Category: excerise

Death by Dermot – Week 2

Death by Dermot – Week 2

Thursday came around quickly this week. Which meant only 1 thing. 

Coaching session with Dermot.

I still wasn’t feeling great and debating physically doing the session however I’m not one to shy away from a challange and wanted to prove to myself I could do whatever he threw at me.

I love how Dermot is over seeing the training and development of our own in house coaches, so was very proud of Hugh taking us for a warm up and cool down.

Teaching in front of people you know is so much harder than when you are in front of randomers so I appreciate that he had to overcome that before even starting to talk. 

The one thing I can say about Murlough AC is that there will always be laughs to be had and everyone supporting eachother. 

So the session involved  a concept called Pyrimids. So 200m in 1 minute, recovery, 400m in 2 minutes, recovery, 600m recovery and then a hill set.

God I was dying. I was trying to remember everything we’d learnt but as tiredness kicked in I could feel my form failing and my legs slowing up.

I think the pivotal moment of the session is when Dermot asked us in group 1 to turn around and look at everyone else. Everyone looked and felt the same as I done. Even those who took half the time to complete the 600m. We were all working hard outside our comfort zones. It was then I didn’t feel as self conscienous and slow anymore. 

So from there I dug deep. Putting in 2 good hill sets and feeling good. 

So another Death by Dermot session and I’ve yet again survived.

All about the Avonmore

All about the Avonmore

A wise friend once told me that rest and recovery is just as important as the training.

I’ve a half marathon this weekend in Cookstown. Its Thursday and I am already thinking about what I need to be doing now to prepare for this race. 

I’ve upped my water in take already, I’ve planned rest days so my legs are fresh. I’ve dinners planned and kit is ready to go. 

Yet I should really have a plan for recovery post race. As fueling the body post race is just as important as fueling it pre race.

My friends will tell you that I have a love affair with Avonmore. Their Protein Milk to be specific. A discovery earlier on in the year when I read about the importance of protein and carbs post workout to help repair muscles and so began the introduction of Avonmore Protein Milk to my post work out routine.

Also it helped that they had been at many of the races I was doing and was able to find out more and love to see Dan the Avonmore Man at the end of the race…It became part and parcel of my race etiquette.

So you can imagine my excitement when after a “hit and hope” message to Avonmore HQ they agreed to supply 20 pints of protein milk for the clubs last session with Dermot Mathers from the Running Coach.

Michael has been part of the group of lucky participants taking part in Dermots sessions. Sadly we both couldn’t do it as someone has to have the kids! During his week 1 review of the session with Dermot, Michael mentioned how I was aready doing something right…protein milk (Dermot says Avonmore is the best) so I may not be the quickest but boy I was nailing post work out recovery.

Team MAC with Dermot and their post workout Avonmore Protein Milk

So what does Avonmore Protein Milk offer…

  • 50% extra protein to give you 25g protein per 500mls in comparison to normal semi skimmed milk which is only 18g per 500mls
  • The additional protein comes from hugh quality whey and casein in the proportions naturally found in milk
  • It is a low fat milk with only 5g fat per 500mls in comparison to 8.5g in semi skimmed
  • A source of calcium and vitamin b12. With added Vitamin D which helps maintain normal muscle function as well as healthy bones.

Fabulous modelling guys

All of this found in a small carton that you can pick up in the shop on the way home for less than 60p. Is a easy and convenient way to get extra protein in your diet. Yet consumed within 30mins of your workout ended will fuel those tried muscles and aid repair and recovery. You’d be silly not to have a few cartons in the fridge if you’re training.

Life after 10k

I’ll be honest, I’ve been avoiding it like the plague.  I know I can run 10k, I know I can walk twice that. However going beyond 10k running is something I have yet to manage…until yesterday.

It is amazing what your body can do when it finds the zone. I set off in hope of reaching 8.5 miles. I was pretty sure I could make it, telling myself that it’s only 3 times around the lake plus a wee bit.

I was trying to avoid real life, with Laurens Rose Selection underway and feeling helpless and a friend running VLM I was trying to not be stuck to my phone or laptop checking up on them!

As I hit the lake for the first lap I knew I wasn’t feeling the lake vibe and as always, veered off up Crow Road to take on the infamous Born 2 Run Castlewellan 10k route.

Let’s face it…It is not a flat route, actually it is hell and the route near made me hang up my trainers in February. So as a soared over the hills and found my stride I began to do the maths. At 7k I thought yeah I could do another 7k at this rate.

As I approached 12k I was flying (siobhan speed flying not normal runner flying) I felt so comfortable and started to debate possible routes home, how many km that would be and would I look odd running around my street to make up the numbers.

