Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I hear you

Ok, ok, guys and girls, I get the hint. You want photos. You will get photos, I promise. But I’m in Dublin at the moment, and haven’t got access to my photo albums at the moment. I’ll try and scan some as soon as I get home in the New Year. Let that be my New Year resolution.
Now, the running. I did 4 easy miles yesterday, and a long run today. Well, when I said Long Run, I really meant Medium Run. It was supposed to be 12 miles, but, to be honest, it was probably less than that, so let’s call it 11 miles, and it will make up for the fact that Monday’s 8 miler was probably more like 7.5. I don’t really care about the exact distance, because this is a recovery week anyway, and I’ll try and do the prescribed 37 miles, and if it ends up as 36 miles, that won’t kill my chances of a decent marathon in March. I’ll try and do the 5k race on Sunday, but I won’t run full steam because I have an 18 mile run planned for Tuesday, and don’t forget, we have to drive all the way back from Dublin to Kerry on Monday, and that will take about 5 hours. (It’s 4 hours if I drive on my own, 4.5 with Niamh beside me nagging me to slow down ;-), and 5 with the kids).
The run today felt much easier than Monday’s 8 miler. I seem to have these off days followed by better days a lot recently. I’m not sure why. Running last summer felt much more, well, even. The temperature has dropped again, and the sidewalks were very treacherously covered with a thin sheet of ice – very tricky to run on, but I managed to do it without losing my footing. Tomorrow is supposed to be even colder, but I guess we’ll see. I’ll do roughly 8 miles again tomorrow, and then I’ll rest for two days for the race. That should be sufficient, I won’t try and brake any records (apart from my own).

27 Dec: 4 miles recovery run
28 Dec: 11 miles, very hilly

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas Run

Christmas seems to be a very quiet place in blog-land. Nobody is updating their blogs, and I’m not sure how good everyone is when it comes to running.

We had a long drive to Dublin (which is made longer by 3 kids in the car), and a succession of Christmas parties – one every evening so far. I have mostly managed to withstand the temptations throws my way, and just had a glass of wine or two per party. Niamh’s family probably think I am the most boring person in history.

I finished off last week with a 5 mile recovery run on Sunday, and managed 8 miles today. A look at the map revealed a park called Cabinteely about 2.5 miles from here, maybe a little bit further. A round in the park is just over one mile, and that’s where I am going to spend my running week. The run is very hilly, there’s one bigish hill between here and the park, and the park itself as quite hilly as well. There were plenty of other runners in the park today, which is a completely new experience for me. Unfortunately it looked like most people are able to run faster than me. Either that, or I was very slow today – which is a possibility, because I felt quite sluggish.

I don’t know the exact distances of the runs here, so I am running by time only, and don’t know my pace. I’ll just try and run by time and effort for this week.

25 Dec: 5 miles recovery run
26 Dec: 8 miles

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Marathon Day

Wednesday turned out to be a bit of a marathon day, though it was the wrong kind of marathon. After getting up at 4:45 and running 17 miles, I was bound to be a bit tired for the rest of the day. What I hadn’t really factored in was that I was invited to a children’s Christmas party after work and then a card night at a friend’s house. I expected the cards to be finished by midnight (which would have been very late anyway), but for various reasons it didn’t stop until 3:30 in the morning. Well, we had to finish the game, didn’t we? I felt like going home at midnight, but didn’t want to be a spoilsport, though if I had known just how long it would take, I definitely would have left there and then. I finally got to bed at 3:45, which made it a 23 hours day.

No, I didn’t do any running yesterday morning ;-). Thursday is a rest day anyway. I went to bed early (ish) last night and as soon as the head hit the pillow, I was zonked. When the alarm went off at 6, I originally thought I had set it by mistake, until it dawned on me that I was due another 10 miler. Getting up was a challenge, but I rose to it.

The 10 miler was very pleasant though, under a slightly cloudy sky with plenty of moon light, which looked very romantic. My hamstring produced just a tiny little twinge, not really a pain, just a reminder to be careful. For once I didn’t get hit by the rain, it was just a bit windy along the exposed parts of Caragh Lake, but nothing I couldn’t handle. The temperature has climbed as well. At 9 o’clock it was 10C/50F, and it didn’t feel much colder when I did my run. Maybe winter is already over here?

We will drive to Dublin today to spend Christmas with Niamh’s family. The kids are very excited to see Nana and Gaga and all the Aunties and Uncles again. I don’t like running in Dublin, because last year all I could find was concrete sidewalks (there aren’t any parks suitable for running close enough to Stillorgan that I know about). I’ll have another look, because I’m sure the week of running on concrete substantially contributed to my shin splints, and I don’t want to get injured again, especially since my hamstring is dodgy already. Whatever, it will be a cutback week. The schedule calls for just 37 miles, with a long run of no more 12 miles. I’m sure I’ll manage that. There is also a 5k race on New Year’s Day in Phoenix Park, which sounds nice as long as I don’t celebrate New Year too enthusiastically.

23 Dec: 10 miles, 1:22, 8:12 pace

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Long Run at Long Last

According to Pete Pfitzinger, long runs are at least 17 miles. Therefore I did my first long run of the marathon training today. I had to get up at a ridiculously early hour. I set the alarm for 5am, but at 4:45 Lola cried that her bed covers had come off. That’s the third night in a row, and it’s the same issue at exactly the same time of night. I tried to tell her that at 4-and-a-half she is big enough to pull up the covers herself, but no luck so far. Anyway, against better judgment I did go back to bed, but only dozed there for 5 minutes and got up again. Mindful of the long run ahead of me, I had half a banana as well as my usual wheat cereal, and left out a gel with some water on the driveway for later on.
Last night had been very stormy, in fact the wind kept me from falling asleep for an hour (which isn’t good, when you’re only hoping for less than 7-and-a-half hours anyway), and I was worried if I would be able to do my run in those conditions. Luckily, by 5 o’clock the storm had calmed down, though it was still quite windy. I decided to do some laps in the woods, where the road is more sheltered from the elements. I planned on a 6 mile loop along a hill called the Devil’s elbow, then a 5 mile loop to Ard na Sidhe, and another 6 mile loop to make it 17 altogether. It turns out that the 5 mile loop is a tad longer than 5 miles (either that, or I ran the middle loop a good bit slower than the other two, but I don’t think so), so I called it 17.2 miles all in all. It doesn’t really matter if it’s a bit more or less – it’s only a training run.
My left hamstring started acting up at mile 6 and was hurting for 3 or 4 miles after that. I’m still not sure what it is. It’s not a cramp, and it gets better if I shorten my stride. It’s just a little bit worrying, but not enough to stop me from running. At mile 16 I got a coughing fit – not nice at all, and for the next 2 or 3 minutes after that I felt like my chest was restricted. That went away as well though, and I finished the run still feeling very strong.
All in all, I’m pleased with today’s workout.

21 Dec: 17.2 miles, 2:30, 8:43 pace

Monday, December 19, 2005

Weekend Drama

My department’s Christmas party was on Friday – the main difference to the company’s do being that there are no partners invited. In other words, it is generally a very heavy drinking session. I also had to attend out twins’ Christmas play in their school (which turned out to be much more entertaining that I had expected), so I was a bit rushed to get to the dinner in time. I didn’t feel like drinking much, and left at half past twelve – one of the first to leave. Because I was on water during dinner I was even sober – which will probably make me a pariah amongst my colleagues in days to come ;-).
Saturday was a day of drama. Cian had coughed during the night again and we struggled for 10 minutes to get a little spoon of medicine down his throat. Niamh, my wife, left the bottle on her bedside table. So what do I discover the next morning after breakfast? Only Cian with the open bottle in his hand, a big portion spilled on the floor and we have no idea how much he had himself. Niamh brought him to the hospital, where he was being seen by two nurses and three doctors in succession. None of them could find anything wrong with him, but all wanted yet another opinion. Eventually they sent them back home. Cian is absolutely fine – though, of course, he is still coughing, and by now has passed it on to me as well.
Oh yes, the running. I did 4 easy recovery miles on Sunday to conclude the week on a mileage of 42. Today I did a 9 mile tempo run, the first in ages with plenty of moon light. Unfortunately, the weather changed towards the end and I was caught by the wind, the cold and my old buddy, the rain, again. I also lost my concentration towards the last 3 or so miles because I slowed down from a tempo run to a “normal” pace run. I didn’t feel tired or unable to keep up the speed effort. I just lost my concentration and slowed down a bit. Ah well, it’s still 14 weeks until the marathon, and a slightly slower than optimal tempo run won’t have any real effect.

18 Dec: 4 miles recovery run, 36:42, 9:10 pace
19 Dec: 9 miles, 1:12m 8:00 pace

Friday, December 16, 2005

Wind, Rain and ... Tags Again

I went to bed too late and did not fall asleep until 11pm, so getting up at 6 was never that easy. To add to the troubles, Cian came into our bed around 2:30 and kept us awake with some heavy coughing. We struggled to get some medicine down his throat, and eventually succeeded, but it was probably nearly 3:30 by the time I got back to sleep.

I got up at 6:00, feeling less than refreshed. I had also played an hour of football 12 hours previously, which didn’t help my legs. It was Full Moon, and last night was fantastic with hardly any clouds, and I was looking forward to a great run in the moonlight. I felt cheated when I saw that it was totally cloudy. It was even worse when I stepped out of the house and realised that it was actually raining, with the wind blowing to compound the misery. I decided to change my route. Rather than do 10 miles along Caragh Lake, which can be wind-swept, I did 2 laps of 5 miles from our house to Ard-na-Sidhe and back. That run is through the woods, and therefore more sheltered from the wind. The run was ok-ish, but I felt a bit sluggish. I noticed that my pace increased with each 2.5 mile section though, which is good.

