The schedule called for a long tempo run today. I got talked into using the race out at Headford for the session with the aim of running at dream target HMP. So that's 3:19/km to achieve the magical sub 70.
Difficult to front for a race but not be in race mode. Arrived at Headford and ran just over 4kms as a warm-up with my wingman Fintan. We decided to run together. Michael Shannon was running fresh after a 1:11 half marathon victory earlier in the day in Achill! Apparently a very tough course, plus a windy day which made that time all the more special.
We lined up and I hit the front with Fintan and Michael in close company. It's a tough uphill drag the first 600m or so, and then you hit the main road where you have a nice fast section. The three of us stuck together and I was sticking to the target pace which felt comfortable. I wasn't paying too much attention to the watch and we were soon turning off the main road onto the smaller country lanes where the course becomes a good bit tougher.
Through halfway and the three of us remained together. The 5th km is tough - a long uphill drag and although it didn't seem like we had slowed, the splits tell the story. More drags in the next couple of kms and with one km this is what happened....
Michael made a move and I then spoke to Fintan as to what to do - stick with target pace or try and run him down! In this time Michael had already opened up a nice gap and that perhaps gave me the reason to keep going as we were for that bit longer. As we rounded the final corner with 700m to go I had a re-think and started to wind up the pace a little. I felt pretty good and I was sure I was closing. I then pushed for a minute and I was definitely closing but I'd left it too late and Michael had me covered. Comedy racing at its best!
I eventually crossed the line in 26:21 (3:18's) some 5 seconds behind Michael for second place. Happy with the time as it felt okay - but the though of maintaining that pace for 21.1kms leaves me scratching the head a little...
I knew it was dangerous to run a session in a race as the competitive streak in me was always likely to surface. Today I was mixing my drinks and it got messy. I'm still smiling though and a good session in the bank.
I finished up with a 8.2km warm-down with Fintan who had a super run finishing just behind me. That's 20.3kms for the day. A big well done to Michael. To run that race with a half in the legs just shows the talent this man has.
Here are the splits:
4km 3:20 (13:11)
8km 3:07 (13:10)
As a footnote, in comparison to last year I was 30 seconds slower today. Interestingly, the first 4kms were 37 seconds slower - with the final 4kms today being run 7 seconds quicker. I think this basically shows I went out too hard last year and paid for it in the back half of the course where you hit the hills.