First of all Merry Christmas and best wishes for a Happy New Year and some great race performances for the exciting season of 2010 ahead. Its been quiet on the blog with my being quite busy in Fargo, North Dakota, from 6th December to 19th December. There'll be more news on that front as my company is sending me back from the 18th of January to the 5th/6th of February.
The year ended on a bit of a lower note than hoped with my metatarsel injury widely curtailing my plans. Once I ended up in the freezing conditions in Fargo, I practically submitted to the fact that I should largely give it a rest and I've been through a fragmented few weeks over there with only little running.
I believe I've largely maintained the fitness achieved although a few 80k+ weeks will be necessary to really get me up and running well again as especially my legs attest.
Unfortunately, I've now also got a bad tooth ache which has meant taking copious amount of nurofen and antibiotics, neither of which contribute very well to getting back in training.
First Week Back
Despite my woes, this week did see me break 3000km for the year (I'm at just over 3010) and I look set to finish the year around 3030km. Not impressive, but not a bad haul either considering the roller-coaster I've been through.
After sleeping off the jetlag I went for a 3km snowy night run over Clarabeg and followed this up with a fast running of my 13.5k loop of Clara Vale in just under 69 minutes. I was pleased with this as it was my first proper run in a few weeks and I took the clockwise direction which has the steepest climbs. All in all, the loop rises around 370m.
The new week started well with trail runs of just below or above 10k on Mon, Tue and Wed, revisiting three of my most used training grounds: Trooperstown (going down the scree when its frozen is tricky business!), Devil's Glen (storming 45-minute base run of the race route), and Vartry Reservoir (testing a new pair of runners for Matt which I'll write more off later).
On the busy Christmas Day (our most important day in Denmark, the 25th being merely the mop-up job), I just took a recovery run of 3k on the hill.
Medication and Icing
Today, the amount of medication I've taken for the tooth has meant I've been too dizzy to run yet (yesterday alone saw me take 1000mg of Ibuprofen, 750mg of Amoxicillin, and 600mg of Flagyl). Combined with the red wine, beer, port and Irish Whiskey that accompanies a traditional Danish Christmas Party its no wonder my mate Per found reason to exclaim: "Rene, you are rock'n'roll!" Well there were very different times before running for me...
So no surprise then that while the tooth is still in full flare and I need to renew my Nurofen dose every 4-6 hours to stay sane all pain in my foot has gone away from this amount of anti-inflammatory medicine. Already in the days before I had done some very serious icing which had reduced symptoms markedly.
One problem with icing is that the skin tends to get painfully frozen well before the inner part of your joints get cold enough for any beneficial effect to occur. So I've gotten my disciplined at inserting a layer of cloth between myself and the icepack and then really suck up the pain that hits when you sit with your foot for at least 15-20 minutes. Having done it just a few times, the cold resistance in both my feet has markedly increased (or perhaps its the constant snow running!).
Fargo is a shoppers heaven and I picked up a few bargains: The UnderArmour Chimera (black version), and the Adidas Kanadia 2 (also in all-black version). The UnderArmour shoes look like they are designed for the cast of the Matrix, so I'll be using mine for fashion for a good while before testing it as a runner whereas I've already tested the Kanadia 2 and must say its an almost perfect shoe. The foot is well-protected yet the shoe has incredible balance and a very low-cut heel as well as plenty of traction and grip. Throw in lightweight and I've found another racing shoe! And all that at 45 dollars! (29 euros, what's wrong with us Europeans!!!).
As a note for the ladies, the selection of UnderArmour and PUMA runners in Fargo should start a petition here in Ireland to expand from the traditional shoes. Not only do I imagine the sleek designs would see them take a big chunk out of ASICS and Nike's market share, but the shoes also look like they may actually be very good runners (particularly the PUMAs).
Finally, I got an early Christmas present from Mud, Sweat and Tears: A pair of North Face Single-Track trail runners. This is my first exposure to a North Face shoe and I'm currently writing up a review which will be published over at MST having taken the new shoe for two runs already. Let's just say its an interesting model and I'll leave the rest to be revealed at MST.
I purchased loads of other useful gear in Fargo as well including a sub-zero lightweight balaclava, Adidas running gloves that double up as mitts, great UnderArmour socks, a lightweight UnderArmour hat and the most comfortable pair of tights I've owned yet (also UnderArmour). Generally my goal was to stock up on gear that will be useful in very cold conditions as I don't have too much and this can come in handy on very long treks into the Wicklow hills.
Prices are ridiculous and I'll want to invest in some of the baselayers when I return in January (for the real highlights of the sports and outdoor retailer "Scheels", though, check out me in front of the gun rack in my pictures section! This shop literally has enough weapons to arm every man, woman, child and dog in Fargo, well!).
So anyway, after this light-headed post, back to getting ready for another wintry run up over Clarabeg mountain!