Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Midweek Report

That’s an interesting observation from a psychological point of view. In my last post, I told you about my encounter with those dogs, and about my best ever tempo run to date. The running effort was basically ignored – everyone went on about the dogs. There might be a lesson in there.

Anyway, I did go to the Garda station (as we call the police here), and was basically told that they are not responsible for dogs, the Dog Warden is. And I need the name of the owner; otherwise he won’t be able to do anything about it. This rather annoyed me, to be honest. They basically ask me to find out more details all by myself before anything will be done. Anything else would probably disturb their cosy workday.

Let’s get back to the running, shall we? I did 6 easy miles on Tuesday, and even though there was nothing to report, really, I did notice that my pace for recovery runs has increased a little bit, as has the HR (it’s still within the accepted limits). I’ll make an effort to slow down again. The very very very easy level for recovery runs has really served me well.

I had to get up at 5:20 am this morning to get in my mid-week 15 miler. I didn’t even need the alarm clock, at 5:18 I woke up all by myself; my biological clock seems to be working very well these days. The weather wasn’t too inviting, it was raining just a little bit, just enough to make it more difficult to turn the door handle and head out into the open. Once that hurdle was surmounted, the run went very well. I did the first 2 miles at about 8:40 pace, by 5 miles I was down to an average of about 8:10, and by mile 10 I was at sub 8:00 average pace. All this was done in what I would call my natural pace. I didn’t run hard, but relaxed, but still putting in some effort; the HR was about 10 beats higher than for a recovery run. Personally I feel very comfortable with this approach, even though I’m running at or even above the upper limit of the usually recommended pace for long runs. I just happen to think that this effort level works very well for me.

That’s all very well, of course, but I’ve still got that massive 23 miler ahead of me on Friday. I’ve been dreading it all week. In fact, I’ve been dreading it since last week. By the end of today’s run, I did ask myself, could I continue for 8 more miles. Well, I felt very comfortable, so the answer was yes, but I was still glad that I didn’t have to do it at the time.

When I got back home, Niamh took one look at the rain outside the window, and commented that she couldn’t understand how I just ran for 2 hours. In the office, someone said basically the same thing. Non-runners just don’t get it, do they? A slight drizzle doesn’t particularly affect your running, it might even make it easier because of the cooling effect. You just have to manage to turn the doorknob. Once that is accomplished, the hardest part of the workout is behind you.

29 Aug: 6 miles, 53:34, 8:55 pace
30 Aug: 15 miles, 1:59, 7:56 pace

Monday, August 28, 2006

Twice Bitten

On previous cutback weeks, I didn’t really notice the fact that the mileage was lower. The long run was shorter, but apart from that they always felt like normal weeks. Well, last week was different, I certainly noticed the drop in mileage from 68 to 55, and my legs immediately snapped back into action. I probably shouldn’t have increased my pace, but I never felt like running faster, the effort was the same as for the equivalent (but slower) runs in higher mileage weeks.

Anyway, I intended to finish the week with 6 easy recovery miles on Sunday. For the first 2.5 miles, it was a perfectly unremarkable recovery run like I’ve had countless ones before. Then, as I was passing one particular house, 4 dogs shot out, all of them barking viciously, and obviously in aggressive mood. I did what I always do when dogs come out barking, I run at the far side of the road in the hope that they realise that I’m not aiming towards their territory. That almost always works – not for those, though. They did go for me, and one gave me a very nasty bite – I didn’t even manage to kick it in revenge, but eventually I managed to get past them. Up to then my heart rate had been well under 140, but from then on, and for the rest of the run it was between 155 and 160; I was far too worked up to relax. My route also led me past the same house again on the way back (there was no real alternative, unless I wanted to run 9 miles instead of 6), and I picked up a stone in the hope I could throw it at one of them, just in case, but that seemed pathetic even as I picked it up. Luckily, the owner must have noticed something and locked them inside, because when I passed their house again there was no sign of them.

