Great conditions in Dangan. I arrived early and ran for a 27 minute warm-up. Then a quick change into my racing flats and it was soon time to line up at the start.
I was targeting 76 second laps which would give me a 15:50. I was hoping that pace would feel manageable and I could put a few seconds in the bank along the journey. There were 7 runners at the start - me, the 2 Brians, Paul, Enda, Barry and Owen. After a bit of banter we were off.
I went straight to the front and settled into a pace that felt comfortable. The first lap was a 74 and I was feeling good. A little headwind as you came off the final bend and along the home straight but nothing to worry about. From then on it's all about keeping your head - concentrating on each lap and trying to keep the pace constant. The first km was a 3:08 so a few seconds in the bag.
The next couple of kms passed without incident. Counting down the laps and feeling like you are running at the same pace only to lose the odd second here and there. The km splits were 3:11 and 3:12 respectively so slowing slightly. Not feeling particularly great at this point - working very hard to try and get close to the 76 second laps. Bloody hell, still 5 laps to go. That suddenly felt like a very long way...
The 4th km was another 3:12. Nothing left in the tank but I managed to find a little turn of speed in the last lap to cross the line in 15:49 (according to the timekeeper although my watch showed 15:50 - always happy to take the quicker time!) So a 3:06 km to finish with.
That pace was certainly not as friendly as I had hoped and had me blowing like a you know what. My initial thought was how the hell did I ran over 30 seconds quicker last year? Perhaps I'm not drinking enough. A great hit-out nonetheless.
I finished up with a 40 minute warm-down run. All up I estimate 19km for the day.
Later on in the day I visited the excellent Amphibian King store in Oranmore to pick up some new Asics DS racers (my prize from last Sunday). Here is the website:
Very friendly staff and some great product that would only be available in a specialist running store. If you need to be fitted out for some new runners get yourself down there and they will provide video gait analysis to ensure you get the best fitting shoe.
Junk food and beer to finish off the day.