Today was a family outing to Kinvara for the race. So the added pressure of having the kids watching. I asked the eldest how he thought I'd do and he said I'd come last. I was quietly confident I'd do a bit better than that.
Weather was perfect - still and dry. Arrived at registration about 40 minutes before the race start only to be told that it had closed and that late registration was to be down at the quay near the finish. I finally got my number about 10 minutes before the race was due to start so that wasn't ideal and it was basically a short jog round to the start line and that was my warm-up.
The race started a little late and the horn sounded and we were off and running. I went straight to the front with another guy with me who faded after about 400m. That left me out by myself and by the time I had gone through the first km I had opened up a decent gap. It was going to be a time trial.
I had the lead car to follow and another km up the main road it was time to take a left hand turn into the smaller country lanes. The surface of the road wasn't great, but I tried to keep the legs ticking over as best as I could but I didn't feel like I had the zip in the legs that I was hoping for. The detail around this section was a little lacking but there seemed to be more downhill than up in the first 5km which leaves the lingering doubt in the mind that the second half of the race will be tougher. Also the km markers were all over the place - this was very disappointing as much smaller races can get it right and this was a sold out event with 1,500 people registered in both the 10km and the half.
I went through 5km in 16:05, and tried to push on but I was struggling. There were a few climbs and I recall a nasty one up to the 7km marker. At 8km I was 26:05 so I thought I'd still run sub 33 comfortably. Another climb up to the 9km marker and despite running a strong last downhill km I only managed 3:28 for the last click! The time as I crossed the line was 32:57 so at least I'd broken 33 and a nice win in the process.
It turns out that was a course record for the 10km by about a minute. I was pleasantly surprised by the course - it was certainly easier than I expected hill-wise, and the weather certainly helped, but on the downside the surface of the road between 2km and 8km wasn't great. Perhaps that's why it's called the rock and road! All in all a great event in a beautiful setting but perhaps a little bit more work needs to be done on improving the organisation of the race.
Another shortish warm-down after the presentation. I'll put it down as 12kms for the day. Great to have Owen, Timmie and Billy finishing 2nd, 3rd and 4th - all runners I train with regularly at the Tuesday track sessions.
In summary it was nice to get back running sub 33 but to be honest I though I'd go at least 20 seconds quicker. Perhaps my cold took the edge of me today as I never felt full of running - hopefully there are better things to come when I race again at the end of March.
Photos to follow. Here are the splits:
5km 3:12 (16:05)
10km 3:28 (16:52)
Out in the evening with the wife to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. A lovely meal out at Barna where I made a complete pig of myself. And why not.