Thursday, June 29, 2006

Unexpected Hurdles

I was determined to follow my resolve and run Wednesday’s 12 miler slower than on Monday. I didn’t know that the choice would be made for me.

First of all, I didn’t get enough sleep. Cian had fallen asleep in the middle of eating dinner at 6pm, and had to be carried into bed. As a result, he was wide awake at 4:45 am, and had no intentions of letting his parents get some extra sleep. Eventually I put on his favourite DVD and at 6 o’clock I headed out for my run. After less than a minute I felt an excruciating pain in my left chest. It was pure torture! I was pretty sure that it wasn’t a heart attack though. I’m 36, healthy and very fit, and people like me don’t get heart attacks, do they? I checked for a few symptoms. Pain in left shoulder? Yes. Cold sweat? Yes, but it was 6 am and I was running. Shortage of breath? No. Tingling sensation in the fingers? No. Panic? No. I decided I wasn’t about to die and carried on in hope that the pain would go away. It didn’t. The faster I ran, the more painful it got. After three miles, when turning onto a dirt road, I felt slightly better, which I put down to the body’s endorphins kicking in, but two miles later, after coming out onto the road again, I realised that it had been the running surface that made the difference; the harder the surface, the more intense the pain. I ran past our driveway after a 7 mile loop, and for some reason decided to explore the fields behind our house. Why did I continue running despite being in agony? I’m not entirely sure myself. I didn’t want to miss a workout, but I knew well enough that a missed run or two 17 weeks before a marathon is hardly a big deal. Probably I just wanted to prove to myself that I could handle the pain. (No, sanity didn’t come into the equation). Anyway, I rather aimlessly ran cross-country through the bog fields, passed one or two illegal building sites (the authorities here are useless), followed various dirt roads that usually ended in the middle of nowhere, and at one stage had to jump over a ditch in order to continue. It was actually fun to leave the road behind and just criss-cross the area. Unfortunately, the pain never stopped. I was on my feet for 1:43, which was 9 minutes longer than on Monday, but at a slower pace, so I decided to call it 11 miles.

The pain still didn’t go away when I was sitting at my desk at work, and I decided to see a doctor after lunchtime. When I mentioned chest pains, she agreed to see me pretty much straight away. After the examination she said that there was nothing wrong with my lungs, there was definitely nothing wrong with my heart, and it must be a muscle related problem. That was actually the diagnosis I had expected already. She prescribed some anti-inflammatory tablets, and said that I might want to stop running for a few days.

When I woke up this morning, I still felt some pain in my left chest and decided not to go running. I lay in bed wide-awake for nearly an hour until I got too bored. I got up, borrowed Niamh’s bike and went cycling for about 40 minutes, which went fine. Now I’m unsure how to proceed. The plan calls for 18 miles tomorrow, but if I feel like yesterday, that’s not an option. I’m tempted to try anyway, but it means getting up at 5 am, and I don’t really want to get up at such an hour without knowing if it will be worth it. I’ll probably decide tonight at the very last moment. Remember, the doctor didn’t tell me to stop running. She said “might”.

Just two days ago I mentioned the possibility of getting injured, but I certainly didn’t expect a problem with some stupid muscle in my chest.

28 Jun: 11 miles, 1:43, 9:17 pace
29 Jun: 8 miles (guess) on the bike, 40 minutes

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

It’s Doing the Rounds Again

Funny, just the other day I was thinking that it had been a long time since the last meme made the rounds. I must be psychic, because here it is, and Michelle tagged me. Let’s get going then shall we?

4 Jobs I’ve had:
  • Barman
  • Computer programmer
  • Skiing Instructor
  • Maths Tutor

4 Movies I watch over and over:
  • Pulp fiction
  • Leon
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

4 Places I have lived:
  • Vils, Tyrol, Austria
  • London, England
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Killorglin, Ireland

4 TV shows I watch:
  • Lost
  • Have I got News for you?
  • The Premiership
  • Yes, Minister

4 Places I’ve been on Vacation:
  • Iceland
  • Lapland
  • Egypt
  • Australia

4 Websites I visit every day:

4 Favourite Foods:
  • pasta (any)
  • Niamh’s pumpkin risotto
  • Tuscan bread soup
  • Chowder

4 Places I'd rather be right now:
  • at home
  • on the road, running
  • on a skiing slope
  • The City of Manchester Stadium

