Sunday, 6 December 2020

December update

 Blog update.....running pretty well since the virtual marathon..doing roughly 20 miles a week...3 to 4 runs a week but mostly 3..monday rest , tuesday 4 miles recovery, thursday 5 milles , saturday 5 miles, sunday 10-11 miles long run. I have started doing some speed work and I'm enjoying it to be fair. a few 3 x 1 mile repeats at around 7.10 per mile and a couple 4 mile tempos at around 7.27 pace. Not massively speedy but enough to wish I could train for a few 10 mile or 10k races, which obviously aren't going to go ahead. I do think if the usual Dungarvan 10 mile race and Adare 10k were going ahead I could build up a pretty good head of steam. 

I'm not going to be doing more than 10 mile to 13 miles on the long runs as there really isn't any point and I will capping the weekly mileage at 25 - 30 miles a week, At least that's the plan.Donadea 50k isn't going happen in February either (I reckon) but I am hopeful that we will see some resumpation of racing and races later in 2021.

this week was a 4 mile run and 6 miles with a 4 mile tempo (7.36, 7.23, 7.17, 7.31). HR peaked at 176 which is pretty good. I only got 2 done as I am caught up with corrections, tests and other school work not to mention the Christmas house decorations!!!!

Sunday, 25 October 2020

not this time but always next time

 short story....did 2 miles out and back out Smiths rd and then 2 X 8 mile loops for a total of 18. I had one more loop of 8 miles to go and I was done for the virtual marathon. The offical  app was around a mile out compared to my Garmin. However while the groin was fine, the legs were getting heavier and the head started to go a bit. I had resorted to walking at this stage (it had started at mile 16 when the left leg started to go numb and i needed to walk/run on it) and the thoughts of another 2 mile walk down the Railway Road did me in. I walked home and my wife suggested I simply change my clothes , eat some food and walk the remaining 6 miles. I probably should have but I had enough and pressed stop on the app. Game over, DNF. Disappointed but I was over it after a hour.  My 3 year decline is complete and currently without any seeming chance of recovery. 

Now a week later I am not sure. Ok perhaps I won't be getting close to PB times and perhaps even a sub 4 marathon mght be a struggle but I am know I am good enough to get over this. I suppose the failure to make the starting line of 4 marathons in 2 years (Manchester 2017, Dublin 2018, Connemara 2019 and Dublin 2019) all have their own reasons. The first two were releated to burnout plain and simple and what was in mental health terms a difficult time for me. Connemara I didn't have the courage to give it a shot and run badly (I suspect I may have been out for around 4hr30mins) and Dublin 2019 is my bigest regret where I alowed myself to be talked out of it on.. I did run a solo marathon in Jan 2020 and did finish the Donadea 50km where many others dropped out (in a poor time though). The virtual marathon DNF was down to poor conditioning and a preoccupation and worry with the groin and hamstring issue. I should have walked it out but I suspect with the groin and hamstring being quite sore this week maybe that would have been foolish.

Therefore in conclusion my biggest enemy the last two years has been myself and my mental state. I always prided myself on being strong in that area but it's taken a battering these 2 years. I am talking myself out of races and challenges before anyone else does. I do accept that I might be a bit slower and not as able to churn out 60 mile a weeks as before and run those 7 mile tempos at my old pace but let's put that in the past and define new goals for myself. 

In the COVID world marathons and races might be on halt but that doesn't mean I can't create new areas to explore. 

I do need from a athletic point of view to work on a few things - namely my conditioning. I have lost something there in a aerobic sense so it's something worth investigating. I also need more variety in my running

So yeah I flunked a virtual marathon lets move on...

Sunday, 18 October 2020

groin, groans and grimace

 The groin was giving me gip for the last couple of weeks. I spent a lot of the last couple of weeks icing, streching and trying to rest. That said the pain which started as itch, evolved in a nagging pain and escalated into a sharp pain to the point that even walking into work (15 minutes from where I parked the car) was becoming a problem. I popped into a local physio in Cork at lunchtime and he said I was close to tearing it and under no cirumstances not to run "as something as stupid as a virtual marathon". So accordingly I had pretty much ruled out the virtual marathon by last week. However this week I felt a gradual improvement and noticed the walk into work was becoming less of a problem and the awkwardness from getting up from the workdesk wasn't too bad. This encouraged me to go for a 6 mile jog on Wednesday and I felt fine afterwards. A couple of days afterwards the leg started to get sore again as did the back of my hamstrings. Cue another rest day this Saturday. Sunday (today) I felt a lot better again  and jogged 2 X 7.5 miles around town (8.57 pace). I felt good running around town and in fact found the whole running quite mediatative - very zen. I felt 15 miles was plenty as with a week to go running more mileage would make little difference.

Anyway that's the story. I still hope to get the virtual marathon done next week but that depends on how I feel on the day. In terms of upcoming COVID restrictions it will probably have to be a solo effort (I hope  though I can run with a few friends) and in terms of time I have no expectations of anything under 4 hours. I just want to get to the (imagined start line) and get in finished without undue pressure. We are a nation and a world under pressure so I plan this to be my own little bolthole from a increasingly sad and difficult situation.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

now comes the crash and a kick in the groin

 ....as I feared the crash....after the 20 miler a few weeks ago I was doing pretty well running around 20 miles during the week and a easy 10 miler on the Sunday around Charleville. During the week just gone I was doing ok too, running 22 miles over 4 sessions but when it came to the planned 22 miler on Sunday I had to turn back after 15 minutes. Two problems - one was a groin strain which I had being trying to manage for a few weeks but which was very sore by the end of the week (I was running with a strap around the leg). Walking more than 20 minutes is now becoming a issue. The other problem is that I am drained, flat out tired but I suspect if the groin pull wasn't a issue I would be ok. I am stretching and icing the affected area 2/3 times a day but it isn't getting quicker quickly. I haven't run since last Saturday

