Thursday, October 29, 2009

Race Report #31: Ankle Deep Cow Dung

Control. Steady. Work into it. Control. Steady. Work into it.
"It'll just be the gun to signal the start men"
My reaction times are shit. I'm way back already and boxed in.
They're only a few seconds ahead. Remember 10 seconds is nothing. Control.
Nice relaxed running.
Don't get carried away.

"3 laps to go"
Start to move, start to move
Relax. Steady.

"That's it. Moving through the field, keep going. Move up"

CRs words echoing in my ears 'Everyone hurts on the third lap'
I'm not hurting.
I'm definitely working.
I'm not hurting though

Passing people left and right.
Controlled against the wind, working up the hills, hard on the straights.

"Last lap"
Another place gained.
WTF. I beat that guy in a sprint finish in the last race.
I was dying then.
How the hell was he infront of me there?
How far back did I start in this race?

C'mon. There's another place here up for grabs. Dig in.

I'm not going to get him.
Don't lose any places.
Strong to the finish

Last 100m
"That's it Gavin. You have him. Keep it going Gavin"
Fuuuuuuuckk. I'm not Gavin. Better bloody get moving.
"C'mon Stephen. Every place counts"
How many ****ing people are behind me.
Dig in. Run. Fast. Bloody Move.
I'm moving, I'm bloody moving.
If anyone passes me now they deserve it.

There's the line.
Don't slow down.
Run through that line.
Don't slow.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Boy, this is deer country...

A pet peeve of mine is the lack of bins in the Phoenix Park. At times I end up running around for over 2 miles with an empty water bottle in hand waiting for that elusive bin to appear.

Yesterday I found a new gripe - lights! There's shag all in the park, and lots of them that are there simply don't work. At one stage I went by six lights in a row, both sides of the road, not working. I'd never noticed it before but now with the main road closed to cars in the park, no lights from traffic coupled with a lack of working lights, the visibility after 7 o'clock is non-existent.

With no cars around for company, and not being able to see more than 10 metres in any direction, that park becomes an eerie place. On my final 2 miles I suddenly noticed deer crossing the road right in front of me in an orderly line. I stopped, looked to the right and couldn't make anything out. I had no way of telling how many there were or when they'd finish crossing as I was the only one with the decency to have lights on! I then spotted daddy deer hanging back, not crossing the road, staring straight at me. Mexican standoff.
Bugger, time to take a detour

What I didn't realise was that my new route to escape the deer was completely light free - that's wrong, there was one light. To add to that I entered right into deer country. In the dark, with no cars, this was their territory, even if I was on a footpath. What noise do deers make? Is it braying? like bray the place? Anyway, it sounds like a growl slash grumble, and is pretty damn freaky when you don't know if it's directed at you. I had this sound in my ear for the next 2km, almost like one deer was stalking me. I kept passing signs with warnings of deers crossing on them, convinced that a deer was going to shoot across the road to the field on the other side and crash into me.

All in all, the 10 minute detour jog that brought me away from the initial deer encounter was an altogether unpleasant affair. Until cars are back in the park in the evenings, increasing visibility, it looks like I'm out of there. Once back on the main stretch of road, complete with traffic all I had to deal with was the occasional ninja cyclist and runner.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Race Report #30: The Return of XC

10 months. It took a mere 10 months for me to forget how I feel about Cross Country. Maybe I should have read my last cross country post a few weeks ago to remind myself. Instead I had this weird feeling going into the race that I was good at cross country - one good race and five miserable outtings to date should have told me otherwise.

Even though I haven't been happy with my race performances of late I know deep down that I'm in the best condition I've ever been in and that sooner or later I'm going to have a big race. Going into this race I thought, maybe, just maybe this would be it. One thing I didn't realise was how much the hills were going to kick my ass. 6km consisting of 12 short steep hills really took its toll. Infact by the 5th hill, about 2km in, I could feel that I was starting to go backwards. From there on in it was a battle with the inner demons to keep going.

Rather than dwell on the negatives of the race I'm trying to take as many positvies out of this race as possible.
  • Them 12 hills are going to stand to me in future races
  • I pushed myself harder than any I would have in any training session
  • For once in my life I possessed a sprint finish to regain a place I'd lost
  • I will be stronger and will take the lessons from this race into the next one.
  • There's only another 5 months of Cross Country left... actually... Five months?! WTF!
Photo by David Bradshaw

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Friday Fartlek

Hills. I always hear about hills. Everyone seems to do hill training. I've never done hill training. Until yeseterday. Good Christ that hurt.

Again, I took the spikes out for this session. Again, the ground semmed far too hard for them but I've got to get used to them. This time however no blister, which means there's no need for new spikes before next weeks race. Nice.