I rose at 0720 this morning to get some breakfast in and digested before the 0930 start of the Cork to Cobh 15 miler. I felt a tad tired as I was at a neighbour's 40th birthday party last night - although I got home reasonably early (0030 hrs) compared to Abina, who toddled in the door close to 0500hrs. Coincidence or what, but this guy's next door neighbour celebrated her 40th this time last year, the night before my first Cork to Cobh. I'm beginning to feel like Cinderella leaving the ball just when it's hotting up. A well meaning neighbour asked me last night would I not have another drink..."do you have to run tomorrow". I replied that I had done more training for the run than for drinking and would celebrate the art of drinking another time.
After dressing in my "go fast" running gear, preparing my carb drink, runningbelt, HR monitor, watch etc.etc.; I got out the door at 0810. It took me only 15 minutes to reach the race start area where I parked the car and proceeded to register for the race. I met my friend "Puds" (Don't know why he's called that - his name is Liam) whose wife Helena was also running. Puds, a semi-elite cyclist, is also a sub-3 hour marathoner (achieved on his 2nd attempt in Dublin last year). I left my gear bag with Puds as he would be picking me up in Cobh and giving me a lift back to Cork after the race. I did a 2 mile warmup along the river quays before stretching for 5 minures before the race start. There were about 600 runners lined up at the start. The weather was perfect for running - dry, cool and overcast with a light easterly breeze - although we were going to be running against it. The breeze was very light and proved to have a cooling effect, on me at least.
I took my place a couple of rows back from the start as the lone wheelchair guy was sent on his way amid loud cheers and applause. and then we were off - the first half mile involved quite a bit of jostling in order to get going at a reasonable pace. This did not bother me too much as I normally use the first half mile to mile to get into my stride.
Mile 1 passed in 7:18
"Not too bad given the 08:00 plus pace at the start"
My Polar running watch was also spot on with the distance. The field began to spread out a little as we made our way along the Glanmire Dual Carriageway.
Mile 2 came in 6:56
"I'm going a little fast....hang on a second this is not a marathon if I want to break 1:45 I have to be sub-7 minute AVERAGE... God you're right lets keep going at this pace so"
How many voices would there be by mile 14. I was passed by a number of runners between mile 2 & 3 and though
"Where are these guys going.....hang on stick to your pace this is your race there are alot of miles to go yet"
Sure enough I passed most of them by mile 8. One guy, in particular, was playing cat and mouse with me for 4 or 5 miles and I resolved that, come what may, I was going to beat this guy. I saw no more of him after the water station at mile 8 - nothing to focus on from there on in.
Miles 3 to 7 passed by in 6:48, 7:00, 6:50, 7:10, 7:02.
Some of the 7 plus paces appeared a bit off. I check the watch as I passed the halfway mark - 52:08.
"52:30 is 1:45 pace so I'm 22 seconds ahead of target........you have only 22 seconds in the bag for the hilly rise into Cobh.......this is going to be tough.........on the other hand if I double that 22 seconds I could come in closer to 1:44... lets keep going and see what the road throws at me."
I ran taking the "racing line" running in the middle of the road where I could - eventhough the road was open to traffic. I was passing 1 or 2 runners every half mile or so. A guy who I had last seen at mile 8 came up on my shoulder at mile 10 and we ran together for about a mile with another 2 guys. My watch started acting up about then, the times for miles 8 to 10 were:-
6:52, 6:46, (ok), 7:58 (what the f***)
"I can't rely on my watch for distance better turn over to the stopwatch for feedback on my performance" At least I was back to having only one voice in my head.
I passed the ten mile mark in 1:08:55 (a PB - never done a 10 miler before)
It was around this time when I was distracted fiddling with my watch that I noticed that I had drifted back from the guy who had come up on my shoulder at mile 10. He had gone ahead with one of the 2 other guys. It was at this point (mile 11) that I began to feel the effort as we crawled (well it felt like it - nothing worse than being 20 yards behind someone and busting a gut just to keep the gap from widening) up a gradual incline. Further on I saw them pass a "chick" about 100 yards ahead and I set her as my next target to focus on.
As I could no longer rely on my watch for distance I was checking my time at each of the mile markers ....Mile 12 in 1:twenty one or two something - I can't remember - I just knew I was still on target for the 1:45 or less.
Mile 13 in 1:28:55 -
"surely that equates to a sub 1:30 half marathon (2nd PB of the day) ...........just another 2 miles to go"
I tailed the "chick" from mile 12.5 to mile 13 hoping to be pulled along..........
"enough with distractions pleasant and all as they may be....time to move on"
I passed her and another guy shortly after the 13 mile mark. The next 2 miles were fairly lonely. I was now about 100 yards behind the guy who had left me at mile 11 and was slowly pulling away from those behind me (about a ten second gap in applause from bystanders after I had passed - no need to look back). Mile 14 was a tough gradual climb which showed ....I passed the 14 mile mark at 1:36:06 (7:11 for the mile 14)
"Just a mile to go now....keep it together....you'll hardly change position now....still 100 yards behind the next guy............why do I/you do this ...it always brings pain.........life has to be better than this.....shut up"......the feckers are back.
That 100 yard gap to the guy in front reduced to about 60 over the last mile as I put in a strong effort ...the last rise was now behind me as I started the steep drop into Cobh and sprinted the last 150 yards to the finish line 1:42:32 the clock said at I passed under it........Great run...glad to be finished though. 06:26 for the last mile "that can't be right".
Puds was on the finish line to take the finish snap. Helena came in at about 2:10, five minutes ahead of her 2:15 target...well done to her....her longest race to-date.
I must say I'm delighted with my run. I essentially completed the 2nd half faster than the first (50:24 compared to 52:08) I didn't know I had it in me. The overall pace was 06:50 minutes per mile which is faster than my current 10k and half marathon PB pace. No results yet ....I'll see where I came later...Now I have to take Saran and Ani swimming... looking forward to the jacuzzi already................
At the average 06:50 pace I would have completed a
10k in 42:29 (23 second PB)
10mile in 01:08:21
Half marathon in 01:29:37 (a 2:51 minute PB & the elusive sub 1:30 HM)
Marathon in 02:59:13 (Dream on)
Mileage for the week totalled 62.6 with 4.4 easy miles yesterday and 17 miles today (Including the 15 mile Cork to Cobh).
I started running shortly after my 40th birthday to train for the "once in a lifetime marathon" (mid-life crisis and all that) and haven't been able to stop since. This blog charts my progress as I attempt to go farther and faster than I have ever gone before.