4 Favorite Bands/Singers:
  • Marilyn Manson
  • Iron Maiden
  • Metallica
  • Nirvana

4 Bloggers I'll tag: (but don’t feel obliged!)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I see

According to you guys I’m either on the verge of injury and burnout, or I’m going to set a big PR in Dublin. Actually, I kind of agree with that assessment. When I decided to follow a new training plan that called for an increase in my mileage well beyond a level I’ve done before, I was well aware that doing so could well leave me injured. The possibility of that happening still exists, and only time will tell. Sometimes you have to take a calculated risk, and that’s what I’ve decided to do. If I can’t handle the mileage then I’ll find out soon enough, but I will definitely give it a go.

Mike has pointed out the unusual google ads I’m getting at the top of my page. At the moment it’s all for eczema medication, a few weeks ago it was all about cold medicine, and who knows what they will be serving in future. House insurance? Child minders? Disaster Recovery?

Today is the last day of school before the summer holidays, and Niamh isn’t exactly relishing the prospect of having to look after three children all day every day. It’s difficult enough to look after just Cian (and don’t I know it!), without the added distraction of two lively 5-year olds. I just hope the disaster recovery won’t be necessary for a while.

My right heel is a bit painful at the moment. It doesn’t bother me while running, but it was quite painful last night, and it’s hurting again as I type. I’m quite sure it’s not plantar fasciitis, because the pain is right at the back of my heel. Maybe you shouldn’t have mentioned injury in your comments, guys. My hope is that a new pair of shoes will cure the problem. It usually does.

I was a bit stupid on yesterday’s 12-mile run. I had expected to feel a bit stiff after Sunday’s tempo run, but instead I felt great. So great that I started an imaginary race against myself between miles 6 and 10, and overdid it a bit. I finally told myself to slow down for the last two miles. Ah well – the weather was nice, the road was clear and I just felt like it. I made sure that today’s 5 miler was a true recovery run, and I promise I’ll run tomorrow’s 12 miles a tad slower.

26 Jun: 12 miles, 1:34, 7:50 pace
27 Jun: 5 miles, 48:37, 9:43 pace

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I knew it

It was only a matter of time until someone would start questioning the authenticity of my accounts of Cian’s misdemeanours. Well, I can assure you, I don’t make up anything, and I don’t exaggerate; it is simply not necessary with that boy. His stage of development isn’t called the Terrible Twos for nothing. I vividly remember the time when Lola and Shea were that age. Whenever Gaga would mention the Terrible Twos, I was never sure if he was referring to the twins or merely to their stage of development. However, Cian didn’t cause any significant damage since the last time. He caused a few minor mishaps, like pouring the Calamine lotion into his bath last night, but that’s hardly worth mentioning.

This weekend saw a massive meeting of Harley-Davidson’s in Killarney. Depending on which paper you believe, there were between 5000 and 10000 bikers there. As far as I can tell, the whole weekend passed off entirely peacefully, and all the bikers we saw on the road were driving extremely disciplined. But last night, two of them were killed in a collision with a car less than 10 miles from here. That’s terrible, and Niamh’s first words were that it must have been the car driver’s fault because the bikers were all so well behaved, but of course we don’t know what really happened.

Running seems to be the one topic I’m mentioning the least these days. That’s because there aren’t a lot of worthwhile incidents. I’m slowly increasing my mileage and I’m running more than ever before, and I feel great about it. Well, that isn’t entirely true, one or two days ago I felt a bit of a twinge in my right foot. I guess it’s a sign that my shoes are coming to the end of their useful life. I always alternate two pairs of shoes, and the older pair has nearly 400 miles on them. I guess it’s time for another retirement. Thanks to Cliff, who very generously donated a pair that he didn’t feel comfortable with (thanks again, mate), I already have a replacement ready. I might still get another pair, because I prefer to alternate between two different kinds of shoes, and the two pairs I have lined up are both Asics GT-1110s.

The predicted rain never arrived, and Friday’s 17 miles went without a hitch, as did the 9 miles today, with 4 miles at threshold pace. I think I ran the threshold run a bit too fast three weeks ago, so I slowed down a little bit in comparison. I still felt quite knackered towards the end, but, after all, that’s what you’re supposed to feel after such a workout.

