After taking it fairly easy on Thursday and Friday I was ready for Saturday's race. Gneeveguilla AC are organising a 5k race series again. I skipped it last year, but I'm hoping for some schwag again this year; as lang as I manage to run the minimum of 3 out of 4 races, I should get some.
After running a new 5k PB on New Year's Day, I was curious what this race would bring. The usual local speedsters took off at the front. The start was uphill, just like the 4+ miler on St.Stephen's Day, and just like then I was able to stay with the front group fairly comfortably but fell behind once we crested the hill. George came by me about 1k into the race, commenting that I had gone off like a rocket again, though I wasn't able to respond, neither vocally nor pace-wise. 5Ks in Killarney all used to follow the same route, but they changed it last year for an out-and-back course, but any course in the National Park is highly scenic, not that you have any opportunity to admire the beauty while running at 5k race pace. I caught a guy with an ipod (if he had stopped constantly fiddling with his earphones it would have helped, I'm sure) but was caught myself by two guys inside the last k as the effort was getting to me and I could not respond.
I attended a strength-and-conditioning workshop in Castleisland afterwards. The guy who held it was excellent and really knew what he was talking about, and best of all, there were no weights involved at all. Now if I could go and start doing these things on a regular basis ...
I do use short races for training, but as I've learned over the years, the most important factor is to recover fully. Racing takes more out of you than training and it is absolutely critical to understand this. In light of that, my decision to do another workout today was definitely a bit risky, but I reckoned that since I had done back-to-back workouts every weekend for quite some time, I should be okay. I don't want to do any more slow long runs before the marathon, so the plan was to run a few miles to warm up and the rest of it at marathon effort. It means that this week's mileage would be significantly reduced compared to previous ones, but that was inevitable once I decided to race the 5k on Saturday. Call it quality instead of quantity if you want.
I felt okay during the early miles but after 5 miles I had to run a couple of miles right into the fierce headwind and realised that the last 5 miles would all have to be against the wind, not something I was looking forward to. I also had to deal with two nasty spells of hail (the second one particularly long and painful) and a few rain showers; the conditions were definitely testing. The legs were pretty heavy and I was feeling the effort. Maybe I should be grateful for the hail because it sure took my mind off the hurting legs. Eventually I realised that while I was clearly working hard I was not deteriorating and could keep pushing that same effort, even if it was uncomfortable. I made it home, feeling my old age and glad to be done.
- 24 Jan
- 8 miles, 59:29, 7:26 pace, HR 144
- 25 Jan
- 10 miles, 1:13:39, 7:21 pace, HR 142
- 26 Jan
- 6.5 miles, including
Gneeveguilla 5K, 17:59, 5:48 pace, HR 175
- 27 Jan
- 15 miles, 1:40:15, 6:41 pace, HR 158
incl. 12.5 miles @ 6:38 pace, HR 160