At about 14km I realised that I hadn’t even fueled properly for this run, a small bowl of bran flakes and an Alpen bar at 7.30 wasn’t sufficient at 11.30 and I began to feel the hunger.  I didn’t even have water with me. However I hadn’t come this far to stop so pushed on.

I spotted my house at 15km and knew I had to keep going so off I went out towards the dump knowing I could stretch this a bit further and make the illusive 16km.

Then my doubts in my maths skills kicked in…is 16km 10 miles. I remembered trips to Dublin as a kid and doing the maths to change the km signs into miles…0.8km is half a mile, so 1.6km is a mile so 10 of those is 10mile.
I was stalking my garmin hoping for the beep. My playlist had run out but I ran on. As I crossed the road to my street there was the long awaited beep for lap 10.
And I fell through the door.

Once I sat down the magnitude of what I had just done hit me. I could feel and smell the sweat pouring out of me. But I was elated.

The first time I’ve thought wow I can actually manage a half marathon.  I can do this. So with 6 weeks to go I know that I can do it and I will make it.

So I will skip over I was so exhausted afterwards that I lay in bed for 3 hours. But I’m sure that’s why I don’t even have a niggle today. Body is feeling fresh!


Good Runs and Bad Runs

The body is a funny thing…

One day you can be totally on fire, everything falling into place and running is a gift you embrace and love. Fast forward 24hrs you feel like you’re running through peanut butter with legs of lead and each footstep is a struggle both mentally and physically and you wonder why you haven’t turned around to go home.

This week…that was me.
Yesterday I had a beautiful run around the route I clocked my first 10k distance. It’s a special route to me. Unbelievably scenic as it goes along the promenade and then after a climb through a woods it sweeps around the foot of the Mournes and along towards Tollymore and back into Newcastle.

I had tentatively agreed with myself on leaving the house I was going to do 10k. After dropping my gear off in the gym, as I’m still bathroomless, one of the personal trainers asked about my plans for the morning as I was missing his class. I promised I’d present my garmin on my return to prove I’d done it and he challange me to a ridiculous finish time which I ignored.

So I set off and everything felt good. The early spring sun shone down on me and the glistening heights of Slieve Donard where clear and towering over the town. As I turned off the promenade I knew my head was going to take its usual 4-6k mental fight of take a walk. Nowadays I challange myself to do runs without stopping to walk and not be worried about pace and was doing so well until I met mega hill 1. I managed half of it but had to walk. Let’s face it I was never going to make it and had the same issue with mega hill 2. However I remember the days I didn’t even attempt the hill so it’s improvement.

As I hit 6k I was well and truly enjoying the run knowing that I was heading back in the direction of the end. I wasn’t at race pace but I was comfortable and the cross country route home smelt of spring tinged with the scent of muck spreading. As I entered 9k I decided to push myself and clocked a fastest km.

I  loved everything about the run and was on a high all day…however today was not going to mirror the day before.


The strava stats 5th April

I usually try not to run on consecutive days however Michael had an appointment at the dentist and I had to pass 45 mins so I could have the car. I set off starting at the promenade and had outlined a rough 5k route.

1 word…Headwind
Every corner I turned – there it was. It was stalking me. No matter where I ran be it along built up area and park land the wind appeared. Not once did I get a tailwind to help me.

I struggled,  I felt sore and I wished I’d taken the car key and just have got a hot drink and sat playing on my phone in the car.
I enjoy much of it and the clouds agreed with me,  as their angry, dark grey mist engulfed the mountains which only a day earlier glistened.

My heart sank when he phoned to say he’d be a bit longer than planned and I had to add a bit into the run to cover the time. My route was so erratic that even a mum on the school run said “seen you out running this morning, every corner I turned, there you were” it was her “you’re doing so well” comment that helped pick me up as even whilst I felt I was dying and looked like a womble, other people where acknowledging that I was out there and trying.


The view from the 2k mark on the bad run overlooking Murlough Bay

So good run vs bad run..I think there is only one thing to learn …


It’s booked!!

Dublin Marathon … I am officially coming for you.

All paid for and booked so no turning back.


Hitting that payment complete button was so nerve wrecking however I know that if I can dream it, I can do it. The only dream not to become a reality is winning the lottery and at that I would still run Dublin!

So that’s us all entered and no turning back, you can’t pull out, you can’t defer and I can’t waste money…so watch out…I’m coming for the medal!

New week, new goals

With Easter now in the past and the kids returning to school, I am filled with motivation, self promise and new hope for getting my ass in gear.

I have been looking at the calander with a lot of thought being put into my illusive first half marathon race.

With potentially 10 weeks to build the miles up until mid June. I need to start digging deep and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.  Let’s face it the next 6 months will be all about stretching myself that bit further and I think mentally reaching 13.1 mile before the summer starts is a huge boost to my marathon training.

