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  • And the final two pre-DCM weeks....

    14th-20th October: DCM week -2

    plan: 30miles with 8mile LSR and 5miles w3MP

    Somehow the foot was not quite as good through this week as it had seemed on the mountains the previous weekend. Looking back I think it was possibly lack of attention to stretching and icing, I was doing a bit but not enough.

    Wednesday: 5.1miles easy @10:30 avg pace
    Had taken two days off post-hiking but despite that the foot was a bit sore on this run. So not feeling optimistic.

    Saturday: 1mile w/u, 5miles MP, 1mile c/d
    Foot had improved a bit after another two days rest, and it behaved well throughout. I was feeling more optimistic after this run. Had lost a bit of fitness though, did the MP in 9:02, 8:55, 8:54, 8:54, 9:03 but it was a bit of an effort.

    weekly total: 12.1miles
    Had been intending to go out and do another run on the Sunday, something like 10miles to see how the foot/fitness would held up. Left it till late afternoon and was on the Skype to my sister and she suggested it might be best to just run as little as possible to give the foot the best chance. So I changed back out of my running gear and left it, was cold outside and it was not too hard to take the advice :rolleyes:


    21st-28th October: DCM week -1

    plan: 40miles to include DCM

    Still playing it by ear and unsure whether I would make the start line. Went out again on Tuesday for *another* of these short MP runs (not sure why I was doing so many of these in the final weeks, I think I was trying to make the reduced miles count)

    Tuesday: 1mile w/u, 3mile MP, 1mile c/d
    MP miles were 9:06, 8:58. 9:01 and it felt like work. All the same the foot was good, the best it had been since the PF started 4-5 weeks back.

    Again the week ran away with me and as it got closer to the w/e I decided to just stay off the foot till Sunday. Was doing bits of stretching, massage, icing to help. Had no idea whether my foot would hold up to some real distance but was going to give it a try, so went off to the Expo to get my bib.

    Report to follow when I get more time.

    *spoiler* in case anyone is on the edge of their seat: I made the startline but not the finish, only did 20miles. Not a miserable tortured bailing but more a strategic one (at 20miles) and I might have set the PF back a bit but only the slightest bit. The marathon has yet to be ticked - am looking at Manchester (or Tralee??) as a possibility but not sure yet, will depend on the next month or two.

    Here's a table of my plan .... and the reality with the bad weeks in bold. Had been a little bit of upset in the first half but I felt very strong for the HM at week -7 ... the damage was truly done in the final 6weeks. There wasn't nothing done in those last weeks though, was surprised how much the fitness had dropped and how hard I found the 1st half of DCM even though I ran it a full 20mins slower than the HM 7weeks before....

    week|date|plan||actual|cross
    -18| 24-30 June | 36miles (11LSR) || 36miles (13LSR) |cycling (30miles)
    -17 | 1-7 July | 45miles (15LSR) || 36miles (15LSR) |
    -16 | 8-14 July | 30miles (10LSR) || 29miles (10LSR) | 3hikes (27miles)
    -15 | 15-21 July | 45miles (16LSR) || 1mile | 1hike (6miles)
    -14 | 22-28 July | 45miles (16LSR) || 46miles (16LSR) |
    -13 | 29-4 Aug | 35miles (11LSR) || 40miles (11LSR) |
    -12 | 5-12 Aug | 46miles (16LSR) || 45miles (16LSR) |
    -11 | 13-19 Aug | 46miles (18LSR) || 47miles (18LSR) |
    -10 | 20-25 Aug | 35miles (13LSR) || 21miles (13LSR) |
    -9 | 26-1 Sep | 47miles (18LSR) || 48miles (18LSR) |
    -8 | 2- 8 Sep | 35miles (HM race) || 38miles (HM race) |
    -7 | 9-15 Sep | 38miles (15LSR) || 31miles (16LSR) |
    -6 | 16-22 Sep | 47miles (19LSR) || 6miles |
    -5 | 23-29 Sep | 49miles (19LSR) || 19miles(8LSR) | cycling (17miles)
    -4 | 30-6 Oct | 49miles (19LSR) || 27miles (8LSR) |
    -3 | 7-13 Oct | 38miles (14LSR) || 14miles (7.5LSR) | 2hikes (18miles), 1spin
    -2 | 14-20 Oct | 30miles (8LSR) || 12miles (7LSR) |
    -1 | 21-27 Oct | 14miles+DCM || 5miles + DCM |




  • Ok the report.

