Tuesday, 30 October 2007


My clock and chip time for the Dublin City Marathon were posted as the same at 03:22:08. While I was close to the start line this suggests that I was alongside the elites when in fact it took me at least 10 to 15 seconds to cross the line after the gun went off. The winner, Aleksey Solokov of Russia (course record of 02:09:07), even had a 1 second gap between gun time and chip time - I don't remember him passing me out at the start.
As I was so "out of it" at the finish I did not stop my watch until it read 03:32:26. The lap button was also pressed at 03:23:15 for some strange reason, over a minute after I had finished. So, while I probably beat 03:22 by a few seconds my new Marathon PB stands at 03:22:08 - 03:31 minutes off my PB of four months ago. My watch time for the halfway mark of 01:36:45 compared to a gun time of 01:37:00 suggests a chip time 15 seconds less than clock time (i.e. 03:21:53)
While I may have some explanations as to why my performance was below expectations (injury over last three weeks, no real speedwork completed as a result etc.) I cannot explain why I blew up in such a spectacular way over the last few miles - I certainly should have seen it coming with the steady rise in my heart rate and should have slowed down to compensate.
Of my three previous marathons, my first in Dublin last year was the only other marathon in which I faded towards the end of the race - but this was more as a result of glycogen depletion and build up of lactic acid in my muscles, hitting the wall so to speak, as opposed to what happened to me yesterday. In addition last year, while my HR went into the low 170's in the middle of the race it was 164/165 over the last few miles (when my legs as opposed to my heart was dictating pace). Certainly my heart was dictating pace yesterday.
My last marathon in Cork in June was the most evenly paced with the second half run 17 seconds faster that the first half - therefore the 07:51 average pace was manageable for 26.22 miles, albeit more difficult to maintain towards the end. So given my training for Dublin the first half pace of 07:24 should have been reasonably manageable to maintain throughout with my endurance training carrying me through. My lack of specific speedwork training resulting from my calf strain may certainly explain some of the drop off in pace towards the end but I'm still at a loss as to why I felt so bad. Ewen suggested that I may have been dehydrated although I took on plenty of fluids throughout the race - maybe I didn't take on enough - I don't know. I certainly took on more fluids than I did in my last marathon in Cork when it was much warmer (water stop organisation was a bit of a disaster).
After yesterday I began questioning whether I should stick to shorter races and not put myself through that again, I obviously did not have the sense to slow down and keep my HR below 170. I shudder to think what would have happened if I was further from the finish line when I began to blow up - I'd have probably collapsed. People collapse every year on marathon courses but I always thought that was due to lack of sufficient training for the pace they were running at. My recent result in the Cork to Cobh 15 mile race suggested a 03:07:31 marathon when entered in the McMillian Running Calculator so running at 03:14 pace for the first half of the marathon should not have unduly stressed me. Even allowing for some drop off in pace in the second half I should have come in comfortably under 03:20. If I had maintained 8 minute mile pace from mile 20 I would have come in @ 03:19:10. I was still on target at mile 24 - therefore I conclude my blow up cost me about 3 minutes and the reason I didn't get closer to 03:15 was due to lack of training over the last month, particularly on speedwork, which would help me maintain pace towards the end by converting those fast twitch muscle fibres to the slow twitch variety.
Enough said. Time for recovery. My legs were quite stiff today, all the usual expected aches and pains but noting unusual and no sign of my calf strain. I probably won't attempt a recovery run for a few more days.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Dublin City Marathon - very mixed feelings

11,000 turned out on a fine sunny (and windy - as I later found out) Dublin morning to take part in the Dublin City Marathon. Over half the field came from overseas with over 2,000 form the UK, 1,000+ from Canada and the US and another few thousand from various European countries (France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia etc).

Adrian (my cycling support and replacement drink holder) and I stayed with my brother in Dunlaoighre (7 miles form the city centre) the night before and arrived at the start area in plenty of time. I left Adrian a map and a range of expected times (varied from 07:20 to 08:00 paces) I would be at various locations on the course.

