Blocking out the doubts became a full time job during the warm up and for most of the race I had a real problem with the fast approaching 7/8 mile mark where I blew my lights last year to come home in 60.43. I had always envisaged that if I were to run sub 60 that I'd do it comfortably on a day that I wouldn't feel the road. The truth was the exact opposite. A congested and edgy first few miles left no room for comfort and by the time we hit mile four it seemed to have taken its toll. Elbows and knees fought for the smooth line, a few close heel clips didn't help the flow and with heavy legs approaching mile 5 it took a big effort to hang into a dwindling group which left me thinking I could be the next one out the back door. Too close to Groundhog day for comfort, how was I going to deal with that shit for the next thirty minutes?
Through mile five in 29.40 meant nothing apart from the fact that I'ts a time I'd be happy with on a summers evening down in Ballycotton. Conventional wisdom would have said the next few miles should pass a bit easier with the help of a tailwind and thankfully the nerves did settle a bit and I finally got somewhere close to cruising, if only for a mile or two.
Miles seven and eight were sick. Mentally as much as physically, Once I pass 10k at this pace I feel like I'm in uncharted territory and again I find myself fighting the demons. 'Whats the point in running a fast mile around the track on a Wednesday night if you can't run a solid 10 when it matters?', cursing myself approaching mile nine I momentarily lose contact with the pacer, 'Never again, 10k's max from now on, fuck this'...... 'shit I better keep going!'......'Not for this all those murderous wednesday nights at the track'..........'Not for this the..........'.
Turns out his pace was a bit erratic. I didn't have a watch on so I didn't realise it at the time. I didn't wear a watch 'cos my race plan didn't require that kind of technology. With a mile to go the pacer started dropping back which was proof he'd brought us out fast. (Understandable I suppose as he's one of the faster men in the south and was drafted in late to do the job after the race organisers were left short) This was good, it meant there was time to spare and meant that as much as I'd try to I didn't have to do the last mile in under six minutes .
Mile nine - on schedule, in bits. The head keeps rolling, you find a little something to give to the legs and the smell of the finish line get's stronger but your still not there. 'Whats the clock going to say when I come round the last bend?'
|The Holy Grail - finishing The longest hour 59.27 (Pic - Kieran Minihane)|
By the time my eyes adjusted to the low winter sun I could see 59.14, it took another thirteen seconds to cross the line. One milestone that a few years ago I didn't think I'd see. If I could just squeeze eleven minutes out of somewhere I could be in with a shout for the podium.
It was a good day for Grange AC
Joan Ennis - 1st o50
My co-driver (perennial hardman) Maurice Tobin - 1st o65
John Murphy - 2nd o45
3 of us in the top 100, all of us finishing.
The latest mode of transport Brooks Running - Pure connect 3