Training wasn't great but it's all about the racing!
Mon - 10.0km treadmill recovery run 36:26 (3:39's)
Tue am - 2.0km up, strides, 4 x 5 mins off 3 mins, 1.0km down. All up 11.2kms
Tue pm - Easy running Tuam AC 12.3kms
Wed - Claregalway 9.5km easy run 41:35 (4:23''s)
Thu - 2.0km up, 10km treadmill threshold run 31:37 (3:10's), 1.0km down. All up 13.0kms
Fri - Claregalway 14.8km recovery run 55:37 (3:45''s)
Sat - 8.3km easy treadmill run 35:00 (4:13's)
Sun - Hollymount International 10km Road Race 1st in 33:11 - all up 16.3kms
Total for the week 95.4kms
The weather has been very bad so that meant lots of treadmill running. I did a speed session which I wanted to do on the track but the conditions weren't right so I did some 5 minute efforts on the treadmill instead, Four by 5 mins on 1.5% gradient at average speed of around 2:56/km. A good hit-out and really pushed the last effort to get the HR as high as I could (157). I followed up with some easy running that evening with Tuam AC but after the session I could feel my right Achilles wasn't right - maybe a slight strain....
I did an easy run the next day to test it out - I could run no problem but I could feel it all the time. On Thursday it didn't seem any better but I wanted to get one more session in so I went and did a quick threshold run on the treadmill (sh!t or bust). That went well so I knew I'd be good to race on the weekend.
I had a massage on Friday and I was very tight - I was hopping about on the table despite only a light rub. I felt great after and had a good run with Fintan after wearing my new pair of Mizuno Wave Riders - averaging 3:45 pace in windy conditions. Then a light run on Saturday before Hollymount,...
Conditions on Sunday were the opposite of really good. Very windy and wet and in my short warm-up of around 3km I was soaked to the skin. Despite this standing on the start line there was a good buzz and soon this historic race was underway for the 50th time, To my surprise I took the lead as we ran up through the village into the stiff wind. The pace wasn't quick but it was a day for racing and quick times clearly weren't going to happen. By the time we took the left turn just through the first km it felt like a weight had been lifted (no wind) and I immediately put in my first surge just to stretch out the legs. I felt great but this move was easily covered by Jason Broderick and another runner over from the UK. We had broken away from the chasing pack and we settled into a small group of 3.
The course was very wet and there was one section where you were running through ankle deep water for around 20m. Nothing much happening and the thoughts for me were on how we had to run the loop another couple of times so no point doing anything stupid. Each left turn the wind became more of a factor and as we turned onto the main road leading up through the village for the second time myself and Jason were starting to work clear of the runner in third.
No moves were made as we tackled this very tough section up through the village. Not exactly taking a breather but certainly not red-line. Again at the turn I tried another surge and despite getting a few metres lead, Jason would quickly work his way back onto my shoulder. I must have tried another 3 or 4 surges on this second lap but there was no shaking him. As we turned to run up through the village for the start of the third lap we were still side-by-side...
At this stage Jason started to lift the pace. For about 1km I was hanging on as he put in a big effort into the wind. He may have got a few meters in front but as we turned left out of the wind I managed to get back in touch. So still together with less than 3km to go. At this point we were starting to lap people and I put in another couple of half-hearted surges that didn't result in a break. Then another left turn and Jason took the inside line and I went round the outside as we lapped a few more runners. At this stage I made a split second decision to run as hard as I could for 30 seconds in an attempt to break clear. I was listening to the commentary from the lead car and it was apparent that I'd opened up a slight gap so I just had to keep strong for the last km and a bit...
As I turned back onto the main road the wind started knocking me around and I was just focused on keeping the cadence up and the effort level as high as I could muster. One last turn and the long climb up to the finish line. I had some huge support at this stage - mainly from the Mayo AC ladies from training and I though by their reaction that Jason was right behind me. So I kept pushing all the way to the finish line to take the win in 33:11 for a very hard-fought win.
A solo warm-down of 3.3kms running another loop of the course in the opposite direction supporting some of the other runners who were still finishing their race. Time to reflect on the run where I'd pretty much given it everything. Fair play to Jason who ran a very strong race - he has had a great year and on that from I would be confident in saying he will break 32 minutes for 10km in the very near future. Well deserved for one of the nicest guys you could wish to meet.
After a quick shower it was back to the hall for the presentation. Great to see some of the past winners of the race which is now in its 50th year. A huge effort by the organising committee to put on such a brilliant weekend and it was a race that will live long in my memory, Excellent work all round.
Yes a few beers were had later that evening upon the return to Galway. Time to read the race programme and fully appreciate some of the history behind this event where numerous Olympians and Internationals have competed over the years....hopefully some of these glory years will be repeated in the next 50 years and this race will again become one of the highlights of the Irish road running calendar.