Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I'm not sure if it’s time to get worried about my shin/foot problem or if I should just ignore it. For a while I thought it might be shin splint which I haven’t had in 6 years, but I think the sore area is too close to the foot for that to be the case. The affected area is right at the front of my shin, about 1 - 2 inches above ankle height. Yesterday, Tuesday, it was really sore but today I'm already feeling better. The plan right now is to take it easy tomorrow and Friday, which was always the idea because of Saturday’s half marathon, get through that race in one piece and then pick up the pieces.

It’s funny, in 4 weeks I’m going to pace the 3:30 group in Dublin. That’s my fourth time as a pacer and I had some fairly serious trouble before each and every one of them. Then again, I got through all of the previous attempts perfectly fine and expect the same outcome again. I know Niamh wouldn’t be too happy if I had to bail out on Dublin. That stay in a 5-star hotel before the race was one of the main reasons why she thinks having a runner in the house is a good thing.

It’s rather telling that the one run I did not feel any pain was on Sunday on the trail. I did notice some discomfort on the 2 miles back home, running on road. There are two problems with trails though. One, I need to run a couple of miles each way on the road to get to them, which makes them a rather pointless option for anything but the long run. Two, I cannot run on those trails in the dark; it would not be safe, especially on my own. I can still get onto the trail over the weekend on occasions, but realistically the majority of my miles will always be on the road.

Hurting shin or not, I took it reasonably easy on Monday and Tuesday. I can still tune out completely, which means the problem can’t be THAT bad (at least that’s my theory). I added two faster segments to today’s run. The original idea was to run 4 miles at close to half-marathon effort, but then switched that to 1 + 2 miles at tempo effort with an easy mile in the middle. I just wanted to get a feel for the pace without tiring myself out. Just like last Wednesday, the 20mph wind had an impact, though it didn’t feel as strong as last week (the weather site says otherwise, though. Maybe Caragh Lake is more sheltered than the road to Killorglin). I averaged 6:33 pace into the wind and 6:24 with the wind, which has me reasonably hopeful that I can go under 6:30 on Saturday, maybe even on a tough course like Valentia which starts with a murderous 3 mile climb. I guess I’ll find out.
26 Sep
8 miles, 1:02:49, 7:51 pace, HR 142
27 Sep
10 miles, 1:17:54, 7:47 pace, HR 146
28 Sep
8 miles, 56:35, 7:041 pace, HR 156
   incl. 1 mile @ 6:33 (HR 164), 2 miles @ 6:24 (HR 166)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Playing in the Mud

If you remember back a few days, I did have some troubles with my right foot/shin. The problem disappeared after 2 or 3 days, after I started wearing a compression wrap. Niggles like that come and go, no need to waste any time worrying about it. Well, on Thursday it was back, and it really hurt. I was in quite some discomfort all day, and I'm not talking about the time I was running, it hurt all day in the office. I applied my usual therapy: ice and compression. Elevation isn't that easy in reality, I can't just lie there for hours with my leg up high, and rest is generally my last resort.

Friday's run was more to test the waters than a training run. I felt the discomfort all the way through, but it did not get any worse, which makes it hard to draw any conclusions. Obviously it's a running injury, why else would my shin hurt, but if running 10 miles doesn't make it any worse then can I keep running or not?

Taking away the pain, by the way, I felt very good on Thursday and Friday. 7:40 pace seems to be the pace I tune in automatically if I just cruise along easily, running with minimum mental effort, which is how the coach used to describe Lydiard's “quarter” effort, the effort level you should hold for your easy runs.

There was supposed to be a 5 mile race on Friday evening in Tralee, but that was cancelled. Athletics Kerry seem to be struggling at the moment. The 5k in Killarney was ridiculously long, despite the fact that the course should have been utterly familiar to everyone, and now the cancellation. Something seems to be going on here.

