Archive for April, 2023

Dublin Mountain Backyard recce

Thursday, April 27th, 2023 | Sport

The Dublin Mountain Backyard Ultra takes place next month. The organisers put together an official recce event in which we went around the course a few times. It is so hilly. It’s pretty much three kilometres up and three kilometres back down with some technical terrain. Evelation gain is around 250 metres; significantly more than God’s Own Backyard Ultra so I might need to lower my expectations. Gorgeous views, though.

Phoenix Park Duathlon

Wednesday, April 26th, 2023 | Sport

I don’t like duathlons. It’s just running and cycling. Triathlons are hard, and therefore worthwhile because it involves swimming and I am a poor swimmer. Also, it’s an Olympic sport. Running is good because I like running and again, it’s an Olympic sport. Duathlons are just this weird in-between thing. Nobody ever asks if you’ve ever done a duathlon.

I signed up anyway to race with the club but in the end, I was the only one there. So, I was feeling pretty fed up at the start. Work, university, and being a dad have all been getting on top of me recently and I’m just not feeling like myself. Hopefully, race season will fix that.

Run 1

The first run was 5k: two loops of the field by transition. I was in wave three and set off right at the back but despite my relatively easy pace, I soon began progressing through the field. I wanted to run at a comfortable pace so I could at least attempt to enjoy it.

It was good to see at least some mix of abilities. Ireland is typically focused on highly competitive athletes so having people in the race who were running a 30+ minute 5k made it feel more inclusive and a bit more like home.


The cycle course was 3 x 7k laps of Phoenix Park. Best of all: closed roads! The course was well marshalled, had a good road surface and few enough athletes on the course that it wasn’t overcrowded. Reasonably flat, too: you could pedal the whole way around with one easy climb at the end. Athletes with a higher FTP than mine will have used the big chainring the whole way around.

The best thing was probably the views. Phoenix Park is huge. Even though you are in the heart of Dublin, you would never know it if it wasn’t for the occasional glimpse of the Dublin skyline. The rest of the time you are cycling through trees, hills and grass.

Run 2

The final run was a single lap of the field. I set off at the same easy pace. Maybe a little faster as there was someone breathing down my neck. After the 2k point, I couldn’t help myself speeding up a little for the sprint finish.


There were 260 finishers of which I was the 200th with an overall time of:


My splits were:

Discipline Time
Run 1 24:55
T1 1:23
Bike 47:46
T2 1:27
Run 2 11:23

They had a photographer at the end but they missed me at the start, end, and on the bike, unfortuntely.


Friday, April 14th, 2023 | Family & Parenting

Last week, we welcomed two new additions to our extended family when my sister gave birth to twin boys. Congratulations to Katie and Simon. Venla doubled her number of cousins in a single day. I’m not sharing any photos to respect their privacy so here is a stock photo of some babies:

Eating disorders textbooks

Thursday, April 13th, 2023 | Books

Clinical Manual of Eating Disorders

Good overview of different eating disorders and the literature around them. It is very much written for doctors looking at medical management. There is a chapter on using psychotherapy but it just talks about what the literature indicates works rather than going int detail about anything.

Outpatient Management of Eating Disorders

This book is somewhat older. from 2001, but is a great read. It has a short introduction to the conditions but goes into detail about CBT and family therapy. There is a section on basic counselling skills that would make a great read for any health professional outside of psychology. It also includes chapters on nutrition and nutrition coaching.

Handbook of Adult Clinical Psychology

This has one chapter on eating disorders but it packs a lot in. There is practical advise on treating eating disorders with both CBT and interpersonal therapy. Oddly, the chapter on EFT is much harder to read.

300th parkrun

Tuesday, April 11th, 2023 | Sport

Last Saturday, I completed my 300th parkrun.

Unfortunately, there was no time to celebrate. I was hoping to do it on 1 April and had even cleared a space in my diary to finally stop for coffee after. But then I had the flu so missed that run. By the time the next week rolled around, it was in the middle of the DUHAC 24-hour relay, so I had to keep running. But good to make it through the unofficial milestone.

DUHAC 24-hour run

Monday, April 10th, 2023 | Sport

Trinity Harriers holds an annual fundraiser and this year’s challenge was a 24-hour run. Ten teams of four athletes had 24 hours to run as far as they could. I was on Team Cool Runnings along with Joanne, Oren and Eoin.

I wanted to run a minimum of 60k as that felt achievable: with 24 hours, you can essentially run a marathon and a half as if it were two separate days. But in the back of my mind, it would be great to hit 100k. Ever since I had to drop out of Endure24 at 86k I wanted to try again. However, Race to the Castle was cancelled two years in a row and Eurovision got in the way of God’s Own Backyard Ultra so I’ve been left wondering whether my hip would stand up to the distance.

Race day report

I decided my best strategy was to run for two hours at midnight. I could then get six hours of sleep before parkrun, and wake up with fresh legs and a whole day ahead of me. Things did not go to plan. I had stomach issues on the run and the cramps continued throughout the night making it difficult to sleep. I managed to hold down some toast in the morning and then set off for parkrun which would provide a second two-hour block of running, taking me to 42k. Obviously, I ran the extra 200 metres.

After this, I came home and prepared a hot lunch: chicken, bacon and lettuce sandwich which I had absolutely no interest in eating. I took a few bites and my hunger slowly started to kick in. After battling through it I decided to proceed based on 10k loops, allowing me to take a break every hour or so. I managed three of these loops without much issue, albeit getting slower every time.

By this point, I was at 72k and setting out on my fourth 10k loop. This was proceeding like the previous loops until the 3.4k point when I started running up the hill to Cabinteely. I felt dizzy. I stopped and debated whether it would be safer to walk back. This didn’t solve the lightheadedness, though, so I decided to sit down on the grass, eat some emergency Haribo and call a taxi to take me back home.

Having safely made it back to the apartment, I cooked a pizza which I managed half of and then decided I would see how far I could walk with the remainder of the day. I was always planning to switch to loops around the building at some point in case of digestive issues. But trying to get through 25k worth of loops was not on the original plan.

I completed the first 11k just as the sun was setting. It was still warm enough to be in a t-shirt. I did some running but still wasn’t feeling great and didn’t have much energy left anyway. At the 14k point, I went back for another break, stuffing whatever food I could manage and switching all of my energy drinks for Red Bull. Now all I needed to survive was a final 14k of mostly walking in circles in the dark. After another 10k, I took a final toilet stop and headed out once more but now with that “I actually might finish this thing” feeling.

There was no grand energy boost for the final laps. Just a slow and relieved plod. When I finally finished I sat down on the wall and checked all of my stats to make sure it had really happened. I kept imagining later discovering “oh no, I only ran 99.8k and I have to do it all again!”


In the end, it was a comfortable victory for Team Cool Runnings. We covered 228.01 km between us, giving us a 83.89 km victory over Team Scrambled Legs in second. The closest runner to me was my teammate Joanne who finished with 62.28 km including a marathon in a single run, and my teammate Oren covered the fourth farthest distance split over 25 separate runs completing a minimum of one mile every hour. Incredible effort, team!

I was moving for just under 11 hours, spread across a 23-and-a-half-hour period. My watch measured me at 100,260 steps (1002% of my goal, apparently) and I burnt 9,753 calories.

Well done also to Team Legs and the City and Team Stridge and Prejudice who trounced everyone else in the fundraising competition. Collectively, we raised over €3,800 with helps support the club as well as raising money for Special Olympics Ireland. The quality of team names was also excellent.


I haven’t trained much with DUHAC since I moved house so it was nice to be part of a club event. A big thank you to Moya and Peter for all of their organisation around the event.

I’m super happy to get 100k in the bag! I started to have some hip pain at GOBYU so I wondered if I was always going to be an issue. I did a weight lifting course earlier this year to try and build some strength but then between university, paid employment, fatherhood and charity commitments I have just been overwhelmed and haven’t stuck to it.

I think what made the difference this time was focusing on technique and core strength. If I stopped focusing on my core, I would start bending from the waist and that put pressure on my legs. As long as I stayed focused on lifting from my core, my technique remained good (both running and walking), the discomfort went away and I moved easier.

Would this work at a 100k race? I’m not sure. Maybe at something like Endure24 where I can start, stop, return to base, etc. I’m not sure it has given me the confidence to take on a 100k point-to-point race despite having previously had a ticket to Race to the Castle. But who knows what the future will bring. I have a backyard ultra next month so we will see how that goes.

I’m also very pleased to have recovered from the flu in time. Of the three races I had booked so far this year, I’ve missed two due to illness and I was worried my lungs wouldn’t be back to full health. I’m grateful every opportunity I get to take on one of these challenges.