Woke up and could hear the wind and rain outside. Initial thought was that it wasn't going to be a good day for running. How wrong.
By lunchtime the weather had cleared. Still quite breezy but no rain. Arrived at registration and did a warm-up with Mike and was looking forward to having a good hit-out. The plan was to try and run sub 16 for the first 5km. If that happened I'd go for it; if not I'd pull back.
The race started and I took the lead. It's a quick first km and nobody went with me and I felt great following the lead cyclist. The first km arrived and I left the watch on auto-lap and I got the beep with my split just as I passed the first marker in 2:57, Game on.
I settled into my running and it was all about focus. The road narrowed and I was concentrating on keeping the legs ticking over. The cyclist was doing a great job and would signal all the turns coming up - all I had to do was keep running hard, Another good split at 2km (3:09) and I was well under 32 pace so good to get some time in the bank.
The next few kms didn't seem to pass that quickly and I don't have much recollection of any details of the course. I knew by my splits though that I was still going well and at 4km I was 12:30 so barring a disaster the sub 16 goal for halfway was definitely on. Soon onto the main road and then a lovely downhill section on the cycle path that flattened out but was still quick. Halfway came and went in 15:41 so it was time to get down to business...
A tough section after turning left - maybe a short drag and a section into the wind and the thought of the wheels coming off. But another turn and then back into it and although the 6th km was slow (3;16), I knew I still had time in the bank and a good section of course to come.
Back firing through the next 2kms - nice and flat and the wind wasn't a factor and with a 3:10 and then a 3:11 it was all about hanging on. The 9th km has a bit of a drag and perhaps I was saving myself a bit for the run home but the split was still okay (3:15) and it was time to lift the pace for the run home.
You always seem to find something at the end and despite feeling the pinch, I started to wind it up as I spotted the bollards near the finish. That finishing chute seemed to last forever but I eventually crossed the line in 31:42 for the win and a 17 second PB. Job done.
Very happy with that - and certainly not what I expected. A great course and I don't think you'll find a quicker one in County Galway. Conditions were good but perhaps not ideal so with the right day and some company I reckon I can improve on that!
A warm-down with the lads and then back to the hall for the presentation. Some great performances by other Harriers today with lots of PB's! The perfect day! And Spurs won! Now beers!
All up 16.0kms for the day and 75.6kms for the week, I may keep this recovery running going now until the Fields of Athenry on Dec 26th!