Mving to NEW Website

MY NEW SPRING FORWARD WEBSITE

I have been very happy here at WordPress for the past number of years. Now, though, it is time to move to my own  website, registered yesterday. Everything (lock, stock & barrel) had been copied over there, and I like the new layout, and lots of nice things there. All new articles will be posted there.

In the meantime, I will continue to post here for a further little while, but over time this page will become static. It will still hold fond memories for me, as I move to a nicer house, ready for bigger things! Come with me please to….

"Chain Running Dot Com" That's the place to be...

“Chain Running Dot Com” That’s the place to be… http://www.chainrunning.com/

 

MY NEW SPRING FORWARD WEBSITE

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Everything Except A Newborn Baby

Monday, August 18th. Endurance Challenge 2068 Tour of Munster Day 2.

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We ENDURED for Breakthrough Cancer Research

It’s all about people, isn’t it? The people working at Breakthrough Cancer Research are there to help people. Those of us cycling today were there to support Endurance Challenge 2068, in turn helping others.
A slow re-run of my mental slideshow of the week brings people into focus, and brings with it a clear view of each person’s intent to be there for others. Yes, we love our bikes and our cycling egos. Yes, we will betimes do our dammdest to outclock one another on a carefully-targeted Strava segment. Yes, we can seem to think more about our bikes than anything else!
But here’s the punchline…we do it all to be social. To be with people whose bike-passion is similar; to have the craic over coffee, sometimes to claim little bragging rights or to at least offer stiff excuses to negate the tiny victories of good friends!
The real reason we biked the 106 miles through three counties today was to support one another on a life-journey. Actually, seeing that in print sounds a bit corny, but I’ll not withdraw it! I spoke with Eddie on the final roll to the finish, and he commented on how much the ten days had meant to him. “It had everything except a new-born baby!”, was his summing up. He’s just about right, I’d say, as my memories of five of the days will prove to me.
The details of where I went, and how much I enjoyed the cycling must wait until the latter end of this article, as I attempt to do my summing up of the most important part of the week…the wonderful people who I met with, spoke with briefly or at length, and shared with me a small portion of their story.
As I mentioned earlier, the memories are a slow-motion slideshow on my mind, and I am grateful for each and every slide! Some are slightly blurred as I remember certain conversations but not the name of the biker, while others are crystal clear. As in life, some central characters made strong impression, while others played a supporting role. All are part of the show, as we rolled on from Limerick, to O’Brien’s Bridge, Birdhill, Cappamore, Bansha, Tipperary, Cahir, Clogheen, Lismore, Tallow and Dungourney before arriving to a rapturous welcome in Midleton.

He knows he's nearly there!

Taken in Dungourney, Sean knows he’s nearly there!

So, my attempt to bring some slides into focus includes the following (in no particular order):

