Monday, February 22

At Last a PB

Last weeks XC took a bit out of me. A 10 mile slow run on Wed helped
me recover but my right achilles flared up a little so I took it easy
for the rest of the week.
On Saturday I had a long days work in Limerick so I treated myself to
homemade chicken and chips (and salad) on Sat night - washed down with
a few beers. I had half an eye on the 5k Bhaa Road Race Sunday morning
in Mahon.
In 2008 this was my first race after moving back to Cork from Dublin
so it would be very interesting to see what improvements I could make.
(2 years ago I finished in 18.50)

I drove down to Hartys Quay on Sunday morning and jogged over to
skehard road and down to register in Mahon. Felt ok on the warm up
and it was a nice sunny, crisp morning. A few strides near the start
line and I was ready to go.
Like last week I took off fast but got into my running fairly quickly
and I found a spot 15 or 20 runners back from the leaders.
I was joined by a guy in white and we were running shoulder to shoulder
for most of the first mile.
Mile 1 in 5.50.

2 or 3 more guys came up on us and tried to pass but myself and the guy
in white stuck with them and were now motoring along in a group of 5.
As we turned right into the wind I stuck in behind 2 of them and caught
my breath. We were really racing and although I was`nt sure if I could
maintain the pace I was kinda enjoying it.
Once or twice a few of them pulled a few yards ahead but I kept
cool and quickened my leg turnover and I stuck with them.
Mile 2 in 5.55.

We were reeling in a few runners who had gone out too quick and were
now isolated and this was a good morale boost. Casual walkers seemed a
bit freaked out as the five of us were flying through the turns on the
public walkway.
I am starting to feel the pace now though and the group gets a few
strides ahead of me.
I dig in as I know from last week what a lonely place it is on your own
for the last mile. We turn and climb and cross over the motorway bridge in
single file..It is a straight finish of 600 yards and I have the 4 guys a few
paces ahead and there are 2 more about 10 metres further ahead.
I do my usual call " cmon, fast finish now " because If I could finish fast
there are 5 or 6 places there for the taking..
The fast finish is not there though - it looks like the quick pace has
scuppered that one for me and now it's a case of hanging on and not
getting passed!
I put in a small burst with 50 left and I am well safe from behind,
I close a bit on the guys ahead but I am never going to get there.

Under the clock in 18.17.
average pace/mile 5.53.

A PB beating the 2008 time by 33 seconds!

I am wrecked but very pleased to keep the pace under 6 min miles
as this is a lot harder than the mile intervals I have been doing in training.
My race was a steady pace and despite the painful finish it was a great
buzz as our group seemed to be flying along.

Tuesday, February 16

Red-Lining. Race Report 5k XC Blackrock Sunday 14

I decided the Bantry 10 miler was too long a drive so I went in the local
BHAA XCountry 5k. It was almost 2 years since my last 5k on the roads
where I ran 18.50 and I figured I was in much better shape now.
Halfway through this one I was`nt so sure...

Got there nice an early and had a warm up on the road before I put
on the spikes and tried to figure out the course.It was basically 3
and a bit laps around the park with a few downhills,lots of turns
and a big climb about halfway round.
My plan was to get out of the traps fairly quickly and get a good position.
Steady for 2 laps and finish fast - easy!

The gun went and I took off up the hill like a scalded cat - into the first
turn on the shoulder of a runner in white. There is a bit of argy bargy
and I clip him on the next turn. No quarter given here..
Fuck - this is new territory for me - in the leading dozen. Pace is fast.
A guy comes up from behind on the climb and I close the door - showing
him the outside line. This is fun, but I am working hard.One guy drops a
bit and I move past, then a fast guy goes past.Into the second lap and
there are 3 or 4 hot on my heels - I maintain the fast pace for another
few minutes but I realise I am red-lining it and I cannot see myself holding
this speed.
Sinking feeling sets in as the 2 or 3 guys on my heels go past. "Just keep
it together - you are on a good run here" This is new territory - most of
the runners around me are getting lots of support and I realise I have gone
off too quick. Still, I get past the second lap ok and I push on for the third.
I am feeling it now and I know the long climb will cause me problems.
On the climb another guy goes past- I cannot respond - breathing hard -
trying to keep it together and I can`t wait for the finish line.
I am losing contact with the guy in front and the crowd are encouraging
the runner behind me. "Come on Niamh you are first lady".
Shit - I am going to get chicked - second last bend she breezes past,
last turn and a hilly run to the line. I sneak a look over my shoulder as
some guy is encouraging the runner behind - he can probably tell I am struggling..Fuck this - no more!
I find some power and my injection of pace just keeps him at bay.
I recover on the water trailer and congratulate a few guys - and the chick.

So, I am not as fast as I thought - I got my pace all wrong as I was
drawn into an early scrap with the runner in white.I ran 2 fast laps and
1 not so fast where several passed me..but what the hell,It was good
experience and was fun trying to stay up with the fast guys for a change.
My right lung/ribs are sore and I hurt my ankle when I landed on a tree
root, but that was a good buzz and I hit a good time I think.(in my
distress I forget to stop my watch), but I recognised a few runners finish
a bit after me who I would usually be competing with so that is a good

I need to do more speedwork before the next one.


Finished 19th
Time 19.21
Avg Pace 6.14