I felt really good all day. Despite not being a fan of the evening race (best to get it out of the way in the morning), I was feeling full of beans. No excuses at hand. This was strange - I prefer to feel not good as this is a sign I will run well. Perhaps I'm reading too much into all this.
Anyway, drove into Galway and parked a good 3km from the start to allow a decent warm-up. I spoke with a few fellow Harriers down at the start area and soon we were lining up at the start. I was right at the front and soon we were under starters orders.
The gun fired and I expected the guns to push the pace straight away. No, I was leading the entire 2,000+ field! I felt very uncomfortable and after about 200m my thoughts were that something was not right here. Perhaps I could win this...
That thought was quickly erased when the Dublin runners decided to start running. By the 1km marker (3:10) a few guys had gone off the front and I was left to concentrate on my own race. We ran through the city, past Eyre Square and then out of the back of the city (unfamiliar ground for me). The road was dead flat and with cool weather/no wind conditions were pretty perfect. I missed the 2km marker and was having a battle with 2 other runners. We hit 3km in 9:35 so still quick. I was feeling okay - not out and out red line but at the same time, still conscious that there is a long way to go. By 4km (12:39), I had edged past the other 2 runners and I was pretty confident that I was in 6th position.
I could see 2 other runners in front and despite my best efforts I wasn't closing any gaps. At the same time though I seemed to be gapping the runners behind. At 5km (15:57) my thoughts had turned to hanging on. We had a nice downhill section for 200m or so before the final 2.5km for home. This was run into a slight headwind (not typical) and by 6km (19:11) I was looking for the finish line. A slow 7th km of 3:21 had me nervous but I managed to pick up the pace when I got a sniff of the finishing chute. A final 400m "sprint" and I crossed the line in 25:38. Still not closing on the runner in front but nonetheless a great run. Very happy.
It turns out I was first Galway athlete to cross the line. Plus there was a few Euros prize money. And Galway finished 2nd in the team category. At the presentation I got a bigger cheer than the winner. Honest!
McMillan says I am now in low 32 minute shape for 10km. Wow.
I did a 3km warm-down. After arriving home a few beers was called for. Okay, not as good as racing the City to Surf but nonetheless a great day.