The rest of my running career up until to today.
Thumbs up if you like to run! X Warrior Challenge.
I would consider this my ‘breakout’ season. The season where I upped my training both conditioning and run training. This is when I got really serious about running and I was looking at myself as a contender for podiums and to win a lot of races. This season brought me the most success and it was where I made the full transition away from football to full time racing. It was another successful year for football, the 2nd team which I was playing for full time won their indoor league along with the first team. I then got the call up to play Indoor Alberta Provincials for the first team and The Emerald Exports took home the gold. Then after making the Irish Heritage Cup team I got to represent Ireland (always an honor at any level) with most of the Emerald Exports and we also took home the gold in that tournament too. It was a high I was happy to leave football on and allowed me to turn my attention 100% to races.
Emerald Exports – Div 2 Alberta Provincial Champions
Representing Ireland in the Heritage Cup – Champions
This was the perfect ending to my competitive football career and I went out on a high celebrating with some good friends. I mentioned my training methods improved. I was running about 40-50 kms a week with specific run workouts. I did two speed days a week, 2 hill days and a long run (that has since changed and I will make another post specifically about my training in the future). But this added mileage translated into some great results that I was proud of. I had 20 podiums with half of those being 1st place finishes.
Some of the highlights included representing Ireland at the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships with one of my best friends Patrick Kiernan, overall winner of 5 Peaks Trail Race Series Sport Distance, MEC 5km Race Series Overall Champion, Climb of Hope (1st Place). Some photographs are included below:
Representing Ireland with my good friend Packie Kiernan (IG handle:@packie_kiernan) at OCRWC (Obstacle Course Race World Championships).
5 Peaks Trail Race Series Champion (Sport Distance).
Climb of Hope Run (1st Place).
My 2017 season was more focused in enjoying the training and the journey running has brought me on. Although podiums were still the focus getting my running times down would be the main focus. Along with a two man team race with Packie Kiernan I had the opportunity to race with me wife Casey again (Spartan Race Beast in Montana) and race in Ireland with my Dad there to watch. I qualified for and competed in the Canadian Mountain Running Championship too. My 5km times came down and I set a PB for a marathon (my first ever) and my 5km. I had a few lows with some races not going so well, feeling bad during a race, getting lost and some DNFs (did not finish) but this all helps with the learning experience and is part of running and races.
I finished with 11 podium finishes and four 1st place finishes. I raced almost half the amount of races compared to 2016 and chose races that would have better competition. Some of my favorite results and highlights include 3rd male team at the Grizzly Ultra 50km with Packie, joint 2nd with Packie for 5 Peaks Race Series Sport Distance, 18th in the Canadian National Mountain Running Championships, 2nd place at Mud Hero Ultra, PB in 5km with a time of 18.06 and pacing my first marathon (3.26.26).
This was also where I made more of a transition towards road and trail running and away from OCR racing. I still did a lot of OCRs but my focus was placed on running. I found that racing, the adrenaline and excitement of battling others that goes with racing is what I love. The run community in Edmonton is fantastic and there are so many run groups (will talk about them in another blog!) and you usually end up battling a friend in a race, something completely different from team sports. Its a new feeling and I am glad I made the decision to pursue it.
Below are some highlights of the 2017 Race Season:
Coming 3rd with Packie at Grizzly Ultra in Canmore.
My first ever marathon was in Edmonton where I was the 3.30 pace bunny.
2nd race my Dad saw. PB in 5km of 18.06. Race was 8km (placed 17th).
Canadian Mountain Running Championship in Canmore (18th overall).
That concludes my athletic journey so far. I am looking forward to the 2018 season where the main goal is to beat my personal bests for 5km, 10km and half marathon as well as improving on our Grizzly Ultra time.