Sunday, August 10, 2008


Real life has a habit of interfering with our running training, doesn't it? Some things that happened on Thursday, and on which I won't elaborate, caused me to spend most of the night sitting on the sofa, stuffing myself with comfort food – which of course meant eating enormous amounts of sugar. The evening ended well after 3 am with Niamh and me feeding each other chocolate, but at least that improved our mood sufficiently to be able to go to bed afterwards. My alarm had been set for 4:50. It did cross my mind that binning the run would be the only sane option, but luckily sanity doesn't rule my training, and after something between 60 and 90 minutes of sleep I got up, got ready, and headed out into the darkness.

I had been a bit worried about it being too dark, because my last headlamp broke and I haven't got a replacement yet, but that proofed unfounded; it was still dark but light enough to run without artificial light. My next worry was the chocolate that must still have been in my stomach at that time, but I felt good. In fact, I took off like a rocket. I guess the sugar coursing through my veins must have acted as booster fuel, in marked contrast to my usual ascetic running preparations, because I usually run on an empty stomach.

Maybe it was the sugar, or maybe the lack of sleep had switched off my brain's rational centre, but I had a fantastic run. I crossed the hills over the first half faster than on any previous run; at the 10 mile point I accelerated to 7:30 pace, which I kept going until I passed our driveway, 15 miles into the run. At that point I had such a good rhythm going that I did not even stop to pick up the drink bottle that I had left there at the outset. I speeded up further, intending to run the final 5 miles at 7:00 pace. I made it, but it felt like I slightly cheated because until half a mile before the end I was at 7:03 pace, and only a very strong final half mile and basically an all-out sprint on the last hill brought the average pace under 7:00. Still, being able to kick it home isn't a bad sign, either.

Maybe stuffing yourself with copious amounts of chocolate is a good preparation for a long run. I wonder if this has been tried by a few ultra runners out there.

I ran much easier on Saturday, with the legs showing unsurprising amounts of soreness after Thursday's mile repeats and Friday's 20-miler. 8 easy miles did enough for me. In the evening we attended a Christening party for a baby boy who had been born only 8 days after Maia, and of course everyone kept calling the two babies boy- and girlfriend, despite the fact that they didn't take much notice of each other. The party was big, and I once again found that I can't resist lovely food, and ate much more than is advisable. Hey, if the food is delicious, it's meant to be eaten! But I did decide to add a few miles onto Sunday's run, to make up for the binge.

Therefore I extended my run today to include the entire loop around Caragh Lake. It's been a while since I had run that loop twice in one week. The legs felt great, but I had some stomach issues (the food? The beer? The ice cream?) that did cause me to slow down a bit over those hills, but I once again sped up a bit over the last 5 miles. I was surprised how easy they felt; that must have been the most comfortable 7:24 pace I have ever run.

We're off on our holidays now, we're spending next week on Valentia Island, and since I don't have an internet connection there I will most likely be incommunicado until after the following weekend. Until then.
8 Aug
20 miles, 2:33:17, 7:39 pace, HR 147
miles 10-15 @ 7:29, miles 15-20 @ 6:59
9 Aug
8 miles, 1:07:49, 8:28 pace, HR 136
10 Aug
15 miles, 2:00:06, 8:00 pace, HR 141
last 5 @ 7:24

Weekly mileage: 82+


  1. Have a good holiday ... make sure you pack your running gear!!!

    My target for Loch Ness is 3.08 at this point but after I've done the Glasgow Half Marathon on 7 September I might review!


    Impressive running!
    Back in my cycle racing days we always use to do a really long bike bike on a Sunday, deep into the hills and back [ 135 miles plus] any one who got the BONK [ hitting the wall in running terms] always found that eating a MARS BAR had amazing powers of re energizing ones body!
    many be they should bring out liquid chocolate energy drinks !

  3. Enjoy your holiday!

    Oh, and a very nice 20 miler.

  4. Great to see Niamh healping with the carb loading. 90 minutes sleep - CRAZY.

    Enjoy the hols.

  5. Enjoy your holiday, leave the comfort food home though ;-)

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  7. Great 20 miler, Thomas! I'm not sure this would be a textbook way to blast out a 20 miler, but it worked for you. You may have a 100 miler in your future ;)

  8. That 20-miler was one of those special ones. Enjoy the holiday!

  9. life happens, hope things are better now. isn't it wonderful when we have a totally unexpected great run. enjoy the rest of your week

  10. I hope your holiday was wonderful!