Sunday, 31 August 2008

Nice Long Run to end the week.

The hardest part of yesterday's long run was rising at 6 a.m. to drive through the wet dark morning to meet a group from Eagle AC & others who were embarking on a 14.1 mile long run from Pairc Ui Caoimh at 6:45. En-route I passed a runner making his way to the meeting point - turns out he ran the 3 miles from home to get a longer run in. I planned on adding my miles at the end. While the schedule called for 20 miles I was planning on getting a bit more if I could. My last long run was 4 hours, this time round all I could afford was 3 hours max - the idea was to reduce the time (4 to 3 hours) and increase the pace (08:19 to 08:00 at least - which was the planned pace for the group run).
8 turned up in total which was a good number for such a damp and dreary morning. One or two I knew from previous runs. Pat Twomey who is training for Dublin and John Desmond of Running in Cork blog fame. Rhona Lynch, who won the recent Ballycotton 5 mile series, is training for the half marathon in Amsterdam so I'll be there to cheer her on.
The route was out along the old passage railway line to........Passage and Monkstown and looping back through Rochestown. The first 8 miles or so along the shoreline were flat. I ran most of this section with guy who introduced himself as Der Moloney (who came in 4 seconds behind me in last Thursday's 5 miler). The first time I heard of Der was when he pipped a certain Thomas at the post of the Bay Run Half marathon last year (although he went by the name of "yellow shoes" in those days). I didn't mention that his name had gone down in running folklore.
After 8 miles we turned inland and began a climb up the only hill of the day, which went on for a mile and a half - a good test for the lungs. At this stage we were all strung out, with Pat Twomey leading the charge. It was only when I joined him at the top did he tell me that the intention was to push hard up the hill. I ran the remainder of the loop with Pat at about 07:30 pace arriving back at Pairc Ui Caoimhe to replenish our drinks, regroup and (some of us) extend the run by another 4 mile loop. From then on I was on my own and I headed at more or less the same 07:30 pace back out the old passage line following the path around the Mahon peninsula to Blackrock Castle and back in the Marina to the car. Approaching the car I had 3 hours on the clock but was about 3+ minutes shy of 24 miles so I ran a short out and back to get me to 24 miles in 03:03:36. (07:39 pace average)
While my legs were tiring towards the end I felt reasonably strong and satisfied with the run, especially that it was at a faster pace than anticipated. I was using the run to trial "Power Bar" gels which I am thinking of using in Amsterdam. They certainly appear to have done the job.
After the run I dipped my legs in the Atlantic Pond to aid the recovery process.
I took a rest day today for once as per the programme.
Sat 30th Aug
24 Miles in 03:03:36 (07:39 pace)
Sleep 6.5 hrs: 7/10
Legs: 7.5/10
Marathon Training Week 9/16 - 69.4 Miles