I headed for the start-line early to make sure I got a reasonably good position. Race numbers were coloured green (4 hrs plus) and white (sub-4 hrs). An error in booking on-line saw me with a green number. As I wore an old sweater to keep me warm before the race it obscured my number and as I approached the gates I kept my head down and made my way towards the (sub- 4hrs pen) The marshals were calling "white numbers to the left and green numbers to the right" and were inspecting as many numbers as they could - but I managed to give them the slip - first hurdle over with. As I was early (50 minutes before mens start) I was quite close to the front and managed to see the elite women head off at 0845, the trikes (2 in all) at 0850 and the wheelchairs at 0855. The elite men and the rest of the field headed off at 0910.

I crossed the start line and while there was a bit of jostling for position I couldn't have asked for a better start give the size of the field. The start area was moved to Fitzwilliam Square from last years position to accomodate the larger field.

We headed off along Fitzwillian Sq, Merrion Sq, Holles St and Prease St and crossed the River Liffey onto O'Connel St past the Spire. I missed the first mile marker but clocked 15:37 when passing the second mile at Dorset Street Upper

"so far so good marginally over 07:30 pace. The first mile was probably closer to 08:00".

We headed along the North Circular Road towards the Phoenix Park. The 3rd and 4th miles came in 07:31 and 07:15. My legs felt fine and no sign of a problem with my left calf which I strained 2 weeks ago.

We headed into the Phoenix Park past Dublin Zoo. My pace was steady and the effort was manageable (Average HR for the first five miles was (152, 152, 164, 165, 164). Miles 5 and 6 through the park went by in 07:11 and 07:30. I met Adrian at Mile 5 and he cycled along beside me for a mile before the road narrowed. He turned up again at Mile 8 as I exited the park. Miles 7 and 8 in 07:07 and 06:45 (downhill) - I certainly paid for these fast miles later. I was running alongside three girls through the park but they surged ahead during the 8th downhill mile - I wasn't going with them as I was saving my energy for later - the 06:45 mile said differently.

I didn't generally run with anyone for long periods happy to run at my own pace which I was used to in training. As I was not heading for a podium finish I saw no benefit in racing those around me and concentrated on my target pace. However I tried to get in with a group of runners when battling headwinds. The course took us through the suburbs of Chapelizod, Inchicore and Dolphins Barn where there was plenty of support and cheering. Miles 9, 10 and 11 went by in 07:37 (steep uphill on a road underpass), 07:19 and 07:15. My legs still felt reasonably fresh and no niggles were evident - I was enjoying the run. No sign of Adrian though - maybe I didn't spot him although he had planned on cycling alongside me from about mile 11 until as close to the finish as possible.

At the 10 mile make I came alongside a fellow runner from Eagle AC, Laurence Courtney. I had seen him 100 yards ahead of me from mile 5 - took me 5 miles in chase him down (well not really as I was running to my pace). We chatted for awhile about our targets (Mine sub 3:20 his "as good a time as he can" - not revealing much) and ran together for a mile or two. I went ahead of him just before the halfway mark and didn't see him again.

Mile 11, 12 and 13 are out along the Crumlin Road which, like last year, had a strong headwind blowing. I took every opportunity to draft off other runners as the wind was quite strong at times.

The course turned off the Crumlin Road onto Walkinstown Avenue past the half-way mark. The clock struck 01:37 even as I crossed over the timing mat.
"On target for 03:14 If I have even splits" I doubted, even at this stage, if 03:14 was a realistic target. Maybe 3:15 (my "best" target) but certainly sub 3:20 which is my primary target (BQ).
All my systems were still working well although I was beginning to feel some fatigue.
Miles 14 to 18 took me along the southern suburbs of Kimmage, Templeogue, Terenure, Rathgar and Milltown. The sun was shining strongly now and I kept to shade where possible. No sign of Adrian -
"Where has he gone, did he get a puncture, he has my spare carb drink - I better take on more water at the drink stations"
Some runners were passing me along this section as my pace dropped slightly. Miles 14 to 18 went by in 07:37, 07:28, 22:30 (07:30 avg for miles 16 to 18).
"While above 03:14 target (07:24 pace) they were all within 03:20 range (07:38 pace)

From Milltown we turned onto the Clonskeagh Road and Roebuck Road which saw a slight incline give way to a shorter but steeper incline towards Mile 20 at Fosters Avenue. Along this section I began to noticeably fade recording 15:54 for the 2 miles (07:57 average with an average HR of 171 BPM). My HR was above what I wanted it to be - I was trying to keep it below 170. The clock at the 20 miles mark was about half a minute under 2:30 when I passed under it.

