Arrived in time to quickly register and run a mile as warm-up. Conditions were as good as you could wish for - hardly and breeze and a nice, fresh, crisp day. Shared a few jokes at the start line and soon we were off and running. I immediately hit the lead as we ran in a straight line for the first 3km. There were a few ups and downs, but the course was predominantly flat and I was ticking along nicely at well under sub 3:20/km pace.
The knee felt good which was odd as I'm definitely limping a tiny bit walking on it. It must be the adrenaline rush of racing at full whack. I had nobody for company and by the time I made the first left-hand turn just through 3km I could see the lead car just up the road waiting for me so that gave me something to focus on.
At halfway I was still running well and I even entertained the fact of breaking 26 minutes with a strong run home. I had been pre-warned that the section from 4 to 5kms was the toughest, but my split of 3:14 indicated that I can actually run the long drags when I put my mind to it. After rounding the next left-hand turn it was all about remaining focused for the last 3km.
Sure enough at 6km I started to wobble. The legs were feeling a little heavier and a disappointing split of 3:22 through to 7km meant that the sub 26 was gone. The last km is a real gem and as I ran back into the village, there is a slight right-hand turn, followed by a lovely downhill run home.I really pushed the last 600m and I was a little perplexed when a supporter mentioned that I should just dip under 27. Sure enough I crossed the line with 26:48 showing on the clock Vs my watch time of 26:11. I know which one I prefer so I'm not sure what happened there!
A good solid run, especially with nobody for company. As mentioned conditions were perfect so there were pros and cons. I think that at least indicates I'm back in sub 33 10km shape which is where I want to be. After the race I did a warm-down with Ian who had to listen to my knee woes. A total of 4.4km later I was done - 14.0kms for the day.
More on the knee - I convinced Ian to call into my house on the way back to Claregalway to have a look at the you know what (Ian is a qualified deep tissue massager). My exact words were "Go as hard as you can (fnarr, fnarr....)". Anyway, after putting a minuscule amount of pressure on the inside of my left quad I was already on the ceiling crying like a baby. Man, that pain was something else. Anyway, after 15 minutes of rubbing and pressing the muscle had let off a good bit. It was almost like letting off a pressure valve and I could notice an immediate improvement on the knee. I have a few things to do now to try and keep on top of it - foam rolling, ice rolling, self-massage on the sore spots, anti-inflamms, etc. Hopefully I can get back to running in less pain in the coming weeks. Thanks Ian - the beers are waiting for you when you return from the volcano marathon!