Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Treat

Look what I made on Sunday morning as a surprise for the homecoming family members. I was dead proud of myself, and Niamh and the kids were suitably impressed. If that running thingy doesn’t work out, I could always try my hand at baking.

It was great to have the family back home, but unfortunately Maia developed a fever in the middle of the night, and she has not improved since. She’s really whiny, and during the day someone has to carry her at all times. She starts screaming as soon as you try putting her down. Of course, it also means neither Niamh nor me are getting a good night’s sleep. I got maybe 7 hours on Monday, and 2x4 hours last night, with a one-hour break in the middle until we managed to get some medicine into the girl and waited until it started to take effect. Poor Maia.

I felt surprisingly fresh on Monday morning, taking into account that the race had only been about 15 hours earlier. I took it easy of course, with 7 miles in just under 60 minutes. The weather wasn’t very good; rain and wind are part of life around here, but that’s the 3rd year in a row with an absolutely awful July. I feel sorry for the tourists who come here. They must think this is a truly miserable place.

I wasn’t sure if running hill sprints would be a good idea for today, and decided to gauge the soreness level in the morning. Well, I didn’t feel 100% on top of the world, but fresh enough to go ahead with the workout. On the menu were 8x90 seconds of hill sprints. The prescribed pace has been reduced from earlier weeks, it’s no longer mile pace but 3k pace. Between you and me, that’s just as unrealistic, and I decided to go by effort rather than trying to match an unattainable pace. I only had 2 minutes of rest between the sprints, which was only just about sufficient time to jog back to the base of the hill before the next repeat. I was slower than last week, but I still got the HR to the other side of 180, so the effort was definitely there. I left something in the tank for the first 7 repeats, and then gave it all I had left on the last one, but in contrast to earlier weeks I remembered to pay attention to form and control, rather than just storming up like a madman. As a result, the last repeat was the fastest one (by some margin, too), and I was completely spent afterwards. I had a hard time running the 2 miles home.

With the race on Sunday, maybe it would have been wiser to bin one of the speed workouts last week. However, some time ago I read an article about the Chinese runners, Ma’s army, and their overload training. Basically, for a period of one or two weeks they did a truly ridiculous amount of training (as opposed to the mere brutal training of normal weeks), which gave them a major boost. Leaving aside all the questions about their drug use, they surely performed well, if only for a short period of time. I didn’t set out to copy them, but with the two races in two weeks (Sunday’s 10k, and a 5k this Saturday) I decided to go ahead and keep all the speed workouts in the schedule. I’ll take it easier next week, because as Mike has pointed out, it’s during the rest periods that you get stronger.

On a different note, one of the purposes of the 10k was to set my level for the training. Sunday’s time leaves me on level 27, with an equivalent marathon race pace of 6:56, which would give me a 3:01:47 time. In contrast, McMillan's Running Calculator gives me a marathon time of 3:03:44. Unfortunately, I have never managed to match my predicted times, but it’s still nice to see those numbers getting close to the 3 hours mark. With plenty of training still to come there’s still hope that I can improve sufficiently until Dublin, but I know full and well that a sub-3 marathon is probably a bit over-ambitious. It won’t be for lack of trying though.

P.S. Niamh just brought Maia to the doctor. She has a throat infection. Poor thing.
14 Jul
7 miles, 59:41, 8:31 pace, HR 139
15 Jul
7.1 miles, 1:01:21, 8:38 pace, HR 148
with 8x90 seconds hill sprints


  1. Very gutsy performance in the 10(ish)k Thomas. Given the difficult course I'd say your well able for a 38:xx. Wait till week 16 of your training programme with all the 10k speedwork behind you.

  2. Good to hear you will not be defecting to China any time soon.

    Given the work you have been putting in lately, you should build some good strength during your next rest period.

    Too bad for Maia, it's so hard to see the little ones ill.

    You have every right to a proud baker, I almost considered leaving my wife for you...but she's much better looking, and her Whoopie Pies are to die for.

  3. So is that a cheesecake or a berry pie? Looks incredibly delicious!

    You are hammering hard with your training! Great 10K Mr. Speedy!!!

    Hope Maia's throat clears up soon, and that she didn't share her ailment with any others.

    I have a friend living in China and he's had to stop running due to the air quality.


  4. Nice looking surprise you baked for the family's homecoming. I am feeling hungry, again!

    To answer your question, I do have something big on the horizon, but I am trying to keep my mouth shut about it until I have 3-4 weeks of solid training under my belt and commit fully.