I was wondering how my 6:54 from Dingle compared to my 6:45 in Staplestown. It's really hard to say which one was the better race, I think I did fairly similar in each - and of course, I came third in both races.
Dingle has by far the tougher course; Staplestown was almost as flat as a pancake, Dingle had one of the toughest road climbs of the entire country in there, we are talking complete opposite ends of the spectrum here (at least as far as road races are concerned). On the other hand the weather in Dingle was pretty much ideal and even the wind was blowing in the most beneficial direction while in Staplestown we were melting under a relentless sun on a course that provided virtually no shade on one of the hottest days of the year. There are too many variables in there to make a valid comparison.
It doesn't matter. I honestly think I ran as well as I could have in Dingle. I wasn't in best shape, only 7 weeks after Belfast, but I made the most of what I had on the day; even tactically I ran well, being patient at the beginning and having something extra in the tank when it counted late on. When I ran 7:01 in 2012 I figured I should be able to take 20 minutes off that time, though that would require coming into the race in great shape and having a good day. I guess I'll never get the chance to prove that theory but what can you do.
Recovery from the race has gone spectacularly well. My usual and very much tried-and-tested recovery plan calls for running 5 very easy miles every day until the legs feel good, then do 8 for a few more day, all at a very easy effort. I rather reluctantly went out on Sunday morning, hobbling along awkwardly and painfully down our driveway at 11-minute pace, hoping for the best. I didn't make it 5 miles but I did 3, which was more than enough that day, believe me. However, I spent the next couple of hours mowing the grass in the garden, which seems to have been an absolutely inspired move because by Monday my legs had come round in an absolutely amazing fashion. The stiffness was more or less gone and while I was still slow at 9-minute pace, the legs felt just amazingly good so soon after a 50 miler. I didn't even have to take care on the staircase in the office, I was able to walk down normally and without any discomfort.
Three days after the ultra my HR/pace ratio has shot back to almost pre-race levels, which is just mind-blowing and almost scary. Either something is very wrong or something is very right.
A slight worry remains in shape of my left hamstring, which I had mentioned in my race report. It did hurt on Sunday and was still noticeable on Monday. I don't have the medical understanding to know what exactly is going on here but I think I came rather close to an injury. By the looks of it I got away with it because any discomfort was more or less gone by Tuesday but it was probably a close call. Why my hamstring would all of a sudden act up while running not particularly fast for 10 miles I don't know. It's a bit scary to think about, what if it happens again, and in my next goal race, so I'll probably try not think about it at all.
- 8 Sep
- 5 miles, 44:35, 8:55 pace, HR 126
- 9 Sep
- 5+ miles, 42:02, 8:15 pace, HR 130
- 10 Sep
- 5 miles, 40:45, 8:09 pace, HR 132