"10 minutes+ under the 08:00 minute pace of 2:40 for 20 miles - which means if I average 08:00 pace to the finish I will come in just under 03:20 - 10 minutes below the 08:00 minute pace of 3:30"

Once the inclines were out of the way it was downhill or flat to the finish so I had anticipated faster paces. However I passed the 21 mile mark on the Stillorgan Road in 08:06 (168 avg HR) - At least I met Adrian with my drinks bottle he had lost me and initially thought I was nearer the finish - I don't know how we missed each other as he stayed at the halfway mark from 01:30 to 01:40.

The effort to keep the pace was now very hard to maintain - however the 22nd mile passed in 07:39 (170 avg HR) dividends from Adrian's reappearance perhaps - maybe I could keep it together until the end. Mile 23 on the Merrion Road passed in 07:58 - strong headwinds from mile 22.5 to 25 were not helping my exhausted body. I wasn't speaking to Adrian much and any words of encouragement were falling on deaf ears. I kept telling him to slow down as my HR was too high and I needed to get it under 170. Mile 24 on the Shelbourne Road came in 08:16 (175 avg HR) the stress was becoming unsustainable.

At the humped back bridge over the Grand Canal before the 25 mile mark I stopped - the effort of going over the hump was too much and my body took over and stopped dead - I called after Adrian to stop and proceeded to walk over the bridge. Somehow I managed to recommence running - my legs weren't actually that bad. I missed the split at the 25 mile mark but I could see the finish line tantalising close (about 400m away to the left) but the course took you away from it for another mile and a bit around Trinity College - the final kick in the teeth.

The crowds cheering were unbelievable, but I didn't care - it was one foot in front of the other as I made my way down Pearse Street in front of Trinity College Gates and back up Nassau Street towards the finish line at Merrion Square - I was progressively slowing down as numerous runners passed me by - "you're nearly there" spectators shouted but no words of encouragement could spur me on. In fact I was slowing further and even beginning to wobble a bit. I took the clock at the end of Nassau Street to be the 26 miles mark - it read 3;20:something as I passed it - The split for miles 25 & 26 read 18:52 (09:26 average & 177 HR) I turned the corner and saw the finish line - I still could only manage a wobble as it took me nearly another 2 minutes to cross the finish line. My body actually stopped a few feet short as the clock past 03:22 - given up the ghost - and it took some effort to walk over the line and lean on a barrier - I could go no further - my hands were tingling and I felt light headed - scary stuff.

It took me another 20 minutes to collect my medal, goodie bag and rest up until I could make my way to the Physio tent. Those Physio's are a godsend. I have to go now as my daughter Safan is fighting to get on the computer. My thoughts on my run and why it went so horribly wrong will have to wait. While the time was disappointing the disastrous finish is very worrying and cause for concern. Adrian told me afterwards my face was snow white and my lips purple - seems like my body was beginning to shut down.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Final Countdown

