Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Taking Stock

4 days to go. Less than 4 days to go, actually. It’s getting close.

I’m in the third week of my taper. After finishing the training with two 90-mile weeks, I ran under 50 miles during my first taper week and under 40 during the next one. This week will see hardly any mileage before the race. In theory, I should be well rested, recovered and fresh by now. Am I?

Am I f***! My right achilles, which has been acting up at times, is sending a few dodgy signals. However, my right knee feels worse. I can’t put any weight on it when kneeling down, and when I flex and straighten it, it responds with a very noticeable and ever so slightly disconcerting plop. I seem to have overcome the worst of the allergy attack from 2 weeks ago, but I still have some scars from that incident and now the skin on my hands has started peeling, which may or may not be related to that incident. I have measured my resting HR 3 times over the last 10 days. Before my allergy, it had been 41. Last week it was 46, at the beginning of this week it was 46 again and this morning it was 49!

This isn’t quite the standard taper-induced phantom pain, but I’m still hopeful it won’t impact on my race. My knee, which stared acting up Saturday evening, seems to be on the mend and kneeling down is not required during a 50 miler anyway. My heart rate is a bit more worrying, but since I expect the most limiting factor to be muscle breakdown rather than cardiovascular limitations, it may not be factor. When running, the knee is mostly fine but the achilles feels slightly worse, but I’m still hopeful this will all just magically disappear between now and then.

Monday was another rest day and today called for merely 6 miles, albeit with 3 at half-marathon effort. This seems a bit aggressive, 4 days before an ultra, but I’m working under the assumption that whoever created the schedule knows more about ultra running than I do and I followed it to the letter. Apparently the taper seems to have had some positive effect as I ran the 3 miles at 6:22 pace, but the last mile was slightly downhill and gave me a few seconds that way. To be honest I was not bothered about the pace at all, a tempo run at this stage does not seem to have much in common with Saturday’s race.

Only two days ago the various weather forecast websites could not have been more different in the prediction, but they seem to have converged. The met office is predicting widespread rain for Saturday and both wunderground and metcheck are not far off that forecast, at least for the morning. In marked contrast to last year it looks like we won’t have to worry about unseasonably high temperatures this time round, to put a positive spin on that. Then again, experience shows that with 4 days to go, these things are still very much open to change.

31 Aug
6+ miles, 42:48, 7:04 pace, HR 157
incl. 3+ miles @ 6:22 pace


  1. Resting HR means zip for long races..its muscles and endocrine systems that matter.

  2. Fingers Crossed Thomas

  3. ah, full-on taper madness. good luck at dingle. you'll be fine

  4. All the best on Saturday Thomas. Once you get the first mile under your belt your niggles will be a distant memory. Have you any support along the route?

  5. Star of the Laune A.C.Thu Sep 02, 12:24:00 am

    Best of luck on Sat.Thomas,you have the work done so P.G. all will go according to plan.
    All at Star of the Laune A.C.

  6. The forecast that works best (97% accuracy last 20 years) is walk outside in the morning and have a good look around the sky.

    I hope the knee does the right thing and it's a happy report. All the best!

  7. I'm a newbie to your blog but it's fantastically enlightening. Best of luck tomorrow. I'm looking forward to your next entry.

  8. End of the day it's the power of your mind and positive thinking that will pull your through.
    Enjoy and savour the monent!
    Have a good one :]