Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Uphill Again

You might remember that last Sunday I had followed up a disastrous 5K with a run up Seefin mountain the next day. Paul took slight exception to me calling that "not real training", and while I can understand that a guy who has represented Ireland in a trail world championship feels that way, I am a road runner and the rule of specificity applies. But it got me thinking, why do I not feel the urge to run up these mountains every day like others would?

As much as I treasure the views from up there, that's not really what I'm looking for. I guess the main thing is that I get the quiet, peaceful me-time on the road at 6 o'clock just as much as I would up on the mountains. There aren't too many people on the Kerry roads at that time. I also like running purely for the sake of running itself. I prefer being able to stride out and not having to wonder what I'm landing on. Running across a boggy field isn't as meditative.

Having said that, I had enjoyed my little mountain trip sufficiently to do it again on Saturday, but this time I extended the route and once I had reached the top of Seefin (via a more direct route and almost 5 minutes faster than last week) I followed the ridge that runs parallel to Caragh Lake on the left and Dingle Bay on the right, basically re-tracing the route of the mountain run stage of the Rás na Ríochta adventure race. When I hit Windy Gap I turned left and followed the Kerry Way back home. All in all it got me over 10 miles and the conviction that I had just completely destroyed the last remnants of hope for a decent race the following day. Little did I know. Maybe the key to a fast 10K is to run a mountain the day before and then cycle 40 minutes to the race start (remember, you heard it here first!).

Interestingly, since yesterday morning I have been feeling much better. I am not sure if I am feeling better because the 10K lifted my spirits or if I had already been recovering and the 38 minutes 10K was merely a sign of that, but I don't care. I spent much of last week feeling sorry for myself, wishing my running were better and worrying about Dingle. All of a sudden I feel like newborn, Dingle will be great fun and I am thinking about adding one or two more races to my racing season (that last point could be a mistake, of course).
27 Aug
10.5 miles, 1:43:15, 9:50 pace, HR 151
29 Aug
6.1 miles, 47:22, 7:45 pace, HR 143
30 Aug
6.1 miles, 46:35, 7:38 pace, HR 146

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Real Surprise

When Niamh went to Dublin for an extended weekend, not only did she take the kids, she also took the car, leaving me rather stranded here in Caragh Lake. There was a race on in Milltown, the next village from Killorglin, but as I was not feeling too well I did not think I'd even attempt to go there.

I also thought I'd successfully sabotaged any hopes of a good run on Sunday by returning to the mountains on Saturday, giving especially the calves a bloody good workout, but that run deserves its own blog post, which I reserve for later this week. When Niamh rang me last night and inquired if I was going to do the race, I said I'd make a late decision on Sunday but expected to stay at home.

Sunday was a beautiful day and while the antibiotics had not cleared my chest as much as I had hoped for, I was feeling better and decided to go ahead. I did not expect anything apart from having fun. I was not exactly well rested. Apart from being up in the mountains on Saturday and not being recovered from my man flu, I also had to cycle the 10 miles from Caragh Lake to Milltown, trying not to kill myself with the effort before I even got to the start line.

I got there in good time and noticed during the warm-up that my legs felt like they had bricks attached to them. I wasn't sure if the mountains or the bike were to blame, but decided just to jog slowly for a mile to shake them out a bit and not tire myself out unnecessarily otherwise.

The usual fast local runners were gathered in force and I started right behind them, as always. The course was a loop of about 9K, so the start was offset by 1 km and the first and last K would be the same. That road was a fairly steep downhill; a fast start and a fast finish were assured.

The field settled very quickly and I found myself around 10th place, behind a group consisting of the leading lady Marie, Phil and one other guy I did not know. About a mile into the race I realised I was running the same pace as that group but 5 meters behind them, so I injected some pace to catch up. It's always easier to run in a group. Just as I caught up, the unknown guy started to falter and I had to pass him to stay with the others.

