Monday, October 3

Rosscarbery 5k Race Report

On Saturday afternoon I lined up in Rosscarbery Town Square
and the well known GAA Announcer Michael O Muircheartaigh
counted us down at the start line.
My casual training of late would get a good test and I was hoping to
get under 19 mins. (PB is 18.18 on a flat course)

Downhill start out of the village and we speed down towards the main
Clonakilty Road. Cross the causeway and turn left for 2 laps of the
lagoon to an uphill finish of about 600 metres.

I set off fast and have about 8 or 9 runners ahead of me.
Kilometre 1- 3.30
the road levels out and 3 guys go past me - I recognise 2 of em,
Joe O Sullivan from Bandon and Sean Allis form Clonakilty.
I have had a few battles with Allis this season over 2 10k races
and the score is 1-1.
I decide to let them go as I am happy with my pace - so I keep them
within striking distance and hatch a plan to maintain current speed and
go for a fast final kilometre.
K2 is slower and K3 is steady and I remember to hit the watch this time!

3k in 11.05

K4 is back around the lagoon and I am gaining on the Bandon Guy and Allis.
As I come up on the shoulder of the Bandon Guy he hitches a ride and we
cut a few corners to get a good racing line.

4th K 3.58

Approaching the 4k marker we catch Allis and I can hear him
just about hanging on at the back.

As we turn for the last kilometer I pick it up a small bit more and
the Bandon Runner tells me to go for it as he is all out..

I race on and manage to pull away from the 2 guys,I see one runner
in blue 20 or 30 yards ahead as we start the final climb but I cannot
gain on him so i dig in and climb reasonably well.

Back into the square with burning legs and cross the line in 18.59.
10th place, a good speed session and happy to (just) hit my target.

Tuesday, August 23

Shannonvale 10k

Friday night at Phairs Pub in Shannonvale only 2 miles from home
and I am lining up for another 10k.
I bump into Grellan at the start line and he tells me he is aiming for the 40 mins mark , and, so am I (again).
We start on a downhill past the pub and cross the River Argideen,
heading uphill we crest and level off for the first few kilometres.
I am running alongside Grellan and this helps me to dig in and
maintain a good pace.
A tough hill meets us after 2 miles and I push on a bit as Grellan is
working hard. As we reach the top he catches up and I pick up speed again to stay with his pace as we speed along the next few km.

The route is on small grassy country roads and the sun is sneaking through the trees lighting up the puddles from the earlier showers.
I have no time to enjoy though as I am working hard to keep pace.

After 6 km Grellan increases the pace a bit and I am on my limits if
I don't want to blow up. By 7 k he moves ahead and I see him track and pass the guy ahead on a long straight.
I tell myself to keep a good stride and I get some regular breathing going again. I am running ok but not gaining on the guy ahead.
2 k to the finish and I can see we have a nice downhill run over the last mile so I can pick it up a bit again.
I cross the line in 40.47 - still no sub 40 , but I am happy enough
with the time and my consistency.
I must dig deeper and push harder through the pain and I will get there!

Monday, July 4

Ballinascarthy 10k - 40.52

This was the second running of the Ballinascarthy 10k and
had an entry of 220 runners.
After my 'comeback' race in Dunmanway I felt better prepared for
this one and I was looking forward to a decent run.

Well, I raced better and my pace was more consistent, I did'nt suffer
as much and I finished fast, mainly due to 2 guys chasing me over the
last 500 metres.

This course was hilly but maybe not as bad as last week so I
am happy enough with my time of 40.52.
Give me a flat course and some more training and I should hopefully get
back under the 40 mins.
Approx mile splits were: 6.30,7.00,6.45,6.30,6,40,6.00

The last mile was net downhill so I held a bit for the last hill and I
set sail for home - finishing better than 2 weeks ago and I came out of the
race feeling not so beat up!
I reckon a race every 2 weeks would be a great way to gain/keep speed
in the legs.
Unfortunately 3 Over 40s were quicker than me so no pocket money yet..
but I did reverse placings with one or two local runners from the Dunmanway
Race so that is a good positive.

Tuesday, June 21

Dunmanway 10k result .. not a walk in the park

Beautiful Sunny Morning in Dunmanway on Sunday as I laced up my
slightly worn out Saucony's for my first road race of the year.
I was looking forward to this one but I was also a bit anxious and
had a feeling I was in for a painful morning.
My target time was 40 mins and the plan was to set out at 6.30 for the first mile and pick up the pace to 6.20 or 6.15 as the race unfolded.

