I was eating breakfast and looking to see what time this race was on thinking it was tomorrow. Wrong - it was today! So a quick change of plan. Talk about poor planning - not a good idea to race the day after a speed session, and perhaps one too many beers last night...
A 45 minute drive to Oughterard for the race. A lovely town on the way out to Connemara. The usual registration and a couple of kms warm-up, and it was time to line up for the start. A nice cutting of a green ribbon just before we were underway to help raise awareness for suicide prevention, and then we were all off and racing.
The plan was to take it fairly handy and try and stay in my threshold zone. The first km was friendly enough, some ups and downs but nothing too taxing. The second km had a big climb, and then a nice downhill. Lots of climbing through kms 3 and 4 and by this time the course was very exposed to the wind. By 4km I had opened up a nice lead, and then the course became much more friendly with a long downhill section.
At 5km we switched direction and the wind was now on the back. The last 5kms were predominantly flat and I was feeling great. I was averaging well under 3:20/km sitting bang in the middle of my threshold zone. I picked up the pace a bit for the last couple of kms but the heart rate still didn't touch 150.
I crossed the line in 33:43 for the win and I couldn't believe my time for the second half of the race (16:20) - especially with the feeling that I had another couple of gears. Happy days.
A couple of kms warm-down, then a burger and a hot dog from the excellent post race BBQ. Then I had to dash to get back to the family! All up 14.0kms for the day.
Here are the splits:
3:15 / 3:28 / 3:41 / 3:42 / 3:17 (17:23) / 3:16 / 3:17 / 3:21 / 3:13 / 3:13 (16:20)
The only downer is my dodgy left knee but I've learnt to put up with that the last year. Well done to the organisers - another great event on a challenging course! Everyone I spoke to seemed to have fun!