Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Aeolus, The Bastard!

I cannot remember when we last had a spell of such high winds lasting for so long; we have basically been battered for a week by now. At least the rain (and hail!) seems to have mostly stopped, though the occasional heavy shower can still catch you out if you're unlucky. And through all this I'm doing my best to keep the training going, which is now in its most crucial stage, with less than 7 weeks left until Tralee.

By the way, they rounded my time from Saturday's race up to 18:00, which did not come entirely unexpected, but which makes it feel a lot slower all of a sudden. On the plus side, I finished in ninth position; a top 10 place always sounds good.

Because the weekend had been a touch more demanding than usual with a week followed by a fairly tough run on Sunday I had to get recovery right. I did my by now customary 8 mile easy run on Monday morning, where the out section felt significantly harder than the back one, the difference being a the gale force wind being in my back rather than in my face. And it was absolutely bucketing it down, after two steps outside I was already wet throughout and the sudden appearance of an entire new set of potholes ensured that my feet got a particularly good soaking. Having said all that, since I was running easily and entirely by feel I just got on with it. There is no danger of chasing a particular pace or HR when you're not looking at the Garmin anyway.

The storm reached its apex on Monday evening, so much so that Niamh refused to have me cycle home from work (and quite rightly so, I hasten to add), but since the worst would be over by Tuesday morning my running would not really be affected. Or so I thought.

What caught me out was the fact that I use an electronic alarm clock and when the storm knocked out the power in the middle of the night, that created a problem. The most annoying aspect is that I was actually awake at the time when I was supposed to get up (I usually am), but did not realise that the time display was wrong. By the time I finally twigged it it was already past 7 o'clock and I rushed out of the door for 4 miles, which was all I had time for. It can be argued, though, that the extra hour of sleep did more good than the lost 6 miles would have done.

With that additional, if unplanned, recovery I hoped I was ready for Wednesday's workout. Canova's specific phase has a lot of long intervals at slightly faster than marathon pace. I admit I chickened out of the original schedule which basically consisted of 30 km worth of intervals for each session (including recovery), something I fear would burn me out rather than  build me up; accordingly I "only" did 5x4k repeats (actually 2.5 miles because I train in miles). The main worry was the continuing gale force wind which shows now signs of abating. Then again, it may well be windy on race day, so it would be beneficial to have run in those conditions before and I went ahead just as planned, but with the caveat that I would not get too hung up on actual pace and rely more on feel for pacing myself.

The first repeat was more a warm-up, the second was all with the wind and accordingly quite fast while feeling easy enough, and then the fun started because the last 3 repeats would all contain significant portions of running right into the gale, with the last one doing so entirely. Add to that the steadily mounting fatigue and you get a good grasp of what it was like.

I sure was glad I had chosen a shortened version of the original workout. I am worried enough about over-cooking myself as it is. The next two days will be easy again (though I am not planning on oversleeping this time), and Saturday will be fun again before a real-world-induced interruption of the training kick in.
28 Jan
8 miles, 1:01:39, 7:42 pace, HR 135
29 Jan
4 miles, 29:52, 7:28 pace, HR 137
30 Jan
17+ miles, 1:55:43, 6:46 pace, HR 158
   5 x 4k @ 6:33 (HR 152), 6:21 (156), 6:31 (164), 6:35 (161), 6:30 (164), 1k recovery @ 7:20 pace

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Another Year On

If I were Grellan I would have run 43 miles today, however I'm not him and decided on a significantly reduced mileage for myself.

After taking it fairly easy on Thursday and Friday I was ready for Saturday's race. Gneeveguilla AC are organising a 5k race series again. I skipped it last year, but I'm hoping for some schwag again this year; as lang as I manage to run the minimum of 3 out of 4 races, I should get some.

After running a new 5k PB on New Year's Day, I was curious what this race would bring. The usual local speedsters took off at the front. The start was uphill, just like the 4+ miler on St.Stephen's Day, and just like then I was able to stay with the front group fairly comfortably but fell behind once we crested the hill. George came by me about 1k into the race, commenting that I had gone off like a rocket again, though I wasn't able to respond, neither vocally nor pace-wise. 5Ks in Killarney all used to follow the same route, but they changed it last year for an out-and-back course, but any course in the National Park is highly scenic, not that you have any opportunity to admire the beauty while running at 5k race pace. I caught a guy with an ipod (if he had stopped constantly fiddling with his earphones it would have helped, I'm sure) but was caught myself by two guys inside the last k as the effort was getting to me and I could not respond.

