Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Running

Someone recently commented that I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of good advice recently. That definitely was no exaggeration. Mike has helped a lot, the other Mike gave tons of good advice before the Dublin marathon, and Andrew has started to hand out advice by the bucket load recently. I hope none of you guys are charging coaching fees, because if you do I’ll owe you more than I’ve got in my account at present (or any other moment in time, come to think of it). I keep trying to implement all the advice, and I know that it will make me a better runner over time.

I didn’t get much sleep up to Christmas Day. I spent quite some time preparing the presents, including assembling a doll’s house for Lola late on Christmas Eve, and was woken at 5:30 am (!!!) by two extremely excited kids who were in no way inclined of going back to bed. They spent the next 2 hours unpacking Christmas presents and playing with their new toys, then Niamh and me tried to get some more sleep, but Shea had turned into an Antichrist by then and it took another two hours until he had screamed himself back into sleep. I got about one more hour of sleep after that, then I awoke to a very silent house and used the opportunity to sneak out for a 90 minutes run. I have switched to timed runs now rather than distance, which is very handy considering we’re in Dublin now and I wouldn’t be aware of the miles covered. The house was still quiet on my return, which saved me from the guilt trips.

After Andrew’s comment on the HR for ½ and ¾ efforts I thought I would have to increase the effort for the tempo runs, and I wasn’t exactly looking forward to that; the last tempo effort had seemed hard enough, to be honest. Well, Niamh gave me a “sports MP3 player” for Christmas (it includes a stopwatch, and you can still hear the noise around you even with the music on), and I gave it a spin on Tuesday. I had planned a ½ effort run, but not far from the house I spotted a runner ahead of me, which awoke my competitive instincts. After catching that one, I saw another one in the distance and gave chase. That’s just what I needed for a tempo run: Prey! Well, what I did end up with was a tempo run with the middle section at a HR of between 170 and 175, which definitely accounts for ¾ effort, and the realisation that Bruce Dickinson at full blast in you ears can very effectively drown out the painful screams from your calf muscles, even at higher paces.

Due to a death in the (extended) family we had to leave at 10:30 for the removal, which prompted me to get up before 7 o’clock and head out for the first of many mid-week 15 milers in this program. It was still dark outside and I considered bringing my headlamp (yes, Michelle, I do own one), but Dublin’s roads are well lit these days, or so I thought. What wasn’t too clever was forgetting to bring the gloves, but I had already closed the door behind me when I realised, and I didn’t want to wake up anyone to let me back in. To be honest, I managed fine without them. The street lightning worked well until I came to a, well, let's say less affluent part of Dublin called Ballybrack that was still covered in a blanket of darkness. Note to the council: it would make a lot of sense to light up the poorer parts of the City as well! I managed to get through and all of a sudden the driveways started to get bigger and bigger, and the houses turned into mansion, so I figured I had left Ballybrack behind me and was now in the considerably posher Killiney. There was a hill there, full with medieval walls and an old castle near the top, which made for a nice reward for the climb.

Warning: Very bad language ahead.
A big Fuck You goes out to the jerk at the garage in Ballybrack who refused an obviously distressed runner (me!) the use of his toilet. What the fuck is your problem, didn’t you get any presents from mummy or what? And next time you talk to someone, at least look at them instead of wiping the counter with a bored look on your fucking ugly face before you say no after a 10-second silence for effect. Wanker! Arsehole! Fuckwit!
End of Very bad language

Sorry for that. I feel better now. I had to deal with those issues …, err, no, I’ll spare you the details this time.

I made it back home in exactly 2 hours, and google says it was 13.65 miles. I would have thought it was more, but who am I to argue? So much for this being a 15-miler. Once more Bruce Dickinson and his mates had kept me company for the run. I used to pride myself for running without music in my ears for a long time, but I could get used to that.

25 Dec: 10.5 miles, 1:31, 8:40 pace, avg. HR 147
26 Dec: 8.25 miles, 1:02:30, 7:34 pace, avg. HR 163, middle 3.2 miles in 22:55 (7:10 pace, and HR around 172 I guess)
27 Dec: 13.65 miles, 2:00, 8:47 pace, avg. HR 145


  1. Thomas,
    Glad you have a headlamp. I don't like to use mine, I try to do without when I can. Also, thank-you for the warning about the very bad language. Always appreciated! (And I agree, the guy was a jerk).

    Gotta love those kids on Christmas morning! Plus, the good daddy staying up putting together a doll house. This year for us, it was a good daddy charging an ipod.

  2. Such dedication Thomas! With your family well looked after the running is really going well. That garage man was certainly not with the spirit of the season. Good running in '07!

  3. Good luck with the training, which ultra are you aiming at? The girl and I were over in Ireland last September and although I tired to find a race to pop into plans didn’t work out and had to suffice with Croagh Patrick.

  4. I am not above petty revenge when people are cruel for no reason. You obviously had the ammo ready, and he would probably be the one to have to clean it up off the doormat.

  5. Yep, next time squat next to his bad influence now.

    Kids unpacking presents worth every moment of no sleep, and you know that:) Yay for sneaking up non-guilt run!

  6. What a good daddy you are Thomas! It is well worth the effort when you have the excited children waking up early to see what sort of presents are waiting for them. That's what makes Christmas fun!

    The idiot that you vented about certainly deserved it.


    you can always vent here

    merry christmas

  8. oops, wrong link to my name up there...sorry

  9. You're too funny Thomas. Thanks for letting me know that Arizona doesn't have the corner on idiots (although I think we're still in the running based on personnel experience).

    Have a great week.

  10. oh my friend, death to that garageman. I know exactly what I would have done to get back at him. I have no shame! When you have to go, you have to go. That's my motto. :)

    And I would have topped it off with:
    Merry Christmas!

  11. Don't worry Thomas, I am used to all that foul language from running with Michelle. She's got a potty mouth :)

    And yes, you are lucky to receive all this good advice. It's much nicer to give advice to someone who actually follows a schedule and is able to implement said advice.