23 Jun: 17.2 miles, 2:20, 8:08 pace
25 Jun: 9 miles, 1:11, 7:53 pace, with 4 miles at 7:20 in the middle

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Back to Form

Oh yes, back to form he certainly is. Cian, I’m talking about. Yesterday evening I had to mind the boys on my own, because Niamh took Lola and Grandma to the theatre, and the men stayed behind. While I was giving Shea a bath, Cian found the set of paints that they had been using earlier during the day, and which Grandma, who is not yet wise to his antics, had left within his reach. When it was time to get Shea out of the bath I went “Cian, where are you? Cian? Hello? Cian? Oh there you … OH NO!” He had once again covered the kitchen floor with a thick layer of paint, and there were red marks over the cupboards, the cutlery drawer, the microwave, as well as inside the microwave. In fact, it looked like a murder scene, with red blotches all over the place. I put the boy straight back into the bath, and spent at least half an hour cleaning the kitchen. This is becoming an all-too-frequent ritual.

Eventually I got the boys to bed, by which time I myself was ready to collapse. This parenting stuff isn’t getting any easier.

Oh, and I managed to run as well. 11 miles on Wednesday, and 5 miles today all went well, and I haven’t got anything to report, really. I was lucky with the weather on both occasions, though it is supposed to be raining again for Friday’s 17 miles. Let’s wait and see, I suppose.

Liam asked if I was planning any shorter races. Well, unfortunately Kerry is a complete wasteland as far as road running is concerned, and I don’t fancy driving for hours to take part in some 5-mile race in a different part of the country. One exception is the 5k fun-run which is part of Killarney’s annual summer fest, and which will be on 7 July, which is a Friday evening. Of course I haven’t done any speedwork, and I’m not planning on doing any before the race. I’ll have to swap around my long run for that week, because I’m certainly not going to run 19 miles in the morning and then a 5k race in the evening. I’ll probably do the long run on Wednesday. This will mean I won’t be fully recovered for the race, but that’s ok with me. I’m not gunning for a PR.

21 Jun: 11 miles, 1:29, 8:05 pace
22 Jun: 5 miles, 46:18, 9:15 pace

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

How was your run?

Shea and Cian are in much better form. They are still covered in spots (Shea much more so than Cian), but they have stopped itching, and we can all breathe a sign of relief. On Sunday night I tickled Shea’s toes when he was in the bath, and he smiled his first smile for at least 5 days, which was wonderful to see again. He also slept for 13 hours last night, even without the help of medication, which he hasn’t done since … ever! And we had to start giving out to him for being naughty, which we didn’t have to for a week. Things are definitely getting back to normal.

Talking about things getting back to normal, the typical Irish weather has returned to Kerry, and it is disgustingly wet and cold. I can take the rain on its own, but the wind makes for awful conditions that I’d rather do without.

When I came home this morning, we had the following short conversation:

Niamh: How was your run?
Thomas: Wet and cold.
Niamh: Not much fun then?
Thomas: Not really.
Niamh: But ultimately worth it?
Thomas: Definitely!

I have nothing to add to that.

19 Jun: 12 miles, 1:38, 8:10 pace
20 Jun: 5 miles, 46:13, 9:26 pace

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sickbay Update

Shea just had the worst 48 hours of his life. He was (still is, actually) covered from head to toe in ugly red blisters, and they are so itchy!! We put Calamine lotion on him, but the only effect that had was to make him scream when we put it on, it didn’t stop the itching. A warm bath with a few teaspoons of bread soda seemed to be the only thing to provide temporary relief. We tried everything to distract him, like watching DVDs, playing games and reading books, but it’s difficult to read a book to a 5-year old when he’s sitting beside you writhing in agony. Finally, he seemed to get better yesterday, and finally managed a few hours of sleep during the day. Niamh gave him some medicine at bedtime, which made him so drowsy that he slept for 12 hours, despite having slept several hours during the day (he did have some catching up to do). Unfortunately the same medicine made Cian throw up at midnight, and we once again had to clean the bed and the boy in the middle of the night.