I suffered through the last few minutes but was grateful for the downhill finish (which we had earned with that uphill start, obviously) and went through the finish in 17:59 on my own watch, probably in about 10th place, though I haven't seen any official results yet. That's a few seconds slower than 3 weeks ago but still my second-fastest 5k ever. In Phoenix Park I had been highly motivated to break into the 17s for the first time ever, I think this time I lacked that little bit of extra motivation needed to turn the pain dial all the way to full and was a little less prepared to suffer all the way to the finish. The HR graph looks pretty decent, growing slowly but steadily almost all the way. The drop right at the end is due to the downhill finish but indicates that a faster finish would have been possible - oh, and the average HR of 175 could have been higher, again indicating that I could have pushed that little bit more. Mind, I was still happy enough with the result, and one guy commented that I sure had left it all out there on the course when he saw me wobbling around and leaning on a car for support immediately after finishing.

I attended a strength-and-conditioning workshop in Castleisland afterwards. The guy who held it was excellent and really knew what he was talking about, and best of all, there were no weights involved at all. Now if I could go and start doing these things on a regular basis ...

I do use short races for training, but as I've learned over the years, the most important factor is to recover fully. Racing takes more out of you than training and it is absolutely critical to understand this. In light of that, my decision to do another workout today was definitely a bit risky, but I reckoned that since I had done back-to-back workouts every weekend for quite some time, I should be okay. I don't want to do any more slow long runs before the marathon, so the plan was to run a few miles to warm up and the rest of it at marathon effort. It means that this week's mileage would be significantly reduced compared to previous ones, but that was inevitable once I decided to race the 5k on Saturday. Call it quality instead of quantity if you want.

I felt okay during the early miles but after 5 miles I had to run a couple of miles right into the fierce headwind and realised that the last 5 miles would all have to be against the wind, not something I was looking forward to. I also had to deal with two nasty spells of hail (the second one particularly long and painful) and a few rain showers; the conditions were definitely testing. The legs were pretty heavy and I was feeling the effort. Maybe I should be grateful for the hail because it sure took my mind off the hurting legs. Eventually I realised that while I was clearly working hard I was not deteriorating and could keep pushing that same effort, even if it was uncomfortable. I made it home, feeling my old age and glad to be done.
24 Jan
8 miles, 59:29, 7:26 pace, HR 144
25 Jan
10 miles, 1:13:39, 7:21 pace, HR 142
26 Jan
6.5 miles, including
   Gneeveguilla 5K, 17:59, 5:48 pace, HR 175
27 Jan
15 miles, 1:40:15, 6:41 pace, HR 158
   incl. 12.5 miles @ 6:38 pace, HR 160

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Being An Idiot

Winter Dawn
I've been called worse.

We awoke on Monday to a winter wonderland. I knew the kids would be absolutely delighted, grown-ups tend to be rather less so. My own mood dipped a good bit when I actually ventured outside into the darkness and realised that the stuff covering our driveway by more than an inch wasn't really snow but slush, and in no time at all my toes were frozen numb.

It may have been uncomfortable but at least footing was not an issue and I did not think twice about doing my planned easy 8 mile run.

Things changed considerably on Tuesday after the temperatures had dropped significantly below freezing overnight and the ice had frozen solid. I had already dug out a set of spikes, one year old and still unused, just in case. Our driveway was more akin to an ice-rink but the road itself was clear, making the spikes unusable, so that was not an option. As I ventured out on my run I knew full well that this may be a really bad idea, one single slip could lead to serious consequences.

What can I say? As mentioned before I'm comfortable with being an idiot, it works for me. The temperatures were -4C/25F, the road was mainly clear but there were some icy patches and running clearly had its risks. I ran at my normal, relaxed effort and slowed right down whenever I saw the ice glistening before me, something that worked surprisingly well but I'm sure it would not pass any health-and-safety standards. How the pace managed to average a nice clip despite the frequent slow downs, I'm not entirely sure, but the Garmin data doesn't lie.

Surviving an easy run was one thing but I had planned a workout for Wednesday and I knew it would not be possible to do it if conditions were to remain the same. Obviously there was no point in hoping the council might treat the roads (they are too busy encouraging drink driving at the moment [good to see where their priorities lie] ), but the weather forecast offered a glimpse of hope with slightly warmer overnight  temperatures.

