Wednesday, September 08, 2010


It is now Wednesday evening. I've had plenty of time to think about the race, not that I have come up with any earth shattering revelations.

Immediately after crossing the line, I was totally high and buzzing. Others might waste their lives on illegal drugs to get that feeling when all you have to do is run 50 miles. The feeling of complete elation and euphoria lasted for hours, but somehow the afterglow is still here. Having said that, I did catch my image in a mirror shortly after the race and had difficulties recognising the haggard face staring back at me; it's fair to say I did not look quite as good as I felt.

The one issue bothering me were quite severe stomach cramps that lasted for almost 12 hours; every time I tried eating, my stomach would cramp violently, which is why I did not follow the advice of the physio lady to refuel as much and as soon as possible. Luckily this resolved itself overnight, but my appetite was quite low for a couple of days. This is highly unusual for me, normally I am absolutely ravenous after a long race. I have always gained a few pounds over a race weekend.

As far as the race itself is concerned, I am more than happy with it. The organisation was impeccable, apart from the missing toilet at the start line, which is why you could see a few dozen runners disappearing into the woods all at the same time as soon as we got off the bus. Everything else was just right, even the weather. It was raining very heavily the next day; I was so happy I was not going over Conor Pass in those conditions!

Ken, who I shared a considerable part of the road with, left a very detailed comment and plenty of things to ponder about, mostly about running the uphills. I had thought about walking and was perfectly prepared to do so, but I found the gradient much more runnable than expected. I have read everything about Ultra running I could find for a couple of years and I am well aware that they tend to walk every incline in American Ultras, but keep in mind that the vast majority of these races are over trails, which tend to be significantly steeper than the road we were travelling on on Saturday. I might have walked had I not read Mick Rice's race report from the Connemara 100 a few days beforehand. He had managed to run the entire distance without a single walking break, in an absolutely gobsmacking time. While I am perfectly aware that I'm not in Mick's league, it shows that walking breaks are not the only way to skin that cat.

I figured that walking would yield about 16:00 pace and the chart from Saturday shows that I ran up at 11:00 pace. There were about 4 miles of climbing, which means walking would have taken 20 minutes longer and I very much doubt I would have been able to make this up by running the downhills hard. However, Ken says, and I have no reason to doubt his words, that he only lost just over 2 minutes on me by walking 75% of the climb, which means he must have walked at faster than 12:00 pace. That is very fast walking! I will test this out before my next Ultra (yes, there will be a next Ultra, to no one's surprise), if I can manage to walk that fast it would definitely be worth considering.

By the way, Ken was running the descend from Conor Pass very hard. I would not have dared to subject my quads to such punishment and I was not surprised when his legs started cramping a few miles later. On the other hand, numbers don't lie and the fact that he managed to run the last 17 miles 20 minutes faster than me speaks volumes. I think it has much to do with the fact that he was used to the distance while I was a novice at it. Just like Ken put 20 minutes on me over the last third in Dingle, I managed to put 15 minutes on Grellan and John over the last third in Connemara back in April. These things do get easier with experience, I have no doubt.

So what next? This was The One, the race I had been training for all year, and my 2010 season is finished. I decided to take 2 weeks complete break from running, but it's Wednesday now and I'm already itching to get out and run; I might not last for 2 weeks. The legs feel perfectly fine, I was able to walk up and down the staircase at work without problems on Monday and the only thing bothering me slightly is my Achilles, which will hopefully be benefiting from rest.

I will be in Dublin for the marathon, not to race but to pace; 26 miles at 8:00 pace sound more like a relaxed training run, and a training run it will be. I do want to take one more shot at a sub-3 marathon, and this will be my first target for 2011. As soon as I start running again, the training will be geared towards that goal. There will be more Ultras as well. Somebody mentioned Comrades in the comments section, and that is a long-standing dream of mine. Sadly, one look at our finances convinced me to push that dream back for at least another year, I just cannot afford to fly to South Africa right now. There's a 100k in Portumna next summer which is very much on my radar and it would enable me to run Connemara as a training run next year (I'd hate to miss Connemara). Then there is a 24-hour race in Belfast and I have heard mutterings about another timed race next year, so that's another one to consider. The Connemara 100 still feels a number too big for me right now, I might leave that one for later. And as John K keeps reminding me, I have yet to come true on my promise to run one of those Scottish off-road ultras. With the number of races increasing every year, I'm spoilt for choice. How times have changed!


  1. Just catching up with blogs now.... Well done in dingle... EPIC!! Enjoy the afterglow it's well earned !!!!!

  2. Don't worry I'll keep on at you until you join us on the whw route.

    BTW - I often have a dodgy stomach after long runs for 12hrs or so. It seems to settle after that time but I can't eat too much during that time.

  3. I know what you mean about the afterglow. I've been itching to register for a new event but don't want to take the risk of doing something stupid.