To add to the stress, I had to drive to Shannon airport to collect my mum and my step-dad, which is a 2 hours drive each way. Long hours in the car always have a bad effect on my legs, and during the first three miles today they felt really stiff and unwilling to move. They got somewhat more responsive when I started doing some strides, and by the end I felt good again. Unfortunately the nice weather has gone just as my mum arrived. I hope the rain won’t last, or they will be confined to the house with two still sick boys for the week.

Watching the world cup is a bit weird this time, because I have no team to cheer on. Neither the country of birth (Austria) nor my adopted home (Ireland) have managed to qualify. Supporting the country where I spent 10 years of my life (England) is utterly out of the question, leaving my grandma’s country (Czech Republic), to which I have no emotional ties whatsoever. Which means I can just watch the games without worrying about my team, and just cheer on whoever is playing attractive football. Argentina are by far the best team so far, but a World Cup is not always won by the team that plays at their best at the start of the tournament.

18 Jun: 7 miles, 58:35, 8:22 pace (with 10x100 strides)

Friday, June 16, 2006

They have arrived

We have been waiting for this, and now the time has come. Both boys are having chickenpox, and both look really bad. They both have spots literally all over their bodies, and I feel so sorry for them! Yet, there is not much we can do about it, apart from telling them not to scratch (how do you explain that to a 2-year-old?) and hoping that it will go away sooner rather than later (plus, giving them drugs).

As a result, neither of us slept a lot last night. Cian came into our bed around midnight, and viciously kicked me into the back a few times, until he decided to go back into his own bed. Sometime in the middle of the night he returned, and at 5am Shea came as well, and that was the end of any hopes of more sleep for me. Cian and Niamh both managed to fall back asleep eventually, and Shea decided at 5:30 that he wanted to watch a DVD, and that's when I managed to sneak out of the house in time for my 13-miler. It went very well, apart from me miscalculating my pace in the middle of it, but that didn’t have any effect on my running.

My mum is coming for a visit tomorrow, though with the boys being sick we won’t be able to do much, which is a pity. She’s staying for a week, and at least the weather is supposed to be nice most of the time. I’m not sure what she will say about my running. She’s worried about me dropping dead when I’m running a marathon, but she seems ok about training runs.

16 Jun: 13 miles, 1:43, 7:55 pace

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Not really recovering

If my family would read your comments, they’d laugh for hours. Me and patient? Not really, though I’m much more tolerant with the kids than with anyone else. And my reaction always depends what part of the house Cian is destroying. Somehow I cared a lot less about the floorboards being covered in a thick layer of paint than I did about the DVDs he’s demolished.

I’m in the middle of a recovery week, not that you’d know it from the schedule so far. Yesterday’s 10 miler went very well, apart from a hiatus at mile 4.5, when I turned around and started to head home. It took half a minute for my brain to wake up and realise that this would make it 9 miles rather than 10, and I turned around once more to finish my loop. There was also something weird happening; a car was parked at the side of a road, overlooking a few houses. As soon as the driver saw me coming, he started the motor and sped off. It could be coincidence of course, but somehow I got the feeling that he drove off because he didn’t want to be seen around there.

I ran another 5-mile recovery run today, which was uneventful. Unfortunately, once more I didn’t get enough sleep. This time it wasn’t down to me going to bed too late, but to Shea waking well before 6 o’clock, and keeping me awake. That’s the problem with June. It’s still bright when they go to bed, and it gets bright again well before they are supposed to wake up, and Shea is an early riser anyway. Ah well, I’m sure he’ll sleep until lunchtime once he reaches his teens. Until then, Daddy will have to get used to early interruptions of his sleep.

14 Jun: 10 miles, 1:19, 7:54 pace
15 Jun: 5 miles, 47:51, 9:34 pace

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Not much to report

Rob hit the nail on the head in the comments when he said that I never expected to write the words “only 51 miles” all together like that (he also managed to return my slacker jibe from several months ago). Well, I guess it means my running has come along quite a bit in the last year. So far this week doesn’t feel any easier than the previous ones; it’s mainly the long run that will be significantly shorter.

I had to get up early yesterday for my 11 miles run, and still felt very tired. One of my resolutions for this training cycle was to get more sleep. I have improved in that respect, but not enough to be satisfied. It’s just not that easy to go to bed at 10 pm consistently, and even if I manage I usually end up reading a book instead of going to sleep immediately. I guess there is still room for improvement.