As it turns out, it was just the little break I needed. Conditions on Wednesday were definitely improved, just enough to enable me to do my workout, though I still had to mind my step on a couple of occasions. The run itself went well, the pace came naturally. I had planned on running 2 x 5k at 6:20 - 6:25 pace, but for the first 2 miles of the first repeat I never even checked the Garmin and ran entirely by feel, and was very pleased when I finally confirmed that the effort was indeed spot on. The second section was a tad quicker but at the same effort, probably down to being properly warmed up at that point.

I know there's plenty of people who think I'm an idiot for running in those conditions. But I also know that the guys and gals walking away with the trophies in Tralee will be the ones who don't make excuses but get on with training regardless. And anyway, as our county councillors have shown, there are still far bigger morons out there.
21 Jan
8 miles, 58:35, 7:19 pace, HR 141
22 Jan
10 miles, 1:13:04, 7:18 pace, HR 142
23 Jan
10 miles, 1:06:36, 6:39 pace, HR 155
   2 x 5k @ 6:23, 6:18 pace

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Marathon Effort

I was seriously tired following Wednesday's fartlek, probably more so because I am not used to that kind of workout than any other reason. However, the way my week is structured meant that 2 days of easy running were always in the plan anyway, though the original idea had been to be fresh for the weekend rather than recover from a particularly tough midweek workout.

Having said that, I seemed to recover very quickly. That's similar to what I encounter when doing hill drills, I can be very tired immediately after doing them but recovery is always very swift.

I felt really good on Friday, which set me up for a good run on Saturday. The plan said to run 20 km at 6:40 pace, but since I measure my runs in miles I did 12 miles, which is slightly less but I did not think it would make a difference. I went on a loop through Cromane which has a lot of little ups and downs, similar to the Tralee marathon course. I found it fairly tough going and did wonder if I was running way ahead of marathon effort, but that's always hard to tell. The heart rate would certainly indicate that I should be able to replicate the pace on marathon day; we will find out. I averaged 6:36 pace, but that's on the Garmin. History teaches us that on an officially measured course that would probably be around 6:40 pace, which would get me just under 2:55 in Tralee, something I would be happy enough with (I'd still love to run faster, of course).

My weekend always features back-to-back workouts, something I started doing under Mystery Coach's guidance, with Saturday seeing faster pace and Sunday a long run. That way you always start your long run on already slightly tired legs, which makes it more relevant for marathon training. The last few weeks I ended my long runs with a few strong miles, today I just held a steady relaxed effort all the way through. I did not pace myself off the Garmin, just ran by feel and was pleasantly surprised by how quick I was. The legs were a bit heavy, yesterday's run had clearly left its marks, but they never deteriorated, after 18 miles they still felt pretty much the same as right at the start.

It is still 8 weeks to Tralee. I wish it was less. My main worry right now is not to get sick; the kids, while being very healthy in general, can't help bringing germs home from school. Shea had just been sick for several days and had felt quite badly affected. It's when he started misbehaving again on Wednesday that we knew he was recovered.
17 Jan
8 miles, 1:01:01, 7:37 pace, HR 136
18 Jan
10 miles, 1:14:31, 7:27 pace, HR 139
19 Jan
12 miles, 1:19:01, 6:35 pace, HR 158
20 Jan
18 miles, 2:09:37, 7:12 pace, HR 141
Weekly Mileage: 75+

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


To ensure recovery after the weekend’s tough back-to-back workouts I decided to take 2 easy days in a row. 8 miles on Monday left me in a reasonably good shape, but I really appreciated the 10 easy ones on Tuesday; I felt really good. What is noticeable is that I ran with a lower HR on Tuesday than Monday even though the pace was higher (effort was just as easy), I guess that’s what we are talking about when we're talking about recovery.

That left me in a fresh state for Wednesday. I re-checked the Canova docs/websites I'm using to get a handle on the system and read that you are still supposed to be doing some of the workouts from the earlier training phase, so I decided that another fartlek was in order. I haven’t done one of those in a few weeks.

I opted for the slightly longer version of 25 x 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy. Obviously, if you use only the watch to determine the workout then the effort you are prepared to put into the workout will determine how hard it is and how tired you will be at the end. I can honestly say that I must have been putting in plenty of effort because by the end I was suitably knackered. I never checked the watch but I'm reasonably confident that all the fast bits were at higher-than-5k effort, which means it all adds up to a significant amount of hard running, far more than in a 5k race.

It’s amazing how long a minute can be when you’re running hard, especially when that segments coincides with a climb, and even more so if it’s into a headwind. On the other side, I never knew a minute can pass by so quickly. Einstein was obviously right, time is not a constant.