Friday, 29 August 2008

Nothing to Report

.....I was hoping to report a 5 mile PB.
I thought it was in the bag, just turn up and put one leg in front of the other at a rate that would get my heart thumping comfortably hard. After all it should be relatively easy to beat 32:06 - the first 5 miles of my 10k PB were clocked in 30:59. Thomas walked me around an 8k last Sunday in 31:17 - what's the problem..........
The Ballycotton 5 was the problem
- although I can't really blame the course. Hilly and all as it was in parts it was no worse than last Sunday at Liscarroll.
I could blame tiredness from last Sundays race and the mixed intervals on Tuesday - but I did not feel tired and my legs felt fresh - at the start at least.
I could blame the lack of Mr Garmin (not charged) in giving accurate realtime pace (replaced by a stopwatch) but I did get mile splits. In any event my best race to-date was run without any idea of how fast I was going.
I could blame the unseasonably warm evening (Ireland got it's summer on Thursday 28th August - gone by 29th) but I didn't feel unseasonably warm.
...and so what did happen?
...........bang! goes the gun and we're off. All around me charge off as if we are doing a 400m dash or the bull run at Pamplona. The first mile was primarily downhill - there was a commentary car at the front of the pack giving a blow by blow account of the leaders over a loudspeaker. "No one taking out the pace"..."course record won't be broken"........."first mile in five twenty something" - I could see the leaders around the corner.
"christ they're well ahead, it'll take me at least a minute to get there"
and sure enough it does
"06:24" the timekeeper at Mile 1 says.
I don't push the pace but keep it steady knowing that the effort has to be sustained for quite a bit yet. The road levels out and takes a left turn, slight downhill. My steady pace is enough to continually reel in one or two runners a minute, leaving me in no-mans-land for a while until I catch onto the coattails of the next bunch.
Mile 2 in 06:32.
"christ this isn't getting any easier and it's been largely downhill so far - could it remain downhill for much longer"
My mind tries to rationalise an all downhill loop course and the "never-ending staircase" appears.
"isn't that all uphill though - depends which way you're going - it's an illusion man get a grip"
No need to imagine anymore, halfway through mile 3 the road begins a gradual rise that culminates in a short steep "stairway to heven" that would test the resolve of the most hardened runners. Still I held my own and even gained a place or two.
Mile 3 at the top of the hill - 06:44. Not pretty but to be expected given the rise.
Mile 4 is undulating but I appear to do reasonably well, especially on the uphill sections passing about 6 during this mile. One guy, all in black, with long loping strides did pass me out before the 4 mile mark though.
"twenty six minutes" the time keeper at Mile 4 said (my watch put the mile at 06:22 - 26:02 in total)
"that's 06:30 pace, which will give me 32:30 - at least i'll get 32:xx.
While the course did rise and fall a bit over the last mile I ran steady putting in the extra effort to stay on pace, all the while passing one or two who appeared to be suffering in front of me. I recognised Nollaig Hunter about 100 yards ahead and though it would be nice to catch her before the finish, although I made no conscious effort to realise that daydream. I could see the lap split on my watch and knew reasonably accurately how many minutes of pain were left, which I found comforting.
While I find it difficult to push myself to pass runners in front, once I have passed someone I feel compelled to stay ahead, particularly near the end of a race. This, in the end, is what drove me to a sprint finish to the line with about 200m to go. One guy I passed was coming back at me so I upped the pace and felt comfortable, knowing I had less than a minute to go and the pace kept increasing until I was passed the next guy and hurtling past Nollaig and sprinting for the line. My first sight of the clock 50 yards out revealed "32:06". I didn't realise I was that close. I stopped my watch at 32:12. 6:10 for the last mile.
Given that the sprint finish felt so comfortable I concluded that I did not push myself enough during the race, particularly in the early stages, If I had upped the pace maybe I would have been able to sustain it for the 5 miles - although that hill at mile 3 might have been a showstopper.
The official results put me at 32:14, 79th out of 379. Anyway I'll live to fight another day.
I met a few runners after the race who are doing the half marathon in Amsterdam on October 19th. We agreed to meet up and have a few beers after the races. As the marathon is starting at 1030 and the half a 1400hrs they promised to have a few beers for me on the finishing line - very thoughtful. I'd want to make sure and finish well before 1400hrs to give them a chance to warmup though.
Thur 28th Aug
About 9 miles with 5 miles in 32:14 (06:26 pace)
Legs: 7/10
Sleep: 8 hrs 9/10
Fri 28th Aug
8.12 recovery Miles in the park at about 08:24 pace
Legs: 7/10
Sleep: 7 hrs 7/10
Have a nice weekend.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Recovery? What Recovery.

Monday should have been a recovery day following Sundays race but my programme and temperament said otherwise. 10 miles at base pace (07:20 to 08:10) was called for and rather than head for the easy side of the pace range I covered 11.5 miles @ 7:19 pace. In my defence I had a lot on my mind and a good steady run is what is generally prescribed for such a condition. In addition my legs felt up for the job with no aches or pains left over from Sunday. However my left hip was giving some pain later in the evening and had been on and off last week as well. Feels better today though.
Today's run was a harder effort so recovery pace will have to wait until tomorrow. My first speed session of the week was mixed intervals at the track:-
Scheduled Dist, ( Scheduled Pace) - Actual Distance lane 3, time - (Actual Pace)
3,000m @ HM Pace (06:30) - 3,120m, 12:07 - (06:15)
1 Mile @ 10k Pace (06:09) - 1,664m, 06:12 - (06:00)
1,000m @ 5k Pace (05:56) - 1,040m, 03:45 - (05:48)
800m @ 3k Pace (05:40) - 832m, 02:55 - (05:38)
My target for each interval was as if I was running in Lane 1 and allowing the time to slip a bit - hence the faster initial reps. By the end of the 800 I was pretty much spent. I didn't stick rigidly to the 2 minute recoveries - walking 200m+ halfway round the track in whatever time it took me.
As my 9 year old nephew, Robert, is staying with us for a few days I took him, Ani and Saran to the track for some training with Belgooly Junior AC. I think they enjoyed messing around more than the running and jumping. "It's hard work" is all Robert could say when I asked him if he enjoyed himself. Welcome to my world.
Mon 25th Aug
11.49 Miles in 01:24:07 (07:19 Pace @ No HRM)
Sleep 8.5Hrs: 8/10
Legs: 8/10
Tue 26th Aug
7.94 Miles in 01:01:13 (07:43 Pace) incl mixed intervals of 3k to 800m @ 06:15 to 05:38 pace
Sleep 8 Hrs: 8/10
Legs: 7.5/10
As I am off work for the week I'm getting some good sleep. Perhaps this is where the bulk of the recovery is happening. Better use some of the time off to look for my HRM.
Thinking of doing another 5 miler as my second speed session of the week on Thursday. While the sechedule calls for 2 x 3.5 Miles @ HM pace I may just up the effort and reduce the distance.
Have a good week.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Liscarroll 8k Road Race - Winners allround.