My quads are quite sore, which I guess is an after effect of Sunday’s strides workout. I haven’t had such sore legs in a while, and in a typically perverted runner’s way it feels good, because it reminds me that I’m doing a lot of work. I guess the soreness will be gone by tomorrow, I did a slow 5 mile recovery run today, and those runs usually clear up any tiredness in my legs.

Cian delivered yet another masterpiece of destruction the other day. Niamh and I were watching a film and naturally assumed the kids to be asleep peacefully. Not so, Cian must have gotten up very quietly and sneaked into the guest room, where he found a box full of window paint. These are held in little bottles, which he proceeded to squeeze onto the floor one by one. Then he obviously had great fun in mixing all those lovely colours with his hands – and feet. Eventually he decided he had enough and came looking for us and tell us “I made a big mess”. He didn’t exaggerate. I should have taken a picture, because the sheer amount of paint on the floor was quite unbelievable. Niamh took the boy into the shower to scrub him clean, and I did the same with the floorboards. After an hour or so of hard scrubbing the room stopped looking like a war zone, but of course he also left his imprints all over the doors and sinks, and toilets, and anything else, and I doubt we will ever be able to completely remove all those marks. By now we have learned to be rather philosophical about these … incidents. We had to.

I hope Social Services aren’t reading this blog, or they’ll surely pay us a visit.

12 Jun: 11 miles, 1:29, 8:05 pace
13 Jun: 5 miles, 46:32, 9:18 pace

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Of Babies and Animals

That’s a picture of Lola and Shea five years ago. Whenever life gets stressful, I think back to that time. While it was extremely exciting to become parents of twins, I have never been as exhausted as for the first 5 months of their lives. There was never a moment to sit down, never more than 90 minutes of sleep in one go. I wonder how we managed it.

Therefore, despite being tired now, I know that I am nowhere near as knackered as I was back then. After 10 days or so of beautiful weather, we had a thunderstorm on Friday night, which really excited the kids. The air since then has been really humid, which really makes me feel tired all day, despite not running (and not doing anything at all really) yesterday. I ran 8 miles today to end the week on 57 miles, yet another record, but the mileage still has to increase by a good bit until I reach the 70 miles peak. I also did 10x100 strides today, which I realised I had always done wrongly. I used to do them with nearly half a mile of recovery pace runs between the fast bits. Well, Mike made me read those paragraphs again in Pfitzinger’s book, and today I did them with short walks/very slow jogs in-between, just enough to get the heart rate and breathing down to normal rates. I have to admit, they did feel differently, and the speed difference between the fast and slow bits was much bigger that way (which is important, according to Kevin Beck’s book). I have to stop taking so much advice from Mike, or he might start charging me coaching fees.

While I was running, a big insect, possibly a bumblebee, flew right into my mouth, but I managed to spit it out straight away. You'd think they'd have more sense than fly straight into someone's mouth! And three dog chased me, one even bit me on the calf, not very painfully, for which he received a kick from me. The dog owner just stood there, but with three dogs and no lead she couldn't do much about it rather than shout at her dogs.

Next week is a cutback week of “only“ 51 miles, which not so long ago (say, a month) would have been around my peak mileage. I feel tired today, but generally the first four weeks of training have gone much better than I could have hoped.

11 Jun: 8 miles, 1:08, 8:30 pace, with 10x100 strides

Friday, June 09, 2006

Am I doing this wrongly?

Well, how time flies. A bit over a week ago I was worried about doing too much when I was starting my 9 runs in 9 days block. To be honest, I haven’t even thought about it since then; I just went running each day, and apart from Monday’s death march, it went swimmingly. Tomorrow is my first rest day in a while, and I’m actually annoyed about it. I’m half tempted to do a short run, but I won’t. Running 6 days a week is going so well, it would be silly to change it.

Yesterday’s recovery run was a bit faster than usual, but the heart rate was down just as much, which is why I’m ok with it. The temperatures have been soaring (well, relatively speaking; this is Ireland) up to 25C/77F, but when I do my runs in the morning it is a lot cooler and more suitable to running.

