Sunday, October 11, 2009

Does that mean the 5k is out?

So asked Grellan on Friday, and with good reason. The cold just wasn’t shifting and I was lacking energy just as much as I had a week before. Was I ever going to get better?

I tried to test my resting HR on Saturday morning, and the figure just would not go under 54. That’s 15 beats higher than it should be. I then went back into bed for another hour, keeping the HR monitor on. I managed to doze for a bit longer, and when I looked at the HR data later on I saw that eventually it had gone down to 49. Still very high, but better.

I wasn’t sure if going for a run would be a good idea, but if in doubt I always go for a run. I took it very easy, and there were only 5 miles on the program. Of course, the program did this in view of next day’s race, which at that stage didn’t look too likely. However, once I got past the first mile I perked up considerably. The HR was still high, but I felt much better than on Friday. Later that day I finally gave in and took some tablets; until then I had tried to sweat it out. Paracetamol turned out to be useless, but ibuprofen had a magic effect. I felt energised sufficiently to go out and mow the grass for 2 hours. What can I say, it had to be done.

Today I awoke at 7:30 feeling a bit better, and went out for another 5-mile run. This was to test the waters – quite literally in that case, because it was raining. Both the subjective data (feeling better) and the objective one (lower HR) came out on top, and I decided to do the race, but not run all-out.

I felt ok-ish during the warm-up, but slightly apprehensive. When the gun went (almost on time, that’s a new one!) I set off just behind the leaders. Normally the top runners go off at frightening pace and I’m left behind admiring their stride; this time I more or less kept pace for the first half kilometer, when they finally started to pull ahead. I felt I could have gone a bit faster in an all-out race, but I always kept a lid on the effort level today. As far as discomfort goes, this was the easiest 5K in a long time.

Just before the 2K mark the leading lady pulled level with me and went past. Normally my male ego would have been stung badly, but today I didn’t feel put out and I let her go. Having said that, she only managed to gain about 5 steps on me, then either she slowed down or I speeded up, because I slowly got closer again. We both overtook a runner, and then it was my turn to pull level and go ahead. A few minutes later the same game played itself out once more with reversed roles and she went past me again. We overtook another runner or 2, and by now we were almost done. With less than half a mile to go I pushed hard for the first time in the race. Since I had run with plenty of reserves today I had loads left in the tank for a good finish and left her behind. Even the final climb was manageable, though I started wheezing badly once more. But at that stage we were basically done, and I crossed the finish line in 18:52.

I was well pleased with that. For most of the race I had not run all-out, and anything under 20 minutes would have been perfectly acceptable. To easily go under 19 minutes was definitely better than expected. I looked at the HR graph later on and was really surprised to find the HR as lofty as that, with a sustained high of 189 – that is my max HR. I definitely have run this course harder in past races, but with a lower HR. It’s a clear sign that I’m still not recovered from the cold, though I knew that anyway.

I chatted to a few people afterwards, especially John Walshe of Ballycotton fame, and a couple of his friends. John could not resist calling me the man with the famous web site, and when you’re reading this – hi guys, nice talking to you!

I was well pleased to survive today in one piece, and with 15 days to Dublin will take it very easy very soon, which will hopefully get me over this cold.
10 Oct
5 miles, 41:58, 8:24 pace, HR 144
11 Oct
10 miles, including:
   FeetFirst 5K, 18:52, 6:05 pace, HR 177

Weekly Mileage: 66


  1. Imagine if you had stayed in bed all day Saturday your resting HR would have shot through the floor.

    18:52 is an excellent time for a 4.5k warmup and 0.5k race. Looking good for Dublin. You've avoided my other recent question on your pacing strategy for Dublin. Is the jury still out on that one?

  2. Sub 19 is very good, with or without a cold!

  3. What can I say? If I lived closer I might have sabotaged your car or tied your shoelaces together but all for naught. Hope you can settle down now and allow some recovery for the marathon.

  4. Bloody good time considering you weren't really going flat out. Enjoy the rest of your taper

  5. You are in great shape, despite the cold. Now just allow your body to recover fully from the cold and you will be ready for a wonderful race in Dublin.