Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Random Post-Race Ramblings

When chatting to Mick Rice (who had come 5th in a time that would have comfortably won last year’s race) after crossing the finish line, he told me I would have to change the name of my blog into Diary of a Vastly Improved Marathon Runner (or was it Ultra Runner?), but I’ve grown rather fond of the old name and it stays. Mick is a class act in more than one way btw, take my word for it.

I had a look at the Garmin’s chart of my race, but it does not really tell me much I didn’t already know. The spikes at miles 10 and 19 were caused by me trying to get my stuff off the aid table; I was walking for a minute just before mile 27, and the pace on the last drop after the Hell is very uneven because of the cramps. The two climbs at miles 26 and 35 are plain for everyone to see, but I was surprised that I had enough juice in me to push the HR well over 170 on that last climb.

I have not managed to find any photos of me yet, which is probably just as well. Every single item I wore that day was chosen for its practicality without any regard whatsoever of colour and/or fashion sense. Matching knee-high white compression socks with ugly grey shorts that show black compression shorts underneath them will never he the height of fashion, I’m pretty sure about that. But I did come across this fantastic photo of the elite Ultra runners; I think it’s just after the marathon start. It really captures the scenery extremely well.

I still have the outlines of my flimsy green singlet (now dubbed my ‘lucky’ singlet – I’ve worn it in all my good races) marked on my body. I neglected to wear sun cream because a) I did not think the sun would be so strong in April and b) I was worried it would interfere with my sweating, and as a result am now sporting a pair of bright red shoulders and matching neck in-between, with white lines to separate the burnt parts.

On the other hand, the fact that my shoulders are the only things that still hurt is a very good sign. Yesterday I was still grimacing as I went down a staircase, this morning I did the same without even realising that normally I should still be having troubles with that. I’m recovering quicker than after some of my marathons, but I’m holding off running for a bit longer. Last night I slept for almost 9 hours and yet was still tired by the time I had to get up, just before 8 o’clock – and that’s quite something coming from someone who usually regards anything later than 6 o’clock as a lie-in. I might go swimming tomorrow if I wake up in time (I won’t set the alarm), otherwise it will be yet another recovery day.

I was a bit worried about cycling to work on Tuesday, but I needn’t have worried. The legs actually approved having to work a little bit, and it made them feel better for the rest of the day.

I spent the afternoon after the race swimming with the kids in the pool in Clifden; Niamh was amazed that I didn’t fall asleep comatose on the bed following the race, but I was full of energy and more than happy to join the rest of the family. Obviously I didn’t do much real swimming, and the calves cramped soon enough when I tried to do a few lengths, so I just clowned around with the four of them while Niamh managed to do some actual swimming. The same scene was repeated the next day, before we travelled home to Kerry.

Niamh is going to Dublin on the weekend, leaving me in sole charge of the twins. Normally this would cause me plenty of anguish because I can’t go running, but in this case I’ll just have to recover for those days. If I’m absolutely desperate I could do some time on the indoors trainer, but I very much doubt this will be the case.

The weekend was absolutely perfect as far as sport went, btw. I had a dream race at the Ultra, Kerry won, Tyrone got relegated and City hammered the Brummies 5:1. It really doesn’t get any better than that!

Update: I should have checked my email! a few photos can be found here.


  1. Well done Thomas...reckon you'll get hooked on Tri in Valentia and begin blogging on your Ironman training!!

  2. Never figured you for a "Redneck" Thomas!

    Great photos, by the way. Really is how I imagine Ireland is. I'm coming there to run one of these days for sure.

  3. Congratulations Thomas, you ran a great race! The title of your site doesn't fit at all, but I wouldn't change it either.

  4. Congratulations Thomas,your dedication to training without letting it affect family life is amazing and inspiring.No wonder Kerry has a near yearly monopoly on "Sam",must be a Kerry trait!!Hope we meet you on the road to Croker this Summer to take some of the gloss of your perfect sporting weekend!!!!

  5. Hi Thomas, you could try e-mailing the photographer directly. I sent him an e-mail with my race number, and a description of what I was wearing, and he sent me this photo:

    Contact details: Daniel Kowalczyk
    Hope this helps. Gary

  6. That's a great photo. The lake's a mirror - beautiful.

    As for your own photos... well, maybe ditch the white compression socks in favour of black ones. At least you weren't wearing girly arm-warmers ;)