Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cork to Cobh Race

Photo: The Last 200m - flying!

Preparation on the day could have been better. I'd allowed a good deal of time before the race (9:30am start) but hadn't anticipated that the bag drop for this 15M point-to-point race would be at the checking point, about 1.25 Miles away from the race start... and my car. So we had a walk uphill, followed by a jog back down. We got back to the car at 9:05 and went for a shorter warm-up than normal for this one. Got about 1.5 miles in. After that, I had a load of 'pfaffing about', putting Bodyglide at all the critical chafe points, smear of Vaseline to reduce sweat going into my eyes and causing problems - makes my eyes sting badly, with my contacts in. Then I had to pin a gel pack onto my shorts (there are no gel stations in this race). I finished all that with about 3 mins to go, so didn't get a chance to stretch at all.

So....The first few miles were pretty tight on the legs. I'd planned on going out at 7:10 miling, 7:00, if I felt good. The first four miles were: 6:56, 7:12, 7:10 and 7:17. Conditions were pretty foggy to start with, but that burned away around the 4 mile mark. After that I found I was loosening out and got into a rhythm, with all the remaining miles, except the 14th, coming in between 6:52 and 7:06. This course is pretty flat, with only a few 'hills' - and they're all pretty gentle drags - until 11 miles, when the race starts to get tough - and hurt! The general wisdom is that "The race begins at Belvelly Bridge", just after the 10 mile mark.

Belvelly Bridge

Just before Belvelly Bridge, I was stunned to catch up with two of my arch rivals. I had hoped that I might, on a bad day for him, catch Willie in the late stages, instead I caught him here, along with Brendan, St'Finbarr's AC, with whom my Club, Eagle AC, will be head-to-head in the M50 team race in Dublin, in just three weeks.
Unfortunately Willie was to overtake me again later.

After the impetus of passing out the large group at the Bridge, I pushed on passing people all the way, plus another big group at 12 miles. I probably overdid the effort at this tough stage but I'd probably do the same again tomorrow - If I didn't feel too sore.

I had a tough 14th mile but got going well again for the last mile, getting back to 7:00 miling and finished strongly. On top of it all, I finished as 3rd M55, getting a very nice mantle clock for my troubles!

I wore my usual cut-down pad for the race - I need not have bothered - there was only very slight 'spotting' on it after the warm-down. This scenario is becoming more regular - A good sign that I'm still progressing. Long may it continue!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Eve of the Test

With just three weeks to go, tomorrow is the big test before Dublin. I've dropped my mileage from 76 last week to 'just' 55 this week, assuming I get 19 in for tomorrow's Cork to Cobh 15M race - 2 miles warm-up and 2 miles cool-down after the race.

Yesterday was 5 miles easy, with 3 miles, very easy, with my daughter, this morning. I felt quite tired, but I find that's not unusual before a key race.

Weather forecast is looking good for tomorrow - it's quite windy and feeling cool today, with some pretty heavy showers. Tomorrow is supposed to be a lot less windy and the showers are predicted to die away overnight.

I'm planning to go out at 7:00 to 7:10 miling and try to hold that. I want to run strong throughout, without 'going to the well' - too near Dublin for that. While it's a 15 Mile race, a key point for me is the Half-Marathon mark.

I intend using my Half-marathon time as a strong guide for my pace/time in Dublin, using the 'Rule of Thumb' of double your half time, plus 10 min. (my best marathon performance was double my half + 4 mins.) 7:00 miling would give me a Half-Mar time of 91:46 and a predicted Marathon time of 3:13:33, while 7:10 comes out as 93:57 for the Half and 3:17:54 for the Marathon. We'll see! Its pretty ambitious, but you never know 'till the day.

My first Marathon was Cork 1985, in 4:10:03 and my last, and slowest, apart from the first, was 3:13:28. I'd love to better that on October 25th. This will be my 20th Marathon.

Mossie Shanahan, a member of the 'C Team - Cancer Survivors' relay team is also running tomorrow.

Don't forget my Cancer charities:

Cork ARC and the Irish Cancer Society

My fundraising pages are here:

Cork ARC
Irish Cancer Society