Wednesday, March 03, 2010


With less than 6 weeks to go until Connemara, it’s time to pick a pair of runners for said race, a not entirely inconsequential task, I might add. I have run virtually every race since last year in Nike Lunaracers, which happen to be the perfect racing shoe, in my humble opinion, from 5K to marathon. The trouble is, I’m probably too chicken to use a pair of flats for an Ultra. While I have run 3 marathons in these babies without any foot problems, adding another 13 mile distance may be pushing it a bit. I don’t know, but apart from trying it out once there is no real way of finding out.

Until 2 weeks ago, my shoe cabinet contained 4 pairs of runners:
  1. Asics Stratus, ~100 miles, 360 grams
  2. Nike Skylon, ~200 miles, 298 grams
  3. Nike Lunaracer, ~500 miles, 175 grams
  4. Nike Lunaracers, 80 miles, 186

The second pair of Lunas were supposed to be the replacement for the first, and indeed saw action in Dublin, but then I was too cheap to throw out the old pair and used it in every race since. Last Saturday I noticed that the upper has started detaching itself from the sole and it might finally be time to say good-bye. Anyway, I recently acquired 2 more pairs, one with the intention of using them in the Ultra, the other one to stay in the cupboard until being called upon:
  1. Nike Lunar Elite, by now 38 miles, 306 grams
  2. Asics Speedstar, 0 miles, 260 grams

I purchased the Elites after reading a review on the web where I got the impression that they were a slightly more cushioned version of the racers, which sounded just perfect for Connemara. When they arrived I was more than a bit annoyed to find them almost twice the weight of the racers and even heavier than the Skylons. They also included some stability features, which I neither need nor want. Having said that, after taking them for a few runs I have to admit that they seem quite comfortable, an the additional 8 grams in comparison to the Skylons are hardly telling (btw, I used the Skylons for my 30 mile run last week). At the moment they are probably slight favourites for the Connemara job, but I haven’t ruled out the Skylons or the Lunaracers either.

As for the training, Monday was an easy day, the second one in a row after Saturday’s race, and the original plan was to run another 20/20 sandwich on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday went according to plan, the conditions under an almost Full Moon were ideal and I ran reasonably close to 8:00 pace, my (dream) goal pace in Connemara, over the very hilly Caragh Lake route (yes, hillier than Connemara on average). But I could not fail but notice the soreness in my quads for the rest of the day, which made me question the wisdom of another 20 miler immediately afterwards.

I was still undecided by bed time, and set the alarm in time for 20 miles. But when I woke ion the middle of the night to go to the toilet, the quads seemed worse than during the day; but the real clincher was the rain and wind I could hear outside. It sounded truly miserable, and after some soul searching I reset the alarm for 5:10 am, in time for one 16.5 loop around the lake.

The forecast had been awful for the night, but it wasn’t quite as bad. It was raining, but not as heavy as I feared. But in contrast to the forecast it was not windy and that made all the difference. Thanks to the Full Moon it was very bright, even through the thick cloud cover, and the rain stopped about an hour into my run. My legs felt very weary, and I knew from the first step that the next 135 minutes would not be the most fun-filled ones I’d ever had, but I managed to drag myself across the hills and down into the valleys, and by the time I was back home the sun was shining, the clouds had completely disappeared and it was a really beautiful day. I felt I was the only person in Kerry who knew how miserable it had been 2 hours earlier, but kept that my little secret.

The quads are not actually sore, but they do feel very tired and heavy. I guess cutting down today’s run was the right thing to do, and I’m sure there are plenty of folks out there arguing that I’m overdoing it as it is, especially with last week’s 30 miler in mind.

It was so nice at lunchtime that I could not resist leaving the office for a 20 minutes extra spin on the bike in the sun. If the roads were not in such awful condition after last winter it would have been even better, but you can’t have everything.
1 Mar
5 miles, 42:12, 8:26 pace, HR 131
2 Mar
20 miles, 2:41:48, 8:05 pace, HR 143
3 Mar
16.5 miles, 2:17:08, 8:19 pace, HR 137

1 comment:

  1. I'm off to buy a new pair of shoes now. Sadly the Lunas don't suit my feet - the bit around the achilles is too hard.