Sunday, 23 September 2007

Days Like This

On Friday I left the house at 0520 hrs to complete an easy 11.4 miles loop. I took a headlamp for the unlit sections of the route. Throughout the run my legs felt heavy and tired so I kept the pace reasonably easy. When I reached the dark section of the straight road on the way home (mile 7) I duly pulled my headlamp from the pocket of my high viz vest. The lamp worked well except when cars were coming against me and I couldn't see the footpath clearly - the headlamp didn't identify dips in the pavement either, but I managed. With about 3.5 miles to go it poured out of the heavens and I had to take off my glasses. I must have looked a sorry sight to passing motorists. In fact I felt better during these last miles as the rain kept coming down. I stepped into an 8" puddle with over a mile to go and soaked my shoes and socks through but still I felt good. I finished the 11.4 miles in 01:34:50 (08:19 pace @ 133 HR) .


For Saturday I had planned a fast finish long run. I completed one of these a number of weeks ago and it didn't go as well as expected ( I completed 8 faster miles instead of the planned 10). This time I had planned to do 21 to 22 miles with mile 10 to 20 at Marathon Pace (07:30 to 07:40). To make it easier I ran my usual loop in reverse dealing with all the hills during the first 10 easy miles. I also ran the 10 easy miles at a slower pace than before (aiming for around 08:20 to 08:30) so as to be fresher for the harder effort.


The first 10 mile were pretty uneventful, neither too easy nor hard but I was concerned as to how I would last with the increased pace after mile 10. I began increasing the pace 8.5 miles in so that there would be no sudden change in effort. I completed mile 10 in 07:44 and eased up the pace. Mile 11 included a downhill section and the watch beeped 07:30, so far so good. Mile 12 went by in 07:20, a bit fast but I felt great. I didn't want to disturb the rhythm so I kept the same effort. Mile 13 in 07:14 - couldn't feel better. Van Morrison's "Days Like This" started playing in my head. Is this my body or have I borrowed someone elses for the day - I'll probably feel it by mile 15 or 16. No, the miles just kept rolling by, all between 07:15 and 07:25.

McMillian in his version of the fast finish long run calls for the last few miles at 10k pace. While I wasn't going to follow this recommendation I decided to up the effort over the last mile to make it the fastest of the run. As 1 or 2 miles had gone by in 07:05 this meant a sub-7 minute final mile. I felt reasonably fresh so I eased up the pace "so far so good"...."not too bad". As I got close to home I even managed a sprint finish to the end......06:40 on the watch......."wow what a run"...Now I was out of breath but I was on top of the world. "Why can't my marathons go like this"..."I saw no sign of this run coming - my running of late has been less than inspiring - what did I do differently - the easier initial pace and lack of hills during the fast 11.9 miles certainly helped"


10 miles in 01:24:03 (08:24 pace @ 123 HR) followed by

11.9 miles in 01:26:37 (07:17 pace @ 150 HR, last mile @ 165HR)

Overall 21.9 Miles in 02:50:40 (07:48 pace @ 137 HR)

I did all sorts of calculations afterwards to see how the run compared to race performance. If I continued the 07:20 average pace from mile 11 to 20.9 onto mile 26.2 (I felt I could have) I would have run a marathon in 03:23:01 (a PB). The only thing is I don't know where this run came from and how I can get it back on demand.

Today I completed an 11.4 miles recovery run to give a total of 82.6 miles for the week. 11.4 miles in 01:40:46 (08:50 pace @ 121 HR)

I volunteered as a steward for the Women's Mini Marathon in Cork this afternoon - a 4 mile run/walk with about 8,000 participants. I was manning a junction at mile 3 with my daughter Safan. The business end of the race saw the first runner pass us at 16:xx followed closely by two more. After that they came in dribs and drabs until the road was a sea of people running/jogging and finally walking (some men in drag - good laugh). When we got back to the finish line the clock was reading 01:49:xx. The leg were a bit stiff from standing around for a few hours.

I hope yesterdays performance can be repeated for the 15 mile Cork to Cobh race next Sunday. This was the first race I ever competed in - I should get a PB.


  1. That was a great run Grellan. You're right - if only we could order "Days Like This" for race day. Good luck for the 15 miler.

  2. Thomas I'll gladly eat my words, hat and the whole kitchen sink if that were true.

  3. Hi Grellan, it was an M50 road PB :)

    I record in that table track PBs up to 10,000m. I think there's a 10,000 on the track in November. There's also one next year, so two good opportunities this season.

    Let me know if you find the formula to have "Days Like This" on demand.