That's not a typo. I ran my ring out and managed four and a half minute kms. It was a Barry...
The weather was brutal. Raining all weekend and when we arrived at the course in Dublin we were greeted with juniors covered in mud head to foot wrapped up in bakofoil. I was ready to feign an injury.
So we were 14th on. The course had cut-up beyond recognition. I attempted a warm-up with about 30 minutes to go before the start of the race and within 10m of running my runners were completely waterlogged. After a couple of slow kms it was then apparent that the races were running at least 20 minutes behind schedule so it was going to be a case of hanging around and getting cold.
The masters race was on before us. They looked like they were limping round. I just wanted to fast forward the next hour....so at about 3:40pm after changing into my spikes we lined up in our pens and were off. I decided to start conservatively and see what happened. The start was an absolute bun fight. The racing line was ankle deep mud and any attempt to run wide was just as bad. I slipped into a void-like state thinking this was a nightmare and after 1 small 1km loop and a bigger 1.5km loop I finally woke up realising this nightmare was for real.
There was about 500m of good running in the 1.5km loop. By good I mean very, very, muddy. The rest of the lap was ankle deep mud. No chance of any rhythm, just slipping and sliding. I was way down on the field and it was a case of grinding out the laps to the finish.
By the 3rd lap I had caught one of my teammates. He was shocked to see me and he told me afterwards that he thought I was lapping him. If only. I then concentrated on pegging a few people back each lap. I had a better idea of the course by this stage and with 3 laps to go I managed to catch another teammate.
I felt stronger the race went on but I don't think I was running any quicker - I was simply maintaining my pace whilst others slowed. The next couple of laps passed by and as I was finishing the penultimate lap I was lapped by the lead runner. He was flying - not a bother on him. On the last 1.5km lap I pegged a few more places back. As I approached the finish I was directed onto a new part of the course which was almost firm under foot and I found myself in a sprint finish with another guy who I just managed to pip. Every place counts and all that.
No warm-down - too cold and wet. Everyone simply left the course and headed back to the clubhouse for a (cold) shower.
After about 2 hours the men's results were finally announced. Most people had gone home. Galway were an outside chance of a medal by by some miracle we had won a gold medal in the national intermediate champs. I was 3rd scorer out of 6 in our team - I finished 26th overall.
I would have to say that XC is a great leveller. Guys I would beat on the road were taking 2+ minutes out of me. This was my Achilles heel but great fun looking back. I say that now after supping a few pints of the black stuff...
So about 12km all up for the day. I am now ineligible to run any more novice or intermediate XC by virtue of the gold medal - so at least some good came out of the race.
I think that's my second slowest 10km ever. So not quite a PW but close. What doesn't kill you will make you stronger and all that. Until next time...