Sunday, December 03, 2006

Jingle Bells 5k

We spent Friday afternoon driving all the way up to Dublin once more. I know the road so well by now that at one stage I looked up, saw a few lights ahead of me, and immediately knew “That’s Borris-in-Ossory”. But thankfully I managed to wriggle out of the “Sound of Music” production, because someone had to babysit Cian. Whew!

Saturday was a bit hectic with a birthday party and shopping, but I managed to squeeze in 5 miles in the morning while most other members of the household were still asleep (apart from Shea, of course). It was really windy, and the weather forecast for Sunday was really bad, which made me doubt if the race would take place at all. Niamh voiced the same concerns, but we agreed we would just have to wait and see. What I didn’t get was rain, thus ending my sequence.

I rang the organisers on Sunday morning, and they confirmed that the race would go ahead as planned. It had been really bad during the night, a few things in Nana’s garden were blown over, and it had been raining for most of it, though at least that had ceased by breakfast time. Niamh had originally intended to come with me because she had never seen me finish a race, but one look out of the window changed her mind. Lola was really disappointed “I want to see Daddy race!!!”, but I ended up going out on my own. After getting lost once more and having a hard time finding a parking space, I was caught for time, and briskly ran to the racing HQ. At least it made sure I was properly warmed up. I got to the starting line 10 minutes ahead of the start, warmed up a bit more, and took my place. I looked around me and kept thinking “they don’t look like serious runners”, but I was packed in by that time and couldn’t change my starting position. It was quite ridiculous really, the first line of runners were all kids, maybe 10 years old. I hope they didn’t get trampled over, it really should have been better organised.

Anyway, a whistle sounds and off we go. As expected I’m held back by the traffic, and it takes a good while and a lot of weaving to finally get some open space. The first km is mostly gentle uphill, and I cross the 1k mark in 4:07 (6:37 pace). It was a bit wind-assisted as well. The second km is rather flat, and the wind comes from the side as well as behind, and I’m still overtaking runner after runner. That’s quite unusual; normally I start slower than other people, and start overtaking them from about a third of the race distance. This time I overtake plenty of people during the first 2 km, pretty much hold my position for the next 2km, and then pass a few more runners towards the end. Anyway, the second km passes in about 4:00 minutes (6:26 pace), which is probably down to the fact that I’m no longer stuck in traffic. At around the half way mark things start to get ugly. Not only can I clearly feel the effect of the pace in my calves, after a left-hand turn we run straight into the wind. Ugh. I battle on, but it really is hard work. My breathing is fine, but at one stage we cross a very small hill, a really pathetic one, maybe 10 feet high, but my breathing immediately goes haywire, and I really have to push hard to keep going. The wind is noticeable in my split, the third km takes about 4:12 (6:45 pace). At some stage during the fourth km we start going downhill, which at least gives me the chance to catch my breath again for the last push. I’m hurting pretty bad by now, but I guess the others around me hurt even more, because the overtaking starts again. Despite this, this is my slowest km at 4:18 (6:55 pace). I try to switch into a higher gear for the last push, but I haven’t got much more to give, my HR is already at 190, which is nearly my max. With about 0.5 km to go we start climbing again, which is a very unwelcome surprise, and I really strain to push up that blasted hill. The last stretch is downhill again, and I run and run and run and then I cross the line in 20:47, which makes it another 4:00 km, and it’s a new PR, hurray. I didn’t know what to expect from this race, just 5 weeks after the Dublin marathon and only three weeks into my training, but a PR is a PR, and if I can run one on so little training I’m bound to improve further. It was more downhill than uphill, but that barely makes up for the congestion at the start. The next 5k is on New Year’s Day, and if I manage to go easy on the bubbly the night before I’m reasonably confident that today’s PR will be a short-lived one.

We got quite lucky with the weather, about 20 minutes after I cross the line the rain starts again, and the wind picks up to gale force once more. Not nice, but I guess I should be grateful that the race conditions were somewhat ok.

For the rest of the day I’ll try and send good vibes into Mike’s directions. If he runs anything like he’s capable of, he will run a truly amazing time in California today. You go Mike!

2 Dec: ~5 miles, 42:50, 8:34 pace, avg. HR 160
3 Dec: 5 miles, including a 5k in 20:47 (6:42 pace), avg. HR 182

Weekly mileage: 50 miles


  1. Nice job with the PR for the 5K. Too bad your family could not make it to see you race...though they may have been spectators to kids getting trampled! You PR'd in your last marathon and now also with a 5K - and I agree with you that you will see improvement in your upcoming races.

  2. Yes Thomas! And that's just your new natural fitness level. Imagine if you actually trained a bit for it? The next one will be interesting.

  3. Way to go Thomas! I've seen that thing with the kids at the start at a lot of the smaller races. I think the race directors should put something up on the site or on the registration form that clearly states where kids should be. I guess a lot of people consider a 5K a "fun run" and don't realize that there are serious runners out there looking for a race.

  4. Great job on the PR, Thomas!

  5. congrats on your pr. you've got 4 seconds on me ;)

    i'm sure you'll knock off some time in your next one too :)

  6. Great 5K PR Thomas. I'd say you are fully recovered. I've been trying to explain to folks that intense marathon training really helps you out with the shorter races ... I think you've just proven my point. This was an amazing race report.

  7. Way to go Thomas, you're just getting faster all the time!

  8. Awesome job on the run. Also kudos on the PR. Keep it up.