    I had been on and off on whether to run or not, but the foot had been decent throughout the week, and I had done a bit of icing and stretching as the weekend approached. And I'd been checking the weather forecast, looked great. Late to bed on Friday and I had to be up at 5:30am to get organised for my flight, so only about 5hours sleep that night. I had a busy Saturday in Dublin, trip up to Drogheda first and then to the Expo to pick up my bib and buy a few gels. But got an early night on Saturday and 8 and a half hours sleep :).


    Sunday 27th: Dublin City three-quarters marathon (20.4miles @9:55 avg pace)

    My brother was coming across town to pick up my Dad for a trip West and he was due to arrive at 8am. I was going to get him to take a tiny detour and drive me down the canal first. But by 8:30 there was no sign and I was aiming for a 9:25am start (my bib was Wave 2 but even before the PF I had planned to run with Wave 3), so I left the house and started walking, trying to catch a taxi as I went ... no luck. It was only 2miles down to the start I thought so was just strolling until I got a bit past Charlemont and saw the '20mins to start' signs. *Yikes*. Was hoping that was exaggeration (it wasn't really) but picked up my pace and started marching down the canal .. past Baggot St ... turn left .. then so so many Wave 4 bibs coming past as they made their way from the Baggage to their queuing spot. Looking unlikely now I would make Wave 3 even. Marched my way to my bag drop (of course it was towards the far end of F square) and had to sit down on the road and take my trainers off before I could shed my tracksuit bottoms. I was panicking but the woman was very nice, even asked me could she get my gels out of the bag though that detail had been sorted already. Another march back the way I'd came, I really was one of the final stragglers - a final straggler for wave 4 by now - and I arrived back to the canalside; the only advantage of being so far back was that the toilet cubicles had no queues and I was able to just jump in quickly. Big relief as I had been needing a wee for about 30mins and thought I wouldn't get the chance. Back out and I started walking with the others to the start, trying to pass as many people as I could, and I arrived up at the top of the startline just a few minutes before 9:45. I was just to the side of the sub- 4:30 pacers and my plan was to stay ahead of them so I wouldn't have any congestion issues. Lovely atmosphere and perfect weather :).

    miles 1-7: I'd been keeping a close eye on the sub-4hr thread in the early and middle stages of marathon training and eyrie had mentioned her success in 2018 had been helped by a slow start ... like 10mpm instead of 9mpm. She'd done a brilliant first marathon so I was aiming to copy her strategy. This was still the plan but I had not really done any revision of my marathon target, partly because I was not sure how long the foot would hold up (had not gone over 8miles in the previous 6weeks), and partly because I was mad enough to think that maybe I could still get under sub-4hr. I'm not kidding - I was thinking that I have good endurance (I do) and that I had all those miles from spring and summer in my legs ... and I hadn't done *nothing* in those 6weeks, maybe I hadn't really lost much fitness :pac:.
    So I was aiming for 10mpm for these 7miles though in practice I went a bit faster in the first two miles, the atmosphere and the slight downhill pulled me along. Could feel the heel/arch of the foot but it was not troublesome and it warmed up over these couple of miles and became even more quiet, most of the race I was not noticing it at all. I was feeling the effort a bit though, this was not 'comfortable' and I pulled back a bit in mile 3 as we met a bit of a drag. Then into the PP with everything looking lovely in the sun, this was nice, though I was aware I was working at this supposedly easier pace, and making revisions in my head regarding what I should now be aiming for. Not necessarily sensible revisions either, I was thinking 4:05-4:10 at this stage which was not much of an accommodation, but I am just like that, always thinking optimistically. We came out of the PP into Castleknock and hit a wave of crowd support, that was great. I gave a couple of kids a high 5. There had been a band around this point too, really excellent. 9:40, 9:42, 10:16, 9:55, 10:00, 9:52, 10:02

