Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Long and Rewarding

To be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to today’s run. 20 miles seems an awfully long way to run, and if you have to get up at 4:30 in the morning, it's even worse.

The original plan was to be in bed by 9. Unfortunately, I had troubles with my computer, and instead of leaving it until another day, I spent all evening fixing things. By the time I finally stopped and went to bed it as 10:30, and I had only 6 hours of sleep until I had to get up again. This is not taking into account my 2 sons who have an unerring knack of being difficult sleepers on the most inconvenient nights. Cian had fallen asleep at 7pm, and by 3:30 he was wide awake and demanding attention. Shea had got cold in his bed (no wonder, he keeps kicking off his blanket), and joined us, too. I tried a lot of things, but the unchangeable fact is that I didn’t manage a single second of sleep after that. When I got up, apart from getting ready myself, I had to get Shea some cereal, convince him to go back into his own bed, do it again 2 minutes later when he said he’d had a bad dream, make a bottle for Cian and find Lola’s teddy who had fallen out of bed.

It was well after 5am by the time I finally left. The sky was spectacular though. There was not a cloud in sight, and a million stars were visible above. It was very cold, but I could manage that – two layers at the top and running pants made for ideal running apparel. The night was totally quiet, and I really loved it. I ran slower than usual. Mindful of the niggling injuries I’m still nursing and aware of the awfully long road ahead of me, I ran at a very conservative tempo. I usually run my long runs at a slightly faster pace than recommended by most coaches. That may well be a contributing factor to my ever-growing injury list. Therefore I kept on the brakes and tried to run the entire distance at 9:00 pace. This worked a treat, my times for each 5 mile segment were 44-45-46-45, a nearly perfectly balanced pace. I had a gel after 10 miles, and another at 15, and felt fine all along. The left quad hurt a bit, but got better as the run went on, the right achilles was much better, though still not entirely recovered.

It may sound preposterous, but I really enjoyed the run. Niamh didn’t believe me (“how can anyone enjoy getting up at 4:30 and running 20 miles in the cold and dark!”), but I swear it was great. To be honest, I’m also proud of the fact that I’m capable of running 20 miles before breakfast, and still put in a normal work day afterwards.

I’ll catch up on some sleep tonight. I might do a short recovery run tomorrow, I’ll decide in the morning.

31 Jan; 20 miles, 3:00, 9:00 pace

14 comments:

  1. Oh, this post was exactly the kind of inspiration I needed today. Thank you for sharing it!

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  2. For the rest of the people it is strange, but for a runner, -even in pain-, is the best time.
    Well, for me, the hour... the darkness, are tough.
    Fantastic, to be able to run 20 miles, keep enjoying!!

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  3. great motivation! glad you enjoyed it.

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  4. Excellent splits on the 20 miler. I am amazed that you wake up that early, run, and then go to work. I think you deserve to sleep in tomorrow.

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  5. Thomas, I've decided you are some kind of superman. And I'm not being facetious. Yes, a 20 mile run is an acheivement. But I'm a marathon runner too, so that doesn't necessarily impress me. Looking after 3 demanding kids on very little sleep - now that impresses me.

    But lLooking after 3 demanding kids + running 20 miles + working a full day????????!!!!!

    Holy cow.

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  6. and I totally identify with loving those early morning extra-long training runs. Of all my runs ever, including races and marathons - I think I love and remember most my alone-20+ milers. Doing that before anyone else around you has accomplished anything with their day is the most amazing feeling.

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  7. I typically get up at 4:45 every weekday morning to get to work by 6:30. I usually get up at 5:30 for my long runs on Saturday and can relate to the peace and serenity of wee hours of the morning. As Yvonne implied your ability to look after 3 demanding kids + run 20 miles + work a full day is really awesome. And you're doing the long run at a pace that is fast approaching my half-marathon race pace! Oh to be your age again and have so much energy ;-)

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  8. 20 miles at that pace, I think you are ready now for a fast marathon.

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  9. Athens MarathonerWed Feb 01, 04:44:00 pm

    Hello from Athens Greece.

    I'm a long slow distance runner. I've ran the Athens marathon twice (1992, and 1993), as well as San Francisco (1993), Rhodes Greece (1992), and Thessaloniki Greece (1997).

    Now some 9 years later after nothing but 30-45 minute runs for as long as I can remember, I'm ready again for a Marathon.

    What marathon better than the Athens Marathon to get me back into life again.

    I look forward to following your blog.

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  10. Thomas,

    You should have reply "You are right. How can someone get up to run at 4:30 when they can do so at 3:30...."

    wait and see their reaction...
    hahaha....

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  11. Oh I do know exactly how you feel. Change the names in your post and I am living your life! I must agree that there is something magical about the 3:30-4:30 am hour when running. I think that the lack of sleep sometimes opens us up to the experience more fully. Anyhow, thanks for the post.
    Vaya con Dios
    Curtai

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  12. Nice job Thomas. To get your 20 miler out of the way BEFORE work is impressive!

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  13. Great run - and all before breakfast! That is most definitely impressive!

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  14. Fantastic job!! How do you manage long runs DURING the week?? Very impressive! and i'm curious; you mentioned you are following someone's schedule--"a more experienced runner"--did someone draw up a schedule for you, or is this something publicly available?
    I'm all over schedules.

    p.s. i think you're a great dad.

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