I took the kids to GouganeBarralast Sunday (well the 2 youngest and 2 of their friends). We walked some of the trails, the longest being 2.4 km with 130m of elevation gain (great views) - it was billed as a 1.75 hour walk which we covered in about 45 minutes (A course record?) I was impressed with Saran who's only 7 and spends most of his waking moments jumping up and down excitedly in front of the television with a Wii console in his hands. We also stopped by the Island where St Finbarr established a Monastery in the 6th Century. Eager to impart some knowledge to the kids I told them that St Finbarr sailed down river from here to what is now Cork City and established another monastery where St Finbarrs Cathedral now stands. The only response I got was "Why didn't he drive?". I hadn't time to explain that one.
This was week 2 of 9 in my 5k - 15k training programme with the first speed session of the week on Tuesday calling for repetitions of 4 x 200, 2 x 400, 1 x 800, 2 x 400 and 4 x 200 with equal distance active recoveries. Target pace was 1:20 per lap although I allowed myself the full 2:44 for the 800m. Others in the club were doing a few faster 400m reps (between 70 and 78 seconds) with full recoveries in between. I joined them for the last one and got sucked into a 74 second lap - way faster that my R-pace of 80. Otherwise the session went according to plan
36/39/37/37 - 1:18/1:21 - 2:44 - 1:19/1:14 - 38/38/38/37.
I had an opportunity to run a 5k on Thursday but opted instead to return to the track for sets of 800 at I Pace (second quality session of the week) I also got in a bit of bike training by cycling the 5 miles there and back (suited my training needs better than bursting a gut over 3.1 miles). Target pace for the 800's was 2:56 (88 second laps) with 400m recovery jogs (plan called for 3 mins).
2:54/55/55/53/54/52 - I wonder if I managed 4 more would that mean a 2:55 marathon a la Bart Yasso - I don't think so!
A sockless run in the park on Friday left me with some tenderness on the tops of my toes so I ditched the socks and shoes yesterday morning (couldn't find my fivefingers) for a barefoot run around the grass pitches at the farm. After my warmup mile I joined John (a week after his Portumna marathon success) and Denis who were finishing up a session of 2 x 3 miles @ 7:10 pace. I ran the last 1.5 miles of the session, which was a good test to see how comfortable running barefoot was at a faster pace. The feedback was good so I decided to continue with my planned 3 x 10 minutes at T-pace (6:26) sans shoes - I had brought them along just in case. Each 10 minute effort equalled 2.5 laps of the back pitch. I wasn't sure whether the recovery between efforts was 1 or 2 minutes, so I settled for 1:30. Surprisingly I felt reasonably fresh after each recovery with my HR coming well down into the 120's. I was also happy with my pace for each effort even though it was faster than planned - 6:20/13/15 for each 10 minute set.
During my last effort I noticed a woman running in the opposite direction to me and it wasn't until she got within my limited eyesight range that I discovered she was none other than Sonia O'Sullivan. A few minutes later while warming down with John, Monica, Aine and Gillian we came across Sonia's husband, NicBideau, also running around the farm, noticeable by his distinctive Aussie tan. They must have been in town to promote the Cork City Sports which was on the same day. All in all I covered 14.8 miles barefoot and the only time I had to stop was to pick a thorn from my big toe, no big deal.
I started running shortly after my 40th birthday to train for the "once in a lifetime marathon" (mid-life crisis and all that) and haven't been able to stop since. This blog charts my progress as I attempt to go farther and faster than I have ever gone before.