The weekend was very busy, and I was rushed on Saturday morning. It still didn't make much sense to run as fast as I did, the 3 minutes I saved that way did not really make a difference, but I found it impossible to relax when my subconscious was constantly urging me on, and eventually I gave in and went with the faster pace. I was surprised how easy 6:40 pace felt, despite wearing my heavy, clunky trainers, which I take as a good sign for next Saturday's half marathon.

The kids were invited to a birthday party on Sunday, and initially I thought I would have to get up in the middle of the night to run, until I realised on Saturday evening that I could go running when they're away. Looking at the conditions on Sunday made that a really good option, it was really wild outside with the rain coming in horizontally.

Niamh suggested I set up the bike trainer, which sounded a great option as I would be able to watch the coverage of the Berlin marathon at the same time (thank you BBC, even if it's only for Paula). I was highly tempted, but then decided against it. I'm a runner and consistency is very important and getting used to running in the rain may well be vital preparation for Connemara, so I decided to face the conditions.

Then a miracle happened, after hours of truly wild conditions the sun came out just as I was getting ready and the wind seemed to quieten considerably as well. In order to protect my shin (which was already feeling better) I headed for the trails, running loops at the Coillte Caragh Lake Forest Park. There are two routes towards the summit, a muddy trail and a jeep road, and the two together combine to make a good, challenging loop. The summit is a bit off the loop, and for the first loop I made it to the top because it would be a shame to run on the hill for almost 2 hours and not get the view from the top, but for the rest of it I just ran the loop, 2 in one direction and 5 or 6 in the other, because running up the trail made for a much more challenging workout so I opted for more of that.

It's amazing how hard you need to work for 9:20 pace on such a trail! Once I fell and very nearly face planted, and my foot kept disappearing into mud holes until I learned the best options through the worst sections.

Running on that trail was great fun, even if running loops of about 10 minutes each isn't exactly my preferred option. I'll be back, I guess.

I got to watch the Berlin coverage after I got home. Great, exciting stuff, with Haile seemingly pulling out at 25Km and temporarily moving back onto the course, Makau chasing and getting the world record and Paula racing for the first time in years. I didn't catch a glimpse of any of my acquaintances running though.

22 Sep
8 miles, 1:01:30, 7:41 pace, HR 145
23 Sep
10 miles, 1:16:48, 7:41 pace, HR 148
24 Sep
5 miles, 35:01, 7:00 pace, HR 153
25 Sep
13.65 miles, 1:58:50, 8:42 pace, HR 155

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The legs felt surprisingly good on Monday. I expected them to be rather heavy after some hard running over the weekend, but was pleasantly surprised. I still took it easy. Two days easy after back-to-back workouts are an absolute must; recovery takes time, especially when you're well past your 30s. But I felt very good and 7:40 pace has rarely come so easily.

I had another workout in store for Wednesday. When training for Vienna, the coach twice gave me special workouts that he called volume repeats. They work like other repeats, except that you don't really get much recovery, the pace during the slower parts is still on the challenging side. That's a great workout to see what shape you're in because there is no way to fake it. If you're running too fast, it will show.

The idea was to run 2 miles at 6:30, 2 miles at 6:20 and 2 more miles faster still as long as I could maintain full control, with a mile at about 7:15 pace between each effort. Unfortunately, as soon as I left home I knew the 20-25 mph wind would be making the pacing impossible, so I decided I had to run by feel alone. The heart rate would provide some feedback, but I don't like checking the HR too often when running at 6:30 pace or so, I need all my concentration on the effort.

The first repeat was with the wind at the back, so I figured the pace should be in the 6:20s. Well, it was early in the morning and I was not quite awake yet, which is the only way I can explain why I started the first quarter mile at 6:05 pace. The pace was a bit uneven after that but on average ended up right where I wanted it. The second repeat was straight into the gale force. I kept the effort honest, making sure I would not look at the Garmin as I knew the pace figure would be demoralising. Even the slow mile after that was tough, the HR hardly dropped despite the slow pace. The last repeat was still into the wind but at least it was net downhill which compensated a little bit. I ran the final half mile too hard, that was more a race effort than a training effort, but all in all I was reasonably happy with the numbers. I now have 10 days to recover from this before Valentia. That should do. In March, the coach had me do a similar workout 4 days before Ballycotton and I ran an absolute stormer there.