    miles 8-13: The crowd support was continuing and I knew that this stretch of miles would be downhill more-or-less, I was going to take advantage but not too much. The original plan had been 9mpm here but I was going to definitely go slower than that, was thinking of 9:30 or so instead now, but was going to play by ear. I was due to take my first gel at 8miles but forgot about it, remembered again after we went into the Park again and took it at the 8.5mile point or so. Went down easy. I took a bottle of water from the side a bit after this and drank it. The miles were coming in a bit faster with the effect of the slight downhills, but got a surprise when we hit the drag in mile 11 - was not expecting that! In fact it was fairly significant. Pace dropped a bit but not too much. I was looking forward to the Halfway point and was enjoying the crowds - I was running at the side of the road and my first name is short so people could read it on the Bib and I was getting some individualised support. I took a second gel around 12.5miles and then some jellies from the side :). Another band somewhere here and it lifted my spirits. Got to the HM point at 2hr 9mins and 30secs or so on the watch .... that was 20mins slower than the HM I raced 7weeks before, and to be honest I felt roughly the same now, I had worked hard. Was not looking forward to another 13miles and it looked like the foot was not giving me an excuse :rolleyes:. 9:19, 9:30, 9:17, 9:58, 9:49, 10:03

    miles 14-20: We left the halfway point and started up a drag and this was tough and my pace dropped a bit. I was trying to motivate myself and fortunately I had a friend who would be waiting at the KCR after the 16mile point (a few other family/friends had dropped off support duties due to other commitments and in one case my recommendation to save a train journey, since I didn't know how far I'd get). So I used that to motivate myself and at this stage my goals were to not-walk and to try to maintain the pace as best I could. Took a Jaffa cake from someone around here, and a quarter orange from someone else. I was aiming to take a gel from the High5 station at 16miles and when I took it I decided I would walk to eat it and to drink some of the water I'd taken too. That was the first walking I'd done and it was more strategic than necessary at this stage. Then to the KCR and my friend was there jumping up and down even though I was 30mins or so later than I had told her (the wave change and some lost time) ... likely she stayed there to support many others I suspect. I didn't stop but when I had continued a bit further and turned onto Fortfield road (very familiar territory) I felt the need to stop and walk and I did. So mile 17 is the rogue mile among the data. Think part of the reason for the difficulty here was that in the run-up to the day I'd been thinking the KCR might be a place where I'd drop out (if I'd got that far), it would be close to home to get some clothes.
    This was also when I started to notice the hips/bum and general muscles feeling a bit stiff - would not really notice this on a Long run usually but it had been a good while since I'd run any proper distance, body out of practice. Little bit later also noticed the bottoms of the feet a bit sore from the impact.
    Started running again after the walk on Fortfield Road, and had to motivate myself somehow ... gave myself a talking to and my test was to run all the next mile and reassess (then I could bail at Rathgar if I failed, nice convenient location again :pac:). That worked and the pace picked up a little bit, and same again for mile 19 - looking on Strava I can see some gradual descent here. I'll be honest here and admit I was disappointed to have succeeded with my test, I would probably have to finish the whole thing now :rolleyes: (just the truth). Anyway I was working hard, but all the same I can 'grind out' the miles fairly well when I need to. I had started to notice the heel/arch give a little throb the odd time in these few miles, but it was only mild and not giving trouble. I was impressed it had held up so long and so well. I took another gel round around 19miles and then continued to run the 20th mile, saw the "Mr Guappa" sign before the Milltown arches, I got a cheer here. It was going well and even though it was hard I was maintaining the pace. However after coming under the arches at Milltown I met another drag, ran halfway up it and then I *needed* to stop to walk. There was a woman with dark hair along the side and she shouted at me by name and told me to get moving. So I did. But after a minute or two as we came down the other side of that drag I felt a wobble, then a cramp in my left calf :( - have never had this before but knew immediately what it was. I stopped and stretched it a couple of times, was not sure that would help (and tbh not sure I wanted it to help :pac:) but it did and I was able to run again (dammit looks like I have to continue) .. at least for about 3mins ... then it happened again. This time I was done, I was not up for 6miles stopping to stretch every few minutes. I came across to the side and stopped, tried to resist the 'support' trying to encourage me on. 10:24, 10:17, 9:56, 10:59, 9:34, 9:45, 10:07, 'bit' @10ish.

