Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas Three Nights Before Christmas

When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,

...except for the idiot runner who insisted on getting in his long run. 20 miles were on the program, and 20 miles it was going to be, no matter what. I was slightly apprehensive because I was so exhausted after last week's 18 miles, but somehow my endurance must have returned in the meantime. I ran the 15 miles loop around Caragh Lake feeling good, and after a few sips of water set off on a 5 mile out-and-back run towards Ard-na-Sidhe. I am a stubborn creature and I like running under the moon and the stars. The moon is getting small and half the time it was hidden beneath the clouds so that I could hardly make out the road. Bringing some light would have been the more logical choice, but I managed to survive without running off the road. I was surprised how fresh I felt afterwards. Sure, it wasn't very fast, but it was just about the same pace as last week, and there was a world of difference in my legs. Can endurance really return so quickly?

I expected to be sore on Tuesday, but I felt really good. In fact, I had to hold myself back, because this was an easy run. I'm not sure where that good feeling came from; after 15 quarters on Sunday and 20 miles on Monday I should have been knackered. Not that I'm complaining, I'll take a good day over a bad one any time.

As soon as I came back we got ready to leave for Dublin. There was so much stuff to be loaded into the car that I thought we might have to choose to bring either the presents or the clothes, but somehow I managed to squeeze it all in. Actually I felt a little bit guilty for making sure that my runners would be the first thing in the car, but you know where my priorities lie. Since they opened a new stretch of motorway just a fortnight ago we drove a different route to Dublin than usual, and got there a bit faster than we used to. After 10 years of a booming economy a few half-built motorways might be all we have to show for it, but at least we have these, and once the recession is over, you never know, they might even start filling the gaps, 50+ years later than anywhere else in Europe. Ah well.

This morning I had my first run in Dublin. I went over 12 miles with 9 mile repeats at roughly marathon effort, the same workout as last week. You can never entirely compare workouts, especially over completely different roads, but I felt a lot better than last week. Some 4 miles behind Stillorgan there is a dirt-track, and I could not resist running a few of my mile repeats on that one. It was good to get the feet off the tarmac for a bit, and running in circles took less energy because I didn't have to dodge cyclists, walkers or dogs in Santa costumes (I kid you not) and I didn't have to cross any major roads either. Like I said, I felt a lot better than last week. It's great to feel an improvement in such a short time. Still, I can't quite comprehend how I managed to run 19 consecutive miles faster than that in Dublin, and how I am supposed to stretch that to the entire 26 miles is beyond me at the moment. Race day adrenaline really must be some powerful stuff!

Anyway, today is the one day of the year when the kids actually listen when you tell them to be good for Santa; we might be in for an easier day. It doesn't quite work with Maia yet, though; she's keeping us all on our toes.

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

22 Dec
20 miles, 2:43:57, 8:12 pace, HR 146
23 Dec
11 miles, 1:27:49, 7:59 pace, HR 146
24 Dec
12.1 miles, 1:29:49, 7:25 pace, HR 156
9 x 1 mile @ 7:06 pace avg.


  1. It would have made for a very interesting Christmas with only the presents and no clothes. Glad you were able to pack it all in the car.

    Great job on the running. No coal for you!

    Merry Christmas Thomas, to you and your family.

  2. Merry Christmas Thomas, to you and your family. Enjoy!

  3. Thomas, I have only just discovered your blog and am finding it very inspiring. Your recent training is very impressive. Even the account of your battle in Dublin in October is a wonderful success story despite you not quite achieving your sub-3 hour goal. It is interesting to speculate on what that race says about Matt Fitzgerald’s ‘Brain Training for Runners.’ I note that you are including more long runs in your current program and you appear to be deriving the benefits. Good luck for 2009 and especially for Boston

  4. Happy Holidays Thomas to you and your family!