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C25K: Weeks three and four

It might not have seemed it at the time but the first two weeks of C25k are relatively easy compared to the next two weeks. The runs get longer and the walks in between get shorter. Four weeks ago, the idea of running for three or even five minutes continuously seemed so far fetched but here I am looking back on them having completed it.

I’ve using the NHS Choices C25k podcasts to guide me in my running. I have developed a love/hate relationship with the presenter Laura, a chirpy English girl who tells me when to run and when to slow down. I spend a lot of time cursing Laura under my breath but they really are the best version I’ve come across (even if the music is a bit cheesy)

Week Three

c25k : running shoe
Off to a good start

Week three had me running for two reps of 90 seconds of running, 90 seconds of walking, 3 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking. Yes, three whole minutes. And it was grand. I just counted out the seconds in my head and kept going until the Laura gave me permission to stop.

Strangely enough, all three runs this week were fine. Not necessarily easy but fine. Normally run one is torture, run two is ok and the third and final run is actually somewhat enjoyable. This week, all three runs were fairly even. It was such a confidence boost heading into week four.

Week Four

Out for a run
Out for a run

And so began week four of my C25k journey. Any confidence I had that week four would be as doable as week three had been was quickly eroded by the first run of the week. Week four has two reps of run for 3 minutes, walk for 90 seconds, run for five and walk for two and a half minutes.

The first rep was fine. I was used to the three minutes of running from the week before and I even got through the first five-minute run without too much difficulty. I felt the 90 seconds before the second rep went very quickly and all of a sudden, Laura is telling me the run again. The final two runs were torture. I nearly gave up but somehow found something in me to keep going.

Thursday’s run was also tough but that was as much down to the snowy, cold weather that had that day. Run three came around quicky. What seemed like torture on Tuesday didn’t seem so bad today. I put the head down, concentrated on counting my strides and got through it. It was such a great feeling. Another week down.

Looking ahead

I mentioned last week that this isn’t my first time doing the c25k plan. Week Five has always been my wall. Each run this week is different and the third run involves running for 20 minutes without a break. This is where I’ve fallen before. This time, however, I’m determined to get through it. I’m determined to run for the 20 minutes.

Our First Geocaches

After years of saying I’m going to do it, I got off my arse and went looking for some Geocaches in my area. There are almost 30 geocaches within my 5KM radius so I’m hoping to find as many as I can during this lockdown. So on the last Saturday in January, myself and Nicola heading off around Limerick search for these hidden treasures. In the post below, I’ll post about the first geocaches we found (no spoilers) and a little bit about the area its located.

Abbey River View

Our first geocaches
Our first Cache

Our first cache was just a 500-metre walk from where we parked. Although I had previously mentioned geocaching to Nicola, I hadn’t told her we going on the hunt until we were moving. The coordinates and the hint lead us exactly to the hiding spot. There were a few muggles (non-geocachers) along the quay so we needed to be quick.

The Abbey River is a distributary river off the River Shannon. The two rivers encircle the historic King’s Island which is home to landmarks such as King John’s Castle, St Mary’s Cathedral and the Walls of Limerick.


Colbert Station
Colbert Station, Limerick

Next up was a tiny, magnetic nano near to Colbert Station, the primary transport hub for Limerick. Over the years, it has been the starting point for many of my adventures.

Originally opened as Limerick station in 1858. It was renamed Colbert Station in 1966 in memory of 1916 rebel leader Con Colbert. In recent years, the area in front of the station has been transformed from a car park to an open-air plaza with seating.

Definitely glad I packed the tweezers to extract the log. Once we signed the log, we were on our way to the next cache.

Frank McCourt

Leamy House
Leamy House

Cache number three sent us to Leamy House on Hartstone Street. Leamy House is a Tudor-style building that was built in the 1840s. For over 100 years, it was home to Leamy School (originally funded by the Leamy Free Schools trust) which operated until the 1950s.

A fun fact I discovered while looking into the history of Leamy House was that the building is named after it’s benefactor William Leahy. Leahy spent his life at sea and it is believed to have made his fortune from piracy apparently. Any story is automatically improved by pirates. This is definitely someone I want to find out more about.

Geocache number 3
Geocache number 3

Leamy house’s most famous student was Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes, who attended the school in the 1930s. The building was home to a Frank McCourt Museum, which opened in 2011 but unfortunately, this has since closed in 2019 due to lack of financial support.

The cache itself, a small tube, was another quick find thanks to the description & hint. Hartstone Street was surprisingly busy for a Saturday afternoon so we had to wait a few minutes for muggles to pass before stealthily returning the cache to it’s hiding place.