When I told Niamh about this afterwards, she told me that a friend of her who lives close to that spot, has a neighbour with a pack of vicious dogs, and the situation is so bad that nobody can walk past the house without being in real danger of being attacked. It seems rather obvious that these are the same dogs I had my encounter with, especially as this was already the second time I got bitten by one of them. I might contact the police about it, but I haven’t managed to talk to Niamh’s friend yet.

This week has different challenges, mostly related to Pfitz’s seemingly insane schedule. I had a sneak peak at the rest of the training, and this really seems to be the most intense week of them all. It started with a 12-mile run, 7 miles of which at threshold pace. I know I have been whinging about the long distance of the threshold sections before, even if it was only for 5 or 6 miles. This time, 7 miles felt definitely manageable, and I was zooming along at previously unknown speed. I very nearly managed 7:00 pace, and that on a fairly hilly course. This must be the effect of the cutback week, and especially the two preceding easy days. I just hope that it didn’t take too much out of my legs, and that they will bounce back into action before Friday. I will need them then.

My injury to the calf/achilles seems to have gone away. There was still some pain in the left hamstring, especially when I was running hard downhill, but I’m confident that will go away, too.

Weekly mileage: 55 miles

27 Aug: 6 miles, 53:15, 8:52 pace
28 Aug: 12 miles, 1:38:08, 7:35 pace, with 7 miles at 7:02 pace


Late update: I've uploaded two (crappy) photos of my bite mark.

Friday, August 25, 2006

It's Getting Nippy

It looks like summer 2006 is indeed a thing of the past. The temperatures have dropped, especially early in the morning. I’m still running in singlet/t-shirt and shorts, but yesterday I was half-tempted to turn back after a mile and get a pair of gloves. I can’t really believe it, it’s still August after all, and August is supposed to be part of summer, isn’t it?

Anyway, I keep churning out the miles, and I do notice the difference between a cutback week and a 68-mile week; I feel very fresh at the moment, and I did notice that my pace has increased a bit for each run. I guess that will drop back again, because next week is a humdinger of a week, and I don’t want to wear myself out even before the long run.

Thursday’s run was a 9-miler with 10x100 strides in the middle. I did notice that those strides feel easier than they used to, even though I probably run them for a slightly longer distance and maybe a tad faster than, say, 2 months ago. They used to wear out my legs, and these days I hardly feel anything afterwards. The only drawback is that I feel slightly silly if someone’s nearby watching me – which thankfully is rare at my time in the morning.

Today’s long run wasn’t very remarkable either, a mere 14 miles, which is shorter than the 15-mile midweek runs on normal weeks that took some time of getting used to. The weather wasn’t great; it was drizzly and very windy, which meant that I felt quite cold, at least initially. A bit of rain doesn’t bother me (which is a Good Thing really, for someone living in Ireland, especially on the West Coast), but rain and wind together are an unwelcome pair. But I guess the lower temperatures were the main reason why I ran it even faster than the previous runs this week, without actually upping the effort.

My left leg is still in a bit of a mess. On Wednesday I was sure that it was getting better, and on Thursday I felt hardly anything, but today the pain came back. I’m still undecided if it’s in my achilles or in my calf; maybe it’s where the two connect, and that’s why I can’t quite work out where exactly the pain is coming from. It’s not stopping me from running, and I’m still quite sure that overall it is improving. To make matter worse, though, my left hamstring started hurting too. Most likely it’s a follow-on injury, though at the moment I don’t even call it an injury, it’s more a bit of a twinge. Tomorrow is a rest day, and Sunday’s run is an easy 6-mile recovery run, and I keep my fingers crossed that I’ll feel better after that, because another 70 miles week is lying in wait, and I don’t even want to think about that mad 23 mile long run that is scheduled for Friday, so let’s pretend I didn’t even mention it.

24 Aug: 9 miles, 1:13, 8:06 pace, including 10x100 strides
25 Aug: 14 miles, 1:50, 7:51 pace

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Change of Plan

I had planned to stay in Valentia until Wednesday, but we decided it would be better if I didn’t drive back down on Tuesday and stayed in Caragh Lake instead. This suited me fine, as it meant an extra 45 minutes of sleep before today’s run, and I wasn’t going to turn that down.

