Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tactically misplaced and VFF run

Looks like the temps are finally starting to creep up (mid-June, about time!). I've been only doing relaxed/easy runs recently, but they have all been stress and injury free and I've been enjoying them more. That's what its all about, isn't it?
I got my bike out a couple of times last week and I love being out on it, I'm not super fast and it's a hybrid bike, so no aero bars or anything. I've found a nice route that's about 27k long, no big hills (some small ones) and at the 20k mark there's a shop that sells Powerade, so I can refill my water bottle, which is empty by then. Only down side is that now that it's a bit warmer, there's a LOT more flies etc, so I may have to get a face mask if things get any worse, I'm sure dead insects on my face aren't that appealing!
I was in the gym on Friday morning - early - and one of the usual local guys told me of a new route I should try running. So I went home, walked my son to school and did just that. I didn't know how long the route was, but I did know it would be more than 12k and possibly 18k or so. I decided to bring my voice recorder to put down some more podcast audio and I stuffed it in the mesh pocket of my Camelbak. MISTAKE!
I took my pre-race drink, which tastes and smells as bad as it looks, but gives a sustained energy release, not a caffeine like spike.

The run started off out my usual 10k route and into a neighbouring village and then turned right, off the main road. At this point the directions I was given said to take the next right turn, which I did. The road got pretty narrow, only wide enough for one car. Even at that I had to step off the road when a van came towards me. The houses here were lovely. I didn't take any pics, as I wouldn't want any random person taking pics of my house, ha ha! I was starting to wonder where the road was taking me, but kept going and checked my Garmin "back to start" feature. Looked like I was going in the right direction according to it's compass anyway. I was 9k into the run and didn't want to have to turn and end up doing 18k when I could be home sooner (I had to get home to pick up my son from school at lunch). I kept on going and eventually the road twisted and turned and came to a familiar T junction - I was back on the main road I had recently been running on! With just over 5k left I turned for home and kept talking into the mic to record more for the podcast. I had clipped the mic onto the top of my t-shirt and the Camelbak hose is a bit short, so it gets kinda close to the mic when it's stowed away on the shoulder strap. I was concerned about audio quality from the two items brushing off each other.
Anyway I got home and in time to shower and change and pick up "mini me" and bring him for lunch. I listened back to the audio yesterday (over an hour's worth) and the whole time there is a weird noise that is really annoying. No, not my voice, but the sound of the recorder bouncing in the pocket and rubbing off the mesh - totally ruined! That's a pity, as it's kinda funny. I will go back to holding the recorder in my SPI Belt and record some more.
Yesterday we didn't have a babysitter and my wife is on night shift this week, so I had to get my run in early and skip the track session. I decided to do a relaxed 5k local run but to wear my VFFs. I started out slow but soon felt comfortable and my body naturally picked up the pace without me telling it to. I wasn't going super fast, just at a comfortable pace. I got back home with a little over 5k and the longest I've ever done in the VFFs, sweet!! I'll try to gradually bring up the distance in them over the next few weeks. There's a 5k road race next week, but I'm not ready to race in them and it's a club race, so I'll use my "normal" runners for it.

Keep running,

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Club Championships, training sites and hydration

