Current 10kPB – 50:49 (Fingal 10k 2014)
Target – 49:59 (8:03min/mile)
This race is on ‘my’ turf so to speak, I occasionally run with a group around this area but this was my first time running this race, or this course even. The build up was relaxed and casual, maybe too much so as we were well back in the start corral having made our way over far too late. A 1m warm up jog with some stretches happened, but I still had to decide on a race strategy with 5minutes to go, the course is pretty much an uphill drag for the first half, downhill for 4k and a flat’ish’ finish, not really personal best material, especially in this heat.
I had enlisted the services of a friend (Thanks John, a 47min 10k PB runner) to help me if required, he was looking to run his own race sub 50mins which suited me fine, stick with him if I wanted to go fast, let him go if I struggled. I knew 8:03 average would get me under 50minutes so as I crossed the line, I decided that was the plan, stick on Johns shoulder for the hills and push as fast as I could after I got past half way.
I felt a small twinge in the hamstring after 1 mile, it wasn’t bad enough to stop me there and then, but I had to decide if I was going to pull out, slow down or keep the pace up and live with it. I was bang on target pace at the time so decided to push on and deal with the consequences later! I have a prescheduled physio appointment Tuesday morning so that may have influenced my decision to keep going, he can deal with anything that happened! There was a lot of weaving through runners at this stage, which made things difficult, but overall I felt surprisingly fresh at this pace.
Mile 1 @ 8:02
We turned off the seafront and hit a big hill towards the end of mile 2 and lost my pacers shoulder, the plan now was to keep him within sight!, I knew this was where things would start to get difficult with the hills ahead but I finished the mile just a little behind where I should have been. That was really encouraging as I was entering unknown territory both with keeping this speed up and I’d never run these roads before. The hamstring was still bothering me a little, but still not enough to stop. I had lost John.
Mile 2 @ 8:06
Jeez, Monkstown is a hilly place! uphill for long stretches through mile 3. Past Goggins pub, up to CBC Monkstown school, past McCormacks pub and on up the new road to the 5k point at the new Tesco store (and the first water station which I skipped). The consistent uphill roads meant that I slowed considerably here. I passed Gloria & Claire (from the previously mentioned Dun laoghaire running group) both who passed encouraging words to me. I was feeling pretty pi$$ed off as it was looking like I wasn’t even going to make my PB, let alone break 50mins.
That meant I started thinking about easing off and just enjoying the race, there were some serious mind games going on. The watch was showing 8:17avg pace, miles off my target of 8:03, but I knew what goes up must come down, so I pushed on towards the Killiney towers roundabout and what I hoped were big downhills just around the corner!
I’d forgotten the hamstring, I was too busy trying to keep running.
Mile 3 @ 8:25
Mile 4 @ 8:25
We turned left at the roundabout which was a real mental boost as a left turn meant towards the sea, which meant towards the finish and I knew I was into a decent downhill stretch. Despite the downward change in elevation many people had stopped to walk and I was passing out other runners all the time, this is a situation that certainly changes the mood. I’ve been that walker before, but being the passer makes things much better! I started to pick people off. Select a runner ahead, work towards them, sit on their shoulder for a few yards, overtake and push past them. I found this a huge mental boost as I was obviously strong enough to actually run what I was calling a tactical race. It gave me huge hope for whatever lay ahead. I got caught a little with a right hand turn that I hadn’t seen on the course map which threw me a little, but once I saw the watch clicking off the distance I didn’t care. The average pace was coming down (now down to 8:10) and that really gave me hope of beating the PB even if I didn’t manage to break the magic 50minute mark!
I have learnt from others to make sure I always have a Plan A and a Plan B – ‘A’ being your best race if the sun, moon and stars aligned, the perfect race so to speak. Plan B is if something goes awry, it gives you something to aim for, something to keep you going and a target to work towards and be happy with. Plan ‘A’ was gone, but Plan ‘B’ was still on the cards now and all I needed to do was keep running faster than I had ever run before. No problems there so!
Mile 5 @ 7:44
But the average kept dropping, I was obviously keeping the pace up and the watch was down to 8:07 now and I thought ‘Bloody Hell, hello again Plan A, I might have a chance to salvage this here!’ a little more downhill and a flat finish and we could be on to a winner. But I was feeling really tired now and I’ll admit considering several times about forgetting about paces and PB’s and just run leisurely to the finish, blaming a dodgy hamstring for the collapse. But something there said keep going, theres still a chance.
Mile 6 @ 7:48
Downhill through Glasthule, lots of support from volunteers and the locals who were really encouraging, a quick right turn, then left on to the seafront and it really was the final stretch.
Hang on, theres a little hill around Teddys Ice Cream, if Roebuck hill had a little brother, this was it. Damn it, short but steep, I didn’t bargain on that! The legs were nearly dead at this stage, up to the top, past the now derelict Rainbow Rapids and looking enviously at the mountainous 99’s all over the place. This was it, the finish line came into sight and I gave it socks, but it wasn’t the finish, it was some other small gantry across the road, what was that about?! The finish was about 20yds beyond it. Finally finished, wrecked but knowing I gave it my all, can’t complain about that and I couldn’t have asked the legs for more.
Last bit… 2.03 (7:17avg pace)
I made it! the Garmin was reading an average pace for the run 8:03, but it turns out with all my weaving and not keeping the racing line, while I hit my required average pace, I had run 6.28miles on the Garmin instead of 6.21miles for a proper 10k! I had missed the 50 minute target.
Finish time 50:34, a new personal best by 15seconds.
Garmin Data HERE
Reviewing everything, I’m happy with things as they turned out, I ran a good race, I ran a negative split (2nd half faster than the 1st half) I planned things well tactically and I had certainly given 100%. Could I have run faster? Possibly but only if I used the lessons I had just learned out there.
No more 10k races left this year, 50 minutes will have to wait till 2015. I’ll be back.