Apart from the dizzy spells and shortness of breath brought on by going from zero to 13 miles an hour in 30 second's the first mile is pretty easy. Adrenaline ease's the pain and your waiting for the moment where you find your rhythm. The journey to hell starts when we hit the one mile marker at the bottom of a 3/4 mile climb.
The last 5K of the summer season wasn't loaded with heavyweight's which made it a more open affair than normal. Frank Hayes and Brian Hegarty representing two of Cork's heavyweight club's, East Cork and Leevale put daylight between themselves and the next man from the off. This left seven or eight of us scratching our head's to see who was going to take up the running behind.
Next up was Conor Tierney, I decided to go with him. That's when the trip to hell started, joined by an inform Johnny O Sullivan, we were now a trio half way up the climb following the two leaders. Trying to ignore the accumulating lactic acid is a skill in itself and something you become accustomed to over time. Fitness levels dictate how much of it you can deal with and a strong mind can put up with a lot too. I'm up for it tonight, it's kind of a home race. Neighbouring St. Nick's AC are running it and the start is a 10 minute drive from my place.
Pleasantly surprised and growing in confidence going over the top with these two, Johnny moved it up a gear to open a gap and leave us where he found us. Now I'm the weaker of the two, struggling to keep form and my breathing has gone wildly out of control. Hearing footsteps from behind is soul destroying, the thought of someone else joining the party is frightening. Then they disappear. Hey, we must be moving, whoever it was is after cracking. The intensity is insane, the noise in my head is deafening and it's just noise, no music, no word's, just a loud machine in a noisy dark factory. I couldn't be further away from the controlled effort of last Sunday's half marathon. At the end of mile two I'm pretty much out of it trying to hang onto my East Cork companion, he know's it too.
It's a novelty to see the leader of the race with a little over a mile to go, ok it's a long straight but still it's a plus to know I'm in the same parish as him. Still hanging onto Tierney inside the last mile and the head finally goes. I don't know what caused it this time, I knew the threat from behind had dissipated? I knew I wouldn't beat Tierney in a sprint for the line? am I getting soft letting him off? happy with fifth? Can't put my finger on it but the head went. When the head goes the leg's go. The head alway's goes first. You decide to give up, then you release yourself from the torture of the last 10 minute's, still suffering all the way to the line but at a different level, you still have to get to the line, your still being chased from behind, there's a good time at stake.
Pulling strange face's on the finishing straight, bystander's wondering "why do they do it at all?", crossing the line, it's finally over. The pressure release is huge, jelly leg's force me to take the nearest seat on the road against the side door of a ford focus. Quote of the night from an old friend "Sure these thing's are nothing to you".
Next stop, Charleville half, lacking on the mileage but happy with the form.