Tuesday, May 5, 2009

October 2008

All the work laid down in September was put to the test on October 5th. It turned out that the day was perfect. My apprehensions about weather evaporated. I'd felt that my pads wouldn't last 15 miles in lashing rain, so the only thing I had to contend with was keeping my spinchter tight and, maybe, if necessary, swapping my pads en-route (i had a spare pad, in wrapper, in a back pocket in my shorts. In the event, it turned out that I wasn't to need it, but better safe than sorry. I don't know how i was going to change it discreetly on the run, but I hadn't intended stopping.

Anyway, some 500 or so starters lined up on Summer Hill in Cork. I didn't do any warm-up, deciding that my endurance was at it's limit anyway. This was to be the acid test. I chatted with a few before hand and got lots of well wishes. One of my clubmates nearly frealked when he saw me but said little. After the race, he said, "Jesus Johnny, I really thought I see you crawling into Cobh, in last place..a sorry sight...not just 14 minutes after PC"

I ran steady all the way, running all the miles at around 8:40 pace, except for mile 14, past the old Verolme dockyard. There is a rotten hill there - it's not bad really, but after 13.3 miles, it is tough. Looking at the photos of those finishing around me, i appeared to be the freshest. Fresh I wasn't though, but it was good. I was really a one-paced runner and running close to the margins of my delicate "membrane". I'd finished a 15 mile race in 2:04:44, just 131 days after major surgery! Wow! Acid test passed!

The following Sunday I turned out for my Club, Eagle AC, in a 4 mile cross country race. This was a much more competitive affair than the previous sunday. The day was very foggy and, after only about 300m, I was left stranded, well adrift of the pack. I ploughed on nevertheless and, after 2.5 of the 4 laps, caught up with the second last runner, one of our own new members, running in his first ever race. I ran behind him for the next lap - I hadn't the energy to pass and he thought I was staying behind him to "encourage him". With half a lap to go. I did what any gallant cross country runner does to a flagging clubmate - I left him in my tracks!

September 2008

September was a quiet month. I did one race, the PTAA 5k in Togher. I ran it in 24:56, finding it tough all the way, but I hung on and wasn't tempted to push the pace. I always find this a tough one. The altitude profile isn't bad, but i just find it a hard one to run - can't seem to get into a pace any time I've done it.

For the rest of the month I concentratedon getting my long run in, generally on a Sat or Sunday and did it all on grass at The Farm. Any time friends or colleagues were there I left them off - my 10 min miling was too slow for them. Prior to the op, I'd have been doing the 2.35 mile circuit somewhere between 18:00 and 19:00 - now I was going at about 24:00 and somewhat erratic at that. I didn't mind. I had a target - the 15 Mile Cork to Cobh road race on October 5th. I had only two concerns for the race - lasting the pace and continence. The endurance I could, and would, work on. My bladder was another matter and was weather dependent - I'd see closer to the day.

So once a week for 5 weeks before the race, I ran 11.5 miles. It generally took me nearly two hours to do it, but I managed to get it in every week. My mileage went 17-26-30-24 and 32 for the week including the race.

All through the month I was working hard at the fitness/stamina, without pushing. this was like gently pushing at the surface of a delicate membrane, all the while realising that i could very easily rupture it - in other words set myself back massively. Like I always advise those I coach "Make haste slowly!"