Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nine Years On

It might have pretty much bankrupted me, but apparently my spending spree for the twins’ birthday got me a nomination for the Best Dad Ever award. You could learn lesson on naked materialism from the younger generation, it seems. But now is not the time for moralising sermons.

A better lesson could come from my good lady wife, who once more surpassed herself in the birthday cake stakes. This one wasn’t just amazing to look at, it also tasted fabulously. Since I have long re-gained my temporarily lost pre-Connemara weight, I did not have to worry about added pounds. I’m a fat slob as it is.

With the next half marathon just around the corner I thought it would make sense to get some tempo miles under the belt. I had canned the initially planned session over the weekend due to sore quads, but when I woke on Tuesday they seemed perfectly fine so decided to go ahead. As it turned out, running at easy effort was perfectly fine but as soon as the pace dropped below 7:00 the pain returned. I pressed on stubbornly and repeated 5 miles at tempo effort. The first two were with the blustery wind and slightly downhill, the next two against the wind and slightly uphill and the final one more or less sheltered but with another slight downhill. The paces reflected the conditions at 6:19, 6:05, 6:35, 6:39 and 6:16. I must have totally spaced out on the last two because I didn’t check the Garmin as I approached the end of the mile and carried on, both times running well over 1.1 miles before re-joining the conscious world and realising my mistake. But the real eye-rising moment didn’t come until afterwards when I checked the numbers from the Garmin, back home. The effort had been comfortably hard but do-able, but it turns out the heart rates were through the roof. They were so high that I initially thought they were the max HRs per interval rather than the average, but that was not the case: 161, 170, 175, 176, 173. They should all be in the high 160s, really. Assuming the numbers are correct, I’m a bit at a loss how I could push myself to such high heart rates without even noticing. On the other hand, I’m absolutely delighted with the pace figures. I have never run mile repeats at even close to that pace (6:23 average) in previous years. Ultra training seems to really agree with me. Or maybe it’s just the reduced mileage.

As mentioned, the quads did plenty of complaining during the mile repeats, but obviously did not slow me down. To give them a rest I decided to go swimming today. I really didn’t feel comfortable in the pool and felt like my swim training is going backwards, but somehow I manage to increase the number of laps each time I get into that pool, for the same amount of time (45-50 minutes), so maybe I’m making progress after all. But I was glad to get out of the water eventually and I did forgo a planned cycle during lunchtime to give the quads some extra rest.

I did notice one big difference in my attitude to running and cycling/swimming. When running I more or less refuse to do even a single step without my Garmin or a similar device that I can feed into the computer afterwards. On the bike and in the pool I’m perfectly happy to simply get on with it, figure out the distance afterwards and not worry about it for another second.

We’re off to Dublin tomorrow evening. The kids are very excited about the prospect of seeing their new baby cousin. Actually, so am I.
27 Apr
8.1 miles, 55:49, 6:53 pace, HR 163
5xmile @ 6:19, 6:05, 6:35, 6:39, 6:16
28 Apr
50 minutes swimming


  1. Thomas, I think you have just gone up a level in fitness, this is a very special time in a runners life, so enjoy it :]

  2. The cake is one for the ages. With global warming, igloos will go the way of the dinosaurs.

    If not sick, you've probably lost a little fitness since the ultra (it's easy to push the HR up when fitness is coming down).

    Oh, and moralising sermons are fine, as long as they're short ;)

  3. Nice blog! Great to find a runner's blog that's not American for a change! That cake looked fantastic, by the way.

  4. That's one hell of a cake. Well done to Niamh.

    Impressive mile splits indeed. I wouldn't worry about the HR especially as the effort did not feel what the HR suggests.

    BTW my Garmin HRM is no longer working (I think it's the watch as I first replaced the battery and then borrowed a HRM and that did not work either)

  5. I use to dream about cakes like that when I was a kid. Oh, who am I kidding...I still do.