Sunday, September 24, 2006

One Long, One Fast

The best effect from my 23-miler from 3 weeks ago is that I’m no longer nervous before a 20 mile run. Never mind the boost it gave to my fitness and my endocrine system, the most pronounced effect was to my confidence. If you candle that distance without problems in training, a 20 mile run becomes just another long run, and a marathon is just a 5k added.

Kerry got off lightly on the night from Thursday to Friday. While the rest of the country had to deal with wind speeds of up to 120 kph, we just had a bit of a breeze, and by the time I left for my run just before 5 am, even that had subsided. What hadn’t subsided was the rain, and I was completely drenched within 10 steps. For the first few miles I was cursing the Irish weather and thinking how miserable it has been all week, when all of a sudden it stopped, before I even had reached the 4-mile point. Of course it didn’t make a difference to the fact that I was completely drenched; my feet were especially wet, one section of the road had been flooded up to 2 inches high. That’s not a problem if you’re in a car, but if you’re running, you’ll have to put up with wet feet for the rest of the run. My other problem was my stomach, which felt quite queasy. When I came back to our driveway after the first 10 mile loop, I ran past the water bottle. I didn’t feel thirsty at all, and the mere thought of drinking water nearly made me throw up. I ran a 5-mile loop to Ard-na-Sidhe and back, and then forced myself to drink maybe half of the 0.5-litre water bottle. I managed to keep it all in, and made it through the last 5 mile loop as well. The legs felt rather tired by then, but then again they had covered 30 miles within the last 24 (ok, 26) hours. At least I had followed Mike’s advice and ran slower than on previous long runs; the first 5 miles had taken 44:30, and all the following ones were about 42:30. The legs thanked me for that towards the end. I weighed myself after the run, because I was worried about the amount of water I had taken in; but I had only lost 2 pounds. I did have one painful reminder for the rest of the day though: bloody nipples. Ouch.

Saturday was a rest day once again. I felt fine about that, but on Sunday morning Niamh urged me to do “something” on future Saturdays, either go for a walk, or cycling, or swimming. She thinks I get Cabin Fever if I stay in the house for 24 hours. Hmm.

The schedule for Sunday called for a “8k-15k” tune-up race, but I don’t have a race anywhere nearby, and decided to do a time trial instead. If I did 2.4 miles warm-up, 6.2 miles at race effort and 2.4 miles cool-down, that would make 11 miles, and a good speed workout to boot. I followed the plan, and even though the legs were very stiff and unresponsive during the warm-up, I felt ok as soon as the time-trial effort started. I didn’t measure the distance, but I think it’s reasonably accurate. It wasn’t the easiest of course, with three hills (well, 2 hills with one of them covered twice, once in each direction), and I was definitely hanging on during the last 2 miles, but I managed to cover the 10k in just under 42 minutes, which I was pleased about. I did notice the difference between a race and a time-trial though, my average HR was less than during the half-marathon two weeks ago. It’s just not the same without the race-day adrenaline, and without the prey to chase in your sights. Oh, and my manager at work did overtake me about 2.5 miles into the speed part. But don’t worry, he was on a bike.

Weekly mileage: 70 miles

22 Sep: 20 miles, 2:52, 8:36 pace
24 Sep: 11 miles, 1:25, 7:43 pace, with 10k in 41:57, 6:45 pace (assuming the distance was accurate, that is)


  1. You're right on track Thomas. Whatever the weather conditions in Dublin, you will be prepared! My solution to the nipple thing is bandaids for any run over 10-12 miles and esp if it's wet. You might want to shave in a few strategic spots so they are easier to remove after the run too ;-)

  2. You just keep on moving forward Thomas, well done. I did a shorter time trial on Friday and you are right about it being much different than a race.

  3. That's sounds pretty atrocious weather conditions... Before the knees gave up on my husband he used to suffer badly with bloody nipples - he used to put on a plaster and that seemed to do the job - Sounds and looks painful though.

    Confidence is a great thing - knowing you have run the distance already means an awful lot!

  4. dang for the bloody nipples..
    thank goodness for technical T :)

  5. Nice going Thomas, I'm glad to hear the long ones aren't trouble anymore. I think you're closing in on it.

  6. Wow, Thomas - you're training is amazing. You are doing so well! Eric uses the band-aids too - buys the little square ones - works great.

  7. getting caught up on everything here...glad Cian's okay, congrats on your race, sounds like your training is going along well!

  8. Thomas - I am continually impressed (and envious) with your recent level of training and accomplishments. Keep it up! As Mike said, you are definiteley closing in on it.

  9. I can't believe people run that many miles! :) Seems just a huge chunck! You're doing great, and the benefits of once going beyond what you feared before are amazing.