Staying up until 3 a.m. to watch the Olympic men's marathon was hardly the best preparation for today's 8k road race in Liscarroll. But what a race it was - the marathon that is! The leaders set of at a blistering pace and hold on until only one man is left. The first 5k in 14:25 or thereabouts - to put this in context the winner of the local Novartis 5k road race a few weeks ago came in in 15:40. Great credit to Wansiru of Kenya for holding the pace right to the end, finishing in 2:06:32 smashing the 02:09:21 Olympic record on a hot humid morning, and looking so fresh - I wish I could smile like that crossing the finishing line.
My complete admiration, however, goes out to silver medalist Gharib of Morocco who looked like he was dropping off the leading group of 4 with less than 10km to go but repeatedly dug in with true grit and determination and reeled in the leaders and was the only man left when Wansiru made his move with about 5km to go.
My heart went out to Merga, the Ethiopian who pushed the pace for much of the race but was dropped by the leading pair in the closing stages and appeared to suffer over the last few kilometers and despite his cushion of over a minute and a half he was passed by his compatriot, Kebede, in the "Birds Nest" with about 300m to go - what an absolute bummer that must be.
I woke at 7 to the sound of kids chattering and running around the house - Dara and Eimear, the 9-year old twins down the road were on a sleepover with Ani. I huddled them downstairs and managed to get back to bed for a bit more shut-eye before rising shortly after 10.
I was out the door heading for Liscarroll at 11:22 arriving 50 minutes later to sign on and warmup with half an hour to go before the 1 pm start. There was none of the usual road signs directing traffic to race registration/start or even "road race in progress" signs so after a bit of trial and error I found the Community Hall where registration was taking place, pulling the car in behind Thomas, Niamh and and the kids. Thomas thought I had been following him. I though that I probably would be.
The start was about 1km from registration. The course was undulating to say the least. A map of the course referred to a steep hill lasting for 1km at the midway point.
"so the long gradual incline between km 1 and 2 that I had warmed up over was not the only or indeed steepest hill - this is not going to be a fast/easy race" - first sign of pre-race jitters.
We jogged the km to the start line with a relatively small crowd (perhaps 60 or 70) lined up and were off after a brief delay. Down the hill through the village at a steady pace. Thomas a few places in front of me (where else would he be). By the time we got to the first km mark (sign said "7km" - obviously remaining) near the Community Centre the pack had more or less settled down. The long straight climb over the 2nd km gave me a chance to see the field spread out in front of me. I counted Thomas in 12th place about 50 yards in front of me with 2 runners between us (including the leading lady - Mary Sweeney).
First mile in 06:21 (not blistering but respectable).
We continued in formation to the top of the incline and then a gradual descent and a left turn towards the "6km" to go mark. Another left turn, keeping the effort reasonably steady @ comfortably hard. Approaching another long gradual incline and gaining slightly on the 2 in front of me, first passing a guy and then the leading lady - Thomas still keeping his distance and closing in on number 11. I certainly appear to do better on the uphills. A watering station at the top of the hill (first time in a 5 miler) between km 3 & 4 and while most in front decline I accept, getting a mouthful of water into me (throat was starting to get dry) and the rest over my head - certainly perked me up a bit. Now a long gradual descent to the main road at the 3 mile mark overtaking number 13 and putting me behind Thomas.
The fact that the course signs were in km and the Garmin laps in miles I had missed the 2 mile Autolap - I wasn't really concerned as I was running at the effort I could sustain and while Thomas was still 50 yards ahead the gap was not increasing - not that Thomas was my target, just that if he is running good, and he is lately, then I must be running good to.
Sharp left turn onto the main road leaving the undulating part of the course behind and now the monotony of seeing at least half a mile ahead of you with the field well strung out. Past the "3km" to go mark -
"good, less than 2 miles to go".
I did not know how far behind number 13 was as I never look over my shoulder and so that kept me running scared so to speak. If I had looked behind there were two possible scenarios:-
1. a big gap to number 13 whereby I might have relaxed the pace, content with my placing or
2. a short gap to number 13 whereby my mind would go into overdrive, my confidence falter and my pace suffer or increase my pace and suffer later.
Either way there was no benefit in looking behind.
"2km" to go - the effort is getting to me now, while Thomas is not pulling away I am getting no nearer either, nor does he appear to be gaining on the guy in front of him. While this is all good really, my brain is looking for more tangible results from the body's effort (i.e. am I gaining on anyone, passing anyone, pulling further away from anyone - "don't look back".
"1km" to go - "4 minutes or so of this pain to go"
A quick look at the Garmin tell me I am about 2 minutes into mile 5 - confirmation that 4 minutes are left. The road rises a bit and I appear to gain slightly on Thomas. Still 20 yards behind (I get as close as 4 of 5 seconds).
Thomas looks over his shoulder "this is the first time I saw him do this, he must be beginning to suffer - looking back to see how much of a cushion he has - not much"
To be quite honest I had not entertained the idea of passing Thomas until my little surge brought me closer to him for the first time in nearly 2 miles. However my energy spike was soon replaced by leaden legs as we entered the village with about 2 minutes to go and the gap began to widen and we turned left down hill along the main street - my thoughts of overtaking long since replaced with "let this pain be over" as my breaths became shallower.
About 30 seconds to go I reckon as I take a left - and there it is the finishing line only 20 yards in front of me - a welcome early relief.
I stopped my watch at 31:15 as I crossed the line (no race clock here). Thomas just ahead of me in 31:06 - 11th and 12th overall, not bad for a rubbish marathon runner and his shadow.
Following a quick chat with Thomas & Niamh, who were off to the nearby donkey sanctuary with the kids to see their adopted "Jacinta" I went for a 2 mile wamdown and a cup of tea in the community centre.
There were prizes galore and given that the race was quite small and in it's second year only (not too much competition) I got first M40 and a cheque for 40 euro - more than covered my race entry of 10 euro. Official time of 31:17. Thomas took first M35 and as he was absent I accepted his prize on his behalf thinking he would still be parked outside - but he was gone - so Thomas if you're reading this maybe you'd e-mail me your postal address and acceptance speech. Coming 11th and 12th and with the first 7 men getting prizes (and no one getting more than one prize) and knowing that the first M45 was ahead of me in 8th or 9th place I thought we might be in with a chance.
As 8k is 46.5 meters shorter than 5 miles (4.97 miles) and I only measured 4.93 miles I don't know what type of PB I got. Maybe I should run with an 8k PB of 31:17 as that's the official time over the official distance. That would equate to about 31:27 for 5 miles.
Have a good week.
The results are here - 61 runners in all. While I was nearly a minute up on number 13, a minute in the other direction would have got 5th place.
Thur 21st Aug
a.m. 2.5 Miles in 22:00 (08:48 pace @ No HRM) recovery run on treadmill.
p.m. 5.37 miles in 42:49 (07:58 pace @ No HRM)
Fri 22nd Aug
8.98 Miles in 01:07:54 (07:34 pace @ No HRM)
Sat 23rd Aug
2.1 Miles in 16:58 (08:05 pace @ No HRM) programme called for 2 miles ahead of Sundays race
Sun 24th Aug
9.58 Miles in 01:08:55 (07:12 Pace @ No HRM) with 8k in 31:17 (06:17.5 pace)
Marathon Week 8/16 - 44.86 Miles

