Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tempted by the Snooze Button

I'm not entirely sure, but the lack of sleep might be catching up with me. I could have been more intelligent over the last few days, because both on Monday and Tuesday I went to bed well after 10 pm. I deliberately stayed off the computer yesterday (hence no update) and was in bed shortly after 9 o'clock, but despite getting about 7-and-a-half hours of sleep I actually feel more tired today. What's disconcerting is the fact that since I just had two easy days in a row, I would expect to feel better, not worse. I also noticed that I'm losing patience quickly, both at home and at work. As a result I decided to take an easy week over the Christmas holidays. Running over 90 miles during that week would have been quite a challenge anyway, and I'll just have to try and hang on until then.

The week started very well with a big improvement in the weather. The high winds finally stopped Sunday evening, and when I left the house early Monday morning I was glad to be back on the Caragh Lake loop. I even managed to run it faster than before the enforced weather break, but looking at time and effort I put into it I think the supposed 17 miles around Caragh Lake are a bit shorter than the supposed 17 miles of 2 Devil's Elbow loops. Google maps seems to think that the Caragh Lake loop is indeed a bit shy of 17 miles while the Devil's Elbow loop is a tad longer, but when comparing the "map" view with the actual road you can see that it doesn't follow the real road exactly - accurate maps would be nice, you know. I decided not to worry about it. I recorded 17 miles at 7:35 pace into the log. If the loop is only 16.8 miles, the real pace would be 7:41. It doesn't really matter, the effect that it has on my body is what counts, not the numbers I put down in the log, and if some of the runs are slightly shorter, it won't have a major effect, I'm sure. Besides, any of you Garmin junkies should be aware that your toys usually slightly overstate the distance. If you don't believe me, check out any running forum after a certified marathon, and you invariably see dozens of Garmin weenies** whining that the race was too long. Anyway, I ran the last 5 miles at a higher pace, and I ran the last mile rather strongly, in 6:52. That happens to be the pace required for a sub-3 marathon, and it was quite sobering - I really can't imagine holding that effort for 26 miles.

I took 2 easy days for Tuesday and Wednesday, along Caragh Lake yesterday, and on the Ard-na-Sidhe road today, because unfortunately the wind has picked up again. Actually there was plenty of wind on Tuesday, and normally I would have mentioned something like "a fairly strong headwind on the way out", but compared what I have been through the previous week it was nothing, so I decided to simply ignore it. One baffling thing about the two easy runs was the difference in heart rate. How two runs of basically equal distance at virtually the same pace and effort can differ by 6 bpm is beyond me, especially considering the fact that I should have been well rested today after the easy run on Tuesday and the decent amount of sleep. The weather was more challenging today, but not by that much. I wore the basic shoes on Tuesday and cushioning trainers today, but again, the HR difference is startling, and besides, the basic shoes weigh nearly as much. I'm puzzled.

I had a great end-of-year meeting with my manager the other day. The company had its best year ever, and as a result not only do I get a decent pay rise, but also a bonus that's big enough to pay off my credit card bill. Woohoo! Plus, the fact that I got rid of my car has already made a noticeable difference in my monthly outgoings, and with Niamh's car loan being almost paid off, all of a sudden our financial situation seems to have gone from calamitous to comfortable, despite the fact that there's an extra mouth to feed. Somehow it makes for a more relaxed Christmas, even though I got slightly carried away when buying presents for the kids. Maybe they'll be good enough over the next fortnight to justify the outlay, but somehow I doubt it.
10 Dec
17 miles, 2:08:57, 7:35 pace, HR 147
last 5 in 36:19 @ 7:15, last @ 6:52
11 Dec
10 miles, 1:19:13, 7:55 pace, HR 139
including 12x100 strides
12 Dec
10 miles, 1:19:17, 7:56 pace, HR 145

Consecutive Days of Running in Rain: 10

** only the ones who whine are weenies, not all Garmin wearers. No need to send hate mail.


  1. Good running Thomas. I get unexplained blips in HR also - perhaps your HR monitor is a bit like the Garmins.

    Although I don't rise as early as you I was told by my Manager today that I looked tired and that he had spotted me out running one morning before 6. My problem is gfetting to bed early (rarely before 11 p.m.)

  2. Your easy days are 10 miles? No wonder you're tired. Do you ever monitor your morning resting HR just before getting up? A higher than normal value could indicate over training. A rest week is a very good idea I'd say.

  3. Thomas,
    I notice my hr is higher when I am dehydrated. Happens every time I don't focus on drinking lots.

    Congrats on the great year at work and the increased $$ to go with it! That's a good feeling, isn't it?

  4. Hey Thomas,

    Make sure you allow yourself some proper recovery... and congratulations on the bonus (always a nice treat)!

    Say, do you know where Eric has gone, haven't seen a post in quite a while?

  5. So glad to hear that your finances are doing well and as far as being tired, I think a more relaxed holiday week is just what you need. You'll be bouncing back after the holidays, is my prediction!

    And how could you NOT get carried away with over-spending on your adorable kids?? It's the cuteness that gets you every time! :)

  6. Extra dosh?! Does that mean you'll enter more races?!

  7. hi thomas,havin had a garmin since june and run many races wearing it i have to say my garmin is very accurate
    you have to remember that when a certified measurer's measures the race course they have to add some thing like a meter to each mile,this is to stop under distance races but it mean that all race courses should be slightly over distance.
    if i was you i would spend the bonus on a garmin and put the P.R.M. in the bin. you are far better off listening to what your body is telling you and not on a pulse monitor. your pulse rate is affected be so many things, heat,cold, what you eat etc...
    also unless you go to a lab to get your max heart rate checked its impossible to know what levels to train at.i felt a big sense of freedom when i stopped using a h.r.m. and my race times started improving soon after.
    the heart rate monitor was a fantastic sales gimic, and some one made a lot of money from us runners and cyclists.but in the real world i have found them to be a waste of time.
    liberate your self thomas,get a hammer and smash it to a thousand pieces .your brain is a far better computer at telling you the right pace,trust me i'm an ALIEN !!!