There is yet another game of tag going on, and Jack tagged me. There’s the rules:
”Write 5 random facts about yourself, and then list the names of 5 people whom you in turn infect. Also, leave a post to these people letting them know they have been infected”. I won’t write them any comments, because that reminds me too much of spam, if they read my blog they will know.

So, 5 facts:

1. I once spent 2 years in Vienna while my girl friend was in Dublin. We wrote each other a letter every single day. After that we knew we were meant to be together.
2. Even more astounding, we had only been together for 2 months before that. I never really expected it to last the 2 years, but it did.
3. We have been married for 8 happy years now, with 3 kids
4. The oldest two are twins, a girl called Lola and a boy called Shea.
5. I am a soccer nut; my favourite team are Manchester City. As a result of this, I hate Manchester United with a passion.

There it goes. My five victims are DGC, psbowe, Cliff, Marc and NYFlyGirl.

16 Dec: 10 miles, 1:24, 8:24 pace

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Early Morning

For some perverse reason that only runners can understand, I was looking forward to today’s 15 miler. Now that my miles are slowly reaching the proper long-run stage, they somehow seem more worthwhile.

Getting up for that run was easy. I set my alarm for 5:20am, but by 5am I was up anyway, changing the baby and re-arranging the bed covers for my daughter, because “the blanket has come off the dollies and the teddy” (obviously, a grave concern!). After that there was no point in going back to bed, but I felt wide awake anyway.

Yesterday had been rather cold, -3C/26F, and the short sleeves had not been the ideal choice, so I went for the long sleeves today. Alas, today was a lot warmer, 3C/37F, and initially I felt quite overdressed and actually pulled up my long sleeves. It was very cloudy, but very tranquil initially. Then, by mile 5.5, the wind started blowing strongly, and by mile 6.5 I was running in the rain again. At that stage I was grateful for the long sleeves and pulled them down again. It finally stopped raining by mile 11, and the rest of the run was more pleasant.

I felt a sharp-ish pain in my left hamstring with half a mile to go, the same hamstring that has given my troubles before. So late in the run it was no problem to get home, and a few hundred yards on the pain seemed to have gone anyway, but I am a bit worried about this. So far I have no idea what’s causing the pain, but it is re-occurring fairly frequently.

Last week I got quite hungry around mile 11, so this time I left out a gel at our driveway, went on a 10 mile loop along Caragh Lake, came back, had the gel and some water, and then finished the run with a 5 mile loop through the wood. I had developed that routine when training for my last marathon, and it worked very well. The only drawback is a slight temptation to go home after the first loop rather than go out again, but so far I have always managed to resist.

13 Dec: 5 miles recovery run, 48:08, 9:37 pace
14 Dec: 15 miles, 2:12, 8:48 pace

Monday, December 12, 2005

Socials and Changes

I managed to get through the weekend without any mishaps. Friday’s social was ice-skating, which I enjoyed from the sidelines. Saturday’s was a mum’s outing, which meant that the daddies stayed at home baby-sitting while the mummies got drunk (how times have changed, eh) and Sunday was a trip for the kids to nearby Crag Cave to visit Santa, which they enjoyed immensely.

I got my 4 miles recovery done to conclude my 40 miles week, and decided to make some small changes to my schedule. Long runs on Monday weren’t ideal because it meant cutting short Sunday evening, one of the few evenings my wife and me get to spend together these days (times are busy), and I wasn’t sure how long I would manage to run long in the morning and then play an hour of soccer in the evening. Therefore I decided to switch the long runs to Wednesday, which should fit easier into the rest of my life. This week’s plan calls for a modest increase of the mileage to 42 miles. I started with a brisk (for me) 8 miler this morning under a starry sky and a spectacular display of the Belt of Venus towards the end of it. It got a bit chilly again, but I finally got through a run without any rain. The left hamstring was fine, and my right foot, which had some aches and pains occasionally over the last few weeks, wasn’t acting up either. Woo-hoo, my luck is changing!

11 Dec: 4 miles recovery run, 8:54 pace
12 Dec: 8 miles, 1:04, 8:00 pace

Friday, December 09, 2005

Slow Coach

After the 10 miles this morning, this week’s mileage stands at 36 – a short run on Sunday will bring it up to 40. That might not impress some of you, but the way I’ve been feeling lately I’m pleased. Something I have noted is a distinct loss of pace. Today’s run was by far the slowest run I’ve had in ages (apart from recovery runs of course). I’m not bothered about that though. It’s always better to slow down when you’re increasing your mileage. Plus, last night’s soccer was rather strenuous, and running 10 miles 12 hours later is asking for stiff legs. It’s a lot warmer now, it was about 6C/43F in the morning, and originally I hoped to go through a whole run without rain, but my hopes were drowned by mile 3.5. Ah well.

The stomach seems to be nearly back to normal, and the kids have stopped vomiting – hurray! Our youngest son, Cian (I’ve decided not to be so coy about my family’s names from now on), celebrated his second birthday yesterday, and he really enjoyed being at the centre of attention. He also adores his new tricycle. I might post some photos if we get them developed any time soon.

The weekend is going to be strenuous – there are three Christmas parties, two for the parents and one for the kids. I’ll abstain from alcohol – I think.

8 Dec: 4 miles recovery run, 36:36, 9:09 pace
9 Dec: 10 miles, 1:29, 8:54 pace

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

After a Good Run comes a ... yes, you guessed it

Some of you guys and gals might be getting a kick out of running in adverse weather conditions, but I can tell you I am getting thoroughly sick of the Irish winter weather. Today was probably a little bit warmer than on previous mornings, but you couldn’t really tell because it was lashing, and to compound the misery the wind was blowing really strong in places – just what you need when you’re not feeling too well anyway.

The kids all had a stomach bug over the last week. It could have been worse, because between throwing up violently they were totally chirpy. For the last two days I could feel it myself, I haven’t thrown up (yet), but there is a certain uneasy feeling around my stomach area. Additionally, due to late work commitments I didn’t get to bed until 0:40 last night. I got up at 6:20, and that’s not even nearly enough sleep. The schedule called for an 8-mile tempo run, but somehow I wasn’t quite up for it. I certainly put in the effort, but the pace wasn’t forthcoming, and I hardly ran faster than on Monday, when I seemed to glide along effortlessly. My left hamstring made itself known again as well. It’s just a little twinge at the moment, not enough to stop me from running, but enough to have me a little bit worried.

I need to rest – I’ll go to bed early tonight and hope the kids will cooperate. Tomorrow is just a 4 mile recovery run, and if I manage 2 or 3 nights of 8 hours sleep, I’ll be fine again.

7 Dec: 8 miles, 1:06, 8:15 pace, faster during the middle 4 miles, quite slow warm-up and cool-down

Monday, December 05, 2005

A Bad Night and a Good Run

Sunday was a bad day. I didn’t feel hung over, but not entirely up to it either. The fact that I hadn’t slept an awful lot didn’t help. The kids were becoming progressively worse, and by bedtime they were complete nightmares. It was well after 9 o’clock when we finally managed to put them down, and then the troubles were not over. I can’t quite remember all incidences from the night, but it involved a succession of children climbing into our bed, a nappy change on a very uncooperative baby some time around maybe 2 or 3, and never more than an hour of uninterrupted sleep. I had set my alarm for 5:30, but at 5:20 I was filling up hot water bottles for the elder two, and there was no point in going back to bed.
Considering all that, it was a miracle how well the run went. I did 14 miles, about 4 or 5 of which were in rain, the wind was blowing for some time, too, and of course it was pitch dark, with temperatures around freezing point. However, I felt fine for the whole run, except at around mile 11 when I could clearly feel my hamstring tighten on a climb. I shortened my stride, which seemed to help. I also started to feel hungry around this point, so I guess my stomach was running out of wheat cereal by then. However, I made it home without problems, and with negative splits as well. I was very surprised when I looked at my heart rate monitor at the end of the run; the average heart rate had only been 151, which was less than on my so-called recovery run the day before. I know Chelle had some funny readings from her hr monitor, and maybe mine isn’t entirely accurate either, but my readings were always believable, so I tend to think that they are correct.

5 Dec: 14 miles, 1:56, 8:17 pace

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Redemption Run

One of the problems of training during the winter is the Christmas season with all its parties and office functions. Last night was my company’s do, with about 200 people in attendance and enough alcohol to drown everyone in sight.
I did reasonably well, despite not sticking to my resolve not to drink anything apart from some wine during dinner. I went home after a couple of pints of beer and a few shots of tequila in a not-entirely-sober state.
Today’s 5 mile recovery run was for both recovery and redemption. I didn’t really have a hangover, just a little queasy feeling in my stomach that eventually subsided.
There will be more temptations thrown my way over the next few week.