19 Sep
8 miles, 1:01:27, 7:40 pace, HR 145
20 Sep
10 miles, 1:18:11, 7:49 pace, HR 143
21 Sep
11 miles, 1:17:03, 7:00 pace, HR 162
   w/u, 2 miles 6:23 (163), 1 mile 7:14 (159), 2 miles 6:48 (170), 1 mile 7:33 (167), 2 miles 6:23 (173), c/d

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Roller Coaster

Now that was a topsy turvy weekend from a sporting point of view, with Ireland beating Australia, Alistair Cragg setting a new Irish record over 5000 meters (which was completely ignored by the press), Kerry throwing away the game against Dublin when they should have been out of sight and City doing likewise against Fulham. At least my own training is going well.

I decided to add one last race to the racing season, the Valentia Island half marathon in 2 weeks. I love Valentia, always enjoy staying there, and running a race on the same loop that I have done a number of times in training is too much to resist. The only thing topping that would be for someone to organise a race around Caragh Lake, and I can't see that happen any time soon.

Two weeks is too short to achieve any kind of meaningful physical adaptation, but there is still time for some mental adjustments. Therefore I thought running a few miles at half marathon pace would be a good choice on Saturday. There are a number of ways of doing that and I settled on 3x2 mile repeats. That's not as specific as a tempo run because last time I checked they still don't allow for periodic rest breaks during the race, but it's an easier way to accumulate the faster miles as the next rest period is never far away. I had to deal with the blustery wind, which was on my back for first and a third of the second interval but straight into my face for the rest, which explains the slower pace for each subsequent interval. I was reasonably pleased with the result. I'd love to break 1:25 in Valentia, but the hilly nature of the course (it basically starts with a brutal 3-mile climb) will make that a rather tough challenge.

This morning I ran around the lake again, by far and away my favourite long run route. I expected to be tired after yesterday's tempo intervals but managed to surprise myself. The pace was always a little bit faster than planned, even though I never consciously pushed the effort and I never felt the need to slow down as I was always feeling great. I know the coach generally frowned upon running faster than planned, but some days you just have to let go of the brakes if you're enjoying yourself so much.
17 Sep
10 miles, 1:09:33, 6:57 pace, HR 162
   incl. 3x2 miles @ 6:23 (HR 166), 6:34 (HR 169), 6:36 (HR 172)
18 Sep
15 miles, 1:54:05, 7:36 pace, HR 151

Weekly Mileage: 68+

Friday, September 16, 2011

Change Of Seasons

No doubt about it, autumn has arrived. There is a constant debate in our household on the exact calendar dates of the seasonal changes (“Spring on 1 Feb? You’ve got to be kidding!!!”), but if you go by weather/temperatures/general feel then the summer we’ve never had has now given up even trying and we’ve moved on. It’s pitch dark when I get up, it’s still pretty dark when I start running and I’ll soon be reaching for the despised head lamp on my way out.

As much as I wrote a few flippant sentences regarding the pain in my shin on Wednesday, it actually had me worried a bit as the pain seemed to worsen as the day wore on. I tried icing it when I got home, but the real salvation seemed to arrive via the compression sleeve I wore at night and for my next run. By the morning the increasingly sharp pain had been reduced to a dull ache and right now I can only feel it because I’m actively thinking about it, otherwise I would not even notice it. Another niggle successfully overcome without the need for taking time off.

