A tough old slog was in store tonight. It had been raining all day and it was very windy. Upon arrival I had time to register, then run a lap of the pitches before running a few strides watching some of the other races on the card.
Just before the mens 5,000m was due to start we had another downpour. Just to keep the track nice and damp. I couldn't seem to get motivated and I'm not even sure how many toed the line, perhaps 20 or so? We were soon off and I hit the front for a pedestrian first lap. Nobody wanted to take up the pace and I think we ran 81 seconds. The second lap wasn't much quicker - we had a tough breeze running the home straight but a nice cruise section along the back straight. I think the time was 2:38 through 800m and I then decided to lift the pace to try and shake things up. I had Peter and Keith for company (through 1km in 3:14) and then 3 laps in 3:48 (a 70 second lap!).
That move resulted in the lead group of 3 opening up a slight gap on the chasers. From this point it was a game of cat and mouse. Peter would surge a few sections, I would try and respond, with the lead swapping over a few times. Keith sat on our backs (sensible) letting the 2 of us slog it out. I don't recall too much detail but I remember getting shouted at a lot to lift the pace - bloody hard though in those conditions. Sure enough the laps continued to count down but I don't have any splits to report.
I'd say with 3 laps to go I was still in front, with Peter and Keith right behind. My chance to win was going to be a quick last lap. I tried to cover off any moves and was confident I could run a decent last lap if I was still leading. I opened up a miniscule gap with a couple of laps to go and I think Keith was starting to feel the pinch (thank the Lord as with his finishing speed he would have been all over me like a cheap suit). Last lap time and I lifted the pace with the benefit of the wind along the back straight then gritted the teeth for a quick last 200m. Very pleased to stumble across the line for the win in a time of 15:49. Peter second and Keith 3rd (well done guys).
I can't say I enjoyed that one bit. Very tough going and it felt like I was red-lining for most of the second half of the race. I ran 15:14 for this race last year and it felt much easier. That said my training last year was very 5km focused (lots of 5km races topped up with 400m rep sessions). This year it has been all about the marathon and the longer stuff. It seems my speed has suffered as a result!
Then for a bit of fun I headed over to the long jump pit for the triple jump competition - my best attempt to try and get injured! Having not done this for 25 years I felt a bit out of my depth. A quick bit of coaching from a few fellow competitors and I marked out my run-up. Again this was tough - jumping into the wind with the rain still falling. To my amazement I tried 3 jumps and had 3 successful attempts. The best being a mediocre 8m 90cm which surprisingly makes me the Galway masters triple jump champion!
Then 8 laps of the track and a lap of the pitches as a warm-down. All up 15.4kms for the day. Legs will no doubt be sore tomorrow so will just run easy to recover.