The next 5K were all about me hanging on desperately to the back of the group. I felt I was going a tiny bit too fast for my abilities but refused to give in. Last week's disastrous race was still vivid in my memory and I wasn't sure if repeating the same tactic, namely trying very hard to stay with the group, was really such a great idea but was unwilling to slow down. I did fall behind a couple of steps on numerous occasions and had to speed up each time to keep contact, but I just about managed it.

The roads were very quiet, typical Kerry country roads, just like I'm used to from training and I really enjoyed it, as much as you can call it enjoyment when running right at the pain threshold. There were some very straight sections where you could see 2 miles ahead and the best thing was not to look ahead. The other feature were a couple of hills, and they sure did drag on.

Shortly after 6K Marie managed to gain about 3 meters on Phil and me and seemed assured to leave us in the dust. I caught a look at the numbers on my Garmin and realised that our pace was slipping and tried to push past Phil. As soon as I drew level he accelerated and I ended up a couple of steps behind him again. Uphill running isn't my forte and I was struggling to keep pace while trying not to kill myself. Shortly before the 8K mark I noticed that the pace had definitely been slipping; the average pace on the Garmin now read 6:18 (minutes per mile, that is), well down on the pace needed for a personal best, and I decided to give it a good go from her on, as the last downhill K would help. I pushed past Phil again. Again he accelerated when I drew level but this time I kept the pressure on. I concentrated on catching Marie and eventually Phil's footsteps started to recede and I was right behind Marie. Tempted as I was to take a break, I pushed on even harder. I thought we were at 9K, where the start line had been, and put the hammer down.

Turns out I was wrong, the 9K marker came about a quarter mile later but there was nothing left to do but keep going. The world shrunk to a bubble, I was hardly aware of anything else, there was just me and the pain and no way out, except to push as hard as I could. Arthur, who had come second, saw me on his cool down and later commented that I must have had a good finish. He was right. I pulled well clear of Marie and came close to catching the fella in front, who had been way ahead of me with a mile to go, but in the end I ran out of road and finished 6 seconds behind him in 9th place.

I was pleased with my race but got a real surprise when I looked at the time, 37:58! To be fair, the course might have been a tiny bit short which would definitely have taken me over the 38 minutes mark, but what the hell, I'll take it anyway. I see it as compensation for suffering the long course last week.

As pleased as I was with my performance, the banter afterwards was even better, everyone seemed to be in a great mood and the lovely weather sure helped. I didn't even mind when it turned out that those 6 seconds had cost me the trophy for the third man over 35 (the age groups were a bit funny, O35 and O50 only), and only swore a little bit when my bike had a flat tyre 6 miles from home on the way back. The positives definitely outshone the negatives today.
28 Aug
~8.5 miles, including:
   Milltown 10K, 37:58, new PB, 9th overall

Friday, August 26, 2011

Man Flu

I can’t quite remember when it was that I started coughing, but I know that it was about 3 days after Niamh, which leaves me in no doubt on who is to blame. The children all got it as well and even though it’s a rather mild form of sickness it turns out to be a very persistent one because we all still have it. I also blame it for last week’s bad race, but that’s beside the point.

As much as I hate going to the doctor I still remember what happened the last time I kept running with a persistent cough, and I really do not fancy catching pneumonia again, so off to the doctor I went. She did not seem overly concerned but because of my history prescribed me some antibiotics.

Maybe it’s just in the head, but after one day of treatment I already felt better this morning. Mind, I ran much too fast as a result and the HR was even higher than on previous days. The cough is still there and I have to take care.

It might still be August, but summer is definitely coming to an end. It’s fairly dark when I get up and the last few mornings have all been really cold. The biting wind does not help in that regard. Today I wished I’d brought some gloves with me. Gloves in August! What’s the world coming to?

I'm still optimistic that all will be resolved in time for me to run Dingle without problems. I haven’t exactly done much training, but with my background I should be able to get through. I remember saying that before all of my previous “pacing” marathons.

Niamh went to Dublin (again!!!!), and this time she took all the kids with her. Unfortunately she also took the car, which leaves me rather confined at home. I might do the 10k in Milltown on Sunday but will make a late decision. No need to point out that I would not expect a spectacular result.