Less than two days remaining to the Dublin City Marathon. Nothing to do now except wait. I went back to the Physio yesterday for a final session. The tenderness in my Soleus had certainly subsided since Tuesdays visit, a few muscle fibres at the core were still sore when the physio worked over them - overall though the improvement was noticeable. The alternate hot bath and ice pack certainly helped. I went to the gym for an easy run after work with the intention of covering about 4 miles to test drive my legs after the long rest - I was beginning to think that I had never run and it was all a dream. I warmed up for a mile @ 11.5 kph (08:24 pace) stretched and continued on @ 12 kph (08:03 pace). While my legs felt fine I noticed that my heart rate was 154/155 which is waaaay too high for that pace. I put it down to the higher temperature in the gym and decided to cut the run short at 3 miles - no point in taking a risk. I ran a 5.2 mile loop this morning just to get some outside air in my lungs and real road under my feet. I took it reasonably easy - about 8 minute pace, which I increased towards 07:30 pace over the final two miles. I can't say the run felt easy though and again noticed my heart rate about 10 beats higher than expected with a finishing HR of 158. On the plus side my calf didn't trouble me at all. My elevated heart rate is a concern heading into Mondays race - I'll certainly want to take it easy over the opening miles and ensure I don't head into the anaerobic zone. I think this is what happened to me last year when I began to tire before the half-way stage, struggle at 20 miles and endure the last four miles with terrible pain (lactic acid) building in my calves - those were the worst four miles I have ever run and ever want to run. I was so out of it I didn't notice anything going on around me. It was a relief to get over the finish line - it was only 20 minutes after I finished (my first marathon) that I took any joy out of my achievement - not the way I wanted to finish my first marathon.
I did the opposite of this in my second marathon in Barcelona on the 4th March this year where I headed out at a relatively conservative pace and enjoyed every minute of the the 26.22 miles, taking in all the sights on a beautiful sunny day and managed to cut 13 minutes off my Dublin time. I only felt some pain about 2 km from the end. I crossed the finish line on a high and felt like kissing the ground and crying - running brings out some strange emotions. This was the best run I have ever had - I wouldn't mind experiencing this "runners high" on Monday. Unfortunately I haven't yet found the key to providing it on demand.
I'll travel to Dublin tomorrow, pick up my race bib at the expo and stay with my brother in Dun-Laoighre tomorrow night. Adrian, my ex running partner has decided to provide support by cycling some of the course with me and providing drinks as required. The jury's still out as to whether this will be of benefit or not - as long as he doesn't expect me to be chatting away we should get on ok. Todays run saw a new weekly record of 8.2 miles as follows:- Fri 3.0 Miles in 24:27 (08:09 pace @ 145 HR) Sat 5.2 Miles in 40:41 (07:49 pace @ 146 HR)

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Calf Strain

....or Soleus muscle strain to be exact.
My injury a few weeks ago...at least I now know it is an injury...was a strain on my Soleus muscle. I checked it out on the web and understand that there are three types or severity of strain, ranging from grade 1 (minor) to grade 3 (rupture). I have got a grade 1 strain as there are no apparent tears in the musccle, or so my physio says and I have/had no difficulty walking. Grade 1 strain usually requires 2 weeks recovery...so it all depends on when I started recovery as opposed to when the injury first manifested itself.
Needless to say I have not run since my "reckless" interval session last Thursday (recklessness appears to be the order of the day recently in running blogland) other than a brief 10 minute session on the threadmill this morning in order to get some feedback before physio - the feedback is that I can still feel tenderness in the muscle, My physio gave it a good going over....warming, stretching, kneading, hurting all to increase the bloodflow and accelerate recovery. The obvious advice for the Marathon next Monday is that if it begins to hurt stop and pull out... I have only 1 pair of legs as opposed to plenty of races to run.
I am still optimistic about running on Monday. However no matter how good I feel at the start I feel I might be playing the waiting game.....will it be Mile 7 or mile 12 or will I last until mile 19 or 22 before my Soleus tell me......no commands me ...to....STOP!!!. Hopefully it will be the extrapolated mile 28.
Stretching, strengthening and a bit of hot/cold therapy is the order of the day. I have another Physio session on Friday which will inform me more. Until then..............

