Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Aftermath

On Saturday evening I was seriously wondering how many days I would have to take off. If you've been following this blog for a while you know that I hate zero days, but I was so utterly exhausted that running was out of the question. In fact, thinking back, I was really amazed that I had managed to finish the race, no matter in what time.

However, 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep did wonders to my constitution. All of a sudden I was full of energy again, and the first thing I did on Sunday morning was to head out of the door for a quick 6-miler. On Friday, I had felt fine. On Sunday, I felt fine. It was just on Saturday that I felt absolutely crap, and as luck had it, that happened to be race day. In my frustration I hammered the last mile in 6:30, just to show the body "look, that's what you should have done yesterday!". In order to prove to myself that I was indeed fine, I spent the next 7 hours working in the garden, and since I spent far too much of that time thinking about the race, I ran another5 miles in the evening, in an unsuccessful attempt to banish the demons.

As a direct result of all that, on Monday I was the sorest I have been in quite some time, but it wasn't just the legs, my shoulder were achy, too, which I obviously attributed to the yard work. I missed out on one mile because the boys woke up just as I was about to head out, and by the time I had made breakfast for both of them and listened to the story that Cian insisted on telling me in excruciating detail, my available time had shrunk and 5 miles was all I could do. In my sore state that was more than enough anyway. I seriously doubted if I would be able to run hill sprints on Tuesday, and expected to have to shift those by at least one day.

Last night was another rough one, with Lola, Shea and Maia all having issues on either end of the digestive system, but I'll spare you the details for once. Luckily I had gone to bed early, which meant I still got a reasonable amount of sleep once the situation had settled down. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself almost free of soreness, and decided to go ahead with the hill sprints after all.

Grellan had warned me about those. How you are supposed to run up a hill at mile pace I do not know. Either Matt Fitzgerald's hills are not very steep, or he means that more as guidelines rather than realistic pace recommendations. In any case, 8x45 seconds was tough, and I didn't even get close to mile pace. All repeats were between 7:00 and 7:30 pace, which was almost a minute slower than last week's repeats (those had been for 30 seconds only, though). I guess I must still have been tired from the weekend, and maybe I would have been better off with an extra rest day, but it's too late for that. It was not for lack of effort, I managed to get my heart rate from 140 to 180 in those 45 seconds every time, and the quads felt like they were on fire. I also got one lesson in relaxation, the last repeat was the one with the most effort, and promptly ended up as the slowest one! I guess concentrating on form would have been the better option, though concentrating on form when all you can think of is the pain is difficult; I kept telling myself that pain is good, but towards the end of each repeat I invariably started to have doubts about the truth of that statement. Anyway, I was glad to have those over and done with, and the fact that they had not exactly gone to plan caused hardly a shrug of the shoulders.

According to the results from Saturday's race I came 84th out of over 1600 runners, which theoretically sounds ok, but in reality only shows how this was a fun run for most people, with the vast majority having heaved themselves straight off the couch. As expected, my age group had been much more competitive this year, I came 17th. Even if I had run as well as I know I am capable of, I would have ended up around 30th position, 6th or 7th in my age group, which meant that a podium finish was never on the cards. In fact, the overall winner of the race had been from the O35 age group. I found a quantum of solace from the fact that at least my stomach had not prevented me from receiving a prize.

My stomach seems to be almost back to normal, let's hope the kids' ones will follow soon as well.
29 Jun
am: 6 miles, 46:17, 7:43 pace, HR 147
pm: 5 miles, 39:28, 7:54 pace, HR 150
30 Jun
5 miles, 43:30, 8:42 pace, HR 138
1 Jul
6.6 miles, 59:02, 8:57 pace, HR 148
including 8x45 hill sprints @ 7:00-7:30 pace

Weekly mileage: 51.5
Monthly mileage: 194


  1. I'm glad to see that you're over the bug. Keep an eye on that recovery though, don't go digging yourself into a pit.

    The hill repeats, however difficult, will be great a few weeks/months from now. Keep it up. I'll have to see if I can get that program from Grellan, sounds cool.

    I'm also sorry about "the" comment, it was a favourite of mine. I just hope it doesn't have some wild double meaning.


  2. Thomas, don't beat yourself up so much over Saturdays race - YOU WERE SICK and you're body already knows it can go faster.

    I had to laugh when reading your account of the hill repeats. Exactly the same way I felt when I did them - there's comfort in knowing that someelse has the same experience. You're right to go on effort and forget about pace. Just enough effort to ensure to can do the last one without losing it.

    You're haunted with the speedy recovery from the gastric problem. Although the kids appear to have got your share.

  3. You do seem to be rather hard on yourself Thomas. Hopefully this bug will be out of your system soon and you can get back to your normal speedy self. I agree with effort based running for most repeats. Take care.

  4. Maybe you should find another 10k to run in, in a couple of weeks and put your DEMONS to rest!
    We have all had highs and lows in our running, even the best runners in the world! Am sure it will just make you more determined to prove that you are the good runner that you are1
    Not sure about this " pain is good" thing, since I started ChiRunning one think i found is its possible to run very fast while keeping in a relaxed state.Thinking about pain can make you tense up, which will slow you right down1

  5. p.s. after getting advise from DANNY DREYER I can now run a hill which took me 10.20 to run last year in 9.54 now! yet with much less pain!
    I don't think pain is good!

  6. I get so exhausted just reading your posts Thomas. I feel like I'm busy, but you seem to cram more into your life than humanly possible. I still want to know how you run so much with 4 kids and a job!!!

    Feel better, and agreed - don't best yourself up so badly!