Sunday, April 13, 2014

County Kerry 5k Road Championship

"What do you think about Sunday 13th April?" "That's the worst date possible!" Sean might have been slightly taken aback by my reaction when he told me about the date for the county championship, but at that point it was already decided. I promised to turn up and might even put in an honest effort, but one week after the Connemara Ultra I would never be able to produce my best performance. In fact, my main goal for today's race was not to get injured!

Still, I could not miss it. It was held in Killorglin and my local club, Star of the Laune, acted as organisers. We are a small club but aimed to bring a decent team both for the men's as well as the women's division, though as the men were all old geezers we were squarely aiming for the masters categories.

I had to stop watching the London marathon halfway through to head off to the start. I could still clearly feel the heavy legs from Connemara, which didn't bode too well. I guess I would have to rely on Adrenaline alone to get me through this today.

I have run in these championship races before and know far away I am from the standard up front so I started well down the field, probably too far as I spent the first half mile overtaking a lot of runners. It didn't cost me any real time, though. I could see a very big pack right up front not too far away and just one or two runners between them and me, but after about a mile they started pulling away and I started to feel the effort.

The one thing that got me through is the knowledge that this would be over reasonably soon. 5ks are the complete opposite to marathons or ultras, the pain is high but the effort does not have to be sustainable for long. They go completely against my strengths but to be honest I do like the fact that they show that I am able to run well below 6-minute pace, something that's completely out of the question in training.

The first two miles were exceptionally flat but we had to pay the price in the third mile in shape of a 100 feet high hill. The gradient is about 5% on the steepest section and my only aim was to get to the top without killing myself. I didn't have much strength left, in fact I lost 2 places. Even when it flattened out it was still uphill for a while until we could finally descend back towards town. After losing 2 places on the climb I didn't exactly cover myself in glory by losing 2 further places on the way down. At least it did sting my pride and I did put the hammer down on the final 500 meters that were flat towards the finish and managed to get one place back.

I didn't press the button immediately after crossing the line, I was too busy trying to breathe, but pressed it when the watch showed 18:20, so I estimated my time must have been around 18:10, pretty much the same time I had done in the fun run a few weeks ago, but looking at the Garmin track now I can see that it drops off after 17:58, so let's say my time was pretty much 18 flat, give or take a second.

I was well pleased with my time, certainly faster than I would have thought possible only 7 days after Connemara and possibly even more pleased with my bronze medal for coming third in the M40 age group, an nice bonus. It's fairly rare to get a "real" medal, as opposed to the usual everyone-gets-a-medal, and I do treasure them all. The club had done very well with about half a dozen medals and I think both the ladies as well as the masters men finished in teh top three in the teams rankings, but they did not announce them yet.

Let's just hope it didn't set my recovery back too much.

P.S.: Congratulations to Chris Grayson for storming to his first sub-3 in London with an official time of 2:56:54. Smoked it, mate! I'm chuffed for you, I know how much you wanted it!

P.P.S. Final results have me in 21st place in 17:56. That's damn close to my PB! Now I'm wondering if I could break it ...

I knew I needed a haircut but I had no idea I needed one so desperately!
Finishing sprint
Definitely happy to get a medal!
Star of the Laune medal winners
Star of the Laune
All photos by Carol Naughton
11 Apr
5 miles, 40:14, 8:03 pace, HR 130
12 Apr
5 miles, 39:04, 7:48 pace, HR 133
13 Apr
6.5 miles, including:
   County Kerry 5k Road Championship
   ~18:00, 5:47 pace, HR 175, 3rd M40


  1. Wohoo, almost a 5k PB a week after a Ultramarathon PB, great going!

    If your keep this up just think how fast you'll be a week after your 24 hours race, you'll get that 5k PB for sure.

    On more serious point, if you do decide to have a rest from ultra's and concentrate on the short stuff for a little while your PB's at 5k, 10k and half marathon should fall like dominoes.

  2. To run that close to your PB, without any 5k specific work and so soon after Connemara and Tralee, deserves a tip of the hat. Well done Thomas, great running.

  3. Well done Thomas. Sub-18 is worth writing home about! You could definitely give 3:30 ks a nudge if you took it seriously (peaked for one) and found a flat course.