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Training Log Archive: ColmM

In the 1 days ending May 25:

activity # timemileskm+mload
  Running1 4:04:22 17.74(13:46) 28.55(8:34) 22371203.0
  Total1 4:04:22 17.74(13:46) 28.55(8:34) 22371203.0
averages - sleep:6

» now

Saturday May 25 #

10 AM

Running 6:17 [2] 0.96 km (6:31 / km)
ahr:140 max:149 slept:6.0 shoes: VJ iRock 3 (Mar 24)

Running 3:58:05 [5] 27.59 km (8:38 / km) +2237m 6:08 / km
ahr:169 max:203 shoes: VJ iRock 3 (Mar 24)

Jura - 40th!

tldr; Started well, felt good, in good company, some ankle twists & a bonk later I suffered home, but made it in time to go sub-4 at least. There is no better race, can't wait for the next.

What a race. After some really good physical performances early in the year (Feel the Burns, Devil Burdens), and some worse performances more recently (Cobbler, Ben Lomond and to a lesser extend Birnam), I was quite keen to get a good one at Jura. It just seemed like the obvious main goal race, the iconic one. So a couple of months ago after some injury-niggles, I tried to get back into some more consistent training with an eye on both Irish Champs & Jura as the main foci.
Can't say I've nailed a block for Jura because I definitely still haven't got enough big hill days, but I did get back to more running, more consistent sessions and some decent long runs thrown in, so I felt relatively confident that I'd be fit for it. I had my eye on 3hr45 very roughly, with the important backup being sub-4, but mostly to just get stuck into racing.

So while I was a little tired from a busy work week (/study), the drive, late camp and early ferry, I felt good warming up and the morning ferry gave just about the right amount of time for prep, with a wrap, a banana, some organge juice and some bread for breakfast, plenty of water, 2x 200mg ibuprofen for the ankle pain an hour before and then some SiS Go Hydro caffeine drink about half an hour before, as per.

And then to the start. Off the line the pace felt very relaxed and I was quite surprised to be sat in the back of the main pack on the road. As it got slightly boggy I overtook some people getting stuck and was feeling good jogging away up the hill. It took a little while for some of the boys to pass again which made me feel good about the pace, but I was finding it pretty nice and easy and slowly reeled up to Tim about halfway up. There was a big pack a little ahead, but as we got close to entering the mist Tim mentioned he wasn't sure if he would trust many of their navigation, which felt like a nice added reminder to be patient. Sitting off could still easily provide opportunities to catch up. Aidan joined us and we topped out reasonably together as an exciting nav trio entering the first bit of nav. I mostly lead off the front and was moving pretty well and we cruised through it, we had gained a bit back, but they had been clean too when we got sight. And running down the hill I rolled my ankle. It was not great but clearly not really bad either. I hobbled for a couple hundred meters while Tim got back on, but I was able to run it off and took a caffeine gel (~40mins) to try and distract from it. We climbed fine again and Aidan passed and topped out just ahead, catching 2 stragglers from the main pack. Tim & I lead the descent again pretty confidently on the compass, and over the spur from the other side pops Sasha & Harry Bolton. Brilliant. Tim & I shared some mini-excitement, though we did soon see the main pack up ahead and it was just the 2 boys who had gone walkabouts. Still it made it exciting.

Sasha & Harry ran off pretty quickly, and once again myself, Tim & Aidan summitted pretty much together, with me slightly out the back. Tim lead the initial descent and I tucked into to enjoy following his scree lines and then moved a bit ahead on the grassy stuff chasing down Sash & Harry. It was feeling controlled but good and I caught Harry and arrived at the river fill-up just as Sasha left it thinking it was a bit mental that I was in this company, but not too concerned about how long it would last. Took on a little tailwind here, and a 2nd gel early on the climb.
Sure enough, the 2 boys started motoring up Pap 1, so I settled in for a solo grind just following lines.
I was surprised to last a good while before being caught and while people were passing, and I struggled a bit in the 2nd half, this climb went pretty alright. I expected people to pass, so I was mostly pretty happy to be around the same company as I had been earlier. The ankle was hurting a bit, the really steep stuff meant I could feel a bit of swelling/tissue/fluid pulling at the front, but it wasn't too restricting. A few dropped me, but when Tim caught me maybe 70% up I was able to mostly hang on for the remainder and summit behind him and another.