    Had quite a long (slow) walk, first following the course for about a km as I'd been told there would be a help station and they might drive me into town (though I had not been asking), then later getting some directions to the Luas, and after slightly mis-following them another set of directions - finally I ended back up at the stop near Milltown however this was after walking a mile or two. I was cold in my shorts and Tshirt and it wasn't so nice now. Had to wait for the 2nd Luas and this one was very full, had a few wobbly nauseous moments when packed in like a sardine. Cold after getting out at Stephen's green and seemed like a long walk back to the Baggage area. People are very nice though, a woman stopped and asked me was I ok as I wobbled along the side of Stephen's green. Was very happy to see my bag, and my tracksuit :). Now that I was warm I took the time to stop and stretch the tight hip flexor I'd been feeling since I bailed. Wobbled my way to McGrattans for a quick visit and met nop of these parts (sub 4hr!) and his two proteges, but could not find anyone else despite a thorough search. Later I saw a comment on Strava that there was a boards crew upstairs, I had never realised there was an upstairs!

    Back to base to put my feet up, I got coffee and then dinner brought to me on the sofa. Bit annoying to have the comments about 'the wall' from civilians - there is no wall, and I didn't bail for wall reasons anyway (I think!). My heel was sore, and I iced it for 15mins twice that evening and stretched it gently. It was pretty good when I got up the next morning so I think the 20miles only set it back very slightly. Otherwise stiff calves for a few days. Was not wiped-out by the run though, I was able to get up early the next day and do some remote working and cook the dinner.

    Final thoughts: I'd had no trouble bailing, as my plan had always been to run a marathon, and I'd never considered doing the walk of death in the final miles. I felt a bit different after talking to nop, who had battled cramp from mile 15 or so, and even run while the cramps were active (and still got his sub-4hr). And after reading just a few of the Novices reports, *wow* some harrowing experiences and real heroism :o. I think it was especially easy to bail when I'd set out that morning with no idea of how far I'd get along the course, my perspective was different. Was in no way devastated to have to bail, even though the Marathon had been my main goal for 2019.

    Am still baffled by the swift drop in fitness over 6 weeks. I was well off my planned mileage for those weeks (83miles rather than the planned 224) and no long runs were done, but I am amazed with 20mins slower compared to my HM 7weeks before. In all honesty (and I know this is not the right way to pace my marathon, I didn't tap into the 'effort' enough) I feel I was at a similar effort/wreckedness. Does anyone have a view? Is this normal to take such a hit?
    I'd had a busy period at work and sleep in the week or two before DCM had been a bit compromised. And I had a fairly hectic Saturday too which probably didn't help. And it turns out the pre-DCM walking Sunday morning was a full 4miles, the last 2miles done in a rush. So maybe those factors also contributed, I don't know.

    Am not yet worried about the cramping as the internet cites insufficient number of long-runs, insufficiently-long runs (*tick*) and says cramps happen when form deteriorates in the later stages - this was the leg with the PF, so form had been compromised from the word go. Have never had it before so am not gong to worry unless it happens another time.

    Going forward the plan is to sort out the foot properly. I will probably push forward and train for a spring marathon but I want to run a few parkruns and short races in November and December first.