4 Dec: 5 miles recovery run, 43:29, 8:41 pace

Friday, December 02, 2005

Dark, Cold and Wet

The cold snap seems to have ended, the forecast for today is a balmy 7C/45F, but it’s still quite cold at 6 o’clock in the morning. Unfortunately, the clear sky has gone too and has been replaced by a blanket cover of clouds bringing heavy rain.
I got up just before 6 this morning (managing the intellectual feat of setting the alarm for the correct time for once) and, after one look out of the door, decided to ditch the long sleeves and wear a t-shirt with a rain cover on top, plus shorts rather than long tracksuit bottoms. For once I got that right, I was neither too hot nor too cold, just too wet.
I managed the 10 miles that I didn’t do 2 days ago. After 3 miles the legs were very heavy, as always after an hour of draining soccer the night before, but they felt better as the run wore on. I was a bit anxious about my headlamp because the light seemed to get dimmer and dimmer, but I think it was just the fact that the rain got heavier, because towards the end, when the rain eased a little, the lamp seemed to become brighter again.
I finally realised why there are no running clubs here in the vicinity of Killorglin, and why I always have to run on my own. I’m clearly the only idiot around who is stupid enough to do 10 miles in conditions like this at 6 o’clock in the morning.

Fair enough.

2 Dec: 10 miles, 1:23, 8:18 pace

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What's the Time?

I had planned another 10 miler in the morning. The timing is easy: get up at 6, out of the door at 6:20, and back around 7:40. You would think that shouldn’t be a problem, wouldn’t you? So why did I set my alarm clock for 6:20? Even more annoyingly, I was actually up at 6, fixing breakfast for my sons, who are early risers (regular readers know that). I ended up realising my mistake only when I was about to leave, and had to settle for 8 miles instead.
The run was fine, but I did miss my favourite light source, the Moon, and had to rely on my headlamp instead.
I’m really annoyed with myself now. It doesn’t really matter as far as my training is concerned, because I can do 10 miles tomorrow or on Friday, so I’m not dropping any miles, it’s just my sheer stupidity that’s buggering me.

30 Nov: 8 miles, 1:05, 8:07 pace

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Day in My Life

I got up at 5:40am and got ready for my run – 13 miles, basically a half-marathon before breakfast. I was looking forward to wearing my brand new pair of adidas Supernova Cushion for the first time. The morning seemed bitterly cold, but after 3 miles I felt overdressed, despite wearing only two layers. The air seemed to get chillier as the run went on though, and by the end of it I felt a tad cold. I didn’t run as fast as anticipated, therefore I ended up being a few minutes late by the time I got to the office. Work was quite stressful, and in the evening I played soccer for an hour (and got beaten heavily). When I got home I just had time to hastily eat my dinner, then I had to bath my eldest son (age 4). Then mummy had to leave and it was down to daddy to make sure all 3 kids did their teeth and wee wee, and then it took 3 bed time stories plus a bottle for the youngest one to finally get them all to bed. By this time it was after 9 o’clock. You think I’m tired? Too right I am.

Tomorrow is a rest day. And if it weren’t planned as a rest day, it still would be a rest day, because I’m ready to drop.

27 Nov: 4 miles recovery run, 35:12, 8:48 pace
28 Nov: 13 miles, 1:51. 8:32 pace

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Sleet and Hailstones

It is really cold out there (though Zeke would probably disagree), and I’m glad today is an off day. Unfortunately, the present arctic conditions are apparently going to last for a few days, which means Monday’s 13 miles are most likely going to be a challenge.
I did 7 miles on Friday, as planned. I had another strained night due to those wonderful kids of mine. At some stage I had to get up and fetch some apple juice for the baby, and it was hail stoning outside. I thought if the weather would be like this at 6:20, I would just turn around and try and get some more sleep. Well, when the alarm went off the weather seemed fine and I got up. During my short breakfast, it started hail stoning again, so I decided to wear a wind jacket on top of the two layers I already wore. Dawn will probably find this very funny, but I was overdressed and got quite hot underneath all those layers. But when I got caught by a very hefty shower of sleet and hail stones, I was very glad for the extra protection. It was almost bearable, except when I went around a corner and had the wind blowing the hailstones directly into my face. Ouch!
I also felt very sluggish, my hamstrings felt not quite up to it. I presume it’s because I played soccer just 12 hours earlier. The plan actually called for 7 miles with 10x100 stride outs, but my legs were not up to the speed, so I just did 7 plain miles. I figured I had done more than enough sprints during the soccer anyway.

25 Nov: 7 miles, 58:12, 8:18 pace

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Funny That

Isn’t it funny? Only last week the good lady wife called me completely mad for running 10 miles to deliver a letter, and what did she tell me yesterday? “Thomas, I’ve got this urgent letter, and this less urgent one too, would you like to run to Killorglin and post it in the morning?” How quickly attitudes change!
Well, I declined because the schedule called for only 7 miles today, and anyway, I’m not her personal delivery boy.
Unfortunately, the baby (well, he’s nearly 2) came to our bed at 3 am and kept kicking me awake for the rest of the night, then at 4:30 the 4 year old came, kept me awake, too, and at 5 am he actually demanded some breakfast. I went back to bed afterwards but try as I might, I could not get back to sleep, so, at 5:50 I gave up and decided to do the 10 mile post run after all.
I made two more concessions to the cold, namely long sleeves and gloves, and boy was I glad about that. It was cold. It was freezing. It was …. , well, really cold. (No, I’m not a poet). When I got back, I had little bits of ice sticking to my hair. But I got my workout done, and delivering the letters should make for some marital brownie points.

23 Nov: 10 miles, 1:20, 8:00 pace

Monday, November 21, 2005

A New Beginning

I went shopping to Tralee yesterday and bought myself some track-suit bottoms. I figured with the temperatures dropping below freezing point, I should review my dressing policy of shorts and t-shirt. I also had a look some new pairs of runners. There was a pair of adidas runners that looked very cushioning, but I decided not to buy a new pair of runners without first trying to read some reviews of them. I’m already kind of regretting that decision. I’ve covered nearly 300 miles in my only present pair of runners (the other one was retired after the marathon) and it is very much time to phase in a new one.

Today I’ve officially started training for the Connemarathon. I’ve provisionally decided to run the long ones on Monday morning rather than Sunday for two reasons. Firstly, it means my wife won’t be a running widow every Sunday morning, which should increase her acceptance of my hobby, and secondly it means I won’t have the daunting prospect of a long run ahead of me all week (I got that idea from Mike). Once my long runs go over 17 or 18 miles, I might review that decision again.

The alarm went off at 5:40am and by 6:00 I was out on the road. I had my headlight, but I actually switched it off once I got out of the wood because the moon was easily bright enough, and I just love running under the moon and the stars. Caragh Lake was covered by a blanket of fog into which I was dipping in and out as I was running over the rolling hills alongside the lake. Fantastic! As a plus I ran negative splits without even trying.

19 Nov: 6 miles, 48:28, 8:04 pace
21 Nov: 12 miles, 1:36, 8:00 pace

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Combining a workout with something practical

The Yoga teacher last night made me work my abs muscles, I can really feel them today. It’s unbelievable how taxing a few funny postures can be.
I had planned a 9 mile run today, but when I was about to leave, I saw an urgent letter on the mantelpiece and thought I could combine the run with doing something useful, and took the envelope and ran the 5 miles into Killorglin to the post box, before doing another 5 miles on a different route on the way back.
The wife wasn’t quite as grateful as she could have been, and called me completely mad. Never mind.

17 Nov: 10 miles, 1:21, 8:06 pace

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Concerned Father

I finally managed a decent recovery run. My main problem on those runs is that I haven’t got any flat sections of road, so the best I can do is “reasonably flat”. I usually get the heart rate up too high on the climbs, and then struggle to get it down again. Well, today I finally managed to consistently keep the heart rate down. I don’t know quite what was different, I didn’t run any slower than on previous recovery runs (even faster than on some), but I felt very relaxed all the way.
The only hitch was a U-turn after 3 minutes. When I leave the house in the morning, I always lock the door, because our youngest son (who will be 2 in 3 week’s time) has a habit of running outside, and I definitely don’t want that to happen on a chilly dark morning at 7am. 3 minutes into the run the doubts started. “Is the door locked?”. I couldn’t risk leaving it open, so I turned back. Of course it was locked, no need to worry. Why did the brain not register that when I get out of the house? No, you don’t have to answer that.
As a result of that, the distance (and therefore pace) of today’s run is just a rough guess.

14 Nov: 8.5 miles, very hilly, 1:11, 8:21 pace
15 Nov: 5 miles(?) recovery run, 43:59, 8:47(?) pace

Monday, November 14, 2005

Permission Granted

I did another hill run today (we're talking about 150m elevation here). When I was huffing and puffing up the hill in a slight drizzle at 7am in very cold temperatures, I was starting to wonder what the hell I was doing. Then I reached the crest, and on the downhill it suddenly hit me. I ran full out, and really enjoyed it. I felt absolutely fantastic. Is that what they mean when they’re talking about runner’s high?

Yesterday evening the good Lady wife suddenly asked out of the blue: “When’s the Connemara marathon?”
Me: On March 26th
Her: So, in about 4 months?
Me: 19 weeks from now, to the day
Her: Oh really? You’re training for this already, aren’t you?
Me: No, actually, training starts a week from now
Her: I think I’d quite like to see Connemara in March

That’s it folks. Looks like I have permission from the High Council. Wahey!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Spot the difference

I think I should explain some of the things I said in my last entry. Firstly, allright, 8:23 pace isn’t that bad, and maybe I shouldn’t have felt like I had completely stunk up the place. It was just that I had intended to do a brisk 5 miler, and as soon as I hit the first slight uphill section I had to slow down a lot and never managed to increase the pace afterwards. Secondly, the perceived effort for that pace was way too high. If I run 8:23, I should be comfortable with that for a long while. Instead I felt like I was breaking a new speed record, I was completely knackered and exhausted by the time I got back home. That’s why I thought of it as a bad day,
It’s funny how differently you can feel just two days later though. I did my planned 12 miles this morning, and ran them on cruise-control, neither speeding a lot nor running particularly slow, and when I got home, I checked my time and was very pleasantly surprised to see that only 1:35 hrs had passed. That’s really fast for me. Just half a year ago, a cruise-control run would have been at around 8:30 pace, and if I wanted to do 8:00 I would really have to push myself. Now apparently I can cruise along at sub 8:00 (at least when I’m not having on off day). Maybe it was the rest day yesterday that made the difference, or maybe it’s just one of those things that you can’t really control, some days are good and some days are bad. For what it’s worth, I feel quite stiff now, though.
The weather yesterday was brutal btw, they didn’t exaggerate when they announced gale force winds, and running would have been completely out of question. Today was much nicer, a bit chilly (5 degrees – that’s Celsius of course, about 41 Fahrenheit), but little wind and I nearly managed to squeeze my run between two bouts of rain. I got a bit wet after 2 miles, but the last 8 miles were run in glorious sunshine. Now it’s raining again – that’s Irish weather for you, I suppose.

