I had a bit of a diversion on Saturday with the Kerry Athletics awards night. My club, Star of the Laune, had been kind enough to nominate me for an award and, lo and behold, I was picked for a special merits award. In fact, they gave me just about the biggest pot they had on that table. It was a very nice evening, and who would not be honoured to receive an award like that - the only downside being that we had to leg it once the entertainment started in earnest as the next day's drive would be long and the race would be hard.
I've done some local races but nothing what I would call serious in the last few months, and Ballycotton felt like a step up again towards "real" racing. The standard there would be frightfully high and I was nowhere near top shape, so expectations were muted all along. Considering my very modest 39:10 in a 10k on New Year's Day, 63 minutes seemed the best outcome possible, and that felt optimistic. However, there is something about Ballycotton that always makes me race faster than I think possible and so it proved once more.
I woke on Sunday morning with a sore throat and a sore left hamstring, neither of which filled me with confidence that this would be a particularly good day. However, I would neither of which put m off my race.
|2 miles. Photo by Graham Nudds|
Because of that, my own warm-up was very short, no more than 5 minutes, and then I really had to make it into the start area. In the past I have gotten stuck there with 20 minutes to go, so I was actually pleasantly surprised that I managed to squeeze all the way to the "under 58 minutes" sign. Obviously I was not going to run under 58 minutes but I have learned from bitter experience that lining up according to that sign would have been a bad mistake - as it happens, I still started too far in the back, as I do every year, and spent much of the first mile weaving around slower runners ahead of me on a very narrow road. Business as usual, really.
|Photo by Alan Bannon|
|Photo by Joe Murphy|
The official (chip) time was 1:01:52, which was over a minute faster than my supposed best-case outcome, so I was very pleased with that. My sequence of finishing further ahead in the field with each subsequent race has come to its inevitable end, though. In fact, 145th is a fairly modest placing for someone who has finished 101st and 103rd 2 and 3 years ago. Still, it was 9th in my age group, which isn't all that bad even for a senior citizen. I did meet a proper fast old man during the walk back to the car when interrupting Gary Condon's cool-down for a minute to have a brief chat.
I never even noticed the sore throat in Ballycotton and the hamstring did not bother me once I was a minute into my warm-up.
I was more than happy with my time as well as my own running, feeling I had paced myself very well and pretty much squeezed the optimum outcome out of myself today. This week's mileage is lower due to the lack of a long run, and next week will be low again as a week of recovery is in store with the Tralee marathon this Saturday, even if that is primarily yet another training run.
- 4 Mar
- 5 miles, 41:23, 8:17 pace, HR 136
- 5 Mar
- 6 miles, 46:23, 7:44 pace, HR 144
- 6 Mar
- 13+ miles, including:
- Ballycotton 10, 1:01:52, 6:11 pace, HR 171
- 145th place, 9th M45
- 7 Mar
- 5 miles, 41:06, 8:13 pace, HR 138