10 miles easy seems to be the default for me at the moment. In order to shake things up a bit I did something different on Thursday, namely hill sprints, once more of the all-out variety for about 15 seconds each, not that I'm timing them. One thing I noticed is that the HR didn’t want to go up very high, it barely scratched 160. The other thing was that the wave of nausea that hits me about 10 seconds AFTER each repeat seemed worse than usual. Some runners seem to take pride in the fact that they can run repeats until they puke but I am definitely not one of them. I was thankful for the fact that I was running on an empty stomach, and when the nausea became a bit too much I called an end to the workout. The best thing about losing count after only 3 or 4 repeats is that you don’t feel the need to do a certain number of repeats, you can just call it a day any time without feeling guilty.

I also added a few minutes of drills on our lawn when I got home. First I did them in my shoes and then in bare feet. As much as I’ve heard good things about that sort of thing I'm not sure I’ll continue with it, the overwhelming feeling was that my feet were bloody freezing on the cold ground. One thing is for sure, you won’t find me running down the road or trail in pretend barefoot shoes that cost more than my real shoes.

On the subject of shoes, one thing I usually do whenever I get a niggle is to throw out my oldest pair of runners, and as the oldest pair in active rotation had over 800 miles on them, they picked up a one-way ticket to the bin, the same reward they all get after half a year of faithful service.

15 Sep
5 miles, 44:07, 8:49 pace, HR 142
   9 x 15 seconds all-out hill sprints, walking recovery down the hill
16 Sep
10 miles, 1:17:38, 7:45 pace, HR 146

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

After The Storm

Rather predictably, Ex-Hurricane Katia wasn’t anywhere near as bad as they said, at least here in the South. The weather lady seemed really pleased on Monday that they had correctly predicted wind speeds of over 100 kph in Donegal, so a round of applause to the met office for spotting that hurricane over the Atlantic and subsequently reporting the first reasonably accurate forecast of the year.

I went running on the Ard-na-Sidhe road, which is my usual fallback option when it’s windy, but was a bit hampered by the amount of broken branches on the road, which combined with the low light and my short eyesight made me stumble and trip as if I were on a bear hunt, but I didn’t catch a big one.

Niamh wouldn’t let me cycle to work, though, claiming it to be too dangerous. Maybe it was just another attempt to re-confirm her status as the uncontested ruler of the house, as if that were necessary.

It was still windy on Tuesday, but by Wednesday the calm had returned and I had my most peaceful run in weeks, just me and the road at sunrise, oh, and about a million gnats. I got a good extra helping of protein this morning. I wondered which was the worst fate for these things, drowning in my sweat, being swallowed or being inhaled but didn’t come to any conclusion. Sorry. I didn’t have much else to occupy my mind, apart from suppressing my gag reflex every couple of minutes in order to being able to keep running. The things you learn when running!

The legs felt tired, but more importantly my right shin started hurting with the first step. I expected it to subside soon enough but that never happened. In fact, the area is still sore. It might have been caused by the increased mileage of the last few days. I’ll treat it the same way I always treat those things: I ignore them until they go away, which works for at least 90% of all niggles. Rest? That can wait.
12 Sep
8+ miles, 1:02:37, 7:47 pace, HR 147
13 Sep
10 miles, 1:17:33, 7:45 pace, HR 146
12 Sep
10 miles, 1:18:51, 7:53 pace, HR 147

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Before The Storm

I was wrong about the hurricanes - I thought we were already experiencing the remnants of Hurricane Katia this weekend, but the weather lady told me otherwise. Ex-tropical storm Lee must have taken a shortcut and arrived here before the lady, and the gale-force wind driving the rain horizontally at times were his doing. Katia is going to hit us tonight and tomorrow, with wind speed of well over 100 kph. Three ex-hurricanes/tropical storms in 5 days. Interesting.

However, with my first step yesterday I decided I was going to enjoy the conditions instead of moaning about them. Running in those conditions gives a certain feeling of hard-core training. I do get a kick out of the knowledge that 99% of the population will take one look at this and shudder at the mere thought of going outside. Alas, the sun came out halfway through the run and took half the fun away (the gale force wind remained). Never mind, there's plenty more where that weather came from.