12 Nov, 12 miles, 1:35, 7:55 pace

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I stunk

The weather forecast predicts gale force winds and heavy rain for tomorrow, so, understandably, I decided to go running today and have a rest day tomorrow. I only did 5 miles, and boy, did I stink. I started at a relatively brisk pace, but not too fast. However, at the first gradient I slowed down and never recovered my pace from then. Maybe it was the Yoga from last night or maybe I was just having an off day, who knows. I’m planning to do a 12 miler at the weekend, weather permitting. I hope my legs will be more cooperative by then.

10 Nov: 5 miles, 41:59, 8:23 pace

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

You asked for it

A few people asked me about my headlamp, so here are some details: it’s called “Petzl Tikka Plus”. You can google for it, and have some reviews of it (all 5 stars). I bought it in the cycling shop in Killarney for 49 Euros, but Amazon have it for only $38. Oh well.
They had other models for 20 Euros, but I decided on the more expensive for two reasons. Firstly, it’s lighter; it weighs only 79 grams including batteries. The cheap model was twice that. Secondly, the batteries apparently last up to 120 hours on the economy setting (80 on optimal, 60 on bright), while in the cheap model they only last for 9 hours. I don’t want to end up in the middle of the night 5 miles away from home with dead batteries, and that’s much less likely to happen with the Petzl.
I’ve worn it twice now, and so far I can recommend it. It still feels weird to have some weight strapped to your head though.

Today: 5 miles recovery run, 45:30, 9:06 pace

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Let there be Light

I got the chance to try out my new headlamp for the first time this morning. It took a bit of getting used to. At first it felt weird to have a weight strapped to my head, and it was spooky to run in the rain in the darkness, but the main thing is it worked, I could see where I was going, and, even more importantly, any cars coming along could see me.
I did 8 miles, but for some reason I feel quite tired now. I did play soccer for an hour only 12 hours earlier, but I do that twice a week every week, and usually it doesn’t bother me. I’ll do a slow recovery run tomorrow, and maybe the day after that as well.

8 miles, 1:04, 8:00 pace

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The hill bites back

Well, I was quite pleased with myself on how I had conquered the hilly loop on Thursday, and then on the following days the hills fought back. My quads were very sore, I didn’t run on Friday, and then did a slow recovery run on Saturday, but still felt some soreness, especially in my left quad, on Sunday. I ran a lot faster today (Sunday), just to see if my legs could get me around 10 miles in under 8 minutes per mile. I succeeded in that trial, but I realise that it’s silly to do a tempo run at this stage of the season, when I am about to start a new marathon training program in a fortnight.
I also finally managed to get a headlamp, I went for the super-luxurious model in the shop because it was the lightest one, and the package claims that the batteries can last for up to 120 hours. I’m a bit sceptical about that claim, I guess we shall find out.

5/11: 5 miles recovery run, 43:56, 8:47 pace
6/11: 10 miles, 1:18, 7:48 pace

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Crash Boom Bang

You know those funny scenes in comedy films when someone walks in the attic and then breaks through the ceiling? Well, that was me last night, minus the fun factor. Our roof was leaking, and when Her-Indoors ordered me up to check it out, I banged my head against a beam, stumbled, and, before I had fully recovered, crashed with my right leg straight up to the hip through the ceiling. My leg is scratched, swollen and it hurts!

Did it stop my from running this morning? Of course not!

I left home at 6.35 and was surprised how dark it was, despite the fact that the clocks have just gone backwards. I’ll have to get that headlamp soon, but haven’t managed to get to Killarney yet. I did a very hilly 8.7 miles course, or at least I used to think it was 8.7 miles, but it might me shorter than that, because it only took me 70 minutes and I don’t think I ran particularly fast.

1/11: 5 miles recovery run, 48:17, 9:38 pace
3/11: 8.7 miles, very hilly, 1:10:00, 8:02 pace (distance [and therefore pace] could be wrong)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Weekend Warrior

I never have problems getting up early. From childhood on I was out of bed at first light, and, while I have kicked that particular habit (now unfortunately inherited by my two boys), I still have no problems getting out of bed early for a run, be it at 6.20, 6 or even, as I did twice, at 5.20 am.
Unless it’s the weekend. Somehow I always think, there’s still plenty of time left in the day and I can always go running later. As anyone who has been in the same situation knows, the longer you wait for your run, the more likely it is that something else will crop up and scupper your plans. So, for reasons too plentiful to mention here, I did not run on Sunday. Fortunately, Monday is a bank holiday, and I could make up for it today. Normally, Monday is a rest day for me, so I effectively just swapped the two days around and didn’t miss anything.
My timing was almost comically bad though. After a rainy night, the sun was shining in the morning, and I got ready for my run. As soon as I left home, the rain started. Just a drizzle at first, then more and more and all of a sudden a deluge started, and when the hailstones started to come down, I turned around and sprinted back home, as I had only covered half a mile by then. After a break of about 20 minutes the sun was out again, and I started off again, with a new shirt and slightly wet shoes. It all went ok at first, then, after about 2.5 miles, the same deluge came back and I got soaking wet. However, this time I kept going and completed a 10-mile run, my first double figures since the marathon 4 weeks ago. It somehow reminded me of the marathon, because I was soaking wet during that effort, too.

10 miles, 1h20mins, exactly 8:00 minutes per mile. I don’t count the first mile.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Moon child

My stomach still isn’t quite back to normal, but I decided to give it a try anyway. I got up at 6.20 and had a peek out of the window. It was raining, but that didn’t put me off. And a good thing too, because by the time I left the house the rain had stopped and I was running under the stars and the moon. The moonlight especially was stunning. Running in the wood wasn’t an option; it was much too dark, but even out in the open the wind wasn’t too bad, and running along the shore of Caragh Lake in such a light was great.
I ran 7 miles at 56:42, that’s 8:06 per mile. I had a weird experience, too. From half-way point until about half a mile from home I ran totally on auto-pilot, I can hardly remember anything about it. It was a kind of outer-body experience, except that my mind wasn’t floating along but was somewhere far away in La-La-Land. Weird.
When I got back, the wife gave me her you-did-something-wrong look (I know it well ;-) ), chiding me for going running when my stomach was still upset.

Her: And while you were out, there was a program about running on the radio. The woman spoke about the dark side of running.

Me: What dark side of running?

Her: It can be addictive

You don’t say!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Still no go

The stomach bug is slowly retreating from my body (and into the bodies of other bloggers it seems), and I’m slowly coming round to the idea of physical exercise again. I did Yoga again last night, which already felt easier than last week. I think I’m starting to understand a few of the poses.
I was also planning to start running again this morning, but the wind was howling all night and discouraged me from doing so. I have the option of either running in the woods where it is sheltered but nearly pitch dark at my time in the morning, or out in the open where the wind blows in straight from the Atlantic, and neither option was particularly appealing.

P.S.: It was so windy last night that a friend’s shed’s roof was blown off! Running in this weather might not just be unpleasant, but also a bit dangerous. I feel better now about not running.

Monday, October 24, 2005

My turn

After reading in Susan’s and Yvonne’s blog about them feeling like poop, it was obviously my turn (you can’t catch an illness from reading someone else’s blog, can you?). I had stomach cramps and various unpleasant side-effects (I’ll spare you the details) over the weekend. I think it's a spell of gastroenteritis. Today I’m feeling better, but I’m staying home from work because I’m still far from ok. Needless to say, I didn’t do any running. I won’t be doing any over the next few days either until I feel up to it again.
Sorry about this entry devoid of any running activity in a running blog, sometime the Real World interferes, and it really sucks.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Darkness Falls

Tomorrow there is a 10k in Killarney, just 20 minutes drive from home. I was undecided if I should run, seeing as it is only 20 days after the marathon, and you’re supposed to recover for 4 weeks. I was just about to decide to run, when I realised that I would have to drive to Shannon airport that day because by mum is coming for a visit and I have to collect her. That settles that then.
I did a 7 mile run with 7x100m strides in the morning, and when I left the house it was so dark that I had to kind of guess where the road was, until I got out of the woods that surround our house. I really need to buy some kind of headlamp. I’ve seen one in a cyclist shop a few months ago, but wasn’t sure if it would be suitable for running. But I’ll have to find a solution soon, that’s for sure.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Cross Training

I started a new kind of cross training yesterday: Yoga. Yoga uses the weight of your own body in a very clever way to make the muscles work, and there is a lot of stretching involved. My wife has been an avid practitioner for years, and she finally managed to get me round to it. I think it will help me with my flexibility, which always tends to be low for long distance runners, and it does work some muscles that I usually don’t use.
It was surprisingly tough, and at one stage I got a cramp in my left calf! I haven’t had one of those since halfway through the Belfast marathon in May. It’s only once a week, so I’m supposed to do some practise at home as well. As I am really bad when it comes to stretching (i.e. I usually don’t do it), it might not be a bad idea at all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Jack tagged me, here are the rules:

Find your 23rd post.
Find and display the 5th sentence.
Tag five more unsuspecting bloggers.

