Monday, June 29, 2009

No Pressure

While out taking some lovely shots at the Dublin Grand Prix of Race Walking yesterday I bumped into Jerry Kiernan. I was only talking to him briefly but mentioned that I was planning on racing a 3000m race this Wednesday and that I had a bit of a shocker last time out. When I told him the meet was in Irishtown he informed me that it was just a walk down the road from him and that he'd be out to watch it. Not only that but he said we'd sit down beforehand and go through my race plan and the splits I'm to hit.

"You'll hit them splits. Don't worry about what anyone else is doing in the race, do your own thing and you'll get a tidy PB. That's all there is to it. It's easy."

So a pep talk from an Irish Olympian right before I go out and race on Wednesday. No pressure there then!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Upcoming Races

Over the last few days I haven't been certain as to when I'd race again. I wasn't thinking of a prolonged absence, far from it, I kind of thought it may be best to give it a few weeks before throwing myself into the mix again - grab a few good training sessions, get the confidence back and then race. From the 1st July to the 5th August there's five 3000m races out there that I could enter. Realistically I'm only going to jump into four of them, but which four I've no idea. Last night I was out at the IMC races in Irishtown taking a few photos. The weather, crowds, ambiance and the speeds everyone raced at reignited the flame - I'm fairly sure I'll jump straight back on the horse and race next Wednesday. I have to run it by CR first but I can't see him having an issue with it. The other thing I have to see is how my hamstring feels after some fast 400s on the track tomorrow - it's been a tad tight for the last few days.

Upcoming Races
1st July - Dublin Graded Meet 3000m
9th July - Club 3000m Champs
15th July - Dublin Graded Meet 3000m
25th July - IMC 3000m
5th Aug - Dublin Graded Meet 3000m

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Race Report # 24: It's gotta get bad before it gets good

Photo by Danial Kowalczyk

“That was a negative, and right now I need two positives. One to cancel out the negative and another one, you know, just so I can have a positive.”

Miserable and unexpected. That's how last nights race went. On a day when I hoped to hit a big PB, the last thing I'd have thought is that I'd run slower than I'd ever run for 3000m, and by a long way at that.

During the warm up I felt grand, showing no signs of what was about to unfold. The plan of 75 second laps would be tough, but I was confident I could do them. As we lined up all was still good, right until the gun went. Everyone shot off at a ridiculous pace. I tucked in at the back and got dragged through the first 200m, labouring a bit and then I saw the clock. Woah, 34 seconds... slow down, slow down now!! I went through 400m in 72/73, still slightly faster than I'd hoped. Everyone else on the otherhand went through in 66-68s. Good God, I'd run faster in the first lap than any race last year and I was already about 5 seconds behind second last. My thought process was that the pace was so fast that some people would have to come back to me. At 800m I was bang on target pace but even further behind. The realisation that no one was coming back hit and I lost the mental battle. Everything went further downhill from there.

In the end, even if I'd have hit my race target I'd still have ended up last by a good 5 seconds. Instead I was last by 200m. If I'd run the same time as last year I'd have a bit annoyed and probably looked at any number of excuses. But this? No reason I can think of can excuse this. The main plus I'm taking out of it is that I won't run slower than that again this year.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Question mark

If it's possible for me to run 26 miles in an average time of 6:13 a mile, how likely is that I'll be able to run less than 2 miles with an average of 5 minutes a mile?

Answer over the weekend.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How did I get by before?

Reading books about running has never been high on my agenda. Running for at least an hour a day is enough for me without running creeping into my running free hobbies. To date I've read one book about running - What I talk about when I talk about running - which meant that last week's impulse purchase of not one, but two running related books still has me slightly shocked. The book depository, by the way, has free delivery on books worldwide! I don't think I'd ever have found such random running books in my local Waterstones. Both books arrived to my door in less than a week - Result!

These new running books have also got to know their place. Under no circumstances will they get the chance to replace my normal book reading. I'm almost 500 pages through David Simon's beast of a book "The Corner", so I can't let anything slow that progress down! Running books can be read at times when I wouldn't normally read and have time to kill... like yesterday, on my two buses to training. Tonight, it was on the two buses to Santry to watch some racing and on Saturday it'll be on the two buses to get to my race. All of a sudden everything seems to be two buses away, yet none of the destinations are more than five miles from my door. The investment of a motor of some kind is going to be needed very shortly.

