from Diary of a “Rubbish Marathon Runner” I really managed to surprise myself on Monday. I expected a reasonably slow run after Sunday’s tough 30/30 session, but as soon as I took my first step I felt surprisingly good. Even though I managed to avoid peeking at the Garmin I could tell that I was moving well, the big climbs felt flatter and shorter than in previous weeks, and by the time I took a first look at the Garmin (I had to, for pressing the “lap” button) at mile 11 I was already doing under 8:00 pace. That’s when I started to accelerate, like I usually do towards the end of my long runs. Last month I managed 7:24 pace for those last few miles, last week it was down to 7:11, but yesterday I blew my own times out of the water with a 6:48! That was definitely the best “strong finish” I have ever put at the end of a run, better than anything before the Dublin marathon when I felt in really good shape. I also think that it was my fastest time on the Caragh Lake loop ever, but to be honest I didn’t go back and check. Of course, with 11 weeks to go I’m still far away from the marathon and I do hope that I’m not peaking early. I will take notes from this training cycle in the hope to be better at timing my peak next time round; not that I’m complaining. Running fast beats running slowly hands down in the fun department.
The weather provided an unexpected bonus. While most of Western Europe, including the eastern half of this island, is disappearing under a blanket of snow, I got a beautiful clear sky with crisp fresh air, basically my favourite running conditions. I tried not to get too distracted by the millions of starts overhead, but at one stage I witnessed the brightest shooting star I have ever seen. It was up there for many seconds and seemed to explode into plenty of little ones at the end. I did make a wish to that spectacular celestial firework, but of course I can’t tell you.
I took it much easier today, especially after a very rough night with Maia. She was sick and miserable on Sunday and seemed to slowly perk up on Monday only to develop into the baby from hell towards the evening, with hysterical screaming and two parents slowly reaching the end of their tether. By the time she fell asleep, probably from exhaustion, I was more than ready to join her.
Anyway, the snow clouds have put out some tentative feelers towards Kerry, but we got no more than a sprinkling on the fields and driveways. The road was clear, and while I was out running the precipitation slowly turned from snow to sleet to rain, leaving behind a rather frozen runner who was only too glad to be home again. I cut it short by a mile, because the promise of a warm radiator turned out to be too tempting.
At work I probably got put into the “nutcase” category for cycling today, but I guess I was in there all along.
15 miles, 1:53:12, 7:32 pace, HR 152
incl. 4 miles @ 6:48
9 miles, 1:11:51, 7:59 pace, HR 142