The main thing I noticed the last two days when I left for my run was that: the sky is immensely beautiful. Yesterday I stepped out of our house to look up in wonder. On the right was the moon, on my left bright Venus, and after looking for a few seconds I could make out a number of stars, and Orion was straight ahead of me, all stars perfectly visible despite dawn getting quite bright. I stood there staring for half a minute, until a second sensation became overwhelming: it was freezing cold, about 2C/35F. I did wear my gloves but shorts and t-shirt, and while that is usually good enough when running at a decent pace, just standing there nearly turned me into an icicle, and I had to set off. I jogged for half a mile, then I thought I’m still cold and increased the pace by a lot, just to keep warm. Actually, the cold was an excuse, and I knew it even back then. I wanted an excuse to run faster than recovery pace, because after Wednesday’s workout I needed some reassurance that I can still run at a decent pace. So I tuned into marathon pace. I hit it too, and it didn’t feel too hard either. On my way back home, from about the 3 miles point, I did start to question myself, not only if running MP at that stage was really such a clever idea, but also how I would be able to sustain that for 25 miles rather than 5. I got slightly reassured when I reached home, because the second 2.5 miles stretch had only taken me 17:55, 7:10 pace exactly. I thought back to the back-to-back marathon pace efforts when I usually struggled to reach 7:15 pace and more often than not ended up with 7:25. Today 7:10 felt much easier. Maybe not while I was running, then it had felt tough enough. But once I stopped and calculated my pace, my mind decided that it had felt easy. Easy enough for 26 miles? Who knows.
Today was a slightly more restrained effort, but since I left home before even 6 o’clock, the night was still very dark and the sky looked even more impressive. I love running beneath the moon and the stars, and it was so bright that I even left the headlamp at home, despite my intentions to run the trails of the Kerry Way. Again I stared up transfixed for a minute when I stepped through the door, and again the cold eventually forced me to move on. The run was magical, the legs felt fast and swift, and climbing about 215m/700ft in elevation did not feel particularly tough either. I love it when climbing feels so manageable (I won’t pretend that it felt easy). After the trail portion I was back on the undulating 5 miles alongside Caragh Lake on my way back home that are part of my long runs, and I increased the pace for a bit. I timed myself for the last 3, and covered them in 22:26 (7:29 pace). It was strange to run with the HR seemingly stuck at 141 and knowing that I was covering the ground at 7:30 pace. I don’t know what HR I can run at the marathon, probably around 160, though I will run by feel, not dictated by the HRM, and with so many beats to spare, things are looking good.
Apart from the fact that I’ve got a sore throat! It started to bother me yesterday, and today it’s worse. I’m absolutely determined not to let this develop into anything else. I could dismiss it as one of those phantom pains that always develop during the taper, but Niamh is complaining too. I started taking Echinacea and vitamins, and considering the fact that I can’t remember the last time I was actually sick, I won’t get sick in the last week before the marathon. No I will not.
Tomorrow is a rest day. Zero mileage, shock, horror. If the world comes to an end, you know why.
- 27 Sep
- 5 miles, 37:11, 7:26 pace, HR 150
last 2.5 in 17:55 (7:10 pace)
- 28 Sep
- 12.25 very hilly miles, 1:38:20, 8:01 pace, HR 145
last 3 in 22:26 (7:29 pace)