This past week (Mon 31st to Sun 6th of Feb) a good running week. On Wednesday i did a 10km cross country race in Dublin and got on very well despite my lack of any speedwork. The amount of hilly running i typically do thouggh tends to make me stronger for the off road stuff. i took it easy then on thursday in anticipation of a trip to Ballyhoura for my first real long run of the year, bar art o neill of course. I have typically only going as long as 2hrs 30 since christmas and i planned to bump this up a bit. i will probably make the trip to BH a regular thing over the coming months as i think it resembles the underfoot conditions of the Lakeland 100 course ie. rocky, stoney, hilly and also a little boggy in places and of course undulating.
Well to the run itself. . i parked about 30minutes cycle from the mountain bike centre at the start of the trail so i could get the legs warmed up a bit before i began the run. I left the bike in the care of a gentlemann who was running the trailriders van at the trails. he was full of chat and said i could leave whatever i liked with him. sound man. I decided today to tackle the blue loop which is 41km in length and set off with a rucksack and a few gels and water. it was a very windy morning and looked like it was going to rain too but this thankfully didnt materialise. i quickly realised that i was probably overdressed as it was also quite mild. I wore my inov 8 f lite 230s and i think this run has made up my mind that these will be my shoe of choice for the Wicklow way ultra next month and ultimately the Lakeland 100 in July. One thing i have noticed about getting rid of the orthotics and ridiculously overcushioned shoes is that i have never once gone over on an ankle in all the technical trail miles that i have run. i would typically do this every once in a while until i ditched the clogs.. another factor that reinforces my view that minimalist is 100% definately the way to go. . Another compelling factor is the lack of soreness i felt the day after this run even though i was on nights for the weekend and got f**k all sleep that night. Anyway 4hrs and 15 minutes and 25.1miles of running later i was back at the start of the loop. all in all a good session. i backed this up with 80mins on saturday and 90 on sunday to round off the week well. For anyone who likes to run on trails Ballyhoura is worth a trip and is even better if you get off the marked loops and explore a bit