I did 6 easy miles on Tuesday, which of course turned out to my last run in Valentia for a while. Running there is quite nice, the scenery is spectacular on a nice day, and there is a good mix of flat and hilly runs. The downside is that you are constantly being battered by the wind. The weather comes straight from the Atlantic, and there is nothing to stop the wind all along the way. In fact, Tuesday’s was the only run there when the winds was reasonably calm.

When I started out this morning for my 11-miler, I wondered why the legs felt so heavy. I felt like I was attached to some balls-and-chains (no married jokes, please), until I finally remembered that I had done some speedwork on Monday, and the effects were clearly there today. I managed to drag myself along for the entire run, despite being tempted to turn around for all of the outbound section. When I checked my time afterwards I noticed I had done sub 8:00 pace once again. I probably should keep the pace a bit more relaxed on those kinds of runs, especially when I’m not feeling at the top of the world.

Anyway, Niamh and the kids are probably back home by now, and I’m already halfway through my first week back at work. It’s raining outside (that started shortly after my run – lucky escape), and everyone in the office is miserable because summer is over. Ah well.

22 Aug: 6 miles, 55:54, 9:19 pace
23 Aug: 11 miles, 1:27, 7:54 pace

Monday, August 21, 2006

Back Again

Have I really been on holiday? That’s the biggest problem if you’re only taking one week off: you’re back at work before you’ve even gotten into holiday mood. We’re still staying in Valentia until Wednesday, which puts me into the unusual position of staying in our holiday house but having to commute to work every day. I’ve done that before, but to be honest I’m looking forward to Niamh and the kids moving back to Caragh Lake.

I’d better summarise my running exploits from the last few days. The legs did spring back into action on Friday, just in time for my long run. As I had done a marathon pace run the week before, I wasn’t too worried about my pace. The first 2 miles were pretty slow, but the legs gradually and naturally tuned into 8:00 pace, making this more-or-less a marathon pace run after all. After 6 miles, I left the main road and ran up a trail towards an old stone fort at Bray Head, the very tip of Valentia Island. That road rises about 150 meters (nearly 500 feet) over 1.5 miles, which makes it a great hill for a workout. It went really well, and one guy muttered something like “that’s crazy” as I passed him, which I took as a compliment, really. The view from there was spectacular across the coast and the Skelligs, but I didn’t linger and turned around to head back. I added two loops at the end, one to make it 16 miles, and another .7 miles to make up for Wednesday’s shortened run.

Saturday was the usual rest day, and Sunday was a bit weird, as Pfitz’s plan called for a double workout – my first scheduled double ever. I was initially tempted to combine the 2 recovery runs into one 10 miler, but as soon as I hit the road my legs felt really heavy, which I attribute to all the hills I’ve run this week, so I decided to follow to schedule after all. The first run went ok, apart from a nasty wasp stinging me in my left hand. That really hurt! Then, on the second run, my left achilles really started hurting. I’ve felt a pain there for a few days, but not while running; it usually hurt in the evening when I went to bed. I didn’t take too much notice of it, but it came back to bite me.

I wasn’t sure if I should go ahead with Monday’s workout, 9 miles with 6x600 repeats, because the added pounding from the speed workout could easily aggravate the injury. In the end I did the usual runner thing, namely to ignore the pain in the hope that it would go away by itself. The workout itself went ok. As usual, I ran my fast repeats by time on the road, because I don’t have access to a track, which makes this more of a hard fartlek than an interval workout. And I didn’t feel sufficiently tired after the 6th repeat, so I added a seventh. I could feel the achilles during the warm-up and the cool-down, but not during the speedy part itself. It wasn’t just the achilles that was painful; I could clearly feel a sharp-ish pain on the inside of my calf, maybe 2 or 3 inches above my ankle. I’m not sure what it is. I still hope that it will go away, and have been icing it on and off since yesterday evening. I’ll also stay away from hills for a few days. This week is a cutback week of 55 miles, and maybe the lower mileage will help, too.