Today I set the alarm clock to 5:05 am, but once again woke up by myself just before that. I was still feeling tired, but that went away as soon as I hit the road. The plan was 5 miles along Caragh Lake, 5 miles back, and 7 miles in a loop towards Killorglin. The wind was very blustery, and after fighting against it for 2.5 miles I had enough of that and turned around, and added a 5 miles loop towards Ard-na-Sidhe instead, where the road is sheltered by trees.

It all went so well I can’t actually believe it. I was waiting for fatigue to strike, but it never came. And this on the ninth day of consecutive running, and with the highest mileage I’ve done so far. So far it certainly looks like choosing the 24/70 plan was a very good idea. I guess my aerobic base is up to levels I’ve never even come close to, and that’s why running seems so easy these days. When I got home I got a bit of a shock when I checked the time and realised that I had been running at sub-8 pace.

Now, I have read all about running your long runs slowly, and Pfitzinger himself recommends running them between 10% and 20% slower than your target marathon pace. My target time for Dublin is 3:30, which is of course pretty much 8:00-pace. Therefore I should be doing my long runs no faster than about 8:40. The thing is though, I’m not even pushing it. I’m running relaxed, the breathing is normal (though I doubt that I would be able to have a conversation) and I always feel that I could run faster if I really wanted to. So, where’s the error? Am I running too fast? Is my target time too slow? (but remember, it is already 25 minutes faster than my present PR). So much to think about, so much to ponder. And there I was thinking that running just requires you to put one foot in front of the other, and then repeat that for a few thousand times.

I told a new work colleague that I did 17 miles this morning. He went pale, started coughing and for a second looked like he was having a heart attack. Non-runners are weird aren’t they?

8 Jun: 5 miles, 45:23, 9:04 pace
9 Jun: 17 miles, 2:15, 7:56 pace

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Flying High Again

It is amazing what a recovery day and better running conditions can do for you. After Monday’s horror show, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to today’s repeat performance; I really didn’t want to go through the same experience again.

I ran Tuesday’s recovery run at the same pace as all the other recovery runs I’ve been doing lately, but was very pleased with myself when I discovered that I had done it with my lowest heart rate ever. My heart rate on those runs (actually, on all runs) has been dropping steadily over the last few weeks. I guess the higher mileage is boosting my endurance, and I expect this effect to continue for a while. At the very least it’s a sign that I’m not over-training.

Anyway, I woke up this morning at 5:54 am - one minute before the alarm would have gone off. My body clock seems to be working very well at the moment. A look out of the window didn’t reveal the expected sunshine but instead a country covered in a blanket of very dense fog. This of course meant that running on the road would be a bit more dangerous than usual, but it also meant I would be running in lower temperatures that usual, and that definitely suited me. Well, as on Monday, I’m not entirely sure what caused the change in effort. Whether it was the easy day on Tuesday or the more agreeable conditions, or, most likely, both of them together, I felt much better. M-u-c-h better. In fact, I was flying down that road. I would never have thought it possible that I would be able to run completely relaxed and without too much effort, and still run at sub-8:00 pace. I did the outwards leg at pretty much 8:00 pace, and the return leg at about 7:40, and felt very good about it. Of course this means I’ve shelved the idea of an extra rest day. Who needs rest days when you’re on a high?

Lola has pretty much recovered from her chickenpox, and now we’re waiting for the boys to catch it. Niamh had it when she was a child. And I – don’t remember. I asked my mum, and she thinks I never had it. Uh-oh!

Cian has been is usual destructive self. Since the last time I’ve reported about him he has (deep breath):
  • spilled Niamh’s foundation cream over the rug
  • eaten her last lipstick
  • covered himself with a thick layer of green paint and left his prints all around the sun room (he looked like a leprechaun)
  • eaten some paint (non-toxic, thankfully)
  • and delivered his so-far destructive masterpiece: I had to separate the boys at bedtime, and put Cian into our bed. He was totally quiet for 20 minutes, so I naturally assumed he was asleep. When I finally checked, he had taken some bleach, some cream, some make-up and a generous amount of water, mixed them all together and had great fun while covering the floor in a thick layer of his concoction. Oh the mess!!!!!

Sigh. I’m sure he’ll grow out of this. The twins were pretty bad at that age as well. I just hope the house will still be standing by the time he’s matured.

