Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Despite all my moaning about the storms I have to run through, I have generally been fairly lucky with the weather. Maybe it’s just my perception, but it always seems worse in the evening than in the mornings. I usually drive home from work, notice the rain pouring down and the wind howling and think to myself “no way I would be running in this weather”.

My luck ran out temporarily on Monday. It didn’t seem too bad as I got ready to go out; I did hear the wind and the rain, all right, but it sounded ok. Once I was out on the roads, and especially once I left the woods behind me it became apparent that the wind was a lot stronger than anticipated. I struggled for a good 2.5 miles, then I turned a corner and had the full blast into my face, and after a minute or two I decided that I really didn’t want to fight the elements this way for another 3 miles to the turnaround point. I turned around there and then, and added my trusty loop to Ard-na-Sidhe (plus a bit extra) to make up the shortfall. In the wood the wind wasn’t nearly as bad, but once or twice I heard a tree creaking, and it was a bit scary, but I escaped unharmed. I even added a dozen strides to the run. I try to do them once a week, and Monday’s 90-minute run seems the most logical one. I can’t do them in a tempo run, and I certainly don’t want to do them during a long run. Despite all the capers with the weather and the strides my heart rate keeps getting lower. That’s definitely a good sign.

Tuesday made up for Monday’s appalling conditions, the wind was still there but much more restrained and the rain had ceased at some stage during the night. The road was still full of puddles and I had to be careful and try to run around them rather than straight through them, but it was pleasant and the moon was out bright enough to cast a shadow. My problem this time was the heart rate; I once again struggled to get it up to 160. I worked and worked and worked, checked the HRM and got dismayed by the display. The legs felt very heavy, which is probably a residue from Monday night’s hour of football, but I finally managed to get them going, and the second, wind-assisted, half of the run seemed much more manageable than the first one. This was definitely a 1/2 effort rather than a 3/4 one like Sunday’s run, but in the end I was pleased to find that I can run 7:25 pace even with heavy legs. A year ago this would have been more or less my pace for a hard tempo run, and for no more than 4 or 5 miles at that (and with a HR 10 beats higher). Now I can keep it for twice that distance on tired legs.

Less than an hour after my run the heavens opened for the worst rain yet. Believe it or not, I really was lucky this time.

My right achilles is acting up once more. As ever I don’t feel any pain while running, but it has been sore ever since, and I’m starting to get worried. Several months ago I had similar problems with my left achilles, and at one stage it developed into tendonitis and I had to cut back for a few weeks. I don’t want that to happen again. I’ve already changed into a new pair of shoes, which is my usual remedy for that kind of problem. If it gets worse, I might indeed have to cut down for a while.

Niamh forced me to throw out all my old runners. I do admit that they took up a lot of room in the shoe cabinet, but it was still heartbreaking. She just doesn’t understand the emotional bond between runner and shoe. To chuck them into the dump just like a …, well, old pair of shoes felt like a betrayal on my part. Ok, I’m exaggerating. Still. I’ll miss them.

8 Jan: 10.5 miles, 1:31, 8:40 pace, avg. HR 143
9 Jan: 8 miles, 59:23, 7:25 pace, avg. HR 155


  1. Hope that your achilles does not get any worse. Good idea with changing the shoes. And of course, some ice and stretching may do some good as well.

  2. You know the drill with the Achilles, so I don't need to lecture. Hope it feels better soon. You’re in great shape. What a fantastic way to start your next cycle of conditioning. Simply amazing.

    After I read the following line, " ... but once or twice I heard a tree creaking", I got to thinking that it is really good that you don't live in Kansas or some other place in the USA susceptible to tornados. I started to imagine you posting phrases such as ... "it was only an F4 Category tornado and I didn't get any closer than 1/2 mile to the twister. Saw a cow fly by and decided to cut my run a little short". Great running Thomas.

  3. Take care of yourself and lissten to your body. Wishing you good luck...

  4. Take care of Achilles.
    To feel better in the future about separating from your old shoes, consider donating them "shoes 4 africa". Or at least to a local running store - some of them collect shoes for building new track rubber.

  5. Sorry for the lost and cross fingers the new shoes work for you!

  6. you need to have a "good-bye" ceremony for them before they get tossed...

  7. Oh, and i want to run in your weather!

  8. Oh I get it. If you run with the same effort and your heart rate is lower, that means progress.

    Thank you, us new runners don't always understand the simplest of things.

    anytime you want to explain running for dummies, just put note to pat and explain away. I'd appreciate it. :)

  9. I usually pass my shoes on to a clothing donation center and hope they go to a needy sole that will treat them right. They had a good life.

  10. that is some weather you run through. I need to toughen myself up! Maybe you can devote one post to what you wear in different kinds of weather. Sorry about tossing the shoes. That's harsh!
    And yes, what they all said about the achilles.