Sunday, 19 March 2023

back on track... i think...two minds

 After a few on and off weeks it was back to a better routine this week. 3 miles recovery on Tuesday. Hr was low enough 139 with a slow pace 9.20. Wednesday a 4 mile effort at 8.20 pace but HR was in the 150's, not so clever. Day off Thursday - funeral to go to in Ballyheigue. Friday - St Patricks Day - 5 miles a slower pace around 8.55 pace but HR was 146. Saturday I had a bit of get and go to do another 5 miles, no idea of the pace but effort seemed ok enough. Sunday I had it in my head to do 10 miles. I would have liked to do another 4 miles but the chest starting wheezing again at mile 8 so 10 miles was enough. Pace was slow 8.50 but HR was very high 156. 27 miles for the week. 

I could make the Cork city marathon but only if I start upping the long runs over the month of April. 

I am in two minds about that

Thursday, 9 March 2023

update - 9th March 2023

 As I feared from my last post I was feeling pretty burned out the Monday after the 12 miler. The headcold came upon me first, then the cough, then the hard sneezing and the flu like feeling a week later.

I only ran 3 miles on the TM on the Tuesday and rested until the Sunday running 10 miles around the town. My mood and humour wasn't good on the week leading up to the 10 miler. I was a bit tetchy and the headcold and sore throat wasn't helping me. Work wise I was stretching myself too thin plus family funeral and a cross country meet with some students in Waterford on the Friday.

The Monday and Tuesday after the 10 mile I was totally immeresed in the cough and chestcold. I had to take the Thursday and Friday off work - the flu thing was making it's presence felt.

Slight recovery this week 3 ml on TM on Tuesday and 5mls outside on the Wednesday but ill again on the Thursday 9th March so I imagine another week lost .

Sunday, 19 February 2023

Running and the impact of running.

Monday 3 miles recovery. very slow pace 10 min 30 sec miles - Hr average 116

Tuesday - felt very tired and very cranky. Take a rest.

Wednesday - 5.5 mile jog around town. Medium pce around 8.33 pace. Hr high 153. Hmmmm

Thursday  - 5.3 miles on treadmill. 9 min average pace but started on 10 min pace and worked my way down the pace. felt great afterwards but by the end of the day very tetchy and miserable. Cranky and ill tempered. Resting Hr was in the 70's all day. Normally it's in the low 60's.

Friday - 5 miles with 3 mile tempo at 7.30 pace. Took a lot out of me. Very tired and very bothered all day. A few stomach cramps.

Saturday - rest - no running. Just a pain to be around. a lot of anguish about the ...

....Sunday long run. 12 miles. 8.45 pace. Hr a lot better 149. Last Sunday same run same route same pace - Hr 158.

Nearly 31 miles for the week, delighted to get the miles but obviously my body was getting stressed out. Maybe I was carrying a virus but it was a rough week in terms of how I felt. Outside of running (mid term week off) I did a lo of fun and good stuff but as remarked by Aoiffe it was obvious I was not  in the best of form all the time.
Running - cause or affect?
I felt a lot better this evening. Back to my usual self but very limited running this week coming.
Mind and body needs to catch up.

Tuesday, 14 February 2023

In a interesting place

 Time for a update...Rare enough these days....I had planned to give Clonakilty marathon a go in December but as is typical with the shoddy organisation associated with that event the main event was cancelled a few days beforehand. My place has been deferred to December 2023 so I guess I'll have to park it for a while. I know it would have been a struggle for me but I had put a good block of training after the Dublin marathon including a good 20 miler in the driving wind and rain. Therefore I was hopeful of getting around at least but as I said it came to nought. 

For the rest of the month I did very little and simply enjoyed my Christmas and tucked into the grub. The weight went up to 92 kg but I was ok with it.

In the New Year I had resolved to get back running with a view to running the Dungarvan 10 and Kinsale 10 in February and Mallow 10 in March. I did have a very sketchy notion of running the Limerick or Cork marathon. I say sketchy because I have already entered the Dublin marathon 2023 and the aforementioned Clonakilty event. The Dublin marathon is the key long distance event for me so I am reluctant to over cook the legs too much by running Limerick or Cork. 

