I'd done an 8k race in Phoenix Park on the Saturday in the VFFs and had a bit of tightness in the calves still, even after getting out on the bike for 30k to loosen them out. But I still felt pretty good.
The weather was perfect, 18 degrees, blue skies and a slight breeze, just right.
In the photo are Tom, Anne-Marie, Jacinta and myself, all sporting our new club t-shirts too.I was the only one from our club who had done this race before, so I told the rest that there were "only two small hills". I may have *slightly* played down that aspect...Ah well!
I had decided to run it in my VFFs and told anyone who wanted to hear that I wasn't going for a PB, I just wanted to beat last year's time of 23:33.
Anyway, we got our bib numbers and t-shirts and did a couple of laps of the car park as a warm up. Then we just had time to empty the bladders before jogging the 800m to the start line. I did my usual dynamic leg stretches and chatted before getting in place about ten people back from the line. Almost 400 took part, which is the largest crowd in the race's 25 year history. Right on time the gun went off and we were away into the evening sun.
For some reason I didn't do my usual panic ridden, shit-off-a-shovel start and kept it to a good, manageable pace (must be getting old!). The course is almost entirely a left hander, winding around the back roads not far from Navan, Co. Meath. A good few people overtook me, but I've learned not to let it bother me. I'm not racing them, I'm racing me.
I saw one teenager running in heavy runners and heavy woolen rugby socks, knee length. His feet must have been pretty warm and toasty (and very, very smelly)! The distance was ticking itself off nicely and I found it easy enough in the VFFs. There was a water station at the 4k mark, but I kept going.
Around this time I caught up with a woman who was roughly my age and keeping a good pace. I wasn't trying to stay with her, but I did decide that I was going to overtake her. Just to give me a goal to increase my speed at the end. With about 600m to go I gained on her, she noticed and pulled further ahead. I was really struggling with the pace now and breathing was getting pretty tough.
Here's a great pic of the final few hundred metres
With about 100m to go I pulled up alongside her and noticed her trying to push away but not being able to. I just pushed in front by 5-6m and crossed the line in 21:48, a new PB!
I got a bottle of water and waited for my clubmates, who all gave out to me about the "two small hills" :-)
So now it's back to training for the 10k coming up in Swords on July 22nd. Hope to see you there!