My 5th sentence from 27 July 2005 was:

The run was not too bad, but I could definitely still feel the effects of Sunday in my legs, and the longer the run went on the more my hamstrings were hurting.

That was a 14 miles run, three days after a 20 miler. I remember it well, I had to get up at 5:20 in the morning for it!

And now I have to tag 5 more victims, and hope they haven't been tagged yet:
Yvonne, Zeke, Mike, Chelle and the other Thomas.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Decision Made!

Each time my wide gave birth to a baby, her first words were “never again”. Each time she had changed her mind within 24 hours (the present baby count is 3). It is similar with me and marathons. While I never said “never again”, I always said “not for a long while”, but fact is that I ran my 3 marathons to date all within 11 months. It’s no different this time: after the marathon 2 weeks ago, I decided to take a one year’s break from marathoning and run a few shorter races that don’t require such a long training. Well, I’ve changed my mind, I’ll train for the Connemara marathon on Mar 26th 2006. And now that I have published that decision on my blog for everyone to see, I can’t chicken out so easily.
The 18 weeks training starts on Nov 14 (if I've managed to count up to 18 correctly, that is :-) ), until then I'll take it easy to allow my body to recover from the last effort.

Friday, October 14, 2005


I did indeed run 7 miles as planned this morning, and boy, was it rewarding! It was 6:45 when I left our house, it was still dark outside and I was running under the most stunningly beautiful starry sky you can imagine, Orion straight ahead of me. When I ran along the shores of Caragh Lake, the first light of day somehow managed to illuminate the surrounding hills in a light that was – pure magic. I’m half tempted to take a camera with me one morning to take a picture, but I know that a photo could never capture the magic of that scene.
Wow, I’m really lucky to live in such a gorgeous place!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

When I started my blog back in May, I didn’t know about any other running blogs, and I didn’t know if anyone apart from myself was ever going to read it.
I’ve recently started looking at loads of other running blogs, and I find reading them really addictive (which means I shouldn’t really do it while at work!). There are blogs from people with all kinds of running abilities, from runners with marathon PRs of 2:45 or so to others with a PR twice that, and some who wouldn’t dream of attempting such a distance.
I’m awestruck by guys who can run under 3 hours, and their training routine is so far ahead from what I’m doing it’s like a different sport altogether. But I also find other blogs interesting, and you certainly don’t have to be an Olympic champion to write down interesting thoughts about running.
My own running is pretty low key at the moment, I did 5 miles yesterday, and an hour of soccer again tonight (which isn’t really running training, I know), and I’m planning 7 miles for tomorrow because I’m itching to up my distance a little bit. I’m not training for any run at the moment, I just want to keep in shape. If that’s good enough motivation to keep going, I’ll find out soon enough.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Competitive, me?

I’m taking it easy at the moment. I did a 5 mile run on Saturday, just 6 days after the marathon, and ended up running too fast. My quads hurt for several days after that, and I took it as a sign to rest more. I played a 5-a-side soccer game last night, which turned into 4 vs. 5 after one of my team mates got injured – and the amount of running I did afterwards was probably not good for me either. I might run an easy 5 miler tomorrow morning just to get back into recovery running, but only if it’s not raining. There’s no point in pushing yourself too hard at this time of the year.

A few weeks ago my wife asked me why I was so competitive when it comes to running. I didn’t agree with that statement at all. When running at my level, you’re not trying to beat anyone else, you’re just running against yourself. She still insisted that this was competitive. I’m not denying that I can be competitive (as anyone who came up against me at soccer can testify), I just don’t agree that trying to beat your own best time in a long-distance run is competitive.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

3-Country Marathon, Lake Constance, 2 October 2005

I'm better prepared than ever before for a marathon, though that is not saying an awful lot. My preparation was hampered by shin splints about 2 months before the marathon, and I subsequently missed a significant amount of training because of that.

We fly to Zürich on Thursday, 3 days before the marathon. I check the weather forecast and they say 13 degrees, cloudy, with occasional showers. That’s a bit chilly maybe, but not too bad running weather. By Saturday they’ve changed their mind: 10 degrees, rain, lots of it. Unfortunately, the latter prognosis is the correct one.

The start is in Lindau, Germany, a place with limited parking facilities, so the organisers urge everyone to park in Bregenz, Austria, near the finishing line and catch a boat from there to the start. I follow that advice, but completely fail to anticipate that the majority of the 5000 other starters (just over 1300 for the marathon, the rest for the half-marathon) had the same idea, and the queue is enormous. I manage to scramble onto the last boat, and get changed there. I haven’t got a watch on me, which is good, because we get to Lindau only 10 minutes before the start, we just have time to put our clothes onto the lorry and go into the starting area. The Good Thing about this is that we don’t have to wait in the freezing rain. The Bad Thing is that we are right at the back of the field.

Start: It takes a bit to get going, and then the pace is slower than I have planned. I intended to run roughly 5 minutes per km (8 minutes per mile) for as long as I can hang on to, but the pace for the first 10 km is more like 5:20 per km, about 8:30 per mile. The race is not run on the Bundesstraße (main road) but on smaller pathways and dirt roads along the lake. That makes for nicer scenery, but considering the number of runners, it is not sufficient. The worst point comes at about km 6, where I overtake a very slow trio of middle-aged fat slow bitches [insults definitely intended] who complain about being overtaken by so many people, because if people want to run faster, why don’t they start ahead of them in the first place. I just about manage to avoid the temptation to kick all kinds of **** out of them and keep going.

I miss most of the early km signs due to the congestion, but with my heart rate monitor (and the included stop watch functionality) I can always tell exactly where I am. It is frustrating to be stuck in the crowds, but I tell myself that at least I am prevented from starting too fast, and that is definitely a Good Thing.

The congestion continues all the way until about km 16 (10 miles) when the marathon and half-marathon courses finally split. From then on it’s more like being lonely rather than too busy.

I feel fine, not tired at all at that stage, and the water stations are every 2.5 km, which is great because it is never far to the next one. I have three carbo-hydrate gels with me. I initially attached them to my shorts, but that doesn’t work properly, so I carry them in my hands for most of the run. It doesn’t really bother me, but maybe for the next marathon I’ll get a belt for that kind of thing.

At km 20 (mile 12.5) I start to feel really good, without a trace of fatigue. Maybe the second gel I had just taken had something to do with it. The high doesn’t last for too long though, and by km 25 (mile 16) I start to feel low. Really low. Totally tired, knackered and out-of-it-low. I feel the overwhelming urge to do anything but continue running, but I somehow manage to find the energy to keep going, step by step by step, and finally, by km 30 (mile 19) I start to feel better again. I also realise that this is the farthest I have ever run in a marathon without getting cramps (I’ve had longer training runs without cramps, but then I never get cramps in training, ever). My pace is slower now, I just can’t keep the original pace any more, and I just manage to keep running by concentrating on my breathing. Left – right – inhale – left – right – exhale, and again, and again, and again. It’s not as boring as it sounds though.

The km markers keep coming, and there are plenty of people along the course cheering on the runners despite the weather. Oh yes, the weather. When they said rain, they really meant it. It is lashing for all of the 42 kilometers. It’s not just raining, it’s pouring, and without any break whatsoever. I’m running in a sleeveless top (thank god I’m not wearing a cotton t-shirt, it would drag me to the ground my now), and I’m grateful that it’s not windy, or I would be freezing despite the running effort.

It seems to be easier to run 42 km rather than 26 miles, because it is less distance from one marker to the next one. It really does seem to make a difference.

I manage to keep going, and finally the beautiful number 42 does appear on a sweet orange background, and me and everyone around me manages a surprisingly fast sprint into the stadium, around the track and over the finishing line.

My finishing time is 3:55:57, which means of course that I have finally, finally managed to beat that blasted 4 hours barrier, but considering all the hard work I’ve put in over the last 4 months, I am a bit disappointed. The weather was dreadful, but then again a cold day is better than a hot day. The congestion over the first 10 miles was brutal, but if that hadn’t been the case I would probably have started too fast (again) and my finishing time might have been slower, who knows. I have also finally managed to run a marathon without any cramps, and I have actually managed to run the whole distance without walking break.

I have originally had an eye on the Connemara marathon in March for my next effort, but maybe I’ll take some time off marathon running, concentrate on a few shorter races (after all, in my life I have run exactly 4 distance races, 3 marathons and one 5km run that I didn’t take very seriously) that don’t take so much effort, and maybe do another autumn marathon in 2006, after my body has had some rest.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

This will probably be the last entry before the marathon, because we will drive to Dublin later today, and fly to Zürich tomorrow. I did a fairly easy 7 miles in the morning, and felt good, though the thighs are a bit heavy now. It was still very dark when I left the house, and I had to be careful on the driveway, but it was ok after a few minutes of running. At least the roads are quiet at that time of the day. ;-)
I’ll probably run 2 or 3 easy miles on Friday and Saturday, just to relax, and I sincerely hope for decent running weather on Sunday!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Marathon tapering is frustrating. Really, it is. I know that rest will do me good and that I will be in better shape for it, but I feel the urge to go running again, and it really is frustrating to stay in instead.
For my previous marathons I tapered for 4 weeks, and it definitely was too long. By the time I got to the starting line I felt stale rather than fresh. This time I have opted for a two weeks taper, less than most experts recommend, but not outrageously short, because I felt I still had to put in some extra effort because I missed quite some training time due to my shin splints.

