Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Long Road To Recovery

My good lady wife lost a bet today. She is in Dublin at the moment, so it fell to me to drive the twins to Cork today. Niamh was sure that I would use the time to go running while they attended their classes. She was wrong, I went swimming instead. I remained in the pool for over 90 minutes, which turned out to be my longest swim session to date, by a considerable margin. I was surprised that I didn’t seem to get tired. Sure, I didn’t exactly kill myself, but I have never managed to swim for so long without feeling tired. It looks like the running fitness has transferred to my swimming as well.

Since I’m still not running, I still can post a few things about the race. I never posted my mile splits, and I might as well do that. The Garmin’s splits together with the elevation change per mile are as follows:

1 8:11 –7
2 7:59 –6
3 7:56 +3
4 7:55 +32
5 8:02 +16
6 8:00 –21
7 7:48 –30
8 7:50 –2
9 7:33 –6
10 7:21 –51
11 7:55 +34
12 7:49 +3
13 7:28 –31
14 7:35 –4
15 7:29 +20
16 7:30 +1
17 7:35 –4
18 7:46 +51
19 7:38 –9
20 7:50 +62
21 7:33 +10
22 7:43 +21
23 7:51 –24
24 7:43 –180
25 8:07 +7
26 8:05 +2
27 9:25 +67
28 9:07 +150
29 8:03 –78
30 8:05 –58
31 8:13 –20
32 8:37 +33
33 8:23 –40
34 8:08 –37
35 8:21 –13
36 8:38 +41
37 8:58 +204
38 7:42 –84
39 7:58 –69
final half mile (7:03 pace) +6

The 10th mile was rather fast but I did well until mile 24. Number 27 isn’t too bad considering it contained a walk break, but I kept the best until miles 36 and 37 when I flew across the Hell. The Garmin showed 39.5 miles at the end, an extra 0.2 miles compared to the official course length.

They also posted the official results together with the 13.1 mils splits. My splits were unusual in that the middle section was faster than the first one. But compared to some runners, at 1:43, 1:41 and 1:50 they were fairly even. Some runners’ splits (e.g. 1:41, 1:45, 2:33) are scary, those last 13 miles sound very painful. Mick Rice, meanwhile, wins the opposite price for the most even splits. Oh, and I was the 4th M40 and 5th master overall. That’s pretty cool I think.

Just out of pure curiosity, I tried to calculate how many runners I overtook along the way. I finished the ultra in 5:15:32, which means that I went past every marathon runner slower than 3:45:32 and every half marathoner slower than 2:15:32 (that’s assuming all 3 races started on time – a small difference is ok, the numbers won’t be too far from the true ones). Out of 480 marathoners, 392 were slower than that target, and 888 runners out of 2053 in the Half, which means I had to make my way around roughly 1280 people on the road. Now consider that it took me about 6 miles to catch up with the back end of the half runners and you can imagine how busy the last 7 miles were.

And what does the near future hold? Well, we’re going to Dublin over the May bank holiday weekend because Niamh wants to visit the new baby yet again (once in a month is not enough, obviously), and when I innocently asked Niamh if she would mind a trip to Wexford on that Sunday, she immediately asked by when I had to sign up. That woman knows me only too well. Anyway, the Wexford half marathon just happens to be on that day and by then I should have recovered sufficiently from the Ultra. Then of course there is the Valentia tri three weeks later, which I am very much looking forward to, and my next “proper” race will be a fortnight after that in form of the Cork City Marathon. I hope my endurance will carry over to that race, and with some speed work and tempo training between then and now (only once I have recovered, of course) we will see what’s in store.


  1. What no 'Blue' comments Thomas, great results today huh ;-)

    you are certainly going to be busy this summer, best of luck with them all, you seem to have made a breakthrough to a new level of performance. Well done again.

  2. You make me laugh (in a good way), a truly dedicated runner already scheming out his next race. Good on you!

  3. Great Thomas

    looks like you did just about everything right. That would have had to give you confidence passing all those people! That may have also been the key. Had you had a bad patch at the end or been overtaken by a lot of others during the race it might have turned out very different.

    Your wife is very understanding ;)

  4. Yes, she does know you too well. Next thing you'll be slipping in a 100 mile race on your annual holidays ;)

    Looks like you've got the hang of ultra running. 4th M40 is a great result.

  5. Thomas I have to tell you that I did the Brighton this weekend. It was a very hot day, quite a few people seemed to be flaking out with heat stroke etc and be carted off in ambulances. I amazed myself in that my 2nd half was 15 minutes faster tham my first (OK so it was a very pedestrian 4.45 but its only my 2nd one and I'm playing the age card)The last two miles I did in 15 minutes! Goodness knows where I pulled that out from - now I'll just have to concentrate on bringing the rest of the race up to scratch. Planning on the Rutland Water in November.

  6. Some motoring up the HOTW at that stage...