  • Oonagh, who is off doing a half-ironman in two weeks
  • Ger, a teacher from Farranfore who was in his younger days teaching near Dungarvan, and renting in Fitzgeralds Terrace, my childhood homeplace. We swapped lovely stories of a wonderful Stradbally man, Sean Ahearne.
  • Leonard is married to a lady from Seapark, Abbeyside
  • Peter brings music to Dungarvan, working in the piano business
  • Two proud Tipperary men (Johnny & ???) , quietly savouring the match result, yet knowing that it was the strength of the Rebel boys (and girls too!) that brought them safely to the finish line. Perhaps, the Premier boys will cross next month’s finish line just a little bit ahead?
  • Donie…jeepers lad, you had a lot to put up with from me, but the cycling was massive. Thank you
  • Johnny, you too had a restless night, and yet the support on the road was top notch!
  • Tony, thanks for the chats, the fist-thumping and your gentle leadership along the way. You won’t forget we have a little cycle trip in the planning for the Autumn?
  • Brendan, I’d love to be as mad as ya, and as sound as ya at the same time! Brendan paid me the ULTIMATE compliment when he said in a strong Cork brogue: “You know, the other fella is the road captain…but you are the general!” (Ego now downsizing again after that out-of-characher blip…)
  • Nessa, I’m gonna get my head chopped off for this, but…if I were a woman, I’d be a Nessa!
  • Eoin, working the Dungarvan circuit, unknowingly tried to destabilise me with High5 Zero electrolytes
  • Catherine for the hidden stash of Bassett sweets and your extraordinary care for us throughout
  • Tommy, Kieran, Jim and Brian…the long road is shortened with good stories. I’m still wondering who sponsored the shorts?
  • Niall, what can I say? I caught a sideways glance at the finish. You were so proud of us, and of the entire event. Rightly so too, captain, my captain! Were it not for you I might not have been at the start line. This entire event was an immense accomplishment on your part!
  • Bernie, you looked a wee bit shocked as I pointed out the run section of our local Waterford Adventure Race atop the Vee
  • Nick, you grew rapidly into your role as road-captain, thrust upon you by circumstances. You will surely never ckimb the Vee again with such satisfaction, keeping a group of 31 together all the way to the summit!
  • Eugene…it was a huge privilege to be with you. Your reaction to the views near the Vee hairpin made me even more aware of the beauty on my Waterford / Tipperary doorstep!
  • Mike, back from a fundraising cycle for the Hospice Foundation in Spain, content to fund it yourself, and repeat the dose again around most of Ireland. You’re the main man!
  • James & Sean… are getting used to all the kudos for this mammoth event? I learned a lot from listening to bits of your life-story, and like many many others, I was inspired to go the extra mile, not just on this event, but along life’s twisty road ahead.
  • The huge contingent from Midleton CTC…ye made this tour EPIC.
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James Colbert: helluva determined man!

After that ramble, the details of the cycling seem less important. To offer a brief summary, we cycled the 106 miles with a tailwind, stopped briefly at 11.59am and offered a silent prayer, pushed on through the Premier County to lunch in Cahir, before approaching Clogheen with caution. Many in the group had developed myths about the Vee. There were worried questions that needed answering. Here’s the lowdown: the group were of one mind. We decided to keep all 31 together going up, and it is a tribute to Barry & Nick that this plan was executed to perfection. Downwards then through the Déise, the final county on the Endurance Challenge on magnificent roads, before heading on to Tallow and over the border into Midleton.

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Please support Breakthrough cancer Research

I learned a new word today : stravatise. It’s a verb. The act of logging a journey on strava. Well holy God!

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On the open road

The Irish Examiner has a great article today about the event. Not the same little quirky bits you see on blogs, but important nevertheless. Final word to James: It is only when cancer “touches someone close to you” that all your trust and hope goes into treatments, which stem from cancer research. “We really hope our challenge will raise much needed awareness and funds for Breakthrough Cancer Research,” he said.. Here’s the full story.

I've never been more proud of two medals!

I’ve never been more proud of two medals!

Hope lives here.   Website: Hope Lives Here

138 Epic Miles: Midleton to Limerick

Sunday, August 17th. Tour of Munster Day 1.

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Chief bottle-washer Niall & myself

I was rested, and raring to go once again. The three days in Ulster at the beginning of the week merely whetted my appetite for more, and because the organisers are from the east-Cork town of Midleton this was definitely classed as the spin of the year! The cyclists’ mecca on this All-Ireland semi-final Sunday. Oops, sorry…don’t mention the hurling.
Today’s jaunt through Counties Cork, Kerry and Limerick was an epic day in the saddle. The stats are massive. 138 miles @ 16.7mph in 8h15m. Stats do not tell the real story, though.
Here’s the real story: 38 seriously fit cyclists watching out for one another, helping out always and keeping a happy bunch rolling along nicely, thank you very much. This was critically important during the first four hour journey via Cork, Macroom, Killarney to the lunch stop in Castleisland, as we faced a very fresh headwind.
As we turned north-east towards our destination, the wind became our friend. However, when one door opens another slams you in the face! In this case, despite a more favourable wind, there’s a five-mile section of “dead road” heading up out of Castleisland, and it became very important to drop the pace and keep the strong group together.
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Cycling in a group is estimated to be up to 30% more efficient, so there’s a big onus on all in the group to ensure that everyone benefits from this saving of energy. On three occasions, following my turn at the front, my mind began playing tricks with me. It’s a long way to Limerick. Maybe you’ll get there, maybe you won’t. Are you sure you’re strong enough? These thoughts need to be killed off without mercy.
There’s no better way to ensure that happens than to ride within the umbrella of a group that is intent on maintaining pace, rhythm and all its’ members.
That’s exactly what happened, and we thrived on hard work to Newcastlewest and Patrickswell, and finally knocked it back a few notches as we entered the Limerick city limits.

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GIANT coffee-stop

Verdict: epic.

My highlights included:
1. Meeting James Colbert’s mam as she joined with us to Cork City
2. Lunch at the Country Market in Castleisland, and their innovative coffee-serving technique.
3. A full 15 miles beyond my previous longest spin
4. Catherine’s Basset sweets once again.
So, it’s early to bed and early to rise…you know…it’s the attempt to build up a store of wisdom! There’s a stiff note of caution, however: tomorrow’s another day, and the bike won’t cycle itself. Night night from the Strand Hotel in the Treaty city. Night John Boy.
Postscript: I missed having Mike Collins alingside today. Get well soon mate, and hopefully we’ll meet in Dungarvan next Sunday…
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2014 Connemara Ultra 100

Guest post by ultra-runner Paul Brunnock, after Connemara Ultra 100, August 9th, 2014.

I have just spent the last while reading the comments and support sent my way before, during and after the CNM100 on 9th August, 2014 and to say I am overwhelmed is the understatement of the year. Many thanks to everyone. Every comment and message means so much. I don’t really do race reports but with so many people taking the time to support me and my crew I thought it might be a good time to put down some highlights.
Ray O’ Connor is responsible; it’s all his fault! Huge thanks to Ray, Angela, Iain, Niall, Ken and the rest of the Connemara 100 team for the work organising this race and for letting me be part of the family. I thought a lot about Ray in the last 15 miles of the race and it was mostly bad but what he has achieved here is amazing and this race is an absolute gem.
Due to injuries and old age I could not train for this race the way I would like so it really boiled down to 3 runs in the week , 2 cycles and 2 swims. I want to thank Tried and Tested Dungarvan Triathlon Club for all the help support and encouragement throughout. Likewise , thanks to Dungarvan Cycling Club for their support and training, especially the lads in Group 3 Sunday morning spins. Thanks to Marathon Club Ireland for all their help too; a fantastic club and wonderful people.
Of course it’s no secret my number 1 club is West Waterford AC and nothing gives me greater pride than wearing that singlet on lonely roads up and down the country. Don’t forget Ray McConnell was running 100 milers when the sport was in its infancy and in Raivis Zakis and Anthony Whelan we have two of the best ultra runners in the country. Thanks to everyone in the club that always gets behind me; all the people I run with week in week out, Mark Cliffe for his super fast WWAC t-shirt, Linda Garcia for her arm warmers but I don’t think she knows I have them and John Coleman for a variety of equipment. Special thanks to James Veale for super advice on all things running related and more, fantastic support, encouragement and all the rest. He’s a one off and a great man to have in your corner.
The man with the unenviable task then of fixing me up when I break down is Cian O’ Conchuir and I owe him a lot. Anyone who has tried to keep an old rusty motor on the road having failed its NCT multiple times knows what I mean. He also throws in the bit of sports psychology for good measure!
So the race started at 6:00am Saturday morning and I was thrilled to be there on the start line. My crew had everything in place and I had no worries as far as that part of the race was concerned. If you look at the picture of us at the start we are not your typical race start photo. I think Paddy observed that most of us looked as if we could do with a sandwich! One of the exceptions to that maybe being Don Hannon who is a strong and powerful athlete. Add to that the true grit, bottle and talent of the man and you have about as good an ultra athlete as you could find anywhere. When I met Don on Sunday morning he looked fresh enough to go again and, I’d say, would have needed very little encouragement to lace up the runners and get the bandana out!
It was a big thrill to be able to say that I was in the same race as Aoife O’ Donnell , the first Irish female finisher of the 135 mile Badwater Ultra. I didn’t get the chance to congratulate Aoife in person but I am in awe of her achievement and very inspired by her. There too was Gerry Duffy, top endurance athlete , whom up to a short while ago I had only known from his books. My brother Johnny was once introduced over the PA to about 2000 Sean Kelly Tour cyclists something along the lines of ‘Here comes Johnny Brunnock , the nicest fella you could meet!’ to huge applause of agreement. Well Gerry is one of those ‘fellas’ too and I hope we get to share the roads many more times over the years. Also there were athletes I have not really met yet but whom I greatly respect and admire from seeing them in races I have been competing in and following their results like George Webb and Maurice Whitty.
