Sunday, 21 December 2008

A feed of pints, barefooting & other stuff

I don't know what stage of the evolutionary ladder I was on when I rose shortly after 8 on Saturday morning after a few pints of the black stuff at the annual Christmas bash and 5 hours sleep. Although thanks to Abina and some plink, plink fizz before I went to bed at 3 a.m. I could have felt an awful lot worse.
9 a.m. was the time for the Eagle AC Christmas run from the Lee rowing club on the Marina. As I was legally unable to drive (probably) I decided to cycle into town with my fivefingers strapped to the crossbar (I don't know where the law stands on blood/alcohol levels and cycling - getting banned would certainly be the end of my triathlon career). Anyway the cycle into town with the wind at my back went off without a hitch.
A group of about 20 had made the journey to the marina and after slipping (struggling) into the fivefingers and a few group photographs we were off on a 6 mile loop along the estuary/old passage railway walk. I decided to run barefoot as I knew the pace would be relatively easy (9 minute pace) and it would either provide a topic of conversation or provoke some funny stares (who's the langer in the poncy shoes). I ran most of the 6 miles with Jane and Donal McGrath. Jane is a prolific marathoner and triathlete and has just completed her second ironman in Florida (under 12 hours and all). It was very interesting talking to her about her training. She's off to Valencia for a marathon in 8 weeks and after that she has targeted the two oceans marathon (56k) in her native South Africa.
My feet felt reasonably comfortable over the 6 miles which averaged at about 08:45 pace. A few runners, led by John Desmond, were heading out on another loop to get 12+ miles for the day. I had the option of changing into my runners before setting out but I decided to keep going as I felt fine - this was going to be my longest barefoot run (my longest to-date was a 10 miler on Wednesday).
6 in all headed out on the second loop which took us out through Ballinlough to the Skehard Road before turning onto a gravel/stone trail for about 0.25 miles at the 10 mile mark. My stride up to that point had been quite good and while I may have felt some discomfort on the balls of my feet it was easily bearable. Now I was hopping all over the place as if running on hot coals as sharp stones pushed up through the thin rubber soles. I was glad when we returned to the macadam path at the mahon footbrigde although for the last 2 miles the ball of my left foot was sore. There was 4 of us left at this stage - John D and Pat Twomey setting the pace at the front and Denis Looney and I taking up the rear. The last mile was just over 07:30 pace. A quick stretch and change of shoes and I was on my bike for the 9+ mile cycle home. I dumped the bike at home and ran the 1.3 miles to collect my car from the Oriel Hotel, where I had left it the night before. Not a bad day considering.
All in all I covered about 14 miles in the 2 runs (12.69 + 1.38) not quite getting the 2.25 hour planned "long run" in. All my runs this week have been a bit jumbled. The long runs were short and the short runs long. Monday to Saturday went something like 10, 10, 10, 11.5, 2.5 and 14 - the only thing varying the monotony from day to day was the pace. What's more significant is that 22.6 of those miles were run barefoot - certainly a record. "Would you run a marathon in them" I was asked by John D yesterday and funnily enough this very question had been on my mind during the week. My ten miler on Wednesday was at a very comfortable 09:01 pace which I felt I could have maintained forever (famous last words of a first time marathoner I know) so while I probably could run a barefoot marathon I don't know if I would as I am more results driven at the moment and I don't think running barefoot would give me my best marathon (yet!).
The two main reasons for barefoot running are that I enjoy it and I feel it helps somewhat in improving my stride by preventing heel striking. The pain I felt yesterday is largely gone and should be expected as my feet are not used to getting a full workout as they have relied on the protection and help of heavily cushioned shoes to do the work for them heretofore. I have read a few articles on barefoot running and while interesting barefoot runners are considered as bit "out there" - one of the barefoot running links I clicked on was blocked by my internet service provider which asked me did I want to proceed as it came under the heading "occult". Funny the things that are preceived as inappropriate on the net.
It's been a busy week on the homefront with 2 school concerts to attend and my eldest, Keevsa, turning 16 on Wednesday - seems like only yesterday and all that. She's been very industrious now that she has reached the legal working age and started a part-time Christmas job on Thursday which is a feat in itself given the recession we're in.
Hope everyone has a pleasant Christmas.
Mon 15th Dec
a.m. 10.04 miles in 01:25:00 (08:28 pace @ 127HR)
p.m. 2.5 miles in 19:50 (08:25 pace - treadmill)
Sleep; 7hrs 7/10
Legs: 7/10
Tue 16th Dec
p.m. 10.01 miles in 01:18:02 (07:48 pace @ 139HR)
Sleep: 8hrs 8/10
Legs: 7/10
Wed 17th Dec
10.05 miles in 01:30:35 (09:01 pace @ 121HR) Barefoot
Sleep:6.5hrs 7/10
Legs 8/10
Thur 18th Dec
11.49 miles in 01:33:20 (08:07 pace @ 136HR)
Sleep: 6hrs 6.5/10
Legs: 7/10
Fri 19th Dec
2.5 miles in 19:50 (07:56 pace - treadmill)
Sleep: 8hrs 8/10
Legs: 7.5/10
Sat 20th Dec
12.69 miles in 01:47:38 (08:29 pace @ 128HR)
1.38 miles in 10:54 (07:53 pace @ 140HR)
Sleep: 5hrs 6/10
Legs; 7/10
Sun 21st Dec
Complete rest day
Conditioning week 5 - Run 60.6 miles, Bike 18.3 miles, Swim 1.5k.


  1. Your getting in some good miles!

  2. Hey Grellan, w/ all that Guinness and the subsequent bare foot running, it would appear that you were "evolving" from right-to-left on that picture you've got up there (as opposed to left-to-right) : )

    Good luck w/ that bare foot running - I know it would kill me!

  3. Hi Grellan. Stopped by to check your blog. Definitely, you're getting in the miles.

    Good luck with your running and please have a nice Christmas and successful 2009!

  4. Nothing 'occult' about barefoot running! Now if you were talking about drinking Guinness...

    All the best for Christmas Grellan. Don't back off too much or Thomas might catch up ;)

  5. I did my annual redemption run after the Christmas bash last week and was awfully glad that only 8 miles were on schedule as my head was still throbbing at the start. To do a long run plus a cycle in those conditions demands respect!

    I know I said I wouldn't do Ballycotton this year. But as the application date drew nearer I just felt drawn to it. Besides, there aren't any other preparation races around that time of year.

  6. nice bit of running during the festive season! sure the bare foot running will pay dividends latter on!

  7. Those are some pretty funky 'shoes.'

    I'd be careful of the barefoot running occult. They're an odd bunch. If you are not careful you'll end up giving up your life's savings, shaving your head, and moving into a commune wearing nothing but a saffron robe.

    Though if you ask nicely Thomas may buy a flower from you on his way through the airport in April.

  8. Wouldn't running in racing flats be the same as running barefoot? I feel like my feet are bare in my flats!

    Well done on Saturday - I whimped out!!

    Happy Christmas