I saw my neighbour Pat at least three times during today's FMC 4 mile road race as we exchanged places between miles 1 and 3. Only for him I would have had a less than impressive run. It's funny how a bit of competition can work wonders.
We travelled together to the race and warmed up over the middle 2.5 miles of the course - a few icy patches but nothing serious. I waited around the sports centre for as long as possible before the race start as my dodgy gut was still giving me a spot of bother. Finally I jogged the mile to the start line to join about 400 others, regretting the fact that I left my gloves at home.
I lined up pretty close to the front next to Denis Carroll. I know i'm doing well in a race if I can see Denis - he did a 24:11 to my 24:35 PB last year.
The gun finally went off and we took off down the road, Denis a few yards ahead of me. After a quarter of a mile the average mile pace on the garmin showed 6:00.
"Christ if I maintain this I could be close to 24 minutes - hold on don't be jumping the gun there's a long way to go yet."
Sure enough the next time I look at the garmin the pace has shifted to 6:09 as John Desmond and Derek O'Keeffe pass me before the 1 mile mark. The garmin gives me 6:12 for mile 1 althougt the mile marker is slightly ahead.
"Ok 6:15 miles or less will give me a sub-25 - that should be reasonably achieveable"
Then Pat surges across my path and wakes me from my trance. I maintain pace a few yards behind him and track him for a few 100 yards until the road rises and I move in front. We take a wide turn to the right for a loop through an industrial park and I maintain a steady pace which is still around 6:10 to 6:15, albeit with a bit more effort than mile 1, due to the incline. Garmin gives me Mile 2 in 6:14 as I up the pace on a slight downhill section catching 1 or 2 who had passed me during mile 1.
Just before the 2.5 mile mark Pat was back on my shoulder and moving ahead. I upped the pace to keep on his shoulder as we pass 1 or 2 others. Left out of the industrial park with a mile and a quarter to go. We're at about 6 minute pace at this stage. My breathing is still regular (2/2) and my legs and lungs are operating within capacity. Down the incline towards the 3 mile mark and I pull ahead - I didn't see the split on the garmin and just concentrated on form and maintained the pace I had set on the downhill, just a mile to go - 6 minutes left. Still the effort feels controlled as I pass 1 or 2 more - half a mile to go, Denis Carroll is in front of me, I'm doing pretty good and may even catch him.
I think I've put enough distance between myself and Pat but you never know so I don't relax. The gap to Denis stays the same as he passes a guy in front. I pass the same guy with about a quarter of a mile to go. Around the corner and I can see the finish up a shallow incline. Supporters of the guy I have just passed offer him encouragement saying "go on you can take him" probably not knowing that I had just passed him out. This is all the encouragement I need to kick a little more as I gain on Denis - but there not enough room left as the finishing clock comes into my myopic sight with 24:20 displayed and I push to cross under it at 24:24/5 (garmin says 24:24) for a 10/11 second PB. Pat comes in 2 places behind for an excellent PB of about 2 minutes.
My adjusted splits were 6:14, 6:17, 6:01 and 5:52 - I was fairly comfortable walking down the finishing chute which make me wonder did I leave a few seconds out on the course. All in all though I am very pleased with the result and a 1 out of 1 PB for 2010.
A few of us did a 6 mile warmdown after the race, during which I took a fall but did no lasting damage. This gave me a total of 13.7 miles for the day.Next week is the Dungarvan 10 miler, which will be a better test of my speed/endurance. Will I dip under 65 minutes for the first time. Interestingly enough when I put todays time into McMillan's calculator it gives an equivalent 10 mile time of bang on 65 minutes. So I have a fairly good chance, particularly as Pat is coming too.
Sun 24th Jan
13.71 miles in 1:52:22 (08:12 pace @ 124 HR with 4 miles in 24:24 (6:04 pace @ 158 HR- PB)
Base/Training week #9 - 65.8 miles.The man who can't be moved ( One of the best bands to come out of Dublin since U2 )