24 Aug
8 miles, 1:02:08, 7:46 pace, HR 150
25 Aug
7 miles, 54:24, 7:46 pace, HR 147
26 Aug
8 miles, 1:00:50, 7:36 pace, HR 151

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Should Have Done This AGES Ago

I was spoiled for choice last weekend with no less than 3 races on offer. As you know, I did the “5K” (haha) on Saturday, but there was also another 5K and the IMRA Mangerton race on Sunday, all within easy distance from home. After feeling like being hit by a bus after Saturday, neither was an option, really, but I decided to make up a bit for missing out on Mangerton by running up the nearest mountain from home, Seefin.

That’s a run I had been planning on doing for ages, but never got round to because there was always some “real” training to be done. The weather was beautiful when I got ready to go out, cloudy when I left home and raining within a mile, but luckily it improved again. I took it easy, especially as the legs felt rather heavy from the race and I took my time. I ran for as long as possible, even on the rougher terrain, but started hiking on the last, very steep bit up to the summit. There are no less than 3 three cairns on top of the mountain, and one of them had a funny circle of white stones around it, which can even be made out on the Google Earth screenshot (if you click on it). I picked up a small stone as memento (and because the boys love collecting “interesting stones”) and headed back home, taking a more direct route down the mountain. It had taken me just over 50 minutes to get from our door to the top and slightly over half an hour to get back home and I think it was the perfect way to get the legs moving that day and to get the painful memories of the race flushed out.

There is yet another race this Sunday. After Saturday’s howler I’d normally be inclined to give it a miss, but as it is in the neighbouring village I may just participate for the fun of it, but then that’s it, my racing season is over, and within hindsight it probably should have been so 3 weeks ago. I have the small matter of two marathons ahead of me, but since I am running both of them at the relatively sedate pace of 3:30, those will count as training runs for next spring, really. I am already looking forward to next year. It might be a bit premature, but I take it as a good sign that the mojo for the longer distances has returned.

I need to get rid of that cold first, though. I have booked a doctor’s appointment.
21 Aug
7.8 miles, 1:25:47, 10:59 pace, HR 143
   mountain run, mostly off-road
22 Aug
5 miles, 38:33, 7:43 pace, HR 143
23 Aug
8 miles, 1:02:46, 7:51 pace, HR 147

Saturday, August 20, 2011

So Much For A Downhill Start!

And there was me, really looking forward to today's race. The website still states

Just to make it a bit different, we are starting just inside the gates opposite the Cathedral and finishing at Killarney House, so no uphill finish!

which to me meant a downhill start and the possibility of a very fast race. I wasn't the only one under that impression, as three quarters of the field gathered at Knockreer, only to be ushered towards Killarney House. I was seriously confused, and so was Seamus, because if we started there and finished there, surely that would be well over 5k?

Anyway, I started right up front with the leaders and hung in there. Two guys eventually gapped the rest but there was a sizable pack of at least 6 runners (possibly more but I never looked behind me) sticking together and we made good progress. We went over the little hill at Knockreer, where we SHOULD have started and then followed the usual 5K route that I have raced on at least a dozen times, but in the reverse. After about 1.5 miles I felt the strain of the fast pace but managed to stick with the (by now considerably thinned out) pack for another half mile, but at the prize of seriously hurting lungs and legs and eventually I just could not stay with them any longer and they started inching away from me. The leading lady passed me as well, and even though I tried to hitch a ride, I lost contact soon.

From that point on I was on my own. I thought of my Dad who is at that very moment in the intensive care unit in hospital and thought that pushing through the pain barrier might make him proud of me even though he would never say so, but that soppy romantic image faded as quickly as the rest of me. I knew I had slowed down considerably as the runners ahead disappeared into the distance and was amazed that nobody caught up with me. My breathing was totally haywire, I was wheezing loudly with every breath but could not get enough oxygen into the system. The last mile seemed to last forever, and the fact that the course was way long did not help. Eventually I saw the finish, just as I heard footsteps appear from behind. I upped the pace, trying to hold off the challenger, but natural pace is not something I am blessed with and he easily caught me. I would have been well clear of him at 5k, but the real distance today was 3.33 miles according to my Garmin, as well as three or fours other runners' toys, and the RD later admitted the error.

