Sunday, February 25, 2018

Where The Magic Is

I had actually been planning on cranking up the mileage again this week but Real World stuff is still happening and it was definitely better to play it safe and hold back a little bit. I'm in the first week of a new job with some intensive learning taking me totally out of my comfort zone (make no mistake, I like it that way), which leaves only so much room for running and other things.

I haven't got a locker yet and that will take another week to sort out, so running to work is out of the question at the moment but I'll probably start cycling there next week. A few of my equally new colleagues do, though most of them got issued with  considerably lighter laptops, which sure makes a difference. Still, let's give it a go.

I didn't quite do the miles but I figured I should do something about those slow legs of mine. My heart rate figures are excellent, aerobically I'm close to the best I've ever been. But as soon as I try to run a bit faster things start falling apart quickly. Maybe it's a sign of getting older; maybe my legs have gotten used to the slow pace; maybe it's even a good thing for an ultra runner. I've never been in such a situation before but I do think a bit more pep in the legs might be beneficial.

I did an evaluation on Thursday, which confirmed the above. The pace was a little bit slower but the consistency over 4 miles was probably better than ever before. Evaluation workouts measure a few things; actual pace was actually the one variable MC was showing the least interest in, consistent pace across the workout was far more important. A short recovery afterwards would have been good as well, though I think that's the 50k still in there - not a big surprise, only about 10 days later. I'll do another evaluation in a fortnight and see if that variable is improving. If not, I might have to take a step back.

I was back in Kerry for the weekend, this time thankfully without a 4.5 hours delay on the train. On Saturday I added a couple of 2-mile pickups, mostly to test how that would go. The first one was too fast. The average HR wasn't that high but in reality it was steadily climbing, from the high 140s at the beginning to the high 160s at the end (not helped by an uphill finish) and me gasping for breath (my asthma was acting up once more). I held back a bit for the second one and that was much more sustainable, and I could have held that for longer. Interestingly, it turned out to be 6:52 pace; I guess I'm actually not that far off sub-3 marathon shape, though I'd definitely need to get the legs used to that pace first.

We got away from the kids for a night in the swanky Europe hotel, which was very nice, which made the choice for Sunday's run an easy one. I headed up the Gap of Dunloe. It's an absolutely magic place, populated by Leprechauns and the views there are the best in the world. I don't know why it's not world-famous but it's definitely better that way, mass tourism wouldn't do it any good. The wind was rather brutal, especially since the valley itself forms a funnel, and it made for a challenging few miles but it was worth every step. I ran a little bit further, down into Black Valley, once I reached the top, mostly to enjoy the view, but had to turn around soon enough. Never leave the lady waiting for too long.

Back to the grind now. That's where the real magic is happening, day after day after day.
21 Feb
10 miles, 1:20:35, 8:03 pace, HR 136
22 Feb
9.5 miles, 1:14:46, 7:52 pace, HR 141
   4 mile eval in 6:44, 6:44, 6:47, 6:43, 41 sec recovery
23 Feb
10.25 miles, 1:20:51, 7:53 pace, HR 138
24 Feb
12.65 miles, 1:34:08, 7:26 pace, HR 143
   incl 2 x 2 miles @ 6:25, 6:52
25 Feb
17 miles, 2:17:19, 8:04 pace, HR 142

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