I wanted to be on Tim's tail for the pap 1 descent, because I knew he'd crush the scree and I wanted to get that groove, so there was a bit of urgency when I summited 10-15sec behind. I got moving, and had a slightly aggressive overtake-into-fall passing Aidan (apologies!), but got close to Tim, partly due to him getting held up, and descended reasonably well through the scree, to get down shortly behind him. As the descent eased off though I twisted my other ankle. Again, nothing very serious, just a bit of hobbling it off for a couple hundred metres, but it meant the difference between getting back on before the climb and being left 50m behind Tim, plus it just sapped a bit of the gained momentum from passing 5-6 people.

I passed Aoife & Chris Owens cheering here, and was half-tempted to suggest Aoife joined for the climb, but no need, I'm supposed to be racing. I got into a bit of a plod up Pap 2, but was definitely feeling a little more beaten up now. Tim was moving away, but not too quickly, and I didn't look back much, but I soon realised Aoife was coming up too, and it was became clear very quickly she would be catching me. Which she soon did. I was pretty tired and stumbled a little, and after some brief hellos, Aoife was straight through and dropping me. Not gonna lie, this was a little demoralising from someone not racing, but I tried to take it as a testament to her strength right now. Soon Aidan caught up too and we joked (commented?) about Aoife dropping me. We got onto the steeper stuff round the bend, and seeing people ahead helped, but then seeing people (read as: Hooper!!) behind was less helpful. I tried to just suffer through and see what we had for the next descent. Aoife kindly cheered me on for a 2nd time at the top.

I wanted to top out with a gap so others wouldn't get any line-reads, but I knew in reality Sam + others were right behind (2sec it turns out). I got the first part fine (straight on to the ruin), despite the guy in front turning right, but as it opened up to descend my legs, and in particular ankles, were pretty wobbly, and in a matter of 10m I twisted both again. Once again minor twists, barely needed hobbling, but it was ruining their hopes at descending. I got through the first main bit alright, but I desperately need a line for this in future, because just like in 2019, I went smack bang into the middle of a boulder field which took a minute to negotiate and get wide of.
Again the rest was fine going down but the aggression was gone, and the legs were waning.

A glance behind when beginning pap 3 revealed the inevitable - Hoopz was with me. I knew my legs were beginning to fold, so I gave him a pat on the back and sent him on his merry way, but maybe a bit more mental strength could have at least tried to put up some fight. I think the beating from twists etc that my legs were taking was breaking me down anyway, but the idea that I hadn't seen Sam at all and he had reeled all this time back gave a sense of how backwards I was going - in reality, Sam had only been 1min behind at Pap 1 top anyway, so it's important for future to remember that someone catching you doesn't mean they've gained huge amounts.
I suffered up the remainder of Pap 3 unsure of what my body had in store for me, quite a few went by, but I made it up. Ian Holmes passed me not too far from the top, and in retrospect making an effort to hang onto him just to see his descent line would have been a great move, but he was probably too far in front by then anyway. Upon topping out I knew there wasn't much left, I also knew I didn't have descending legs, so I was no longer viewing those around me as competition - the finish was all that mattered to me now. I got going down at a similar pace to those around, but then a beautiful scree chute opened up just to my right - so in I dropped and despite flailing down with lots of tumbles it was rapid. Until the massive boulder field ensconced me. Awful news. I think this has happened before. Stuck in the nightmare stuff, I went left, then right, and just did whatever to hit the trod and descend around. When I did get there, I again just didn't have the legs to run it seriously, and I let a few boys go away and come through, and began the plod up Corra Bheinn.

