The race in Galway was selected purely on the grounds that it would be less time away from home. The course was advertised as being fast and flat and I wanted to test myself to see what shape I was in. I had no idea what time to expect/target but in speaking to Owen I decided I'd be very happy if I could dip under 33 minutes.
A field of around 175 runners lined up for the start. I'd done a 1.6km warm-up and no strides, and with the start slightly delayed it allowed a bit of time to relax and chat to the other runners. Conditions looked good enough - we were going to cop a bit of wind in places and to me it felt a little muggy but all in all pretty good.
The race was underway and I went straight into the lead. I wanted to push the start and I was a little surprised as I took note of my split for the first km - a 3:07 - and I was feeling good. I concentrated on keeping the legs motoring and unusually there was nobody for company - no lead car, bike or motorcycle - just me in time trial mode with empty road ahead. The second km was again quick (3:12) but the wind was probably assisting at this stage. The road remained very flat and the km markers were appearing quickly - the 3rd km covered in 3:14. I recall the 4th km was a bit tougher - I think we were slowly turning more into the wind, plus it seemed to be a very gradual uphill gradient. I knew I'd slowed a bit and after taking the first left hand turn off the main road I had reached the 4th km with a split of 3:20.
My thinking was that I'd probably paid for the quick start and it was going to be a tough run home. However I managed to pick the pace up again to reach the halfway point with a split of 3:15. With those splits I realised I was in with a shout of a PB. Just keep this going. The next km was the toughest of the race. Very exposed, slight uphill and running into the wind. Again I knew I'd slowed and sure enough I'd run the slowest km yet (a 3:22). Like before though I'd bounced straight back with another turn of speed to record a time of 3:15 for the 7th km. I'd decided to take note of my cumulative time at 8km then decide if a PB was possible. I think it was midway through the 8th km that we took another left turn and suddenly I felt a lot more comfortable as the wind was on the back.
At 8km I had run a 3:19 km and I was left fumbling with my watch to get the display to show me my total race time. I quickly calculated that I was in with a good PB shout and decided to really push for home. Thankfully this seemed like the quickest section of the course and I quickly reached 9km with a split of 3:09. I felt strong and kicked on as best I could. The last km was a bit tougher as there were a couple of turns, plus a slight uphill as we approached the finish. But nothing was going to upset my rhythm today and I managed to cross the finish line in a time of 32:22 recording a final km split of 3:09.
Very pleased with that. Finally I've broken out of the 32:40's! A 19 second PB and I'd also broken the course record in the process. Plus another win! Good to see that all the training is paying dividends and this has given me lots of confidence for the marathon in 2 weeks time.
I finished up with a 3.2km warm-down and that gives me 14.8kms for the day. I guess I'll have to have a few beers tonight to celebrate. Still getting quicker at the ripe old age of forty!
A quick thank you to the organisers. These country races are superb - a very friendly atmosphere and again well organised. The course is super quick and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to target a quick 10km time. I don't think there would be a quicker 10km option in Galway. But then I'd have to say that after today!