Sunday, December 15, 2013

No Heart (Rate)

It has to be said, we've had some very good weather here in Ireland over the last few months. Not only did we have an actual summer with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees (it wasn't the weather's fault that I had to run 10 marathons during that time), we also had a very good autumn which was cold but dry earlier on and warm but dry later. Even the one storm we had blew itself out overnight just for the Dublin marathon to go ahead unhindered.

It was never going to last forever, so I won't be complaining too much about the present conditions, challenging and not entirely without danger as they may be. It was pretty wild out there yesterday, the combination of very heavy gale force winds with pouring rain always makes for interesting runs. I managed to go half a mile down the road towards Caragh Lake before admitting temporary defeat; the gale whipping the wind straight into my face actually hurt and I didn't fancy spending an entire hour like this. So I turned around and headed for Ard-na-Sidhe, where the trees provide a decent amount of shelter, though the amount of wooden debris on the road showed that things could potentially go very wrong here if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, though I think the actual chance of being hit by a falling branch is quite small.

Anyway, Niamh wasn't too happy with me going out and let me know so on my return. "Not many runners would go out into weather like this". "No, and they won't be running 220 km in July as a result". Good comeback you have to admit, though I am not sure the case is closed to be honest.

I'm fine and unhurt, but the same cannot be said about my HRM, which is well and truly banjaxed. It has been acting up ever since the Clonakilty marathon. On previous occasions a change of battery has always fixed similar problems, but no such luck this time. I have a sneaking suspicion that the problem is with the transmitter rather than the HR strap as I found some rust on the unit, but will have to confirm that first. While it does not affect my training right now, I do use HR data to gauge my state of recovery, so I want that fixed sooner rather than later. And I can't do an evaluation without a working HRM, so that's on hold at the moment.

Yesterday I looked up the cross country results from 2 weeks ago and I finished in a rather modest 77th position out of 127 finishers. I can't remember the last time I finished in the bottom half of a field, but I guess it might have been the one other time I tried my hand at cross country, which confirms the fish out of water feeling that comes with me running through mud. Mind, despite the poor finishing position I still managed to be one of the points scorers for Kerry, which strikes me as slightly bizarre.

12 Dec
5+ miles, 40:27, 7:55 pace, HR 137
13 Dec
8 miles, 1:02:44, 7:50 pace, HR 141
14 Dec
8 miles, 1:02:31, 7:48 pace
15 Dec
10 miles, 1:18:11, 7:49 pace, HR 147
Weekly Mileage: 46+


  1. Thomas--Sometimes a good cleaning out of any corrosion in the battery chamber of the monitor with whatever emery/fine sandpaper/steel wool/ etc you can manage will bring a transmitter in the HRM back to life. Then make sure the O-ring is providing a good, waterproof seal. But you probably already know this. Good going in awful weather.

  2. I'm with Niamh on going out during a storm, a single training run 6 months out from a race will do little to help, but could ruin your chances completely if you came a cropper.

    I don't recall the exact details but here in Scotland, in the last year to two, two walkers/runners died when a tree fell on them. Wrong place at the wrong time, chance in a million, but lethally so.

    As for the cross country placing, man that's humbling! Amazing how different types of races can so heavily skew the race results. You have a fabulous aerobic fitness and resilience that allows you shine in longer races, but something is missing when it comes to cross country. To me that's a clear opportunity for improvement that you haven't yet tapped.

    I do wonder if a bit more cross country racing and high intensity training might help push your body to adapt further and push your aerobic capacity higher. I know you don't yet enjoy cross country races, but it might well be a beneficial to train for a race a few more.

  3. New straps are available on eBay.
    Yes, 'open athletics' cross country etc races are very competitive. Still, if you raced my local Parkrun you'd be finishing top-8 out of 170+ every week so you're doing OK.