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

When is a race not a race?.............

............when there is no pain (well not much pain) ... and that's exactly what I had for the Army/Navy 5 Mile road Race this evening. I took it easy (that's a relative term) because this is a cut back week and yesterday evening I had completed my scheduled 4 x 1k @ 5k pace at the track and two speed sessions back to back is not recommended. I set out this evening to run a tempo pace run in lieu of tomorrows scheduled 3.5 miles @ 10k pace. I signed up at the Haulbowline Naval Base on the south side of Cork Harbour just after 7 - the place is a rabbit warren of old nineteenth century buildings, some derelict. I hadn't much time for a warmup before the 7:30 start time. I settled in to the middle of the pack about 10 back from the start. 06:30 to 7:00 pace would do fine, closer to 06:30 if I could - listen to my body! .and we were off. I took it easy over the first mile covering it in 06:47. I knew there was a steepish hill during the 2nd mile and kept the pace even covering it in 06:57. The benefit of setting off in the middle of the pack was than I continued to pass runners in front of me. I began to aim for sub-34 minutes by counting the seconds below 7:00 for each mile. "13 + 3 = 16" "Hmm I'll have to crank up the pace a little to build the cushion to 60"
Mile 3 in 06:40. Past half way, time to crank up the pace a little. Despite this, one guy went flying past me midway through mile 4. No problem, leave him go. Mile 4 in 06:16. The effort was hard but relatively comfortable. Up the bridge back towards the Naval base - two guys in front - "these are the last guy's i'll take and i'll coast into the finish". Down the other side and pull alongside another guy "don't worry" I said "i'll run in with you, 2 minutes to go". I should have said nothing as 100 yards down the road I hear a guy coming up behind us and I take off. Looking at the Garmin tells me that I have a minute to go so I accelerate....two guys ahead.... past them and around the last bend - my best sprint finish by far as I past under the clock in 33:04. 5th mile in 06:18 with Garmin recording 6 seconds for the last 0.02 miles (i.e. measured 5.02 miles). Average pace of 06:36. Close enough to my 06:30 target and more importantly no pain at all (breathing normal after 10 seconds) - came in behind the guy who passed me in the 4th mile. The race felt no more difficult than last weeks 5.6 mile tempo run. Well why would it - that run was at 06:32 pace. Still I was only a minute down on my 32:06 PB. I know, that PB should be closer to 31 minutes. However my fellow runner "Miley" who runs similar paces to me (recent 5k of 18:35) finished in 31:50 and bust a gut trying to get 31:30. This was certainly a more comfortable and enjoyable race than i'm used to. Why don't I run all my races like this. There's only one reason I could think of........because I know I can do better and if I don't push myself i'll never know. I followed the race with a 3 mile warmdown and a shower. By the time I got to the refreshment hall (one of the reasons for coming - heard the refreshments were the best) all that was left was tea or coffee. Better eat first the next time. The most difficult session of the week was my 4 x 1k @ 5k pace at the track last night. I just didn't feel like running fast and thought about throwing in the towel after the first 2 reps. However I took a longer recovery and the 3rd rep felt a bit easier so I continued and completed the 4th. I took Saran and Ani to the track to sign them up with Belgooly Junior AC. Saran took to it like a duck to water but Ani sat it out (maybe next week). My longer recoveries were spent attending to her - thankful for an excuse. Time (Recovery) - Pace (1.04k - lane 3) 03:46 (02:56 R) - 05:49 03:47 (04:00 R) - 05:51 03:48 (03:28 R) - 05:52 03:44 - 05:46 Mon 18th Aug Day Off Tue 19th Aug a.m. 2.5 miles in 19:44 (-07:53 pace @ No HRM) treadmill at the gym. p.m. about 5 miles with 4 x 1k @ 05:46 to 05:52 pace. (no Garmin - low battery) Wed 20th Aug 8.84 Miles in 01:04:16 (07:16 pace @ no HRM) with 5 miles in 34:04 (06:36 pace) There is another 5 miler coming up in Liscarrol on Sunday that Thomas reminded me of. As my programme calls for a 10k race this weekend this would appear to be the nearest equivalent (the other options being the Ballycotton 5 Miler the following thursday or a local charity 11k on Saturday that a guy at work told me about). I'll see.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Listening to my body

