This is the last week of the kids’ summer holidays, and once they're going back to school I will have to get back home earlier after my runs to help get them ready. This will mean getting up earlier, and therefore I chose this week for one last 22 mile run, while I still have the luxury of sleeping in until 4:45 and still get the workout done. I wasn’t sure how the legs would hold up after Tuesday’s half-mile repeats, so I gave myself permission to bail out after 17 miles (1 loop around Caragh Lake).
The legs felt much better than expected initially, but while I wasn’t nearly as tired as I thought I would be, the first 3 miles were very slow, just a tad faster than 9:00 pace. I did manage to pick it up after that, but crossed Blackstones Bridge (~8 miles) in 1:08, which is as slow as I was a few weeks ago during my sleepwalking run. However, I felt pretty good and the running got stronger the more I got into it. Nature produced a few interesting effects to take my mind off the running, first I ran into a flock of bats; they circled around my head so close that I think I could have touched them had I extended my arm, and then the nearly full moon came out to provide an eerie light to the surroundings. I saw a huge ominous dark cloud around Seefin mountain, which didn’t bode too well because that was the direction I was heading for, but by the time I got there the road was glistening wet (which looked cool in the moonlight), but the rain had already moved on.
I reached our driveway in 2:20, which isn’t particularly fast, but the legs felt as fresh as daisies, and I decided not only to add the 5 miles to Ard-na-Sidhe, I also wanted to run them at marathon pace. I set out strongly, and reached the turnaround point 18 mins and 20 secs later, just a little bit slower than MP. But on the return leg I definitely reached the edge of what I was capable of. I had to slow down, and while I had the feeling that I could run for another 10 miles if only I slowed down a lot more, I found it impossible to keep the old pace going. Mind you, I still managed about 7:35 pace on the way back, which isn’t too shabby for miles 20-22, especially considering the tough workout from the previous day. When I got home I was quite happy with the run, but I was also happy to stop, in all honesty. I had reached my ceiling.
After those two days, today's was always going to be a slow recovery run. The legs were at their heaviest I can remember, and even after the usual three warm-up miles I was still feeling the effects of the previous workouts. I had originally planned 10 miles, but since progress was pretty slow and I had left the house a few minutes late, I turned around after 4.5 miles instead of 5 to make it 9 miles.
My fitness is coming along really well, as shown by yesterday's run, but there is a cloud on the horizon as well. Since Wednesday last week my right shin hurts. It started out as a faint pain, but has grown more pronounced since then. I think it's a mild case of shin splints, and my main worry is not to let it develop into anything more. I know what caused it. My old shoes had almost 600 miles on them (the most I've ever put on a pair), and I had worn my lightweight trainers twice a week for the speed workouts. The increased strain from the lessened cushioning obviously was enough to cause my shin to act up. I've retired the old pair, and I've put the fast shoes back to the back of the wardrobe; all of the faster runs, including Tuesday's 800s were done in heavier trainers. I'm also icing several times a day. There are two-and-a-half weeks of heavy training left before the taper. I think I'll be able to hold off the worst of the shin splints until then, and from then on the reduced mileage should help. At least that's the plan. With 38 days until the marathon I really don't want to get a bad injury, and if the pain gets any worse, I'll cut my mileage.
- 29 Aug
- 22 miles, 2:59:22, 8:09 pace, avg. HR 140
last 5 in 37:18 (7:27 pace)
- 30 Aug
- 9 miles, 1:17:31, 8:36 pace, avg. HR 132