Getting out of the door was a bit of a struggle. During the week it takes me only 15 minutes to get from bed to door. Yesterday I was just about to leave when Maia woke and I had to make her breakfast, as well as a little chat. Then I was just about to leave when Shea woke, looking for some books, toys and breakfast. Then I was just about to leave when Cian woke, asking for breakfast as well. When Niamh woke I decided she was old enough to make her own breakfast and left, otherwise I would never have gotten out.

I seem to have overcome that damn cold that had me in its grip for 6 weeks. I did my last cough halfway through the Dingle marathon, and no problems since. Niamh is still a bit afflicted, which means the difference between us must have come from the healing powers of the marathon. Unfortunately, something else has crept up; Shea had a sore tummy yesterday and Maia was coughing heavily all day yesterday as well as last night, which made for another interrupted night of sleep. Real life isn't going away just because you're a runner, I suppose.

I'm still feeling fine, though. The 10 miles this morning were my first double-digits since the marathon last Saturday. I'm not sure how long the deeper effects of 26 mile last but I can't believe how quickly I have recovered from this. Running a marathon used to be tough, you know.

Today is of course the anniversary of 9/11 and the mood is rather sombre. I didn't know anyone personally, though the London office of Castor-Fitzgerald were customer of the company I was working for at the time and they were of course utterly devastated. It's a time to appreciate your own family more than ever.
10 Sep
8 miles, 1:02:20, 7:47 pace, HR 144
11 Sep
10 miles, 1:17:39, 7:45 pace, HR 145

Friday, September 09, 2011

Irene and Katia

The Caribic and the Gulf of Mexico might be far away from Ireland, but their weather does have an influence on ours. Once the hurricanes have finished their business over there they tend to cross the Atlantic, dumping the rest of their load over here. By then the wind strength is down to gale force and the rainfall is variable, but it never makes for great running conditions. A few runs in what used to be Irene were followed by half a day of nice weather and now Katia is paying us a visit. Bring on winter, I say.

I'm actually really looking forward to winter – not the potential for weeks of ice on untreated roads like the last 2 years, but the heavy mileage training that will be on the menu. Last year I trained very hard for the Vienna marathon. I achieved my dream target but at the cost of feeling mentally drained. I spent the last 6 months running purely for fun, not following a program, running just enough to keep my fitness level steady and racing for fun. Considering the lack of focus, my results this summer have been astounding, with new PBs in the 5K (which I thought I’d never reach again), 10K and 15 miles. But now my mojo for the marathon and beyond has returned and I'm looking forward to running long hours in the dark again. Some don’t like it, I love it.

A couple of videos From Dingle have appeared on youtube, and I like the embedded one. Grellan and I are 1:30 into it, easily recognisable by the yellow tops and the balloon. Grellan’s balloon is already gone, so the video must have been taken after the 4 mile mark. I have to say I look rather relaxed, obviously just out for a morning jog. But have a look at the runner 4:20 into the video. WTF!

Following the marathon on Saturday I took it very easy this week. The legs felt great on Wednesday and I thought they might already have forgotten about Dingle, but felt a lot more tired on Thursday, so I dialled it back again this morning. My sleep hasn’t exactly been helped by the presence of a certain 3-year old in the house. 3 times this week she woke at 4:xx in the morning to tell us that she needed the toilet and as much as I tried to get across that she can use the toilet without telling me in advance, I haven’t managed to get through yet. Twice she also woke me in the middle of the night because she was hungry and wanted breakfast – I would have gotten 8 hours of sleep without her all week, in reality this never happened. Her big brother was a night old as well at that age – if she follows in his footsteps, there are 3 more years of that to come. And yet her mother sleeps soundly through all that!
7 Sep
6.1 miles, 47:15, 7:45 pace, HR 147
8 Sep
8 miles, 1:03:25, 7:56 pace, HR 146
9 Sep
5 miles, 40:04, 8:02 pace, HR 142

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Random Thoughts

I gained 3 pounds between Friday and Monday despite running a marathon on Saturday and then not having much of an appetite for the rest of that day. This is entirely consistent with any marathon I've ever done; I'm perfectly used to it but still baffled about the reason why this is happening. It's not calories, maybe it's water leaking out of damaged muscles fibres and staying there for a few days as someone once suggested.