Great feeling to be on the start line again and as the gun goes off
I hit my stride and picked out the shortest line to the first turn.
I let a few eager beavers go on ahead and I reckon 25 or 30 were
ahead of me up the road.
First glance at the watch and we are 8 mins in to the race so
I have obviously missed the first mile marker!
Running ok but I realise as we go uphill for mile 2 that I have
my work cut out to hit a good time.
I pass mile 2 at 13mins (not too bad)
Mile 3 is a bit tough as well but I am going ok (slowing a bit) as
we climb again..pass the mile 3 marker breathing hard and in dire
need of water as the 5k post passes in just over 20mins.

I have gained a few places since we started but now I am
passed by one or 2 as I am still working hard in mile 4 .. one
guy comes back on my shoulder (I recognise him as one of the
older Eagle guys) and I stick with him refusing to allow him past.
I gradually gain a few metres and shake him off.
After a few minutes he is back and this time he goes past ,
followed by another Eagle and as we hit the 5 mile marker I realise
this is not going too well.
Ribs are sore as lungs are working hard to maintain the effort.

I know the last mile has a sharp hill at the end and then we
descend to the finish so I let the young lad in orange go
past as I save my strength for the 400 metre climb.

Sure enough we turn the corner and start the climb - my old
racing spirit returns and combined with pain and anger I pick off
one guy half way up and I set my sights on Mr Orange who I pass near the brow of the hill.
A quick all out descent and I am home in what I thought was
40 mins 50 seconds.

It turns out my mind was also tired and my finish time was actually
41.52. Position 30th.

This was a big disappointment and I was beaten by guys I used to be
able to beat handily enough - but I gotta take it on the chin and
improve the next day.
As I get a bit faster I will appreciate more every 30 seconds I can
improve to get back nearer to my potential.
A bit of research on the finish times here compared to other 10k
races tells me most runners were over a minute slower on this course so
it is not a total disaster..
It is easy to forget when you are running well how hard a sport this
is as times!

Tuesday, June 14

10k Races and Grey Crows

Finally it is time to go racing again.

I have three 10k races pencilled in for the next 3 weekends:
Dunmanway10k on Sunday, Courtmacsherry on 24th of June,
and Ballinascarthy the following weekend.
All these races are in west cork and only 20 mins drive from my
house so I am looking forward to getting back into race mode.

Training is not back to anywhere near the level or intensity
of last year but I am ticking over ok.
I am out running 4 to 5 times a week but mileage is low..

I have been busy trying to kill grey crows that are attacking
my new windows..they see their image in the glass and try to kill the "stranger", they are also eating the rubber sealant as they seem to like the oily taste of the rubber.
Nasty buggers, they are hard to trap, kill, get rid of..
Attempts to date have included purchasing a fake kestrel,
(they were sold out of hawks! ),rubbing Vicks on the windows (they hate the smell) , Glue on a Board (try to stick em),
Dropping a lump Hammer from an upstairs window (just missed! ),
Pellet Gun (this is the most fun .. wife does'nt like it though)
Dipping Bread in Anti -Freeze , etc,etc
When I say kill I mean of course "relocate" as the vermin are protected under the wildlife act - not sure why!)
I am making progress hopefully my 6am crow calls will end soon.

On the running front I have a found a local loop which is exactly
5k so 2 of these and I have my 10k.
Last Wednesday I did a slow 5k followed up with a fast 5k to test my fitness levels and I came home in just under 19 mins for the second loop which was pleasing for a training run.
The plan is to get under 40 mins for the first 10k and try to kick on
from there. I won't really know where I am at until I race.

Wednesday, April 6

I have hit the big 4O

Well, I hit the big 4O a few weeks ago and we celebrated it well.
All things considered I was fairly happy as now I have a prize
category to aim for when I get off my ass and go racing again.
My last race was the Clon half Marathon back in December,
so I am hoping to get out in the next few weeks and try to
get some race fitness built up.
After the Cork Marathon last June I kinda decided shorter races were
more fun so I`m sticking to that for now..

Our house build is progressing well and we should be moving down in
a few weeks hopefully - no major dramas and save for some minor 'design'
quarrels between Fiona and myself we are very happy with it,
I just have to avoid conversations on curtains and colours and material and stuff and I will be ok.

On the running front I am ticking over at only 20 or 30 miles
per week and I have no time to get to the track for speedwork.
A few hilly runs of 11/12 miles recently at 7.30 pace have
given me some confidence (and sore hammers) so I am not in bad shape.
I will find out more in a week or 2 when I go racing!