In terms of running in 2022 I had a decent year clocking up two marathons and 4 half marathons. Admittedly dropping out of the Donadea 50k with covid was a disappointment and recovery certainly affected my running for a few months afterwards. Also doing poorly in DCM was also a disappointment but that's a record I hope to put straight in October 2023.   I still think (based on my half marathons) I was well capable of getting a sub 4 but it didn't happen for me (for a variety of reasons) so going forward that's the goal this year - complete a good marathon in Dublin in 2023. A lot of running friends and acquaintances are showing no signs of decline so I don't see why I should either. 

January and early February has gone well. I am generally running 5 days a week - one recovery run (usually on treadmill), one 4/5 mile run on Tuesday, 5 mile speed session on Wednesday, 5 mile medium pace/hill session on Thursday and a long run over the weekend (currently capped at 10 miles).

What got me really excited was my run at the Dungarvan 10. I had expected to get around in 1hr25mins a slow easy plod but I hit a decent solid pace of 1hr18mins19seconds. It was my slower 10 mile time but as things stands I was delighted with my run. I went away from it thinking I could certainly improve on that time and hopefully that will stand me in good stead during the year. 

That's the plan  at the moment- it has put me in a interesting place.

Monday, 31 October 2022

Getting to the finish line , getting to the finish line - Dublin marathon 2022 - 4hr16mins04sec

First time marathon runners are always told the priority is finishing, let the time take care of itself. That was my mantra in 2010 for my first marathon. That adage was equally applicable to me in 2022, my first serious marathon in 5 years. There was a lot of water under the bridge in those intervening years so this marathon was like a case of starting all over again. I had framed this mission as a case of a 49 year old man attempting to finish a marathon  and getting that medal and t shirt. Simple as....

Training had gone very well. I started in June and had been quite consistent over the 20 weeks. My mileage was usually between 35 - 44 miles a year with 3 big long runs of 21, 22 and 21 miles. I had also ran 3 half marathons - Tullamore (1.56), Charleville (1.44) and Blarney (1.46). None of these are old style fast times but I was happy enough to be making progress. I didn't do any speed work or S+C but the fitness was improving and the hunger was good. By the time I got to the start line in Dublin I had outlined 3 goals 1) Get the training completed and get to the start line 2) Get to the finish line and get my medal and 3) Aim for a realistic time -sub 4 hours.

I stayed in old friend Aidan's house in Portarlington and we headed up in the morning parking not far from the start line. We decamped into Aidan's office in T.C.D changed and headed out to the place of battle. I was very relaxed and confident I would achieve my last 2 goals. It was good to chat to some old faces and make friends with some new ones. 

The start was very low key and I was a bit confused looking around for the sub 4 hour pacer but was now-where to be seen. Anyway I trotted off and as the first 10 k to Castleknock was a climber I simply decided to keep the pace to around 9 min pace. This I managed easy enough and began to enjoy the downhill drop from mile 8 to mile 11. The crowds as usual were brilliant and I was enjoying myself. By the time I hit the 13.1 marker in Walkinstown in 1.55.34 I was feeling relaxed and confident and without extending myself looked well set to get under 4 hours , maybe even sub 3hrs50mins.

Anyone familiar with the DCM course knows the sections from mile 14 to mile 18 is where you really have to dig in . Firstly it's a gradual uphill, secondly you are running into a headwind and of course your piling more pressure on the legs. For me this was always the make or break section. Get past this and you can face into mile 20 with confidence. 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2017 were marathons where I always managed to kick on after this point.

