Sunday, 17 February 2013

Clonakilty B2B - Part 2

My resting Hr this morning was 45 bpm, up 9 from the 36 bpm I measured on Friday morning. Obviously my heart was working overtime overnight to provide the extra energy required to repair all the damage caused by yesterday's marathon. I could feel the energy too, in the form of additional heat coming off my body. My sleep, at best could be described as restless - that was until about half an hour before the alarm went at 6:40. I lay there for about 20 minutes staring at the ceiling, listening to the wind outside, wondering (not for the first time since I started running) why the hell I was putting myself through all this pain and discomfort. Why did I have to pick such a masochistic pursuit.

While my legs felt fine - in that I could walk without any noticeable discomfort (even downstairs) - the memory of yesterday's 26.2 was firmly etched in every fibre of my body. After a quick bowl of porridge and a take-out coffee I was on the road by 7:45 for the 45 minute drive to Inchydoney - taking most of the journey to down the coffee, listening to the radio forecast of strong south-easterly winds with intermittent showers. While the showers were absent there was no shelter from the wind blowing in off the sea. John stayed overnight in the house, where we remained until 5 minutes before the start, taking 2 minutes to jog down the hill. The wind would be at our backs for the opening miles - we wouldn't experience it head-on until we turned east towards the Long Strand at Mile 8.

I met up with Richard and Pat & Ger from the 100 marathon club and we wished each other well before the gun went off. The opening half a mile suggested that there were quite a few well seasoned endurance runners out there, who all streamed off in front of me, John included. I was more conservative in my opening miles, drawing level with John after 4+ miles. We were slightly over 3:30 pace at Mile 5 (40:04) but covered the next 2 mile drop past Rathbarry in 15:02, giving us a 54 second cushion by mile 7. Turning left for the first real climb of the day, into a headwind towards the 8 mile mark saw us catch and pass the leading lady from yesterday (Sharon Woods of Mallow AC), who was just home ahead of us in 3:28:10. While my legs felt ok the effort was always challenging and at times tough, especially over the next few miles against the wind. The support and encouragement from marshals and guys from the local cycling/tri club was fantastic.

Somehow we managed to keep fatigue at bay and maintain a pretty consistent pace, keeping a cushion on our 3:30 finish of between 50 and 90 seconds, depending on whether or not we were on an uphill or downhill. We exchanged places from time to time moving up to 50 yards ahead of each other, depending on who felt stronger, but always coming back together after half a mile or so. Wherever we got the chance (and had the energy) we opened up the pace to increase our cushion as we were under no illusion that a 3:30 finish was a "gimme" - not with the mile long hill to Mile 20.2, the headwind that would face us during the closing miles and the inevitable fade/bonk. By the time we hit Mile 19 (2:29:44) our cushion was over 2 minutes, with another runner hot on our heels.

I lost John on the hill up past Mile 20 (2:38:36) and thought he was gone. I picked up the pace down the hill to Mile 21 (2:46:16) knowing it was my best chance of adding a few more seconds to the cushion - 5.22 miles remaining. My pace was pretty consistent over the next mile and a half until  John and another guy are on my shoulder and passing me out. My turn to suffer - I reach in my pocket for my remaining GU gel to see if I can do something for my rapidly flagging energy. The two pull further ahead and gain on another runner as we turn right towards Mile 23 (3:02:15). I manage to hold the gap to the guys in front as we round Whites Marsh past the 24 mile mark and onto the Road to Inchydoney and the finish line. One of the guys has surged ahead as I slowly reel in John and the other guy - more due to their pace slowing than any surge from me. As we round the Island for the last 1.2 miles we are met with a strong headwind that requires a considerable increase in effort to maintain pace. While I am reasonably confident of a sub-3:30 finish at this stage I cannot let up on the effort. As I hit the last short climb my legs are so fatigued that it's all I can do to keep running (albeit slower than walking pace) - the pain easing as the road levels out for the drop down towards the beach and the finish line, keeping the pressure on to equal or beat yesterday's 3:28:28 time - crossing the line in 3:28:19 into the arms of Race Director Bob - delighted that someone else could take the weight off my legs even for a brief moment (it felt so good) and thrilled that I achieved my target of a second sub 3:30 finish despite my reservations this morning.

Hats off to Bob, Killian and the Clon B2B team for an excellently run weekend. The attention received at the finish line to ensure my comfort was top class - easier perhaps to achieve with a relatively manageable field of 150.

My 18th place finish yesterday and 12th place today got me 13th overall out of 112 that ran (and walked) on both days. My splits below shows that I was always within a minute of yesterday's time. My average Hr for today's run of 144 was only 2 bpm higher than yesterdays 142. (711 versus 702 heartbeats per km)

Two blog posts and two marathons in the one weekend................exhausting!!!

Mile Split Comparison - Not much in it!


  1. sounds like a very full weekend!

  2. Excellent tactical move there, leaving John behind at mile 20, classic marathon race tactic.
    Well done - take it easy for a change, this time for real! You're not doing Connemara this year, are you?

  3. Great running Grellan. Impressive stuff - doing one sub 3:30 on that route in December was hard enough. Cant imagine doing it again the next day. Liam.

  4. Your powers of recovery are amazing. Only marginally higher h/beats per km than the first marathon. Will be interested to see if this whole back-to-back 'training' thing boosts your fitness for upcoming races. 3:28:28 has a familiar ring to it - that was my second marathon time - back in 1981!

  5. 2 excellent times considering the course and the back 2 back days - well run Grellan