Part of my running goals this year is to beat my PBs in the main distances I currently run. These are 5k, 10k and half marathon (21.1k). In January I took on my half marathon goal and took nearly 7 minutes of my PB, so that part was done. Then a local 10k (Cupid's Dash) came up on my radar and I jumped at the chance.
I had missed 3 weeks training due to an ankle injury during the Waterford HM and only got back running 1 week before the 10k came up, so circumstances weren't ideal. However, with the volume and quality of the training I'd been racking up in the previous months I was pretty confident. The chink in my armour was that I haven't been able to get any hills reps in, as where I live there aren't any :-(
On the Thursday before the race I was going for my scheduled training/maintenance run. I decided to do a tempo run, but only really had time for about 7.5k (one of my regular routes). So I set out at a good pace that felt like it was a bit of a challenge. About 4k in I was feeling a bit tired and slacked it off a bit but brought it back up when I felt a bit better. When I had finished my 7.5k I checked my Garmin and found that I had done it in just over 37mins, so my average pace was 4:55min/k, pretty quick for me!
Then on Friday, I was up at 5:45 to get to the gym and did my usual workout with an easy treadmill run for 5k, which was done in about 28mins. I took it easy the rest of the day - apart from work - and on Saturday.
On Saturday evening I got all my running gear ready; clothes to wear, food for the morning and pre/post race, water bottles and clothes to change into post run.
Sunday morning we were all getting ready to go and my son (4 years old) was really looking forward to watching the race, but my daughter (nearly 3) decided she didn't want to leave the house. We didn't quite know what to do, but we convinced our daughter to go just in time, phew! So I drove us about 30mins to Pheonix Park in Dublin and we found that the roads in the park were already closed. So we had no choice but to drop me there and my wife took the car and kids off while I did my run.
I ran over to the car park to pick up my bib number and to meet Cris from DM, I was a bit late so I pinned on my bib number and we jogged to the start line (about 1k). There was a local fitness company (whose name I can't remember!) doing a warmup with those waiting at the start line, but they were doing static stretches. As my regular readers will know, I don't do static stretches before a run/workout.
Anyhow, I chatted with Cris and a few others before the start. It wasn't clear which way we were running from the start line, but the direction we assumed turned out to be right, luckily! When I got my bib number I was told that they had run out of chip timers, so I had to make do without. So I got as close to the start line as I could. I also noticed that there was no timing mat to run over at the start, so it was timed by gun time.
The race started and over 650 of us were off. It was a bit chilly, about 6C, but we warmed up quickly.
The first half of the course was reasonably flat, but the second half got more and more hilly. There was an aid station at about the 7k mark that had cups of water and what I think was Powerade, which I took. I walked while drinking from the cup as I haven't got the hang of running and drinking, the art is lost on me!
About 1k to go we passed the finish line on our left and had to go up a long hill to a roundabout and back down. Mentally it was tough running away from the finish line, but the downhill to the line was great! My previous PB was 51:09 and I was determined to break 50mins. I crossed the line right on 47:08!
As you can see in the pic, the clock shows 47:05, I'll go by my Garmin time though.
I was delighted, I caught my breath and grabbed some water, bananas and jelly sweets that were available. Pretty quickly I realised my family wasn't there, so I jogged up to the car park and decided I'd pick up my goodie bag then too. I could have picked it up at the start, but I didn't want to carry it while running of course. When I got to the car park I realised that the race crew had relocated to the finish line, so I ran back there again. My family was there waiting for me and my kids were really excited to see me, which was great! I inquired about the goodie bag and was told that they had run out, so I took an email address and have been told that they will post it out.
I have since checked the official results online and I am not listed, as I didn't have a timing chip - even though I paid my €25 entry fee, oh well. It was still a PB and a great day. I gave my son my finisher's medal and he wore it around his neck for most of the rest of the day, he was really proud...