However by mile 18 I was beginning to struggle. The left hip was getting tight and the energy levels were dropping. I didn't pack any gels with me and I had a pretty basic breakfast (2 weetabix) Traditionally I used to take a gel every 5 miles or so as well as having my banana and sports drink at the start line. However for what ever reason I had no gels and dispensed with my usual pre race feeding ritual. Maybe this was a factor I don't know or maybe I was out of practice running marathons. Maybe my legs weren't conditioned enough . Maybe I didn't do any S+C or maybe I didn't diversify my long run training routes. Maybe I'm just a bit older. Maybe I was running a few seconds too quick. Maybe, maybe, maybe...

I stopped at mile 18 for a stretch and eased out the hip but by mile 20 I knew it was walking time. The legs had had it and I had no energy left. It was great to see Brendan, Denis, John and Paudie on the sidelines giving me encouragement and fellow runners were urging each other on. The hardest and most painful walking mile was from mile 20 to mile 22. I had nothing in the tank. Splits were 11 mins, that sort of thing. At this stage it was all about the finish and I had decided to walk run in 3 min spells and see how long that would take me. It worked well enough in so far that I reckoned  might get in close to 4hr15mins.

Judging by the carnage on the roads I wasn't too bad. There seemed to be a really high number of people getting medical assistance, I presume dehydration or general fatigue. It looked bad at times.

By the time I got to mile 24 I was beginning to seize up again but I was determined I wasn't stopping to stretch or drink water or in the case of one of two guys indulge in some childish moaning or self pitying. (Some lads the younger ones were a bit childish)

I hit the 40k mark in 4 hours and I suppose the white level fever induced a better and prolonged spell of walk running. At this point I doing around 10 minute miles and I crossed the line in  4hr16mins04seconds. It was my slowest marathon but it still great getting it completed and getting my hands on the medal. I wasn't particularly downhearted or disappointed but I knew just like my first marathon in 2010 it was all about the finish. Aidan strolled around in 3hrs50mins. It was great to hang out.

Marathon number 16. This one is for my Mum - a real fighter.

Time to rest up . (photographs courtesy of John Holland and Joe Murphy)

Sunday, 9 October 2022

Getting to the finish line means getting to the start line

 After dropping out of the Donadea 50k with Covid I rested for a couple weeks, self isolating and all that. I went back running hopeful of getting to the start line of the Cork City marathon. The running was going ok with the log runs getting to 18 miles by end of March. The problem was that I was completely wiped out after every run.....I mean wiped. Getting home and going to bed at 9 pm....this went on from March to April. The HR was high enough too even for the shortest runs - usually in the 155 range. On top of the fatigue was the picking up of coughs and colds, never a good sign. I popped into the doctor and after taking blood tests and going through a questionnaire he confirmed I was still dealing with the after effects of COVID and probably had developed a mild dose of long COVID. He told me to take a break.

After that I pretty much pulled back on the running and entered the half marathon instead. I was doing maybe a couple of 4 mile runs a week and long runs of 8 miles, maybe one of 10 miles. By June I was feeling a bit fresher but I felt I had little chance of finishing the half marathon and even at best maybe 2hr 20mins. On a personal note a close family member under went a serious health and lifestyle issue and that had to be tended too as well.

I turned on the start line with very little expectation. I hadn't even brought my Garmin with me and even contemplated pulling out so low was my confidence....

The run itself was a massively enjoyable experience and I had plenty of zip in my legs. I crossed the line in under 1hr55minutes, not my fastest half marathon but in view one of my best. I then realized the biggest factor holding me back these last 4 years wasn't illness or my age or my lack of preparedness it was me and no one else. I was chuffed with my run even though it wasn't the fastest or the best trained. 

Rule 1 : get the training done and turn up. Rule 2 finish. If the training isn't perfect turn up anyway 

Looking back on the last 4 years the failure to get to the start line in Manchester Dublin Connemara or to finish the virtual marathon (a low stakes non event admittedly ) was more about my failure to make allowances for myself rather than anything else. Running and being able to run is a gift.

Next post I will write about my training over the summer.

P. S Sad to see the passing of Thomas Bubendorfer, a inspiration as a runner and blogger.

Monday, 3 October 2022

Time for a post?

 Time for a has been a while...You will have to wait a while yet though 😁😁😁