Well, happy probably still isn't the right word. Truth to be told, I wasn't all that keen on it. I am very much a road runner, and every time I have tried something else (triathlon, mountain running, adventure racing) I very quickly came to the conclusion that these things are fun but not nearly as much fun as road running. Nevertheless, this was a team event and I was fully prepared to put the required effort into it. Admittedly, I would not have run 10 miles the day before a road race, but that's the way it goes.
Last year I had gotten my backside firmly handed to me in the Kerry novices race, so I was under no illusion how the Munster race would go. The field for the men's master race was gargantuan in comparison to the juvenile and women's races that had preceded it. And since this was cross county, everyone shot out of the blocks at breakneck speed, which seems to be the traditional way to run these things.
I immediately was working harder than I would have liked but was still way behind the faster guys. Over the next 2 or 3 laps I gradually made some limited progress through the field catching the guys who were clearly paying the price for some early kamikaze pacing. At one point I used Pat O'Shea as a pacer but eventually was unable to keep up any more and he inched away from me.
I still made up 1 or 2 places on the next laps; I generally caught people on the downhill section and tried to hold them off on the uphill. The section at the bottom was very muddy and completely churned up after countless foot strikes from all the previous races and I found that a wider line was faster, I caught at least one runner there on every lap.
With half a mile to go I felt a few guys catching up on me and put in some extra effort to stop them breathing down my neck, as hard as that came. I caught up with the runner in front of me and we both overtook one other runner but I never quite managed to get my nose in front of the other guy and 50 meters from the finish line the one runner we had overtaken a minute ago went past me at a tremendous pace as if I were standing still, so I ended up without a net gain, but definitely relieved that I had survived the torture.
In the end we did not even get a team result because we did not have the required four finishers due to some misunderstanding of the rules. Ah well. Better luck next time (wait - what next time?!?).
- 30 Nov
- 10 miles, 1:16:16, 7:35 pace, HR 142
- 1 Dec
- 7 miles, including:
Munster master cross country 7k, 28:40, 6:28 pace, HR 177