Monday, January 03, 2011

A New Beginning

There is no need for New Year's resolutions, I am perfectly happy with how my life is going, so all I'm trying to do is more of the same. I just about made it through midnight on New Year's Eve – it was way past my usual bedtime but I managed to keep awake long enough. Trouble is, when I finally made it to bed I was unable to fall asleep. It was a very tired Thomas who got up on New Year's Day after barely 5 hours of sleep, but in marked contrast to the majority of the western world at least I did not have a hangover.

After not being overly fond of the available running options I decided to try something different and headed towards the Dublin Mountains. I had a quick look on Google how to get there from Stillorgan but no real idea what I was heading for. When the climbing started I kept going up and up, eventually topping out at just over 1100 feet. I had a vague idea of where I was when I eventually passed Johnny Fox's, one of the three pubs in Ireland claiming to be the highest one. Btw, how on Earth can there be a dispute? It's not exactly difficult to establish the elevation of each point. For the record, my Garmin had Johnny Fox's at 930 feet elevation. Anyway, while it must have been heaving a few hours earlier, the place was dead quiet and I carried on for another 2 miles towards Glencree before turning around. I did wonder if I could go on and circle the mountain rather than do an out-and-back, but without a map that wasn't really a good idea – I can leave that for next time. The miles home just flew by, obviously helped by the fact that there were almost 1000 feet of downhill and for once I did not wilt on the second half of a run. I was back in Stillorgan after just over 17 miles. Ideally I would have added at least one or two more, but I was already late for a family function and any further delays would have had me in serious trouble with Niamh.

This was the most fun I've had during a run in Dublin ever and I was tempted to head back into the mountains again on Sunday but decided against it to protect my quads. I had been feeling well throughout an entire run for almost the first time in a week and I did not want to destroy that feeling again by overzealously gobbling up vertical gains. Accordingly I opted for a much easier course, namely several loops of Deer Park near UCD. I've heard it said that one lap around the perimeter of the park is exactly once mile and my Garmin had that almost right, 6 loops were 5.90 miles. Getting there and back via a scenic route added some extra miles for just over 10, leaving me at 76 for the week. That's a bit less than during previous weeks, but I needed to step back a bit, I was clearly in danger of digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole.

The real discovery, though, was that running slowly made all the difference between feeling dead on my feet after a few miles and being able to get through 10 miles perfectly fine. The previous 2 days had seen the slowest runs in weeks, but unlike the others I was not wearing myself out.

I hope I did not undo the good work this morning by running a bit faster again, but I think it was just the revitalised legs that had an extra spring in their step, the HR was just as low. I did Deer Park again, 6 loops were 5.97 miles today, which tells you a bit about the accuracy of the Garmin. I added a seventh loop, just because I was feeling so good and running finally was fun again.

Then we hopped into the car and drove back home to Kerry. The journey has gotten much easier now the motorway between Dublin and Limerick is finally complete (they took HOW many years to build the damn thing? Oh, never mind), and in Adare almost literally ran into him and him (how impressive is that for celebrity spotting?); it doesn't take much imagination to work out that they were staying in the exceedingly swanky Adare Manor, but I do wonder if the rest of the Fellowship is there as well. However, the two of them scampered pretty damn quickly when they saw me looking at them. I guess that's what Hobbits do when humans are around.
1 Jan
17+ miles, 2:20:41, 8:11 pace, HR 141
2 Jan
10+ miles, 1:21:28, 7:59 pace, HR 139
3 Jan
11 miles, 1:25:32, 7:46 pace, HR 141

Weekly Mileage: 76


  1. Happy New Year Thomas! Amazing mileage btw.

  2. Sounds like a nice run Thomas. I do a fair few miles up around those hills myself. Next time your in the area, drop me a mail and I'll join you for a run, or suggest some great routes in the area. GaryC.

  3. After your recent injury I'm happy to see that you're taking it easy, i.e. running easy when necessary. Eagerly anticipating the next few months, as I’m sure you are too. All the best in 2011!