Friday, December 17, 2010

Sick. Again.

In case you’re interested, the coach thinks the faster pace on the previous evaluation was due to some sharpening effect from the 5k races in Killarney. But of course I do not want to have a sharpening effect right now, 4 months before the marathon, so the loss of pace over those two weeks is not really an issue. Instead I am working on my base fitness, and the fact that I was able to hold the pace so well for the 4 miles is very encouraging. There is definitely progress being made. I will skip all potential races for the next few weeks. Sadly, that means no Mallow date for me. A fast time in that race would be great but the only thing that counts is the marathon in April.

At the end of November I just about managed to avoid one of the bugs that did the rounds. I was the only family member not to get sick, just had a bit of a sore throat. This time round I was not quite so lucky. Lola picked up something and was off school for the first three days of the week and I was next in the line; by Wednesday my throat was sore and the following night was really bad. It did not help that Maia woke twice and took a long time to fall back asleep and that Cian had nightmares and ended up in our bed, in addition to me waking at least once every hour. Rest was not to be had and I decided to bin the run, but the ibuprofen I took around 4:30 must have been magic – when I got up at 6 o’clock I felt well enough to go running after all.

Now I fully admit that this might have been a very stupid thing to do (I know I’ve said that before). Three years ago I stubbornly went running through a gradually worsening cold until it had developed into a full-blown and very painful pneumonia that knocked me out for several weeks and kept affecting me for months. I certainly do not wish to repeat the experience, but my general mindset has not changed and if in doubt, I always end up running. I have not managed to string together a few weeks of uninterrupted high mileage recently and the lack of consistency is worrying me. So I went running.

I felt surprisingly good once I got going, but I made damn sure to run slowly and took it really easy. The first mile was no faster than about 8:30 and I only gradually accelerated as I warmed up. My one concession to sanity was to stay close to home and instead of running along Caragh Lake as I would have done otherwise I ran two shorter loops, to enable me to bail out in case I felt like collapsing. Luckily that was not required, but it was a forbiddingly dark morning. Without the headlamp I would not have been able to even make out the road. A cloudy, moonless night so close to Winter solstice does that, I suppose. All in all the run went surprisingly well, even though looking at the HR and pace numbers I guess the sickness added at least 5 beats.

In the office I had a hard time not to fall asleep at my desk at first but a few cups of coffee seemed to do the trick, but at the price of an unhappy stomach. I felt like crap all day and really did not expect to be able to run this morning, but 8+ hours of uninterrupted sleep were just the thing I needed. I was amazed at how well I felt when I got up.

Still, I decided to forget about “Fast Friday” and kept the effort easy. I'm pushing my luck enough as it is. The second cold spell arrived overnight, just as forecast, and the road were covered in fresh snow. It was pretty, and, most important to me, it was not slippery. I did not encounter a single icy patch, just left my footprints behind, something that looked nice on the way home, my own prints on otherwise untouched snow. The pace ended up being a good bit faster than expected, which really surprised me.

While Lola had been sick for three days, I think I got away lightly as I'm feeling much, much better already. At the very least it tells me that I did not prolong recovery by going running. Looking forward, the weather is still a factor. The roads may well be icy over the weekend and into next week. I won’t run on ice again, one blown knee is more than enough, thank you very much. I’ll assess on a day-to-day basis. I’d just like to string together a few weeks of consistent mileage, if that’s possible.
15 Dec
9 miles, 1:12:05, 8:01 pace, HR 140
16 Dec
11+ miles, 1:27:58, 7:59 pace, HR 145
17 Dec
10 miles, 1:16:52, 7:41 pace, HR 148


  1. Check out ICESPIKE.COM it could be the answer to running on ice safely;

  2. Such a tricky business when sick or injured guessing whether running will result in negatives or positives. If you listened to all the warnings to take it easy, you'd never make any progress. Just get out the door, but go very easy so often turns out to be the best thing to do.

  3. I'd blame your northern weather for the cold, but we've had a good dose of it down here the last few months. I remember the pneumonia episode well - you don't want to go there again!

  4. I also, after I started to get faster and more fit, used to be able to get over any bugs pretty fast.

    I don't seem to even get colds these days. I reckon you are headed in the same direction Thomas.