Inner Visual

Saturday @9:00 a.m 24 June 2017


Holy Moses this is really happening! It's nearing the end of March and Spring has arrived with summer hot on its heels and there's just over 13 weeks until I stand at the starting line of the 2015 Waterford Viking Marathon.

I won't lie. I'm not exactly hyped up in full marathon mode as I type this right now, but I'm getting there. I've had a pretty hectic weekend hosting the Deise Jigs & Reels Freestyle in Cappoquin on Saturday night and then off to Wexford Park to support our hurlers in a fabulous display against Wexford at Wexford Park on Sunday. Somewhere between the match and now I have developed what my children call 'gammy eyes' and am writing this blog from my bed with a very bad dose of conjunctivitis. It's highly contagious and my two boys (and husband) are literally keeping me at arm's length. My husband has moved into the spare room incase he comes in contact with me or my pillow in his sleep (so I really am a lonely long distance runner) and Harry, our 4 year old takes one look and me and yelps 'yikes' like when Scooby Doo sees the monster! He actually stood frozen with his back to the wall when I walked past him last night. He has that 'every man for himself' and 'survival of the fittest' mentality'. It seems our older son Jack, 7, is the more sensitive soul. He actually started to cry when I told him it was better to high five me instead of our usual kisses and hugs before school this morning. But like Jesus to the lepers, he defied the infection protocol and made his way to my bedside to kiss and hug his mammy. Oh son!!!

The reason I'm explaining this is because I committed a cardinal running sin - I put off the LONG RUN yesterday (14 miles) thinking I could do it today and now it looks like I'm going to miss it altogether this week.

To a rational person this shouldn't really matter. But to anyone training for a marathon, long runs are vital, they're what it's all about really and the guilt of missing one hangs over you like a dark cloud until you actually go out and do it. So you could say I have icky conjunctivitis (rampant in many crèches at the moment by the way) and Runner's Guilt. However, up to this, my training plan for this month (see link) from Brian Swaby is going well and I'm feeling stronger and fitter than my previous time out on this Marathon road.

Just A Little Bit Faster

I had been struggling last month with grasping the 'speed' interval sessions. Every marathon runner wants to shave some time off their previous record, whether it's a few minutes or even an hour. I'm no different and have made no secret of the fact that I think I SHOULD be capable of changing tack and upping my speed. I met with Brian Swaby (Waterford AC/ Swaby Sessions / Unbelievably fit and running loving man) a few weeks back for a speed session at the track in the RSC here in Waterford. Running on the track is a great experience and it was amazing to see so many running groups there all with the same purpose - enjoy running, get fit, achieve, believe, excel.

Brian was quick to rectify my mistakes (I was running too fast and then exhausting myself) and yet managed to get me to up my pace to a 'fastER' level comfortably doing 8 to sub8 minute miles as speed. Speed is not sprinting, it's simply a faster than normal pace without over-exertion. I'm finally there and incorporating it into my running more and more.

To really test my speed work I signed up for a 5K race, in aid of a Special Needs School. It was the WETTEST morning to stand on a starting line, to the point that I thought the organisers would call the race off any second. With rain bouncing off my nose and a stream of water gushing at my feet we set off en route. Ordinarily, I would diss any 5k, 5 mile or less races thinking 'I'm running a marathon, I do long distance, these runs are of no benefit to me.' Not so. Pushing yourself to take part in short distance events is a wonderful way to apply speed to your training and break up the monotony of the longer days. I finished in 24 minutes - 3 miles at 8 minutes in wet and hilly conditions. Brian Swaby finished first by the way in 16mins 50 seconds!! It gave me a huge confidence boost, so much so, I took to the roads the same afternoon to do my 10mile long run.

Exhilarated from all my running, I went into a new week feeling great. But as any runner knows, over-eagerness is as bad as low motivation. I couldn't face my hill session by the Tuesday and let it slide again on Thursday. Like a naughty child I just felt tired, like I'd had enough of this running and 'June is ages away, I DON'T CARE!' To be honest, the guilt that eat you up inside for missing a run is not worth it - more time is spent convincing yourself why it's OK that you missed a session that actually doing the session itself. By Friday I had slightly copped on and put on the runners again to do some hill work. I actually like the hill sessions and would normally have accelerated up a hill rather than continuing the pace with strength, which is OK to do. I'm mixing some speed up hills with a steady pace and now when I do regular 'easy' runs, I'm at the top of some inclines before I realise it's a hill.

Another little boost came in the fashionable form from a German supermarket. I'm sure pro-runners scoff at some of the gear but I do love breezing through those brochures when its running gear week. I invested in a few pairs of compression knee socks and some short shorts which look the part at least. Excited to sport my new girls volleyball look, I headed off on my 12 mile long run. Hmm, the shorts really were a bit short in the general arse area and I spent much of my time tugging them down. There were a few beeps from lads in white vans and a thumbs up from a very mature gentleman walking his dog. Oh, and without over-sharing, running ladies will know the importance of the right pair of knickers when running. You cannot beat the cotton oldies, big, comfortable, breathable (sorry) and functional. NEVER run in lingerie. Well, not even lingerie, but satin material with lacy edges make for a very very uncomfortable 2 hours and 12 miles. That's according to, em, a good friend of mine, not me I swear!!! I'm back to the running tights in future and leaving the slutty running look until the good weather comes in.

Anyway, I'm back on track with hills, long distance and a 14 mile to pull out of the bag sometime this week. But with 13 weeks to go, I'm not panicking yet. This is a major learning curve, one I hope you are enjoying if you're training too. By the way, full marathon runners at this year's WVM will get a fabulous free Regatta running T thanks to Regatta at Shaws, Waterford, along with your free t-shirt at registration. I LOVE the bright red colour with the crew neck, really comfortable and breathable.

I'm off to wash my 'gammy eyes' again. Keep up the training, don't forget the Saturday Road Runners, the Sunday Runners from the SuperValu Roundabout at 9am and of course the wonderful Easter Sunday Bunny Run on April 5th. Maybe my short shorts and bunny ears will come out again!!

Happy running

Here’s a copy of Brian Swaby’s plan for me for the next five weeks »
Karen X

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