Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Island Dwellers

Following Niamh’s grand plan we are spending this week in Valentia. Well, at least I’m sleeping there. I still have to spend my day in the office. As unusual as it may be to have a holiday house within commuting distance of your office, that’s the situation I find myself in every year. I initially thought my mother-in-law was trying to wind me up when she asked if I was enjoying the holidays yet since I’m to only family member not on actual vacation, but I now think she was genuine.

The one problem with this set-up is that I have to leave shortly after 8 o’clock in the morning to be at work on time. Which means I have to finish my morning run 30 minutes earlier than usual. Which in turn means to sacrifice 30 minutes of either running or sleeping.

I chose the first option on Monday, especially after being completely knackered after Sunday’s run. I regretted that decision for the entire run. I felt completely recovered from Sunday and would have been able to do 20 miles without problems. And the early rise would not have been a problem either. The combined forces of Maia, a noisy window and the unaccustomed-to bed meant I was awake every 20 minutes anyway, and spent large parts of the night staring at the ceiling. For what was left of my run I chose a grand circle around the island. This is flatter than the Caragh Lake loop, but the road still rises from sea level to about 400 feet. The weather was brutal though, as well as being battered by the wind coming in from the Atlantic I was also being drenched by the heavy rain. Nature was teasing me at one stage around the halfway mark when the rain stopped, only to come again barely a minute later.

I thought the loop would be about 14 miles but it was only just over 11, and I added a second stint towards Chapeltown and back to get me to 15 miles for the day. When I got home I realised that a couple of years ago I would have gotten a feeling of “wow, I’m hardcore” from running in conditions like that. These days I just get on with my run without a second thought. I’ve been running in Kerry for too long to take much notice any more.

Later in the day my mother-in-law asked Niamh why I would not cut down on the mileage during my holidays. Niamh informed her “he did”.

Mind, there was one clear benefit from running 15 miles in the rain rather than 20. The chafing is pretty bad again as it is; five extra miles would probably have rubbed the sorry rest of my skin off as well.

I was glad to see that conditions were much improved this morning. I had been wondering if I would be able to do a proper workout in the storm, but lo and behold, the rain had stopped and the wind had quieted down considerably. The shore road in Valentia, exposed as it is to the elements, might be the flattest 2.5 miles in the entire county Kerry, which made it a good choice for my 3-mile repeats. Obviously, each segment necessitated a u-turn at one stage, but that would help to cancel out the remaining effects of the wind. I felt good today and produced average paces of 6:42, 6:45 and 6:44. That’s decent enough for me, and I was particularly pleased that the last one was not the slowest, quite unlike my usual modus operandi. The last time I had done 3x3 miles, 4 weeks ago, the paces were between 12 and 15 seconds per mile slower. That’s good progress.

Enough of all that running business. The last thing I did before leaving for Valentia on Sunday was to cobble together a few videos of Maia from the last few weeks. I think it’s particularly cute, but freely admit to massive bias.

13 Jul
15 miles, 1:59:33, 7:58 pace, HR 136
14 Jul
12 miles, 1:25:37, 7:08 pace, HR 156
incl. 3x3 miles @ 6:42, 6:45, 6:44


  1. Very solid and consistent pace for the 3 x 3 miles. What recovery did you take between repeats?

  2. Grellan: half a mile recovery

  3. A very good progress indeed. Congrats.

  4. Congratulations on this! Very good. Just sweat it all out ! I know you can do it!Goodluck on your future endevours! ; )

  5. Much like everyone has already said, well done with the w/o. Running 3x3-miles can be tough, very consistent pacing... keep it up!

  6. Cute video - I like when she's cleaning the outside of the bath. Has a great appreciation of her own talent!

    Sounds like your summer is more hard-core than our winter. I've been running in calm, dry days of 5-10C lately - just about perfect.

  7. Sounds like you're making a lot of progress!!! Very impressive. I admire your motivtion, wish I had some of my own! :)