It didn't really matter, looking at it now I went through 5k in 18:56 which is a lousy time. The mile splits of 5:38, 6:04, 6:34, (6:10 pace for the final 0.33 miles) tell you the entire story. You could of course argue that I started too fast, but in my experience 5Ks don't work like that. All my best times at that distance have been achieved by starting fast and hanging on as best as I can. The times I tried to start in a measured way and keep the pace even have always been slower. It's a painful distance and a painful way of running it but I'd had vague hopes of breaking 18 minutes today and I was worlds away from that.

By the way, after the race I saw a map of the proposed course in the hall, and it clearly showed Knockreer as the start, just like promised at the web site, so why they made us run the extra distance from Killarney House is anyone's guess.

Oh, and apparently I came sixth, though I thought I was about eighth or ninth during the race, not that I was concentrating on counting the runners ahead of me. There were no prizes for age group runners, so I went home empty handed.

I was completely shattered afterwards, I collapsed into the grass beside the finish for a minute and when I tried to get up felt dizzy so I stayed down for a bit longer. When walking back, one woman inquired if I was ok, I must have looked really bad. I've had a cough/cold for the last 10 days or so, the entire family has it and we can't seem to shake it. It never bothered me at all in training, but things may be different at race intensity, especially at 5K race intensity. I don't want to make excuses though, I faded extremely badly today and was well off the pace at the end. The HR was as high as for my PB a few weeks ago, so it's not for lack of trying. My best guess is that as someone who sharpens quickly I cannot hold my peak shape for long and my conditioning is on the downward slide already.
18 Aug
6.1 miles, 47:12, 7:43 pace, HR 143
19 Aug
5 miles, 38:45, 7:44 pace, HR 151
   incl. 5x100 strides
20 Aug
~7 miles, including:
Run Kerry Run "5K" (3.33 miles!)
   20:16, going through 5K in 18:56, avg. HR 181, max. HR 187
   6th overall (?), no M40 prizes

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Home Alone

Sometimes Niamh refuses to take responsibility. Isn't there a law that children need to be watched all the time? Instead she trundled off to Dublin for her mum's birthday, and it took several hours of tense negotiations to get her to agree to take two children with her. The other two were abandoned – with me! I even had to take 2 days off work.

It meant a very early start on Tuesday so that I could get a few miles under the belt before driving to Killarney to drop them onto the train. Getting up at 5:45 for mere 5 miles does not sound worthwhile so I spiced things up with a set of hill sprints. I can't tell if they make me a better runner but I can tell that I'm getting better at doing hill sprints. Once more I did not have a set number in mind, but I did 10 before returning home, 2 more than last week. Or so I thought, because when I counted the spikes in the graph afterwards, I got 11. Don't blame me, it's hard to keep count when you're charging up that hill at full belt.

I had accepted the fact that I would not be able to run today, but Niamh suggested taking them to Killarney National Park with their bikes and run alongside. I did not expect them to agree when I suggested it, but they were all for it and off we went. It was a gorgeous day, which helped. I let the kids decide the route and we went from Knockreer to Ross Castle. Cian especially set a ferocious pace and I was just about able to hang on at sub-7 pace at times. We had a long break there and since he was tired on the way back the pace was much more civilised. I got just over 3 miles done; while running like that won't do for marathon training, spending a couple of hours of quality time with the kids more than makes up for that.
15 Aug
6 miles, 48:58, 8:09 pace, HR 137
16 Aug
5+ miles, 46:47, 9:08 pace, HR 144
   incl. 11x15 sec max effort hill sprints
17 Aug
3.2 miles, 23:41, 7:24 pace, HR 144

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Shea: Dad, why do you sometimes run in the rain?
Dad: I run every day, even when it's raining
Shea: Oh, and if you didn't run that much, would you not be able to race as fast?
Dad: That's exactly it.

