Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ardmore

I don't exactly have a lot of experience with 5 star hotels, but out of the 4 I have stayed in the Cliff Hotel in Ardmore, Waterford, reigns supreme. The location, the room, the service, the meals ... bloody hell. Incidentally, that's also what my bank manager will say in a couple of weeks when he sees the bill as this was my first stay in said establishments where I had to foot the bill myself. Ah well, it's the least the lady deserved after 20 years with me!

Oh, you wanted to hear about running? Actually, Ardmore is a great spot for running as well. On Saturday I did a run a on stony trail along the cliffs, the major drawback being that the stunning views and the stony grounds had me stumble a few times and while I managed to avoid a face plant, or falling off the cliff, grabbing a gorse bush for hold wasn't the smartest thing ever and my hand is still sore, a few days later.

It's a great place to build up your hill running fitness - the one thing missing being flat roads. But the roads were so quiet, there was even less traffic than in Caragh lake - I never once encountered a car outside Ardmore itself.

Alas, by Monday morning reality had caught up again and I was back in Dublin. This week I started my new commute routine. Monday, cycling into work, running home. Tuesday, running into work, cycling home. Same again on Wednesday - Thursday, and then the car on Friday to enable a quick exit back to Kerry. It's just over 9 miles each way, which is a good bit longer than the runs I had done up to now. Thankfully, my legs had appreciated the weekend in Ardmore and rebounded well, so even though the run back home was longer than usual, uphill and against the wind, never mind the pouring rain, I got home just fine and still feeling pretty good. However, doing the same in return just 12 hours was just a bit much and the last 3 miles were definitely dragging. I'll see how that goes but I'm sure things will pick up quickly again.
12 Aug
6 miles, 51:45, 8:38 pace, HR 147
   partially on trail
13 Aug
6.4 miles, 52:56, 8:16 pace, HR 146
14 Aug
9.15 miles, 1:15:09, 8:13 pace, HR 148
15 Aug
9.15 miles, 1:16:33, 8:22 pace, HR 150

Friday, August 11, 2017

Patience? Adjustments?

Surely it is a bit early to be getting impatient already? I've been back on the road for less than 2 weeks now and I'm already starting to wish this would go a bit quicker! I know that's a bit silly, especially since I mentioned a 13 seconds per mile improvement over 4 days in my last post, which is hardly lack of progress. The thing is, the legs have felt rather heavy the last couple of days. I think it's the combined load of running 6 miles and cycling 18 (my commute) that's responsible for that. However, since I'm not cycling on Fridays (because I'm heading out of town straight after work) and the weekend I figured I keep going as it is and see if I feel better by Monday. If not then I will have to cut back a bit - which feels ridiculous, as I'm not even running 45 miles this week!

But yes, there was a distinct lack of progress all of a sudden, the last few days, and if it staus that way I need to ease up.

Yesterday morning my chest felt a bit restricted, which was not a nice feeling at all. It was like I had only 75% of lung capacity available - thankfully I didn't need any more at my slow pace, and after a few miles that restriction went away. I'm not sure what it was - I don't have hay fever at this time of year, and I'm not asthmatic.

I've been experimenting with a couple of routes for my cycle commute and the one I prefer happens to be the same path I'm doing most of my running on at the moment. I'm actually surprised that it is so quiet - I would have thought it would be much, much busier. I prefer a few miles of cycle paths away from roads and away from traffic lights. Why don't the rest of you?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to my weekend now. If you're looking for me, I'll be the one in the posh and expensive hotel.
8 Aug
6.3 miles, 51:14, 8:08 pace, HR 149
9 Aug
6.3 miles, 51:30, 8:10 pace, HR 149
10 Aug
6.3 miles, 50:57, 8:05 pace, HR 151
11 Aug
6.3 miles, 51:24, 8:10 pace, HR 151

Monday, August 07, 2017

A New Beginning

I'm only having sporadic access to a computer at the moment, so there is the possibility of longer breaks between posts at the moment. The reason for that is that I figured I'm spending way too much time in front of a screen - 8-9 hours a day at work and then another 2 or more at home. So I decided not to get a computer in my new apartment. I might change my mind after a while - but not yet. Right now I'm tempted to throw away my phone as well. I'm wasting far too much time being plugged in when I should just go out and enjoy a walk in the fresh air or something like that.

