Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Looking Back, But Not In Anger

I’m in two minds about Sunday’s race. On one hand, I lowered my PR by a significant amount into a territory that I would have rejected as fantasy when I was standing on the start line. On the other hand, I can’t stop wondering what would have happened had I tried to stay with Grellan.

I had felt comfortable enough when I let him go, it was the numbers on the Garmin that made me slow down. Smart move or chicken? Judging from his report, he seems to have managed to reach the finish line just as his strength was running out. I, on the other hand, still felt like I had plenty in the tank, but that didn’t help with cutting the 50 seconds deficit I had on him at the end. I can tell one thing for sure. Put into the same position again I would try and stay with him, if only to find out what would have happened.

I found plenty of photos of myself from the race, from miles 4, 5, 5, 12 and 13 respectively. As I mentioned to Niamh, long distance running is not a beauty contest.

I felt pretty good on Monday, if a little tired. That tiredness was mainly caused by Maia, though, who did not accept the fact that Daddy had run a strenuous race as sufficient reason to have a peaceful night. It was still 5:37 in the morning when she woke me for the last time. I had planned to get up at 6am, and there was no more sleep to be had after I had dealt with the problem. She did sleep peacefully once I went out for my run, making things easy for Niamh. Typical.

10 easy miles on Monday went by without a hitch, and I felt good. There was less soreness than expected in the legs, and I felt rather comfortable. Today was a bit tricky. The schedule has mixed intervals on Tuesday, but I did not think that would be too smart a move. Running 10k, 5k and 3k pace a mere 41 hours after crossing the line of a half-marathon is asking for a bit much. For some reason, though, I had already programmed the Garmin with the workout, and even though I had initially decided to simply run 8 easy miles, I could not quite resist temptation. I successfully argued with myself that running the intervals at marathon pace would be a good idea. Of course, the marathon pace target has moved as well on Sunday. Until the moment I was over the line I was content with an MP of 7:00, but the target has shifted to 6:50 now. It was that pace I started to tune into for the first interval. After that, I got a bit careless, didn’t even check the Garmin for most of the other repeats, and ran a bit faster than that. Last week I would not have been able to tune into that pace with still slightly stiff legs. Today it wasn’t even particularly hard. It’s amazing the difference a bit of confidence can make. I guess the Brain Training guys would regard this as a given.

Anyway, I ran 2 miles at 6:49, 2 k at 6:35, 1 mile at 6:37 and half a mile at 6:24 pace, and I should probably point out that the last two were on an uphill road, because I ran alongside Caragh Lake and those two sections just happened to fall on a climb. I hope I haven’t completely f***ed up my recovery. Tomorrow is definitely an easy day, and Thursday’s intervals at half marathon pace (which should of course be run at my “new” HMP of 6:30) will tell how I’m coming along.

15 Sep
10 miles, 1:23:09, 8:19 pace, HR 136
16 Sep
8 miles, 58:21, 7:18 pace, HR 154
2m @ 6:49, 2k @ 6:35, 1m @ 6:37, 0.5m @ 6:24


  1. To be honest Thomas I would have done what you did if I were in your shoes. I tend to race at a pace that is comfortable for me and keeping up with someone else or passing them out is a bonus and more a product of my pace than race strategy. I agree with your thinking in that I have run races where I have had plenty of kick at the end but my best times tend to be where i'm just hanging on and have no kick at the finish - but achieving this is hit and miss at the moment.

    Remember the half was not your peak race - don't beat yourself up over itm. I know you may think "that's easy for you to say" but i've been in your position far more often.

    Would you feel the same if you didn't know me and I was just another name on the results page?

  2. Nicely put Grellan, No worries Thomas just focus on your marathon, your time will come!

  3. It's a good sign you were strong at the end of the half.

    Hanging on to your competition and not worrying about the pace is worth trying next time. Not the ideal tactic for marathons though!

  4. Well think about the fact that you did have a lot left at the end and were holding back. That would imply that you McMillan time is a bit on the conservative side wouldn't it? So maybe you can go out close to that pace and see what develops...

  5. If what Miek said is accurate, i.e. the McMillan time being a tad on the conservative, perhaps you should try lower your HMP... just for shits and giggles.

    What is it, around six weeks until race day? You're in the thick of it now, keep it up and train smart!

  6. "Would you feel the same if you didn't know me and I was just another name on the results page?"

    Thomas, I think in answering this question you will be able to shed the 'what if' and be of one mind - "I lowered my PR by a significant amount into a territory that I would have rejected as fantasy when I was standing on the start line."

    And this is but one race in an overall spectacular progression from just a couple of short years.

    Keep your eyes on the prize.