It's about a 75 minute drive to Tullamore and I planned to arrive about an hour before the scheduled start of the race (4:15pm). I had my Dad and son for support and when we arrived at the venue the events were running ahead of time which only allowed for a short warm-up of around a mile which included a few strides.
Conditions were pretty good. The wind had settled down but it had been raining so the track was quite damp. The race started and I settled mid-pack. The first 200m was run way too quick but after that I got into a nice rhythm going through the first km in 3 minutes exactly.
One runner from DSD had gone about 20m in front with me and about 4 or 5 other runners in pursuit. I moved up a few places and still felt good as the laps started to click down. By 2km I was still feeling fine which I went through in 6:03 (3:03). Then in the blink of an eye I started to feel the pinch. I let the dreaded small gap develop and the group in front slowly started to work away from me.
Through 3km in 9:13 (3:10) and I was feeling heavy legged (Tuesday's session?) and didn't have any extra drive or zip. The focus was on maintaining my position and with nobody directly behind me it was a case of working each lap as best as possible. Through 4km in 12:26 (3:13) and I was still hoping to find something in the run home to get me under 15:30. But that wasn't to be and I finished in 15:34 with a 3:08 last km.
I'm not sure of my position as there was a mixture of Premier and Division 1 runners in the race (I was probably 4th or 5th). The winner from DSD ran 15:02, and there were 3 or 4 runners under 15:10 so the standard was good. I just wish I could have hung on to the lead group a bit longer as this was a really good opportunity for a fast time - but today the legs said no.
I thought I would run somewhere in the region of 15:20 to 15:50 so my time was in the middle of that. But having got off to a good start I really should have broken 15:30. The mistake was falling off the group then running in no mans land for 3km.
Overall I'm happy enough. A good marker and now gives me the belief that the sub 32 on the track is there or thereabouts. I plan to run a few more of these 5,000m races in the next month or so and this is certainly a good marker.
A quick warm-down with Kenny Rogers from Clare (a super PB of 15:09) and Michael from Limerick who I think ran around 15:05. All up 9.1kms for the day and 66.0kms for the week.
Darts and beer in the evening. I lost to my Dad 10-8. I should have put that in a really small sized font so you couldn't read it...