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


  1. awesome running Thomas - but be careful with that pain!

    one day you're going to have to explain to me how you manage to fit it all those miles, a full time job and a bunch of kids! i'm very, very curious and impressed!

  2. that photo is spectacular!

    sounds like some good running. here's the part where I say take it easy, knowing full well I wouldn't if someone else said it to me :) Rest up that achilles/calf :)

  3. Great photo! Be careful with that achilles ... could be that your left calf is tightening up and putting a lot of stress on the achilles.

    Impressive mileage while commuting to work.

    Hope you're feeling tip-top very soon.

  4. Thomas, beautiful photo - what a lovely place to run. Maybe you could add some stretches (gently, only stretch, no pain) to that icing. I've been having a little off and on ITB pain, and making sure to stretch is really helping. I love it when someone says they have a cutback week of only 55 miles! Thats 13 miles more than my highest weekly mileage ever!

  5. Be careful of that Achilles! I'd say a little light stretching also!

    Great photo, by the way.

  6. Nice picture. I had some pain in my right achilles, as soon as I backed off with the mileage it disappeared. Hopefully, it will be the same for you.

  7. "In the end I did the usual runner thing, namely to ignore the pain in the hope that it would go away by itself."

    Yup! Hope the cutback week and fewer hills makes that happen for you. Good luck. (And the photo's fantastic!)

  8. I'm pleased to see the long runs going so well for you Thomas, good work. Good luck with the achilles. I've had very acute soreness in the calf muscles after a week of hills, hopefully the achilles soreness is from something like that (because of how they attach to each other) and nothing more serious.

  9. I love that 55 miles is LOW mileage! and I also love that you did the "typical runner's thing: ignore the pain."
    hee hee. sad, but true!

    and thanks for your comment! can i be in the club now for real? I think only if I can shave a few thousand minutes off my 18-mile time!

    That is some nice running. and BEAUTIFUL environs, too. Ah, I'm soooo jealous!

  10. What a lovely picture - running can only be a pleasure if there are views like that!

  11. OMG, you're hardcore! Fifty-five miles is a cutback week? But I laughed at the "that's crazy" remark--I'd take it as a compliment, too! Sorry you didn't get enough vacation time.

  12. Awesome photo Thomas! I've been travelling back and forth to work while my family vacations and it is a tough transition. Work is hard...but somebody has to do it.