Thursday was almost reasonable and I used the opportunity to run beside the lake again rather than hiding in the Ard-na-Sidhe trees. In an attempt to get some zip into the legs I ran a Kenyan fartlek, though the Kenyan element refers strictly to the structure only, definitely not the pace. It simply means alternating running 1 minute hard and 1 minute easy, as ever bookended by an easy warm up and an easy cool down, of course. To help me, I have my watch beep at me every 60 seconds, though I only programmed 20 repeats into the watch. That's ok for 8 miles but not enough for 10, so that's one thing I'm going to change for next time. It's an easy way to get a decent amount of fast running into the legs and a good introduction to speed work (proper speed workouts are still quite some time away).
I felt pretty good on Friday and ran at a slightly faster pace, though nothing out of the ordinary. When I was in really good shape 3 years ago this would still have counted as my easy pace. The wind had picked up once more and I remained close to home, though I knew a lot worse was about to come.
Storm Desmond was by far the worst we've had so far this winter. The wind wasn't too bad but the amount of rain was just unreal. The forecast had been up to a full month's worth of rain in one day, though I think it wasn't quite as bad as that because it did ease up for a few hours on Saturday morning. This was the time when I managed to squeeze in 10 miles. Obviously I got completely soaked and the wind was bothersome but it could have been worse (a few hours either earlier or later and it would have been) and I have run through worse conditions. I played around with pace and effort and added a few surges and 3 of the miles were sub-7 pace, though how I am supposed to run an entire marathon at an even faster pace is a bit of a mystery to me right now - though that's perfectly normal at this stage of training.
Desmond finally relented at some point during the second night and Sunday morning was surprisingly nice. It was perfectly calm and even the sun was shining for a while. There was no excuse not to go running around the lake, so that's what I did. The weather might have been nice but the remnants of the storm were clearly still there. I saw a fallen tree precariously hanging off a telephone line and close to Blackstones Bridge, halfway around the lake, the river had formed a second lake that covered the road on 3 occasions, about 4 inches deep, enough to be well above ankle height and the only way through was to get your feet thoroughly soaked. I thought this was bad but worse was yet to come. The lake level was several feet higher than normal and on 2 occasions it covered the road knee-deep. At one corner there is a little wall separating road from lake, which was completely submerged. Running almost a quarter mile through knee-deep water is surprisingly tough - the feet are dragging through the water and the resistance requires hard work to overcome. At least it was safe enough to cross by foot - I don't think I would have driven my car through that. And the water was already receding very quickly. The high water mark was clearly visible and was at least a footy higher, and that could only have been a few hours earlier. I was rather amused to pass a "Road Flooded" sign a couple miles later - the section indicated wasn't even fully submerged!
Anyway, the legs felt really good and strong all the way. I felt really good on the long, steep climbs during the first 6 miles but that can sometimes be misleading and end in some miserable late miles. Not today, I ran 20 miles but could easily have run a marathon today and still felt good, despite working the legs fairly hard the last few days.
The flu seems to be behind me; I still have a cough when I get up in the morning but that eventually subsides and that's it for the day. It certainly doesn't have an impact on my running, not even at higher effort levels.
I have really come on a lot in the last few weeks. I have reached the stage where training doesn't feel like training any more because it feels so easy. The long mile are clearly showing their benefits.
- 3 Dec
- 10 miles, 1:15:44, 7:34 pace, HR 149
- Kenyan fartlek
- 4 Dec
- 12 miles, 1:32:01, 7:41 pace, HR 147
- 5 Dec
- 10 miles, 1:14:20, 7:25 pace, HR 151
- 6 Dec
- 20 miles, 2:35:09, 7:45 pace, HR 147