Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Kerry At Its Best

I almost always run on my own. It’s not necessarily due to me being anti-social but more due to me running at funny times. Nevertheless, I do enjoy running with company, and on the weekend I had plenty.

Julio is a friend from Paraguay via Canada and has spent a few weeks in Ireland already for work purposes. He always wanted to see Kerry and finally the weather forecast made last weekend a promising one, all previous ones had been washouts. And boy, did the weather deliver.

I took him out on my usual Caragh Lake route on Saturday and he marvelled at the scenery, enough to insist we run there again, and next time with camera. I didn’t tell him that at the time but the really good stuff was yet to come. So, on Sunday we ran a loop around the lake. It meant he had to divert from his training schedule because there was no way he would be able to run marathon or half-marathon pace on those hills but it was well worth the potential wrath of his coach. The weather was nothing short of spectacular and the views suitably impressive. He even went back that afternoon by car to take some additional pictures.

For me it meant a few hours of running a good bit slower than usual, which for an ultrarunner can’t be that bad a thing. I do often wonder what the most appropriate pace for my training runs would be; after all, 24 hours race pace is significantly slower than even an exceptionally easy training run. I have tried running lots of miles at slow pace, twice, and both times it merely resulted in me not gaining proper fitness. So I need to run faster, and I only slow down right at the end of training to get used to the slower pace, once the fitness has been built up already. However, the occasional slow long run may well be beneficial. It sure made for an easy recovery – I have never felt as fresh after well over 2 hours of running as I did on Sunday.

On Monday, now back in Dublin, we got hit by yet another cold snap. I’m sure it didn’t impress our Canadian visitors but for the residents here it was the coldest we’ve felt in a while. Again, that’s fine, I can handle it and in fact I like the cold as long as it's dry. It's freezing cold rain and wind that I hate. The slippery footpaths can be an issue but so far I have gotten away with it.

The numbers have jumped up again to a new level. I am getting into territory that I haven’t seen in years, with the VDOT above 60 at times and I think there is still room for further improvement. I’m about to start racing again, not 5ks but long races like marathons or shorter ultras, and I’ll monitor how my legs will handle the load. I think they will do very well but let’s keep an eye on it.

All photos courtesy of Julio Castillo
3 Feb
9.45 miles, 1:22:18, 8:42 pace, HR 125
4 Feb
15 miles, 2:16:44, 9:06 pace, HR 126
5 Feb
10.6 miles, 1:25:23, 8:03 pace, HR 130
6 Feb
9.65 miles, 1:17:13, 8:00 pace, HR 139
7 Feb
9.7 miles, 1:14:26, 7:40 pace, HR 137

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