Thursday, 18 October 2007

The Hard Way

My dad used always tell me when I was young that there was and easy and hard way to do things - the lesson being that I tended to choose the hard way. This attitude appears to have transferred to my running - I'd rather test myself to near destruction to get feedback on my fitness as opposed to waiting until race day when I really need to pull out all the stops. After Sunday's poor run I took things easy. My calves felt fine Monday and Tuesday. I went to the track on Tuesday evening with the intention of doing an easy warmup and if that went ok to ease up the pace - if there was any sign of tightness I would ease off the gas and revert to gentle running. The warmup mile went fine, no niggles - so I eased up the pace and went for interval pace (06:00 to 06:10 min/mile) I completed 1 lap in lane 3 (416m in 1;32 = 05:56 pace) but eased off as I felt the onset of tightness in my left calf - certainly an improvement since Sunday but more to go. I eased back into an easy pace and completed 5 miles in total. The most discomfort I had came from heartburn ( I had a large lunch and big dessert in the middle of the day, something I'm not used to - I'd want to get my diet sorted in the run up to the marathon) This evening I decided to give one final go at an interval session, if the legs were up to it, still 11 days out from the marathon so recovery should not be an issue. I decided to stay away from the track because if I had to revert to easy running i'd prefer to run on the road. I intended to run a loop of 11.4 miles with some fast intervals/fartleks, calves permitting. I wouldn't have the track to guide my pace but I didn't mind. I warmed up over a mile and stretched, no problems. I continued at a reasonably brisk pace covering another 2 plus miles before reaching the straight road where I would commence the fast legs. I felt like one of those energetic puppies released from its lead - full of energy and rearing to go - my pace was certainly under 08:00 mins/mile. Unfortunately I was soon to discover that I shared some other traits prevalent in young canines - no sense. I eased up the pace to interval speed over a set distance (measured on Google Earth later). The pace was hard but comfortable and there was no trouble with my calves - I did fell a slight tightness when I eased up towards the end and thought of completing the remainder of the run at an easy pace - the interval measured 1,320m in 05:03 (6:10 pace - right on target). I jogged on for another 500m or so, until the lure of speed came back to me and I went for another shorter interval - again the pace was hard but comfortable and I was aware of a slight tightness in my right calf - "better not risk it - this is my last interval". As I approached the end - 20 m to go - the tightness got worst and I eased up and stretched. The second interval measured 920m in 03:32 (06:12 pace). The tightness in my left calf did not ease so I did a u-turn and headed for home - "Should have went to the track - at least I could have stopped and went home". The pace certainly was much slower on the return leg and my left calf is fairly stiff as I write this post. In a weird sort of way I am happy I did the run as I got my need for feedback on my performance out of the way and I can now recover over the next 11 days - no more recklessness, I promise. Tue - 5.05 Miles in 41:36 (08:14 pace @ 131 HR) with 0.26 miles @ 05:56 Thur - 10.4 Miles in 1:22:19 (07:55 pace @ 144 HR) Out in 07:11 pace & back in 08:38 pace)

Sunday, 14 October 2007

The Weakest Link

You are only as good as your weakest link. The weakest link in my chain today was my upper left calf which continues to be tender despite an easy effort medium long run. I felt very fresh heading out this morning, however I noticed the tightness was still there in my left calf despite laying off running for 4 days. I continued on for the warmup mile and stretched. During stretching I didn't notice any discomfort or tightness - the tender area is obviously not targeted through my normal calf stretching routine. I continued on,planning to run 13 to 15 easy effort miles - certainly no speedwork or MP efforts today. My left calf appeared to be the only discomfort area as miles 2, 3, 4 & 5 crawled by. However I did feel very lethargic and unmotivated, often thinking of cutting the run short. Something inside urged me to go on as this was going to be the last longish run before the marathon and I needed the training (A load of crap really) - you can convince yourself of anything. Training is all about comfortably stressing your systems to make them stronger - the only things I was stressing were my poor calves, who could least cope with it- yes my right calf started to feel heavy and tight as the miles rolled on - they felt like I would expect them to feel towards the end of a marathon. I completed 13.9 miles in all and I must say I only enjoyed the first 100 yards. With previous tough runs at least I had the satisfaction of some sort of achievement be it a hard pace or long distance or both, not with this run which was at a pace of 08:46 minutes per mile (130 HR) - This is recovery pace following long runs - I've felt much better following recovery runs. On the plus side I hardly stressed my cardiovascular system at all - at least this appears to be working ok. After the run my calves felt sore, especially when walking downstairs - it feels like I am after my marathon - not before.
Ewen's words of warning after my last post came to mind:- "Monitor it during the warm-up for Sunday and postpone the run if the pain is still there, or doesn't subside with continued easy running." I will certainly be following this advice over the next two weeks. If that means no running before marathon day, so be it. Total miles for the week about 16 or 17 @ a pace I care not to mention. Things can only get better.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Taper - What Taper!!!