Talking about weight reminds me of Richard’s comment
I must weigh at least 30 to 35 pounds more than you so my performances are world class with that sort of handicap.
In other words, he thinks I'm crap.

Someone else left a comment, this time regarding pacing in Dingle
I was pacing using the traditional method of a watch and mile markers, used long before Garmins were invented.
... but he forgot to add “and being told to slow down every other mile or so". That said, I could have done with someone telling me to slow down at mile 11. We covered that in 7:30, the fastest mile of the day by far. It was downhill, but we managed to temporarily lose almost the entire group. Sorry about that. Apart from that glitch, I am very happy with our pacing performance.

Dingle was a great event and fantastically organised, it really is a major shame that there was a glitch in the timing, with some people not being registered. I think it was mainly the half marathon runners that were affected. In the morning I had discussed that very detail with Niamh, along the lines of “timing chips integrated in the number are a great idea” “ ... as long as it works”, which was almost prophetic. Apparently that same timing system had had serious problems at a different local race this year as well – time to get rid, I think. For an event that worked so well on just about every other level, this one problem really sucks.

Niamh and I went for a drive later that day, first up Connor Pass and then around Slea Head, which meant Niamh got a very good idea of the ultra course. “I cannot believe you ran all that!” I take it as a compliment.

She also challenged me to run up Connor Pass on Sunday morning. For a second I actually seriously contemplated doing just that, but in the end sanity won out. I did not run at all on Sunday, but went for a walk up to Eask Tower with Niamh. The views there are absolutely jaw-dropping, it’s highly recommended.

I wasn’t sore at all after the marathon, just a little bit stiff on Monday, and by today, Tuesday, even that is gone. It really was just a comfortable long, slow training run for me. I might do more of that kind.
5 Sep
5 miles, 41:03, 8:13 pace, HR 137
6 Sep
5 miles, 39:57, 7:59 pace, HR 140

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Over The Hills And Far Away

This one was an easy sell. "Honey, do you want to spend a free weekend in Dingle, just the two of us?" I think she was on the phone to Nana to mind the kids for us before I had even finished my sentence. So we found ourselves in Dingle on Friday evening, in a B&B just 100 meters away from the start line, now that is service.

The weather had been absolutely scary on Friday but we awoke on Saturday to absolutely perfect running conditions, no wind, no rain, cloudy, what more could you ask for. I shared pacing duties for the 3:30 marathon group with Grellan. I had hoped he would help keeping an eye on the pace but his Garmin had given up the ghost and it was up to me to keep us on target.

Wearing the bright yellow pacing tops from the Cork marathon was a good move. They are so distinctive. We shared the first half of the race with the half marathon runners and it subsequently was busy enough. There are other races who are vying for the tag of most scenic road race, and they all have things going for them, but the Dingle course is truly special. I did make sure to point out a few particularly beautiful views, but I don't think our pacees were particularly interested, they were busy enough trying to keep up, fully understandably so. 3 miles into the run, Grellan got a bit too close to the blackberry bushes. From that moment on, I was the only balloon man.

Pacing Dingle is a bit trickier than most marathons; there are no flat bits at all and the 350 feet killer hill awaiting at mile 22 demands some planning. We decided to bank about 2 minutes by mile 20 which meant running all miles between 5 and 10 seconds faster, depending on the hills. Grellan had had a look at previous results and pointed out that last year only 24 runners had broken 3:30; his prediction was that we would finish on our own. We had a decent group with us at first; at mile 9 I looked around and there were about 12 runners. At mile 11 I turned around again and went like "where the f*ck is everyone?", there was just one lady and nobody else. We eased up on the pace a bit and gathered our lost sheep. At mile 12 the half marathoners left us and the obvious joke "Half runners to the left, real men to the right" proved irresistible, but it did get a couple of laughs.