  • Well M, Its been a good year to date and I think that you ran as far as the body as a whole was going to go on the day. Speaking for myself, and you did ask, I would certainly struggle with head games on 6 weeks light running before a marathon. Sure, you had a great base and the programme went well until injury but for a marathon, to just complete the distance even allowing for a reduced pace is an achievement. I had a similar experience in Belfast a few years ago and stopped at 28 kms. Best thing I did was pull up and dnf. Saved myself from further injury and the dnf has since been erased from my mind.

    So much good work (and fun) going on here.




  • denis b wrote: »
    Well M, Its been a good year to date and I think that you ran as far as the body as a whole was going to go on the day. Speaking for myself, and you did ask, I would certainly struggle with head games on 6 weeks light running before a marathon. Sure, you had a great base and the programme went well until injury but for a marathon, to just complete the distance even allowing for a reduced pace is an achievement. I had a similar experience in Belfast a few years ago and stopped at 28 kms. Best thing I did was pull up and dnf. Saved myself from further injury and the dnf has since been erased from my mind.

    Wasn't just head-space that had been compromised though, I really felt I was much less fit. Amazed it seemed to fall off so quick. Will be interesting to test the pace at parkrun when things settle. It has been a good year for me overall, that's true.
    So much good work (and fun) going on here.

    That's very nice of you to say that. Better get those trainers back on so!




  • Wasn't just head-space that had been compromised though, I really felt I was much less fit. Amazed it seemed to fall off so quick.

    Clarification :) Head space includes my reasoning process factory :D. I have found a noticeable dip in performance, and confidence, after 3 weeks break. Once I get back running it dissipates significantly after a week (non science...and just how I feel). I think the perceptible physical loss translates into a greater, than might be expected, loss of confidence in form for me. I hope that makes sense.

    I believe that Vo2 max measurements do in fact register a drop in the 2-4 weeks range and noticeably more after that.


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  • denis b wrote: »
    Clarification :) Head space includes my reasoning process factory :D. I have found a noticeable dip in performance, and confidence, after 3 weeks break. Once I get back running it dissipates significantly after a week (non science...and just how I feel). I think the perceptible physical loss translates into a greater, than might be expected, loss of confidence in form for me. I hope that makes sense.

    I believe that Vo2 max measurements do in fact register a drop in the 2-4 weeks range and noticeably more after that.

    Thanks :). I think I also read something on letsrun about things coming back in a couple of weeks of running. Unfortunately I didn't have time to re-condition my self before the Race ... but it bodes well for a spring marathon I guess.

    That might fix my mind with regard to (not) taking the DCM offer for next year in fact. Had been back-and-forth on that.




  • I think you did amazingly well to get to 20 miles given the injury woes in the run up. I don't know much about how quickly fitness drops off, but I've had a few weeks off in the past and been astonished at how much fitness I seemed to lose. That said, as you say yourself you obviously do have really good endurance and all the training you did get done will certainly stand to you if you decide to train for a spring marathon. You were really unlucky with the injury given how well the training had been going before that, so I hope everything heals quickly and you can do yourself justice in the next one!




  • eyrie wrote: »
    I think you did amazingly well to get to 20 miles given the injury woes in the run up. I don't know much about how quickly fitness drops off, but I've had a few weeks off in the past and been astonished at how much fitness I seemed to lose. That said, as you say yourself you obviously do have really good endurance and all the training you did get done will certainly stand to you if you decide to train for a spring marathon. You were really unlucky with the injury given how well the training had been going before that, so I hope everything heals quickly and you can do yourself justice in the next one!

    Thanks for the nice comments, Eyrie. I guess the fitness really does drop off that quick. Will get myself back on the pavements tomorrow and back into training.




  • Sorry about the DNF M. It seems you did very well to get as far as you did.

    Regarding McGrattans, if it's any consolation, you're not the first to be unaware of an upstairs - I only discovered it on my third visit :D


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