Thursday, March 11, 2010

Race Review, Ultra Training

It certainly took a while, but on Tuesday I finally found some results from Saturday’s duathlon. I got a few surprises. I came 15th overall and 3rd M40, which is not the surprising bit. One thing that struck me is that I was just about the slowest person in both transitions. I already knew that I had left a lot of time in the second transition, but I had thought that the first transition had gone reasonably well. Apparently not. But what really blew my mind was the fact that I had the third fastest time in the second running leg! Only the overall winner and the fourth placed athlete had posted a faster second run time. What can I learn from it all?
  1. Practise transitions. They really are worth it.
  2. Buy some lock laces.
  3. Run the first run harder.
  4. Do some bike training.

Admittedly, none of that is too enlightening.

Moving on, the focus is very much back on Connemara. After three easy days following Saturday’s race, I was up early again on Wednesday. Niamh immediately knew what I was up to when she saw me prepare a sports drink on Tuesday evening.

Niamh: “Running long tomorrow?”
Thomas: “Yup”
Niamh: “It really must be long if even you admit to it being a long run”

Then I set the alarm for 3:45, got up after a few hours of sleep and ran a very hilly marathon.

Originally I had planned another 30 miler but decided to play it safe (well … different shades of safe) and “only” did a bit over 26 miles. But unlike the 30 miler from a fortnight ago and the 25 mile run before that, this time I ran around Caragh Lake, and I ran the loop counter-clockwise to get to the really big climb late in the run, to make it more specific to the Connemara topography. In fact, it was very specific, with 10 flat(-ish) miles at the start(just like Connemara) and more and bigger hills as the run went on (just like Connemara). I took a gel at mile 10 and then brought a bottle of sports drink with me. I had not tried that brand before, but an awful lot of American ultra runners are singing its praises, so a few weeks ago I ordered some (Shit! I paid how much for shipping???) and now it was time to try it out in the field. The good news is that my stomach seems to like it. The bad news is that my taste buds don’t. But I think I’ll use it for Connemara. It’s more trustworthy than my own concoction of slim-fast and rice milk, even though that seemed to work very well on my first Ultra, three years ago.

I also tested the Nike Lunar Elites on that run. They came through very well, and are now firm favourites to be used in Connemara. My feet were in excellent condition throughout. What amazed me was how fresh I felt after running over 26 miles in 3:39 on a ridiculously hilly course. I wasn’t even fatigued yet, even though I had lowered the pace to about 7:20 after 20 miles of 8:30. Niamh remarked that I did not look like someone who had just run long. I felt great, was full of energy for the rest of the day (no nodding off at work, Ewen), and one day later there is still no muscle soreness.

However, I did have some pains in my left shin. I noticed it first during some of the descents after mile 20, which I ran fairly hard, but it was still ok at the time. It became a lot worse during the day, and at one stage in the afternoon I was hobbling through the office. Cycling home seemed to do it some good and I played with the idea of adding a 15 mile run today, to make this a back-to-back workout. From an energy point of view I would have pulled it off easily, but in the end (in fact, in the middle of the night when my shin was still sore) I decided to play it safe and packed my swimming bag instead. With 4 weeks to go to Connemara I do not want to risk injury, and 45 minutes in the pool had to do instead. On the plus side, my shin seems to have recovered. I’m pain free already.

Niamh’s cold seems to have passed me by, my sore throat was gone yesterday morning and I feel perfectly fine. It’s really cool to be able to run a marathon and not even feel sore. I have never been in such ultra-running shape before, and I have to admit I like it.
10 Mar
26.3 miles, 3:39:17, 8:20 pace, HR 134
11 Mar
45 minutes swimming


  1. Thomas - you are hardcore! Good to see you in such great shape.

  2. I can't understand it either. My legs are toast after a 3:10 marathon and I can pull off a 3:3x in training without missing a beat. Well done on the duathlon - the result is very impressive for a first dip.

  3. hello Anonymous, are we talking TV towels here!!!
    Looks like you had a great 1st Tri.
    Maybe a set of Tri bars and a set of racing wheels could be added to your shopping wish list.

  4. Impressive, Thomas. Stay healthy. Get sleep.