With the legs suitably sore again, I’m once more looking at two recovery days before the weekend back-to-back runs.
14 Jan
8 miles, 1:01:07, 7:38 pace, HR 141
15 Jan
10 miles, 1:15:04, 7:30 pace, HR 138
16 Jan
9.2 miles, 1:08:09, 7:24 pace, HR 155
    25 x 1 min hard, 1 min easy

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Train and Recover, Recover and Train

When Tuesday's evaluation workout indicated that I am in need of some recovery, I dialled down the rest of the week's runs. I didn't do any major workouts, just short and east recovery runs on Wednesday and Friday sandwiching a set of hill drills on Thursday. I find that those drills can feel rather uncomfortable when I'm doing them but I'm perfectly fine again soon afterwards, which made them a good choice for a recovery week.

Saturday came and it was time to see if the recovery had been sufficient. The plan was 4x3k repeats at 6:20 mile pace, with half a mile of recovery. Michael joined me again, though he voiced his doubts how long he would be able to stay on pace. Last week's workout had not been great as we never managed to hit the right effort. I think I had a tendency to slow down whenever Michael slipped behind a little bit to help him catch up. This time I just tried to hit the pace myself, acting as somewhat of a pacemaker, and as it turn out Michael was perfectly capable of staying with me. We didn't make things easier for us by running the first and third on a slightly uphill road (well, you try and find a flat 3 km stretch!) but the pace was good. Michael then cut the second and third repeat short, dropping out soon after the 2k mark, but we caught up again on the recovery section. The fourth was bang on pace again. I was quite impressed with Michael who managed to run about 11k at pretty much his 10k race pace, but I was just as pleased at nailing the workout myself; feeling challenged but always keeping plenty in reserve and always managing to run controlled and relaxed.

Sunday would show how much I had really recovered by doing a long run. You can't fake those back-to-back workouts, if you're not in shape it is going to show up. The legs were a bit sluggish during the early miles but I settled into 7:30 pace quickly enough. With these kind of workouts I usually have to slow myself down considerably during the first half, but this time that was not an issue, the legs did not feel like going faster anyway, at least not at first. I must have accelerated at some point after the halfway mark because the next time I checked the Garmin I was doing close to 7-minute pace and the average had dropped to 7:23, though that was still perfectly acceptable. Initially, with the sluggish legs, I decided to just run 20 miles at an easy effort but when I started to feel better I decided to run a few faster miles at the end after all, and I pushed the effort from the 15 mile point onwards. The effort now became rather challenging but it felt sustainable enough and I averaged 6:30 pace until I got home. That's a bit faster than planned marathon pace, and indeed the effort felt tougher than marathon effort, but I got home just fine.

I take from that that a few easier days managed to get me back on a even keel. Now it's time to recover again from that weekend and then build on that once more.

Tralee is nine week away. I am feeling really positive about it.
10 Jan
10.7 miles, 1:32:48, 8:40 pace, HR 141
   Hill Drills: strides, thigh drive, downhill strides, high knees
11 Jan
8 miles, 59:46, 7:28 pace, HR 137
12 Jan
12.5 miles, 1:26:43, 6:56 pace, HR 151
   4x3k at 6:22, 6:15, 6:18, 6:21, 6:20 pace
13 Jan
20 miles, 2:23:07, 7:09 pace, HR 146
   15 miles @ 7:23 (HR 141), 5 miles @ 6:30 pace (HR 162)
Weekly Mileage: 79+

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Don't Forget About Recovery

The weekend's workouts had been really tough. I felt knackered for much of Sunday, not that I got much rest. It simply does not work like that if you have four children.

There was another problem as well. My right calf muscle was very sore. Interestingly, when I checked the same muscle on the left leg, it was quite sore as well to the touch, though it did not hurt when I left it alone. The right one was pretty bad though. usually I use the stick to work on aching muscles, but it was basically causing excruciating pain, so I just did what I always do with my niggles: I ignored it. As much as that is frowned upon, I have a rather dramatic success rate with that approach, and indeed I kept feeling better every day and by this morning I was pain free. I do sometimes wonder how many more times I will get away with that, though.

Monday's run was exceptionally slow because the legs felt seriously heavy. I did not need to be told to take it easy, it was plain obvious. On Tuesday I did another evaluation workout, probably the last one of this marathon cycle. I expected the figures to be an improvement to last months because I expected to see a sharpening effect from the two races. I was wrong.