Michael said after my last post that it was good that I strayed from my programme and listened to my body instead. Given that my body said I could run nearly 29 miles as opposed to the 18 scheduled last Sunday I took a bit longer to recover this week. However I stuck to my programme where I could but did not push it when I felt uncomfortable.
Monday's recovery run with Brendan in the park at lunchtime was the slowest in a long time - legs achy all over especially my left hamstring.
However I was still pretty ok to churn out some of my 6 x 1km @ 5k pace (with 3 min recoveries) on the track Tuesday evening. I said I would cover at least 3 and then completed the 4th - the effort feeling tougher each time. As I didn't like the number 4 I decided to give the 5th rep a go (pace dropping slightly). As I was so close I decided to complete the 6th at an easier pace (9 seconds off target).
Following Wednesday's recovery run I decided I was not recovered enough to do my scheduled 5.5 Miles @ 10k pace on Thursday and so postponed it until Friday replacing it with a base pace run over 8.6 miles.
While I did not feel 100% on Friday morning I still managed to finish my scheduled 5.5 miles @ 10k pace (well not quite 10k pace). I thought about cutting the fast miles back to 3.5 or 4.5 tops. Mr Garmin refused to turn on so I reverted to my stopwatch - hitting the lap button at known landmarks at 2, 4.6 and 5.6 miles in 13:00 (06:30 pace), 30:09 (06:33 pace) & 36:36 (06:32 pace overall). The run was the strongest of the week covering 8.6 miles in 01:00:08 (the fastest i've completed that loop).
Saturday was another base pace run over the same 8.6 mile loop. The week and last Sunday's long run finally caught with me this morning when I headed out on a 17 mile progression run - first 9 miles @ 08:00 pace and last 8 getting faster by 10 seconds a mile to end up at 06:40 for the final mile. To be quite honest my legs were stiff from the start as it was more uncomfortable than usual to keep the 8:00 pace over the first 9 miles (01:12:05 - 5 seconds over) and at the time I thought of just doing all 17 miles @ 8:00 pace, if I could. However I decided to stick to the plan until I could continue no further - expecting to get maybe 4 progression miles down to 07:20 pace and maybe hold that pace for a while. Well I hung in there for 6 miles and initially, at least the achiness in my legs subsided. The progression went like this:-
(target) Actual
(07:50) - 07:51
(07:40) - 07:36
(07:30) - 07:27
(07:20) - 07:14
(07:10) - 07:05 - tough uphill.
(07:00) - 06:45 - decided it was the last mile so I pushed the pace a bit more.
(06:50) - ?????
(06:40) - ?????
The last 2 miles home were a slow slog @ 08:30+ pace as there was nothing left in my legs. Actually they felt worse than they did after last weeks long run - The urge to stop and walk was all-consuming. I They are still achy and uncomfortable to walk on 8 hours later so I may take tomorrow off. I will use the coming cutback week to recover. Schedule 10k race in the programme for next Sunday but nothing happening on the day but the week after has a couple of 5 milers.
Mon 11th Aug 6:05 Miles in 54:37 (09:01 pace @ 118 HR) Recovery Sleep 7 hrs: 7/10 Legs: 5.5/10 Tue 12th Aug 9.55 Miles in 01:15:18 (07:53 Pace @ 141 HR) with 6 x 1k in 03:47/49/49/50/51/59 Sleep 7 hrs 7/10 Legs: 7.5/10 Wed 13th Aug 7.02 Miles in 01:01:00 (08:41 pace @ 117 HR) Sleep 7 hrs: 7/10 Legs 6/10 Thur 14th Aug 8.60 Miles in 01:08:43 (07:59 pace @ 126 HR) Sleep 7 hrs: 7/10 Legs 7/10 Fri 15th Aug 8.6 Miles in 01:00:08 (07:00 pace @ No HRM) with 5.6 miles @ 06:32 pace Sleep 6.5 hrs: 7/10 Legs 8/10 Sat 16th Aug 8.6 Miles in 01:06:02 (07:40 pace @ 136 HR) Sleep 7.5 hrs: 7/10 Legs: 7/10 Sun 17th Aug 17.09 Miles in 02:14:12 (07:51 pace @ No HRM) progression run over 6 miles 07:50-06:45 pace Sleep 8 hrs: 7/10 Legs: 5.5/10 Marathon week 7/16 - 65.5 Miles.