I went for a short but fast 6 mile run yesterday. I really have to be careful not to run too fast in the early stages of the marathon, because I will feel very rested and raring to go, but I know full well that a fast start would be the single biggest mistake I could make.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I ran my last high-intensity workout in the morning, 3x1mile intervals. I had a sore throat when I woke up, and was very tempted to just turn around and sleep for another 90 minutes, but somehow managed to summon the energy to get out of bed and go running. If it had been raining I would definitely have turned right back into bed, so I guess it was lucky that the rain started 20 minutes later, and by then I was already in the middle of my first interval.
My left thigh hurts, the same pain I had last week, and my right shin, the one with the shin splints, doesn’t feel 100% either, but neither hurts enough to stop me from running. From now to the marathon it’s mostly rest and recovery anyway. I’ve stopped the soccer because I don’t want to get injured the week before the run, and am all set to go.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Maybe it wasn’t the best thing to do, running 16 miles just 2 weeks before the marathon when I was supposed to be in my tapering period, but after last week’s horror show I really needed a boost, more to my confidence than to my endurance. And I’m glad I did it, because it went really well, the miles just flew by and I never felt particularly tired. The one thing disturbing me was the blister I got on Friday, it burst open at some stage and felt rather painful. In fact, whenever I thought about it, it hurt a lot more. I managed to ignore it for most of the time though, and as a result feel much more optimistic about the marathon than at any time in the last few weeks.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Oh the pain

I got up early at 6am for a 9-mile LT run. The run itself was fine, but I felt a pain in the following areas of my right leg: my heel, my shin, my achilles tendon and my knee. To balance that, I developed a massive blister on the inside of my left foot. That is weird, because I've never developed a blister on any of my feet before, not even during my marathons. I think it really is time for the marathon, because my body seems to be in need of rest sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Today I ran the 4.5 miles into work for the first time. It takes a lot of organisation the day before to leave everything you need at work (outfit, shoes, towel, shower gel), but it meant that I can get a run in the morning without having to get up early.
Of course there was a problem with my plan: I left a bit late and was anxious to get into work on time, and ran much faster than the scheduled recovery run pace.
I’ll have to run back home after work (I’m writing this at lunch time), and then I can run in a more relaxed manner.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

After Sunday’s horror show, I was eager to do a proper workout as soon as possible, but managed to wait patiently until Tuesday morning. Getting up at 6:15 was not a problem: the kids had ensured that I was awake since 4:47, without being able to get any more sleep after that.
It’s hardly the best preparation for a VO2max session, but what can you do! The running actually went well, apart from the fact that my brain switched off completely (probably due to oxygen depletion) and I was running totally on auto-pilot until the middle of the sixth interval – that’s when I realised that I had only planned to do five! Never mind, a bit of extra workout doesn’t do any harm, and it’s not like I don’t need it.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Oh Dear

I had planned a 20 miler three weeks before the marathon as a big last boost to my endurance and my confidence. What I got was a painful stumble in the heat, with a full stomach and full of pain. I had to turn back after 9 miles, I really wasn’t in any position to run any further. The heat certainly didn’t help, but I feel the main problem was that I ate too close to the run and the stomach was still full of food by the time I set off, and therefore I didn’t have any energy left for running. I had a break of about half an hour, maybe more, then set off for another 5 miles run, which went better, but also slower.
So, instead of a big boost for my endurance, a big blow to my confidence. Damn.

Friday, September 09, 2005


This morning, I refused to go out for a run for the first time since training began, despite getting up at 6am. One look out of the window was enough to send me back to bed. Not only was the rain pelting down in bucket-loads, the wind was howling as well. Maybe it’s the tail end of Katrina, or maybe it’s just plain old bad Irish weather, but it certainly didn’t invite running. I also missed soccer last night due to work overtime.
Ah well, at least the old shin splints are getting some rest.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Yesterday I had to deliver our car to the mechanic for a service. I combined this with a little run. The mechanic’s house is about 3.5 miles from us, and with a little detour I made it a 6.5 miles run in the evening. So far so good, unfortunately I got stomach cramps half way through. They never stopped all evening, and I still got a sick feeling in my stomach the next morning.
Not sure what caused them, originally I thought I was just hungry, but dinner didn’t help much. I still managed to complete the run though ;-)

Monday, September 05, 2005

I had chickened out of my long run the previous Sunday and went home after 10 miles; therefore I really had to put in some effort yesterday. The weather was miserable, cold and rainy (not very windy though), and I begged the wife to give me an excuse not to go running. She must have wanted me out of the house though, because she pointed out that a bit of rain doesn’t bother you while running. So off I went, and it went ok actually, 17 miles, and it wasn’t raining all the time, and never heavily. The first 10 miles were easy, the next 7 less so but I got home in reasonable shape. I will try and go for another 20 miler next Sunday, and then start the taper.
I think my shins are improving, I haven’t got any pain today. They did hurt on Friday evening, despite the fact that Friday was a rest day, and have been fine ever since. Weird, but I’m not complaining.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Something New

After about 450 miles on Kerry’s tarmac roads, I have finally found a running option with soft surface: Rossbeigh beach, over 2.5 straight miles of sandy beach each way. Unfortunately it is only available at low tide and I don’t even want to think about how windy it can get there, but my shins are crying out for a soft running surface.
I went there yesterday with the best wife of all, she had a swim and I had a 40 minutes run. As you get to the tip of the peninsula, the surface is very soft and running on it is quite tough, but it is definitely something I will do again. I also had a swim in the water afterwards (on strict order from the missus), which, I suppose, also worked as icing of the shins. It might even be possible to run from our house to Rossbeigh, do 5 or 6 miles on there and run back, which would make it a 20 mile trip. I will think about it.

Friday, August 26, 2005

More Pain

My shin splints are hurting again, and I haven't done any running since Tuesday. Bugger.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I did my first “proper” VO2max session yesterday. The aim is to increase your maximum oxygen intake, and to do that you run intervals at up to 98% of your max heart rate. I don’t have an athletic track, so I had to have to guess the distance of 600 meters. I did 5 repeats, as ordered in the training plan, and it went ok, with my heart rate up to 182 – I can assure you, that is rather high. I felt a painful twinge in my hamstring for the 36 hours after that, but it seems to be ok now.
I definitely have to be careful with my shin splints, I could feel the by now familiar pain in my left leg all day today, so I decided to skip today’s 11 miles run. I will probably do a run on Friday, and then a long one on Sunday, that would still leave me at about 35 miles this week, which is significantly less than in the weeks before my injury. I am obviously guessing wildly here on how much mileage my battered leg can take at the moment. If the pain gets worse it means I’ve got it wrong.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Back on the Beat

I stopped running for about 10 days, and started again a few days ago. I did 6.7 miles on Wednesday, at an insane speed of 6:24 per mile, and that over a course with a climb of 60 or 70 meters elevation. I didn’t even know that I could run that fast, never mind doing so after being out injured. I obviously had loads of energy to unload. Subsequent runs were a bit more relaxed, and on Sunday I tackled my first long run, 17 miles, but on a very flat course. I’m on Valentia island at the moment, and the Good Thing about running here is that the roads are very quiet and you have a good choice between running along the shore (flat as a pancake) or up the hills. The Bad Thing is wind – lots of it, and then some more. If you take a map of Ireland, well, Valentia is right there at the western edge, and then there is nothing but water – nothing to stop the wind. Hence half of my 17 miler was run against an increasingly strong headwind, strong enough to nearly causing me to stop a few times, but I eventually managed to toughen it out. It is amazing how quickly your endurance goes. Four weeks ago I ran 20 miles without any problems, and yesterday I felt an overpowering urge to do anything but keep running after only 9 miles!
I also bought a new pair of shoes, because I had done 400 miles in the old pair, and I have decided to replace any recovery runs with cycling, to give my shins a bit of a rest. That brings my weekly running mileage to about 40 or 45 miles, and I hope that I will be able to handle this without aggravating my injury any further. The marathon is only 6 weeks off, and another injury would surely stop me in my tracks.
Here’s hoping for the best.

Monday, August 08, 2005


I suppose it all went too well and it was only a matter of time until my first serious setback: I’ve got shin splints, a moderately painful injury in my right lower leg. I have started to feel it a few weeks ago, but, being an inexperienced runner, did not know what it was. Now it has got worse, and to avoid aggravating it even further, I have decided to stop running for at least a week. I don’t want to lose my fitness, I have worked far too hard to get so far, so I went cycling on Sunday, 15.5 miles around Caragh Lake, and that included a 3 miles climb from 15 to 200 meters above sea level. The average heart rate was way lower that it would have been while running, so I really hope I will be able to get back to running sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Heavy Pounding

Bank Holiday Weekends are there to relax, put your feet up and enjoy a few days of peace and quiet – unless you’re training for a marathon that is!

I was supposed to do a 6 miles recovery run on Saturday, mixed with 6x100m stride-outs. I ran it way too fast! I still have to get to grips with how to combine a recovery run with stride-outs, the last time I attempted it I was too fast as well.
Sunday’s run was special, a 15 miler with 12 miles at full marathon race pace, quite a challenge, not helped by my idiocy the day before. At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it at speed because my thighs felt rather heavy, but as the run went on I just kept plucking away, and managed to finish the distance in 1 hour 59 minutes, that’s 7:56 per mile, which was very satisfying. My average heart rate was 163, probably the highest average heart rate I’ve ever had, especially over such a long distance. It was a really good confidence booster though, because I was still running very strongly on the last mile, in fact I sprinted back home.

