Sunday, February 22, 2009

A new week.

It feels like I've recovered from my calf / shin injury which was basically a tight calf muscle causing the shin pain.  My aim now is to remain injury free for the next few weeks and pay a bit more attention to my stretching.  I ran just short of 26 miles yesterday without any cause for concern and in the 2 previous days I ran a 6 miler at a steady pace on the Track with Tony and an easy 11 miler on Friday.  My injury had me out of action for 3 days and it's hard to believe that I could hardly walk with the pain last Tuesday.  Having had similar problems before I wasn't too worried and rather than panic I spent every free moment massaging the affected area.  If I was on schedule I would have ran 32-35 miles yesterday but the event is too close to take a chance on running that sort of distance just after an injury.  I think it's best to be at the starting line slightly undertrained and injury free than taking a chance by over doing it in training. 
How do I know I ran just short of 26 miles? For my long runs I use a Garmin Forerunner which takes the guess work out of distance and pacing.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Running is hard but not running is harder.

I've 38 days to go until my first attempt at a road 100K which also includes a week of Tapering and I'm injured. There were times when it was an effort to put on my running gear and leave my house for a 1 or 2 hour run on a cold winter's evening and sometimes I convinced myself not to go out. But now that I'm injured and I can't go out I don't have that same lazy feeling and it's killing me not to run now that I don't have a choice. My injury is nothing serious but it's enough to knock me back a small but still significant bit in my schedule. The attached photo was taken after successfully climbing to the highest point in every county in Ireland in a record breaking 96 hrs with a team from Ulster Bank. I injured my knee while descending Carrantouhill the first peak of our challenge and had to improvise a knee support using a pair of boxer shorts and duck tape.

Monday, February 16, 2009

All Ireland Masters Cross Country Championships 2009

When I finished the Empire State Building Run Up I sent a message to Tony with my result and his reply was 'We've been selected to run on the Kildare Team for the All Ireland Masters Cross Country Championships'.  It's great having a race to look forward to but the short fast races are not ideal preparation for an Ultra which is only 4o days away!  Running in the Cross Country meant missing another long run so how could I work it to my advantage?  Ideally I should be running at an easy pace for at least 3 hrs at this stage but this race which is only 7K should be over in less than 30 mins and its at a much harder pace.  The race took a lot out of me and I was fairly drained at the end with my legs feeling very heavy and tired as they usually would after a cross country effort but rather than rest and recover I ran home as planned.  The run home was less than 15 miles and I struggled to keep going having to take many walk breaks.  It was just what I needed and will simulate the feeling I can expect at around the 70K mark in the Ultra when my glycogen stores are depleted.   
That's Tony Brennan in the picture above.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yukon Arctic Ultra

This day 4 years ago I was in a town called Whitehorse in the Yukon territory of Northern Canada to compete in the Yukon Arctic Ultra.  The race followed in the wake of the Yukon Quest dog sleigh race which runs from Whitehorse to Dawson city along the Dawson trail.  The two events were similar in format with ours being human rather than dog powered.  During the race we had to cope with extreme temperatures and worst of all, sleep depravation.  I can remember having very vivid hallucinations and at one point can recall seeing a camera man on the trail and he was in my sight until I was almost close enough to touch him.  

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Empire State Building Run Up

Apart from the Run Up this has been a very quiet week and my mileage is way down! I went for a run yesterday with Tony and i struggled to cover 6 miles at a Steady Pace in almost ideal conditions. Finished the day with a late night and a free bar (Mark Pollock on Tubridy Tonight) so that didn't leave me in good condition for a long run today. I did manage to get up early but ended up going back to bed as it was snowing heavy outside. Hopefully next week will see me back in action and close to schedule for the 100K in Galway next month.

Friday, February 6, 2009

And I'm back.

Nothing could have fully prepared me for this race but the few sessions in Liberty Hall did help.  The race was divided into 3 heats with the women going first followed by the first men's heat and then mine.  My race number 241 meant I was seeded towards the back but as we made our way to the Foyer of the building I inched my way as close to the front as possible to have some advantage entering the stairway.   The start was quite aggressive and after the initial sprint to the doorway I was pushed to the side and had to fight my way through.  My legs were shaking, throat was dry and heart pounding before I'd climbed a step.  After the first 10 floors I had my rhythm and was running 2 steps at a time and alternating between pulling myself up with the handrails and on longer flights pushing my hands down onto my quads.  It wasn't long before I caught up with the back markers from the first men's heat and although this helped to keep me going I still wanted it to end.  The climbing was ok but going from the top of one flight to the next included some flat running and sometimes it meant running to the opposite side of the building and this is when I felt it as my legs were wobbling with the lactic acid.  I was pacing myself well but not concentrating on the floor numbers and before I knew it I was almost at the top and kicked too late to finish as I would have liked to.  Reaching floor 86 we finished with a sprint around the observation deck in the snow and then it was all over.  Queued for the lift back down to floor 61 to meet with my family and following the refreshments and awards ceremony we made our way back down to 5th avenue via 2 lifts, waiting for the lift was very annoying.