Sunday, 10 August 2008


The pain training of my 5k road race on wednesday appears to have paid off during my 4.5 mile tempo run on friday. While I still didn't manage to get anywhere near 10k pace I did improve on last weeks run - down from 06:40 pace to 06:33 pace over the same course and more importantly, while the effort may have been similar (158 avg HR versus 159 HR last week) it did not feel as tough and I felt more comfortable throughout. This showed during my recovery miles, both of which were faster than last weeks, without any perceived higher effort. I completed the 8.6 mile run over 2 minutes quicker than last week.
A few pints of Guinness on Friday night prevented me from getting up early enough to run on Saturday morning so I switched my day off with Sunday. While the programme called for 18 miles at base pace I decided that, as I had enough speedwork over the last week, I wanted to get some serious endurance in my legs. Traning programmes for all other distances call for long runs that are longer than race distance and so I decided to apply the same principle to my marathon training. While base pace (07:20 - 08:10) would take too much out of me, requiring a longer recovery, I decided to ease back to about 08:30 pace and see how I got on. I had no plan heading out other than to exceed marathon distance (30 miles crossed my mind as did 4 hours). Either way I was going to run farther (>26.22 miles) and/or for longer (>3hrs 47 minutes - first marathon) than I had even done before (assuming my body held out). I loaded up with a 750 ml bottle of sports drink, MP3, phone and a €20 note and set out on one of my usual long run routes into Cork along the straight road, down and north quays and out the Blackrock Road to Blackrock (11 miles or so). I can't say my legs felt fresh over the early miles and as I hadn't fully committed to a finishing time or distance I wasn't too worried. I headed back into town along the Marina and clocked 13.11 miles in 01:50. "ok that doubles as a 03:40 marathon - not bad for a training run if I pull it off" Out to Turners Cross and along part of the Cork Marathon Route as far as Dennehys Cross (18.5 Miles). My legs had felt a bit fatigued for a while but were felling better as I ran on to Victoria Cross (18.9 miles) and stopped in a shop to replenish my empty drink bottle. My hydration strategy of taking a drink every 2.5 miles had been working quite well as it split my run into bite size chunks. I continued on my way, pace now below 08:30 and feeling fine. Across Wellington Bridge and out the Lee Road. Mile 20 (nice big drink - thirstier now). Along the route of the UCC 10k as far as the Angler's Rest (22.2 Miles) so far so good. I continued along the north side of the River Lee for another 2.5 Miles as far as the turnoff for Ballincollig, past the 25 mile mark. Turn right along the Wood Road checked the time at 26.22 miles - 03:38. "ok I'll head for the Killumney Road and back towards home - should be close to 27.5 miles and see what time is on the clock". I begin to get a little fatigued as I approach home. 03:48 on the clock. I few small out and backs to get the time up to 4 hours and stop at that - 28.87 Miles. Glad to be over but my legs felt reasonably good. Tomorrows recovery run will tell. Fri 8th Aug 8.58 Miles in 01:02:08 (07:14 pace @ 147 HR) with 4.5 miles in 29:27 (06:33 Pace @ 158 HR) Sleep: 7 hrs 7/10 Legs: 8/10 Sun 10th Aug 28:87 Miles in 04:00:04 (08:19 pace @ 133 HR) HR rising from 115 for 1st Mile to 158 for last mile. Pace varied from 08:44 (Mile 10 - messing with MP3) to 08:01 (Miles 28) Sleep: 7 hrs 7/10 Legs: 7/10 Marathon Training Week 6/16 - 66.15 Miles

Thursday, 7 August 2008

17:59 Amazing.........