Monday was not only a rest day but a bank holiday as well, but instead of being able to put up my feet and relax I had to go to the wildlife park in Fota, Co. Cork, with the children, where we spent over 4 hours walking around. The kids absolutely loved it, but it certainly wasn’t a recovery from my point of view.
Today’s 8 miles run was okay, but I am getting more and more familiar with the concept of Running on Tired Legs! What’s more, tomorrow is the first VO2max session, and you are supposed to be rested and relaxed for that. I guess we shall see how it goes.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Running on Tired Legs

Whoever designed my training schedule must have had a sadistic streak. Only three days after the 20 miles run it called for a mid-week 14 miles run. Not only was I still stiff from the weekend’s effort, it also meant I had to get up at 5:20 in the morning. On the plus side it meant a tranquil run in a beautiful setting with hardly anyone on the road, at least initially. The run was not too bad, but I could definitely still feel the effects of Sunday in my legs, and the longer the run went on the more my hamstrings were hurting. Luckily headwind or dogs didn’t bother me this time, and I managed to get back home in reasonable shape, but I am really tired now. There is still no rest for the weary, tomorrow calls for another 6 mile recovery run, but at least this week’s mileage is lower that last week, a mere 47 miles, and I have already covered 20 of those.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Long Long Long

20 miles sounded like a very long run, especially after the torturous 18 miles run two weeks ago. I woke up a couple of times the night before and it was raining heavily each time – not too encouraging. But the rain stopped in the morning, and temperature wise it was perfect. The strong wind was less so, and from mile 6 to 11 I was constantly running against an increasingly strong head wind. I suddenly got a stitch in my side, something that had never happened before since I started running in earnest. It was then that I got aware of my breathing. Instead of taking a breath every four steps I did so every three. I consciously changed my breathing pattern and the stitch disappeared. Apart from that there was no problem, I changed my running route from mile 13 to the finish to run in the woods toward Ard Na Sidhe, thus avoiding more wind.
Considering how long a run it was, I felt amazingly well, I was still running strong on the last mile. I was pretty tired for the rest of the day though, and today I’m quite stiff. Nevertheless, I’m pleased how well it went. There won’t be any longer runs than this for the rest of the training schedule (though there will be two more 20 milers), and to go through a run like this feeling fairly well is a tremendous confidence booster.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Long Ones

This week the mileage is seriously cranking up. 12 miles on Wednesday, 11 today (including 6 miles at LT speed), and the longest run is yet to come, 20 miles on Sunday. Add to that two shorter recovery runs and you have one big week. Well, not by athletic elite standards, but certainly by mine.
Additionally I had to endure a test of character yesterday, as the company organised a barbeque with free drinks. Most other guys (and the girls!) got drunk, and I was there with my glass of water. On the plus side, I’m the one without the splitting headache today.
The LT run today was great, I enjoy pushing myself harder, and I can already feel the effects of previous tempo runs on my fitness.
The missus yesterday mentioned to a friend that I got up at 6 am to go running (actually, it had been 5:30), and she recommended that I should go for a psychiatric treatment!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

City Life is not for me

I think it’s fair to say that if I lived in Dublin, I would not have taken up running as a hobby. Most of the pathways are concrete, which is really bad for your knees, and where they are tarmac they tend to be so uneven that you have to be very careful to go over your ankles. Add to that that on each crossing you either have to break your rhythm or risk your life.
I didn’t realise that South Dublin is so hilly! Running up either Kill Lane or Newtownpark Avenue is a challenge, take my word for it.
I still managed the 37 miles I had intended, and the training is going quite well, to be honest. This week is going to be tough, with 54 miles, and a 20 miler on the weekend.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

It felt like hell!

The 18 miles run just 14 hours after the Killarney 5km fun run was pure torture. It didn’t help that the sun came out after 4 miles and was burning down relentlessly. I had chosen on a new route towards the McGillycuddy Reeks and that included a 3 miles stretch where the road continually went uphill. At least coming down the other way was easy! The worst thing was that I ran out of water 4 miles before the end. I didn’t drink enough before my run and felt thirsty soon enough, which is always a bad sign. Anyway, 2.5 miles before the end I asked an old lady if I could have a drink of water, because I was really dehydrated. She seemed actually please to have someone to talk to for a minute or two. Anyway, after thanking her several times (and really meaning it!) I went on for the last stretch home which now felt much easier. I was glad to come home though, mind. The whole run took over 2 hours 40 minutes.

Thoughts about Friday's Killarney 5km Fun Run

  • Don't eat a dinner just an hour before the run
  • Don’t wait behind some, well, heavier runner at the starting line. They are bound to slow you down when you try to overtake them.
    Fell for that one
  • Don’t run behind some good-looking girl and stare at her behind instead of overtaking her.
    Managed to avoid that one. Just.
  • Don’t run the race the day after an 11 miles run, and the day before an 18 miles long run. On the other hand, that is fine as long as you’re treating the race as part of the marathon training.
    I did the latter one, obviously.
  • Don’t worry about some overweight fellow overtaking you after 500 meters. You will catch him 1 km further on at the very latest.
  • Don’t worry about some kid not older than 8 or maybe 10 years in front of you. You will finally pass him on the last km.
  • Don’t worry about the maybe 70 years old granddad in front of you either. You will finally catch him on the hill just before the end.
  • If this is your first ever race over 5km, despite the fact that you have already finished two marathons, you’re doing that running thing the odd way round
    I know
  • Anyway, finishing within 21:50 despite being tired from the day before and despite not running all out because you’re conscious of the 18 miles run waiting for you just 14 hours later isn’t bad.
    At least I hope so.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Reality Bites Yet Again

The Good Lady Wife has informed me rather late that she made an executive decision that the whole family are going to spend next week in Dublin. She even pretended to have discussed that with me (which she had not) and that I had agreed (which I definitely did not). As I don’t fancy running 50 miles through Dublin’s traffic, I decided to up this week’s quota and have next week as a recovery week instead. Of course we are already in the middle of the week, but my total so far is only one mile less than scheduled, and I can live with that I guess. To further complicate matters, I will have to do this week’s long run on Saturday rather than Sunday because there is no way I can run 18 miles in the morning and then share the drive up to Dublin.

I’ll handle it, I’m sure.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Here Comes the Rain Again

A run of 17 miles sounded very daunting, and I was somehow dreading it all Saturday, but when I got going, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared it would be. The biggest problem was the weather. It was raining very heavily when I intended to go out, so I delayed for about 20 minutes, when the sun was shining again. All went well for two hours, when, at 14 miles, the mother of all downpours erupted. It was raining so hard that I first thought it was hail stoning. There was not much I could do about it, apart from keeping running. It rained for less than 20 minutes, so the last mile was run in full sunshine again, but I was soaked all the way through, and rather glad when I got home. The whole run took 2 hours 26 minutes, which I was pleased with.

This was the longest run I have ever done in one go without any walking breaks, so I am definitely getting a lot fitter. The first phase of the training schedule is now complete, next week is a recovery week with “only” 36 or so miles to go, and then the lactate sessions phase will begin. Somehow, in my weird way, I am actually looking forward to that.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Gone to the Dogs again

I managed to get through the two hard days without too much troubles, but I am quite tired now. Walking up the staircase into the office was a challenge, but I had just completed 24 miles within 36 hours. I’ll recover over the next two days, but Sunday’s 17 miler looks daunting now.

After about 2 miles there was a cyclist coming the other way, followed by two dogs – the same two idiotic dogs that had been bothering me last week. He asked me to make them follow me instead of him, which I really hoped they wouldn’t do, but they did indeed. Luckily, when we passed their home, they stayed there and I could continue undisturbed.

I’m a bit worried that my running speed seems to decrease, at the moment I’m struggling to reach 8:30 per mile, something I could do easily at the beginning of the training. I hope it is just because of the increase in training intensity and will be ok once my body gets used to it, and not a sign of over-training.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Reality Bites!

A few weeks ago I stupidly decided to give the wife a special surprise and got her 2 tickets for a concert of some aging overrated rock-group in Dublin (all right, U2 in Croke Park, the hottest tickets in the country by far), and now I’m paying the price. She went off Sunday morning and won’t be back until Tuesday, and I’m the one minding the children, thus no running. To get somewhat around this I did my 15 miler on Saturday rather than on Sunday, and got up at 5:20 on Sunday so that I could do my 4 miles recovery run before she left.

Yes, I was totally wrecked on Sunday.

Monday is a rest day anyway, but I had planned a hard tempo run for Tuesday morning, which will now be impossible. I might be able to do an easy 5 miles on Tuesday evening, the tempo run on Wednesday and 10 miles on Thursday, thus matching the pre-planned mileage, but I will have to see if I can handle two hard days like this in a row. Sigh. It always sucks when real life interferes with your plans, doesn’t it?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

alarm troubles

I’m really losing it. I set my alarm in time for my 10 miles run today, and set it for 5:20 instead of 5:40. I didn’t even notice at first, only wondered why it was still so dark. I didn’t even get any extra sleep when I went back to bed eventually, because our youngest one must have heard me getting up and demanded a) a bottle and b) some attention.

