Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Good To be Alive

I had a strange feeling in my legs on Tuesday as the quads felt a bit sore when sitting in the office chair (they had done the same on Monday), but when I was running  8 miles that day they felt great, the best I've felt for weeks! I'm not sure how to reconcile these conflicting sensations but decided not to worry about them.

One thing I felt a bit strange about was my reaction to winning that 5k. The last time I was lucky enough to win a race I was on a total high for days, it gave me a massive rush that lasted for ages. This time I'm still happy and pleased to have won, but that's it, no high, no real emotions. I think we can rule out the possibility that I may have gotten used to that winning feeling, so that's definitely not it.

I think the universe twigged that it had been unreasonably cruel to place me 101st in Ballycotton and gave me the county championship and that 5k to tell me how sorry it was. Fine, but don't do that again. Btw, my original application arrived in Ballycotton the other day - 3 months after the post date! That one can be explained by incompetence rather than malice, though.

I have raced over the last 3 weekends and that's after running a 50k in February. There is a duathlon in Killorglin this Saturday but I'm afraid I will have to give it a miss. I have already overdone it as it is, my battered old bike is in no condition to race and racing Saturdays doesn't suit the family schedule at the moment (and I've used my free pass in Donadea last month). I need to at least pretend that I am tapering for Connemara. I've decided a few months ago that a race in July was too far away to be the sole focus of my entire training and picked Connemara as an intermediate goal. I'd like to do well there but I still was not going to train specifically for it. It's my "B" race for the year and ultimately still only a training run for Belfast, but it is one of my favourite events ever and I am very much looking forward to it.

On Wednesday morning I ventured up into the hillside for the first time in absolute ages. I have been meaning to go up there but first had to wait until my Achilles was fully healed, then the weather played havoc and then I felt it was too close to those recent races. I did a lot of good hill runs last year which made by legs really strong and benefited me immensely but unfortunately they also hurt my Achilles, so this is very much a delicate balancing act. I am easing into it by climbing up the Windy Gap only once, which felt easier than expected but also took a few minutes longer than I thought it would. I have recently purchased some trail runners that are also suitable for roads, which are just perfect for that type of running as it is about 2.5 miles from my house to the start of the trail. It was a glorious morning with views to die for as the sun rose behind the misty Reeks and got reflected in Caragh Lake - wow, just wow! I didn't have a camera with me but the pictures would not have it done justice anyway. You simply had to be there.

My Achilles does not have any issues but my hip feels funny. Not painful, not even a discomfort, just ... different. I'll keep an eye on that.

24 Mar
7 miles, 56:50, 8:07 pace, HR 133
25 Mar
8 miles, 1:03:04, 7:53 pace, HR 132
26 Mar
10+ miles, 1:29:54, 8:22 pace, HR 143
   Kerry Way to Windy Gap


  1. It good to hear you are back Windy Gap once more with no complaints for the Achilles. My basic philosophy of training for ultras is:

    (Hills + Mileage) == GreatUltraMarathonTraining

    You can build great aerobic fitness with lots of training on the flat with mileage and intervals of various sorts, but you can't easily build the structural resilience you need for ultras without adding in lots of long descents. Living and training in mountainous areas is great advantage for an ultra-marathoner ;-)

    BTW, what trails shoes have you gone for? Any chance of shoe review?

    1. Inov-8 Terrafly. So far so good, but I've only worn them once on the trails when the conditions were excellent anyway.

    2. When the Terrafly first came out I was very tempted to buy them as I struggled with the 9mm drop and narrower last of the Roclite's 315 and 295's I had been wearing. However, what I really wanted was something with a more aggressive tread, less drop than 6mm and lighter.

      It took another year before the Trailroc's came out, it was a looong wait. Another year later and Inov-8 released the F-Lite 232 which was zero drop with an natural last, this has ended up my favourite all-round shoe. However, the F-Lite really is a shoe that doesn't suit a heel striker, you know about it if you plant your heel first as there really isn't much cushioning.

      It'll be interesting to see how you get on with Terrfly, it's a hybrid road/trail shoe like the F-Lite but more substantial. I suspect in mud it'll struggle like the F-Lite does, but on hard packed trails and roads it should work great.