6 Jun: 5 miles, 47:17, 9:27 pace
7 Jun: 11 miles, 1:26, 7:49 pace

Monday, June 05, 2006

Down with a Bump

After all that talk about how great I feel and how well the running is going, I suppose it was only a matter of time until I came back down to earth. Saturday’s recovery run went well enough, even if I was a little bit stiff from the rather fast 16 miles the day before. Sunday rounded off the week with a 9-mile tempo run. I was quite surprised to see a tempo run in the schedule so early in the training, but went with the plan. I did 2.5 miles warm-up, 4 miles at about 7:10 pace, and another 2.5 cool-down. I felt pretty good about it, but was fairly knackered towards the end. This finished my week on 56 miles, which, incidentally, is a new record for me.

Monday is a bank holiday in Ireland, so I didn’t even have to get up early. I definitely needed some sleep, because I was conked out for nearly 10 hours flat. I had taken a anti-histamine tablet on Sunday night, which always make me drowsy, and that might have contributed to me being knocked out. As a result of that lie-in, I didn’t leave for Monday’s 11 miler until 9:40, by which time the sun was high in the sky and the temperatures were about 22C/72F, which for Ireland in June is as hot as it gets. Mindful of a terrible run about 3 weeks ago, I took some water in a water belt, even though I hate running with the extra weight around my waist. But boy, was I glad I did that, I would have been seriously dehydrated otherwise! As soon as I went out, my legs let me know that they were not happy. Whether it was the 56 miles in the previous week, the tempo run yesterday, the several hours of gardening over the weekend, the after-effects of the anti-histamine, or (most likely) all of those things together, it was a death-march from the beginning, and it didn’t get better. I toyed with the idea of turning around after 3miles and doing a 5 mile loop in the forest to Ard-na-Sidhe instead to make up the miles in the shade, but decided against it because I wanted to run over some hills. It didn’t help that I drank most of my water on the first half, and got rather thirsty on the way back. I finished the run in 1:34, which I suppose is still not too bad, but 6 minutes slower than the same run 7 days ago. I will think about throwing in an extra rest day this week if later on I still feel as beaten up as I do right now.

Lola has chickenpox at the moment, and she’s not happy about it to say the least. Cian’s misbehaviour isn’t helping, but I’ll tell you about that another time.

3 June: 5 miles, 47:31, 9:30 pace
4 June: 9 miles, 1:12, 8:00 pace, with 4 miles at about 7:10
5 June: 11 miles, 1:34, 8:32 pace

Friday, June 02, 2006


This is Lola. She is the most beautiful girl in the world, even if Daddy might be a tiny little bit biased.

I couldn’t go running on Wednesday, because Niamh was in Dublin and I had to mind all three children on my own. But I was looking forward to getting to bed early on Wednesday night, only for Niamh to ring at 7 o’clock and shatter those plans. She had gotten onto the wrong train, and could only make it as far as Mallow, about 65 miles from here. After getting the children ready for bed, I had to find a neighbour to mind them (which was an adventure of its own) and then drive all the way and collect the good lady wife. The road to Mallow is narrow, curvy and slow, and it took well over an hour each way. By the time we finally made it back home, it was nearly midnight.

I managed to crawl out of bed on Thursday for a 5-mile recovery run. Despite not running the day before I felt rather stiff and tired, which I blame on the car journey. It went ok though, and I once again managed to keep the effort to a very easy level. As always, I was both looking forward and dreading my long run on Friday. 16 miles sounded a lot, but I always enjoy my long runs, in fact, they have become my favourite runs. All the most memorable runs I’ve ever had were long ones. After delivering the wettest May in recorded history, the weather has finally turned into summer, the sun has been shining all week, but it is still quite cold at 6am in the morning, which makes for absolutely beautiful running conditions. Today’s run went exceedingly well, apart from one spot at around mile 3, when I felt a bit nauseous, but that went away and the rest of the run was great. I didn’t even feel tired towards the end, and speeded up a little on the last few miles without really noticing. I just love running at the moment!

Finally, I want to send best wishes to Mike, Susan and Dianne, and all the other runners for Sunday’s marathon in San Diego. Good Luck!


Update: I completely forgot! Extra special best wishes go out to Rob and Olga on their 50 miler. I know for you two this is a longish walk in the park, but to me you guys are just awesome.

1 Jun: 5 miles, 48:13, 9:38 pace
2 Jun: 16 miles, 2:09, 8:03 pace