Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Race Report #39: Thank Fuck That's Over For Another Year

How fitting that six months after the start of my first full cross country season I should return to the same venue for the last race of the season. Back in October, under blue skies and a bone dry course, I had a nightmare day taking on a 6 x 1km lap in the Phoenix Park. The one difference between this race and October was that the course lap was 2km this time rather than 1km, but we still had to do it six times...

You'd think that after three cross country races that I'd performed well in in a row that I'd got things together, maybe knew my body somewhat and wouldn't do anything stupid or different. The plan was the exact same as the last few races: Relax into the first half a lap before really starting to work. There'd still be 7 miles to race after half a lap was covered, plenty of time to work through the field. Why then, 400 metres into the race, did I spot one of the lads I occasionally train with, who can run 68 minutes for the half, just a couple of metres in front of me? You'd think this would be the sign to ease off the pace and take a back seat for a bit. While I didn't try to stick with that group I didn't ease off considerably and instead just tried to essentially work from the gun.

In the past few races I've gone from lowly positions in the race to higher ones by passing anywhere between 10 and 30 people after the first lap. This time I don't think I went by a single person after the first lap ended and instead I was losing one or two places a lap after half way. At the end of the second lap I was convinced I was coming up on half way, seeing 4 laps to go didn't help my mindset at all. I started to have thoughts of dropping out. If I felt this bad at 4km, how was I meant to keep going until 12km? The first 3 laps were probably the worst I've felt in a race in a long time. Once we got into the last few laps I felt like I was at least moving, which was something. Granted a few people were getting by me but I tried to stick with everyone of them. Some got away from me, but others I succeeded in staying with and never let them by.

The nicest part of the whole race was taking a glance behind as I turned the last corner... there was no one within 15 or 20 metres of me. All I had to do was work hard for the last 600m and there would be no chance of anyone catching me and no need for a blasted sprint finish!
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