On Sunday I thought I was getting into a reasonably good shape already. By Monday morning I changed my mind. The lack of sleep didn't help, probably. Maia is getting yet another tooth, and the sleepless night keep piling up. I shouldn't complain - it's the poor baby who's in pain, not me; I'm merely the bleary eyed guy who's trying to sing her back to sleep. But when the alarm clock rang at 5:30 it felt like I hadn't slept at all.
I managed to get myself ready, but within a minute I knew I was in for a rough time. It was my first visit back to the Caragh Lake loop since March, almost exactly 2 months ago. They seem to sneakily have made the road steeper and the hills higher since the last time. At least I can't remember suffering so badly on the climbs before. I kept thinking "I can't believe I used to do this for fun", because fun it wasn't on this occasion. It was quite warm, and very humid. The sweat seemed to run off me without providing a cooling effect. When I felt some headwind up on the hills I was almost glad, because the temperatures became more agreeable. During the second half it started raining a bit - again, I actually welcomed this because of the cooling effect. By mile 10 I had left the worst of the hills behind me, and, knackered as I was, I managed to lower the average pace by a few seconds for the rest of the journey. I reached home with the newly acquired realisation that my endurance is nowhere near as good as I had thought and that there is still a lot of work to be done. Well, doing a lot of work is exactly what I have in mind anyway.
For once I managed to get an early night last night. This is something I have to work on - getting to bed early is a necessary habit if you intend to run long miles every morning. Anyway I went to bed by 10:12, and by 10:13 I was already fast asleep. The 8 hours of almost uninterrupted sleep were very much appreciated. It also helped that the temperature had dropped from yesterday's 13C/55F to 10C/50F. It clearly made a difference. I know that 13C/55F is not exactly roasting, even at 6am, but it had been enough to have me suffer yesterday. Today's run consisted of 2 miles warm/up, 2 miles tempo, one mile recovery, another 2 miles tempo, and a few strides on the way home. The initial tempo spell went reasonably well. I managed to avoid looking at the Garmin and pretty much tuned into the correct pace, but was assisted by a slight elevation drop as well as the wind. Of course I had to pay for that on the second fast section which was almost 20 seconds per mile slower, most of which can be attributed to the wind, I think. I felt a lot better than the day before, even if the pace wasn't exactly brilliant. A number of strides rounded up the run. The sun even managed to come out towards the end, which I appreciated. We're sun-starved here in Kerry. But just how today's average heart rate was so much lower than yesterdays remains a mystery to me.
One of the items I had brought home from Boston was The Stick. It's one of those things that can be hard to get on this side of the Atlantic, and when I saw it at the expo my credit card came out. I have been using it on and off to work on my calves. This used to be really painful at first, now I can roll it over the muscles with just a bit of discomfort. I hope it will make a difference as far as the cramping issues are concerned. My calves have started cramping at one point or another at nearly all of my marathons (and ultras!). Incidentally, Niamh likes the stick, too. As long as she never finds out just how much I paid for a glorified piece of plastic rolling pin, I'm ok.
- 25 May
- 15 miles, 1:58:09, 7:53 pace, HR 153
- 26 May
- 10 miles, 1:15:37, 7:34 pace, HR 151
2x2 miles @ 6:45, 7:04; 9x100 strides