Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Vienna Calling

 As you might know, I'm running international championships for Austria, the reason being that they're the ones who issued my passport. However, I've been living in Ireland for longer than I can remember and the other thing you might know is that Ireland is quite a way away from Austria. The long distance between myself and the rest of the team isn't exactly ideal. Outside of races I have very little contact with the other runners or the team manager, so I do try to make it to the occasional team meeting. One such meeting was on this weekend, and consequently I made my way across the continent (getting dead cheap flight tickets helped).

I arrived there on Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning made my way across town to the meeting. The first item on the agenda was a lactate test. I wasn't sure if there was much point in doing one, seeing as I was still in my regeneration phase rather than in training, but the team physio disagreed. The next worry was that running faster than 8-minute miles would be challenging. I would then have to speed up even more for the last lap, but that fear proved to be groundless. The test had us run 2 laps around the park for just over one mile, then have our ears pricked, and then run again but faster, for a total of 5 goes. The last mile was at sub-7 pace, which I thought would be really hard but in actual fact felt really good - I was tempted to add a sixth lap just for the hell of it but thought the better of it, and the physio agreed.

After lunch we sat down for a talk about training for the world championships in Belfast, which I partook in a slightly detached mode as I really don't think I'll be able to start "proper" training in a week. We never really talked about the disappointing performance in Albi, where only one of us had a decent race; I guess we all knew it wasn't good enough.

Then we headed out for an evening run, When the question came up if we should go for a 10 or 12k loop I immediately went for 10 because of coach's orders, though since this was the second run of the day I knew I was taking liberties as it was. Ah well. At least I felt really good during the run.

Sunday was another team run, and while everyone joined up for a 2-2,5 hours jog I announced that I was going to turn around after 5k because my coach had forbidden me from running more than 10. I deflected the question why I was so worried to defy an absent coach with the observation that there are 2 people in my life I have learned never to contradict, and MC was the other one. Simple fact is, every time I thought I knew better I learned sooner or later that I don't, and overstepping the mark 2 days in a row was unlikely to be a good idea.

I was actually surprised by how easy that rather talented group of runners took it during those runs. I have run with some of them before, and on that occasion supposed 8:30 pace had quickly turned into 7:30, but not so this time.

However, despite the (relative) restraint I awoke in the middle of the following night with a splitting headache, a sore throat and a stuffed nose, and sleep for the rest of the night was fitful. I felt a little better the next morning, which was good because I had the long journey back home on the program. I managed that reasonably well but once I was home I had spent all my energy and more or less collapsed on the bed, feeling absolutely rotten.

Maybe it was indeed the extra run, maybe it was the fact that I could not get changed after Sunday's run for half an hour in the freezing cold, maybe I had already brought a cold with me, maybe it was the shock of significantly lower temperatures in Vienna, or maybe it was a combination of all that. Anyway, I'm actually better already, just one day later, so this is going to pass quickly. I'll start running again whenever it feels right. Not tomorrow, though.
14 Dec
6 miles, 53:38, 8:54 pace, HR 140
15 Dec
5 miles, 40:03, 8:01 pace, HR 153
17 Dec
am: 5+ miles, 43:59, 8:07 pace, HR 150, lactate test
pm: 6+ miles, 57:32, 8:35 pace, HR 145
18 Dec
6+ miles, 56:28, 9:10 pace, HR 148


  1. Interesting trip. So MC is coaching you again now, rather than the other mystery coach? Anyway, enjoy a non-defiant Xmas with few excesses and a continued return to regular training.

    1. Well ... he's not really my coach but he does help out with the odd bit of advice. He always let me know when I did something particularly stupid.