Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Blog extract from Sonia O'Sullivan as she prepares for the Great Island 10 mile road race #3

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Blog extract from Sonia O'Sullivan as she prepares for the Great Island 10 mile road race #3

The Great Island 10 mile road race in Cobh is coming up on Sunday the 13th of April and all proceeds from the race go towards the Irish Cancer Society. There is also a 5 km fun run/walk option for anyone not up to the longer distance. More details in this earlier post.

One of those taking part in the race this year is the former World champion and Olympic silver medalist Sonia O'Sullivan. She has written a blog extract for the organisers as she prepares for the race. The first part can be seen HERE and the second part HERE...

Blog extract from Sonia O'Sullivan..Pt 3...
I've been in Ireland for just over a week now and seems like the blog writing has gone to ground but not to worry the running is still being done and now I'm in Cobh taking it easy ahead of the Great Island 10 on Sunday.

We touched down in Dublin via Dubai, last Tuesday lunchtime to a beautiful spring day, it was April 1st so I was a little worried the weather Gods may have been playing an April fools joke giving me a false sense of security after leaving Melbourne on a 30C sunny day. 

After a short walk and a bite to eat, as evening was approaching and jet lag about to kick in I went for an easy run around the grounds of Malahide castle. It was a very slow run but so nice to be out in the crisp air and bright sunshine. I was surprised when my watch read 55mins when I walked back in the door. Another few hours and I would be able to allow myself to bed, I was so looking forward to a real bed after 24hours cramped up in row 27 on a very full Emirates plane.

It was so good to get a good nights sleep even if I did wake up close to 5am, I read a little had a coffee and read the paper before embarking on day 2 to the castle grounds. It is so nice to have a park close by to run around and get away from all the early morning traffic. I tried to work out the park as my friend who lives close by told me it's really not that big once you figure it out, I still managed 67minutes very easy without ever needing to look at my watch to check if I had run enough to allow myself run back home.

I was staying near Malahide with Sophie as I was due to work on Sunday for RTE at the Great

Ireland run in the Phoenix park and Sophie was going to have a run in the kids race. As I wasn't running in the 10km race, I decided I would have a run at the local Malahide Parkrun on Saturday morning.

On Thursday day 3 in Ireland I was ready for a little increase in pace and a reminder of faster running. I met my friend Feidhlim in the park for a mini threshold session. All up a short run, which included 3x3mins at HR and a few strides after running to and from the park. I always find a session breaks up the run and also creates some variety when running in the same park each day. In the afternoon, I went to visit a school in Dublin where a friend is a teacher and afterwards I took Sophie on a walk through Dublin and a quick visit to the book of Kells in Trinity college.

Friday Day 4 off the plane was another easy longish run, 71mins around the castle grounds, I was just about figuring out the various loops, though still not finding the park too small. I find when traveling that running is the most convenient activity but I am also always aware of not running too many days in a row so I was on the lookout for my next day off.

Saturday morning, we drove to the castle and did an easy warm up for the 5km Parkrun, Sophie decided that she would have a run too and I was slightly worried when she peeled off the layers and took to the start line in shorts and singlet. The last two times I have lined up in Parkrun with Sophie she has managed to beat me too the line and it looked like today would be no different as she raced away over the first few Km's. 5km is a bit long for young athletes so I could sense Sophie tiring just after half way or maybe she was just saving energy for the Parkrun kids run the next day. In any case I recorded my fastest Parkrun of the year just under 19minutes and Sophie ran the exact same time that she ran at out local Parkrun in Melbourne 19:13.

It always takes at least 3 days to overcome the horrible jet lag feeling, then things start lto feel normal again. Running helps to recreate the daily routine and also eating at the right times and staying in bed even reading when you wake up in the early hours forces the body and mind onto Irish time.
Sunday was day 6 in Ireland, so I was happy to get out early and squeeze in a 64minute run before heading to the Phoenix park for some special comments on RTE while enjoying the racing in the park.

I had a job lined up on Tuesday with Glenilen farm to help launch a new range of the already popular yoghurts that will be appearing in shops soon, we were posing in Photos eating yoghurts alongside a very lovely Jersey Cow called Sue in the middle of Dublin no less. It was a very enjoyable morning bringing the farm to the city .

As a result of Tuesdays activities I decided to change my normal Tuesday training session to Monday morning when I would have a bit more time and wouldn't be rushing. I also felt that I was reaching a plateau with the Heart rate sessions so decided to jazz things up a little bit and vary the pace. After much thought and throwing ideas around in my head I decided 6mins at HR, followed by 4x1minute with 30seconds rest, 6mins HR and another 4x1minute with 30seconds rest, then finally 6mins at HR. The run was nearly 80 minutes all up so a good long run and session combination.

My non running day finally arrived today and I was reunited with the swimming pool and the gym. Unfortunately Cobh Swimming pool is closed for repairs and I'm sure so many people will appreciate Cobh pool when it re opens as we were forced up to silversprings at 6:30am. Apart from the extra drive to silver springs it is a very busy pool at 6:30am. I traveled with local Iron woman Joyce Wolfe and joined in with a 4km swim session, mind boggling but makes such a difference when you are told what to do and once started you just keep on going up and down the pool.

We went for a lovely lunch at the Castle in Blackrock. On the way home I couldn't resist the pull of the energie fitness in Mahon so called in for a quick TRX session. One week in Ireland and I've touched on all the routine activities.

Time is flying past and with just 4 days to go to the Great Island 10, things are winding down . It's time to decide what pace to aim for on Sunday and where to start racing. I think I will take it handy enough the first half and then start racing the clock and see if I can maybe run a little faster than last year and hopefully I will feel better doing it to and in control rather than hanging on at the end .
It's good and bad for me knowing the roads around Cobh as I will know at every point how far to go and what's coming up . Hopefully the sun will shine and the crowds will turn up and we will all have a great day out on Sunday.

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