This is one of the big 3 races in Galway and is one not to be missed. Conditions looked spot on - cold and still, and the race organisers got their decision to delay the start of the race spot on to allow a few patches of ice on the course to clear.
I wasn't feeling great - I'd picked up a cold and I was coughing and spluttering but I'd made the call to give it a go (I would have always been wondering if I'd stayed at home). I ran a very short 500m warm-up and then lined up at the start for the off.
The siren sounded and I made a poor start. The first 100m I was dodging and weaving trying to get into my running and when I finally found a clean line, Mick Clohisey and Kenny Rogers had already made a considerable break on the chasers.
A guy made a move for third spot, and I tried to go with him but I had nothing. The breathing was very laboured (40 a day smoker-like), and the legs were heavy. By the time we hit the first km marker he had gotten away from me, leaving me alone in 4th. The next couple of kms were getting tougher and I was ready to step off the course. As we approached 4km another runner went straight past me and I was now down to 5th.
I wouldn't say I backed off at all, I just kept plugging away - but there was no speed or rhythm to my running. Through 5km and I was still considering the easy option of stopping but I could still see 3rd and 4th ahead so that at least kept me focused. The next 5km was a real struggle and I was aware of another runner closing in on me. The km markers were slowly ticking by and by the time I reached 9km marker I knew that I'd hold on to 5th place. That's how it remained and with a friendly finish I eventually crossed the line in 34:02.
I spent the next few minutes coughing up some really nasty stuff and then went over to congratulate the podium getters - Mick running 30:48 for the win, Kenny in 2nd in 31:50 and Declan Fahey 3rd in 32:48.
No warm-down - I just went back and grabbed my top, got a quick cup of hot drink, and then it was off home for a hot shower. All up 10.5kms for the day. Well done to all the organisers for putting this race on. Everything was spot on and the good conditions made for lots of PB's. Well done if you were one of these!
More eating and drinking in the evening. Not my greatest day on the roads but at least there was a reason. Next year!
Here are the splits:
5km 3:34 (16:50)
10km 3:24 (17:12)
Here is a photo of me approaching the finish (thanks to Eirefoto):