Tuesday, January 12, 2010

And Just As I Was Getting Used To It, Too!

Did you look outside the window recently (or, if you’re outside Ireland, have you checked out our weather)? An hour later and things might have changed radically. We went to bed last night with the driveway still covered by 5cm/2in of snow. We woke to find it flooded under the same amount of water. Just like that, the snow was gone. Maia was not happy.

For once I had trusted the weather forecast and got up at silly o’clock on Monday morning because I knew that on Tuesday things might be bad. By 5 o’clock I was outside, marking the day with footprints on pristine snow. For once the road was easy to follow even without a headlamp, a white band in the darkness, and the crunch-crunch beneath my feet was clearly audible. Several miles into the run I saw some big lights slowly coming from a side road and for a second I thought it was a snowplough, which would have been a major surprise. Of course it wasn’t, it was just a truck on its way, and for the next mile I was breathing in the Diesel fumes because it was right ahead of me and didn’t move much faster than me.

Because of the adverse road conditions I avoided the Caragh Lake loop and did three loops around Killorglin instead. It’s reasonably flat, with a series of gentle short climbs giving way to descends of the same nature. Running in the snow, while initially fun, became noticeable tougher after a couple of hours. I never managed to figure out which was easier, running in the fresh snow or following in a car’s tracks. The latter was slippery, and with each foot strike I felt like slipping back a bit. The other felt like running through a thick layer of – well, snow, duh! Eventually, after the third loop, I turned right rather than left towards home and was back after exactly 20 miles. I think I should give myself a bonus for the conditions, every single step required just that little bit more energy than usual. While I still had something left in the tank, I tried not to think too much about the Ultra when I would be just about halfway through at that stage. Some things are better left for race day only.

For a second I toyed with the idea of adding a second long run immediately the next day, but reconsidered. After a tough 10-mile run on Sunday and an exhausting 20 miler through the snow on Monday I was better off recovering on Tuesday. After watching the weather forecast in the evening I changed my plans for 8 miles on Tuesday and set up the indoors bike trainer instead. Strong gale force winds coupled with very heavy rainfall didn’t sound too appealing, and I was worried about the snow turning into ice. That fear was never realised, but by morning the roads were covered with a myriad of broken branches, I saw 2 fallen trees on my way to work and there was local flooding on many spots. I take that as vindication of my decision to remain indoors.

I also have a mild cold, which I blame entirely on Niamh because she had it first. Now it’s Maia’s and my turn and the little girl isn’t handling it too well, which doesn’t bode well for our sleep. But Niamh only had it for a couple of days and I’m confident we will both have recovered by tomorrow or the day after. But I want to be careful about running in bad weather with a cold – that’s how I caught pneumonia two years ago.

Having said that, the wind is supposed to stop and the rain should at least ease, which might enable me to run again tomorrow morning. Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it.
10 Jan
20 miles, 2:46:41, 8:20 pace, HR 142
11 Jan
60 minutes bike


  1. We say that about Melbourne - 4 seasons in one day.

    Be careful with the cold. The last thing you need is another bout of pneumonia!

  2. You deserve a medal for running 20 miles in such conditions and good y=to see your HR back to normal