Saturday, August 29, 2009

A week of firsts

In the week following the 10 mile race I was told to take it easy, no speed training until the Friday, and even then hold back a bit. The long run on the Sunday was to be slow, there'll be plenty of time to go up a gear in the next few weeks. The rest of the week was filled up with easy jogging. With that week out of the way, last week was the week to start going fast again.

On Tuesday I was trying my best to hang onto the coat tails of John during an 8 x 4 minute fartlek session with a minute recovery in between. I've never done an interval session longer with intervals longer than 3 minutes. Usually with 3 minute intervals I do six of them and give myself 90 seconds recovery. This meant that the extra minute, 2 extra reps and 30 seconds less recovery was going to hurt by the end. It did. I finished close enough to John on the first one but there after he stepped things up. Thankfully as this was a session on effort over time rather than distance I could cut corners to keep him in sight. John finished up doing 10, I thought 8 was plenty for myself and jogged back to meet the others who were finishing up a 10 mile tempo!

The firsts just kept on rolling in for the rest of the week. On Wednesday I managed my first 10 mile easy run the day after a Tuesday session in months. Then on Friday I covered 18 x 1 minute on my usual 5 mile loop. I hadn't really planned on going above the usual 16 but after the sixteenth was done I felt good enough to try for two more. The firsts all finished on Sunday morning. Due to a hectic day on the cards I had to drag myself out of bed at 5.30am and hit the roads for 17 miles unfueled. I can still feel that in my legs and don't think I'll be trying that for a second time.

With only 2 weeks to go to the 10k race in Firhouse things are looking good. I'm going for another tough week this week and then cutting back next week in the lead into the race. After a summer sans a PB here's hoping that the first race of autumn will bring one.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Race Report #28 - Roads, back on good old reliable roads!

Well this has been by far and away the longest it's taken me to get some form of race report together. A non-existent Internet connection in the evenings, work, sorting photos, training, ridiculous hangovers and fatigue have all conspired to keep me away from here.

I was quite nervous going into this race - no tempo runs, a longest race of 3000m and a longest interval of 2km in the previous four months kind of made me think that this wasn't the race I should be in. Saying that, I'm nothing if not ambitious. At the back of my mind I was thinking about the 56.50 I ran in Ballycotton and trying to go one better... even one second if possible. The nerves were telling me I could run a solid 6 miles, maybe 7, and I'd struggle from there. How badly I'd struggle was anyone's guess.

The heavy, heavy, heavy rain during the few hours I'd been awake died off with 30 minutes to go until the race. As the race started the sun was beating down and it seemed like perfect racing conditions. There was a bit of wind going about the place but all in all the weather didn't look like it'd be a problem. The first mile went off quite fast. I couldn't get over the speed people were shooting past me, and I was going at a fairly decent clip. I could still see (just) the lead car when I went by the mile mark and it read 5:32. I decided that was a tad quick and put the brakes on a bit. The next few miles all felt comfortable enough. I joined up with another runner and we were picking people off all around, up and down the first set of hills. Climbing up the second hill we met the guy in the picture above, 4751, and went by him. I could hear him hang on to our coat tails and eventually when my running partner of the previous 3 miles upped the pace I decided to hang with 4751 rather than go at a faster pace.

The next few miles saw me sit in behind my new running partner who seemed to have gotten his second wind and accelerated at times to pick off a few more ahead of us. The whole sixth mile down the Kyber was downhill. I switched off completely here and just plodded down, sticking with 4751. The moment you turn the corner at the bottom of the Kyber you go straight into a steep uphill. I decided to attack the hill because it didn't take much out of me on lap one. Big mistake... on lap one this hill appeared after two easy miles... on lap two six miles were in the legs. Half way up I could feel myself struggling and hoped to have someone come on my shoulder pronto. To make matters worse the moment we got to the top of the hill and onto the S-bends the wind picked up and a sudden downpour hit us. Thank god for the next couple of hundred metres downhill to recover a bit.

Just after 8 miles I got my sudden second wind and upped the pace, heading for home. The hills were behind us and it was flat until the finish. In hindsight I should have held on a bit longer - even though I run around this park every day what seemed like just around the corner was really just under two miles. To my left were all the people being lapped and I had the right lane essentially to myself. After what felt like an age I'd decided that I'd missed the ninth mile marker in the crowds so I now only had less than a mile to go. To my horror a few minutes later I passed the marker. Talk about being deflated. This made the last mile absolutely awful and when two lads went past me in the final 400m I couldn't have been arsed to even make an attempt to go with them.

I crossed the line in 58.30 and considering the list of excuses I had in my head before the race I've got to be content with this. Next up is a 10km race in 3 weeks where I will be fully intent on going faster than 34.20. This 10 miler should be good for my strength over the next few weeks training and the 10km race itself.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I don't have a clue

I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this 10 miler on Saturday morning. I can't think of the last time I've entered a race not knowing what I'm capable of doing. For all I know I could run over an hour, be around the PB mark from Ballycotton, smash the Ballycotton time, or just run an average race. Usually there'd be some race in recent months that I can guage my times against. The last road race was over 15 weeks ago and performances over seven laps of a track mean nothing when compared to 10 miles in the Phoenix Park.

If ever there was a race for me to go sans watch, this is it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Race Report #27 - Done, Dusted, Next....

I can happily say track racing is behind me for another year. Maybe the next time I take a stab at it I'll do more than five training sessions on the track! I had a quick swatch at my training log today and spotted that including the four races I've only set foot on a track nine times this year. That's not really the ideal prepartation when hoping to belt out fast times.

The plan for the final 3,000m was quite simple: start off relatively comfortable for a lap, push on in the second, push on again in the third and try stick with it for the final four. Piece of piss!

The first 3 laps went perfectly to plan - 74 seconds, 75 seconds, 75 seconds. I stuck in close behind another runner and didn't let him get away. As far as I was concerned he was doing a good clip so who was I to do anything stupid like try to go faster? Lap 4 - 81 seconds! Where the hell did that come from? I didn't notice the pace slow down but it had. I moved onto the shoulder of the guy in front to try get him moving again, and then sat back in for another few hundred metres. Next lap - 81 again. Son of a... I got over taken here and I tried to go with this guy but I couldn't inject anything else into it. I left the lad who had led our group for the opening four or five laps and started a battle against myself. Once these 81 second laps started that was it for me. I kind of think that if the forth lap had stayed at 75 seconds I would have pushed that out, but once it dropped to 81 I didn't have it in the legs to up the pace again. Does that make sense?! With 400m to go I saw that I needed a 75 second lap to at least run a PB. There was a fair whack of encouragement coming from the sidelines so I dug deep and... 77 seconds - Dammit!

Them four track races aren't something I plan on dwelling on. I've a few races pencilled in on the road before the cross country starts again. So what's the plan after racing less than 2 miles on a track for the last few months? The obvious answer is to race ten miles on the road!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Once more with meaning

Ok, Track. I don't like you, and you clearly don't like me. We just have to see each other once more this year, so we'll try to be civil. What's happened between us in the past shall remain there. It's a new chapter, the slate has been wiped clean. Whatever, I don't care, let's just get through these last 9 minutes and 42 seconds without damaging future relationships between us.