Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Quick Recovery

The good news is that the legs are feeling unexpectedly good. Originally I was planning on doing a cycle on Sunday rather than a recovery run but because I felt much better than expected I changed my mind and ran. The first half mile was rather stiff and awkward (as Alison, who happened to pass by, can testify) but once I loosened up I felt perfectly comfortable. DOMS can take 2 days to appear, so I wasn't celebrating just yet but there was no need to worry, I felt even better on Monday. Later that day I deliberately walked down a staircase in the office instead of taking the lift purely to test my legs, and wouldn't you believe it, there was no soreness. How I could run an ultra on untrained legs and come away almost unscathed I'm not quite sure but obviously 11 years of training don't just disappear in 2 months. My lack of fitness might have cost me an hour in the race but that very same slow pace now seems to pay back in the form of an astoundingly quick recovery. The HR is rebounding as well - the numbers this week are better than the number I had the week after pacing the Cork marathon in June! This is almost miraculous!

It's not all roses, however, because I still have to pay a price for Achill in the form of a sore throat. Upper respiratory tract infections are fairly common after a long race and I've had a fair amount of them; usually they disappear very quickly. I don't have a temperature, just a sore throat and a mile headache and as long as it doesn't get any worse I won't be too worried.

I am signed up for the Dingle marathon on Saturday. I got a free entry after finishing third in last year's ultra, so I wasn't going to miss one of my favourite races if I could help it. Obviously I had wondered what shape I would be in after Achill but that seems to be no problem. The infection could still prevent me from taking part if it gets worse but chances are I will indeed run that marathon (sadly, the Dingle ultra is no more, though that's almost certainly a good thing this year with the Spartathlon just 3 weeks later).

I got through Achill much better than expected. The cramps are a bit of a worry - if I start cramping in Greece after 30 miles it's game over. However, I have never cramped in any of my 24 hour races (or 100 miler), no matter how exhausted I was; the slower pace certainly makes a difference.

Of course there was a certain lack of fitness that was clearly on show in Achill. That very same race, however, will hopefully have done a good job in rebuilding that fitness again and with another marathon in the legs on Saturday at least I will have gotten some long runs done, against all odds.

Anyway, I've run 5 miles each morning since Achill. The legs felt good enough on Tuesday to plan an 8 mile run on Wednesday but then the sore throat got so bad on Tuesday evening (I eventually had to take a paracetamol just to let me sleep) that I changed my mind and re-set the alarm. However, I felt much better in the morning and decided to sneak in a little workout, just to get the legs turn over properly for once without taxing them too much, so I did a 60 seconds on / 60 seconds off fartlek, while varying the intensity of the "on" parts. I could feel the right calf muscle again during that run, the one that had misbehaved so badly in Achill, so something still isn't 100% right.

One more thing: after the race on Saturday, Donna generously decided that I should receive a special prize for coming first Irishman in the World championships in April (my performance in Achill sure did not warrant a prize!). She is an artist and gave away some props that had been used during a performance art session a couple of years ago, so now I have a real piece of modern art in our driveway.

 I think that's really cool. Niamh and the kids are a bit confused.

31 Aug
5 miles, 44:23, 8:53 pace, HR 135
1 Sep
5 miles, 43:37, 8:43 pace, HR 135
2 Sep
5 miles, 39:56, 7:59 pace, HR 150
   60/60 fartlek


  1. A box to sit on while you tie your shoes?
    Enjoy the marathon on the weekend. Resist the temptation to run fast so you don't stir up the cold.

  2. Great to see recovery has gone so well. Looks like Achill at a modest pace was exactly what your body and mind needed.

    I think that the same approach for Dingle marathon would be appropriate, taking it super easy so that recovery is quick and injury risk low.

  3. I am glad that you are bouncing back nicely!! Hope you have a great race in Dingle!