Sunday, 28 March 2010

Ok (to) Go

Today's run was my dress rehearsal for Connemara. The plan was to walk for 1 minute every 5k (3.11 miles) while maintaining an overall Garmin (virtual) pace of 7:55 - that should translate to a real pace of 8 minute miles on the day. I even threw in a few hills to simulate the course and while the pace fluctuated between 8:50 (uphill mile 18) and 6:59 (downhill mile 20) the overall pace of 7:54 was bang on over the 21.6 mile route. I didn't take any gels and opted instead for a bottle of High 5 (4:1) drink, which unfortunately I had to take sparingly given it's effect on my bowel (Denis you'd think I'd have learned by now:).
Needless to say I did not run the Ballycotton 10 last Sunday as I decided that running 10 miles at a relatively easy pace did not warrant 6+ hours out of my life (that and Abina was working and Ani needed to go to soccer practice). Instead I covered 11.5 miles from home in about 1.5 hours earlier in the day getting back in time to make a pot of tea for Thomas and I before he headed to Ballycotton.
The track session on Tuesday was a steady 3 miles @ about 7 minute pace ("striding out" on the bends - don't know if we knew exactly what this meant) for the recovering Ballycotton 10 racers - everyone except me (and Paul Cotter) by all accounts. Once I got the hang of the striding out the pace quickened giving an overall pace closer to 6:40. The good news is that my calves felt reasonably good afterwards so they must be on the mend, particularly now that I got a decent long run in today.
The club track sessions from now on are moving towards shorter faster intervals in preparation for the shorter summer road races (5k, 4 & 5 miles) and the track season. I'm tempted to follow this route and see what kind of speed I got but still have one eye on the endurance event calendar - i'll see how I do in Connemara before making any rash decisions.
On Wednesday evening I had a sports massage from Joe Roche (club member who took pity on me after reading my tale of woe in Barcelona) and it certainly was thorough - he pulled, stretched and kneaded my calves, hams, quads, IT band & glutes. "Your hamstrings are dirty" he said. From the way the conversation was going I took this to be a colloquial expression for the poor state of alignment of the muscle fibres as opposed to a comment on my personal hygiene.
Some of the stretches were completely new and challenging. The upshot is that I have fairly good flexibility in my calves but not so good in my hamstrings & quads. I'll be back to Joe for one or two more sessions so that he can sort me out for Connemara. My weekly mileage since Barcelona has been moving in the right direction - 2.1 - 25.6 - 37.4. I'll keep it pretty much the same over the 2 weeks remaining before Connemara.
For the techies out there, generally those who favour the left side of their brain, here's a modern take on the domino effect. Another Engineer (who else?) told me about it.

You can see by the state of their jumpsuits that it took more than one iteration to get it right - but apparently it was all shot in one take.

I've seen a few video workouts posted on Rick's blog (now the best half marathon blogger in both hemispheres - East & West) but the following is one of the best treadmill workouts i've ever seen. I'll see if I can work it into my schedule.


  1. Umm ... you might be too fast for me in Connemara!

  2. I think Thomas is playing mind games with you. You don't know what he put in your tea!

    Yes, great clips! Old Rick has given us all something to think about.

  3. HI Grellan

    Just getting caught up with how you are doing. When did you get so fast? I know how hard you work at it and I am sorry to hear that the injuries are still giving you difficulties. It sounds like you had such a great plan for Barcelona and your training had been going quite well. But unfortunately the marathon is so long and so unforgiving toward our bodies. I looked at your training and I agree that it is just a matter of time before you get the sub 3 hour marathon you deserve. It certainly takes not only excellent training and planning (which you have), but one of those days where your body performs as it should.

    Best of luck!

  4. Yes, an amazing video. I saw it in the first week when it 'only' had 1,300,000 views. The background videos (4 parts) are worth looking at, showing how it was developed. I'd say they tested it in sections before doing the one take.

    The strategy looks perfect, and I predict you'll catch Thomas at 30 miles. I'd say go with the speed stuff after and gradually switch back to marathon training. That's the Bakken way which has worked so well for Rick.

  5. Glad to hear you're on the mend.
    Stunning video! I listened to an NPR podcast about these guys two weeks ago on my long run. They were with EMI but have st up their own label called 'paracadute', which is Italian for parachute. I've forgotten what the significance was. Anyway, they fund the videos by seeking patrons for their work and then just putting an acknowledgement at the end like that seen in this video.

  6. have a great run in the ultra, looking forward to hearing all the news and how you do.