Tuesday, February 09, 2010


After Saturday’s race, Sunday was never going to be anything but an easy day. I did 5 slow recovery miles in the morning before heading for the pool for another lesson. What should have been a relaxing hour did cause major problems later on when I stubbed my big left toe quite badly. It hurt a lot at first but subsided quickly enough. It wasn’t until the evening that the pain really started. It got so bad that Niamh got me some pain killers, and if you know how much I avoid these things under normal circumstances then you know how much it hurt.

The originally planned long run for Monday had already been shelved at that stage because my quads were still a bit sore. But on Sunday evening I seriously doubted I’d be able to run at all. Things looked a lot brighter after a good night’s sleep; when I got out of bed on Monday I still felt something in the toe (and it was slightly swollen), but I could put my weight on it without problems and I repeated the same 5 mile recovery run from the day before, except that I could not find my Garmin despite searching frantically. And my toe started hurting again later that day. I was hobbling around the office, wondering how I had managed to run in the morning and if I had done some real damage doing that.

Luckily, the precious toy turned up again on Monday evening and the toe magically healed itself again overnight. Well, over half-night, because that’s all the sleep I got.

I can’t quite remember the word Niamh used to describe me when I told her about today’s run. It might have been lunatic or nutcase, I have forgotten already (old age and all, you know), but the meaning is pretty clear. She was glad to report that she had not heard me leave and only woke when I was already in the shower, 4 hours later.

I had been up at 4 o’clock in the morning. Yes, that’s early, even for me – I have never gotten up earlier than that. Having said that, I felt reasonably awake as I got ready and within less than 20 minutes I was out on the road. For some reason I felt a bit self-conscious about the fact that I was out running when every single person with even an ounce of sense would have been tucked away peacefully at the time, but then again, anyone who would have seen me at the time would have been just as mad for the very same reason.

I had pondered what route to take. Out of respect for the long distance I decided against the hilly Caragh Lake loop and opted for the road to Killorglin instead. It’s not entirely flat, just a bit undulating. In fact, it’s very similar to the first half of the Ultra course in Connemara. I deposited a bottle at our driveway and went on my way. I did not encounter anyone during my first loop. I first checked the Garmin as I got into Killorglin, about 4 miles into the run, and saw an average pace of 8:12, very much on target. I must have accelerated slightly on the way home because by the time I reached our driveway, almost 10 miles in, the pace had dropped to 8:07. I took one gel at that point and went out again. I expected the moon to make an appearance (moonrise 5:43 according to my notes) but that never happened. The clouds must have been too thick. Never mind, I was able to make out the road and that’s all I needed.

Cars started to make an occasional appearance, but it was still very peaceful. I ran most of that loop totally on autopilot. I didn’t feel tired and the miles seemed to melt away. Mindful of the hard time I’d had three weeks ago on a long run I took a granola bar at mile 15 and another gel at mile 20. At no time did I feel the need to add some fuel, but on my first training run of such length I felt it safer to add some fuel before I started bonking. I’ll probably take less fuel on board next time. Anyway, the second loop went a bit faster that the first one at 7:55 pace and I was very surprised about the complete lack of fatigue. I had expected to be tempted to call it a day at that point, instead I just took another swig from my bottle and headed out again for the last loop, not even considering quitting.

I added 5+ miles out-and-back on the Ard-na-Sidhe road to make a total of 25 miles. I could not help but marvel at the feeling in my legs compared to the way they typically feel during the last few miles of a marathon. Just for the fun of it I speeded up a little over the last two miles to about 7:10 pace which brought the average pace of the last section down to 7:39. The whole run was only marginally slower than my Dublin marathon just over 3 months ago, for which I had gone through hell. This time I was so fresh that I felt I could easily do another loop. In fact, the only thing I regret is that I did not get up 10 minutes earlier, in which case I could have run an entire marathon before breakfast. Well, there’s always next time. I just have to convince Niamh not to call the men in the white coats.
7 Feb
5 miles, 41:38, 8:19 pace, HR 135
8 Feb
5 miles, 41:31, 8:18 pace
9 Feb
25 miles, 3:18:37, 7:56 pace, HR 141
10 miles @ 8:07, 10 miles @ 7:55, 5 miles @ 7:39


  1. Lunacy indeed! but the type that leaves you feeling great.

    I am surprised that Niamh is still using that word. I though she'd seen it all before. Obviously you've stepped up a notch on the scale.

    If you could only stub your toe a few days before your next marathon and get half a nights sleep you'd be sorted.

  2. I can see the signs Thomas things are starting to turn purple for you.

    Keep at it.

  3. Before breakfast? Lock him up! Fit and fitter it seems...

  4. Nutter... I love it. After reading your report I'd say you've made "the" switch, the one that is made when preparing for an ultra... good luck.

    P.s it seems you're learning from a few mistakes made last year, your training is going well. Keep it up.

  5. Keep working on the shorter posts Thomas ;)

    Cross "Shutter Island" off the list of movies to see with Niamh.