Monday, March 28, 2011

Busy weekend...

Ok, so I had been training every day since Tuesday and at that my legs were tired from the LSR the previous Sunday (32.5k). I went and did my usual workout on Friday morning as I said in my last post. Then on Saturday I was booked on a coaching course for the local athletics club from 09:00 to 16:30. I was debating whether to take the car or get a lift. Then I decided to cycle.

I hadn't mapped out the route, as I know the area pretty well. So I set off with 1:15 before start time and my packed lunch, lots of fluids and a change of clothes in a backpack. It was a bit chilly, so I brought my thinsulate gloves, which I really needed on some of the exposed roads. It was downhill overall on the way there and I ended up going through Pheonix Park just before 09:00. There were a good few joggers and runners and cyclists around, which was great to see. I got to the club and we got stuck in. The course is the entry level coaching course (details here) for teaching kids the basics of track and field events in a fun and non-competitive environment. It was a jam packed day and I didn't know it, but we were to be on our feet running around and playing kids games all day. Sounds like fun (which it was!) but it was also pretty tiring!
When the course was completed, I started the cycle home and decided to take a shorter route with a pretty steep hill as you can see from the elevation...
It was uphill overall on the way home of course! I stopped at around the 8k mark for more Powerade and an energy bar - my first time eating while cycling :-)
I rested as much as I could that evening and the next morning...
Sunday afternoon was the Dunboyne 4 miler. My wife was running along with me, so we brought the kids in a double buggy and I had decided not to "race" it. After the start, I was running and holding my son's hand as he ran beside me. After about 200m he was tiring out, so we put him in the buggy. My wife pushed it for about 400m and then I took over. We ran side by side at her pace until about the 1k mark and then she took a walk break so I powered ahead. It was a great friendly atmosphere with lots of runners commenting about the two kids and our son cheering me on (our daughter fell asleep by the 2k mark!). At the 2 mile marker I had to walk so I could take in water, as it was impossible to push a heavy buggy and hold a water bottle to your mouth and keep running. One of the runners I had overtaken offered to push the buggy while I was drinking, I thanked him, but declined. That was nice though.
I kept going and we went past the finish line - the course was a rough figure of eight with the finish line near the middle bit. There were loads of people in the crowd cheering me on because of the buggy and it really spurred me on. We ran the second part of the course and came back to the finish in the middle of the village with the crowds again. The cheers were amazing and I couldn't help smiling at the crowds. The final 200m I was really pushing it but I was getting overtaken by a few runners I had previously gone past. I guess they didn't want to be beaten by a guy pushing two kids in a buggy, ha ha! I crossed the line in an unofficial time of 38:40, not bad as I had a combined weight of about 53kg (roughly 116lbs) along with me...
After the finish line we got our goodie bag (fruit, water, energy gel, cereal bar, pens, umbrella and t-shirt) and stopped for a rest. I met up with my wife who had to pull out due to leg cramps, but she really enjoyed it anyway.

We brought the kids back to the playground for a while and then I got out my hydration pack, gels etc and started to run home. It was now quite warm and I had on a t-shirt and long sleeve shirt. At the start it seemed like a lot, but towards the end it was just right! After the first couple of km I was already aware of just how tired my legs were - this was going to be a tough run...
I went the long way home, but I could have extended the route. I had a bit of time pressure as my wife had to leave for work that evening. From the start I decided to keep it in zone 2 as much as I could and that wasn't a problem. My legs were in no mood for speed! By the 14k mark my mind was wandering off and from time to time I didn't realize I was running. That sounds very strange, and it was at the time. I don't know any other way to describe it though. Kinda surreal.
Anyway I made it home 5 mins before my wife had to go to work. I had covered a little over 17k in 1:48, so that's good that I was able to keep to my LSR pace. As soon as I had made up my protein drink my kids wanted me to play chasing in the garden, I did play with them, but not chasing - my legs wouldn't allow it!
So today, Monday, is a rest day and boy I need it! last week I made an appointment with a sports massage place for this evening and I'm really looking forward to it, although it's the first time I'll have had a sports massage. I reckon it's just what I need as I wind down to the marathon :-)
Also, this week was the first time I've logged over 100k - 46 on the bike and the rest running - woohoo!
Keep running,