So last night was the 2nd annual Club Championships for Ratoath AC, which I'm a member of. The evening was focused on the kids and we tried not to make it too competitive.
There was age groups from u6 right up to u16 and a parents 60m dash. I'm proud to say that my son came 3rd in the u6 60m race (he's not even 5 yet!). His best bud came in first, so I'm sure there'll be some good ribbing in school today!
I was on hand partly as I'm an Assistant Coach for the kids and partly as a designated first aider, so I had to hang around until the bitter end. There was a lot of laughs and it was great to see some of the kids running barefoot (we use a grass track). The u9 girl's race was won barefoot even!
It rained on and off most of the evening, but it didn't dampen our spirits. About half way through the awards at the end I stripped off my track suit and packed it in my backpack (along with my first aid kit and umbrella and water) and headed off on my run.
I had been to the gym in the morning before work and did 3k in the VFFs, but wanted to get a longer run in. So I ran from the track past my house (about 1.2k) and out the Kilbride Road and back. I used the same 10k out and back that I normally run, which is clocked at 10.2 to 10.3k, so I logged it as a 11.5k run. Even if that's 100m out it's no biggie in the grand scheme of things.
Training has been going well. I wasn't happy about deferring Portumna, but I wasn't in shape for it, simple as that. It was the first big race and defined goal that I'd had to back away from but I wasn't enjoying my training and I was pushing myself too hard. Since then I took a couple of days off and started running relaxed again, with no definite time/distance for my runs. Feels great!
The next race I'm entered in is the Clontarf HM on July 3rd. It's billed as "Ireland's flattest half marathon". by the elevation it sure looks flat, but it's run on road, grass and beach, so not as fast as you may think. But I haven't done it before, so we'll see how it goes. The weekend coming I will be away diving in West Cork with a bunch of friends, so I will have to get a run in on Friday and taper from there.
Also worthy of note, I stopped posting my runs on DailyMile and started using RunAhead. I had various reasons for this, mostly because RunAhead has a more granular way of adding in details about the run and can graph them accordingly. Also, I've had issues with DM not syncing my Garmin, but never had those issues with RA. I'm now posting on both sites, in case one goes down and I lose everything - you never know.
Recently my old 1.5L hydration pack gave up on me. Actually the kids got it and it has been leaking like a sieve since. It only cost $19.95, so I'm not too bothered. So I went out and got a 3L Camelbak Octane XCT for €67.
I like the Camelbak, but it hugs my back so I get sweaty so more grooves in the padding would be good. Also, the hose could be 4-6 inches longer, as I think it's a bit short. It does have two side zipped pockets though and a cargo stash at the back for a rain jacket etc, so all good. 3L is probably more than I'll need. The pack only weighs 320g, but when you add in 3kg for the full bladder and gels and rain jacket etc, it does get heavy for running and I can feel it moving about on my back. It has a chest strap and another strap lower down (above the waist), but you don't want them too tight.
Anyway, I think I've blogged plenty for today!

Keep running,

Friday, June 10, 2011

Irish Runner Episode 7.1

This episode, I take you on a blustery run through Dublin's Pheonix Park and talk about some upcoming races, issues I've been having and products I've been using.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Decisions made

Some decisions are easy and are made in the blinking of an eye or the "shake of a lamb's tail". Others are a lot more tricky and really take time to figure out, weighing up the pros and cons. I've had two tricky, running based decisions this week. Both of them involved pulling out of races.
I was registered for two half marathons in September, one week apart from each other. Now I can run that distance every weekend and still do the rest of my training. I'm not boasting, there's a good percentage of runners far more capable than I, it's just the level I'm at right now. But I'm going to work towards the Dublin Marathon at the end of October, so I really don't want to risk injury that close to the big one.
I checked the elevations of both races and backed out of the Cliffs of Moher, as the profile was too steep to fit into my current level of training. That wasn't too tricky to decide. I'm still doing the Dublin HM.
The really tricky one was Portumna, my first 50k race. Had my training gone to plan, I would have recovered well from Connemarathon, done the Kildare HM and coasted into base building for Portumna. It didn't.
Two weeks before Kildare I strained one of my hamstrings and it's taken 4-5 weeks to be able to run well again. I told myself that if I couldn't do a 30k run two weeks out of the race, then I had no business going to the start line of a 50k. So on Sunday I went out and kept going until I had just over 30k on the Garmin. Afterwards I had my usual recovery drink, fruit, water and a big dinner. The next day I was tired, hungry and sore. It wouldn't normally take me that long to recover from a run under 3 hours long.
So on Tuesday (yesterday), I reached the decision that yes, I did the run I had set out to do, but my body was reeling afterwards. What would happen if I tried to do another 20k at the same level of fitness? I had clearly lost a lot of training in the time it had taken for my hamstring to mend. So I emailed the RD and asked to defer my entry until next year.
I don't feel good about the decision, but I feel like a weight has been lifted from me. Some stress is gone. After all, I'm in this for fun, I'm not getting paid for it! If I can't go into a race and enjoy it - why enter?