Mallow AC in light of the COVID level 3 restrictions have (wisely) decided to postpone their planned marathon long run around Ballyhass lakes. It means essentially I have two options (if I run) run locally around Charleville by myself and cover the 26.2 miles or simply just put the whole thing to one side and just cover the distance in my own time before Christmas. It means I may miss out on the virtual marathon weekend but I'm not really missing out on a whole lot in real terms bar a medal and a beanie hat. I already ran a solo marathon in February and I have added that as a marathon to my sidebar. The cancellation of the Mallow Ac event has taken the buzz out of the whole thing, now I wonder is it better to simply keep working on the groin and look to the future. It doesn't appear that we will be seeing any races in the next 12 months.

Sunday, 27 September 2020

finally a 20 miler.....

 finally a 20 miler...completed this morning...the same route as the 18 miler two weeks ago but I managed to get the final two miles in this time...the run from Corbett Court to Charleville, long pull as they say..The pace was very slow at the end 9.23 per mile and I was cream crackered for the rest of the day but job done.Overall pace was 8.48 per mile.

It was a funny old running week. 4 miles (8 laps) around the town park but I feel more tired than refreshed after it and sure enough I was on the couch all evening the next night. Wednesday I ran around Charleville instead rather than Mayfield and the pace was good, 8.04 average but again wiped out Thursday. I  overdid the sugar intake (something I have been trying to get a handle on since August) and paid the price for it Friday where I was in pretty shitty form and again spent the evening on the couch panned out. Saturday I was feeling much better knocking out a solid 6 milers at 8.15 pace and suddenly the thought of running 20 miler didn't feel so daunting and so it proved. It also helped today that the weather was glorious, ideal Autumal evening and the rest of the day in terms of weather and famly time proved very nice indeed.

I didn't knock out 40 miles as I hoped but considering the ups and down of the running week I did ok.

In terms of the week ahead I'm taking a day off Monday and will aim for 26 miles. After that one more big running week and then taper for the virtual marathon.

Friday, 18 September 2020

September update

 I'm overdue a blog update. Sitting here on a Friday evening at 6.30 pm in supervised study with 3 students and glorious Autumnal sunshine outside. I'm clocking off at 7 pm and should be home by 8.15 pm looking forward to getting home to see my gang. I probably haven't updated in a while probably becuase I was pre occupied getting into a new school / COVID era routine. Seeing all the pupils especially the 1st year's wearing face masks proved a bit disconcerting at first but the new normal has become  (somewhat) normal).

I had resolved last month to get training for the Mallow Ac virtual marathon on October 25th and training is going reasonably well. I say reasonably in the context of how my running form has declined in the last 3 years. Ideally in the period 2010 to 2017 not withstanding injury I would be hitting 50 - 60 miles a week clocking up some handy PB's on the way and well on my way with the high mileage long runs. These days things are different but hopefully I am learning to live with it. Last week was my higest mileage in a single week - 43 miles.

This consisted of 5 miles Monday, 6.5 miles at 7.50 pace on Tuesday, 6 miles up in Mayfield on Wednesday (first run up there since March - had to walk twice) with a 24/26 minute split. I was a beaten docket on Thursday. I ran 7 miles on Saturday with 18 miles on Sunday on the Charleville-Churchtown road. The long run was going ok-ish enough but the legs cramped up at mile 18.07 and I had to walk the remaining 3 miles home. That is something which rarely happened before but is now a feature of the last 3 years. Also true to form I picked up a headcold (from Iseult and running) on Tuesday which has ruled me ut of any running since then. I'm a lot better now.

Accordingly consistency has still become a issue but unlike the last 2 years (2018 and 2019) the resolve to get to the starting line is a lot better. I have 5 weeks to get to the starting line and while a sub 4 hour marathon may be looking unlikely I hope to get a couple of 20 milers done yet even if it won't be pretty.

On the positive note the calorie counting is paying off combined with the running and 3 mile walk to and from the car every day. The kilo's have dropped from a 91.5 kg to a morning standing weight of 87.5 kg. That feels a lot better. It involves a fairly disciplined healthy eating regime and with the running (the good weather helps) I should be hopeful of further drop over the next 5 weeks.

So anyway one week at a time. I would be delighted to get back into the 40 mile range.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Green shoots or a false dawn?

 43 miles this week so that is a positive . Probably my highest weekly mileage since Janruary. 4mls recovery on Monday at 9.20 pace. 6.2 miles at a good 7.50 pace up and down to Pikes Cross on Tuesday evening. 7.5 miles at 8.20 pace on Wednesday again in the evening. No run Thursday - two reasons - storm Helen and I was tired. Friday morning 7.5 miles at a slow pace around 8.35 pace, that run was tough but getting through the mentally tough patches stood to me. Saturday no run, up to Cork with the family. 

Sunday I ran 18 miles with the Mallow gang. I ran the last 7 miles on my own and while the last 3 miles were a bit messy it was a case of mission accomplished. I was delighted with the run overall pace was 8.45 per mile. Hopefully this week can serve as a turning point. Weight wise I am very heavy these days - 14stone 4 pounds but trying to get a handle on the calorie intake. I have taken to calorie counting. it's not easy and requires a fair bit of discipline so I am hoping the counting with the running and the motivation to train for a marathon will have the desired effect. I am back in school/work next week and in this COVID world it will be interesting to see how it all ties to life and running. The reality is it's all interconnected - eating well, losing weight, staying fit, good running, positive mental outlook, happy personal and work life. They all feed into each other but one must keep it all in perspective.