Friday, March 25, 2011

Working up to a taper

This week has been pretty busy for my workouts.
I did my LSR on Sunday for 32.5k, all in zone 2 I'm glad to say. I took Monday off to recover and did the track session on Tuesday. That consisted of a 1.5k run to the track - relaxed - then 6 x 800m at around 4:00 target time. Most of them were over 4:00, but not by a lot and I put the slowness down to my legs feeling a bit tired after Sunday. The run home was by a different route so that was around 2.1k.
On Wednesday morning I got to the gym early (as usual) and did my current workout.  I'm listing that on a seperate page so I don't have to keep taking up space on my posts! I'll keep it current.
Thought for the day in my local gym:

Then yesterday (Thursday) I was itching to run all day, so at about 20:00 I went out and decided to do at least 10k. It was dark and getting cold. It had been 15C earlier! I did 3 loops of the village and home again which was just over 11k and it took 61mins, so nice and relaxed again.
This morning I hit the gym again and did the same workout as Wednesday. I was feeling tired and my leg muscles were finding it tough, but I pushed on through. I did 1.5k in my VFFs and I'm finding them a lot more comfortable now and feel like I could run further and faster. I'm still hesitant about doing that though as I don't want to stuff up my calf muscles two weeks away from a marathon.
So a busy weekend awaits. I have an entry level athletics coaching course tomorrow and the Dunboyne 4 miler on Sunday. I'll most likely be pushing the kids along in the buggy for the race, so I won't be "racing". But my wife is doing it too so it'll be a family occasion. Oh, and I'll be fitting in a LSR there somewhere too...

Keep running,

Monday, March 21, 2011

Kildalkey 5 miler and LSR

I had been improving all week since getting over the chest infection, but still needed to recover a bit. I did the track session on Tuesday (run to track and 800m warmup, then 6 x 800m at 4:00 each followed by a run home again) and had a recovery day on Wednesday. On Thursday I was taking part in the Kildalkey 5 miler with my BIL (a sprinter). I was hoping to be reasonably quick and was well prepared from the day before. My BIL was going to give me a lift to the race and we met up in advance and chatted about it. We arrived at the start just after 11:00 for a 12:00 start only to find out it didn't start until 14:00...doh! At least it didn't start without us!
So we went back home and I bought a chicken and cheese sandwich in a local shop to keep me going as it was around the time I have lunch every day. I knew I wouldn't last without food. We got ourselves ready again and drove over to the start, which was thankfully getting busy by now. We got our bib numbers, along with a free high viz vest, and decided to do a warmup.