I have run about 2 to 3 miles in the last four days and it looks like I won't run any more miles this week - more of a sudden stop than a Taper. On Monday I completed 10 minutes warmup on the threadmill in the gym (about 1.2 miles). So far in line with tapering mode. On Tuesday I was in Dublin during the day and did not make the track in time to get my planned intervals in. Instead I drove to the Lee Fields car park on the straight road (2.5 miles of straight flat road, as the name suggests). I planned to warmup for about a mile and run 3 out and back 1,000m intervals with 400 to 500m recoveries (6k fast). I felt reasonably good and paced out 1 km from the car park, ran on another 400m and stretched. While I felt a slight tightness in my left calf I paid no attention to it - that was until I ran back to commence my first interval and the calf began to tighten up and cause pain. I stopped and stretched some more but the tightness did not leave and the pain remained as I jogged. Deciding to take no chances I walked the 1km back to the car (a few runners passed in both directions but I showed restraint - well more common sense than restraint). I drove to the gym for a short swim and a stint in the steam room to loosen out the muscles. I did not run on Wednesday as my left calf was still tender. This morning I went to Letti for some physio. She noticed swelling on the back on my left knee and tightness on the outside of my calf, where I felt the pain on Tuesday. She also found my right calf quite tight - "I'll have to take a hammer and chisel to this" were her exact words. She advised that I do no running for the next few days and Xtrain if I wanted to. So I've decided to hold off on running until Sunday when I will do a medium long run of about 15 miles - either with 8 to 10 miles at MP or some intervals between 5 miles of warmup and warmdown. I've certainly missed my speedwork this week. I still hope to get some final intervals in on Tuesday next, my final speed session before the marathon - and still safely 13 days before race day. (May even try Thursday - 11 days out) When I got leg cramps a month ago I went back on magnesium tablets (I took them for about 6 months last year before Dublin) but I have not been diligent in taking them daily - that'll have to change for the next two weeks. At least I think I have done nothing stupid (so far) as Thomas advised.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

What a difference a day makes

Up until Friday I was feeling less than 100% following the 15 Mile race last Sunday. So it was with some caution I headed out on my Saturday morning long run, the last 20+ mile run before marathon day. I decided to keep a consistent pace as opposed to my fast finish long run of two weeks ago. I followed the same 21.9 mile course covering the hilly part first, as before. As the run was to be even paced I did not start too slow, about 08:15 pace. As I progressed my legs loosened out and I began to feel stronger so I upped the pace a little - sub 08:00 pace. I covered the first 10 miles in about 1:22:05 (08:13 pace) faster than the fast finish run of two weeks ago. I steadily upped the pace towards and below 07:30 minute miles over the last 11.9 miles and while I did not feel as comfortable as I had two weeks ago it was not too stressful and I maintained form and pace to the end, covering the last mile in 07:10, without trying to bust a gut. I initially thought I finished the run in a shorter time, but it turned out to be a minute slower than two weeks ago @ 02:51:45 giving an overall pace of 07:51 (07:48 two weeks ago). Both runs were similar except this time round my initial pace was faster and the fast finish was slower (still close to Marathon pace though). 10 Miles in 01:22:05 (08:13 pace - no HRM) 11.9 Miles in 01:29:40 (07:32 pace) My recovery is over at last. I headed out on a 13.5 mile recovery run this morning. The run went a bit faster than normal in 01:53:59 (08:26 pace @ 126 HR). My legs did feel a bit tired afterwards. As I have to send my Polar running watch to the manufacturers for a new battery (I know, seems strange - but the water resistant seal is not guaranteed if I replace it elsewhere) I borrowed a friend's all singing all dancing running watch for a week or two. This watch told me that my average stride length for the run was 3ft 8in, my cadence (number of strides per minute) was 85 with a max of 88 (Ideally this should be 90 or over), the total ascent was 340ft, the altitude went from -285ft to -160ft (not calibrated as I certainly was not below sea level) and my running index was 82 (don't know what this is). This is all additional to the normal avg/max HR, pace, calories burned etc. When downloaded on a computer I could display the route profile, heart rate, pace (every 15 seconds if I wanted), cadence etc.etc. in graph or spreadsheet format (I could see the HR plot rise with the hills - too much information for me but a great toy nevertheless. The 13.5 mile recovery run got me just over the 70 mile mark for the week (70.8 Miles). The last 70+ mile week I will see in a while. TAPER TIME at last!!! - I still need to get a few speed sessions in though.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Still Recovering

