Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Early Mornings

Well, the storm turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. I got a bit wet on Monday and there was a bit of wind, but I have run through much, much worse. I did let the weather forecast psyche me out and ran on the Ard-na-Sidhe road, which is my usual fall-back whenever the wind reaches gale force (or higher), but I could have run on the Caragh Lake road without problems.

The rain did cause an unexpected problem later on, though. I know the many pot holes on the road by heart and can do the slalom around them even in the dark (literally, when cycling home from work), but the rain must have opened up a nasty new one, big and deep, and the first I knew of it was last night when I felt a big bump on the bike, followed by some crunching metallic sound and then a hiss from both directions as both of my tyres gave up the ghost simultaneously. That was a major annoyance, still 1.5 miles away from home, but I made it home in one piece, if a bit delayed and I managed to fix the damage. I'm half tempted to bill the council for 2 inner tubes, though. The road has been in absolutely desperate condition since January's Big Freeze and nobody has ever bothered to fix it.

There was one problem with Monday's run, namely the fact that it took me longer than expected to get ready in the morning and by the time I was finally out of the door I only had time for 7 miles. For some reason I seem to have gotten really slow getting ready. It used to take no more than 15 minutes, now it is closer to 20. Maybe the rain outside wasn't particularly motivating, but I'm equally slow on clear mornings.

The wind actually picked up for Tuesday, which meant I was back on the Ard-na-Sidhe road. I tend to get rather familiar with that one-mile stretch of road during the winter. Doing 11 miles meant going back and forwards 4 times each. It got rather embarrassing at one stage when I passed the same person for the third time. He must have been wondering what that idiot was doing, running in the dark on the same stretch of road again and again.

Conditions had changed dramatically by this morning. Yesterday it had been 7C/45F degrees with 20mph wind and rain. This morning was crystal clear, -1C/30F degrees and absolutely no wind. I ran 10 miles via Killorglin, marvelling how well I was feeling. I got a major shock afterwards when looking at the average heart rate. I don't remember ever running 7:30 pace at a heart rate in the 140s and I cannot rule out some technical glitch with the heart rate monitor. But I did feel very good and the crisp conditions didn't do any harm either. But I am a bit sceptical about these figures. When I put them into a Jack-Daniels inspired spreadsheet, the VDOT value was almost 55 rather than around 52 for every other run over the last 7 days. You don't just jump 3 levels overnight, do you?

Anyway, according to the coach's instructions I've got to slow down a little bit and bump up the mileage: "One or two days at the upper end (7:30 pace), the rest of the week work on longer at an easier pace." It means getting up earlier, I guess.
8 Nov
7+ miles, 53:53, 7:38 pace, HR 152
9 Nov
11+ miles, 1:25:26, 7:42 pace, HR 150
10 Nov
10 miles, 1:14:57, 7:30 pace, HR 149

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