Training for a marathon or an ultra isn't exactly glamorous, especially so in the winter. It often boils down to putting in the miles, one after the other, often on tired legs and almost always on your own, in the dark, away from everyone and everything.
This week was rather challenging as I was always struggling to recover. I needed recovery from the race last Saturday and recovery from whatever bug affected me as well as half of the family. I know some people think I'm an idiot for always trying to run, never mind the circumstances. Feeling sick? Go for a run. Pain in the leg? Go for a run. Having to drive someone to an airport or train station a 6 am? Get up at 4 am and run. Tired or hungover? Definitely go for a run, that's not even an excuse. Storm blowing outside? Try to find a lull in the storm and find a somewhat sheltered piece of road and run.
I freely admit I got it badly wrong on two occasions. 8 years ago I stubbornly ran through a cold with a cough that got worse and worse until I developed pneumonia and was bedridden for 3 weeks (boy that hurt!). And this summer I ran for two weeks through a hip pain that just did not get any better until I finally had to admit defeat and subsequently missed 6 weeks of what should have been a crucial training period.
On all other occasions I was right to keep on running. The way I see it I'm still way ahead of where I would be training-wise than if I accepted excuses for not running, despite those 2 setbacks. I would not have gotten to the World Championship if my mindset wasn't to go for a run under virtually any circumstances.
I didn't feel great on Thursday, though I was already better than the day before. I took it reasonably easy because the legs were tired from the long run on Wednesday, otherwise there isn't much to report. I ran the same road again but a little bit quicker on Friday. On both days I was a little bit slower that I would have thought effort-wise. I'm pretty sure that's the cold knocking my system slightly out of whack. I can see in my HR graphs that the numbers dipped badly on Wednesday and then gradually recovered until they were more or less back to where I would have expected them on Saturday.
I ran a bit faster on Saturday, though the conditions weren't exactly ideal. The blustery wind on its own was bad enough but when it blew the rain straight into my face it was less than pleasant and not exactly conducive to a great run. I was still pleased with how it went, though.
On Sunday I awoke to the sound of the storm raging outside. Actually, I did that on several occasions as the wind kept waking me until I finally got up at around 7 o'clock. Storm Clodagh is the third storm of the season worthy of its own name, though once more it was the North that took the brunt of it and we got away relatively lightly. I checked the Met Eireann website but failed to notice the orange alert being issued (orange for wind, yellow for rain) - having said that, in retrospect they were being overcautious. I could not fail to notice the wind and the debris on the road and wondered where to run. I reluctantly settled on running back-and forwards on the Ard-na-Sidhe road but was stopped dead in my tracks less than two miles into my run by a fallen tree blocking the entire road. After a bit of hesitation I climbed through the branches and continued on. There were no other major bits of debris around (plenty of minor ones, though) and I decided to run between that tree and where the road starts to climb in earnest towards the Devil's Elbow, a stretch of just under a mile. To be honest, the prospect of running back-and-forwards on that road no less than 9 times each way didn't exactly fill me with anticipation and I somewhat doubted I would last the distance but in the end I just got on with it and ran. The legs were tired straight away due to yesterday's run and started to hurt properly after 8 miles, the conditions got pretty bad at times and running on the same stretch of road so many times was really stretching it but somehow I got through it all, climbed through the tree once more, joked with a couple walking their dog what a nice morning it was for a stroll and headed for home.
There has to be some bonus for getting through that kind of stuff!
- 26 Nov
- 10 miles, 1:21:16, 8:07 pace, HR 145
- 27 Nov
- 10 miles, 1:20:19, 8:02 pace, HR 143
- 28 Nov
- 12 miles, 1:30:07, 7:30 pace, HR 152
- 29 Nov
- 20 miles, 2:43:06, 8:09 pace, HR 147