.....that I got home from work before six last night. That was because I was picking up Niamh Roe a fellow runner with Eagle AC just before 7 to give her a lift to Ringaskiddy for the Novartis 5k Road Race. Adrian, my old running partner also came along - his first race since the Cork Marathon 2007, my first since Cork 2008.
After we registered Niamh and I went for a 2 mile warmup - an out an back over the first mile of the course. My first 5k was on this course last year where I was very happy with my 19:19 PB with splits of 05:50 (downhill mile), 12:26 (06:36 - uphill drag), 18:40 (06:14 - up and down) & 19:19 (06:04 pace).
I can't say I was looking forward to the race but figured I'd adopt a race strategy of going out hard and hanging in for as long as possible (seek out the pain philosophy that is all the rage at the moment). As Niamh is a regular at the track I knew her paces are faster than mine. While I entertained the thought of going out with her I decided to run at my (hard) pace as I find it difficult to adjust my pace to someone else's. As we lined up at the start I noticed that I had forgot to put on my HR monitor (blessing in disguise) and had no time to return to the car to get it.
I lined up three rows behind the line and when the starter pressed the hooter a puff of smoke came out, but no sound. Everyone hesitated for a fraction of a second before storming down the road at a rate of knots. I settled into a comfortably hard pace over the first half mile passing a few of the eager beavers who had lined up with the elites at the front until everyone settled into more sustainable paces. I noticed a guy in front of me with an orange top who had pipped me at the post at the Cork Marathon in June. In fact he was a much faster runner than me who had actually been targeting a sub 3 hour time but got injured during the race. I decided that I would tag him for as long as I could - perhaps the first mile to mile and a half. A quick look at my watch showed a 5:40 pace - not spectacular for the first downhill mile (in fact some of it was a slight uphill).
We ran down a steep section of road and left onto the main Ringaskiddy Road towards the 1 mile mark - "05:45" the timekeeper called out as my garmin beeped with the same time.
"ok not an awful lot better than last years 05:50 - but my pace shouldn't slacken off as much on the 2nd mile as it did last year".
I remember last year the 2nd mile along an uphill drag on the main road was very tiring and while it was an effort this time round it didn't appear to be as long - still comfortably hard. Initially along this section I was in danger of falling off the back of the group in front but managed to keep up and run on the shoulder of a guy all in black about 3 yards behind my guy in the orange top. In fact we both passed the guy in the orange top at about the 1.5 mile mark (when I imagined tagging him for 1.5 miles I thought it was I that would get dropped not him - new territory for me).
I quickly set my sights on another guy about 10 yards in front, Denis Carroll, who came in 5 seconds ahead of me in the UCC 10k in April. We approached the roundabout at Shanbally and turned left for a gradual incline towards the 2 mile mark. I left Denis and one or two more behind me before the 2 mile mark. This was far from a tactical maneuver and more just keeping to the same pace/effort. My philosophy was to run as hard as I could sustain, tactics required too much thought, it was the clock I was running against. I felt that if I eased up, even a little, to hang on someones shoulder I would not be able to increase the pace again. I remembered that I had passed Denis in the 10k in April and he came back strong to pass me back a mile from the finish.
"11:50" the 2 mile timekeeper called as I passed her (my garmin had beeped in the second mile at 11:46).
"still under 6 minute pace overall, much better than last year's 12:26 split, just another 6 minute mile to go, fuck this is getting hard"
I still managed to keep the pace up an incline turn left and then right.
"seek out the pain and embrace it" I had remembered from either Thomas or the Alien Lizard and I briefly concentrated on this which nearly brought a smile to my face. I spotted Niamh just 10 yards in front as we headed downhill between 2.25 and 2.75 miles. My pace which was now "uncomfortably hard" carried me past Naimh and one or two other runners (never before had I continued to pass other runners up to this stage in a race). Bottom of the hill and a turn left towards the finish.
I was hoping autopilot would carry me to the finish. I passed John Quigley (Eagle AC) who was taking photos (see below - face like death warmed over) at about the 2.85 mile mark. "Your doing very well" he said as I passed. Very well was the last thing I felt
..........and then suddenly my legs turned to jelly and took on a life of their own as I hit the incline to the 3 mile mark. The tank was completely empty, reserve tank also appeared to be empty it was pure momentum keeping me going forward. My legs felt tremendously heavy and shaky and while my heart appeared to be pumping away at top revs it was only sufficient to keeping the air conditioning going as my pace slowed noticeably. There was nothing I could do about it except keep going as best I could towards the finish line, which now appeared miles away from where I thought it was (occupational hazard of being short-sighted). I was passed by 1 then 2 runners, then at least 4 more (including Niamh) before I stumbled over the finish line at my official time of 18:39.
I was utterly shattered, I never felt as bad after a short race. It took a big effort to continue down the finishing chute (150 yards) , my legs were barely able to support me as I stumbled along until I eventually lay down on the grass and remained there for about 7 minutes until I felt strong enough to get up and walk around. I still managed a 2 mile recovery run, although I felt a stitch on both sides, which subsided after a while.
My primary target had been to get under 19 minutes which I did "comfortably?". While I am happy with my time and the way I ran the race I was disappointed with my finish, where I conceded 6 places so close to the finish line. How could I maintain the effort for 4.7k and blow up over the final 300m. Why couldn't I have blown up at 5k. It all about having nothing left in the tank at the finish line, not before - a fine line. On the plus side I did manage to empty the tank and after all my strategy had been to go out hard and hang in for as long as possible. If I had maintained pace to the finish I would have taken maybe 10 seconds off my time - Niamh clocked 18:30 to take second female spot.
Based on my 10k PB of 38:15 McMillan says I have an 18:25 5k in me which not that far off what I achieved last night. I came 38th overall out of a record field of 416 which put me in the top 10% for the first time.
Despite the utter exhaustion I felt after the race my recovery appears to be going well as I got out this morning (less than 12 hours later) for 7.7 miles with both legs feeling fine.
Wed 6th Aug
About 7 miles with 5k in 18:39 (06:00 pace with no HR Monitor, thank God)
Sleep: 7 hrs 7/10
Legs: Hard to say - 7/10 at start
Thur 7th Aug
7.7 Miles in 01:03:39 (08:16 pace @ 128 HR)
Sleep 6.5 hrs 6/10
Legs: 7/10
p.s. I hope the title of the post wasn't misleading ;)