Maybe I'm just getting old.

At least my running is taking off again. I've slowly upped the mileage this week, though it's still rather modest. As in previous training cycles, the HR at the moment is sky high but I'm not taking any notice of that. It will come down quickly over the next few weeks into more "acceptable" territory. I've been through that often enough by now. Today already was 13 seconds quicker per mile than 4 days ago, despite running further. If only progress kept going at that rate!

I've moved into a new flat. It's good to have a place of my own again. It's further away from work, not quite 9 miles, which, unlike most, I actually see as a positive. I'm already looking forward to cycling and running in and out of work on my new route. Today is a bank holiday, so tomorrow will be the first day of my new commute.

When looking at running options at my new abode via google maps I realised that I had been running close to that area for years every time I had been in Dublin. I just had not noticed that the paths from Dean's Grange through Kilbogget on onwards were less than a mile from here. It also means that for the first time in my running life I'm just a warm-up jog away from a track, albeit a dirt track. Still, it will undoubtedly see some use over the next few months.

I'm now up to 6.5 miles in my daily runs, which I'm adapting to reasonably quickly, so I'll soon feel up to running either in our out of work. And then, after a little more time, real training can begin.
3 Aug
4 miles, 33:21, 8:20 pace, HR 153
4 Aug
4 miles, 32:00, 8:00 pace, HR 158
5 Aug
5 miles, 42:07, 8:25 pace, HR 151
6 Aug
6.5 miles, 53:22, 8:12 pace, HR 148
7 Aug
6.25 miles, 50:46, 8:07 pace, HR 153

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Ultra Begins - The Reboot!

It feels good to be back!

Well. Ok. Actually, it doesn't feel all the great. Physically, that is. Mentally I'm happy like a pig in the proverbial.

I set out on a glorious Monday morning, the first run after a break of 4 weeks. My watch must have lost something during that break because it first took ages to pick up the satellite and then overestimated the distance by at least 10% during the first mile. Never mind, forget the watch, it's teh legs that matter. I expected this to be a slow 10-minute mile slog and me being exhausted after 2 miles. Instead I felt much better than I could have hoped for and after the 2 miles were over decided to tack on some extra. I actually sped up with each lap and was cruising close to 7:30 pace at the end. After 3 miles I, slightly reluctantly, went home. This was the first run after a long break and I did not want to overdo it. The last thing I want to do is to out myself out of commission by ramping up too quickly and getting injured before training has even started.

Oh, and it may have been just a tad under 3 miles, owing to the GPS hickup. Let's call it 2.9 miles. Yes, I'm a numbers geek.

I guess I had overdone it anyway. The hamstrings were sore on Tuesday. I ran 2.5 miles, a bit slower. The HR alarm on my watch starts beeping at 150. It beeped again after a mile.

On Wednesday the hamstrings were better but the calves were complaining. Ah, the joys of running. I slogged through the first mile, kind of wishing to be back in bed.

Then I thought of 2 friends (Klemens was a team mate in Turin 2015, Angelika is the team's physio) who are presently running the Deutschlandlauf, a 19-stage race across the entire length of Germany, average stage length 43 miles(!!!), which stopped the inner whining voice for good. I did 3 miles in the rain, this time slowing down a little when the HR alarm but still already faster than the first couple of days.

Right now it's all about getting used to running again. This is very early days, literally.
31 Jul
2.9 miles, 24:07, 8:19 pace, HR 151
1 Aug
2.5 miles, 21:20, 8:31 pace, HR 148
2 Aug
3 miles, 24:10, 8:03 pace, HR 150

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Touristy Things

Yesterday I was running, for miles and miles, completely effortlessly, going much faster than I could have expected, marvelling at how easy it felt after such a long break.

