I experience what feels like a moment of transcendence. All external stimulus dims and my internal chatter quiets. All I’m aware of is my fast rhythmic breathing, my quickening heartbeat, my feet hitting the ground. I feel the strength and I’m aware of my fitness. Running faster feels effortless. It’s not like I’m floating, rather I’m feeling strong. I’m hyper aware of everything working together, a part of me knows that this won’t last but as soon as that thought surfaces I switch my focus back to just being here right now and enjoying this moment.
I can hear Fergal’s breathing on my shoulder it’s hard, a little harder than mine but I’m confident he can hang on a while longer. I have a strong urge to turn the screw, make him hurt more and in previous years that’s exactly what I would have done. But that’s not the purpose of this run and this time it’s easy to resist the momentary urge. I return to an awareness of my breathing and my effort and hold the pace.
The numbers don’t matter. My speed or distance or the average pace mean nothing as I hold onto this feeling.
In the end it does last. It lasts longer than during any of my runs this year. I’m reminded of what it felt like to be really fit. I spend the best part of an hour feeling this strong and as I eventually start to fade I try to hang on just a couple of minutes longer but all of a sudden it’s gone and my legs are empty.
I look at my watch and we’ve already got over 30k running done and all that’s left is an easy 4K jog back to the cars.
After the run while I’m driving into work I think that this is why we run. For that often momentary, fleeting feeling of strength, of power and even invincibility.
This is the reward that we get for suffering through weeks and months of slogging through slow runs trying to regain our fitness. And it can take months, but I’ve always found that if we just stick with it we’ll invariably start to first have flashes of feeling good, then it might be a minute or two of being able to run faster, effortlessly. But the real prize is when for the last hour of a three hour run a large portion of it feels like this. It’s worth remembering that this is what waits at the tail end of lots of hard work.
Of course there is also the experience of coming back to earth with a bang from that feeling of invincibility as I struggle to get out of the car and then walk very stiff legged into work less than sixty minutes after feeling like I could run effortlessly, faster and faster for hours. But even the soreness is a good reminder of the run we’ve just finished. Ais calls it trophy pain so I suck it up and just get on with walking like a geriatric.
Anyway that was Sunday’s run but the week didn’t start out that well as I had a bit of a cold/flu/fever thing going on which meant no training Monday or Tuesday. The enforced few days rest probably contributed to Sunday’s good run and much improved numbers.
Anyway let’s get on with the weeks training.
Wednesday 15 1:00 (1)
Run 1:00 10k v easy
Thursday 16 3:30 (2)
Swim 1:00 2500m
10×200 moderate/hard with paddles off 1 min rec
Bike 2:30 55k
Strength work in the hills, all climbing seated in a big gear.
Friday 17 1:40 (2)
AM Run 1:00 10k
PM Run :40 8k
On a Thursday and Friday evening in the shop we have an overlap of shifts for an hour. When I’m not training hard I sneak off for dinner or a coffee but when i am training I often try instead to get an extra session in. I had planned on doing an easy run for the hour but I was caught on a phone call as I was heading out the door. By the time I was ready I only had 40 minutes left and was debating on whether it was worth my while to even go out or not. Orla told me to go adding that I’d feel better if I got the run done so I headed out and decided to do a session with efforts instead. If I was only getting a very short run in it may as well have some quality in it.
I did what is a favourite session of mine. After a 10 minute warm up I went into rolling sets of 3,2,1’s. 3 minutes easy, 2 minutes moderate/hard, 1 minute hard. I repeated this cycle until the end of the run and just allowed a couple of minutes of cooling down.
Orla was right, I was much happier to have a run done. You never regret the sessions you do, just the ones you don’t.
Saturday 18 3:00 (1)
Bike 3:00 65k hills seated climbing
Sunday 19 3:00 (1)
Run 3:00 34k
The long Sunday run is getting gradually faster almost every week at this stage. We are running on grass and trails so the speed is a little slower than if we were running on the roads. Today we ran a fairly decent negative split. The plan was to run the first half easy and to pick it up for the second lap. The intro to this weeks blog is this run and as I said it went really well. We were a full eleven minutes faster on the second 17k lap.
The splits were 1:35 for the first 17k and 1:24 for the second 17k.
Sleep 7h ok