Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No Sleep, Just Run

This may end up as a 100 mile week, but with the flight to London on Saturday morning I'll have to wait and see. From a training point of view, the best bit about London will be the fact that I may be able to sleep a bit longer than usual. But with 3 of our 4 children sharing the flat, this will not be assured by any means.

Sunday night turned out to be the worst night for a very, very long time. With the alarm set at 4:45 I went to bed at a reasonable hour, but ended up staring at the ceiling for many hours to come. I also felt really unwell with a few hot and cold flushes and a persistent cough; at one stage I had the sweat dripping off me like a leaky tap. Sometime around 1 am I had 3 scenarios in my head. One, get up at 4:45 and run 20 miles. Two, get up after 6 and run 10 miles. Three don't run at all, and even stay home from work. I really was feeling lousy. I did eventually manage to get some sleep, though I kept waking every few minutes throughout. I didn't need the alarm; I got up without. I really wondered if running was a good idea, especially with the rain coming down heavily at the time. But my HR was in the normal range, and since the bed was a lot less inviting than usual I headed out of the door a minute before 5am.

I felt awful for the first mile, but things improved. I was still unsure if I should congratulate myself for being hard-core or berate myself for being by far the biggest idiot around when the rain stopped and the sun rose above the horizon just as I was passing the 2-mile mark. The rest of the run was pretty much on autopilot. That usually happens when I run in very tired state (tired from lack of sleep, that is). I can go for miles without a conscious thought, and by the time I had the last of the big hills behind me I had already covered 12 miles. I did speed up for the next mile to about 7:07 pace with the intention of running one mile fast/one mile slow for the rest of the workout, but completely forgot about it after the first one and just kept on plodding along. I had a gel in my pocket but never even contemplated taking it. Before I really knew it, I was done. I had a few minutes and considered adding one more mile, but decided to err on the side of caution for once. While this was not my fastest 20-mile run by a long shot, it must have been the easiest. I told Niamh that I felt like I could easily have run a marathon today - before breakfast! There's nothing wrong with my endurance, that's for sure.

It was around mile 16 when I finally had a brain wave: coffee! That's why I could not sleep last night. Niamh and me had both drunk 2 big cups of coffee each on Sunday, and Niamh said that they each contained the equivalent of 2 espressos. As someone who isn't used to caffeine, this was bound to have repercussions. What a relieve: I'm not sick, just plain stupid. Another lesson learned, for the third or fourth time, I think. Maybe this time it will stick for a change.

Despite feeling so good after the run I was surprised by the sore legs later during the day. Apparently I'm not quite at the stage where I can run 20 miles without thinking twice just yet. Nevertheless, I decided to add a bit to today's tempo session. Last week's 2x3 miles had gone well, but after reading Jack Daniel's masterpiece got the nagging feeling that a few more miles at a higher effort wouldn't go amiss. I therefore added 2 miles to my usual Tuesday routine, and with the warm-up and cool-down a bit shorter I could squeeze 3x3 miles into the run. The road to Killorglin is reasonably flat but a few ups and downs are always part of the course, which is why it's difficult to compare the three segments to each other. I slowed down slightly on each of them but like to think that it was more a result of the terrain rather than me not being able to keep going. Anyway, I was happy enough that they were all at sub-7 pace, even with my tired legs from the day before. I can only imagine what I would be able to run on rested legs. That will have to wait.
15 Jun
20 miles, 2:37:19. 7:52 pace, HR 143
16 Jun
12 miles, 1:27:54, HR 150
incl. 3x3 miles @ 6:54, 6:56, 6:59


  1. 20 miles, 7:52 pace, 143 heart rate.

    Amazing numbers! My heart rate doesn't have a clue about how to stay down. When in endurance shape, I can do the 20, but the pace and heart rate - not a chance.

    Great job on the training and good luck on Dingle. My plans have changed and my trip to Ireland has been postponed for a year so I'll have to stay happy running in the USA this year.

  2. A couple of good workouts there. Those 20 milers can be a real chore. Great pace.

  3. You did well considering the disrupted sleep. If you're a tea drinker, don't have too many cups of tea in the afternoon/evening too.

    Maybe don't squeeze a run in around the airport terminal or the guards might think you're a terrorist!

  4. Caffine...only in the morning for me or else I'm awake at night, too. Great running, man!!

  5. Wow! You are great on that!Keep it up! Keep the fire burning! ; )