Friday, July 17, 2020


We all know how this works. You intend to do something, put it off for a minute, then a minute has stretched to the end of the day, and then another day, and all of a sudden it's been weeks again since my last entry. Oops.

There were two running-related things worth mentioning since my last update.

First of all, Anto had been organising a whole set of virtual running events for about 2 months and the last one was to run 153 miles in 2 weeks. If you know that Anto's soul race is the Spartathlon in Greece you will know where the distance target came from. I did a quick calculation that this would translate into 11 miles per day, which sounded do-able, especially so since for the first of those two weeks I would actually be off work, having to take some holidays before they expired.

So I had a pretty good first week with close to 90 miles, just like in the good old days, including a long-ish run with Norbert along the narrow, winding country roads of North Wicklow. The second week was a bit slower because, unreasonably, they did expect me to do something again for my money, which cut into my available free time but I did enough to see out the challenge. Turns out it's a lot easier to run 153 miles in 2 weeks rather than all in one go, especially on my worn out old legs.

And, since I have signed up for the Ecotrail race, I reasoned I had to get back into the mountains and get used to trail running again. I had already done a few shorter mountain runs but it's time to get serious again and so I spent 3 hours in the local mountains last Sunday. I was more or less following the Ecotrail route round the Sugarloafs and Bray Head, which not only got my legs used to trail running but also re-acquainted myself with the race route. I used my mobile for navigation, which turned out to be a good move because there was at least one junction where I would have missed my turn otherwise. Even though I wasn't even doing the part of the race route with the best views, they were still breathtaking - I can see what attracts people to mountain running, despite my annoying habit of stumbling on the uneven terrain every now and then.

I also ran more than I hiked, something I probably did wrong last year. It can be very tempting to hike a lot on these trails but I managed to run most bits, apart from the really steep climbs or the particularly stony ones where I almost certainly would have face-planted otherwise,

I was pretty tired after 3 hours of mountain running but remarkably I did not develop DOMS afterwards, so I guess the training is going well so far and my mountain-specific fitness is already increasing. However, I also tried to do a bike workout later that day which was supposed to take 90 minutes but eventually my calves started cramping, and while I managed to nurse them along for a while I had to abandon ship after an hour. That's interesting - while I sure have had big problems with cramping in races I don't remember ever cramping in training. I guess it's a sign that I'm pushing the envelope, but after the massive cramping issues I've had in last year's Ecotrail and this year's Donadea I definitely need to work on my fitness to avoid yet another repeat.

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