My first road race of 2014. Conditions were dry and windy and during my 2km warm-up with Owen it was obvious it was going to be a tough run.
The race started just as a shower was threatening and I settled into the lead group. The first 3.5km of the course were straight into the wind, with a tough climb up to 2km, and during the climb I slipped into second position. Once at the top of the hill the pace picked up as we began a descent and I closed back in behind the leader as we worked our way up to the turnaround point. This section of the course was very slow and boy was I glad to finally make the turn at around 3.5km. I was then a different runner - I put the foot down and hit the lead with the wind on the back. I pushed the next flat mile running behind the lead motorbike who was doing a good job of clearing the flow of runners coming in the opposite direction for which I received many shouts of encouragement!
Round by the waters edge and then a tough climb just through 5km. I'd opened up a decent gap so I wasn't going to kill myself on the climbs, instead leaving some in the tank to hammer the flatter sections. One final short sharp climb just past 6km and then a fairly flat run home. I finished the race strongly and had a sprint finish with a young spectator who was trying to beat me to the line. That helped keep the pace honest and I crossed the line in 26:46 for the win (for the 4th year on the trot!!!).
I was pleasantly surprised by the time as it felt slower than that but looking at the splits the first half wasn't as slow as it felt:
3:26 / 3:24 / 3:21 / 3:35 (13:46) / 3:12 / 3:24 / 3:16 / 3:08 (13:00)
Here's a photo me at the finish courtesy of Maree AC (don't let those blue skies fool you - it was bloody freezing as you can see from the nancy boy wearing the gloves):
A warm-down of 4.8kms with Owen and Conor to give me 14.8kms for the day. I'm taking some positives out of this race as I ran well for the last 4km - albeit with the benefit of the wind - and it was good to feel like I am getting back to where I was in the lead up to Christmas.
That's 93.9kms for the week. Happy with that given that it included today's race. A big well done to Maree AC who always host a great race - and judging by the turnout of well over 300 runners it certainly is a special event to which all involved should be proud of.
I got home just in time to see Spurs beat Everton 1-0. And then to see Murphy win the snooker. A perfect sporting day really so a few beers in the evening just for old times sake.