Sunday, December 26, 2010


I used to hate Christmas, from the awful songs on the radio to the enforced happiness all around, but since the children have become old enough to enjoy it I have come round and the sight of children's eyes glowing in delight is worth the baggage. The kids must have been really good this year. When I saw the heaps of presents I remarked to Niamh that something must have gone wrong somewhere. Santa clearly was overly generous.

Obviously I was not able to go running early in the morning – family comes first and I would not have missed the opening of the presents for anything. The plan would have seen me running 20 miles but I simply did not have time for that, so I swapped Saturday and Sunday around. I know that 15/20 is not the same as 20/15, but sometimes Real Life just happens to interfere.

I left just after 10 o'clock and since I figured that the main road would be much busier than at 6 o'clock on my previous runs I decided to take my chances on the Caragh Lake road. My hopes that the recent sunshine would have softened the ice covering the road were dashed. It was about -10C, and ice does not soften in these temperatures. I managed to get into Killorglin without a fall but decided to stick to the main road after that and hope the traffic would not be too bad. I did 2 more miles towards Milltown before turning around. The Glenbeigh road was much busier than I would have hoped. Several cars were hooting as they went past. If that meant “hello Thomas, nice to see you” or “get off the road you moron” I could never tell. While running was definitely possible and I did not think the traffic was dangerous, I just could never relax and eventually I got fed up with it and took a shortcut home, cutting the run down by a mile.

Our outside water pipe froze that morning, leaving us with no water bar the water tank in the attic and we knew that would not last long. But we also knew that the thaw was predicted to come overnight; I reckoned we would easily manage until then, Niamh said she admired my optimism.

I did have one big worry though, my knee was swollen again by the evening. This time I'm pretty sure it was down to me kneeling on the floor for several hours, helping Lola building her new hospital (it's bigger than anything Mary Harney ever delivered). I slept with my knee wrapped in a bandage and of course I wore one on my run today.

The thaw came overnight, together with heavy rain and gale force wind. The children were not too happy to see their snowmen melting away and I was not too happy to see the water freezing on the road surface. Eventually I ventured out. The first 1.5 miles were just ridiculous, like running on a polished mirror but once I passed the school things improved and I decided to keep running. I had been running too fast on Saturday and I could feel the effect on my legs. After 6 miles I was already knackered and wondered how I would get through the run. The gale force winds did not help, each time I went against it it felt like climbing a mountain. At least it stopped raining after a few miles.

The idea was to run three loops around Killorglin, 5 miles each, and since it took me 2.5 miles to reach that loop this would add up to 20 miles. After the first loop (7.5 miles) I was sorely tempted to head back home but turned left after all for a second loop, but I really did not expect to be able to do another one. But somehow I found a few reserves of energy and when it came to decision time I turned left once more for more punishment. Eventually I remembered that I had brought an emergency gel and took that around mile 14, but to be honest it didn't do anything for me, the extra energy just seemed to burn up in empty fumes. I managed to drag myself through the final loop and on the way home found that the road surface had improved in the last 2 hours, it was almost runnable, though there were one or two hairy moments. There was plenty of discomfort from the knee but it did not get any worse throughout the run, and I hope plenty of icing afterwards will do the magic once more.

This was my first 20 mile training run in a very, very long time. I have not done 20 in training since before Dingle, back in August; that's a very long time ago. My overall mileage has been pretty decent in the last few weeks but there was a distinct lack of proper long runs. Let's hope I can add that on a consistent basis for the next few weeks.
25 Dec
14 miles, 1:45:45, 7:33 pace, HR 148
26 Dec
20 miles, 2:37:17, 7:52 pace, HR 148

Weekly Mileage: 84

1 comment:

  1. Snowing off and on here today Thomas but not like the what you're experiencing!

    After reading that I feel I have no excuses and should get out and do my long run today, the one that I missed yesterday cause of family stuff.

    Merry Christmas