However I want my first half to be epic. Regardless at what way you look at it, 13.1mile is 13.1 mile and a huge HUGE achievement. Yet I have been looking at the race calander and have 2 options.

Lisburn Half
Predominantly flat road race which will be a horrendously boring urban course.


Mourne Half
A mix of trail and road race across the foothills of the Mourne Mountains. Challanging would be an understatement and between the weather and the terrain you could very easily end up injured beyond repair

Now let’s weigh it up. They are both 13.1 mile and will obviously get a pb regardless as it’s my first and the all important medal and kudos for doing a half.
So do I play safe and do Lisburn where it might not be the most scenic race but less chance of rolling stones under foot and catching a death in what can be disastrous weather conditions.
Or do I man up so to speak and take on the mass elevation, good country air and take on a course across the mountains.

I know what I’d advise someone marathon training to do and there will always be other chances to do the more daring routes. It’s so hard to shy away from a challange but maybe for once I should put my inner desire to push the limits over 13.1 mile and just survive the 13.1 mile on road in Lisburn.

Planning ahead

Actually running the marathon I assume is the easy part and that is why now over 200 days before the event I’ve found myself sorting out hotels and childcare.

Where do we stay, do we drive, how long do we stay, when do we need to be in Dublin and most importantly … what do we do with the kids.

Currently there are 4 of us taking on Dublin Marathon. Michael, my husband and Thomas and Tara.

Strangely this couples friendship has blossomed from running. Tara, a friend of a friend, was super encouraging in my very early days of running and promised to meet me at my first ever race to make sure I wasn’t on my own even though we barely knew eachother in real life. What rapidly grew from that gesture is a friendship which feels like it’s been growing for years, not months. Also it has hit my bank account hard too in race fees as together we have completed 4 races so far this year and have the Team Relay for Belfast Marathon and of course talked eachother into thinking Dublin was a cracking idea.  Without fail she meets me at every finish line and has a collection of sprint finishes from me on video.

This is us before the Born 2 Run, Winter Series, Antrim Castle race 2016 when I got my first sub 70 10k

There are very few moments of the day that go unnoted between us via various forms of communication and we love that our husbands have formed a running bromance and take themselves out for long runs and encourage eachother to push further. It’s just nice to know, in a world where many people are bitter and self absorbed, that there are still people who are genuinely nice and who get joy out of seeing other people succeed and do well. Tara is the personifaction of the latter.

So on Saturday the phone pings…Tara has signed up!  I’m not allowed to actually sign up to the Marathon yet as well the money is better sitting in my account than that of the event organisers.

Cue the beginning of what the hell do we need to sort. We have to be in Dublin the evening prior and with an early start on the agenda a hotel for the Saturday night is a must. Also it’s a long drive home so maybe a second night staying somewhere is a good idea too.

Obviously prices are inflated for the marathon weekend so was delighted to get the Travel Lodge in St.Stephens Green for a reasonable price, its not like I’m going to sleep much that night as I’ll be nervous but excited.

The debate on what to do the night of the marathon continued. Do we fork out for another night in Dublin or do we find somewhere where we can chill.

Cue booking the Carrickdale Hotel and Spa. Where we’ll get a great feed, chill out and ease tried and sore muscles in the hot tub. We’re very good to ourselves. Even better that it was a complete bargain at £62 and technically brings us half way home.
It’s Michaels birthday and our wedding anniversary as well as *hopefully* having completed our first marathon, so why not!

So we may not all be booked to do the marathon yet but you can rest assure that we are well sorted when it comes to travel and accommodation.

Tick…another thing off the list.


Friday Funday… Good Friday shenannigans

I’ve a friend…shocking, I know. I’ve a few good ones actually.

Lauren has come into my life like a breath of fresh country air. Although a few more years younger than me than I’d like to admit, I couldn’t see life without her. A bundle of unending energy, something you wouldn’t expect of a student in her final year. With drive, motivation and a sense of adventure which would scare Bear Grylls yet refined enough to be a hot contender for the Down Rose 2016.


What started out as a wee walk to pass an hour every now and again has progressed into the blind leading the blind through the various tracks and trails of the Mourne Countryside on what is usually a Friday..hence Friday Funday.

Today’s hike was roughly planned. We knew where we were starting and knew roughly where we’d finish. However the middle bit was a bit blurry.

I woke to clear blue skies and the excitement when I could see the mountains from my window. Not a cloud in sight and for once I thought..yes this is it. A day to scale a few peaks and admire God’s country from the top of Northern Ireland.

The Yellow Bug pulled up outside my house at 7.30am and with our packed lunch we headed to the foothills.