Lamont came through me shortly before the top and asked if it was cramp or dead legs, and by this point it was both - my legs were tingling with cramp with each leg-lift - but thankfully never properly cramping, so we still got up. He told me I still looked okay for sub-4, which I agreed with, but I really didn't want to have to fight for it, and it was getting ever-closer. I summitted not too far behind Andy, and took some much appreciated food and drink from Ali T, but regretted a bit not trying to stick to Andy to gain some easy time back on the clock. I stumbled down the hill and just kept myself moving with little idea of how my legs would respond to the road.

When I did get there, I reckoned I needed just under 5min ks to make it sub-4 and earn the coveted whisky glass, which seemed doable but still hard work. I set off and tried not to check the pace too early. Anna M & Holly scared me a little with the distance they said remained, but when I did glance at my watch after 1.5k and saw an average pace of 4'40/km for the road I knew I should make it if I didn't capitulate it. And that's basically how it went. I gritted my teeth to avoid disaster and made it in under.

Quite a mixed bag that one, and tricky to unpick. I'm really happy with how I felt early on, especially the less steep climb. I was descending well. I was raving with good guys, better than I would have hoped for, for the first 90mins - 2hrs. Then it went rather backwards, and it felt pretty bad, and it's hard to know what exactly to put that down to. It feels like the ankle issues and that played a large part, but I can't tell if that's me trying to find reasons, because alternatively I possibly just started too hard, and wasn't as patient as I planned to be - but the start felt so comfortable! Equally, it would be reasonable to infer that I didn't quite have the training in the legs to stay that strong for what today was, regardless of whether I've held up alright on longer stuff with less training in the past. I guess the demise felt a lot worse at the time than it possibly was in reality too, but Tim did kick on for 3:40 - and not at all to claim I would have done that, but I am a long way behind it and to have been closer to it is possible.

It is interesting comparing the splits from 2019 when I was still living in Dublin, and nowhere near the hill runner I am now. After 1hr of racing today I was 7mins ahead of my 2019 self, and that gap grew, only to come right back in, as I finished 7mins quicker in the end. My descending as well as my climbing seems to be significantly better. But I raced it so differently with a conservative survival approach then and built momentum off catching people, as opposed to the reverse today.

What a race though. So brutal and so good, I just can't imagine skipping it, it just surely is the best race the UK has to offer, and what a wonderful weekend, so much fun having a big crew hang around camping, having fun.

Year CP1 CP2 CP3 CP4 CP5 CP6 CP7 CP8 Finish
2024 34:04 (19th) 14:23 (16th) 09:53 (17th) 41:15 (31st) 32:57 (42nd) 28:56 (51st) 28:21 (55th) 22:59 (41st) 25:14 (43rd)
2024 Overall 34:04 (19th) 48:27 (19th) 58:20 (18th) 1:39:35 (22nd) 2:12:32 (25th) 2:41:28 (33rd) 3:09:49 (40th) 3:32:48 (40th) 3:58:02 (40th)
2019 37:00 (51st) 16:27 (45th) 11:47 (60th) 45:13 (70th) 34:12 (53rd) 29:41 (55th) 26:20 (15th) 20:32 (16th) 24:05 (36th)
2019 Overall 37:00 (51st) 53:27 (41st) 1:05:14 (42nd) 1:50:27 (58th) 2:24:39 (55th) 2:54:20 (53rd) 3:20:40 (45th) 3:41:12 (41st) 4:05:17 (39th)

Glancing at Tim’s lines - I think off pap 2, continue to the cairn over the top, all good. Then down the path nice and obviously. As the path ends, and there is one going right, pop along that briefly instead of descending straight towards the next pap - to avoid boulder field. After short stint on gradual right, turn left again and it should be a trod to use. It’s marked on strava maps.

Pap 3, you need to go stay as wide left on scree options as you can early and take 3rd or 4th scree chute down, hard to say when exactly - map less useful there. Will need more study.

Worth remembering to go back off CP3 to the right, but the cut slightly left into the screw chutes early as well.

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