Thinking is what gave humans ascendancy. But overthinking is threatening to bring us down. Critical thinking has undoubtedly advanced our cause and become one of the essential assets of being so brilliantly human, but introspective thinking – our near constant self-evaluation, who we are, where we fit, how we compare – is becoming one of the most destructive aspects of modern life. We must purge it. As a runner the best form of purge is a good race performance.
I spent the weekend in the busy town of Skibbereen, an interesting spot which has strong links to the great famine of the 1840s that devastated that part of Ireland. Aside from the running, the heritage centre is well worth a stop in, as the building also houses the Lough Hyne visitor centre. If you don’t have the time then just listen to this Dubliners song, they explain the history quite well.
Unfortunately, on Monday I had to travel home but determined to make the most of the bank holiday weather I set out for Glengariff, one of my favourite spots on the edge of the Beara mountains. If you have never been to this part of the country then get yourself there over the summer. you might even try the Beara Island Mid-Summer run. The drive on the N71 from Kenmare is spectacular.
Gelengariff is set in a lush, green area with lovely gardens and islands. I stopped off for a quick 10K to stat the day at 9.30 AM. It was a slow easy run at 4.30K pace.
Next step was Silver Mines in Tipperary to visit Will Greensmith in his new Adobe and go for a run. Will was doing his best to paint the house so I went for a run with his speedier wife Siobhan, one of Irelands top female distance runners. It was pure right class as they say. A run of 14K at about 4.15. It was my first time to ever go for a run in the often overlooked fertile lands of Tipperary. It’s definitely worth exploring the small country roads next time you stop off. Just watch out for the crazy dogs.
Nothing to declare here. A morning 6K run at 4.40s. The afternoon was a jog up and down to training and a decent set of 400m x 10. Good speed, Hitting 67-68, I as feeling speedy. I’m not mad about doing these on the grass as its too tight and hard to turn fast. When it gets wet it also gets allot more tiring. The one benefit of the grass is that it is much easier on the body.
I was feeling tired but wanted to get a good run. I did 3K run up to Busy and intended to do 10 miles on the grass but it was a little wet. I ended up doing my 10 miles tempo in 59 minutes around the Terenure lap and Terenure Road. 3.43 per kilometre not really as fast as planned and the effort was a little more than I expected. I got it done without a massive spike in heart rate. You cant feel good every day and this was a case in point. Just get out and get it done.
Pain is the name of the game when it comes to performing. We’re all used to dealing with a large amount of effort during our workouts and races. Generally, we attribute this to pain coming from the muscles themselves and the effort that it is taking to generate our speed. More recently though, research has discovered that external stressors such as mental fatigue or emotional stress can impact how we feel that pain and how far we can push.
A nice cool down jog of 4K at 5.00-minute pace and feeling good that I could hold that 3.43 pace without any issue for at least 20 miles. The long runs are key and I’m getting a little edgy that I have not done enough.
The 4th day of decent running in a row. I ran 19K up and home from training with a pretty good 10 K of 38 minutes for 4 x Fartlek. The effort was steady not very taxing but good to get it done. During our hard interval workouts, we simulate race type efforts by breaking the race down into intervals with a short rest break in between. This is done so that we can get a higher volume of work in at various paces than we would be able to if we did the workout straight through. These short rest obviously give us a physical break, but what they also do is give us a mental break. It gives us a short period of time where we can let go of our focus and mentally regroup before the next interval. This mental break won’t come in the race so I find it important to stay focused on getting ready to push hard again.
An east 14K at 4.37 ace into a really strong wind. I met a few fellow runners out there all struggling with Storm Hannah.
The weekend was all about the national road relays. It’s one of my favourite events of the year. The Masters is 1-2-1 around a course that is about 60 meters beyond a mile. It’s all about getting the tactics correct.
On race morning I did my usual 1-mile joy early and then got some breakfast. When I got to Raheny team captain Paul had decided to put me on the anchor leg. That meant that Andrew would take it out. Karol would do the 2 miles and I would hopefully bring home the medals. I did 5K easy at 5.00 pace, followed by some long strides at race pace.
Andrew ran a super first leg of 4.52 leaving us in 4th. Karol took up the baton and made up some good ground on his first lap but unfortunately fell back on the second lap. When I took over for the last lap we were about 20 seconds down on a group of 3 clubs battling it out for 3rd.
I ran a good first 400M of 63 but a much slower 71 for the 2nd left me with too much to do. A couple of 68-second laps just would not cut it. I ran 4.43 which despite being only 1 second slower than the winning teams 4.42 was well below my expectations of running a high 4.3X. We weren’t strong enough for first or second but bronze was there for the taking. I couldn’t channel my inner Kipchoge and run a 4.36 for 1 mile, never mind 26.2.
If I could run that leg again I would have kept pushing to regain contact with the group in the first kilometre. I should have run a 63, 65 and even if I slowed I would have closed the gap and given myself more to fight for.
My tactics when going first was to stick behind the leader and kick on the last straight. It’s definitely a more enjoyable experience going first, having someone to race, you naturally pace it better and hence will run a bit faster.
There was plenty of support on the day but everyone was grouped at the start/finish area. The runners missed Myles who usually positions himself well on the course to give you a much need boost, at the right time.
I ran 10K to get some mileage in, this is a marathon cycle after all. May 18th is fast approaching. Feeling a bit bored and sore before this face I found my Mojo out there. A great day out. You can’t beat the burning legs and taste of metal as you push yourself close to the limits.