We did about 1.7k warmup at a relaxed pace, then another 700m jog to the start line and a quick run through to get the fast twitch fibers awake at 4:10 pace. By this stage my gut was feeling a bit heavy but I ignored it.
There were runners from lots of different clubs there, which was great to see. When we all lined up the gun went off and I set off a bit fast (about 3:50min/k). Very soon my stomach was giving out big time and I had to ease off just so I could keep going.
I kept it at about 4:50 to 5:15 pace (depending on how my stomach felt) and kept going, knowing I should be able to go a lot faster!
I finished in an official time of 38:43, a lot slower than I had hoped. I started chatting to other runners (178 finished) and very soon my thoughts turned to preparing myself for tomorrow's workout and building up to my LSR at the weekend.
On Friday I hit the gym early and did my usual workout with an easy 8k on the treadmill, and I felt fine. No stomach issues. Later in the day I had another sandwich with cheese in it and my stomach felt the same cramps. Maybe I have an issue with cheese, I'll keep off it for a while and see.
Saturday was devoted to the family and an official rest day - absolutely no training!
On Sunday I was up about 5:45 and had breakfast and got my stuff together. My hydration pack only holds 1litre, so I carried a bottle of Powerade in my hand for the first 13k or so. It was raining slightly but not too bad. I set off on a route that I'd cycled before, so I knew roughly the distance I was going to get. My pace from the start was up & down, but then I started singing a marching song (in my head) and it was at just the right pace that I wanted to keep. That did the trick and I sang four lines of the song every few mins to remind me of my pace. The run was all in zone 2 and after my initial settling down my HR didn't go above 155bpm, which I'm pretty happy about. All in all I covered 32.5k - my longest run by over 5k to date. For the last 1.5k I was feeling really good and actually smiling! So I brought the pace up to around 5:25min/k until I got close to the house and slowed up a bit.
All in all a good bit of training and just 3 weeks to the marathon in Connemara.
On Saturday I also got to pay a visit to the shop of IrishFit, which I had only ever visited online before. I got chatting to Sean (the owner) and bought a pair of padded cycling shorts - having recently done 79k commute to/from work these are badly needed! Also, I was looking to try out a different recovery drink and Sean recommended Hammer Recoverite. I bought some and tried it after my LSR. The taste is very weak but it's not as heavy on the stomach as Kinetica (which just ran out). I'll keep on it and let you know.
Also, during the LSR I got two blisters on the toes of my right foot (one burst during the run), even though I was wearing my 1,000 mile socks - guaranteed blister proof...hmmm.

Keep running,

Monday, March 14, 2011

And I'm back...

The last week or so I was down with/recovering from a chest infection that has been doing the rounds recently. I'm glad to say that myself and the kids are now recovered!
On Friday I did a gym session as follows:
10mins on rower - warm up
35 situps
35 pressups
3 x 12 with 8kg shoulder press sitting on ball (about 3' dia)
3 x 12 with 8kg chest press while lying flat on same ball
3 x 12 squat holding 4kg ball at arms length (up from 2kg)
10mins on bosu ball - squats, balance, single leg raises and single leg squats
3 x 12 75lbs lat pull downs
Leg extn 12 x 3 70lbs
Overhead press 10 x 2 62.5lbs
Leg curl 12 x 3 70lbs
Seated row 12 x 2 70lbs
Chest press 12 x 3 50lbs
Leg press 15 x 3 150lbs
Calf raises in leg press 15 x 3 110lbs
Arm curl 12 x 3 70lbs
Then 1k on treadmill - yes just 1k, as I was in my VFFs and this was my first ever run in them!
I took this pic on the stairs going into the gym this morning. They put up a thought for the day every day...

On Saturday I was spending a lot of time decorating the house, so I did an easy 2.5k run to the shops and back for lunch in the VFFs again. On Sunday I put on my Asics and did my usual out & back 10k route in 49:37. Not bad as I really hadn't been able to run much in 8 days!
Then this morning I was up at 5:45 and set off to the gym. It was 1C degrees when I left and the sun was just coming up over the horizon. I slightly pushed some of the workout today like this:
40 situps
40 pressups
10mins on rower
3 x 12 with 10kg shoulder press sitting on ball (about 3' dia)
3 x 12 with 10kg chest press while lying flat on same ball
3 x 12 squat holding 4kg ball at arms length (up from 2kg)
10mins on bosu ball - squats, balance, single leg raises and single leg squats
3 x 12 75lbs lat pull downs
Leg extn 3 x 12 70lbs
Overhead press 2 x 10 62.5lbs
Leg curl 3 x 12 70lbs
Seated row 2 x 12 70lbs
Chest press 3 x 12 50lbs
Leg press 3 x 15 150lbs
Calf raises in leg press 3 x 20 110lbs
Arm curl 3 x 12 70lbs
Plank for 1min (working on this)
1.5k treadmill run in VFFs (took it easy and did it in 9:30)
Stretching for 10mins
Not a bad start to the week! We have the club track session tomorrow and then on Thursday (St Patrick's Day) there is a 6 mile race hosted by another club - the one my brother in law is in, so that'll be a good workout!
Keep running,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Non-running post

