To-date in my "running career" I have picked up medals for completing 6 marathons, 2 half marathons and a 10k. However the only running medal that I actually won through my blood sweat and tears was a second place masters team medal with Eagle AC in the AAI Munster half marathon championships last September, which I finally received from Pat Murphy, the club secretary, just before we set off on the clubs long run yesterday morning. I think the long wait had something to do with dope testing! You can't be too careful at the elite end of Munster old guys in running vests.
Yesterday's long run felt better than last weeks, as the head and legs had grown more accustomed to the monotony/fatigue and running with others tends to pass the time away quicker. 10 in all started the run with 4 remaining for the full distance, all of whom are training for Dublin (Denis, Paul, Derek and myself). The run, on mainly rural roads around Glounthane and Carrigtwohill, was quite hilly which offered some great views of Cork harbour on a beautiful sunny morning (the only sun we had all weekend). I headed into town with Safan this afternoon to see the final stage of the Tour Of Ireland. We headed for Bakers Road with it's 23% gradient so that we could see how the pro's defy gravity. Conditions were woeful with torrential rain and strong winds with a small river flowing down the hill against the cyclists. Still they powered up the hill as if they were on a Sunday stroll, some of the stronger climbers even using the opportunity to break away.We were soaked through and only stayed to watch 2 of the 3 City laps. I headed to the park for a short run in the evening and as it was an easy/recovery day I decided to run barefoot in the hope of slowly reactivating some of the under-utilised muscles in my lower legs and feet that should provide natural cushioning and take the strain off other muscle groups that have been forced to adapt to cushioned shoes. I ran 6 miles in all, 2 on pavement and 4 on grass, and it felt great. The recent rain had made for wet and muddy conditions in the park. I initially had been avoiding the wettest areas but soon was seeking them out and splashing straight through without a care in the world. It also kept my feet cool (they tend to heat up more being closer to the action). At least I made the most out of the wet weather. The pace in the park was a little faster than my normal "easy" pace as I covered the first 2 miles in 7:30 pace. However it felt very comfortable and so I ended up with a small progression run covering miles 3 and 4 in 7:16 and 6:55 before warming down on the homeward mile.Friday 21st Aug 5.26 miles in 40:44 (07:45 pace @ 126 HR) Sat 22nd Aug 19 miles in 2:30:11 (07:54 pace @ 129HR) Sun 23rd Aug 6.19 miles in 46:28 (07:31 pace @ 130HR) - barefoot Marathon Training Week 4/13 - 68.55 miles