Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Kind Of Magic

After two weeks of at times atrocious weather, Saturday was much better than the weather forecast had predicted. Nobody was complaining, least of all the over 250 runners of the third race of Killarney's 5K race series. After once more dropping the twins off in Tralee I left for Killarney in time, arrived there with plenty to spare and, in contrast to last week, had time for a proper warm-up rather than a frantic sprint to the start.

I started a line or two further back than usual and made damn sure not to start as fast as normal, which of course meant I was way behind the people I usually run with. But within half a mile I was already overtaking people who had been overly optimistic at the start. One fella said afterwards "you started slowly and accelerated after half a kilometre, didn't you", but I don't think this was accurate, I merely tried to keep as even a pace as possible, which meant to increase the effort gradually all the way through. At times I was stuck behind a line of people spread across the road, but I always got by reasonably quickly. The mile splits were 6:15, 6:01, 6:14 and 5:34 pace for the (uphill!) finishing sprint, which pretty much tells you the entire story of the race. I'm surprised the second mile was as fast as that, otherwise I have no issues. The Garmin showed 3.12 miles at the end, slightly longer than last week's 3.10 at the exactly same course, and I'm pretty sure this is now an accurately measured 5K. In a few months I hope to be able to race properly again over the distance rather than having to keep the brakes on at all times (well, apart from the finish).

The Garmin said 6:08 average pace, when I uploaded the data into SportTracks it said 6:09 pace, and if you calculate 19:08 5K pace you get 6:10, so I claim to be within the confines the coach has set me, if only just. Just to show that I am definitely holding back, the average HR was again 175 (though I pushed it all the way to 188 at the sprint finish). When I raced the same course in February it was 179 and 180.

I woke on Sunday to a beautiful blue sky, but it was freezing cold. I got ready before anyone else in the house stirred and was out of the door at 8 o'clock. The roads were just as quiet, the conditions were absolutely perfect for running and I enjoyed it very much. I thought I was plodding along at a rather slow pace, but when I checked the Garmin upon arrival at the highest point of the course, just over 6 miles in, I realised that in actual fact I was going at a fairly decent pace. I didn't push the effort, just kept gliding along on autopilot, enjoying the peace and quiet of the remote Kerry countryside. There are not a lot of places any more where you can claim to be a mile or two miles from the nearest dwelling, but there are still some left around here and I enjoyed the solitude. I also enjoyed how good I felt and how easy running at 7:45 pace was. I was back home before I got tired, the emergency gel in my pocket went back into the cupboard unopened, and I was ready for the rest of the day. This involved the weekly shopping as well as taking the kids to the new Harry Potter movie (they could not possibly wait another day), and was basically just as hectic as a day in the office. Thank God for the 2 hours of relaxing peace and quiet and had gotten on the roads in the morning.
20 Nov
11.5 miles, including:
Killarney 5k, race 3. 19:08, 6:10 pace, HR 175, 29th place
21 Nov
16.5 miles, 2:07:52, 7:43 pace, HR 146

Weekly Mileage: 80+


  1. Fantastic effort Thomas, something is clearly working already. I hope you can deliver the results you're aiming for once the brakes are finally let off and you can give it your best shot.

    What is your mileage now working under MC compared to your self ran schedules?

  2. Nice time considering you ran within yourself Thomas. Wish you all the best over the next 5 years.I reckon, you are going to achieve things you can't even dream of now!

  3. It's a great feeling that you'd like to be able to bottle up on those good days. Glad you were able to enjoy it. You're sounding like everything is on track!

  4. Yes, does look like MC has you on the right track to numerous sub-3 marathons.

    Wish I could "jog" a 5k race a minute slower than that!

  5. Nice run! My 5k splits are usually the complete opposite - faster 1st and 3rd miles with the slowest being the 2nd.

  6. There was an article in Runners World recently advocating running the first mile hard and doing your best to sustain it as the race evolved. The proposed rational for this strategy had something to do with the different reserves of energy that a body taps into during the race. I should warn people that this was not the recommended startegy for any race distance greater than a 5 km.

    But experts changes recommended strategies with the seasons so who knows... certainly not this neophyte.