Keep running,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Build up and LSR

This last week has been all about building up some good distance/speedwork and getting in a LSR. I did a mammoth gym session on Monday, knowing I wouldn't get a chance to go again the rest of the week. Tuesday was club training at the track, Wednesday I did two laps of the village for about 7.6k (all I could fit in).
Thursday I took off, main reason was that I hadn't been doing a lot of training, so I didn't want a blowout.
Friday I did the same village loop twice, but it had gone up 5 degrees C in the previous two days! It was very warm and humid, so my pace was not what I would have liked. When I got home I had my recovery drink and poured a litre of water over my head - which the kids thought was a bit weird, but if felt pretty good!
Saturday we took off to a hotel in Druid's Glen in Wicklow. I was on call all week and as soon as we put our bags in the hotel room I got called and had to go online and work, but only for 30mins or so. We brought the kids to Greystones to climb the seaside rocks and mess around and then did some swimming in the hotel pool. Dinner was excellent, I love the food in this place!
I got called for work a couple of times during the night, so had interrupted sleep. We were only staying one night, so checked out and drove home on Sunday. Then I spent four hours painting the dining room while the rest of the family visited the in-laws.
With the painting done, it was overcast and raining, so I decided I needed to go for a run! It was nearly 18:00 by the time I had done faffing about and got out the door. I brought my 1.5L hydration pack, a bottle of Powerade, gels and Endurolytes, RoadID, Garmin and a headlight. After about 5k I realized I should have brought my shades too.
I hadn't had a big lunch, mainly fruit and water, but breakfast was big and healthy. My usual route for the distance I was hoping for would have been too busy with traffic at this time, so I had to wing it. The clouds were shifting and the sun came out. Headlight not required, but shades would have been nice. The first 20k was plain sailing, felt good and had a nice pace (about 5:20min/k), although I was trying to conserve some energy. From the 19k point I was running into the wind, which was a bit draining, and my pace soon slowed to about 6min/k. I was taking an Endurolyte every 30mins and a gel every 9k. I used my Powerade (500ml) first and dumped the bottle in a bin en route at about 10k. From then on I was on water.
When I was nearly back at the house I knew I would only be at about 24k, still 6k short of my target, so I passed he house and ran into the village the long way. On the return I had the wind at my back and felt better, then realized I would still be a little shy of 30k, so I turned back into the wind for a minute. That was pretty draining, as it was uphill too. When I turned again I was glad to be heading home, but had to run past the house and down the street for a couple of hundred metres and back again to get 30k on the clock. Overall pace was 5:47 and time of 2:54. This is my fastest 30k yet, which is good as I wasn't going for pace, just by how I felt. Average HR was 153, so happy with that too.
Left shin is a bit sore today, and it's Track Tuesday, so I'll see how I feel later but I may give training a miss and focus on long term goals instead.
Keep running,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

SR but not L and monthly update

On Sunday my hammie was feeling much improved, so I decided I had to get a run in, long one if possible. I drove to the Pheonix park with gels, hydration pack, recovery drink etc and of course it was raining :-(
I set off anyway, deciding on letting my leg tell me when was enough. It was quite windy but about half way the rain stopped and it wasn't too cold. I kept the pace easy and constant and my HR the same but about the 8k mark my hammie started complaining. I kept going but at about 10.5k I had to stop as I didn't want a relapse of the issue.
I went to the gym again on Monday as I knew I wouldn't get a chance the rest of the week and I really pushed myself. It included a 5k treadmill run done in 24:10, just less than a minute over my PB. Best of all - no pain!
Tuesday was track night with the club. I ran over to the school where we coach the kids and coached for the hour before going to the track just beside it. I did 3 x 400m warmup at a relaxed pace, then we did dynamic stretches and 20m sprints at 75-85%. After that we did 10 x 200m with a 30sec SR. There was 10 of us doing them and I was consistently coming in third, without racing it. I knew there was 10 to do, so no point in wearing myself out before the end. On the last one, I decided to push things and went all out from 50m. I took the lead but was beaten in the last 10m. Well she's done more marathons than me, is generally more experienced and a lot younger. Those are my excuses and I'm sticking to them!
We did 5 x 400m laps to wind down and after a chat with the group I ran home.
So for the month of May my totals have slipped a bit, down about 30k on April. That's down mainly to my hamstring issue. But I feel like I'm back on track now (excuse the pun!).

With just over two weeks to go before the Portumna 50k I really need to get a good LSR in this weekend. Physically I need to be comfortable with +30k and mentally I need to have my head in the right place. Getting my positive attitude will be a big help on the day, especially in the last 10k or so.
Keep running,