Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rockford Roof Tiles 4 Mile Road Race

Recently I was reminded of a football (Soccer - the real football) game that I went to watch some years ago. A Dublin team were playing a team from a village close to where I live. I knew some of the lads from the Dublin club so I wanted to go along and voice my support.
I was chatting to some of the Dubs after the came when one of them asked if I lived close by, I answered "Yeah about 5 or 6 miles that way", "Jaysus" said he said in reply "you travelled all that way to watch a match?"
Today I travelled 12 miles to a local athletics club road race. I wanted to run this race because it was the local race, 15 minutes drive, I wonder how far you can travel in 15 minutes in Dublin ?

My friend Sean made the trip from Dublin for the race. We set off from my house for the short journey, as always I enjoyed our chat on the way.
We were waved into a parking area behind the church, asked some chap in a hi viz vest the way to registration and found ourselves walking through a graveyard.
"Through a graveyard, do you think we are going the right way? " I asked Sean
"Yeah, this is where they put the losers" he replied

We popped out on the main street, we were walking to the right when I spotted numerous people going into a building behind us, so in we go a join a queue, I did notice that some of the people here looked on the young side. Turns out we nearly signed up for the under 15 1 mile race. Anyway we found the correct registration area and with only a slight hiccup when they hadn't got Seans on-line registration on file we went out for a short warm up run and once again an opportunity to have a chat catching up on the latest news.

Learning lessons from previous races I was close to the start line when starter set us on our way, I still didn't have the confidence to go right to the front line, in fairness there were some serious runners there. The usual malee ensued as we ran the first quarter mile or so. I was running along enjoying the experience, the crowd, the warm weather when someone passed me, the runner going by knocked me from my reverie, I suddenly realised I was actually in a race and not on the warm up phase of a training run, a strange time to daydream !
"Right Chris focus, why are you not breathing hard yet, this is supposed to hurt, get on with it"
I spotted Sean just ahead of me and thought to myself if I could hang on close to him for a while I'd be doing ok, he was gradually increasing the distance between us a yard at a time.
The first mile marker was painted on the road, I hit it some yards before my Garmin beeped the mile, a guy there was calling out the time, just before I hit it he calls 5 twenty something. That couldn't be right, that's way too fast. Prior to the race I had decided not to look at my watch for anything other than distance or heart rate but when it beeped the first mile I had to sneak a look ... 5.41.. 5.41 wow, my fastest recorded mile since I started running a couple of years ago. What I haven't mentioned so far is that this first mile was predominantly downhill - to be honest, I wasn't going to say anything about the hill but I wouldn't be able to sleep if I didn't ;-)

I was drifting off the runners ahead of me in the second mile, not by a huge amount but it was noticeable to me. In the St James Hospital 6.5k race a runner closed up behind me but took some time to get past, all the while I could hear them breathing hard, from the sound of the breathing I knew that it was a woman. The same thing happened today in the second mile, a woman's heavy breathing closing ever so slowly, getting nearer, just on my shoulder, then passing me an inch at a time. As she drew level with me I threw a sideways glance and was greeted by the sight of a hairy bloke passing me !! I wonder does he know he sounds like a woman ?

In the third mile I was running out of steam. I was trying to keep the gap to the runners ahead to a constant distance but I was slowly drifting back. I looked behind me to see a group of 4 or 5 people not far behind, some more rearward looks confirmed that they were gradually closing me down. At this point I was thinking that could be a good thing, they were only travelling slightly faster than me so when they catch up I'll just tuck in behind and hang on 'till the finish.
Ahh, the best laid schemes 'o mice and men. The first part of the plan worked perfectly, they caught and passed me, this is where the plan failed, I just couldn't increase my pace by the tiny amount to hang on with this group.

About half way through the last mile I was passed by a chap I know, we exchanged some words, he told me there was just half a mile left, I knew this but I was thinking to myself half a mile is very short, I want to hang on to him until the finish but even as I was thinking this he was drawing ahead of me. I just couldn't hurt myself, not today. My legs were tired and heavy, I guess the over 5 hours of Gael Force adventure race last Saturday was still taking it's toll. I had really hoped that I would be fully recovered, not so much for a result today but to justify sandwiching the Dublin Half Marathon (an important build up for the Dublin marathon) between two adventure races - it's going to be an interesting 3 weeks in September !

My out loud target time for this race was 26 minutes - 6.30 minutes per mile. I had resisted looking at my watch, even when I crossed the 800 metres to go marker I didn't give in to the temptation to steal a quick glance. As I ran along the finishing straight I was cheered on by Sean, who once again clocked up a cracking time and looked far too fresh for the effort required to hit these sort of times.
I was disappointed when I saw the clock at the finish line showing 26 minutes and some seconds, there goes my target time, I couldn't even muster a sprint for the last few yards. I crossed the line at about 26.21. 21 seconds over target time.

After the race I was drained, I think that if this was a 10k or even a 5 miler I would have been in real trouble, as it was the 4 miles nearly killed me :-(
I joined Sean while he was chatting to a runner from Raheny AC, they mentioned the extra yards over the 4 miles. My ears pricked up, extra distance, what extra distance? It transpired that the course is slightly over 4 miles long, maybe I did hit my target after all.

On arriving home I downloaded the info from my Garmin. My mile splits were very erratic, maybe something to work on but the information I wanted was sitting there on the top line, avg pace .......6.29 /mi. Result, (out loud) target time by 1 second per mile.

Well done to Tinryland AC for a well organised and thoroughly enjoyable race.

Bookmark and Share

No comments: