Athletic Journey Part 3

The rest of my running career up until to today.

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Thumbs up if you like to run! X Warrior Challenge.

2016 Season

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.

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Emerald Exports – Div 2 Alberta Provincial Champions

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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:

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Representing Ireland with my good friend Packie Kiernan (IG handle:@packie_kiernan) at OCRWC (Obstacle Course Race World Championships).

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5 Peaks Trail Race Series Champion (Sport Distance).

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Climb of Hope Run (1st Place).

2017 Season

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.

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My first ever marathon was in Edmonton where I was the 3.30 pace bunny.

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2nd race my Dad saw. PB in 5km of 18.06. Race was 8km (placed 17th).

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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.

Athletic Journey – Part 2

The Beginning of a new chapter…..

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2014 Season

Running is something I never thought I would love. My previous experience with running had been two sessions at the local run club when I was 10. Also during training for football. When I first got into Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) it still wasn’t my sole passion. I loved the mix of strength, endurance, agility OCR brought and how it tested all aspects of fitness. To this day I feel the best OCR Racers in the world are the most well rounded athletes in the world.

So my friend told me about a Spartan Race, something I thought I would do well at as I had good level of fitness through football training and games 2/3 times a week and the gym 5/6 times a week. How wrong could I be. My first race was a terrible experience but left me craving more, I did 3 other OCR races that year (2014).

2015 Race Season

2015 is where I found my groove and I started incorporating running training into my program (still a very small amount) and improvements were made. I hit my first podium ever (apart from some races when I was 5 or 6!). In 2015 I had the opportunity to represent Ireland at the Spartan Race World Championships at Lake Tahoe. I qualified and earned my elite coin at a Spartan Race in Red deer. Other highlights included 2nd at Muck it, an OCR Race in Ireland in which my Dad came to watch me race for the first time. Racing with my wife in the City Chase Challenge and a Spartan Race in Edmonton. In 2016 my running training almost double and the results showed the specific training helped. Below are a few of the highlights from 2015.

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My first podium (3rd) at MEC Race 1.

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Earning my Spartan Coin (entry to Spartan World Championships).

Representing Ireland at the 2015 Spartan World Championships.

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With my Dad after 2nd place at Muck It in Ireland.

City Chase and Spartan Race with my wife Casey.

 

The final chapter of My athletic journey (Part 3) will review 2016 and 2017 race season.

Athletic Journey – Part 1

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Playing at Provincials with the Emerald Exports.

In this post I am going to have a look at what has brought me to this point in my “Athletic Career”.

I have always loved sports since I was young. It wasn’t until I was 9 though that I got into organized sports. I first joined a football (soccer) team and played competitively until I was 27. I still have a deep love and passion for football and always will, I think this experience has brought me the success I have had in running.

I played for my local town and we were always very successful, winning trophies every year and getting to the best 16 teams in Ireland. I had the opportunity to play for my county (Meath) for several years too against some of the best teams and players in Ireland. While football was my main sport I also played rugby for a few years, badminton and did some martial arts. While I enjoyed this my true area of interest was always football.

At college I started lifting weights and was concerned about getting stronger and adding muscle mass more than competing in team sports. However all through college I still played competitively. After I graduated I embarked on a new journey and move to Vancouver, BC, Canada in January 2011 on the eve of my 22nd birthday.

When I moved to Edmonton in March 2011 there was a team called Emerald Exports, a few of my friends from my hometown in Ireland (Kells) played with them already and it was the perfect way to meet new people in a new city. I never imagined the success I would have with this team who in the past few years went from winning Division 4 to winning the Edmonton District Soccer Association Premier League as well as the Premier Provincials in Alberta. The list of the success and trophies this team has would need its own post. The best part of being on this team is it allowed me to meet some amazing people and forge lifelong friendships.

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Emerald Exports (another trophy!)

With this success and more and more Irish moving to Canada, the team became more skilled and competitive, I reached my potential in football but the team kept growing. It was around a friend from a rec football league (ESSC) told me about Spartan Race (Obstacle Course Race). This is where the running journey begins…….

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My very first Spartan Race (2014).

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Finishing my first racing year at Sun Peaks. After this race I knew I had to start training for running. 

 

 

 

My Running Journey

30Thanks for joining me!

I am starting a blog to track my fitness journey, review races and products, give an insight to my training and show the great run community in Edmonton Alberta Canada. I also want to share what I have found worked for me and what helped me to improve my running. Other features I would like to bring are some nutrition posts, interviews of local Edmonton runners and athletes. I am open to feedback and requests for posts.

My first full blog post will be an introduction to who I am, my passions, interests, a background and an insight in what I hope to achieve with this blog.

Strive for Progress, Not Perfection