Yesterday's long run with Eagle AC was certainly one of the hilliest I've ever run. Well if truth be told it wasn't very long, 15 miles in all with the last couple of miles at a slow hobble as I appear to have pulled a muscle in my left calf on the last hill. Initially I thought it was a cramp as a bit of stretching appeared to ease the pain and I was able to run very comfortably on the downhill section to mile 14. However I eventually slowed to a walk over the last flat mile and for the rest of the day I was limping as it was painful to walk. Now 24 hours later it is still tender so at least a few day of no running is called for (perhaps a week). Not what I want 6 week out from a marathon bit I don't have much choice. I wouldn't mind but this week I had cut back on the mileage as I was conscious of proper recovery before making the final 4 week assault of intensive training before the 2 week taper. Funnily enough it was this time last year that I was laid up with an IT band injury (21st April) and just as I was recovering from that my calves gave trouble (9th May), what can I say? I certainly looked after my IT band in the intervening year (strengthening my hip adductors/abductors) but I can't say I have been looking after my calves, other than simple post run stretching. There's a lesson there I think.
While yesterday's run was all ups and downs so was my week in that I managed to shave a few seconds off my 4 mile PB on Thursday evening at a road race in Castlemartyr (the first of the summer evening road races). Following on from last weeks 6 mile tempo run at 06:29 pace I though that it would be a good time for a tune up race to check my fitness. However a lot can happen in 6 days. Whereas on the previous Friday I had felt very strong during my tempo run the race on Thursday was a huge effort from shortly after the halfway mark. Still my pace was reasonably even throughout over what is a relatively flat course. Over the first two miles I was continuing to pass others with one guy passing me around the halfway mark. The guy was familiar to me, as on a couple of occasions in the past I would have overtaken him on the last mile. This time was different, I stayed with him for about half a mile and then he gradually pulled away. By mile 2.5 I was wishing it was a 5k, especially when I looked at the average3rd mile pace of 06:24 on the Garmin. However the downhill section to the 3 mile mark improved the pace. For the last mile I was slowly pulling in the guy in front of me. If truth be told I was using him to pace me to the finish as I was spent. When I was on his shoulder with about 600m to go he urged me to "go for it" and he dropped back a little. However I knew I had no kick left and as we approached the last corner with about 60m to go I could hear one of his supporters urging him on to "take me" after the bend as the finish was close. I upped the pace in anticipation but had nothing left when he powered past me putting a margin of 2 seconds on me by the time we crossed the line. My official time was 24:35 (Garmin gave me 24:33 for 4.03 miles) - average 06:09 pace. Adjusted splits were 06:07 06:11 06:12 06:05 I was hoping to attack my 5 mile PB next week but I think I'll have to leave it for another day. Next PB will be the marathon in June. Mon 13th Apr 8.63 miles in 1:13:39 (08:32 @ 151 HR) HR incorrect - I hope Tue 14th Apr 6.02 mile in 48:56 (08:08 pace @ No HRM) with 3 x 1000m in 03:34/33/33 (equivalent to 03:42/43 in lane 3 of previous weeks) Wed 15th Apr a.m. 13.54 in 01:44:17 (07:42 pace @ no HRM) p.m. 2.5 miles in 19:50 (07:56 pace - treadmill) Thur 16th Apr 10.06 miles with 4 miles in 24:35 (06:09 pace @ 167 HR/Max 181) Fri 17th Apr 5.2 miles in 44:56 (08:39 pace @ 115HR) Lowest recorded HR may be error Sat 18th Apr 15.07 miles in 02:05:49 (08:21 pace @ 132HR) walked last mile. Marathon Peak Week #3 (Run 61.4 miles, Bike Nil, Swim 3000m) - I decided against the bike this morning but it may form a bigger part of my training over the next few weeks. Finally best of luck to Thomas, Mike, Michael and Bill running in Boston tomorrow.