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Running in My Own Shadow

As I am on the same marathon training programme that I was on in the spring I can track my progress against my former self (virtual runner with a time lag). So far I am only a shadow of my former self as I am not quite as fast as I was last March. On the plus side I figure I peaked too early in the Spring so maybe, just maybe, i'll stumble on the right peaking formula this time round.

Thursdays quality workout called for 4.5 miles @ 10k pace (06:09) However past experience had told me that 10k pace was out of the question - In March I completed 4.6 miles in 29:57 (06:31 pace @ 157 HR when my target was 06:18) and this time round it took me 29:54 for 4.5 miles (06:40 pace @ 159 HR when my target should have been 06:09). I thought I had matched my March time until I discovered I ran 4.6 fast miles in March compared to 4.5 on Thursday. The title of my March post was "not quite up to speed".

I completed a 7 mile recovery run on Friday morning at a leisurely pace.
Saturday called for a progression run with 8 miles warmup followed by 8 miles progressively getting faster until I hit the last mile at HM pace. In March my target was to
cover the first 8 miles at 08:00 pace and drop 10 seconds per mile over the last 8 to end up at 06:40 pace for the final mile. (My target HM pace is actually 06:36)
This time round I kept the same target and the same course. Here is a comparison of me and my shadow
Mile - (Target pace) - 2nd August pace - 15th March pace 1/8 - (08:00) - 07:56 - 07:54 9 - (07:50) - 07:48 - 07:44 10 - (07:40) - 07:35 - 07:29 11 - (07:30) - 07:26 - 07:07 12 - (07:20) - 07:14 - 07:10 13 - (07:10) - 07:03 - 06:59 14 - (07:00) - 06:54 - 07:00 15 - (06:50) - 06:51 - 06:50 16 - (06:30?) - 06:37 - 06:30 My paces this time round were a bit more controlled thanks to the garmin. While I didn't quite match the pace for the last mile I am happy that I completed the run more or less to plan. I shouldn't be too surprised with my drop in running fitness as I am only gradually pulling myself back up from the Cork Marathon and the 6 weeks of injury induced undertraining that preceded it. My spring training culminated in me peaking around the time of my 10k PB race on 6th April (2 months before the Marathon). I still have over 2 months to go before the Amsterdam Marathon so I will watch my progress over the coming 4 to 6 weeks, get a few races in and hopefully a few PB's.
Sunday was a day off running which I used to go on a 27 mile cycle round the Skellig Ring as we were in Waterville for the weekend. Spectacular scenery - no camera but I have included a photo of the Skelligs (Unesco World Heritage Site) on which a monastic settlement was built in the 7th Century.

An 8 mile base pace run (07:20 to 08:10) on Monday morning saw me repeat my Saturday progression run where I started off with the first mile at 8:10 and finished up at 06:43 pace to get in under 07:30 pace overall for no other reason that my legs felt quite strong after the days rest.

I opted for a 6 mile base pace run this evening instead of the scheduled 5 x 1k @ 5k pace as I hope to combine these into a 1 x 5k @ 5k pace in the Novartis 5k Road Race tomorrow evening.