Thursday, 3 January 2013


The first year I did this I started at midnight and finished about 18 and a half hours later, covering 45 miles over three 15 mile runs at an average pace of about 8:24 (i.e. about 6 hours and 18 minutes of running). With over 12 hours of inactivity (no running) between mile 1 and mile 45, I had time to rest and recupperate, which helped me keep the pace pretty consistent.
Last year I covered 46 miles in two 23 mile runs, again starting at midnight and finishing about 12 and a half hours later, with about 5 hours of sleep in between. The first 23 miles were at a relatively fast 7:55 pace. However I paid for this with a painful and slow second 23 miles at an average 9:24 pace (with some walking involved) giving an overall average pace of 8:39.
This year I slept in until 3:50 and was parked up at the Lee Rowing Club at 4:35 for a long warmup ahead of the scheduled Club Christmas run at 8:30. There were 2 distances on offer - 6 miles @ 9:30 pace and 10.2 miles @ 8:30-8:45 pace. I was hoping to join the longer run, if I was able for the pace by the time it started.
I headed from the Marina, in the early morning drizzle, through town along the North Quays and Sunday's Well, the natural pace in the 8:20's - I was expecting something a bit faster but obviously did not push at this early stage. Maybe it would take me a while to warmup, given that I was not used to running so early in the morning. I carried on out the Straight Road towards Ballincollig, brining a house key with me in case I needed anything before heading back into town. The rain had cleared at this stage but my feet were feeling a little uncomfortable in the pair of uncushioned Aldi running shoes I had selected for the opening leg. I had left my pair of Asics Gel Hyperspeeds in the car for the later miles.
I ran west as far as the Ovens Bar before doubling back and diverting for home, covering the first 14 miles in just under 2 hours (8:26 pace). A quick stopover to change into an old pair of Asics Gel Numbus before reluctantly heading back out the door into the morning darkness. This was thougher than I expected, feeling a bit tired and washed out, still with 33 miles to go.
The "new" shoes put a bit of a spring in my step with the heavy padding underfoot. In addition my heels were now elevated about an inch further off the ground - hardly good for my bio mechanics to be changing support mid-run. My new found energy lasted a few miles but by the time I was back in town and heading for the car my pace had slowed to 9 minute miles and I was feeling farily fatigued. I couldn't figure out why I was unable to maintain a reasonable pace. By the time I reached the car after 24 miles my pace had slowed to 9:30 minute miles.

I was 15 minutes early for the club run and had plenty of time to change shoes and tops and take on some nutrition (pretzels, coke and coffee). I even had time for another slow mile while my club mates stood about and chatted. I had been hoping to go with the 10 mile group so as to get as many miles as possible in the company of others but doubted that I could maintain the anticipated 8:30/45 pace. As we headed off in the direction of Blackrock Castle I found myself on the tail of the 10 mile group and was able to hang on for a few miles before I began to fall behind - still managing the 5 miles to mile 30 @ 8:27 pace average. However the next 5 miles were all over 9 minute pace but thankfully the group slowed down to accommodate me and they pulled me along through the back alleys of Douglas and back to the Lee Rowing Club in one piece with 35.4 miles on the clock - still 11.6 miles short of my target with the time heading for 10:20 a.m.

Another change of tops as I was saturated from a heavy rain that fell over the closing stages of the club run. I refuelled with a bag of crisps and more coffee & coke before driving for the grass track of UCC Farm on the route home. I estimated that I needed to complete 5 laps of the 2.3 mile circuit to get to 47 miles for the day. Nothing to it but to put one foot in front of the other, starting with a slow shuffle, reawakening the legs as they had pretty much seized up at this stage with dull aches all over and a sharp one on the inside of my left knee. The manageable pace was now in the 9:40's, grinding out mile after mile, lap after lap. After 3 laps I had my last refuelling stop with the pace going over the 10 minute mile when I resumed. With the smell of the finish line halfway through the last lap I upped the pace to see if my body could deliver a finishing kick and while my pace increased the last mile in 9:06 was as much as I could give.

If it had been a race i'd be very disappointed with my time, but this was not about time - or logic for that matter, no point in it really other than "why not?" and given the day that it is I see it as the perfect antidote to the excess that is Christmas, I couldn't have been further away (physically and mentally) for the hustle and bustle of the last shopping day - although I had one or two errands in the afternoon that brought me back to reality. I more than made up for the pain and hurt over the following week, spent on the conveyor belt between the fridge, couch and bed - all good fun.

An attempt at a short recovery run on Friday ended with a pain in my left calf, a bit of limping for the rest of the day and no running until today, where a return to the Farm for 2 laps of the grass circuit passed without too much trouble.

Now that that piece of madness is out of the way it's time to knuckle down and do some focused training. My next 2 races are the Dungarvan 10 at the end of the month (which I won't be ready for, but is a great event) and the Clonakilty Back2Back Marathons in Mid February - hard to classify as a race really. I am looking beyond these events towards racing the Portumna Marathon in mid-June, which would see me complete the Mara/50k/100k hat-trick along the 5k looped course. I'm hoping to build up an endurance base over the next 3 months and ease into some race specific speedwork for the following 4 to 6 weeks.

Happy New Year.


  1. Well done Grellan!

  2. Why would somebody do this to themselves?

  3. I've discovered your secret to fitting your runs around family life ... run 1 weeks mileage in 1 day and take the rest of the week off!!!

  4. Pure madness but you have to love it !!!!

  5. That sounded like a bit of a hard slog Grellan. Guess you were not on cooking duties after that. I think I would have been eating with the cats in the shed if I attempted that. Abina is a very understanding wife - I will have to get her taking to mine. Hope to see you sometime on the road in 2013.

    Cheers - Liam C.

  6. Well done Grellan. That's some show of stamina.

  7. i don't know how he does it!

  8. "That piece of madness" as you put it, should of done plenty to increase your endurance base so looking forward to seeing what happens with your races in February.