged to live in Ireland amongst the friendliest of people you can meet anywhere.

On the running front I went for 6.3 miles yesterday to shake of the flight and took in some of the course doing so. Not flat this course but a few lovely parks combined with urban gems and buildings spanning several centuries. More about this in next week's race report.

Today is rest day, tomorrow Expo and number collection. Sunday 9am start at this beautiful place. "Cinquantenaire Park panorama" by Redvers -

This was built to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Belgium's independence in 1880. It is now also the impressive start line of the Marathon and where the Expo is held.

Right I'm signing off after a full hour of trying to get this typed up :) Talk to you Monday or Tuesday with the Race Report.

You can donate to the Challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa at