couch to 5k

From Couch to 5K – to Carrauntoohil

I moaned about the wind, the rain, the dark nights… the wind, the rain, the dark nights… and always the cold – but today in bright evening sunshine, running into a sunset, it all paid off.  Thanks so much to all the trainers and volunteers at Le Cheile Athletics Club in Leixlip, especially Irish Ultra Runner, John O’Regan, who is so generous with his knowledge and time – and Sharon Ashmore (above), who quite literally ‘dragged me off the couch’ on occasion.  I don’t find running easy, but after 10 weeks training, two nights a week, I finally made it from Couch to 5k and today I ran the distance without stopping, and even managed a wee sprint at the end.  So the runnin’n’walkin thing is over – I’m a runner now!  I’ve no excuses left, and the mental block that stops me running after 4 minutes has finally been lifted.  I’ll be back at that start-line on Saturday for the Leixlip 5k, and now I know I can do it…

I joined Le Cheile’s Couch to 5k programme to get in shape for Run Kildare which is hurtling towards us on May 12th.  I ran and walked the Run Kildare 10k last year and I wanted to return and do a better job in 2013.  Ironically, the Television Programme I’m working with ‘Get Off The Couch’ has scheduled filming that weekend in Kerry.  We’ll be bringing the team down to Carrauntoohil to climb with renowned adventurer Pat Falvey, and camp out at his Mountain Lodge.  I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to share this beautiful mountain with my GOTC buddies who have now all become firm friends as well as colleagues.  However it does mean I’ll be skipping a super weekend of running – or shall I say postponing it until next year, when hopefully I’ll be fitter and faster…

 

Along with a choice of distances to try in Run Kildare on May 12th – you can also have a go at the wonderful ‘Darkness Into Light’ 5k for Pieta House at 4am in the morning on May 11th – in Dublin’s Phoenix Park and right around the country.  It’s a beautiful, inspiring walk/run, which begins in the dark hours of the morning and runs into the dawn and the brightness of a new day, in support of suicide awareness and prevention.  I’ve done it for the last few years with good friends and I’ll miss being there this year.  But I’ll be thinking of you all from the summit of Carrauntoohil and sending love and hugz…   🙂

Gold Dust on Grey Stones…

It was a grey, misty start to my first trip to Greystones – but I didn’t mind, I was buzzing with excitement.  I was joining the six participants of Setanta TV and Athena Media’s new programme  ‘Get Off The Couch’ for a Triathlon Training session with fitness guru Eamon Tilley, followed by swim-coaching with Channel Swimmer and ‘ICEMAN’, Fergal Somerville.  This was the first day of a two-day ‘festival of fitness’ for us, with our first GOTC hill-walk together planned for the Wicklow mountains on Sunday with John and Frank at Wilderness Tours.

We’ve only been filming for a few weeks, but already there’s a huge bond forming among the six participants of the show which follows their journey from Couch to 5k – and perhaps a lot further.  If you don’t believe in magic, watch ‘Get Off The Couch’ this Autumn and I’ll guarantee you’ll change your mind. The growing confidence, the physical achievements, the dedication and discipline, the healthy bodies and healthy minds, growing stronger every day before my eyes.  I’m already stunned by the power of the great outdoors as a life-changer and worker of miracles.

On a cold, wet and misty Greystones morning, the group’s enthusiasm was warming my heart… and if any of us held any doubts about what we were doing, a true sparkle of gold lit up the morning when our stunning Olympic champion Katie Taylor put her own training session on hold to come over to us on the track and wish us well.  That young woman inspires in so many ways and every one of us visibly glowed after meeting her, the rain disappeared and the sun shone in our hearts as our souls soared with a growing belief in ourselves and our team.  As Katie says, to achieve your goal you’ve got to “plan for success and then do the work to get the job done”.  Easy isn’t it.   😉

 

  • Monday – Cycle to work (30k round trip)  + ‘Couch to 5k’ running programme at Le Cheile AC, Leixlip. (3 mins on, 1 min off).
  • Tuesday – Cycle to work (30k) + 45 min gym session with weights – (David Dunne @ Ben Dunne Gym Blanch).
  • Wednesday – Cycle to work + 20 min road run, (3 min on, 1 min off).
  • Thursday – Rest day
  • Friday – 45″ gym session with David Dunne @ Westpoint Gym, Blanchardstown.
  • Saturday – Triathlon Training with Eamon Tilley and swim coaching with Fergal Somerville for Get Off The Couch.
  • Sunday –  3hr hillwalk with Wilderness Tours in Wicklow.

 

Toned Legs, a Sun Tan and….

Recently I’ve got quite narky with Nike, because of their lack of accommodation for lady boobs!  I’m a size 14 and resent having to battle my way into an ‘XTRA LARGE’ running vest.  I mean what sort of message is that sending out, we’re ‘over-sized’ if we’ve got boobs?

Despite that, there’s no disputing the technical buzz of buying Nike gear though, I’ve got leggings that look like something out of a sci-fi movie, and when I get over the embarrassment of wearing them in public, I’ve got to admit they are incredibly warm and super to run or cycle in, during these dark evenings.

My latest gear indulgence is a bargain-buy at the new Nike discount store in Blanchardstown.  These narrow soled track shoes.  I’ve read all the reviews about footwear moving away from the big high-gel soles, and I’m willing to give these a go.  Since I’ve started running in the past year or two I’ve always gone for the ‘big gel’ option, and with my ‘dodgy’ knees, I’m cautious to change what works – so I’ll let you know how I get on with these.   So far so good though, I’ve been wearing them around the house and cycling, and tonight I ran with them at my Le Cheile ‘Couch to 5k’ session and felt grand afterwards.

Tonight’s session was a step-up by the way.  I ended up miles outside my comfort zone  (even though we only covered 5k).  We’ve been running intervals of 1.5 mins for the past few nights, but tonight we changed that up to ‘3mins on and 1.5 mins off’.  We also split up into two groups.  One was running alternate splits of 3-mins and 1.5 mins with a 2 min recovery  – the other was keeping it to 3-min only split with 90 seconds recovery.

Why do I do this to myself?  I went off with the tougher group.  I was too slow to keep up, and too stubborn to stop – so I ended up running my own personal little Everest between the groups.  I didn’t really feel alone though, the trainers are great and kept a watchful eye, and I still felt the company of running with a group, even though I ended up in an awkward little trot that fell in between the two.  The thing is, I found a rhythm and I found a way to run and breathe, and really that’s what it’s all about.  Do what you can do, and then do a little bit more.   I ended up delighted with my run tonight, although I found it much tougher than the earlier sessions.  I’m also happy in the knowledge that although I’m huffing and puffing in the cold, dark, night air now… by the end of the summer, I’ll be flying down the beach with toned legs, a sun-tan, and the speed and grace of a gazelle…

Well….. that’s the plan! 😉

 

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