A few weeks ago Niamh and I watched a program on the BBC about sick babies. Once upon a time they used to produce high-quality documentaries, and I still can’t quite get used to the crap they have been serving over the last couple of years. The sensationalist tabloid-style voiceover really started to get to me. At one stage they started operating on a very young infant and the voiceover announced that its heart rate was now up to 160, which is so high that an adult would suffer a heart attack if that happened to him/her. Sad person that I am I actually started arguing with the telly, and he must have picked up on my words because he made exactly the same claim twice more. I had to shut up when Niamh started to get annoyed with me (Me! I was just defending the truth!), but I still get pissed off whenever I think about that program - which is every time my own HR reaches that level. (See! Still no f***ing heart attack!!)
What that has to do with my recent running? Very little, apart from the fact that it tells you where my mind goes these days when I should be concentrating on the effort instead. Since I reach heart rates in excess of 160 on each and every hill repeat as well as on nearly every windsprint at the bottom of said hill, I keep getting reminded about that program, and I just can’t seem to shake the frustration about the low-quality stuff served by a sender that still claims to be better than that.
Yes, hill repeats were on the menu again on Monday, and I can assure you I’m relieved that that particular phase is about to end. The legs felt very heavy from the very start, which must have been a leftover from Sunday’s fast paces. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go through the entire program of 4 hill repeats, but I did manage it. I might have thought my legs felt heavy at the beginning of the workout; it was no comparison with what they felt like at the end, I nearly had to crawl home. I think I’m getting close to the ceiling of how far I can push myself, and I’m very much looking forward to a few days of non-hill running, when I can just glide along the road instead of lifting the knees as high as I can, or bounce up and down, behaving more like a kangaroo than a marathon runner.
Today was already scheduled as an easy run, which suited me just fine, considering how tired I had been all day yesterday. I contemplated cutting the mileage down to 8, but went out for the customary 10 miles instead. The difference between 8 and 10 easy miles isn’t very noticeable as far as the legs go, but double-digit numbers look better in the log, don’t you think? I kept the effort at an easy level, and apart from an encounter with a flock of sheep (I could start ranting again at this point, but two rants in one entry would be overkill) there is not much to report. Oh, there is. It was the first run in at least a week when it wasn’t raining. It had been drizzly all week, and I always caught some rain at one stage or another during all of my previous runs, today was an exception. It’s still the same depressing weather though, it started raining later on. We have by now accepted the fact that the 3 nice weeks we had in April were our entire summer. As beautiful as the landscape around here is when the weather is nice, after the last few months I can’t quite remember why we chose to settle in the west of Ireland of all places. (That’s two rants in one entry after all. Apologies.)
There’s a double header on schedule for the next two days. I'm actually looking forward to it.
13 Aug: 4 hill repeats, 1:45:35, ~11 miles, avg. HR 140
14 Aug: 10 miles, 1:24:44, 8:28 pace, avg. HR 137