Saturday, 24 November 2007

Inniscarra 4 Mile Road Race

I started this post on saturday 24th November but completed it today (25th) - hence the post date of 24th.

I ended the week with a four mile road race this morning over a hilly course not far from my home. I had no watch or HR monitor so it was going to be very much by feel.

From the course description I got from John's blog below, and the fact that most of my running over the last few months has been of the long endurance type, I knew it was not going to be easy -

This is a hilly 4 mile course. You can forget about fast times, there are too many hills for that. However, despite the hills, the course is run on nice quiet country roads and it's a nice spot for a race.
The race itself starts down the road from the GAA grounds. Initially, you run downhill but soon, you turn off left and then there is a nasty drag uphill. Soon it eases off and then you are running on nice quiet roads.
Around the 2 mile mark, you come to the small village of Berrings. You turn left here at the church and you have another uphill section. It's not so severe but enough to put you into oxygen debt if you push too hard. After that, you're on flat or downhill sections.
Just in case you thought you were getting off lightly, the 3rd hill of note comes at the finish. In the last few hundred metres, you drop downhill and then you have to run about 200m up to the finish line which is just outside the GAA grounds.
As I said, forget about fast times but don't let the hills put you off

I met with Brendan from work before the race and ran a 2 mile warmup with him. There were about 150 to 200 runners lined up at the downhill start with everyone taking off at a good pace - that’s the last time I saw Brendan until after the race. A left turn after a quarter of a mile saw the road rise in front of us. Over this section a lot of the enthuastic starters began to drag their feet a little as they huffed and puffed their way up the hill, me included, even though I passed quite a few. As the road leveled out everyone settled into their own pace.
I spotted a girl in a red top about 10 yards in front. I was certain I passed the same girl at the 13 mile mark in the 15 mile Cork to Cobh race at the end of September. I thought that if I kept on her back I wouldn't go far wrong. Unfortunately as the first mile settled into the second she appeared to be pulling further away and I didn't have the energy to give chase - my brain had already decided to give up the ghost in relation to that particular goal. I knew I had over half the race left with more hills to come - better ensure I finish without fading - anyway she may be a fast starter and fade towards the end. I was passed by four or five runners between mile one and two as I maintained a fairly even pace - I didn't feel particularly strong over this section.
After mile 2 there was a left turn that took us up a short steepish hill and reduced me to a slow pace- I kept the leg turnover the same with little baby steps - I still managed to pass one guy on this section. The downhill/flat section to mile 3.5 felt reasonably good and for the first time I felt that my pace had increased and I felt a bit stronger. As the road had straightened out a bit I saw the girl in the red top about 100 yards ahead. "Still too much effort to give chase" although I was keeping pace with those in front of me.
We took a left turn at mile 3.5 (approx) along a slight incline/flat section and I noticed that the gap to the "red top girl" had reduced to 50 or 60 yards as runners in front of me gained on her and passed her out. "her pace must have slowed - she's fading". I knew then that I would catch her before the finish. As I slowly gained on her (she hadn't faded as much as I thought - or else I was also fading) I could hear the slap-slap of shoes hitting tarmac behind me and pretty soon I was overtaken by a guy - he looked like he knew what he was doing i.e. he was wearing real running gear so I was not too upset - anyway my mind was focused on catching the girl and the pace I was at was enough for me until I could see the finish line.
With 500 yards to go the road dipped down before rising steeply over a short section and then the run into the finish. At the bottom of the dip I came level with the girl and saw the finish line,
which spurred me on as I surged up the hill past her and crossed the line in about 26:48 (06:42 pace) just behind the guy who had passed me. Over the last 20 yards there were loud cheers as the announcer said " lets give a hand for the fifth woman home".
As I walked along the finishing chute the woman's husband came up with baby in hand saying
"here's mummy didn't she do great - well done mummy". For some reason my victory felt hollow as if I had deprived this child’s mother of her rightful place.
All in all I was happy with my time given the hilly course - I had just knocked over 4 minutes off my 4 mile PB of 31:09 set three weeks ago. (I know it was a very soft target). There is a 4 mile turkey trot on 9th December over a flat course so I hope to improve on this again - maybe get under 26 minutes if things go my way.
Brendan came in in 25:05 (23rd overall - I think I was in 41st Position), which is a very good time. Another colleaghue, Tony, came home in 30:something which means we would score in the team results. A two mile warm down with Brendan gave me 8 miles for the day.
Yesterdays run of 13.75 Miles was my longest since Dublin. While the start of the run felt sluggish I perked up after 5 miles. Running out the Model Farm Road (mile 9) I noticed how very comfortable I had become, gliding along effortlessly at about 8 minute mile pace, I couldn't feel the remotest sign of stress anywhere on my body, nothing. I could have been sitting on a chair at home, I felt so comfortable. By mile 11 or 12 this feeling began to dissipate as I began to feel the usual stiffness in my legs, still nothing out of the ordinary but that effortless feeling was gone. I finished in just under 1hr & 50 minutes (8 minute pace).

This week saw me top the 50 miles mark for the first time since the marathon (53.75 Miles), The only day I took off was Thursday (went for a swim instead). My heart rates are still higher than I would expect so marathon recovery is still ongoing.

Mon 6.7 Miles in 00:54:30 (08:08 Pace no HR) + 2.5 Miles in 19:46 (07:57 pace no HR)
Tue 7.7 Miles in 00:56:57 (07:24 Pace @ 157 HR)
Wed 5.9 Miles in 00:45:57 (07:47 Pace @ 147 HR)
Fri 6.7 Miles in 00:51:33 (07:42 Pace @ 146HR) + 2.5 Miles in 19:57 (07:59 Pace @ 137 HR)
Sat 13.8 Miles in 01:49:44 (07:59 Pace @ 141 HR)
Sun 8.0 Miles approx with 4 Miles in 26:48 (06:42 Pace)

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like a more respectable PB for 4 miles. We had a local 4 mile race once but it fell over in the 80s when the river flooded. Nearly all races down here are metric now, except for 10 miles.

    Re my rained-out 10k... still no reason. We presume the officials and meet director made an on-the-spot decision, not expecting many to turn up due to some local road flooding.