The one thing that had my attention over the weekend was the combined European/World 24 hours running championship race in Katowice, Poland. It featured, amongst many others, John O'Regan And Eddie Gallen who had come first and third respectively in Bangor, just 9 weeks ago. Both had great races and finished with new PBs in 31st and 42nd places in the World championship. However, both results were overshadowed by Ruthann Sheahan of Athenry AC who placed 7th in the World, 5th in Europe with a new Irish record of 229.3 km! I know Ruthann reasonably well (I know all 4 Irish competitors - the ultra running scene really is not very big) and right now I'm really inspired to follow in her footsteps and try and run a similar distance in my next 24 hours race. That's right, I've now moved through the various stages of denial from "I'll never run another step" via "I'll never run another 24 hours" to "sure it wasn't that bad, I'll do that again". I still have to decide where and when, though. I kind of have my mind set on the Connemara 100 next year, which would rule out a return to the Irish championship in 2013, at least as long as I've got at least a couple of working brain cells left.
However, that's still a good bit off. My next target race will be a mere marathon and I still have 6 months to prepare for that. It might well be my last attempt at a fast marathon; age is not on my side, and if I concentrate on long ultras I probably won't have enough time to train for another marathon PB as well. However, before Vienna I was wondering if THAT would be my last go at the sub-3 marathon and here I am now, having another go, so let's not rule out anything just yet.
One advantage of running in Bangor was that I have completely lost the fear of 50 miles races and could regard Dingle as a fun run. On the flip side, the pace required for a 2:55 marathon now seems rather scary. I have hardly run even a single mile at that pace in what seems like a very long time.
Anyway, today marks 10 days of not running since Dingle. After Bangor I made the mistake of saying "I'll run again when I feel like it", with the result that when I got itchy feet after 5 days I was out again on the road. This time I resolved to take at least 10 days off and it was much easier to mentally adjust to that. I also enjoyed the finer things in life, i.e. cake, biscuit and chocolate in generous amounts. I still feel slightly guilty every time I shove yet another motherload of sugar into my mouth, but after a few months of restraint a few weeks of excess just feel right, even if the weighing scales are tipping ever closer to 11 stone.
I'll probably run again tomorrow. I won't set the alarm and if I sleep in then so be it. An extra hour or two of sleep was one of the most appreciated luxuries over the last few days and if my body feels like sleeping in once more, I will let it. If I wake up in time (as I tend to do), then I'll start running again.
By the way, I just came across two interesting race reports, Tom Meany's from Bangor and John Healy's from Dingle. I always enjoy reading race reports (that's why I enjoy writing them, I suppose), if you're interested as well then check them out.