2017 Camp

Seven Days in Monte Gordo – Shane McGowan.

Boa tarde!

Derry Track Club have just returned from an intensive training camp to Monte Gordo which included countless miles on golden-crisp trails, boat-loads of lactate and two gallons of chocolate milk for young Sean McIntyre, over the span of seven days.

DTC gang at training camp.

The holiday began the moment we set foot on the plane. I was lucky enough to be situated in the middle of a stag do beside Chubby Sam from Newtownards. After downing several (8) Jack Daniels and Diet Coke, Chubby Sam from Ards made a public announcement to his crew that he will be backing me at 18/1 for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

On day 1, we ran an easy 4 miles shake-out run along the beach and trails, finishing with a dip in the water for a natural ice-bath.

Later that evening, the annual Derry Track Club Poker Championships took place. The Big Dog took us through an introductory lesson of “How (Not) To Play Poker” which proved rather unsuccessful judging by the expressions that lay on Ben Mellon and Sean McIntyre’s faces. But we carried on. After an intense 45 minutes. McIlveen was crowned Champion with a full house final hand. His win was met with contempt.

**Note. McIlveen was also the dealer. Coincidence? Maybe not.

On this night also, we were treated to an exhibition of Magic by Derry Track Club’s very own Deenymo (Dee Mellon) who left us all be-witched.

On day 2, we travelled across to Ayamonte, Spain for a brutal specific speed-endurance session consisting of 1x1k/600m/400 or in Cathal McLaughlin’s words – A ball-breaker.

We walked away from this session with our legs barely intact but impressive performances none-the-less. Ben Mellon was looking like a world-beater as he set three new P.B’s over the course of the session – 2 over 600m and 1 over 800m. Cathal ran a stellar 2:42 for the 1km, going through the half-mile mark in 2:10. Let me repeat that, going through 800m in 2:10! He went on to bust out a 90 second 600m despite allegations that he was sniped around the top-bend. The Big Dog and Mackers battled it out stride for stride over the 1k and 600m breaking 3 minutes for the 1k and 1:40 for 600m. In the 400, the Big Dog was certainly in his element as he ripped up the track to record an impressive time of 60 seconds. (Editor: Shane is being modest here – he ran 2:36/1:23/53)

Day 3, we travelled to Puntra Umbría to run on the 2011 World Cross Country course for 45mins. Mal and Dee Mellon floated across the sandy trails during their 4 minutes on/2 minutes off making the rest of us look inferior as we jogged around.

Immediately after, we decided to walk around to a Spanish cafe where we discovered Modest McIlveen had more talents than we previously thought possible. He is bi-lingual. “Five Coca-Colas” in a Spanish Accent, was all it took for the grumpy Spanish barista to screw up his face.

Another Spaniard even got up Google Translate on his phone and handed it over to the Big Dog. Although, we could have got them in seconds by changing Five to Cinco, we got there in the end.

In the evening, I couldn’t resist going for another run along the beautiful trails in Monte Gordo. I covered 4.5 miles bringing the daily total to 11 miles. Not a bad training day.

On the fourth day of Christmas, Malcolm brought to thee, 3x300m.

After a lovely four miles morning jog along the trails, the rest of day 4 was met with dread. Feeling under-par before-hand, we slowly got into it.

Cathal defied age with a 40 second opener and McIlveen ran a best of 42.3 as he flew around the track. Not bad for little speed work. I think this just goes to show the magnificent benefits of extensive gym work and hill work. (Editor: Shane is being modest again – he ran 39.1/38.0/37.6) 

On day 5, we had a big recovery day. 70 minutes around the trails of Monte Gordo,  very, very, slow.

In the afternoon, we then bumped into some Portugese fellow who went by the name of Cristiano Ronaldo. Apparently, he was some sort of big deal.

The boys with Ronaldo.

Dee, also bought a hanger for £16.99, what a nutter.

Dee’s Hangar.

In the evening, we had to wave goodbye to the Big Dog as he headed to Tenerife with the Ireland Team. Despite being kept a secret the whole trip, we were all teary-eyed as the Dog departed.

On day 6, we joined a packed-out stadium full of budding athletes for a tough technical session. We completed drills over hurdles followed by 10x80m stride-out @800m Rhythm, then finished off with some plyometrics on the grass. We finished up the day with a nice 30 minutes along the trails that same evening.

On the seventh and final day of the trip, we were on the grass for an Aerobic Threshold session – 8-12 x500m with 45-90 seconds recovery between each repetition, followed by 10x100m. We all agreed that this was the most thoroughly enjoyed session of the trip!

There was chaotic scenes in the town centre on the seventh day as some unlucky fellow dropped their Suzuki car keys in the street. If it was not for the dream team (myself, Sean, Dee and Ben), someone would now be car-less. We put the keys on top of the wheel and wrote this on a napkin.

We hope whoever it was found the keys and napkin. If not, we hope someone enjoys a free car, on us!

We finished off the trip just the way we started, running. Yet another 30 minutes, only over here it never gets old. Neve

Here are some quotes from the holiday:

“When you build a sand-castle, there’s always someone willing to kick it down”.

“Dia Duit!” (The Big Dog to a group from Finland)

“In a dog-eat-dog world, the Big Dog always comes out on top”

(Thanks to Shane McGowan for this amusing and interesting account of a memorable seven days)