Then I woke up. Ah well. I strongly suspect when I start running again, in the real world, it won't come quite as easily.

Meanwhile I'm just being a tourist. That actually includes a fair amount of walking, so maybe it serves as a tiny little help before I get started again, though I doubt it will make any noticeable difference.

I got one running-related email the the other day, and what a humdinger that was. They reviewed the data from the World Championship in Belfast and the changes at the top end are massive! In the men's results, silver and bronze medals have been reversed. The order of the women's individual results has not changed but another lap got added to Patrycja Bereznowska world record. In the team events the US have gotten a particularly raw deal: their women's gold medals have been downgraded to silver and their men are losing their medals completely after being moved down to fourth. Bloody Hell! I have to say, this does not reflect well on Ireland. I've never seen such a mess.

Oh, and my own results are unchanged. That's not unexpected - I had analysed my own data already and found it perfectly plausible - if very, very disappointing.

Meanwhile, I have decided to definitely give the 24 hours one more go. I want to know if I still have it in me. I have plenty of plans of running hundreds of miles in preparation - if that's what happens, we shall see. It worked in 2014!

Meanwhile, here are some touristy impressions of Vienna:

















Thursday, July 20, 2017

Idleness

What does a runner do when he's not running? Mostly thinking about running, I suppose. Usually I'd start training again when I get as itchy as I am now but since I'm about to go away on holidays I'll add another week of full rest.

I noticed that some of my clothes are starting to fit me again. I haven't stepped on a weighing scale recently but the fact that I no longer require a belt to stop my trousers from falling down indicates that I have put on a few pounds - no bad thing, really.

When I first started my new job and saw that they get a delivery of fresh fruit twice a week I thought the quality of my diet would take a step up. I didn't account for the fact that there is also a culture of having a constant supply of biscuits and chocolate at the ready, plus there is a baking roster every Friday, so with my notorious sweet tooth my sugar intake has probably spiked - not good, and something I will need to get on top of. But the month after a big race is not the time to return to an ascetic existence just yet.

I do have a problem with one of the muscles in my left thigh. I think it's the sartorius muscle, though I could be off by one muscle in that group. I start feeling a burning sensation after prolonged sitting, which can become seriously uncomfortable (and I like to think my pain threshold is rather high). It all started last autumn but eventually went away earlier this year, only to come back recently. The pain disappears almost immediately when I get up and walk around but if I'm stuck in a meeting that's not always possible. Sitting in the car for 4 hours when driving from or to Kerry isn't ideal either. In fact, I strongly suspect that the long hours of driving have something to do with this re-occurring. I haven't managed to convince the missus that she should come up to visit  me on weekends rather than the other way round, though.

But first I'm off to Vienna for a week. Prost!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

"Good Morning Forrest"

I've acquired a new nickname at work. It's not the most original of nicknames, I know. Besides, I would have thought Brian Ankers had than angle covered already, in perpetuity.

People have been congratulating me all the time since that race and every time I feel like screaming that it was my worst performance ever.

Time heals the wounded I suppose. The legs are feeling perfectly recovered but the mind is still on hibernation. Anyway, I know from last year that it's not a good idea to rush back into training, so I won't.

I do, however, want to give it one more go. My 24 hours career started with 3 very good races in a row and continued with 3 disappointing ones after that, so I guess I need a tie breaker to decide if it was good or bad. I am wondering what went so wrong in Belfast, my head or my legs, but I strongly suspect it was the legs. Whether that was down to old age or not enough miles in training I can't tell for sure. However, I won't be going into my next training cycle in an overtrained state, so it's definitely worth giving it one more try. Where that will be, I still don't know. I have plenty of time to make up my mind.

Also, I finally might have found a place to stay in Dublin, though it's not finalised yet. Am I nuts for preferring a place a bit further out so I can get a decent run in as my commute (don't answer that!)?