Weekly mileage: 68+ miles

18 Aug: 16.7 miles, 2:16, 8:08 pace
20 Aug: 6.4 miles, 59:08, 9:14 pace
3.6 miles, 32:19, 8:58 pace
21 Aug: 9 miles, 1:17, 8:33 avg. pace, including 7x600 repeats with 90 secs recovery

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Quick Update

My blog hasn’t been updated for a few days because I’ve been away from civilisation for a while. Niamh and me went into the Heart of Darkness (also known as County Cork) where the people are still wild and Internet access scarce. I did manage to run every day, both in Baltimore as well as on Valentia Island on the last few days. I’m still on my holidays for the rest of the week, which is why I probably won’t be able to write another update until Monday. We’ll see. I haven’t got much time, and all I can give is a short summary of the last days.

We drove to Baltimore, Co. Cork, on Sunday evening, and booked into a cute family-run hotel, Casey’s in Baltimore, which I can heartily recommend if you ever find yourself in that remote corner of the world. Of course I didn’t know any running routes there, so I just ran for two hours on Monday over the hills of the peninsula. I got quite lost, but managed to find my way back without too much trouble. The terrain was very hilly, more so than my usual routes in Caragh Lake.

Tuesday was supposed to be a recovery day, but I managed to get off the beaten track, ended in a field full of gorse and blackberry bushes, which scratched my lower legs so much that I looked like I had gotten into a fight with a pack of small cats. As far as the run was concerned, it was quite enjoyable, but as for recovery, it was a bit of a disaster.

We drove home on Tuesday, and very very nearly had a very serious car crash. We went round a blind bend, only to see a car coming towards us on our side of the road. Niamh (who was driving at the time) slammed the breaks, as did the other car. Niamh moved to her left; the other car moved to his right, which was obviously the same side Niamh tried to steer. I was sure that we were going to smash pretty badly, but the brakes did the trick, and both cars came to a standstill. I got out, and there were less than 4 inches between our bumpers. By that time the other driver had finally realised that HE had been on the wrong side of the road, and looked pretty shaken. He apologised about a dozen times, but it didn’t save him from a stern lecture from Niamh, who didn’t leave a doubt that it had been his fault, that we drive on the left in Ireland, and the fact that he was a tourist and is used to drive on the right side was not a sufficient excuse (I actually felt sorry for the guy – he had looked shaken enough to start with). Anyway, we eventually drove off, and both Niamh and me confessed to each other that both our first thoughts had been “oh no, not the new car!”.

Sufficiently recovered from the shock, I ran 12 miles on Wednesday morning, back in Valentia. I had planned to do 13, but got my distances wrong; I was so confused that afterwards I drove the whole course with the car, just to get my measurements right next time. Sad? Probably. The course wasn’t hilly as such, but had a major climb of a bit less than 2 miles, with an elevation gain of about 100 meters, which is very similar to the “Hell of the West” climb at the end of the Connemara marathon. Maybe I’ll use that climb to prepare myself next year.

Today I did 8 miles in the morning with 12x100 strides; at least I think it was 12, I lost count at some stage. The legs felt very tired, and I’m a bit worried all that fast (for me) running over the last few weeks is catching up with me. The legs will have to manage 16 miles tomorrow. It is supposed to be a marathon pace run, but as I inadvertently did one of those last week, I’m not so concerned about the pace; I’ll just try and get my legs around the whole distance.

14 Aug: 2:02, approx 15 miles
15 Aug: 1:02, approx 6.5 miles
16 Aug: 12 miles, 1:35, 7:55 pace
17 Aug: 8 miles, 1:09, 8:37 pace, with 12x100 strides

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Holy Smoke – Did I Just Do That?

For once I didn’t feel apprehensive about my long run. 18 miles just sounded so much more manageable than the 21 miles the week before earlier that I really didn’t worry about it. But I didn’t fancy doing it in Valentia and then drive 45 minutes to work, so I stayed in Caragh Lake overnight and ran on my usual routes on Friday morning. I managed to zen out again for most of the first 10 miles, which was kinda cool, but I think now I know what’s causing it: lack of sleep. I woke at about 4:20 and didn’t sleep much after that, until I finally got up at 5:20. The full moon might have something to do with this; it’s not the first time that I’ve had trouble sleeping around this time. Anyway, after the first 10-mile loop I was running consciously again, but it still went really well. I felt so good at mile 17 that I decided to have a bit of fun on the last mile and accelerated, first to 10k pace, then to 5k pace, and nearly all-out-sprinting over the last bit. When I checked my time, I realised that I had run the 18 miles at sub 8:00 pace – oops. Of course the last mile would have raised the average pace, but still, I must have run at just about 8:00 pace for the other 17 miles. I suppose the 3 easy days beforehand made my legs feel fresher than I’ve been used to over the last 3 months.

