Not your textbook preparation for this race. It was a case of turning up, hitting a pace that felt hard but not red-line, and hanging on for 10kms in around 35 minutes. That should be more than enough to secure the Mayo league and defend my title from last year.
It was a short enough drive to Hollymount of around 45 minutes. Conditions looked to be very good - cold and only a light breeze. I ran a couple of kms warm-up with John Byrne and Gerry Carty and it was time to line up at the start. Again a very poor turn-out for the race - looking round Gerry Ryan was the stand-out runner making his umpteenth comeback. Great to see. Then the rest of the podium looked to be there for the taking.
The race started and Gerry Ryan hit the lead. I decided not to even bother to try and go with him and stick to my race plan. Surprisingly I felt quite good - by the time we hit the first km I was in second position and the legs felt great. That pretty much set the tone for the race. Gerry gradually worked his way up the road, I seemed to have consolidated second place, and took the opportunity to enjoy the race as much as I could. The course itself is a 3 lap affair - not to everyones liking but it didn't really bother me today. We basically ran up the main street 4 times and that gave you a good boost every time you ran through the town with the small crowd that had gathered (including my old man and my son).
Not much to report. I kept the pace even and it felt more like a tempo run than a race. Soon I was completing the last lap and having a few back markers to overtake again added a bit more motivation to keep the legs ticking over. I crossed the line finishing second in a time of 33:23 and it was job done.
Congratulation to Gerry who had a fine run of 32:07 on his comeback. This is a man who I think I'm right in saying is now 49 years of age. He will be well under 32 minutes in is next 10km for sure. Super stuff.
Another lap of the course as a warm-down to give me around 14.6kms for the day.
Here are the splits using the km markers. Clearly they were a bit dodgy as my speed felt constant throughout:
5km 3:24 (16:41)
10km 3:29 (16:42)
Only 45.2kms this week. A very good week for beer consumption though which continued today with another visit to the pub in the evening for some more darts...