Seconds before the start and I shook hands with Vasiliy Neumerzhiskiy , a true legend, and we wished each other good luck. Vasiliy, in 2011, gave me one of the greatest pieces of running advice I have received and it has saved me many times since. It was in Portumna 100k and he was finishing what would be a win and a course record. I was at about 75k. Vasiliy came back to me on the path and said something like ‘Keep your hands down. We’re running 100k, not 5k!’. It works!
Highlight of the morning was to see Billy Holden take off at 6 minute mile pace. I can’t say what Billy was thinking but I imagined he was laying down a marker , telling the Connemara course that he wasn’t afraid and go ahead and throw what you can at me. It was brave and foolhardy and wonderful and I loved it. I think Billy is what Bob Hilliard would call a ‘real deal rock and rolla!’
The first part of the run was uneventful as it should be. We found our rhythm and I ran with Peter and Colum. Then I ran with an athlete from Dublin and his brother but sadly it was not to be his day this time. He ran with courage and good humour and I hope he gets to come back to CNM100 again. Just before Checkpoint 1 (28 miles) I got a bad pain in my right hip and I thought the day might be done. But Sue gave me a talking to along the lines of ‘There’s nothing wrong with you!’ and that seemed to fix that. Then I ran to Checkpoint 2(55 miles) and enjoyed the scenery along the way. Somewhere there I passed Tom Reynolds and we spoke for a minute and he seemed in good form too. Aoife and George were stopped here as well and I left before them. So I ran to CP3(67 miles) all the while my crew doing an amazing job and I really doing very little. People often ask how do you run these distances and I’m not sure! It may seem like a contradiction but you have to concentrate carefully on every little thing that’s happening in the body and around but, at the same time, zone out so you don’t notice time, distance or discomfort. I’m only learning. Next came CP4(82 miles) and I ran straight through but the wheels were starting to creak. The next 18 miles took about 4hrs45min. My running friends can work that out for yourselves! I had to walk 3 miles approximately and then managed to get running again with 12 to go and ran all the way in to the finish. My crew at this stage were phenomenal and that doesn’t do them justice at all.
During this time George passed me running like a young fella! Tom came by moving smoothly and gave me much needed encouragement which I really appreciated. Alina Brown was the last person to come by and she is plainly a serious athlete. I have to look her up on DUV Marathon Statistic! I was pleased for them that they were running so well at this late stage but I couldn’t help but ask myself a few questions and another talking to was required!
On the laps of the town I met Billy again. I thought he was walking back to his hotel for a well earned rest but when I realised he was still on the course finishing his race he climbed up even further in my estimation. To put down a day as he had and keep going just says it all about the calibre of the man. I have no doubt he will be back to throw down the gauntlet again.
Of course the finish came. It always does. I just wait for that time when I know I will see Ray with his hand out stretched. It’s a simple enough thing. We shake hands. He might say ‘Well done’ and I might say ‘Thanks Ray. Great race’. Something like that. I don’t remember. This moment doesn’t need words.
When the dust settled I heard the fantastic news that Brian Ankers had joined an elite group; athletes who have won CNM100. There are but 3. In 2012 it was an honour for me to get to run the race when Mick Rice won his 4th. I am always trying to put Mick’s tips into practice since I first heard of him when I went to the Connemara International Ultra 2008. Last year it was Grellan McGrath, a fabulous runner. Grellan sent me a message of encouragement Friday night which gave me a great lift and really sent me on my way Saturday morning. And now Brian. For me this says it all. Brian is a runner like you and I , fitting training around work, family and life in general; an ordinary bloke who has done the extraordinary, 100 miles in 15hrs48min. I couldn’t be happier for him. The winner of CNM100 2014 is my friend, Brian Ankers.
It was very nice to collect our prizes on Sunday and meet everyone once more. Ray kept tugging at the emotions and I found myself close to tears many times. It was worse than Saturday that way! I had only one more thing to do and that was get a photo with a true Connemara legend. Maciej Sawicki has completed this race 6 times, getting faster and faster each time. He is one fantastic athlete and ‘sound out’ on top of it all. If I had missed the chance for the photo I would have had to go back in 2015! Thankfully I nabbed him before everyone scattered and that picture will take pride of place on my mantle piece and in my memories for a long time.

