Monday, July 06, 2009

Dogs and Rain

After returning to form on Friday, it was time to crank the training volume up again. I’ve basically had 2 easy weeks of just over 75 miles; the fatigue is gone, I’ve raced well, now let’s get knackered all over again.

Saturday was easy enough with 10 miles at pedestrian pace. I basically didn’t even look at the Garmin, just ran along Caragh Lake at whatever pace happened to feel easy. I was surprisingly sore. The last few 5Ks hadn’t really left any tenderness behind and I was surprised to feel so stiff and tired over the weekend. The race had been the first time in 3 months that I had run 6-minute pace apart from strides, which may have something to do with it. The HR on the run was a bit high, but it was only 12 hours after the race.

I was still sore on Sunday morning, which made me question if going out for a strong, long marathon-effort run was really a good idea. But if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that my answer to “should I really do the run” is always yes, and off I went. Since reading in Jack Daniel’s book that marathon-effort runs should be up to 15 miles I have gradually increased the length of these runs, and today 13 miles were on the cards. I started out on the same Cromane loop that I have done those runs on for the entire training cycle, but once I reached the village I headed straight towards the harbour instead of following the main road towards the right. The original idea had been to add a little out-and-back section to my normal route, but for some reason I changed my mind, and after I had reached 6.5 miles (almost reaching the end of the spit that protrudes out into the bay) I turned back to go the way I had come from, thus ensuring I wouldn’t have to do any extra distance. The first half had been net downhill and with the wind mainly on my back, and I had managed 6:51 pace. Now I had to pay for that, but I felt reasonably fresh and pushed on. One angry dog encounter and 6.5 miles later I was back home, now considerably more tired, and realised that I had missed my target of 7-minute-miles by 2 seconds. Ah well. Bloody dog!

By the way, I measured my resting HR. It’s down to 39. My lowest reading ever was 37, shortly before Boston. So far out from my next marathon it has never been so low.

This put my weekly mileage just above last week’s level. This week I’m aiming for 100 again, legs permitting. I started with the long run of 20 miles. The distance did not worry me, but getting up at 4:50 did. I was still punch-drunk with sleepiness when I left, partly caused by Maia. That girl has spent at least some part of the night in our bed every night since the holidays. She’s obviously worried about being left alone again. And since Niamh claims not to hear a beep every single night, dealing with that falls to me. And the weather could have been a bit more cooperative as well, I was heading straight towards the ominously dark clouds.

For a change of scenery I did not run around Caragh Lake but headed towards Glenbeigh and further up the Iveragh peninsula on the Kerry Way. I have done parts of that route before, but never in one piece, and never far beyond Glenbeigh. That’s where the mountain started, and the rain joined in to add to the misery. I got pretty far, and after 8 miles started on a very stony, wet and slippery trail up the side of a mountain. I followed this for a while, ankle-deep in mud at times, ankle-deep in water at others, but it was slow going, and I was mindful of the fact that I had to be at work on time. After the third gate I decided to run to the fourth one and turn around there. Reaching that point I stopped for a minute to reward myself with the stunning view; both the wind-swept Atlantic and Dingle peninsula were in full view, even if the mountaintops were hidden away in the clouds. I managed not to break my ankle on the way back down (which seemed a real possibility), and soon enough was back on even footing. Actually I hadn’t spent much more than a mile on that trail, but it had felt a lot longer. I’ll be back when I have more time.

The return journey was ok, apart from the growing fatigue and the at times very heavy rain. I checked my watch when I got back home and decided I had enough time to add the 3 extra miles to get me up to 20 for the day, though it meant a hurried breakfast afterwards. My endurance hasn’t suffered during the “easy” weeks, and I felt fine at the end, apart form the chafing that is. Bloody rain!

Weekly Mileage: 76.5
4 Jul
10 miles, 1:19:55, 7:59 pace, HR 145
5 Jul
13 miles, 1:31:02, 7:00 pace, HR 160
6 Jul
20 miles, 2:43:58, 8:12 pace, HR 142
very hilly, and including a small section on a tricky wet trail


  1. Well done on Friday! And sounds like marathon training is going well! Just wondering if you know where the Killarney 5k results will be published?


  2. my resting heart rate is now 48 - a record for me!! 39 is in another league!!

  3. Anonymous, that's the 4th time I have done that race and I have never seen any results published. I timed myself with my own watch, and I suppose this will have to do.

  4. Wow, those were two great workouts!

  5. I've got my resting down to 44 but that is lying on my back thinking of the 'calm blue ocean'. In contrast to your rural runs I did an 8 miler tempo run tonight and had to run past the crowd coming out of the Marquee in Cork. Some teen pop idol was playing and I am considering booking my 2 daughters into a nunnery! teenagers seem to wear nothing (the girls). you see all sorts of wildlife in suburbia as well! keep up the good work with the training. I might try the half in Dingle.

  6. Wow, fantastic running! Dog encounters are no fun...down here in the Ozarks they're everywhere!!

  7. Jack Daniels’, does that make you a convert? What are you using to base your latest marathon preparation? Whatever program you use, I’m glad to see that you’re getting out for those 20-milers… have fun, rain or otherwise!

  8. You paint a great picture of your running routes Thomas. I must make arrangements to do some rural running as an antidote to the big city. Scary HR!

  9. Thanks Thomas. I did the same! I was just curious to see who the winners were and what the times were like! Seems like it was a lot of fast runners and a lot of joggers and not too many in between. It was lonely in the middle!

    Good luck with the training!