Sunday, 25 August 2013

The hunger

There's no such thing as an easy race. The Conna 5K was alway's going to be a shock to the system after a lazy June and July. 1st August was the first wet night of the summer, damp road's were a novelty and running in the rain is something I enjoy. The only positive I could bring to the start line is that I'd be fresh. A surprisingly comfortable 1st mile at 5.40 gave me a false sense of security approaching the start of mile two which, incidentally was all skyward with a steep kick to get over the top. I managed to keep in contact with my group as we crested the top but had nothing in the tank for the run home, the head went and then the leg's. Had it been a few year's ago, I'd have held the wheel on the descent and got my breath back for a sprint finish but tonight I didn't have the benefit of two wheel's and my cycling gene's. On the plus side, I didn't have to put up with a blinding spray of surface water from the wheel of the rider in front. No harm done, A good kicking was well needed, and the hunger was back. Training hard through a rare fine summer would have sucked the appetite from me and approaching the autumn I could be struggling to keep interested. Now the belly is starting to rumble again.

A couple of easy day's later and I attempt my first set of 400's since May (eight 400 meter effort's run faster than you might normally run with a break in between each). A dismal affair timewise to what I had left off at but the intention was to run hard, that I managed to do while still cursing the layoff.

An anxious looking start line on the Clonmel road for Galtee Runner's GR8K road race (pic. Carole Bradley)

August 10th had us heading for the Galtee Runner's promotion on the old Clonmel road in Mitchelstown. An unusual race distance and a first for me, it work's out around 4.98 mile's in total. It does lend itself to a very catchy race name (Mitchelstown GR8K) though. My race was marked by a slight improvement in my ability to tolerate pain but still felt a bit sluggish. This wasn't helped by the incline up the main street and out through Brigown and an over reliance on the thought that I might be going well again. A sufferfest for the rest of the race running shoulder to shoulder with my clubmate Brian. Another good hard run in the bag, happy 'enough' with my time but looking for more. A good sign that the hunger was on the way back.

Not so anxious 10 minute later -  Survival mode and a shoulder to shoulder battle with Brian ensues for the next 20 (pic. Carole Bradley)

A couple of easy day's later and I attempt something new in the shape of 2*2 mile tempo run's on the grass at 6.40 (per mile) pace. Hurt more than I thought it would and went home happy. Two day's later 8*400's with a 2 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down. Still heavy legged but starting to free out a bit and starting to run a bit more relaxed. The vessel's of gunk are eventually starting to free out.

August 22nd, the The last big five mile race of the summer. Ballycotton is a running mecca and the numbers and quality on the start line are testament to that. Toeing the line with a current European ladies cross country team gold medalist and all the big runner's from the hot bed that is east Cork leave's you trying to decide whether your out of your depth or whether your up for it, I'm somewhere between the two. Up for it alright, but get in line and join the queue. If ya don't get psyched in Ballycotton you'll struggle to do it anywhere else. Everyone there is pumped. Anxious to improve on my last outing the only race plan I had in mind (as usual maybe) was to run the first mile under the red and the next four getting deeper and deeper in it. The plan worked, finding myself in a group of five or six like minded individual's at the one mile marker we each proceeded to dish out what we had and to see who could take it for the rest of the race. A dogfight all the way to the line.
No quarter given with 800 mteres to go at the Ballycotton 5 (pic. Alan Bannon)

These were three great race's, well organised and well stewarded all wrapped up in a great atmosphere, I might have said it before but it is almost impossible to subdue the after race buzz. Throw in a few cup's of tea and fruit cake and you've a party on your hand's. Well, sort of. While the three race's are ran by three different club's the brain's behind them are the same. John Walshe and the crew from Ballycotton Running Promotions are generous with their time, experience and knowledge of how to run a race properly and I'v yet to see them fail.

One day off and I hooked up with the long distance men on Saturday morning in the 8 O Clock group out of town. The next few months require a different mentality. The five k's and five miler's make way for the longer distance's with a lot of people aiming for the Dublin city marathon on the October weekend. I'v entered the Dingle half marathon on Sept. 7th and the Charleville half marathon on Sept. 22nd. I havn't been covering many mile's all year and it showed this morning on my longest run to date. 15 mile's with three experienced marathoner's and ultra marathoner's. Different game. Still suffering the effect's of Thursday night's effort's I'm out of my league with these boy's, it'll take a few more long one's to get comfortable with them. But it's ok, the hunger's back.


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