Galway 5KM Series (Loughrea) – 15 May 2012.
Been going well recently. Fairly well anyhow! Clocking some good times in training. Racing some half-decent times. Sub-72 in Ballycotton 10M. Sub-43 in Ardrahan 10KM. Best 10KM in embarrassingly long time. Off little mileage too. For me anyhow. Nothing new there to be honest!
Ran 21:17 in Newcastle first night. On my own. Before the main event itself. Time trial of sorts. See what I could do. On my own as I said.
Ran 20:18 in Claregalway last week. Very solid run. Once I got up hill anyhow. Last KM in 3:53. A second better than last year. Not that it makes much difference.
Limped around for the rest of week. Sore. Very sore. A few games at the weekend. No run in four days. Ran two miles Monday night. Felt OK. Latent shin splint on right leg. Needed to be nursed in case.
Sub-20 not likely tonight. Aiming for Craughwell or Tuam instead. Would be happy with 20:20 again. Consolidate on last week. Consolidate and move ahead more perhaps? Just repeat last week's performance. And hope...
Got to Loughrea in good time. Parked up close to start. All quiet at 7PM. The locals were ready though. Very relaxed they were. Everyone knows what they are doing. Shin still niggling away. Slightly worried.
Togged off after 7:30PM. The crowd gathered, slowly at first. Ran out to 4KM with JAH. Feeling a bit better. Ran back in. A little better. Met and greeted a few regulars.
Lovely evening, which always helps. Sunny. Windy and against us at start. With us on the way back! That hill! Needed to get to 3KM fresh. Needed to be ready for it.
Snuck up to front without hassle. Started cleanly. Was running to left, easily enough. Passed by a lot early. Not to worry. Had pace right. Important to start with little effort. Usual suspects behind me? Not a clue for sure who. Up to them to pass me. If they could.
FB nudged me after 500M. Imitated my chicken wings. Ha ha! Another tick in blackbook for him. Didn't need to ask his name.
Got to 1KM very handy. Sweating like a fountain already. Piles of Vaseline on eyebrows helped. Helped a lot, actually. Water stinging eyes is not good. Wind not too distracting.
Road dry and in good condition. Lot of human traffic up ahead. Could identify no one behind me. Could feel their eyes though. Would never look back. Only give them solace.
Running totally on feel, as usual. The clock will mind itself. If I mind myself. Concentrate on job in hand. The field will tell me anyhow. Going well, people will not pass. Not going well, trouble for me...
Some people were passing. None of them I knew. Lady with black hat passed. Not a clue who she was. She's a good 'un! Let her off. She might come back later. Might? Not likely!
KOD is passed before 2KM. Walking. Had gone out at right pace...but. 2KM mark passed very easily. Not in much trouble at all. Not breathing too heavily. Sweating, but of positive type. You know what I mean. A healthy sweat!
Legs were rubbing together a bit. Bambi like. Annoying. Hamstrings a bit tighter than necessary. Manageable, I hoped, over short distance.
Up and around the sharp left. People ahead not getting away. No one passing me without effort. Boreen has been re-surfaced since 2011. Not rutted surface of other years. Bloody slippy enough with new chippings. Going that fast, yeah!
Tightened up a bit. Chicken wings closer to shoulders now. Relax, as ! Who was behind ready to pounce? No real targets ahead of me. Hard to know what pace I was. Never take a stopwatch peek anyhow.
Around the next sharp left. The hill was ahead of us! Just after 3KM. A surprise to the uninitiated. What a surprise. A bit like Croagh Patrick. On Reek Day.
Really breathing heavily now. Not too heavily. Deep breath. Right thigh hard, a bit sore. Strange area of discomfort. A new one on me! Another sign of impending middle age? Just side effect of tonight’s efforts.
The hill is met with bang. "Let it come to me." Yeah, right! Feck it. "Let it flow over me." Yeah, right! Others struggling. One or two passed, struggling. Perhaps a few sneak past me too? Not many though. The posse ahead are still there.
Not getting any further away. Not getting any closer. A long KM. A very long and painful one. Who is winding up behind me? This hill might break a few. I hope!
Still going OK. KMc is ahead. Beat him last week on the line. A few other AAC singlets too. Too far ahead.
Have my 'number one' singlet on. Wore it for first time in Claregalway. In nearly three years. Wasn't going well enough before that. To do it justice. Was I going to deserve it? Tonight? Deep breath. Head down. Chicken wings not too high.
Get to top of first hill. Then second. Then start downhill descent. 4KM marker passed. Road still very busy ahead of me. Should have looked at watch then. Probably would not have liked it. Run for your life.
Made my vital mistake around now. Came up behind two big lads. They were sprawled across road. Running side by side. 'Blocked' my way. Or so I thought. I should have pushed around or through them. I didn't. Fatal mistake. I sat in with them. Should have pushed on then. Sh*te!
Five hundred metres to go. Open road again. Did push on. A bit. Passed by a few fit lads. Including TK. I should have gone with him. I should have gone with him. I didn't. I didn't. Had no kick. Never had.
The two big lads broke ranks. I knew LN would come back. He did in last 50M. Head down. Get to finish ASAP. Last 200M. Still could not see clock. Eyes bulging out of their sockets. May not look like it. But true.
19:55. 19:56. 19:57. 19:58. 19:59. 20:00. It didn't matter, once 20:00 twinkled. Yards from the line. Twenty zero one, two three. I stumble across the blue mats. Mixed emotions. Very mixed.
<Expletive Deleted> it! Delighted on the other hand. So close. So very close.
I left it after me this evening. I really did. I am usually good at pacing. Tonight was not one to remember. I blew it in last KM. I should have pushed on earlier. I had it in me. A sub-20! Those magic words. Obsessed by them over last while.
I sat for 15 seconds. In a semi-fetal position on green. Bounced straight back up. I left some out there tonight. Not like me. That should not have happened! Should have been there for minutes. Sign I left ‘some’ after me.
One excuse. Unused to this pace in while. I will know better in Craughwell. And Tuam. Failing that Monivea later again. It is only a matter of time. All going well. Sub-20.
Immediately went back on the course. To see streams coming home. All sorts still out there. Deeply satisfied to be so close. To sub-20. To be still able to. Went out to 500M and jogged back in with MW. Met IS and AS too.
Still sweating. A good sweat. A decent effort. With the promise of more. The next day. Craughwell or/and Tuam, both favourites. No excuses. None allowed. Tonight was a dry run. These two will be for keeps. I will be ready. All going well!
Race 37 of the series. Thirty four finishes. Two Race Directorships. Only one DNS. If only I knew back then. TOC, JM and GD still standing. Fair play.
Kudos Loughrea AC on super event. The baton has passed to Craughwell. A lot to live up to. Well able to live with it.
Elvis lives and is looking down. He is smiling now, little doubt. Hopefully I will be too. At race end next week. I live in hope! What else do I have?
3:38.02 (2:05.93 & 1:32.09)
Close but no cookie (chip) yet - 5KM Series in Loughrea
Galway 5KM Series (Loughrea) – 15 May 2012.