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A Few Takeaways from The Blessing of the Fleet

Shane and I had the distinct pleasure of taking on our first race of the summer last night, braving 10 miles down by the beach. Here are a few things we took away.blessing footage 1

*** Photo credit George Ross @

Ten Miles is a Long Way to Go

10 miles in the training log doesn’t compare to a 10 mile race. It’s a long way to go, and a large amount of time spent working your threshold. However, while the running is tough, you can also use it to your advantage, because you’re working at a pace that’s within your control. Unlike a 5k, which is short and fairly straight forward, a 10 mile race is long enough where you go through ebbs and flows. Shane and I both found ourselves cruising through some miles, working through others, back cruising again, working, cruising… In the end, I think you may be able to use longer distances to your advantage, even if it’s a tough day. Which brings me to…

Knowledge is Power

This year, thank god, I ran smart. Shane and I went out with a pace in mind, found a rhythm, and worked away at a solid rate. What we didn’t do was try to go out at a pace we knew we couldn’t handle. Compare that to last year, when I didn’t enter with much of a plan and, to my extreme detriment, didn’t listen to my body. I was toast by mile four and suffered the remaining six; it was rough, but it was an important lesson to learn, and I knew not to do that again. Knowing the race, having a plan, and listening to my body all led to a positive experience.

The Blessing is what running, to me, is all about

If you’ve ever had the privilege of running the Blessing, then you know just how special the event is. All walks of life convene at a small little middle school in Narragansett, amidst an evening ocean backdrop, in the late July heat, to test themselves. Ten miles isn’t the local church 5k, so it takes a certain level of motivation to get yourself out there, regardless of ability. Still, this year the Blessing had nearly 2500 finishers; that’s 2500 people who wanted to go out and collectively engage in pain. Whether your goal is to break 60 minutes, crack 2 hours, or just finish, the level of joy you get for accomplishing it is the same for everyone. There aren’t many sports that can give you that.

Go Rhode Island

Any race that doesn’t end by the beach just can’t compete. Sorry.


“The lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of a sheep”

IMG_0004I usually cringe at people talking about themselves online, so actually participating and posting a blog is difficult for me. However post-collegiate running is here and I’m somewhat poor (Providence College GA salary). So here’s to the whole, ‘getting yourself out there’ business.

I was thinking about what to actually write my blog posts on. The obvious choice would be an update about how training is going, what I’m working towards, and any upcoming races. I also thought about taking a page out of Julian Oakley and Ben Connor’s book and posting updates on my workouts/training sessions online. Although I will touch on all that fun stuff, I pride myself on having a life that is not just about running–although it is a big part of it! I’d like people to find out about me, the person, more so than the athlete.

With that being said, here we go!  I’ve been back fully training  for around 5 weeks or so now following a pretty injury plagued 5th year at PC. It has not dampened my spirits fully though, as I have my eyes set on the European Cross Country trials for Ireland in November. An honorable man once said, “winter is coming” and once it is here, I’ll hopefully be fully prepared for some 10k cross country action. To prepare even more for the inevitability of winter, and the end of the long summer (sweet mother I’m melting) myself and my girlfriend have got ourselves a Direwolf. The vicious beast’s name is Desmond, and he rarely leaves my side. It’s been a fun adventure with him so far. You can keep up to date with his shenanigans on Instagram @the_golden_life_of_desmond. He has his first day of obedience school Monday. Having done some research on the behavior of these beasts, it was clear we needed some professional training, “A direwolf will rip a man’s arm off his shoulder as easily as a dog will kill a rat.” Yeah….so we don’t want that to happen.

Looping Westeros back into training again, I’ve done a few tempo runs so far, and will attempt some 600’s tonight with my fellow bannerman of the house Treacy, Liam Hillery. If there are no more posts from either of us after this workout, we’ve probably melted. I was once told that “Fire cannot kill a dragon”. Well, it can certainly kill a couple of pasty Irish lads, and this 90 degree heat may well just do it.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, Valar Morghulis.