I think he's grasped the basics of training. Maybe he'll be able to coach me one day.

Luckily I did not have to deal with rain this weekend. Saturday started cloudy and I had my run in ideal conditions, and when the sun came out in the afternoon it turned into pretty much a perfect day. There's not much to say about my run, just 7 miles at what should have been easy pace, but I kept thinking about Dingle and for whatever reason that made me run faster than planned. Still, I felt good.

My family seem determined to turn me into a fat slob, now even the kids have started baking. They got a cook book and some paraphernalia, and now there's no stopping them. I knew which parent is to blame for that one! Luckily, they are great at making sure Daddy doesn't eat too many of the damn things.

With Dingle only three weeks away I thought I'd better get one long(ish) hilly run under my belt, so I set out around Caragh Lake. For some strange reason, this is my third pacing gig and the third time that I only did one 15 mile "long" run. Still, the other two pacing gig went very well and I should be ok for this one as well.

While I felt a bit tired after only 8 miles, I got over that and the rest of the run went well. The sun came out but I was back home before the heat and dehydration became an issue.

I was a bit worried about my knee as I banged it badly on Saturday. It was slightly swollen and hurt with each step, but it never got any worse during the run and I eventually forgot about it. The achilles issue I mentioned a few days ago seems to have gone away as well. Being un-injured is something you tend to take for granted until injury strikes, so it's good from time to time to remember and appreciate being able to run.
13 Aug
7 miles, 53:01, 7:34 pace, HR 149
14 Aug
15 miles, 1:58:48, 7:55 pace, HR 147

Friday, August 12, 2011

Too Fast

I never thought I'd have that particular problem, but I really wish I'd learn to run slower in my interval workouts. I should know better, the coach had explained how most runners do intervals too fast and do not get the optimal benefits out of this workout, but it's one thing to know that in theory and a different one to implement that in reality.

The idea was to run a small set of quarter mile repeats at 5K pace, 5:50, with short recoveries of 60 seconds. Daniel's running formula had them a little bit faster, but I think he's talking 400s and a quarter mile is a tad longer which may make up the odd second of difference, not that it actually matters as my lack of pacing ability won't let me run them at the exact right pace anyway.

Halfway through the first repeat I glanced at the Garmin and realised I was doing about 5:20 pace, so I relaxed for the second half. Halfway through the second repeat I realised I was doing 5:15 pace, so I relaxed even more during THAT second half. The third was better, if still a tad fast, and I thought I'd cracked it and therefore did not check the Garmin until late into the fourth repeat when I was back on 5:20 pace again. The next 2 repeats were too fast by a significant margin again and at that point I pulled the plug and called it a day (after recovering while leaning against the nearest fence post, trying not to topple over, that is). I need to safe those kind of efforts for race day.

Considering how appalling the weather has been the last few days, I have gotten away rather lightly. Thursday's 8 miles were the only ones in pouring rain and I can easily deal with gale force wind, I have experienced that often enough.

Puck Fair was affected by the weather as well, but I managed to spend Thursday's lunch time with the kids, sacrificing myself for a few rides at the fun fair, but it wasn't enough to stop the complaints about not being allowed on this ride or him getting more candy floss or her being unfair ... kids these days, eh? The Caragh Lake road was much busier than usual because it serves as Killorglin's bypass to those in the know, but I survived that as well despite some of the lorry drivers mistaking it for a destruction derby race track.

My left achilles was a bit sore last night, but feels better already. I always seem to get achilles problems right before Dingle. After I even got a mention in Dingle marathon's facebook page, I better not let that get in the way of my pacing duties. But hey, there's always Grellan to fall back on, right?