St Joseph’s Church

Cache Number Four is located near St Joseph’s Church on O’Connell Avenue. It is part of a series of caches based on the Churches of Limerick. I wouldn’t consider myself to be overly religious but I do find the history of religion to be an interesting topic. St Joseph’s is a Roman Catholic church that was built in 1904. It was nicknamed the “Church of the Spite” as a sort of dig at their neighbours, the Jesuits. It recently featured in the animated short film, Angela’s Christmas Wish.

This cache was another nano. Unfortunately, the logbook was full so we couldn’t sign it but a good find none the less.

O’Callaghan’s Strand

O'Callaghan's Strand Geocache

This is one I really enjoyed. It’s a multi-cache. That means the cache itself isn’t at the stated location. Instead, you need to answer some questions to find to work out where the final cache was. This required some research before I left home.

Thankfully, this gave me the opportunity to discover some interesting things about the history of my city which I didn’t know. I won’t go into it here as I don’t want to spoil the challenge of this cache. Armed with this information, we cracked the code and easily found the cache. It was exactly where I had expected to find it before leaving the house.

O’Challaghan’s Strand sits along the banks of the Shannon and is home to the Strand Hotel, the Cleeves factory and the St Michael’s Rowing Club. Across the river, you can see the Limerick Boat Club and the City Centre. It’s part of the Three Bridges Walk around Limerick which is one of my favourites walks in the city. It gets its name from Michael O’Callaghan, a former Mayor of Limerick who was shot by British Auxiliaries in 1921 during the War of Independence.

Virtual Cache

Virtual Cache - Thomond Bridge
Virtual Cache – Thomond Bridge

As we returned to the car, we took the opportunity to nab a virtual cache on Thomond Bridge. All this required was a picture of us on the bridge. As you can see King John’s Castle, which overlooks the bridge, in the background.

Thomond Bridge, the original crossing point over the River Shannon, has been rebuilt many times since the 1100s. In the story of the “Drunken Tady & The Bishop’s Lady”, the ghost of the Bishop’s Lady would attack those who crossed the river at night and toss them into the river. The current bridge was constructed in 1840.

In total, we walk around 5km around the city looking for our first geocaches. A very enjoyable way to liven up a walk. I’m surprised I haven’t done it sooner as it’s something that combines a lot of my interests – maps/navigation, walking/hiking, exploring new places, solving puzzles and technology. We’ve now found six geocaches. Our goal now is to find 20 by the 5th March. I think that’s a realistic goal.

For the history buffs, my main reference for the above is Limerick’s Life (www.limerickslife.com), run by my friend Sharon Slator. It’s a great source of information about the history of Limerick.

C25K – Two Weeks in

So here we are in the middle of our third lockdown of Covid-19 with no end in sight. I’ve decided that rather than feel down about things that are beyond my control, I’m going to focus the things I can control. One of those things is my fitness. I started in November by walking at least 5km most days. I’ve kept that up throughout December. In January, I felt it was time to step it up and get back to running. To do this, I’ll be following the Couch to 5k plan.

I’ve decided to restart the blog as well to document my attempts to get fit again and hopefully soon enough I’ll be back writing about my adventures soon enough. This blog is mostly for keeping a personal record but, who knows, someone might stumble across it and find something useful out of it

What is C25K?

Ok, let’s start with the basics. Couch to 5K (C25K for short) is probably the most popular beginners running plan out there. The goal is to take you from couch potato to being able to run 5km in 9 weeks. It does this through interval running, alternating short runs with recovery walks in between. You do three runs a week with a rest day in between each run. Each week increases the length of the run, starting with 60 seconds and, hopefully, have you running for 30 minutes by the end.

C25K isn’t a perfect plan but it’s a good introduction to running (or in my case a reintroduction). It’s been a while since I was last running regularly, so anything faster than a brisk walk these days will be a real shock to the system.

C25K Week 1

Week 1: 5-minute warm-up walk, [60 seconds running, 90 seconds walking] x 8, 5-minute cool-down walk

So I think all the walking I’m doing and the false start in December definitely helped prepare me for this week. When I started in December, all 3 runs felt like torture. Starting again in January, it actually didn’t seem as bad. W1R1 (week 1 run 1) was still thought during the 7th and 8th running bit but by W1R3 on Saturday, my legs had adapted to the running. One week down, eight to go!

C25K Week 2

Week 2: 5-minute warm-up walk, [90 seconds running, 2 minutes walking] x 6, 5-minute cool-down walk

So every week is a step up from the last. You might not think that running for an extra 30 seconds is tough but when your body isn’t used to it, 30 seconds seems like an age. There can be a great temptation to stop and give up. That’s your body and brain reacting to the change. You need to dig in and fight the urge to stop. It might not seem like it at the time but you’ll thank yourself when you’re done.

Now on to week 3. The third week steps it up even more as two reps of a 90-second run, a 90-second walk, a three-minute run and a three-minute walk.