Up we climbed to Hares Gap…followed by a drone which was creepy. The air was still and skies still blue. However that was soon to change. We opted for the lower route across the Valley as we knew it had a path and as we were getting to where you could see right into the reservoir the mist descended and what are normally stunning views where engulfed by it.

After a good few km we locked eyes on the summit of Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland highest Mountain. We had both been to the top a few times but the excitement as we caught a glimpse of the tower on top glistening in the sun there was only one way we where heading…and that was UP.

My heart broke as we began the final ascent and the mist which ruined the views across the valley an hour previously had completely taken over the mountain. It became cold, dull and felt like walking through a wind tunnel. Sheltered only by the Mourne Wall.
The pull in the back of your legs was burning and as you climbed on…you felt that reaching the end was never going to happen.

In the distance we seen the tower, beside the tower was a man beginning to get undressed (free strip show) sadly it was just to change into dry gear. I felt it extremely fitting for it being Good Friday to recite a biblical quote of “my god my god, why have you forsaken me”
As although we knew the end was near and the suffering was going to end shortly…the surroundings, the weather and the struggle was still to be endured. Maybe not on the same scale as Jesus in his dying moments on the cross but still sort of reflected the pain and mild anger within us.

The sighs of relief from us both I am sure could be heard for miles around. We made it but.



Yip could see no more than 10metres! Not the 360 degree view we were expecting or quite rightly deserved.

Sure if the sun had shone we wouldn’t have been able to procrastinate the whole way back down and for the rest of the day essentially…actually I think I can moan about it for a while.

Anyway 4.45mins, 14.5km and over 700m gained in elevation later, we grinded to a halt at Nugelato where we shared the most immense chocolate egg with ice cream and covered in badness.


So today…Friday Funday from the top of Slieve Donard. I had 4.8km on my training plan today…think I can tick that off as well and truly complete.

Already Overcoming Challanges

Already Overcoming Challanges

Where I live is any trail runners paradise. At the foot of the Mourne Mountains, with unending tracks and routes through numerous forests.

CS Lewis claimed the Mournes where his inspiration for Narnia and even multi award winning Game of Thrones use the surrounding area as their base for shooting their show.  I do realise how lucky I am, I open my curtains every morning and take in the breathtaking view. However I have one place that I can never enjoy running around.

Castlewellan Forest Park has an unendless amount of routes and track to follow however it is most famous for its Lake. The Lake has been that place I was unwillingly dragged around as a kid, schools forced you to do sponsored walks around it and half the country visits it on sunny days. It’s not that it’s not pretty, I’ve had some awe inspiring moments around the lake, it’s just not as exciting as the other wee paths that lead off it up the hills that I usually detour off to avoid doing an actual lap of the lake.


Which brings me to today…

Run 2/127

The training plan had stated another slow run, 7.2km. So where to run so I don’t over do it. Ah the lake is 3.6k…twice that is 7.2k. ….The lake, the one place that just doesn’t make running enjoyable.

So I had a brisk 700m walk to the lake (yes I literally live at the back of the park) and set my garmin. I thought so many times about veering off track into the hills but kept on course. The first lap took me 32 mins.  The only thing that kept me going through the second lap which was 2 miute quicker, was the fact I was meeting people from my previous lap and was feeling epic…hearing their thoughts of how impressed that I’d already passed them once. Even got a few comments to push on! I still ran like I was constipated as I was trying to stay slow and steady but I made it nonetheless again a minute quicker than plan had outlined.

So today was the first of many mental battles I have to overcome.

I conquered the lake…not once, but twice. A small victory but a victory nonetheless










Getting started is the hardest bit…right?

People always say getting started is the hardest bit…I’m pretty sure that in my case, it’s one of the easiest bits of this journey.

As I heard Michael get out of bed and sneaking off to an early morning spin session, I rolled over in bed very aware of what my plans where today.

Run 1 of 127.


So the all knowing App had planned the above. Let’s put this idea out there. I’ve spent the past 6 months working at getting quicker and I had to run over 2 minutes per km slower…I walk faster than that! So the challange was on!

I had planned a route in my head unsure of exactly how far it was but I was sure it wasn’t a kick in the arse off the required distance plus it started and ended at the gym so an immediate shower afterwards.

I swear I must have looked constipated or something as I tried to “jog” as slow as I could. So I was delighted that I was able to managed a 8.30 min/km in the end.


The highlight of my morning was on coming out of the shower. I was getting my clothes out and realised I’d forgot to pack a clean bra. Being faced with putting my sports bra back on was horrifying but not as horrendous as having to walk through the gym and out to the car literally carrying my boobs!
Note for future…at least pack a jumper or coat!

Weigh in at gym was 90.9kg today