Bang - On a more personal note I had my own version of the grand slam this afternoon in Beaufort at the Munster Masters 4 Miler where I very nearly hit the wall over the last mile on what was a very tough run for me - although it was worth it in the end (I think) as I shaved another few seconds off last Tuesday's time coming in at 24:37 - although the Garmin put the distance at 3.98 miles so the course may not have been accurately measured. The route was by no means easy with a few challenging hills thrown in and the field was much smaller and faster than I'm used to.
This was my first club race and while I was warming up with a few of the experienced Eagle lads before the race I asked was there much rivalry between the clubs as we ran behind lads from St Finbarrs AC.
"ahh no, not really, it's just that we hate to be beaten by those F*&kers that's all"
said a certain mustachioed veteran runner who shall remain nameless (not the legend who fell at the start of the Dublin marathon some years back - blood everywhere - and went on to finish in 2:46 - he had been aiming for sub-2:40). I digress............
It was a beautiful warm sunny day at the foothills of the MacGillycuddy Reeks and Abina, Keevsa, Ani and Saran made the trip with me, but unfortunately the stunning scenery was far from my mind. I knew during the first half mile that it was not going to be fun and thought even then of packing it in. Despite this, mile 1 came in a relatively fast 5:54.
I remember hearing birdsong during mile 2 and thinking of Ewen's last post on the bellbirds he heard on the 45k "Six Foot" Trail race. I tried to concentrate on natures music in a effort to distract myself from the pain.....
"How the f#&k could he enjoy birdsong during a race" is all I thought as the pain quickly came back into focus - until I realised Ewen's race had a somewhat slower less painful pace as you would expect with a 45k event, still this was poor comfort for me.
Despite the pain Mile 2 was a respectable 6:10 (12:04 total) although I passed the 2 miles to go mark at 11:58.
The first half of mile 3 was a tough uphill and once I had reached the crest I knew it was a matter of just hanging in until the finish as a new wave of fatigue hit me and the lactic acid build up in my legs turned them to jelly. Despite this I was generally keeping pace with those around me. Mile 3 came in 06:22 - 18:25 total (a real sign of the fatigue and stress I was feeling). The urge to stop was all consuming as I began counting down the minutes. A glance at the garmin showed my HR moving from the 170's to the 180's - a supreme effort for my heart. Into the last 400m and I could see the finsh line - a shout of encouragement from a clubmate - "c'mon don't lose position" (losing a place could mean the difference between a medal and none - although I was certain that the requisite 4 clubmates required to make a team had already crossed the finish line) - still I sprinted for the line giving it everything I had, with just enough energy to guide my shattered body to the nearest wall to sit on. I had to ask Keevsa to get me a cup of water as I tried to catch my breath.
A nice warm shower and a cup of tea and a great walk in Killarney National Park (photo's to follow) and the pain was long forgotten - although my legs are fairly stiff.
Have a good week.
Sun 22nd Mar - 8.65 Miles with 4 miles in 24:36 (06:10 pace @ 169 HR - Max HR of 184!!!)
Transition Week 7 (Run 61.0 miles, Bike 34.8 miles, Swim 2,500m)