Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Big City Lights

I don’t really feel like writing a review of 2009 – from a running point of view it was a slightly disappointing year. It started so well, with a 63 minutes 10 miler in Mallow, but pretty much went downhill from then on. The other highlight was coming 12th in the Dingle marathon (Me! 12th!! In a marathon!!!), but I paid for that performance when I got sick shortly afterwards and subsequently felt down for the entire October and November. The Dublin marathon fell into that period and I had a rather hard time. Earlier that year, Boston was a great weekend but another slightly disappointing marathon. I do hope for a better 2010, old age notwithstanding.

After the first excitement of Christmas had worn off we bundled the kids into the car and set off towards Dublin. Our timing proved to be exceptionally good for a change – the ice had temporarily melted and we got to Dublin on Sunday before it re-appeared all over the country. At the moment we don’t know what it will be like for our return trip, but that’s something I’ll worry about when we get closer. At the moment we're just enjoying the days off.

Apparently, the Bubendorfer-less Christmas in Nana’s and Gaga’s house was quiet and civilised – or boring, depending on your point of view. But our absence sure made things easier for the older generation, and Christmas in Kerry might be on the program for future years. It’s weird, because I have spent 15 out of the last 16 Christmases here – even before Niamh and I were married.

I had managed to sneak out for a run on Sunday before our journey. After the last two 5Ks had left no soreness in my legs I expected another easy ride, and was subsequently really surprised by the weary legs. As a result I cut the planned 10 miles down to 8 and it almost became 7, but I managed to persuade myself to keep going for a little bit longer. After forcing myself through the first 5 miles I hit a groove, and the rest of the run felt much better. Maybe I just had to shake the legs for a while before the old spring returned.

However, 5 hours in the car left the hamstrings in a bit of a state and I decided to postpone my long run for a day. Thus I only covered 10 miles on Monday, but felt good enough to include a session of diagonals on a soccer pitch. The field was very bumpy and the pace of the runs not very fast as a result, but it made for a good workout. It was very cold, about –4C/25F, and I had stupidly left my tights in Kerry, but running in shorts was surprisingly comfortable. Luckily there was no wind, or I might have been in trouble.

There were no excuses this morning, and just before 7 o’clock I stepped out of the house into a very dark Dublin. Niamh had given me a new mp3 player for Christmas, which I wanted to try out; I thought it would be helpful during long, slow long runs, but to be honest I found it rather distracting. Maybe it’s just a matter of choosing the right playlist. The run went well initially, but I struggled a bit on the climb up Killiney Hill and up to the Obelisk, but I enjoyed the view from there for a few seconds, until the biting cold wind reminded me to keep moving. For the second half of the run I headed towards Cabinteely Park. Every time I go there I’m surprised how hilly it is. You might think I should have learnt that lesson by now. Having said that, I find running the loop in there very pleasant, and after 5 loop I headed homewards. I had underestimated the distance and ended up going well past the planned 20 miles. Since the legs had started struggling after 18 the end of the run was a bit of a struggle, but it was the first run over 20 miles since the Dublin marathon, and it was supposed to be tiring.

At lunchtime we headed towards a very posh fitness club where Nana had managed to get us some complimentary tickets. They are valid for the week and we don’t have to pay a cent. The pool is too hot for training really (30C!), but Niamh found it very relaxing. For me it was a good recovery session.

There is a race in Phoenix Park on New Year’s Day, provided that the roads remain ice-free, of course (just about every race over the holidays on the entire island had to be cancelled for that reason), and I’m looking forward to it. A flat, fast course should provide a good time, as long as I haven’t left my legs on the roads out today, that is.
27 Dec
8 miles, 1:02:27, 7:49 pace, HR 149
28 Dec
10 miles, 1:17:37, 7:46 pace, HR 156
incl. 15 minutes of diagonals
29 Dec
21 miles, 2:51:44, 8:11 pace, HR 149


  1. It's a marathon to read everything you write. . . anyhow I just want to wish you great success in your 2010 running ventures and all the best to your family.

  2. Good luck with the New Year race, assuming you make it out. I know the year wasn't what you wanted, hope you managed to learn something (I know I did), and I look forward to your reports in 2010!

    All the best to you and your family!

    Until later ~ cheers

  3. Hi Thomas,
    Happy new year and I think the new years day race is cancelled.


  4. Hey Thomas - the New Years race is cancelled. Shame really as its a great race to start the year.

    Happy New Year.

  5. Hi Thomas, with a bit of fine-tuning I'm sure you'll have a great year of running in 2010.

    And you're not old! We can look to Scott Brown for inspiration - cracking out a 2:45 at a much older age than you, when not that long ago he was aiming for 3 hours.

    All the best to you and the family - Christmas is a great time for kids - looks like they were spoiled ;) Not sure you want to be encouraging blogging at such a young age though ;)

  6. I've have enjoyed and learnt a lot from reading your blog in 2009. All the best for 2010 to you and yours, Thomas. Who knows - maybe even a trophy for us long suffering City fans.

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