Monday, March 30, 2009

The Race

Race day for me started at 5:00 am with breakfast in bed before resetting my alarm for 07:00 and another 2 hours sleep.  All my kit was prepared the night before and my hotel was across the road from the start line which made for a hassle free start.  Before leaving the room I made up enough drinks to keep me going for at least 3hrs and Aisling had her instructions to resupply me throughout the day as required.
The relatively small field assembled in the starting area at 07:45 and we prepared our fuel by laying it out on a small section of a table which we would pass during every one of the fifty laps.
The night before the race I spoke with Martin Rea about the race, Martin was part of the Irish Team but had dropped out with an injury and rang me with some advice for my debut at the distance, he suggested that I run with Helena Crossan as he thought we had a similar pace. 
 As the race started I took off slowly and stayed towards the back making sure I didn't take off too fast and within the first lap I caught up with Helena and we worked together for the next uneventful 60K.  I say uneventful because all I was thinking of was staying on pace rather than counting laps or chasing anyone that overtook us.  In the early stages it can be an effort to run slower than you would normally run but it pays off later in the race as the fuel should still be in the legs.  
Do you get bored running all those laps? I didn't have time to get bored as I was concentrating on keeping a constant pace.  Heading away from the control area I was conscious of following the race line and running the shortest possible distance and on the return I was deciding what drink to have over the next few laps while always checking my time and pacing.  Having a short loop was ideal because it was easier to check pacing and we were never far from our fuel, a toilet or a medic if required.
Helena maintained her constant pace while I dropped back at 60K to loosen my lace to relieve some swelling in my foot.  I took off running again but at a slightly slower pace knowing it would be foolish to try catch up with Helena.  After completing the next lap I stopped again but this time I needed to take an anti inflamatory  as the swelling  was still there.  The problem was manageable and if pushed or if the loop was longer I could have ran through the pain, but for what? I knew I was going to achieve all I set out to do so there was no point in bringing home a preventable injury which would mess up my training schedule which would resume the following Wednesday.  I continued on running with Aisling Coppinger and we ran together for the next few laps.
At this point I had covered over 80K and was starting to feel some relief from the anti inflamatories so I picked up the pace again and before I knew it I heard a shout saying I had only 2 laps to go.  I didn't feel like I'd ran 96 Km and I thought this must be wrong so I asked if they could double check and it was reconfirmed.  I picked up the pace yet again and all of a sudden 8hrs 36mins 42 secs later it was over.  I didn't have that feeling of joy having finished and almost immediately I was thinking when can I do this again? Could I run closer to 8hrs?
I learnt a lot from this race and what I have learnt I cannot explain as it is based on my observations of people like Helena Crossan, Eoin Keith, Thomas Maguire, Tony Mangan, Aisling Coppinger and Bob Boles.  I could see the determination, the dedication, the confidence and everything else that goes into making an endurance athlete and I can't wait to put what I have learned into practice.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Almost there.

Finished my last training run this evening which was an easy 5 miles at an average pace of 8:30 min miles with Tony and now it's time to relax and wait for the big day. All my kit is packed and ready to go including my race day breakfast and recovery meal for after the race.

My plan for race day is based on heart rate and pace from a selection of runs over the past few weeks and my fuelling strategy was also worked out during some of my long runs. Running at a 7:30 mile my HR norm when fully hydrated usualy levels out at between 140-145bpm which is just under 80% of my HR max. As time goes on (3hrs+) my Hr starts to increase so my plan is to keep within the same HR zone which will mean slowing down.
To stay in control of the situation I plan on changing pace before I need to and that way I won't be giving in to self pity. So here's the plan:
0-20K: 7:30 min mile
20K-40K: 7:45min mile
40K-60K: 8:00min mile
60K-80K: 8:15min mile
80K-Finish: 8:30 min mile or if everything goes to plan and the bullets are in the legs I will run faster.

My goals are:
1. Maintain a steady pace.
2.Finish in under 9hrs.
3.Finish in under 10hr29min

I plan on drinking 500 -750Ml per hour and will start drinking after the first hour. How do I work out my hydration needs? I regularly weigh myself without clothes before a run taking my weight in Kgs and weigh myself again after running and the difference in weight loss gives you an idea of your fluid requirements. I use Kgs because 1 Kg = 1L of water and would run for a definite period of time such as 1 or 2 hours as this makes the calculations easy. If you drink anything during the run this must be factored into your calculations. It's important to take your weight without clothing as moisture will be trapped in shorts and Tshirt making your clothes heavy and giving an inaccurate result.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Race Week.

Went for a sports massage today as part of my final race preparations and was surprised at how knotted my legs were, it was a very painful session but felt great when it finished (Must stretch more).  I'll be doing very little this week as it's important to be well rested going into the race and my objective now is to remain injury free and healthy.  
This evening I met with Tony for an easy 6 miles and tomorrow I will rest.  Might do the same again on Wednesday and Thursday.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Well done Tony!