11 Aug
8 miles, 1:02:35, 7:49 pace, HR 146
12 Aug
6 miles, 44:32, 7:25 pace, HR 156
   6x400 (60 sec rec) @ 5:45, 5:43, 5:45, 5:34, 5:39, 5:38 pace

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


6 easy miles on Monday were followed by a slow shuffle for the first mile on Tuesday, but the legs came round before I reached the hill. I repeated last week’s all-out hill sprints, once again without a specific number of repeats in mind, but I did hope to go at least one better. I reckoned that last week’s near-fainting must have been caused by hyperventilating and tried to breathe normally after the sprints, at least as normally as you can if you’ve just narrowly escaped the clutches of a sabre-toothed tiger chasing you (that’s how I push myself to all-out efforts – imagination is a wonderful thing). The dizziness stayed away this time but the little wave of nausea started hitting me after the sixth repeat and the legs felt decidedly heavy during the eighth, so that’s when I called it a day.

I never used to have trouble sleeping, not since I started running anyway, but I’ve had quite a few bad nights recently. I'm not sure what the cause is, surely the reduced mileage won’t cause insomnia? Last night was particularly bad, I woke at 2:30 and that was that. Nothing worked and in the end I could just stare at the ceiling, waiting until it was bright enough to go for a run. As I was out so early I did a couple of extra miles and still had times to cut some wood and do the dishes after my return. On the plus side, I should sleep soundly tonight.

The weather turned scary, just in time for Killorglin’s annual dabble with anarchy, Puck Fair. That’s unfortunate, there is usually a great buzz in town, but with a miniature hurricane blowing, most people prefer to huddle indoors instead of participating in the festivities.

8 Aug
6+ miles, 47:56, 7:51 pace, HR 140
9 Aug
5 miles, 43:37, 8:43 pace, HR 143
    incl. 8x15 sec all-out hill sprints
10 Aug
8 miles, 1:01:16, 7:39 pace, HR 47

Sunday, August 07, 2011


With no race this weekend, things are a bit quieter than usual. I even had the luxury of a lie-in both Saturday and Sunday, sleeping till well after 8 o’clock (yes, that counts as a very late morning in our house). Even Niamh commented how unusual it is for her to wake up and having her husband still there.

Friday was a bit unusual due to it being our company’s day out. This year we went to Cappanalea, which seems strange as it is less than 5 miles from home and yet we usually go much further away. I picked kayaking (with an eye on potential future adventure races) and orienteering (as it was the closest thing to running) as my activities and thoroughly enjoyed the day, though the party afterwards was distinctly flat. I think most people were too knackered after a day out to party.

Saturday was yet another easy day, and by then I’d had it with easy days.

MC won’t like it, but I could not stand the never-ending sequence of 5 mile recovery runs any more and took off for a bit of fun this morning. I used to do a lot of tempo runs when training for Vienna and decided to do another one today. As I had no idea what pace I was capable of I paced myself by HR, but switched the display of the Garmin so that I would be able to see the pace, otherwise the ego would have gotten in the way. The plan was to stay between 165 and 170 bpm at all times I stuck to that. Had I seen the pace numbers, I would most likely have accelerated because there is no way I would have been happy with 6:44 pace; I used to do them 20 seconds per mile quicker only 4 months ago. However, that was then and this is now and I’m not in the same shape I was in when I had realistic hopes of running 2:55 for a marathon.

I am getting a bit nervous about pacing Dingle. Funny, I’ve been saying that before every one of my “pacing” marathons. It just seems wrong tohttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif run a marathon without having done marathon training beforehand. Dingle is a bit trickier than most when it comes to pacing with the undulating course and especially the massive hill towards the end. I think the best way to achieve a certain time on that course is to bank about 3 minutes by mile 20, which mean running the first 20 miles 10 seconds per mile faster, because you will need some time for that final hill. Normally, banking time is not a very good idea, but the Dingle elevation profile is not a normal one.

Why do I even worry? I’m sure it will be fine. I ran a 15 miler in 1:35, going through the half marathon in 1:23, only 3 weeks ago. That’s not a bad shape to be in.
5 Aug
am: 5 miles, 40:09, 8:02 pace, HR 142
pm: ~3 miles orienteering
6 Aug
6+ miles, 47:35, 7:44 pace, HR 144
7 Aug
10 miles, 1:09:23, 6:56 pace. HR 162
   incl. 7 miles @ 6:44 pace, HR 167

Thursday, August 04, 2011


I'm back on my familiar routes in Caragh Lake, but since I'm still in recovery mode I'm not exactly accumulating a lot of mileage. But it’s enough to keep me from going bananas, which is at least something.