Saturday was a rest day once again, and I hoped to be more or less fully recovered on Sunday for a tempo run, but that didn’t prove to be the case. As soon as I started, I knew that I would be struggling because the legs had the leaden feeling to them. I warmed up for 2.5 miles, ran 6 miles out-and-back at LT effort, and cooled down for the final 2.5 miles. Two weeks ago I said that 5 miles is rather long at LT pace. Guess what, 6 miles are even worse, especially if your legs are tired to start with, and the blustery wind didn’t help either. For the tempo effort I managed an average pace of about 7:20, which is a good bit slower than last time, but today the legs simply didn’t have any more in them. No worries, I put it all down to Friday’s run, and take it as a sign that the body is still being stressed – and make no mistake, that’s a good thing.

I didn’t follow your advice, guys, about running to the Fair. Last year I went down at lunchtime to have a quick pint. The Guinness just tasted too good, and six or seven pints later Niamh had to collect me from there. With her being in Valentia, I didn’t want to tempt fate.

And as for taking a break from running while on holidays: thanks for your concern, but no thanks. There are times when I feel great about running, and there are times when I have to drag myself out of the house, and at the moment I’m on such a high that the mere thought of not running for a whole(!) week(!!) is just too dreadful to even contemplate. I’ll pass on the break thingy, and rather hit the road while I still feel good about it.

Weekly mileage: 64 miles

11 Aug: 18 miles, 2:23, 7:56 pace
13 Aug: 11 miles, 1:27, 7:54 pace, with 6 miles at 7:20 pace

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Easy Does It

It’s Puck Fair in Killorglin, and the whole town is going bananas. Apparently it’s the one event sponsored by Guinness where the most pints per head are consumed. As Puck Fair and marathon training are incompatible (as I've learned the hard way last year), I’m doing the unsociable thing (again!) and have so far managed to stay clear of temptation. It’s a shame, because the weather is just gorgeous.

I’ve finished a sequence of three easy days in a row. After Tuesday’s recovery run followed 8 miles with 10x100 strides yesterday, and another 6-mile recovery run today. Niamh and the kids have gone to Valentia Island, about 30 miles from Killorglin, where her family have had a holiday house since the 70s, and when the weather is as nice as it is now it could be mistaken for a holiday in the Mediterranean (ok, maybe not quite). I spent the night there, which meant a run in less familiar scenery, but I’ve run in Valentia before (in fact, I started my first ever marathon training there, two years ago). I’ve taken next week off at work, and we’ll sneak away for the weekend towards Baltimore (the one in County Cork, not the one in Maryland, obviously), and leave the kids with Nana and Gaga. If the weather stays like this, it should be heaven. I’ll still keep my training going, I promise.

9 Aug: 8 miles, 1:05, 8:07 pace, including 10x100 strides
10 Aug: 6 miles, 55:15, 9:12 pace

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Halftime Reflections

I nearly missed it (ok, I missed it), but I’ve reached the halfway point of my training. I’m now more than 12 weeks into the 24 weeks schedule, and it’s time for a quick recap.

Originally I was a bit worried about the mileage, especially the 70-miles weeks; I didn’t know if I would be able to handle them. Well, I’ve now survived the first 70 miles week, and it went better than I could have expected. In fact, I felt able to handle more. Previous training cycles have always been hampered by injuries at some stage, like shin splints a year ago, and achilles tendonitis half a year ago, all in my right leg, as usual. This time round I have felt a few aches and pains, usually in my right foot, or my right achilles tendon, but never so bad that I was worried about having to rest, and never so bad that I missed a training run. The one exception were the chest pains about a months ago, but that was an isolated incident, and I’m pretty sure it was brought on by some over-enthusiastic core strengthening exercise, which I have cut down since (ok, I haven’t done any).

