Saturday, April 14, 2012
Ballybunion 10K, 2012.
Standing on the start line with 5 minutes to go and I'm want to be anywhere else. No complaints with my training and my recent '10K paced' 5K race in Clongowes aimed at this race meant I was in good condition but yesterday didn't go well at all. Missed my dinner and ate mostly junk out of hunger plus I had a bit of a barney (argument) which went on and on, didn't sleep too well and I know I'm a bit stresed thinking about the 100K Worlds. Woke up on race morning feeling bloated and stomach wasn't great but I was consoled by knowing that I usually race well when not feeling too good which is brought on by the body's fight or flight mode as it's your body's way of preparing for what's ahead but I think today is more stress related.
Went for my usual pre race run trying to convince myself that all was ok but my heart rate was very high and seeing it so high probably made it go higher so I shortened the run rather than making a bad situation worse. The late start in Ballybunion allowed time for a proper breakfast and I finished eating at 11am for a 2pm start to prevent any stomach related problems.
And we're off! I'm pacing myself today rather than racing but having said that my goal time of 35 minutes is faster than last year's winning time so I knew I'd be at the business end of the race. The race has a very fast start for a short distance down main street before turning sharply right and heading out along the coast. I took off with the lead group and settled in at the tail end and tried to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Leaving the town there's a long drag which seems to go on forever and then after a slight leveling it drops for for close to 2K with some undulating sections. it's a relief reaching the downhill and although your legs temporarily feel that little bit better it's no relief to your head as you know with it being an out and back course that you must turn around and pay back each of these downhill steps.
On the approach to the turnaround I can see the lead runner running back towards me and he's looking very comfortable. I miss the turning point and know I have so I start shout for confirmation and end up adding maybe 15M to my race and by the time I'm back on course I'm in 4th or 5th position. I dig deep and try to get back where I think I should be and that's in fighting place for 2nd - 4th position based on how the race was panning out and not being presumptuous.
I get back in with the pack and try recover from the unplanned burst and soon begin trading places with one other runner who always seems to have the extra kick to push the pace on. I take a chance and follow a kick and then maintain it as we hit a hill shortly after 7K and that was the last I saw of him. I didn't know how close he was and I didn't want to look behind. In the distance up ahead I could see the race leader and I was willing him to turn around to show some sign of weakness that would make me think it was worthwhile to make the extra effort. I felt like the hunter chasing his prey but also felt like the prey being hunted down, the choice was to push on too soon and possibly burn out or stay steady and not getting caught.
I stayed steady and on the final approach of maybe 300M to the finish line someone shouted 'yer grand, there's no one behind you' so I kicked to the finish and crossed the line comfortably in 2nd place with a new PB of 35:09.
Compared with my last time running this race back in 2010 I was over 1 minute faster for the same average Heart Rate of 159 bpm.
1st: Tom O'Connor. 34:19
2nd: John O'Regan. 35:09
3rd: Nial Shanahan. 35:44