(The numbers in brackets are adjusted pace, 7 seconds for every 2 heart beats off the 161 target):
        Mile 1    6:30   HR 161    (6:30)
        Mile 2    6:36   HR 162    (6:39)
        Mile 3    6:40   HR 160    (6:37)
        Mile 4    6:40   HR 160    (6:37)
        Recovery to HR 130: 38 seconds

There are two surprises in that. One, I was basically 10 seconds per mile slower than last time, two, I needed much longer to recover. Neither figure is catastrophically bad, but I read from that that I am behind in my recovery.

As a result I took it easy again on Wednesday, though I felt much, much better than on Monday. I hope to be feeling fully recovered again at the weekend; if the legs are as tired again, I will cut back for a week.
7 Jan
8 miles, 1:04:22, 8:03 pace, HR 131
8 Jan
12 miles, 1:25:25, 7:07 pace, HR 145
   4 mile eval: 6:30, 6:39, 6:37, 6:37 (adjusted), 38 sec recovery
9 Jan
8 miles, 1:01:03, 7:36 pace, HR 133

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Shared Pain, Half Suffering

I stopped going to the club's Saturday run. During base training I was perfectly happy running at 8:30 or 9-minute pace (though it has speeded up recently - a few of the boys have obviously increased their fitness levels), but now I need more specific workouts for the marathon. I was all set to run entirely on my own again when Michael called me and asked if he could run with me.

I think he was slightly taken aback when I told him I intended to run 1.25 mile (2k) repeats rather than a continuous tempo run at slightly slower pace but was still happy enough to join me. He still had the 10k from Tuesday in his legs and I wasn't sure how much I had recovered from my 5k at the same day, so it was a bit of "let's see how this goes". We agreed to run back- and forwards on the same stretch of road as that would enable us to run all the repeats together even if one of us fell behind. Target pace was about 6:15 per mile, and we set off together. Initially I found it tough to get into a rhythm and continuously checked the Garmin, trying to tune into the correct effort. The first one was definitely too slow, especially considering that we had the wind on our back, something we definitely noticed on the second one. Running the same pace right into the gale was never going to happen and we had to settle for about 6:35 pace, which still felt tougher than the faster first repeat. The third one went better, Michael asked a couple of times if we were running slower than during the first repeat when we were actually running faster. We would have done 6:15 had the repeat not ended right at the top of a hill. Michael pulled up just short of a mile into the fourth repeat and had enough, and I did a fifth one on my own on the way home.

I had never done workouts like this with company - I'm already looking forward to the next one.

Sunday's run was another long run. I initially intended to run 20 miles but cut that short a little bit when I remembered that I had already run a race on Tuesday and a fairly tough workout on Saturday. Instead of running on the very hilly road around the lake I ran a couple of loops through Killorglin, which should be matching the marathon elevation profile to a certain degree. The conditions were rather rough with strong winds (very strong at times) and quite a few rain showers. I had to keep slowing down during the first 10 miles as I kept speeding up to 7-minute pace when I was not paying attention, but then intentionally accelerated for the last 5 miles. The intention was to run in the 6:30s (planned marathon pace) but the legs weren't quite up to it (the wind certainly did not help) and I ended up with 6:42, just a tad slower. Considering that I had started with already fatigued legs, I was happy enough, though.

This starting to get tough. The real marathon training has clearly started.
5 Jan
11.5 miles, 1:20:47, 7:01 pace, HR 157
   5x2k at 6:23, 6:37, 6:18, 6:36, 6:11 pace
6 Jan
18 miles, 2:09:31, 7:11 pace, HR 148
   incl. 5 @ 6:42 pace (HR 163)
Weekly Mileage: 70+

Friday, January 04, 2013


For some reason I remember last year's hill sessions as a period of unbridled joy where I felt better and better with each day and which built the springboard for the great 2012 I've had. That's why I added a hill phase into this year's training as well; if something works so well, it's clearly worth doing again.

However, this time round I could not by any means stretch of the imagination call those hill drills anything resembling joy, so I eventually checked my log for last year and discovered that my memory was clearly playing tricks on me (must be yet another sign of old age). I hated the drills just as much as I do right now. Actually, that's good news. Last year went very well, so if this particular phase right now feels the same, I might be on my way towards another great year, who knows.

Obviously, the race on New Year's Day shows that I am in much better shape than at the same time last year. A year ago I ran the same race and was quote pleased with my time; this time I ran a whopping 27 seconds faster! The one worry I have is that this is all too good too soon, but the exact same danger applied to last year; I even have an email from MC for proof. I had already seen plenty of signs during training that I was running about 8 or 9 seconds per mile faster than last year and funnily enough that race fell into exactly those parameters.