The climb out of Dunquin is challenging, we lost a couple more runners but kept on pace. At mile 17 I chatted with the only lady in our group. She told me she was suffering but agreed that the best thing to do was to hang on for as long as possible. I knew she would be well placed in the ladies' standings. As it turns out she was second, but as she was several minutes behind the leader but several minutes ahead of number three, our pacing did not have an influence on the actual placings.

As was inevitable, we steadily lost runners in our group and by the time we hit the big climb at mile 22 we were down to 3. One went ahead, the other 2 fell behind and Grellan's prediction looked very realistic. We did encourage runners to keep up as we passed them, but nobody took up the offer for long.

As challenging as the course is, running at 8-minute pace was so comfortable I never lost the perception that I was out for a comfortable stroll. At one point I told Grellan that my last long run had been the Cork marathon, prompting him to say I was faking my way to a marathon, but then I remembered a 20-mile run a few weeks ago, so I DID do some training. Anyway, I still felt perfectly comfortable even going up that steep hill. We reached the top with about 30 seconds still in the bank and took it very easy on the way down, which meant we got caught by a few runners we had just passed on the uphill, but nobody of our original group managed to come back.

Coming onto the last stretch it turned out that Grellan had been absolutely correct - we were indeed on our own. As he had already made suggestions about a final 100 meter sprint to determine the winner, I challenged him. He later claimed he let me win. Niamh confirmed that. I like to think he had been psyched out. In any case, it was a fun way to end a great run, milking the applause of the crowd for all it was worth.

The final sprint meant we were a bit quicker than planned, but I had 3:29:06 on my Garmin as I crossed the line, which is a perfectly acceptable time for a 3:30 pacer, and considering the tricky terrain I like to think we had done a good job. It would have felt better to have some runner with us at the line, but I know even so we did help a good few runners for as long as we could.

It definitely was the most fun I've ever had during the marathon. It looks like I've reached the point where I can run a 3:30 marathon at the drop of a hat, even without training specifically for it and even on a course as challenging as Dingle. It's a good place to be.
3 Sep
Dingle Marathon, 3:30 pacer, 3:29:06, 7:58 pace, HR 152

Friday, September 02, 2011

Mental Preparation

I'm just sitting here, mentally preparing for tomorrow's marathon. I've avoided doing so until now, but with 19 hours to go to the start it may be time to focus on the task at hand. Even if you're running slower than you're capable of, a marathon still deserves respect, especially one with a 350 feet killer hill at mile 21.

I'm really looking forward to this now. Anyone reading this is more than welcome to come up and say hello. I will be easy to spot; there will be one really good looking bloke in a yellow top with the balloon for the 3:30 pace group. That's Grellan, of course. The other one will be me.

After all the excitement of the weekend I did nothing but easy running this week, at roughly Dingle pace to get the legs used to that. I got it slightly wrong today and ran a bit too fast without noticing (I don't really check the Garmin during easy runs). I trust Grellan will keep an eye on the pace tomorrow. I've still got a cough and it still sounds a bit scary first thing in the morning but I can tell it's getting better. Niamh confirmed that she is feeling better as well, so I'd say we're all on the mend. It took long enough.

One thing I learned this week is that I need a belt once the weight drops below 145 pounds. My trousers are falling down and I can't afford to buy new ones. Shopping for trousers is a complete pain anyway, half the time they don't cater for my size and I hate the hassle of it all. I guess it's the price I have to pay for being a runner.

The weather forecast for tomorrow looks a bit dodgy; depending on who you believe we either will get wet or just about avoid it. One thing is for sure, there will be no repeat of the heat wave of the last 2 years (relatively speaking, obviously). It's gonna be good fun.

31 Aug
8 miles, 1:03:55, 7:59 pace, HR 145
1 Sep
6.1 miles, 48:07, 7:53 pace, HR 145
2 Sep
5 miles, 39:00, 7:48 pace, HR 147