Published in Reports on 21st October 2014
20 September 2014
The race director's invite to go out and run Marconi had been standing for two years. I eventually moved my schedule around to get out. Race 32 of 2014. Got a lift with AT; just the ticket, literally. A lovely morning in Clifden to collect my number. Then back to Roundstone and the Gurteen Bay start. A whole lot different from the storms earlier this year, when most of the road where the start was located finished up in the sea :-(. Met TH in AAC garb there. The race started soon after 11AM and we made our way into Roundstone village, where there were a good few locals out to greet us. The wind was up and I was already sweating hard. Out the road to the turn for Clifden and a route I'd never been on before in any form. T'would be a totally new experience from here on out! T'was...
There were 6 or 7 men and women ahead of me, with the 1:30 pacing group already slipped well into the distance. The next five miles would be an up-and-down 'Chinese Torture' with some strange sights along the way. I was dead and buried by 10 miles, and was burnt toast over the last three KM, which I just finished in under five minutes per KM average. I mightn't have looked too bad but I was fried. Three or four passed me too. The finish was a relief, more so that I was still in the 1:38s. I thought I was in better shape but it wasn't to be, on what wasn't a gimme day for running. Running a sub-21 in Killeenen less than two days before probably didn't help? A brilliantly bright September day with Clifden looking its very best.
A nice medal awaited, which I will always appreciate. After walking around in a daze for 30 minutes, I was packed into the car to be carried back into Galway. I meant to call into the excellent Clifden Bookshop before leaving but didn't have the energy. The next time for sure. Thanks, TK! 1:38:16.
11 October 2014
Again, a race that I've had a standing invitation to for as long as it's been running, which is at least three, if not four, years. Race 35 for 2014. I was driving this time, taking AT along for the drive. My good deed for the week. Things were going well and we'd be in Carna in fair time for the 4PM start. We passed RnaG and drove through Leitir Mór and were well outside the village before the penny dropped: we weren't on the road to Carna. The clock was ticking loudly now. 3:15PM for a race that started at 4PM. S***e on a s***k! We were nearly 15 miles out of our way and still had 20 to go from RnaG to Carna. In 45 minutes? Suffice to say, that after picking up a mad local and taking her to Tigh Kitt, and hitting a few "speed bumps" a bit harder than was good for my poor Passat, we got there around 4:04PM. AT ran up to the start line shouting, "Tá se an teacht!" I don't think they believe him though, as they were about to start as I was jogging up the road, throwing off my tracksuit.
The race started about 15 seconds after I got to the start line. My first KM was my warm-up. I found my pace well enough after that. Passed a fellow AACer I didn't know around 2.5KM. Up and down and around the graveyard at 5KM, turning around to meet the stragglers on the way up the hill. Poor old BK was shuffling. She was as surprised to see me as I was her.
The day was sunny and the wind was mostly with us on the way back in. Amazing mid-October weather. The dirty hill at 8.5KM is seared into my memory as it was not expected. The last KM was very fast but my race was already run and I didn't have enough to chase down the fella in front of me (3:58.8). I passed one person in the last 6 KM and was passed by no one. Again, I had hoped for a slightly better time, but it wasn't too bad. I gave it my best shot but sub-42 still evades me this year. Twelve ticks better than Loughrea 13 days before. Met poor old BM limping in on my warm-down 2KM. A man injured in action, walking the last 4KM. I was partly to blame too ;-). Good to meet him nonetheless.
The soup afterwards in the Carna Bay was top class and very welcome. The prize giving was top notch too. The soccer in the background wasn't being tracked by anyone. Robbie Keane's hat-trick against a team of nobodies wouldn't register in Carna this evening. We didn't go back in by Tigh Kitt just in case we met that mad woman again, nodding in Pearse's direction while passing through Rosmuc on the way back through Maam Cross. Thanks, RMCI. 42:18.
JAL - 21 October 2014.