Friday, August 21, 2009

Race Report #28 - Roads, back on good old reliable roads!

Well this has been by far and away the longest it's taken me to get some form of race report together. A non-existent Internet connection in the evenings, work, sorting photos, training, ridiculous hangovers and fatigue have all conspired to keep me away from here.

I was quite nervous going into this race - no tempo runs, a longest race of 3000m and a longest interval of 2km in the previous four months kind of made me think that this wasn't the race I should be in. Saying that, I'm nothing if not ambitious. At the back of my mind I was thinking about the 56.50 I ran in Ballycotton and trying to go one better... even one second if possible. The nerves were telling me I could run a solid 6 miles, maybe 7, and I'd struggle from there. How badly I'd struggle was anyone's guess.

The heavy, heavy, heavy rain during the few hours I'd been awake died off with 30 minutes to go until the race. As the race started the sun was beating down and it seemed like perfect racing conditions. There was a bit of wind going about the place but all in all the weather didn't look like it'd be a problem. The first mile went off quite fast. I couldn't get over the speed people were shooting past me, and I was going at a fairly decent clip. I could still see (just) the lead car when I went by the mile mark and it read 5:32. I decided that was a tad quick and put the brakes on a bit. The next few miles all felt comfortable enough. I joined up with another runner and we were picking people off all around, up and down the first set of hills. Climbing up the second hill we met the guy in the picture above, 4751, and went by him. I could hear him hang on to our coat tails and eventually when my running partner of the previous 3 miles upped the pace I decided to hang with 4751 rather than go at a faster pace.

The next few miles saw me sit in behind my new running partner who seemed to have gotten his second wind and accelerated at times to pick off a few more ahead of us. The whole sixth mile down the Kyber was downhill. I switched off completely here and just plodded down, sticking with 4751. The moment you turn the corner at the bottom of the Kyber you go straight into a steep uphill. I decided to attack the hill because it didn't take much out of me on lap one. Big mistake... on lap one this hill appeared after two easy miles... on lap two six miles were in the legs. Half way up I could feel myself struggling and hoped to have someone come on my shoulder pronto. To make matters worse the moment we got to the top of the hill and onto the S-bends the wind picked up and a sudden downpour hit us. Thank god for the next couple of hundred metres downhill to recover a bit.

Just after 8 miles I got my sudden second wind and upped the pace, heading for home. The hills were behind us and it was flat until the finish. In hindsight I should have held on a bit longer - even though I run around this park every day what seemed like just around the corner was really just under two miles. To my left were all the people being lapped and I had the right lane essentially to myself. After what felt like an age I'd decided that I'd missed the ninth mile marker in the crowds so I now only had less than a mile to go. To my horror a few minutes later I passed the marker. Talk about being deflated. This made the last mile absolutely awful and when two lads went past me in the final 400m I couldn't have been arsed to even make an attempt to go with them.

I crossed the line in 58.30 and considering the list of excuses I had in my head before the race I've got to be content with this. Next up is a 10km race in 3 weeks where I will be fully intent on going faster than 34.20. This 10 miler should be good for my strength over the next few weeks training and the 10km race itself.
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