Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Solstice

Make no mistake, I am not complaining about the weather. We had a great summer followed by a nice autumn and we have had nothing to moan about (not that that would stop some people, of course). The last few days, however, have been rather wild and it's almost as if nature had decided to throw all the usual autumn/winter storms at us at once.

Right now it really seems to pay off that I always run in the morning. Two out of the last three days were mostly fine in the morning but running would have been too dangerous in the evenings. I know from experience that when the weather chart says "gale", I can handle it. "Strong gale" is rather uncomfortable but still doable, but "storm" means it's better to stay at home. Thankfully the latter is usually rare but has been seen all too often the last few days. One saving grace is that Kerry is in the South of Ireland - the North got hit a lot worse.

Thursday night did not sound promising but the storm abated just in time for my run and I got away lightly, apart from a hail shower over the last half mile, which inadvertently made a good training opportunity for a sprint finish; you never know when the need for that should arise again. As I laid out my clothes for Friday I doubted if I would be able to use them but once again the conditions in the morning were better than forecast and I made full use of it. For the first time in a few weeks I added a few faster miles to the mix. The windy conditions and the lack of an HRM made pacing a tricky affair. I did end up running just a little bit harder than would have been optimal, but the legs felt very good.

It was pretty much the same on Saturday with the conditions once more windy but definitely manageable, something that would not have been the case a couple of hours later. I half expected the legs to be sluggish after Friday's faster miles but instead they felt fantastic and I got that "effortlessly gliding over the tarmac" feeling.

It was really dark this morning; of course, it was the shortest day of the year. It will get brighter soon enough, and with the Christmas holidays just ahead, things will get easier again.

I'm not feeling 100 percent at the moment, I had a sore throat on a few occasions and am lacking just a little bit of energy during the day, but it does not seem to have any noticeable effect on my running. With half the office coughing all day and the kids bringing home all kinds of germs from school, the situation is not entirely surprising. As long as it doesn't get any worse I'll be able to handle it (just like the weather, then).

The HRM is worse than ever before, it really seems to be beyond help and the HR graphs are all over the place. I have ordered a new unit and am awaiting its arrival with bated breath, though I don't think I'll get my hands on it before Christmas.

I haven't decided yet if I'll do any races over the Christmas/New Year period. Even if I do, I have no expectations after not doing any speed work, so that would all be mostly for fun.

19 Dec
8 miles, 1:01:16, 7:39 pace, HR 142 (est)
20 Dec
10 miles, 1:10:55, 7:05 pace, HR 158 (est)
   incl. 8 miles @ 6:59 pace
21 Dec
10 miles, 1:15:53, 7:35 pace, HR 146 (est)


  1. Hopefully Santa comes early with your new HR monitor! Awesome feeling is the one you talk about, the effortless gliding over the tarmac, that's worth every stormy attempt! Wishing you and your Family happy holidays, and hopefully all the kids will be germ-less for the big day!

  2. Can't believe solstice is here already. We are in a very hot summer here in SA. Have a wonderful Christmas Thomas.

  3. This week in Quebec we've had temperatures of -30C. That's usually not a problem and is ok to still run a normal schedule, but we also got 70cm snow and 30mm of freezing rain. So only got out for 30 the scheduled 60 miles and no hope of an evaluation. Lots of shoveling though (is that counted as aerobic training?). Yesterdays long mountain run was fun though, shin deep snow with it blowing hard down to -25C. Not good for running form, but good fun and good preparation for next weeks Frozen Ass 6 hour mountain run ! Happy Christmas to you from a very white Quebec. Jojo