I have been reluctant to race recently as most of the races are under 4 miles and the mental torture required to heave your lungs up for 4 miles doesn’t sit well with my zen approach to running in a trance (or put another way, it opens doors into my soul where the little boy is crying in a corner and I’m quite happy to leave him there).
But, because it is a great run, well organised and 3 weeks out from my next marathon I decided to enter the Cork to Cobh 15 mile race last Sunday. I wanted to see how I’d fare over the 15 miles at a pace of 7:30 – 7:45. This would be a very nice marathon pace for me in 3 weeks time.
My plan was to run it at conversational pace and to see how I felt at the end. I hooked up with Brendan at the start and after a few quick pisses in various doorways I was lined up at the start. As we stood there the fresh autumn air was filled with the scent of deep heat and piss…..and that was just the ladies.
Off went the buzzer and off we trotted. It was the usual slow, slow, fast experience at the start.
The first mile went by in 7:42. Not great but most of this was very slow and then a bit too fast. the second mile proved this by being a 7:14.
We went down the low road and onto Tivoli and the running settled down to a conversational pace. Miles 3, 4 and 5 passed in 7:20, 7:23 and 7:25. We were still chatting but I was starting to get worried by the pace. Either I was really fit or I would push too hard and suffer a longer recovery than I wanted. I felt fine but at mile 5 I decided that I wasn’t here for a PB and wasn’t willing to work too hard.
I let Brendan off – to be honest, his stride is so long he seemed to be shuffling beside me anyway so I think he was happy to stretch his legs and be gone.
I then settled into a steadier pace with miles 6 & 7 passing in 7:31 & 7:29.
Around here I met up with my Brother-In Law who was out for a morning cycle. He had an energy drink for me but I didn’t really need it as the water supplied on the route was in small bottles and I was using gels to replicate the marathon.
For the next few miles (8, 9 & 10) I was starting to feel a bit of the heat of the day as the morning fog had now burned off so even though the pace stayed pretty stable I thought I was crawling along. I knocked these out in 7:35, 7:35 & 7:39.
Around about mile 9 I heard a car beeping behind me. (the race is run on a live road). I was about to let out a string of fucks when I realised it was my support team. They had dragged themselves away from the television for long enough to come and cheer me on – I was able to high 5 the kids through the back window of the car which was good fun (for them, at least).
Miles 10 – 12 were the slowest of the race. There are 2 reasons for this. My main one was that I wanted to control my pace and not burn up and have to work too hard over the last 3 miles. the second one is that at this point you are now into the gentle hills that can wear down tired legs.
Mile 10 was hit at 1:14 and the pace for 11 & 12 were hit at 7:40 & 7:41 pace.
For the last 3 miles I knew I had loads left so I took the privilege of upping the pace and reeling in all the people I had let past me from mile 5 when Brendan left me. I applied a little more gas and 13 & 14 went past in 7:25 & 7:36. Most people were fading now so the 7:36 for mile 14 was catching plenty of people.
Just before the 14 mile mark I spotted a figure about 400m in front of me who looked to be struggling. It was Brendan. He looked fine but seemed to have run out of gas. With the scent of blood in my nostrils I let go of the reins and ran for home. As I passed him I handed him my water bottle and he confirmed that it was a lack of endurance and not the recovering ankle that had caught him in the end.
I completed the last mile to the finish in 6:51 pace.
I even had a chance to high-5 my kids before the finish line and pick up my 2 year old son and run over the finish line with him. I might have missed out on 1 place at the end but I wasn’t really racing and to carry him over the line was a great experience.
My finishing time was 1:52:09 by my watch (the Garmin was pretty accurate with a total distance of 15.1 miles.) and we’ll see what the result show.
I was happy enough with it. I think I went out a bit faster than I was happy with by the second half of the race went well so I’m happy with the endurance end of it.
I’ll up-load more photos when I get them.