Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A duo of race reports

So the first race I did this year was a bit different for me. Last year I trained right through the winter and kept at it up for the Waterford half marathon in January - where I sprained my ankle. This year I had a forced 3 months break from running but got back into it in late Jan/early Feb. It was a deliberately slow return, not wanting to over train or get injured. I'd kept up cross training (cycling, gym work and kettle bells), so I had a certain amount of fitness, but just not running.
Anyway, one of the coaches in the club suggested I try the BHAA races, some of which are cross country. I'd only done one CC race before, and that was a 2k race in Sydney. So I thought I'd give it a go. The race was in Maynooth College grounds over grass and through some wooded areas, so twigs, small branches and muddy areas.
I arrived on the day with my family in tow and let them walk down to Maynooth while I registered, warmed up and waited for the race to start. It was a chilly day, so apart from my shorts I had two technical t-shirts, one of them with long sleeves, and a wooly hat and gloves. Thankfully the rain held off.
The race was to be four loops, for a total of 6.5k (4 miles for the old folk). At the starting line I got chatting to a fellow BF runner, although he actually was barefooted (remember all the twigs and mud I mentioned?). I however was in my VFFs - KSO Treks. The race got underway and I set off too fast, of course...

By half way through the first lap I settled into a pace that looked too fast on the garmin (4:45). After the second lap I took off my gloves and on the third lap I took my hat off too.

That was right about where the front of the pack lapped me. I didn't get a great feeling about that, but hey, that's life.
Around this time I started thinking that my pace was unsustainable and slowed slightly. However I did still manage to overtake about 5 or 6 people on that last lap. I'm presuming they were getting slower as they went on. I kept a steady pace from there and despite wanting to make a break for the finish line I didn't have it in me and just kept going.

My time was just over 31mins ( I'm too tired to check the website!) and I'm really happy that A) I did it, B) I ran the whole way and C) I didn't collapse in a pool of sweat and vomit at the end!
Since then I've been running in the VFFs every second day and trying to run 4-5 days a week. Usually 4, but I'm not doing marathon training at the moment.

Kildalkey 5 miler (8k)
I did this race last year with my BIL, who is a member of the hosting club (Fr Murphy's AC). I had stomach cramps and had to walk parts and finished in 38:43. This year we had cooler temps (6-8C) and it was raining on and off. This would be my first road race of the year and my longest race since the Dublin HM last September. As I'm only getting back to running, I was hoping to run the whole way and if possible, beat last year's time. As I jogged from the Kildalkey Community Centre to the start line (about 1k) I had a few runners ask me where the start line was. Nice to be the "old dog" at a race!
I did my warmup run and took shelter for a minute under a tree during the rain. Then all 127 of us lined up and headed off on the wet roads and boreens. I'm really getting to like the smaller races, there's a lot more character and friendliness to them. Some of the narrower roads had large puddles the whole width of them. The faster runners would barrel straight through (you could tell who they were at the end due to the mud splashes up to their waist!), but us mid-pack runners ran up on the grass. The pack thinned out pretty quick, and after a while I had two runners in front of me that I never caught or lost.
I didn't look over my shoulder at any time, I had too much to focus on. After the 2k mark or so I stopped looking at my garmin as it was stressing me and I didn't look at it again until I went over the finish line. As the end of the race drew closer, I could hear the announcer over the PA system, so I brought my pace up a bit. Then I turned a corner and the line was in sight and sprinted the last 50m or so. Going over the line I got 38:10. It would have been good to get under 38mins, but as I was 33sec faster than last year, in worse conditions, I'm quite happy.

Time to prepare for next Sunday's Dunboyne race!