Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Great News

Maia took her first steps today! We are all celebrating

Have a look at my HR data from Sunday's Cork-to-Cobh race. It's not hard to see where I decided to ditch the group and start racing in earnest, is it?

I got a surprise when I inserted the data from the race into my training spreadsheet on Monday. There is a scoring function that is handy to compare your performance over different race distances, and Sunday’s race equalled my previous highscore, the 5k from Killarney back in July. Obviously the score from a 15 miler is much more relevant to me than the score from a 5k, especially so close to the marathon. It really came as a big surprise, seeing that I hadn’t raced all-out over the first 11+ miles.

I could not sleep on Sunday night. I was still buzzing from the race, and all kinds of thoughts went through my head. For a second I had the dangerous idea of going for a faster marathon time. After all, 6:35 had still felt totally comfortable at mile 11. I did manage to banish that thought, though. The Dublin marathon sports a nasty climb up to the 20-mile mark; if I get up there still feeling good, there will be ample opportunity to make up time. Marathons are long, and patience is a virtue.

My ideal scenario for Dublin would be to find a group that’s doing my pace and joining it, just like I did with that big group last Sunday. This made a big difference, especially psychologically. I think this was a major factor behind that pace feeling so easy. All my mind had to do was follow the leaders in front of me, and I could do that completely on autopilot. Unlike many marathons in America they don’t do official pace groups over here, and somehow it would feel like cheating anyway (don’t ask). But if a group of runners just happened to be running at 6:45-6:50 pace I would be very happy to join them. Of course, this is all just speculation.

I’m not sure if I’m officially tapering yet or if I’m merely recovering from the race, but the last two days were definitely on the easy side. I still felt pretty well for the 9 miles on Monday, but I could feel my hamstrings tightening up more and more as the day wore on. This is classic DOMS at work. I guess you can’t run such a long race and expect to come away without issues the next days. The race definitely left a few marks. My PF was flared up again, but nowhere near as bad as after the Liscarroll race in August, and a good bit of massaging seems to have worked wonders again. My right achilles was aching yesterday, but that went away overnight. Today, Tuesday, it’s mostly the achy hamstrings bothering me. I had my slowest run in quite some time this morning. I brought the Garmin along but turned off the backlight, which ensured that I would not be able to make out any numbers. Not tempted to speed up at all, I just plodded along my lonely path in the pouring rain.

I can’t believe how luck we had been on Sunday with the weather. Sandwiched between two spells of foul conditions, we had the perfect day for running. By Monday morning it had already changed, the rain arrived in Caragh Lake exactly at 5:19 am (I was awake at the time), and the wind was rather strong. Today it was less windy but with heavier rain in the morning, which is why I got a lift from Niamh into work rather than cycle. I did run home though, which added a few unplanned but easy miles, and I didn’t even bring a watch along (not on purpose, I simply forgot). I’ll take it easy again on Wednesday, and will have to decide what I want to do for Thursday. Before the Cork marathon I had done a set of Yasso 800s, which had predicted my subsequent marathon time with spooking accuracy. I had some vague plans of repeating that experiment for Dublin, but it would have to happen this week, and at the moment I simply don’t fancy running so fast. I might be persuaded to do a tempo run instead. I’ll see. Realistically, neither will make much difference in Dublin.

6 Oct
9 miles, 1:13:08, 8:08 pace, HR 141
7 Oct
am: 8 miles, 1:06:06, 8:16 pace, HR 136
pm: 2.5 miles, ~20 minutes


  1. congrats to Maia first steps pretty soon she will be running marathons like her dad

  2. Thomas ... look out for my friend John McLaughlin at Dublin. He too is aiming for a sub 3hrs and is one of the best runners I know at being able to set a pace and stick to it mile after mile. I reckon you two could really help each other achieve your goals. I can't wait to see how it turns out so I can't imagine how you must be feeling.

    For weeks before the whw race I would fall asleep visualising the race and on training runs it was all I was thinking about but I'm sure it helped especially early on when lots of runners started too fast.

    I think you are going to have to be super disciplined early on and make sure you stick to your plan. It would be awful to set off too quick thinking you could stay with a faster group and then blow up with a few miles to go and miss your target.

    Sub 3 is your goal and you CAN do it!


  3. Hi THOMAS, i think the 15 mile race gave you all the information you need, the Yasso 800 is a tough session and i don't think its worth wasting your energy over! The pulse graph makes impressive reading, and taking into account your ability to run long distances a a sub 3 is a definite possibility now, just bear in mind that the marathon is a completely different kettle of fish to a 15 miler or even a 20 mile race for that matter, in a marathon the race doesn't really get under way until 20 miles, up to which point its a matter of holding back and conserving energy stores, go too fast in the early stages and you will surely blow and slow dramatically. I'm sure you've got the strength and mental courage to crack it!
    Use the 15 miler as a massive confidence booster, there really is no need to test your self anymore, it would be counter productive at this stage, RELAX in the knowledge that all you need now is a carefully planned taper to get you to the start line feeling shape and fresh legged!

  4. Maia walking? It seems like she just arrived! It's good to see you are just as excited about the fourth child walking as the first.

    You are good to go Thomas!

  5. While being 10 minutes or so behind you in the 15 miler I've had the same experiences after sunday. I did my last long run on tuesday (20 miler) and plodded around in the pouring rain mentally replaying sunday and visualising Dublin. Now I have bad DOMS with all the niggles coming back to haunt me. I have a few more hill sessions to do; a few 12 milers and then a nice easy week of eating bread and 4 mile jogs!

  6. A future little marathoner, perhaps?

    Best of luck as the countdown to Dublin continues.