By the way, I checked my mile splits from that race, which turned out to be a bit tricky on Garmin connect, and I took 1.02 "Garmin miles" as one mile in reality. That gave me splits of 5:34, 5:52 and 5:52, which is actually much more even that I usually run 5ks; I usually start at more suicidal pace and hang on for dear life at the end. Even so, that first mile might still be the fastest one I've ever run on even ground (I have run faster miles downhill), but compared to previous races I was able to hold the pace much better towards the end.

I have been asked this a few times by now and yes, I do want to run under 2:55 in Tralee. In fact, I am hoping to run a little bit faster than that. Obviously, there are parameters I won't be able to control like the weather on race day, but that's beside the point. I will do my best to be at the start line in my best possible shape.

I took it exceptionally easy the day after the race and only ran 6 miles, just to be doubly sure that I wouldn't be overdoing things when I should be recovering. The journey back home to Kerry was uneventful and on Thursday morning I was back on my usual hill doing drills once more. I did notice that the high knees drill is feeling significantly easier already; the one I am still struggling with is "driving with the thighs". On the plus side, there won't be many more of these drills; I am already transitioning into the next phase. Until last week running long repeats at 6:15 pace would have sounded like torture and bordering on the impossible. After those two races over the holiday period I am looking forward to those kind of workouts with a much more relaxed attitude. At the very least my confidence levels have risen substantially and that's never a bad thing.

2 Jan
6 miles, 46:18, 7:42 pace, HR 140
3 Jan
10.2 miles, 1:32:17, 9:02 pace, HR 139
   Hill Drills: strides, high knees, ankles, thigh drive
4 Jan
8 miles, 1:01:01, 7:37 pace, HR 139

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year

Several years ago, when I had only just broken 20 minutes in th 5k, a guy called Eric Sondag predicted that I would one day break into the 17s. It was a highly flattering show of confidence by a great runner (Eric would later win the Fargo marathon), but I never quite got there, and by now time was definitely no longer on my side.

However, the race on St. Stephen's Day convinced me that I had a realistic chance to finally go under 18 minutes. It was definitely not a given and I knew I had to run damn hard to get there, but I was reasonably confident, enough to openly state my goal time of sub-18 to anyone who asked.

Sunday's long(ish) run had been a bit harder than it should have been, not helped by a very strong wind, and Monday's hill drills weren't exactly great fun but I felt pretty good at the start.

We started very much on time (highly unusual for Ireland) and from the off I felt I hit just the right effort level, pretty hard but at the same time sustainable for a while. The course is almost completely flat, 2 loops of a triangle in Phoenix Park. There was a bit of wind but nowhere near as bad as over the last few days, and we started right into the wind, which meant is was possible to try and tuck behind someone. Having said that, I was more concerned with overtaking a good few people who had started fast but could not sustain it and I did not want to be held back. The first km marker took a while to appear - today was going to be hard work, but I kept at it.

Photo courtesy of Peter Mooney

For a while I was sandwiched between 2 ladies, Annette and Leona, who both had plenty of supporters along the sidelines urging them on. Annette eventually managed to pull away during the second loop, and I lost a couple of places. I tried to go with the guys passing me but was already pretty much at the limit and had no reserves to speed up.

The saving grace of 5ks is that they are over so quickly, and the second lap drew to a close. I tried to up the pace for something resembling a finishing sprint. I'm not sure if I even got faster, but at least it was sufficient to hold off the guy behind me. The clock at the finish gantry was slightly obscured and I could see it displaying 17:5x, and a couple of anxious seconds later I knew that I would indeed break the 18 minutes, finally proofing Eric right.

Photo courtesy of Darren Spring

I managed to congratulate Olympian Maria McCambridge on her win and chatted with a few folk I know in Dublin, mostly marathon pacers.

The average pace for a 17:55 5K is 5:45; my Garmin had me in even better shape because it measured 3.18 miles, 5:37 pace, but of course it is the official distance that counts.

The final result has me in 40th place and 3rd M40, which sounds pretty good for such a competitive race. It was a great start to the New Year. Happy 2013!

30 Dec
17 miles, 2:07:15, 7:29 pace, HR 145
31 Dec
8.5 miles, 1:08:54, 8:06 pace, HR 145
   Hill Drills: strides, thigh drive, downhill strides
01 Jan
8 miles, including:
   Phoenix Park 5K, 17:55, 5:45 pace, 40th place, 3rd M40