I have so far managed 3 runs of 20 miles or more, all of them without any gels or Gatorade, or any other carbo-loading goodies. In contrast to Mike or Marc I’m not doing this to toughen myself up. I simply felt that they don’t make much of a difference. Last year I always used to take a gel at mile 10 for each run over 15 miles, and for a 20 miler I would take a gel at 10 and another one at 15 miles. Last week I ran 21 miles, and the only “nutrition” were two bottles of water strategically placed at the end of our driveway so that I could pick them up at the end of each loop. And you know what? I didn’t feel any difference. Sure, a gel always gave me a little bit of a boost, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it was more of a psychological boost than an actual reloading of blood-sugar level. Will I take gels during my next runs? No. Will I take gels during the marathon? I haven’t decided yet. I know that you shouldn’t take anything during a marathon that you haven’t tried in training, but I have taken gels before and know that my stomach can handle them without problems. As I’ve said, I’ll decide closer to the actual event.

Running. Yes, I’ve done more since my last entry. Monday was a bank holiday in Ireland, which would have meant sleeping in if we were childless *sigh*. As it was, I still left it a bit late and didn’t get out of the house until about 10 o’clock. It was quite hot, and my legs were very heavy, which was obviously caused by Sunday’s hills. I was sorely tempted to cut it short, but got used to both the temperatures and the heavy legs eventually, and managed to hang on until the end. I was a bit surprised afterwards to realise that I had averaged sub 8:00 pace again. No wonder I was struggling a bit.

After three heavy workloads in four days, the next three days are a bit of a recovery phase, starting with today’s 6-mile recovery run. The quads felt very sore from the first step onwards, more so than yesterday, which is a classic symptom of DOMS, of course. I expect this to be cleared up by tomorrow. The scheduled mileage for this week is a mere 64 miles, which I’m definitely able to handle. When I first noticed the drop in mileage I thought “what the hell is he cutting back the mileage for?”, but after the last two days I’ve come round to the idea of a few easy days.

7 Aug: 15 miles, 1:58, 7:52 pace
8 Aug: 6 miles, 56:18, 9:23 pace

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Long Outing

To say I was apprehensive about Friday’s long run would be an understatement. I knew that I could manage it, and I probably knew that I would be feel fine once out on the road, but a 21 mile training run was uncharted territory for me, and I expected to be shot to pieces afterwards. In the end, all the anxiety was for nothing. If you can run 20 miles in training one week, you can manage 21 miles the next, and all you have to do is – actually do it. In fact, it went a lot better than last week’s long run. Back then I had started too fast and suffered on the last 5-mile-loop. This time I paced myself better, and my time for the last 5 miles was 42 minutes, 8:24 pace, compared to 45 minutes the week before. I still felt fine at the end of the run (and felt that I could have run faster, which is good), and I certainly felt able to run another 5-mile-loop, if I had chosen to do the whole marathon distance. Later during the day I felt ok, the muscles were fine, but I did notice some fairly bad chafing, and my left heel hurt as well; but all in all I felt fine, really.

Saturday was a rest day, and for once I was glad about it. My muscles were surprisingly sore (I hadn’t felt any soreness last week), and definitely welcomed a bit of recovery. I managed to refrain from too much work in the garden (just an hour or two), and took it easy all day.

A good night’s sleep would have rounded off the recovery, but that part of the plan didn’t come to fruition. The kids were up at 6:30, and between breakfast, telly, and about a dozen fights between them they ensured that neither Niamh nor me got another minute of rest. It was raining quite heavily in the morning, and I delayed my run for as long as I could, because it was easing up eventually. I finished the week with 10 miles, and for the first time I strayed away from Pfitz’s schedule. Rather than running 10 miles with 8x800 repeats I chose to do some hill repeats. I didn’t see the point of doing speed work at this stage of training and thought the hills might be more beneficial. It’s not quite a hill Lydiard would recommend, it entails a climb of nearly one mile up to a picnic area from where you have a spectacular view over Caragh Lake and Dingle Bay, and I ran it up 3 times. I tried that Lydiard thing of pushing off strongly and lifting the knees high, but one mile is too long for this kind of thing (certainly on the first hill outing), and after a while I was content just to make it up the hill.