I completed 26.7 Miles in four runs since Tuesday and still feel I am recovering from last Sundays' race. On Tuesday I stayed overnight in Dublin and completed an 8 mile run through the streets with Brendan from work (He did the Great North Run in 1:34:50 or thereabouts - as he started at the back of the 50,000 taking part he met heavy traffic all the way particularly after 7 miles and therefore did not get close to his target of sub 1;30 which he is well capable of). The pace of the run was hard enough - between 07:00 & 08:00 however it was interrupted with numerous stops at traffic lights giving an overall pace of 08:04 pace - Brendan's convinced we ran closer to 9 miles but I'll stick to 8. 8 Miles in 01:04;32 (08:04 pace : 135 HR) On Wednesday I did not get an opportunity to run and had a long day not getting home from Dublin until after 11 pm. I went on a 6 mile run in the park with Brendan at lunchtime Thursday. As I should have been getting some speedwork in I decided to run two hard laps of the soccer pitches (1,300 m) with an easy lap in between. As we set off on the first hard lap I knew it was going to be difficult. Brendan eased ahead finishing the lap about 15 seconds ahead of me - I finished in 05:05 (06:17 pace). Following an easy lap in 07:40 we set off on the second hard lap with Brendan pulling ahead immediately leaving me to believe that this lap would be much slower. I finished in 05:01 (06:12 pace) about 20 seconds down on Brendan - he certainly got more fast twitch fibres than me. We ambled back to work finishing the run in 48:47 (08:08 pace @ 134 HR) As this is my last week of long runs/high mileage before I begin to taper I got 11.4 miles in this morning before work and another 1.3 miles on the threadmill after work (hardly worth counting). While the pace was relatively easy my legs felt tired and heavy - still recovering from Sunday. 11.4 miles in 01:34:29 (08:17 pace @ 141 HR) HR monitor must have been malfunctioning as max HR was 222. My last 22 miler is due tomorrow. However I'll play it by ear and see how I get on over the early miles and may postpone the longer run until Sunday morning if I feel anyway tired - no point in pushing it. Good luck to all those racing this weekend. The results of the Cork to Cobh 15 Mile road race are in. I came a respectful 64th out of a field of 599, which isn't bad. My time last year got me 234th. The winning time of 1:22:20 is slower than previous years.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Mature Reflection

I completed 2 recovery runs today. a 5.3 mile loop in the morning and a 3.4 mile run on the threadmill after work. While there is some stiffness in my right calf and left glute (residual strain from my waterskiing attempt on 29th August - pain in the ass really) I'm feeling pretty ok. I'm in Dublin for the next couple of days and may not get in my usual training runs. The track session tomorrow night is certainly out (too soon after Sundays race in any event) 5.3 Miles in 48:06 (09:04 pace @ 119 HR) 3.4 Miles in 30:00 (08:48 pace @ 120 HR) The comment from Thomas yesterday got me thinking again about my target pace for the upcoming marathon. I agree that we both should be aiming for 3:10 to 3:15 with me covering the rear target (07:26 pace) and Thomas covering the frontier territory (07:15 pace or less). We'll have it wrapped up between the 2 of us.
My only concern about Dublin is that when I booked online my excitement got the better of me and I registered in the 4-hour plus category (the only other category being less than 4-hours). I was in the sub-4 hour category last year and still got hemmed in by walkers after half a mile.
I e-mailed the race organisers to explain my predicament only to be told there is nothing they can do as I have been allocated my number - they did suggest that I get towards the front - I assume of the over four hour group. I emailed back suggesting that I cancel my registration and re-register - there has been radio silence since. I have contemplated either registering again (€80 at this stage) or starting so far back that the path would be relatively clear when I crossed the starting line - not really a runner as I'd prefer to be with runners nearer my own pace. I guess I'll play it by ear on race day and produce my booking confirmation e-mail (showing my number) and the results of the Cork Marathon (my name isn't that common) and persuade the stewards to let me in the sub-4 hour pen (either that or hop the barrier).
Other than that I don't care what the day throws at me - I'm ready.