Paul 567 together with supporting cast: , Sue & Liam

Paul 567 together with supporting cast: , Paddy, Sharon, Sue & Liam


FAQ!!!
There are some questions that people always ask me about the long runs and these answers might be of interest to someone!

What do you eat during the run?
That’s easy. I eat crackers with butter and jam, bite size pastries stuffed with cheese and tomato (Sue’s recipe), boiled salted potatoes and a kind of soupy pasta (Sue’s recipe again). I use Power Bar gels( maybe 8 in 100 miles) and I drink water, flat Coke and maybe an electrolyte drink (Zym or Nunn). I now use S Cap salt tablets too since they have become a bit easier to source. Sue has a system and a few weeks before whatever run she will make me compile a rota of whatever I will eat and when. Then on the day I simply eat, swallow or drink anything my trusted crew hand to me. They sometimes have to get stern with me if I look like I might refuse something but reminding me that I did the rota in the first place usually does the trick!

Do you stop?
My strategy is to try not to stop being a firm believer in ‘relentless forward progress’. Many runners choose to stop and then they can run much faster than me in between. I simply can’t run fast! On Saturday in 21hrs37min I stopped for about 10 minutes and walked for 3 miles. The rest was a funny kind of running!

Do you go to the toilet?
Let’s maintain a little bit of mystery! All I will say is ultra runners are tough but we are human!

And ,lastly, most frequently asked, why?
Not as easy to answer. Big part is the people. Like my friend Frank McDermott. Frank and I can run 30, 40 or 50 miles together and you wonder where it went. I might not be always in the thick of the conversation or making a racket at the post race party but I love being around these people and for as long as they put up with me I will stick at it. Partly it’s to see if can it be done. Then, can I do it? And then ,what will happen to me if I do it? And I suppose mostly it’s because I like running. I like the feeling when my foot hits the ground and the noise that makes. I like the wind and the rain, the heat and the cold, the sun , the clouds and shadows, the leaves on the trees, the water and the grass and the air going in and out of my mouth and down into my lungs. When you run 100miles you know you’re alive.

I have to finish by thanking my crew. They are amazing. Liam and I have run so many miles together and we can nearly communicate intuitively. He knows when I’m suffering. Sharon, so sweet and kind ,and yet stern enough not to let me away with anything. Paddy helped me no end to get back running after a lay off in 2009 and his easy going, no panic approach is just what’s needed. Money can’t buy you a crew like this and ,thankfully, I don’t have to because they are just simply my friends and my family.
Thanks to my kids Moylan, Megan, Rory and Daithi for their patience and love. Thanks to Sue’s kids Yasemin and Yeliz (and Lloyd!) for supporting me all the way.
Love and thanks always to my sisters and brothers Joanne, Elaine, Johnny and Paddy for supporting me in so many different ways in all the mad things I might do (and my nieces and nephews for their fabulous video!). Special thanks to Mum and Dad for everything. I know you would have loved to have been at this one but don’t worry there will be plenty more jolly jaunts for us to go on.
And the last word…thank you Sue. Frank might joke with me sometimes and say ‘I’d have beaten you today Paul if you didn’t have Sue!’ Well , the truth is if I didn’t have Sue I wouldn’t be there at all in so many ways. You are my one and only.

Your Event Report?

Would you like to send me a short report of your recent running event?

