Todays 10 mile road race in Dungarvan proved that I'm consistent if nothing else. This is my 4th 10 mile race in a year and they have all been between 65 and 66 minutes. I hope with a bit of speedwork that i'll breakthrough the 65 minute barrier in Ballycotton next month. I travelled to Dungarvan with Brendan, arriving with about 2 hours to spare. After signing up we braced the elements (cold easterly wind) over a 3.6 mile warmup which took us past the finish area - no harm to check out the terrain and identify the landmarks that would tell us later that we only had a few 100 yards of pain left to endure. We returned to the registration sports hall to fix our timing chips and for Brendan to change into his racing gear. I opted to keep on my training shoes and the 2XU compression tights I had recently purchased - wanted to see if it would make any difference. Brendan reckoned that I could lose between 5 and 10 seconds per mile. We waited inside in the relative warmth of the hall before we all got kicked out with 10 minutes to start time. There was a good turnout of about 1,000 runners. I warmed up with a few sprints before we got the call to line up at the start and soon enough we were off. I told Brendan to pace off his watch and not me. "You're going out at 6:30 pace aren't you" he had said earlier. But as soon as the gun sounded he was off in front of me and I don't think I saw him after the first 100 yards. The first mile was a short loop through the town before heading along the ring road. Miles one and two were 06:27 and 06:32 respectively, however the mile markers were a few yards beyond where the Garmin had calculated. There was a timekeeper at each mile marker and at the 2 mile mark 13:09 was called out as I passed. John Desmond passed me out during the first mile but I kept pace with him to mile 5. Every so often he would put in a surge, that looked so effortless, and suddenly he was 20 yards in front but then he would come back to me. As he is a 61/62:xx 10 miler I was expecting him to be well out in front. Miles 3 to 5 took us through winding country roads with the wind at our back, no sign of the cold. A guy in front of me took off his woolly hat ("toque" to those in the know) and threw it into the ditch. I felt reasonably comfortable through this stretch with the garmin giving me 6:31, 6:26 and 6:31 for miles 3, 4 and 5 totalling 32:27 for the halfway mark although the clock down the road showed 32:45 when I passed. "5 seconds slower than Mallow last month - if I have the same finish as Mallow a sub-66 is doubtful. I ploughed on keeping the pace steady. At about mile 5.4 we turned a sharp bend and we were now running south east with the cold wind coming against us. That, coupled with a short rise towards the 6 mile mark, was enough to dent the confidence. Still I was keeping pace with those around me and even passing 1 or 2 every half mile. Around the corner after the 6 mile mark (06:32 on the Garmin) and down a steepish gradient where my pace picked up and I passed 2 or 3 more. On towards the 7 mile mark keeping the pace steady (06:33 for mile 7). After the 7 mile mark things started to feel heavy - my legs, my mood (running into the wind), my arms - sub-66 seemed to be slipping away. Still I remained on auto-pilot as the only alternative was to stop and I wasn't that bad. Mile 8 in 06:37 as we headed up a short incline and turned left on the main Cork/Waterford Road. A slight downward slope to the river Brickey bridge and then a gradual incline to the 9 mile mark (Mile 9 in 06:38) I came up on the shoulder of a guy and said "not long now until we have the tea and sandwiches". This seemed to spur him on as he put in a surge and moved 5 yards ahead - I had only one gear and let him go. He kept looking over his shoulder and as soon as I was breathing down his ear he'd put in another surge. This happened a few times until he managed to lengthen the gap between us. I did manage to pass 2 stragglers over the last half mile and knew I had enough pace in my legs to keep my position until the finish line and was pleasantly surprised that the clock said 65:40 as I crossed under it. I had maintained my sub-66 record. Mile 10 was in 06:35, but I had another 18 seconds on the Garmin at 06:23 pace to get me across the line - not much of a sprint finish. Total distance on the garmin was 10.05 miles. Brendan and John Meade (ex work colleague who got sub-60) were cheering me on over the last 50 yards. Brendan had a fantastic run putting in a great time - I'm sure Thomas will be checking his blog with interest as the competition hots up for Ballycotton next month. Brendan and I warmed down/strolled the half mile back to the sports hall and had a feed of tea and sandwiches before heading home. While Dungarvan is a faster course than last months Mallow 10 I am satisfied with my time and am looking forward to putting in a bit of speedwork over the next month to see what improvement will come. I'll leave the competition to Brendan and Thomas. What it's all about for me is being able to run and race against myself and the feeling of exhilaration (and relief) in running down the home straight having ran as well as I could have. While it is great to have a bit of competition with someone else I know that there will always be someone behind and in front of me at the finish line. If my enjoyment of running was all in the race result I would have stopped a long time ago. sat 31st Jan 8.62 miles in 01:06:31 (07:43 pace @ 135HR) Sun 1st Feb about 15 miles with 10 miles in 01:05:40 (06:34 pace @ 164HR) half way splits - 32:45/32:55 Conditioning week 11 (Run - 60.8 miles, Bike - Nil, Swim - 3,000m) January Total (Run 261 miles, Bike 56.2 miles, Swim - 9,675m) I'll have to get on my bike.
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