I ran too fast on the way back home. Niamh wanted to bring the kids to see Cars in the cinema, and I didn’t want to leave her waiting – as if two minutes more would have made any difference. Anyway, I made it back in time, and the kids all loved the film.

Weekly mileage: 70+ miles

4 Aug: 21 miles, 2:53, 8:14 pace
6 Aug: 10 miles, 1:21, 8:06 pace, 3 long hill repeats

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Maybe I’m still asleep when I’m running these days? I had a weird experience on my 11-miler yesterday. I got a decent amount of sleep, about 7 hours, but was still tired by the time I hit the road. I do remember running the first mile, then my mind just zonked and the next time I remember I was at mile 5. The weird thing is, there were two big hills between those points, and I must have run across them without registering anything. I stayed awake for two miles, then I went offline again, and the next time I had a conscious thought I was back in our driveway. Weird, but cool in some way.

Today I had to run on my own accord again, 8 miles with 10x100 strides thrown in for good measure. Mindful of the very very long run tomorrow I kept the effort at an easy level. There’s not much to tell, apart from the fact that I kept hearing a cow mooing very loudly somewhere nearby, which of course reminded me of Monday’s run. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t still lost from that episode though.

It had to happen, I’ve been waiting for it, and now the time has finally come. After 15 years and 163843 miles of fateful service (well, only the last 2.5 years for us), our car has finally given in. It started collecting faults at an ever-increasing rate in the last few months. I already have a replacement ready, though I cannot really call it my new car. You can’t possibly call a 14-year-old car “new” by any stretch of the imagination. It’s in good condition (the mother-in-law did look after it very well), and is the only thing I can afford right now. It will do.

2 Aug: 11 miles, 1:27, 7:54 pace
3 Aug: 8.2 miles, 1:09, 8:24 pace, with 10x100 strides

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Another Anniversary

The one of the regular meaning this time, that is. Have we really been married for 9 years? Blimey, it doesn’t feel that long. I really must be getting old! Anyway, we went out for a meal on the weekend; there is a restaurant in Kells that does a Cypriot night, and we very much enjoyed our 15-course dinner (yes, I was stuffed like a turkey by the end).

I expected to feel stiff and tired on Monday after Sunday’s very brisk tempo run, but surprised myself by feeling like flying all the way. The major obstacle I came across was a herd of cows standing in the middle of the dirt road I was running on. What eejit of a farmer left his cows there? Despite the fact that they’re probably 20 times my weight, the animals seemed to panic at my approach and stampeded off along the road. I did follow the rather slow and very smelly creatures for about 5 minutes, but it became clear that they had no intentions of turning off the road as long as I was right behind them. Plus, I noticed that there were a few young bulls amongst them, and I didn’t fancy finding out what would happen once they got tired of running away from me, so I turned around and ran back the way I had come from. As I was unable to follow my planned route, I decided to explore some of the dirt roads between Killorglin and Kilgobnet, where I have hardly ever run before. Of course this meant I was running by time rather than distance again. By the end I called it 14 miles, but I’m pretty sure it was a bit more than that, because I kept going at a fairly decent pace. Never mind, the body doesn’t know what number you write down at the end.

I started August with a 6-mile recovery run today, and once again dropped my record for lowest ever HR during a run. When I started training for Dublin about 10 weeks ago, I just about managed to keep the average HR under 145 for my recovery runs. But it gradually dropped, and today’s HR was 134 – about 69% of my max, despite keeping the pace roughly the same. As long as this keeps going, I know that I’m not overtraining, even though I’m still struggling to get enough sleep (Cian woke at 5 am).

Mileage for July: 285 miles

31 Jul: 14 miles (approx), 1:52, 8:00 pace
1 Aug: 6 miles, 56:28, 9:24 pace