Happy New Year to one and all!
I managed to keep a lid on the drinking the previous night and felt much better than this time last year on the drive out to Renmore. Similar to Athenry from last week conditions weren't good - very blustery and wintery showers to deal with.
I registered and ran a lap of the course to warm-up. Then a few strides down by the finishing line and it was time to race. Soon we were underway and I settled into the back of the lead group as we ran the first couple of hundred metres directly into the wind. A small gap then opened in front and I took this opportunity to put in a surge and hit the front. After rounding the first corner there was some shelter from the wind but it was still tough going. I was in front and by the time I reached 1km I was joined by 2 other runners. In keeping with recent races I decided to ignore the watch and focus on the race.
Just before 1km we had taken another left turn and it suddenly became a lot easier. I was doing the majority of the running with the other 2 runners sitting in behind me. There was a nice long downhill/short uphill roller coaster like section, then it flattened out through a few more turns before hitting the 2km marker with another left turn. It was now gradual uphill for a few hundred metres before the final turn of the lap and the long climb back to the start line.
This section was extremely tough. I just couldn't get the legs moving in any sort of rhythm as the wind was gusting knocking me in all directions. I deliberately eased off a little and all 3 of us struggled on past the start line for the start of the second lap. By the time we had reached the top of the course the wind had picked up further coupled with an icy rain shower. The left turn (3km) made things a little easier but it was still tough on the run back down to the army barracks.
Another turn and again it was a lot easier being swept along by the wind. On the downhill section of the roller coaster I opened up a tiny gap and that was the opportunity to push on up the hill and race for home. At 4km I had opened up a gap of a few seconds and it was a case of holding my nerve for the last click. The final part of the course had the repeat long uphill drag back up to the start line and then another left turn before the final 100m to the finish line. Thankfully I managed to hold on for the win clocking 16:34.
A good start to the year but over 40 seconds slower than last year! Old age? Not enough drink? Tough conditions? I'll let you decide.
A further 2.5km warm-down with the lads. I didn't hear of any PB's today and I think that most people were around 30 seconds down on their expectation. Those Galway winds are a cruel mistress!
World darts semi-finals tonight coupled with a night in town. Gotta love this time of year! Serious training to resume soon...
A total of 87.1km for the week. Here are the splits:
3km 3:43 (all into the wind)