Sunday, October 01, 2006


On Thursday evening I went to bed at around 9:30. I set the alarm for 4:25, but didn’t even need it; I was awake at 4:22 and got up quietly, so as not to wake Niamh. Getting ready took a few minutes longer than usual, with putting plasters over my nipples and a big blister pad on my left instep. By 4:50, I was out of the door. It had been raining most of the night but by that time it had stopped, and my main concern over the first 10 miles was to avoid stepping into puddles in the dark, which wasn’t entirely successful. I ran most of the first 16 miles at about 8:20 pace, which is a little bit faster than intended, but my legs felt fine. At mile 16, as I started the final 5-mile loop, I decided to follow the plan I’d had in my mind all along and make this a fast-finish-long-run, as described by McMillan. Twice over the next mile the legs didn’t cooperate and fell back into the old drudgery. At the third attempt I finally managed to lock onto the new pace and noticeably upped the effort. I didn’t know how long I would be able to sustain that, but it went better than expected. At mile 19 my right hamstring started to tighten, but I managed to get around that problem by shortening my stride length and slightly increasing the turnover, and one mile later it felt fine again. I further increased the effort over the last half mile, and sprinted up the final climb to our driveway. All in all the 21 miles took 2:52, with the final 5 miles in 39 minutes. I re-read the McMillan article again afterwards, and his suggestion is actually more radical, he suggests doing 10k race pace over the last 2-3 miles, which I definitely didn’t do. Still, I was very pleased with my run.

We had a bit of a drama Friday night, when Niamh sprained her ankle, and demanded to be brought to hospital. My suggestion of taking painkillers and driving to the hospital tomorrow morning was brushed aside, so we had to ring around a few friends until someone agreed to take the children (it was already 9:30 pm at that time), but we had to promise to collect them again in the middle of the night, because the lady in question had to leave early Saturday morning. We eventually got to Tralee hospital at about 10:30, and had to wait 3 hours to see a doctor, by which time Niamh was actually feeling a lot better already. The examination took maybe 5 minutes, then she got a special bandage and a pair of crutches, and we were on the way back home. After picking the kids out of their beds again (which they didn’t appreciate, as you can imagine) we went home. When I finally got to bed it was 3 am, and I had been awake for over 22 and a half hours.

Saturday wasn’t exactly a rest day, with Niamh “taking it easy”, and me doing the dishes, the washing, the shopping, the cooking, as well as breaking up fights between various children every 10 minutes or so. I wasn’t even allowed to cook pasta, but then again, I do make a mean vegetarian moussaka, even if I say so myself.

Niamh’s much better today, and I was allowed out of the house for a 10-mile run. I once again wore my new shoes, and once again I got some small blisters in my left instep, but apart from that I’m getting well used to them already. I intended to run them at easy pace, but covered the first 6 miles in about 46:30, 7:45 pace. Oops. Maybe the shoes made me do it. Mike has given me an awful lot of stick (totally justified, I hasten to add) about buying the wrong shoes. I’ve been thinking a lot about it, but have come to the conclusion that it probably isn’t a major issue. While I definitely feel more comfortable in cushioning shoes than stability shoes, I still haven’t entirely made up my mind about the correct kind of shoes. I’ve had a few stability shoes before, and they didn’t mess up my feet either. My main worry about those shoes is the lesser heel support and how my calves will deal with that over 26.2 miles, and that issue would be the same with the DS trainers as well as the Speedstars that I apparently should have bought. I will run Friday’s 20 miler in those shoes, even though I hadn’t planned on doing so originally. If this goes ok, I’ll stick with them. I could take the safe option and wear the Nimbuses, but I’m probably willing to risk it for the sake of a few ounces less. And most importantly, the DS trainers have funky orange stripes on the side. That means they must be perfect for running a marathon, doesn’t it?

Weekly mileage: 70 miles
Mileage for September: 291 miles (new personal best)

29 Sep: 21 miles, 2:52, 8:11 pace, with the last 5 miles in 7:48
1 Oct: 10 miles, 1:19. 7:54 pace, including 10x100 strides


  1. Impressive mileage (both for the week and the month) Thomas!

  2. Funky orange stripes is everything!

  3. I still have a rather vauge idea of what shoes I need besides the once I feel good in, less injured and they have to be light:)
    What a weekend!

  4. Very impressive run Thomas. I read the article you referenced. It outlines a pretty tough workout. The one you did would have killed most of us.

    I hope Niamh is feeling better. My wife "sprained" her ankle skiing several years ago. Since it was mid-day and I'm the ever attentive husband, I set her up in the bar with plenty of cash and went back to the slopes. I took her to the doctor when we got home the next day and discovered that she had severly broken a bone in the ankle. Now when she tells me that she has hurt herself, I take her to the doctor immediately. Helps maintain martial bliss.

    Best of luck with the rest of your training. You're making fanstastic progress.

  5. Easy on sprinting up a hill at the end of a long run, please. Those hamstrings are sore for a reason and there's no reason to tempt fate.

    I'm not a big fan of "fast finishes" unless it means the entire last mile. The body is in a state of disrepair by the end of an exhausting long run and adding the stress of a quick pick-up can do the damage.

    I once read "speed and distance do not mix" and I believe it. Other than that, a good run eh? I like how you kept a strong pressure on then brought the pace up. Amazing how the new pace can stick...

  6. Way to go Thomas - man you are in good form!

  7. Poor Niamh! And yay good husband Thomas!