Monday, June 25, 2012

Race report - Dunshaughlin 10k

Dunshaughlin AC had their 33rd annual 10k race last Saturday. It was my first time at this race and I'd definitely recommend it for next year. This year had the biggest turnout so far with 647 finishers.
I met up with Keith and Tom and a few locals in the Community Centre beforehand and went over our individual aspirations for the race, pacing and times etc. I (jokingly) said that my tactic was to "run like mad for the first 9k and then hang on until the end". I picked up my bib number, t-shirt etc. It was about 14 degrees but windy with light rain on and off.
I did some dynamic stretching and then with 15minutes to go we did a light run out to the start line and chatted to a few people until we were under way. I had decided to set the garmin virtual training partner up on my watch, so I knew how my overall pace was going. I've used it before successfully, but this time (for some reason) it messed up and told me I was about two minutes slower by the 5k mark, so I just stopped looking at it and ran by feel.
The course wound back to Ratoath up to just past the half way mark. A nice touch was having a race clock at the 5k point. I glanced at the clock and saw 22:xx on it, only slightly slower than my 5k PB. I told myself to "chill the **** out and slow down a bit". After that we turned right and right again to be met with a few small hills. I didn't know there would be hills, and they made me lose my focus a bit and dented the pace. There were water stations every 2k or so, which were great, but I can't drink and run, I just end up choking. I think one of the water stations was unofficial and just setup by a family outside their house!
There was lots of people out to cheer us on in the last kilometer. At this point, I caught up to a guy running whilst holding his left ribcage, I presumed he had a stitch. I ran alongside him and chatted. He did have a stitch and I said I'd stay with him. I was calling out the distance left, 800m...700m. With just 100m to go he took off again.
Photo credit - Rory Mooney
Then I saw the finish line clock with 44:xx on it!!
 Up to this my legs were feeling heavy, but somehow I decided to sprint. I overtook the guy I'd been running with and two other runners in the last 30m.
At the finish line we were offered water, bananas and even strawberries with cream! After a brief chat (it was raining again at this point) we jogged back to the Community Centre to cool down and got some tea/coffee, cakes, sandwiches, fruit etc.
Many thanks to the organizers, excellent job!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Updates, goals and racing

As a general rule I don't do regular "monthly updates" to this blog, it's more a case of when I have time and something (I think) people might just be interested in reading. Last month I ran around 158k, which is right where I want it for now. I didn't do much on the bike, so I'll have to change that as I'm meant to be doing the Meath Cycle Tour next month. There's three options, 50k, 100k or 160k. I'm nowhere near cycle-fit for 160k, and as I may have to cycle to and from the house to the start line in Trim I reckon the 50k option is better, as I'll have clocked up a total of around 90k for the day.
One of my goals for the year was to break my 5k PB of 23:24, which has stood for almost two years. I'm pretty sure I wasn't able to break it due to concentrating on longer distance running and endurance. Now that I'm working on middle distance races I've been able to break it twice this year, once in the Royal County 5k (22:17) and once two days ago in the Bohermeen 5k with 21:59
If you look closely, you can see it says 21:59:99, *just* under the 22mins :-)
So of course my next goal is to break 21mins...and then break 20mins. Even the thought of running an *average* 4:00 pace over 5k is making me nervous!
So my upcoming race schedule is like this:
Dunshaughlin 10k in just over a week (where I hope to beat my PB of 47:08), one week after that is the Pheonix Park 8k (aka Irish Runner 5 mile). I did it last year and got 39:20, so I'll aim to beat my time again. Then only four days later I have another 5k...the South O'Hanlon AC race. I did that one last year also and held back as I thought it would be hilly, and it wasn't. I ended up 9 sec slower than my PB. Lesson learnt!
I then have two and a half weeks before my next race, a 10k.
After the South O'Hanlon 5k all my races are 10k, 16k or half marathon, so I'm working on my training plan to increase distance and endurance, while still keeping up the speed work that has been working quite well for me so far. Of course I'm aiming to beat my PBs in all these distances... :-)
Another couple of items I've been working on: Firstly I'm running less, about half as much as I was per week compared to last summer, but I'm improving my middle distance running at the same time. It's not just less distance, I'm running around four days a week, whereas previously I would run five or six days a week. If I feel the need for a recovery day, I take it. I don't feel bad about it, recovery is more important than an under productive run or workout.
Secondly, I'm being a lot more careful and specific about my nutrition. I won't go into details here (I may post another time just on food), but I've been told that "60% of your training is about correct nutrition". I'm very much taking that on board. Not only for the days/weeks leading up to a race, but on a long term basis and also post-race. I reckon the post-race meal is almost as important (if not just as important) as the pre-race meal.
Anyway, I could go on and on, but for now I'll stop rambling!
Keep running,