Sunday, January 27, 2013

Another Year On

If I were Grellan I would have run 43 miles today, however I'm not him and decided on a significantly reduced mileage for myself.

After taking it fairly easy on Thursday and Friday I was ready for Saturday's race. Gneeveguilla AC are organising a 5k race series again. I skipped it last year, but I'm hoping for some schwag again this year; as lang as I manage to run the minimum of 3 out of 4 races, I should get some.

After running a new 5k PB on New Year's Day, I was curious what this race would bring. The usual local speedsters took off at the front. The start was uphill, just like the 4+ miler on St.Stephen's Day, and just like then I was able to stay with the front group fairly comfortably but fell behind once we crested the hill. George came by me about 1k into the race, commenting that I had gone off like a rocket again, though I wasn't able to respond, neither vocally nor pace-wise. 5Ks in Killarney all used to follow the same route, but they changed it last year for an out-and-back course, but any course in the National Park is highly scenic, not that you have any opportunity to admire the beauty while running at 5k race pace. I caught a guy with an ipod (if he had stopped constantly fiddling with his earphones it would have helped, I'm sure) but was caught myself by two guys inside the last k as the effort was getting to me and I could not respond.

I suffered through the last few minutes but was grateful for the downhill finish (which we had earned with that uphill start, obviously) and went through the finish in 17:59 on my own watch, probably in about 10th place, though I haven't seen any official results yet. That's a few seconds slower than 3 weeks ago but still my second-fastest 5k ever. In Phoenix Park I had been highly motivated to break into the 17s for the first time ever, I think this time I lacked that little bit of extra motivation needed to turn the pain dial all the way to full and was a little less prepared to suffer all the way to the finish. The HR graph looks pretty decent, growing slowly but steadily almost all the way. The drop right at the end is due to the downhill finish but indicates that a faster finish would have been possible - oh, and the average HR of 175 could have been higher, again indicating that I could have pushed that little bit more. Mind, I was still happy enough with the result, and one guy commented that I sure had left it all out there on the course when he saw me wobbling around and leaning on a car for support immediately after finishing.

I attended a strength-and-conditioning workshop in Castleisland afterwards. The guy who held it was excellent and really knew what he was talking about, and best of all, there were no weights involved at all. Now if I could go and start doing these things on a regular basis ...

I do use short races for training, but as I've learned over the years, the most important factor is to recover fully. Racing takes more out of you than training and it is absolutely critical to understand this. In light of that, my decision to do another workout today was definitely a bit risky, but I reckoned that since I had done back-to-back workouts every weekend for quite some time, I should be okay. I don't want to do any more slow long runs before the marathon, so the plan was to run a few miles to warm up and the rest of it at marathon effort. It means that this week's mileage would be significantly reduced compared to previous ones, but that was inevitable once I decided to race the 5k on Saturday. Call it quality instead of quantity if you want.

I felt okay during the early miles but after 5 miles I had to run a couple of miles right into the fierce headwind and realised that the last 5 miles would all have to be against the wind, not something I was looking forward to. I also had to deal with two nasty spells of hail (the second one particularly long and painful) and a few rain showers; the conditions were definitely testing. The legs were pretty heavy and I was feeling the effort. Maybe I should be grateful for the hail because it sure took my mind off the hurting legs. Eventually I realised that while I was clearly working hard I was not deteriorating and could keep pushing that same effort, even if it was uncomfortable. I made it home, feeling my old age and glad to be done.
24 Jan
8 miles, 59:29, 7:26 pace, HR 144
25 Jan
10 miles, 1:13:39, 7:21 pace, HR 142
26 Jan
6.5 miles, including
   Gneeveguilla 5K, 17:59, 5:48 pace, HR 175
27 Jan
15 miles, 1:40:15, 6:41 pace, HR 158
   incl. 12.5 miles @ 6:38 pace, HR 160


  1. Happy Birthday old man. Another great 5k - all you have to do now is avoid injury and illness between now and 16th March!

  2. happy birthday young man and another great result yesterday. good luck with the final preparations for tralee

  3. Great post!! Keep on the great effort!

  4. Happy Birthday Thomas, best wishes for the year ahead.

  5. Happy Birthday Thomas,

    My turn this week.

  6. Well, I'm calling you as a reliable 17:XX 5k racer now. Great running! Happy birthday, and may I suggest you run your age in ks from here on? 70k at age-70 will be much easier than the imperial version.

  7. The trick with 5k's is to rest the day before and go out comfortably and make sure your first 3k's are even paced and then the last 2 are progressively faster.

  8. George did very well, put about 12.5 seconds into you for the last 4 km's, quite significant.

  9. I like the kilometres for age suggestion! Much more manageable than miles for age., at this stage. Maybe, minutes to age might work too? Anyway, belated birthday greetings Thomas.

  10. My imagination is taking off now ... New challenge to run one's age in minutes on one's birthday, but covering the same distance (or less) each year. Would only be of interest to us over forties. Curious to see how it would map out, assuming training continues ...