Apart from that the run went well, the miles were just flying by. Only problem is that I didn’t wear any of my usual running shorts because they were all in the wash, and the pair I wore were just a little bit too tight, not tight enough to be uncomfortable, but tight enough to cause chafing. Ouch. I hope it will have cleared up by Sunday, because a 15 miler with aching legs is not my idea of fun.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I hate dogs!

Actually, I love dogs. I used to have one when I was a child, until it died of old age when I was 16 or 17. But when I’m out running, things are different. Dogs that bark are a nuisance, but dogs that chase you are worse. Exactly that happened today. With 2.5 miles left on my run, those two stupid dogs started to come after me. They didn’t try to bite me, they just kept running alongside, and twice very nearly tripped me up. I tried to shoo them away, I shouted at them, and one stage, when it was getting too much, I even tried to kick one of them (no chance :-) ), but nothing helped. They kept following me until I got home (2.5 miles away from their home), and even tried to enter our house!

In fact, those stupid animals were still there when I left for work nearly 90 minutes later! Can you believe that?

The run was okay, apart from those last miles when I kept getting out of rhythm. I hate dogs!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Putting on the miles

I’ve noticed that I mentioned my heart rate in four of the last five entries, so I’ll leave it out for a while, or I might sound obsessed with it. Saturday’s four miles run was easy enough, but the 14 miles on Sunday were rather tough going. Usually I get into cruise-control-mode after about two miles, when the running becomes automatic and the miles just fly past. Not so yesterday, I had to push myself all the way, and was really knackered at the end of it. It was a warm day, and by the time I finished the run at 11 o’clock, the sun was really burning down.

Having to bring the kids to the pet farm in the afternoon (and staying there for 2 and a half hours) didn’t do much for me either. I’m exhausted today. Then again, I've just finished a 40 miles week, which is definitely the most I've ever run in one week.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Windy Conditions

I must be completely bonkers, because I got up at 5:40 in the morning for my 10 miles run, despite hearing the wind and rain outside. Getting out of the house was delayed by 5 minutes, because I was watching our kittens (4 weeks old) running around the hall and one daringly made it into the kitchen. They are incredibly cute at the moment, and I had to stay and watch them for a while rather than storming out of the house immediately.

The run was fine, I noticed that I must be getting fitter, because on the same run last week my average heart rate was 162, and today it was 158, despite running in quite windy conditions. Actually the wind wasn’t too bad, the road along Caragh Lake is quite sheltered, and there is just the odd spot where you feel the full force.

All in all, the training is going very well so far.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The First Tempo Run

When I started running, I checked out a lot of web sites, and was really frustrated about the amount of jargon they used without explaining what it was. Lactate threshold, vO2max, vvO2max and other weird things. It wasn’t until I purchased a book about marathon running that I finally caught on. Lactate threshold is easy: your muscles always create a certain amount of lactate, and it gets removed constantly. As your activity increases, so does the amount of lactate created. At some point you create more lactate than can be removed: this is the lactate threshold. It is one of the most important variables in marathon running, because your optimal marathon speed is just under that threshold. That’s why increasing your lactate threshold is important for a marathon runner who wants to improve his time.

I did my first lactate threshold run today, and it wasn’t as tough as I though it would be. After running 2.5 miles as a warm-up, I increased my tempo until the heart rate was about 165, and kept it between 165 and 175 for 4 more miles. The last 1.5 miles were a cool down. I managed to keep it going quite easily, apart from a big hill at the and of the tempo session, when the heart rate got up to 178. I slowed down, but the heart rate kept rising until it reached 181. That wasn’t planned and I was totally out of breath, but I don’t think it did any harm. I feel really energetic now.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Wedding delays

I had to go to a wedding on Friday (which was set in beautiful Dingle, about an hour drive from home), and stayed there for most of Saturday – you don’t always get the chance to relax for a whole day without kids. As a result of this, my Saturday run was very late at half past five in the evening, and it was very hot.

I still felt it in my legs on Sunday, but I managed the 13 miles without any big problems. I’m very tired today though. The schedule for tomorrow is a hard tempo run, I hope I’ll be up for it. The training is clearly stepping up in intensity now.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Heart Rate Failure

I stupidly decided to change the schedule and try to run up a hill until I nearly pass out instead of running a comfortable 10 miles. Well, what happened was that I ran up a hill until I nearly passed out, jogged down again, tried to run up again until I felt like passing out halfway up and had to stop. Maybe I’m not fit enough to push myself so hard, or maybe I just don’t have the confidence to push myself so hard, but I still don’t quite know my max heart rate. I know that it is higher than the 185 from the old 220 – age formula, because at the end of the first run it was up to 186.

I just have to take a guess and say it’s probably between 190 or 195.

Plus, I played football for an hour last night, plus another hour tonight, so at least I won’t have to worry about not doing enough training.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Heart Rate Monitor

I’ve recently bought a heart rate monitor to help the training. It’s a very cheap one, a Polar F1 for 47 Euros – the cheapest I could find, but still from Polar (after reading plenty of reviews, I wouldn’t bother with any other make).

It’s great, I’ve already checked my resting heart rate (48), and now my only problem is that I don’t know my max heart rate. I suspect it is more than the 185 I would get from the usual 220-age formula (oops, I've given away my age now).

On yesterday’s 8 miles run I did a few sprints in-between and got the heart rate up to 179, and I’m sure that wasn’t anywhere near my max. I could do a really hard three-times-up-a-hill run to check the max heart rate tomorrow instead of the scheduled 10 miles run. I’ll decide in the morning.

Oh, and getting up at 6 am keeps being a challenge

Monday, June 06, 2005

Still in the first week and already nearly a half marathon

I had a really great 12 miles run on Sunday. Strictly speaking I ran too fast, but I was not pushing myself hard at all, I just ran at what seemed a comfortable pace. Over the first 4 miles I didn’t feel that great, and started to think that the training schedule might be too demanding. But after that I felt really good and just kept going. I did negative splits (meaning I ran the second half faster than the first one – always a good sign). All in all, the workout took 1 hour and 38 minutes, about 8:10 per mile.

I finally bought new shoes, and they felt fine as well. The pain in my left knee is completely gone, my right knee is still a bit sore, but I think it’s getting better too. There are no blisters or anything, always a good thing with new shoes.

Come on the second week!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Don't overdo it!

Thursday was actually a strenuous day. Not only did I run 9 miles in the morning, I also played football for an hour in the evening and then spent an hour doing yoga with my wife. (Actually my first proper yoga session ever!)

The football is a social thing that I don’t want to stop, even if it interferes with my marathon training, and the yoga was something I had agreed to earlier and then completely forgotten about.

As a result of all this I felt rather tired for today’s 4 miles run. It was supposed to be an easy recovery run, but I felt tired, even though I ran as slow as I could.

I must be careful not to over train. I should probably cut a mile or two off Thursday's runs, as I will get additional training from the football, even if it's not marathon specific.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Wednesday was a rest day, and today was another run, 9 miles this time. Just straight running, no sprints in-between, which made it easier than Tuesday’s.
The only problem was that I had gone to bed a bit late (11:30), and was woken by the baby at 2, at 3, at 4, at 4:30 (at which time I gave him a bottle) and at 5. I got up at 6.

I feel fine, not particularly tired, but my knees hurt. Again.

Running at 6:30 in the morning is great (once you manage to get out of bed), the roads are dead quiet (I met two vehicles, a tractor and a delivery van), and the scenery around Caragh Lake is just stunning. It was a bit windy but not too bad, considering that it had been storming all night.
I’m actually looking forward to the next workouts, 4 miles on Saturday, and 12 on Sunday.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The First Workout

I've got three young children, so running after work would definitely not go down well with my wife
(just imagine:
Me: Bye honey, I am off running for an hour or two, while you feed them, bath them, read them stories, and put them to bed on your own
Her: Ok, have fun
- not likely!)

As a result, I get up at 6:15 in the morning (as it turns out I had to get up anyway because the baby (18 months) was crying and wanted his bottle). I am out of the house at 6:35, the wife looking at me incredulously (she’s used to me doing weird things by now, but voluntarily getting up at this time of night is new).

I cover 7 miles with 10x100meters sprints in-between. Well, to be honest, the sprints were probably shorter than that, but they certainly got the heart rate up, and made the run a lot tougher.

I took just under an hour. It was rather tough, and my right knee hurts. I need new runners, the old ones are worn out ( I covered two marathons including all the training in them)


I want to be a marathon runner. Well, actually, I am a marathon runner, because I have completed two of those monsters already, but not in an entirely satisfying way.

My first marathon was in October 2004 in Dublin (Ireland). I didn’t do much training, running just once a week and my longest run was just 15.5 miles, a whopping 11 miles shorter than the marathon. No wonder then that during the event I got absolutely knackered, suffered from cramps from 18.5 miles on, and struggled to finish it. My time was 4:06:42.

On my second attempt (2 May 2005 in Belfast) I was determined to beat to 4 hours mark, so I ran twice a week, and the longest run was about 19 miles. Being better prepared (though not exactly well trained), I was confident I would reach my goal. However, disaster struck 5 days before the event, when I was laid low by a stomach bug, could not eat anything for about 36 hours, and still had a splitting headache three days before the start. I felt better the next day, and, foolishly, decided to go ahead. Bad decision. I got cramps from half way on, and suffered for the rest of it. The time was a very slow 4:36:42 hours, though the distance covered was closer to 27 miles, thanks to some IRA fellas and their bomb (it didn’t explode, thank God), which caused a diversion and an extra 1180 meters to cover.

Putting those efforts behind me, I have decided to run the Three-countries-marathon in October 2005, and hope to finally get past that pathetic 4 hours time. Third time lucky.