I didn't race today due to other commitments but Tony was there to represent the club and finished in a very respectable 4th position so it's well done Tony.
My training has been a bit hit and miss since last week because of a stomach bug I picked up last Wednesday.  It's a far from ideal situation but I suppose I'm lucky that it happened 2 weeks before the race rather than during race week as I'm only now starting to recover and there's no way I could have ran the 100K yesterday.  
Yesterday (Saturday) I did a short but intense track session to make amends for the number of training days I've missed and it took a lot of effort to keep going.  
The session was 5 miles with a 1 mile warm up and cool down and 3* 1 mile efforts at 6:15 pace.
Today I went for an easy 10 miles at my planned race pace of between 8 min - 7:30 min mile using my Garmin 305 to stay on target.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Taper

Finished off last week with a split session on Thursday & Friday which was 8 easy miles am and 10+ miles pm again at an easy pace.  Travelled to Kerry on Saturday and wasn't expecting to get any training done but managed a fast 9 miler on Sunday morning from Tralee town following the Dingle Way to the point where it goes off road.
From now until race day I will reduce the overall volume of training and maybe increase the intensity. There's a possibility of a 10K race next Sunday 22nd March and that should help loosen out the legs and get rid of the cobwebs from all those slow miles..  

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Almost a Taper

To make up for missing my Long run on Sunday I extended my run home from work on Monday.  I took a slight detour which added 4 miles before stopping off at home to ditch my bag and pick up a bottle of a carb drink which I had prepared for Sunday morning.  I then met up with Tony and he ran with me for 4 miles taking me away from my house and up a hill.  He then left me on a flat section of foot path which went on for 1.5 miles and for the next 1 hour I ran back and forward in the rain keeping an eye on my pace rather than heart rate as I need to make the effort to run slower than my default pace.  23 miles later I arrived home cold and wet but happy knowing that I'd got a semi long run done, it was shorter than planned but I finished knowing I could have kept going and it was certainly better than nothing.  From here on in I won't be doing any speed work, my long runs will shorten and my calorie intake will increase.  
 I'll explain in a later post how I'll combine the pace and heart rate for the Ultra and why I'm concentrating on pace for my long runs at the moment.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Abandon Mission!

The week didn't finish as it was supposed to.  Had planned a 35 + mile run on Sunday morning but shortly after starting out at 7:30 am I had to turn back to put on warmer clothes because it was so cold.  Off I went again and then it started to rain hailstones very heavily, I kept going and decided to run a loop rather than an out and back route like my last long run as it would give me some shelter but it got so bad that I had to return home yet again and put on some rain gear.  3rd time lucky, I went in a different direction and planned on running a 1K loop for an hour and then heading off in some other direction but the rain and hail just wouldn't stop and I was walking as much as running so I decided to call it a day.  There was no point in just being outside when I wasn't getting the work done.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


She'll never know!
I did my usual track interval session today but it was without Tony as he's racing tomorrow.  My normal pre race routine involves what I call a pre race sharpener the day before the race just to keep my legs ticking over.  Before the All Ireland Masters Cross Country I got a call from Tony and he said 'Lisa doesn't advise running the day before a race!'.   I'm not sure what way the conversation went but one of us said 'She'll never know!'.  So we met as usual on the track and did a very short but fast session which left us feeling "prepared" for the race which was the following day.
On race day Lisa came along to give us some support during the run and cheered us on each time we passed.  At the finish I met Tony and said 'Did you see Lisa and wasn't it great to have some support', he replied 'I did and she knows we were training yesterday!!!  Maybe that's why Tony didn't turn up today.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The week so far.

My week hasn't gone to plan so far but I still think I'm on schedule for the 100K which is only 3 weeks away.  I took Monday off even though I felt relatively ok as i thought it would be wise to rest after the 34 miler on Sunday.  Tuesday I cycled to work and ran the 11 miles home and on Wednesday I took the train to work and cycled home.  The cycle home wasn't very enjoyable as it was freezing cold and by the time I got home my hands were numb with the cold and it took 10 painful minutes to defrost. Had a quick bite to eat and got ready for my usual Wednesday night 5 miler which I would normally run with Tony while the kids are at kick boxing.  Tony wasn't available and just as i was about to start my run it began snowing so i decided to cancel the run as I wasn't dressed for the conditions and was still cold from the cycle.  Would I have cancelled if I was meeting Tony?

Had planned on cycling to and from work on Thursday but the roads were too icy and I didn't want to take the chance.  Running home isn't an option as I'd be late for Athletics

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cross Training

I don't have a lot of free time and any I do have is taken up with the running so I've started to include some cycling as a sneaky way of keeping my legs ticking over when not running.   Using the bike to commute to and from work allows me to cross train without requiring any extra time.  

This has turned out to be a very mixed but successful week finishing with a 34 Mile run along the Royal Canal from Leixlip to Enfield.  Ran home from work a few times which is 10.5 - 11.5 miles depending on the route I take and also cycled either to or from work a couple of times.

As I'm planning on running the 100K race in Galway at close to 8min30 pace my commuting runs have all been slighty faster at 7min30 pace.  Also included  in my week was 1 Tempo session which was 5 miles at 6min 30 pace and my usual track interval session on Saturday which this week was 5* 800 M (twice around track) at 6min mile pace with Tony.

My Long Run was quite tough and although I didn't really enjoy it because I felt I had to do it, it was without doubt a great confidence booster. My average pace was just under 8:30 pace and when I stopped running I felt like I could have kept going.  It's still way off the race distance but I don't think i'll be running much further than this between now and the race. It's important not to do more than you can recover from.