I’ve been thinking recently. It’s something that happens every now and then! I have received very positive feedback on my recent blogging here on Spring Forward. It occurs to me that there are definitely others out there who are interested in recording their thoughts following an event. I would be very happy to create a GUEST space here on my blog. What would you need to do? Well, I’ve got my way of doing a report, but you’ve got your way! Why not surprise me & my readers? You can contact me via Twitter / Facebook or a message here, or simply email me at address below.

Not sure that you want to? Well, that’s ok. However, I can be reasonably sure that you’ll be delighted if you do decide to take the plunge.

Actually, looking back above: it need not be SHORT. It need not be RECENT.

If it’s an event that I’ve posted about here, I’ll link your’s and mine.

I can think of at least three potential guest reporters! If you are not keen on the idea, but you know someone who might be, just twist his / her arm sufficiently.

Contact me:

Twitter @deburcapadraig

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deburcapadraig

Email: runbikespringforward@gmail.com

Running Review

As the 2014 summer running comes close to a finish, I thought it might be a good idea to create a summary of events. This makes it easier to look back on earlier races, rather than searching back through the posts. It is located as a separate PAGE on the homescreen, and here’s the link to it. The PAGE will be updated as events are completed and a post has been uploaded.

I have organised it along the following lines;

1. The 11 races in the Ger Wyley summer series

2. Other running races

3. Duathlon / triathlon events.

PS. I’ve been thinking recently. It’s something that happens every now and then! I have received very positive feedback on my recent blogging here on Spring Forward. It occurs to me that there are definitely others out there who are interested in recording their thoughts following an event. I would be very happy to create a GUEST space here on my blog. What would you need to do? Well, I’ve got my way of doing a report, but you’ve got your way! Why not surprise me & my readers? You can contact me via twitter / facebook or a message here, or simply email me at runbikespringforward@gmail.com

Not sure that you want to? Well, that’s ok. However, I can be reasonably sure that you’ll be delighted if you do decide to take the plunge..

 

Drung DRUNG

Tour of Ulster. Enniskillen to Armagh. Wednesday, August 13th

It is done. This big target was set back in late March, and today it has been ticked off the list.
After a most delicious breakfast at the Enniskillen Hotel served by the most professional & friendly staff I’ve ever come across, Brian, our resident mechanic, was keen that to put some oil on the chains, after horriffic rain yesterday.
An earlier 9am start to coincide with a rising westerly wind, pushed us along briskly lo lunch in Castleblaney and our final destination back to Armagh City Hotel. We took it easy today. It was a day to savour after two tough ones. Marion and her cousin Marguerite were waiting for us, and after photographs and a very short chat among the Ulster Warriors we went our separate ways. We intended staying longer, but the cavalcade was moving on to Dublin for the next phase, and they looked like some beauty-sleep was badly needed…

Thanks
I want to thank many people. In no particular order: Niall the head honcho, Tommy & Kieran on lead van, Catherine for the food stops (especially the Bassett sweets!) and Brian our mechanic. They watched over us. They organised our bike-day from top to bottom, and were fantastic.
I’d like to thank all who donated to my charity page or gave me cash, and finally I want to record my appreciation to my ten bike buddies for good safe cycling over the three days. Unfortunately all ten were were no craic at all. As dry as sticks, they were…but, sure, isn’t it the fundraising that’s most important?

I am back with these no-craic-at-all-at-all cyclists for the Tour of Munster on Sunday and Monday next. Report to follow.
Highlights:
The staff at the Enniskillen Hotel
Sun &  tailwind
Rolling countryside of Cavan & Monaghan
A little extra excursion around some lonely unmarked roads
Tailwind. Did I mention tailwind?
And last but not least…the staff at the hotel
The village of Drung. I noticed that the Irish and English spelling is exactly the same. One in italics the other in CAPITALS. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to figure out which was which. Does anybody know of any other placenames with this feature?

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Catherine prwsents Kieran with pretty pink carnations.

No craic? Well, I hope you weren’t fooled by that!

So, that’s it from me, and that’s it from Ulster. I need to go watch the Irish ladies rugby world cup semi-final against England.
You’ve had an overload of Spring Forwarding, and it’s important for you to wait a wee while for the next wee story.

Páraig / Pat (whatever)