As this is a running blog, I had told myself for a few days that there's no need to post right now, as I'm not running. But today I'm looking at it from a different perspective.
Last Friday I did my gym workout (rower, weights/core and treadmill). I didn't feel like I had a huge amount of energy and my throat was pretty dry, but I didn't take much notice. My daughter (3yo) was down with a cold/chest infection and I was hoping not to catch it. By Friday evening I knew the throat issue/lack of energy was creeping up on me.
Saturday was a rest day before my LSR on Sunday. Saturday I knew I had a head cold and started treating it with lots of water, rest and Lemsips. I was determined to do my LSR and even considered doing 20k on the gym treadmill, but it was not to be. My sinuses were pretty blocked on Sunday and my energy levels were going south. Around this time my son (4yo) was coming down with the same infection and I was really trying not to succumb  to it. Monday came and went with no improvement and I was now having trouble breathing when lying down. I had to pull out of the Tuesday track session and that night I was coughing a lot in bed - keeping myself awake.
This morning (Wednesday) I went to the doctor and I have inflamed ear canals, heavily blocked sinuses and a chest infection. I'm on an antibiotic and taking in fluids and Lemsips. Hopefully I can get back training soon, although my LSR for the coming weekend is doubtful unless I'm 100%.
With just 32 days to my marathon, this really isn't what I need!
But I'm keeping upbeat. I don't believe in feeling sorry for myself - I'm not a victim and don't play that part. As D. H. Lawrence said in one of his poems "Self Pity":
"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.
A small bird will fall frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself"

I'm taking in a lot of protein and fruit and water. During the day I'm doing pushups and lifting my dumbbells when I can find a few minutes - every little helps! I'm still working every day (working from home means you need a really good excuse not to work!).
Here's hoping I can recover and get back training soon!

Keep running,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Training update - March 2011

So it's that time where I look back at the previous month's performance and see how I feel about it and see if it's helping me reach my goals. I went into Feb with a sprained ankle but also with a new bike. Cycling was pain free, so I took that out once or twice a week.
I managed to run 135k last month, my second highest monthly total ever. I also cycled 35k, I think I just got one bike ride in before my ankle got better and I let it gather dust while I got back running! But my distance total (incl all training) was 180k, my third highest ever. Considering I had a dodgy start to the month I'm pretty happy with that!
This week I did a short 4.5k run on Monday, I didn't have time to go longer. Tuesday we were back at the Ratoath AC track and we did strength and conditioning drills interspersed with a lap of the track or a fast run of half the track.
That night I made plans for Wednesday...I got up and got my bike ready and hit the road. I commuted from my house to the company's data centre in City West, a distance of just over 39k! I had thought it was about 25-28, but I'm glad I didn't map it out in advance - it would have put me off! The working day was reasonably physical - moving and racking servers, re-cabling etc. I walked to a local coffee shop and got a big lunch of lasagne, two salads and tea, water and apple juice, also buying two granola bars on the way back. In the data centre we're not allowed to bring in any liquids or foods, so hydrating wasn't easy! All too soon it came time to start the return home. My legs were tired from the start and the journey home was definitely more uphill than the one there! When I got to the top of one long hill, I actually stopped and checked my rear tire, I could have sworn I had a flat, but it was just my legs not being able to push any faster.
When I had 10k to go my legs were wrecked and I would have loved to stop for a coffee or even a beer! The last part was tough but there's a nice short downhill leading up to my road that was worth waiting for. That was a total of just over 79k cycling in the day! My legs are still feeling it, but the funny thing is I would have loved to go for a run when I got home - weird or what!?!
At home I had some good news, my VFFs have arrived! My kids thought they looked funny when I put them on and they do I guess. I'll be breaking them in slowly and I'll keep you updated!

Keep running,