After yet another short, easy run on Monday I added a bit of spice to Tuesday’s workout in the form of hill sprints. These are meant to be short sprints at maximum effort, not enough to get anaerobic but enough to activate your muscle fibres. It’s supposed to train your neuromuscular system and is apparently effective at increasing running efficiency, but I have to take their word for that.

I did not have a specific number of repeats in mind but I ran each effort from the beginning of the road to the gate, which happened to take about 15 seconds, not that I was timing the efforts, and then walked down the hill slowly for recovery. Each sprint is hard enough to raise the HR by 30-40 beats, but the max HR is reached several seconds AFTER the end of the sprint. Another few seconds later I would be hit by a wave of nausea, but by the time I had walked back down the hill I always felt fully recovered. After the fifth repeat the nausea was accompanied by feeling dizzy, which was magnified again after the sixth; I was dizzy, light headed, tunnel vision with stars in front of my eyes. I have fainted on a couple of occasions in my life and that’s exactly what it feels like immediately before the blackout so I left it at that. Running until you faint may be quite some story, but not one I was particularly keen to add to me repertoire that day.

This may sound a bit dramatic, but it only lasted for a couple of seconds. I immediately felt right as rain again and had no issues on my slow jog back home.

Niamh had a girls’ night out on Wednesday and got a taxi back home. In the morning I took the key and ran into town to collect the car and drove it back home. It’s always good to remind your better half that there are advantages to having a runner in your house from time to time.

2 Aug
6.1 miles, 47:48, 7:50 pace, HR 142
3 Aug
5 miles, 44:14, 8:51 pace, HR 144
   incl. 6x15 max. effort sec hill sprints
4 Aug
7 miles, 53:49, 7:41 pace, HR 147

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Long Weekend

I continued being annoyed with myself after Friday's race. Had I run the first 3 miles like I had in Killarney a week before, I could have run a final 6:30 mile and still averaged 6:00, but I didn't. Even with a slower start, I still slowed down with each subsequent mile and I ended up missing a new PR by a few seconds. Since there aren't any other 4 mile races around, that's my chance gone for another year. But it wasn't the missed PB that annoyed me, it was the fact that I did not run as hard as I could have.

I had hoped my legs would feel sharper after last week's race, but if the mind does not play along, a new PB is simply not on the cards.

Anyway, after one final run in Valentia, where I felt surprisingly good, less than 12 hours after the race, we returned back home to Caragh Lake where we can enjoy the trappings of civilization again, like TV, internet, telephone and, this year, drinkable water. I prefer home, but of course I understand that Niamh wanted to spend some time with her parents. The older generation likes being off-grid. I ... don't.

DOMS inevitably hit me on Sunday, as expected, but actually I felt pretty good. Thankfully this was a bank holiday weekend, with Saturday taken up by our return from Valentia I needed the extra day off, and it felt like a normal weekend to me.

It was a good weekend football-wise, for both codes. City beat Inter, Kerry won and Cork provided the comedy factor. It did put a smile on my face, even if it meant they will miss out on the annual footballing lesson at Croker this year.

Back to running, since I have agreed to pace the 3:30 groups both in Dingle and Dublin it means I'm getting my marathon fix without putting myself through a training cycle that I could not face up to a couple of months ago. Hopefully this will then lead straight into training for 2012. I pretty much decided what I'm going to aim for. It won't be a new marathon PB, I'm afraid, but it has me excited all the same. I need to figure out how to convert the Lydiard training for longer distances, but I'll give it a go.
30 Jul
6 miles, 46:53, 7:48 pace, HR 146
31 Jul
5 miles, 39:21, 7:52 pace, HR 141
1 Aug
5 miles, 39:42, 7:56 pace, HR 139

Monthly Mileage: 264+