Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Darkness Falls

We have now definitely entered the part of the year when a day without heavy rain and winds under the gale-force marker automatically qualifies as a nice day. Add to that the inevitable darkness, both in the morning when I’m running and in the evening when I’m cycling home from work and the conditions are generally getting more challenging.

At least I’m starting to get used to running slowly all the time. The mileage is still fairly low, at least compared to what I’m used to, but that will change soon enough. I recently studied my training plan and thought about adding a few miles here and there, but managed to reign myself in so far. I’ll see how I get on first before I make any drastic changes.

For real-life reasons, my long run day is going to be Monday this training cycle, and I ran 14 miles on Monday to get into the swing of things. That does not qualify as a long run yet, but that too will change soon enough. It was quite windy, which I noticed especially after the turnaround point, but at least the forecast rain held off until after I had gotten home – I did have to pay for that good fortune during my cycle commute, though. Tuesday and Wednesday were both easy 7 milers. The Garmin HR sensor started acting up again yesterday; it really is time to change the battery, but I haven’t yet managed to get a replacement. This morning I decided to wear my ancient Polar HR monitor as well as the Garmin. It meant strapping on not just one but two chest straps, and it felt like running in a corset; all too typically, the Garmin behaved impeccably and the data was the same on both. I was amazed that the Polar HR thing is still working. I got it almost 4 years ago, and never changed the battery that was only supposed to last for 2 years (and I’m sure I used it a lot more than the average user would have).

Anyway, yesterday I got soaking wet, but today was a nice day, at least according to the definition from the start of this entry. At least I don’t need a headlamp in the morning at the moment because the moon is so bright. Since that won’t be the case next week, I’ve ordered a new one. My trusty old Petzl is definitely on its way out. The case has developed a big crack, and the rainwater is killing the batteries. I remember talking to some runners in Cork a while ago who all called me a weirdo for running with a headlamp. It’s different for those pampered city guys; they can always find a lit street. The nearest street light from my house is at the kids’ school, 2 miles away (I could run around the school yard – hours of fun) or in Killorglin, 5 miles away (I could run up and down the main street – just as much fun). I think I’ll stay on my beloved Caragh Lake loop and risk being called a weirdo.

17 Nov
14+ miles, 1:56:47, 8:19 pace, HR 143
18 Nov
7 miles, 58:03, 8:18 pace, HR ???
19 Nov
7 miles, 56:43, 8:06 pace, HR 146


  1. Just back from an 8 miler under street lights - The joy of public lighting! I'm trying this base training as well. Tonight was all at 143hr and it feels like cheating - practically walking up a hill! I've ordered the Forerunner 405 as an early Christmas present - despite it's dodgy reviews.

  2. Thankfully my Petzl days are behind me for a few months. Those long days of summer are perfect for runners :)

  3. Sounds like a good run! Dusted out the old gear eh? Glad to hear everything worked well for you.. Give us a ring if you want to upgrade your Polar and we'll give you a sweet deal!

    Chris @ Polar USA

    Anyway Thomas, anyone who gets up at 4 in the morning to go running is pretty weird, so a spotlight on your head is not going to make much difference.
    I'm sure you have been mistaken for a U.F.O. on many a dark windy morning as your spotlight bounces around the horizon in a crazy zigzag way!