Tuesday, March 30, 2010


For some reason, Sunday was the first day in a very long time when we did not have any plans. I could have gone swimming, but I relished staying at home doing nothing far too much to get off that sofa. It was great to join the idle masses for a while – after I had done my run, of course. Said run was another tempo effort, 10 miles with 2x3.5 miles at HMP, somewhere around 6:30 pace, but I mostly used my breathing to determine the effort. That worked quite well, and while it was a couple of seconds slower than the previous effort from 2 weeks ago, it was still better than anything I had managed last year or the year before. Now I just have to turn the training into decent race results.

When I got home, Niamh was really happy and bouncy, raving how she’d had a wonderful lie-in, how the kids had not made a noise and she had slept all the way until 8:30. However, her jaw dropped to the floor when I pointed out that the clocks had gone forward that night; she really wished I hadn’t said that. But she did remain bright and happy.

Since I’m tapering I took Monday off running and drove to the swimming pool in Killarney instead. I tried something new and switched the breathing pattern, and all of a sudden things clicked into place. I could do 200s and 400s without breaking and gasping for air, and I felt I could have done longer distances without break as well. I might survive the swimming part of the Valentia tri after all, and I climbed out of the pool really pleased. I arrived home to a still sleeping household – the daylight saving time obviously having quite some effect.

A short 6 mile run this morning in rather wild conditions followed. It was very windy, I got caught by the rain on couple of occasions, and when the hail started I thought things were getting rather bad, but luckily that stopped after a couple of seconds. In fact, I felt really good today. I think I know why.

I had felt really tired over the last couple of weeks but couldn’t quite work out why; it was definitely not because of overtraining this time. Even worse, I started to have lots of spells of light-headedness. We all have that from time to time when we get up too quickly, but it happened to me at least 5 times a day. There can be several reasons for this, low blood pressure being the most common, anaemia another one, and, due to several other things as well, I really wondered if the latter was the case. A few days ago I started taking an iron supplement that I had used in the past with good success and that does not mess up my stomach. It could be a placebo effect, or it could be coincidence, but the dizzy spells seem to have stopped and I think the way I felt much better during the run this morning might be an indication that a slight anaemia was indeed my problem and it might be getting sorted. Until I have my blood tested I can’t tell for sure, of course.

There was a second problem that could have been a major obstacle. I’ve had pains in my back on several occasions this year, and that returned with a vengeance a few days ago; I was in absolute agony. This is not a running injury. I’m pretty sure it is down to me being careless when lifting the laundry basket. Doing the laundry is my job and with six people in the household this is a major task; the basket is very heavy at times, especially when filled with wet clothes. I know how to lift heavy objects with a straight back; I just didn’t follow the rules. Stupid, I know. I have been much more careful recently, and my back has definitely improved. At one stage a few days ago it was so bad that I thought this might stop me from running Connemara altogether, but things are definitely on the up. I might still get some taper-induced phantom injuries, but I can deal with those. I don’t think anything will stop me from joining the other deranged ones at the start line.
28 Mar
10 miles, 1:09:13, 6:55 pace, HR 156
2x3.5 miles @ 6:28, 6:34
29 Mar
50 minutes swimming
30 Mar
6.1 miles, 47:58, 7:51 pace, HR 137


  1. I started reading your blogs recently and really enjoy them.

    I ran my first marathon (aged 51) in October 2009 - it was the Loch Ness, which I see you have done. Obviously I will never be a pro like yourself but I am enjoying my running and looking forward to Brighton in a couple of weeks time.

    I take iron tabs - because I developed anaemia, it was a real shock to me when it happened - I was stupid enough to think I had a brain tumour! Dizzy, fainting, constant headaches....

    Hope you don't mind me dropping by every now and again!

  2. I'll quote you on using breathing to determine the effort working quite well ;)

    That's good if the iron supplementation does the trick. Low iron is always a possibility with athletes who are running high mileage on roads. Not that I'm that sort of athlete, but I've had "lowish" iron sometimes when donating blood - only on the low side of 'normal', but too low for an athlete.

    Enjoy the taper before joining your deranged mates on the line ;)

  3. That is very interesting about the dizzy spells Thomas. Thanks I'll definitely try the "cure" I get these all the time.

    And I really hope you make it to the starting line.

  4. I used to train with a guy who controlled his training by singing. You always knew that he was working hard when the singing stopped!!

    He wasn't a great singer so we made sure that all our runs were at a fast pace!! :)

  5. Thomas check this out;
    How To Lift and Carry A Child (or anything else)…SAFELY!
    Have a good one in the ultra, I think your gona do really well !

  6. What's this buisness about me being too fast for you in Connemara. And now the dodgy back routine. You're setting me up for a fall. I can smell it. How many beers did Ewen promise you.

  7. Yes Grellan I can smell something "fishy" Oh shit, better get in the kitchen before the wife burns it!! ;)