Sunday, May 27, 2012

Being A Hamster

I have to admit I was not exactly thrilled when Niamh announced that she would be gone for the entire weekend and that I would be minding the boys on my own. It's not that I don't like spending time with my boys, of course I do. It's that I thought I would not be able to run at all for an entire weekend, 6 weeks before the Big Bangor. Her timing could hardly have been worse.

Boredom was unlikely to be a factor with the schedule she left me with. I had to go to Tralee twice (one orchestra, one concert), Killarney three times (one swimming lesson, plus putting the girls on the train and collecting them) and the trip to Dingle (climbing wall) got cancelled at the last minute. It left precious little time for anything else.

I was half resigned to Friday being my only workout (and I had to get up at 5 am to do it before driving her to Killarney), and I still felt a little residue of the soreness from last week's mountain run. It did not impact on the run though, I felt great and inadvertently ran the pace I need to hold next week in Cork when pacing the 3:15 group again. It felt remarkably easy.

Well, they say you should take problems as opportunities, and eventually I had an idea. I always find running laps in training mentally tough, and since I will have to do a ridiculous number of laps in Bangor, I decided I might as well try and do something about it.

One lap in our front garden is about 100 meters, and if you run enough laps you still build up some distance. The main problem would probably be boredom, something you have to be prepared for in Bangor as well, according to veterans. I tested out my mp3 player, eating rice krispy squares while running, had a sequence of 25 minutes running and 5 minutes walking and did close to 200 laps. Ideally I would have done more, but the swimming lesson would not wait. I was never more than 30 seconds away from the house and the boys knew I was out there (though sadly declined to join me for a while). Oh, and I switched direction every 30 minutes, for the excitement of it all (and to spare my knees).

I also inadvertently got to test the accuracy of the GPS signal. It's not that great. In reality. every lap followed the same rather narrow "path", not quite what came out of the watch.

On Sunday, I managed to wriggle out of the straitjacket and the padded cell for a repeat performance, but 2 hours this time because I had a bit more time (with a break in the middle to check on the boys). I learned a few lessons:

- I take rice krispy squares well
- Running with a stomach full of porridge sucks, but is manageable
- if you forget to charge your mp3 player you will eventually end up in silence
- if you leave rice krispy squares at floor level, the neighbours' dog will steal them
- you can get used to anything

One of the neighbours' dogs watched me for the last 20 minutes with a bemused look on her face. She obviously could not figure out what that idiot human was doing. I'm glad for Niamh's return, though. Even my dedication has its limits.
25 May
10 miles, 1:13:44, 7:22 pace, HR 146
26 May
10 miles, 1:34:08, 9:24 pace, HR 133
27 May
13 miles, 1:59:58, 9:13 pace
Weekly Mileage: 65 miles


  1. Wow, that is dedication. You couldn't even run down the street a ways and back?
    I would have been sitting with the dog.

  2. Ideal training for Bangor. I konw a guy who ran around his kitchen table to get a "run" in.

  3. chatting to this dublin guy in clonaklity last december. he is credited as one of the modern pioneers of ultra running in ireland (name escapes me). he said he used to spend 12 hours running around the local park in greystones 2 days in a row when training for 24 hour endurance races. each to their own!!!

  4. I love this! I've never done it in my own yard but love running loops. I've done some 24hour and 6 day races on 1km laps. Did 689km (689 laps) in my best 6 day race. I have a great 2.5km loop from my front gate at home. I run laps here often as training and my longest distance is 50km (20 laps). Have a great week Thomas!

  5. You have one serious running addiction... missing a weekend won't affect your fitness. Interesting experiment with running laps though, I was going to suggest doing an hour on the track just to get you head around it, but I guess a garden will do.

    On the topic of training whilst home bound, stair reps and doing sets of 100-Up, might provided a different type of training stimulus.

  6. Good idea! But you should have run a figure-8 course to even out the muscle work. Not all that strange - I remember John Gilmour (2:38 marathon at 60) at one point did training runs in his back yard on a smaller course! He was looking after his wife at the time.

  7. Yes, Garmins are at their worst on circular courses - measuring long. I always get 5.3k or so for 5k on the track.

  8. Excellent, good job it wasn't raining, you'd have wrecked the lawn, as it is it must have a well worn path. :)

  9. Some funny comments here (especially like the idea of running around the kitchen table!?). You have touched on a question I wanted to ask. Do you change direction on the track from time to time, in Bangor? It could get very sore, I imagine, if not? By the way, I'm glad Niamh took a break!

    1. Yes, we will change direction every 4 hours.