Now I've started into "Eating for Endurance" and I'm quite puzzled how I managed to function before. Damn that food pyramid - I'm almost certain that I'm not eating enough of any of the levels besides my trusty carbohydrate layer at the bottom - bread and grain I'm well up on - dairy, fruit and meat all seem to be a bit light. That's what I figured out after chapter one. There's about 9 more chapters - if every one makes me think about restructuring my diet it could be a very different Private around these parts in a few weeks.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

One for me

Week one of the first full week back training since the marathon is just about done. Last night I hit the track for a few 400s. With no watch, since I threw it away after 5km in the marathon, I went totally by feel. The aim was to get 10 done with the recovery set as "whenever I feel ready to go again". As I was a bit rusty on the track I'd have to imagine that the times were fairly scatter gun. The first one went off a bit fast, I could feel it at 100m. Then when I tried to readjust and go a bit slower it felt like I was going waaaaay to slow, even though it was probably about right but just seemed slow because I started fast... god dammit, I hate working out pacing!

The 400s were probably slower than what I was running last summer on the track, the recovery could well have been longer, although for the most part the recovery didn't seem that long, but the bonus of the session was the fact that I went past 10 reps. It may only have been by one, but considering last summer I was doing 400s on the track for a good 4 months and never got past 10 I'm taking my one. I could probably have done another one or two but the aim of the session was to feel comfortable with the track rather than killing myself (I did that on Tuesday). One week to my first track race of the season and that one little, extra 400m has given me that bit of extra confidence that I'm that bit stronger than this time last year. Granted confidence changes from one training sesssion to the next, so chances are it could taking a shoeing in the race or the first time I start timing the 400s and recoveries the week after. For the moment though I'm heading into tomorrows 15 miler in high spirits!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Let's call this the comeback

"You've come along way. Just one more to do. You're not going to stop on four or you?"
I was kind of toying with the idea
"If you'd gone out and run on your holiday this wouldn't hurt so much"

5 x 2km with shag all recovery.... Christ, that was hard!

Monday, June 8, 2009

In the sun I grew the bones of a fighter

Rib watch:
Since "the incident" it's been four and a half weeks. I was told to expect four to six weeks for the bone to heel properly. Today, I feel like I have complete movement again and only feel a slight bit tender when I lie on my left side. Therefore, I try not to lie on my left side. Problem sorted!

I read this snippet of information when looking up sources of Vitamin D a few weeks back.
"It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis" - the week in the sun couldn't have come at a better time. Between an increase in my milk intake and a week sans clouds that rib was always going to heal in 4 weeks, time off or not!

Yesterday was day one back in Ireland. I decided to see how much fitness I lost in a week of drunken sunbathing. Quite a bit is the answer... although trying to take on the hills in the Phoenix Park for the first time in 6 weeks, the day after sitting for 9 hours on planes, 5 hours in airports and another hour in cars was never going to be easy regardless of how fit I was! The plus side of it all was that I couldn't feel the rib at any stage on the run, or afterwards for that matter.

Next up:
Racing. I need to get back into it. Ideally I'd love to have a four mile blowout race on a road somewhere but time constraints are against me. The perfect time for that would have been the week I was on holiday. Instead I have to look to the track. The plan is to get 6 races on the track in between now and the start of August. I'll be looking at races between 3,000m and 5,000m with at least 10 days between each race. I've got about five pencilled in now and once the date for our club 3,000m championship is finalised that should make it six. The first race should be in two weeks time.

Secondly, four kilos. That's the weight that's been added since the Dusseldorf marathon six weeks ago. It's got to go. I'm not too sure how to get rid of it as I've never actively tried to lose weight, it's always just gone. Hopefully it'll just go once I get back into full training again. To try help things along I'll cut out the crap from the diet - biscuits and chocolate with my evening coffee - and knock alcohol on the head as well - except the standard wine with meals out etc.

It's good to be back...