Sunday, 24 January 2010

The man who can't be moved

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 )


  1. Great race and splits Grellan. 5:52 for the last mile! I reckon you're good for 63 in the 10 miler.

  2. Good race but had you not looked at the Garmin i think a 23.5 something min run could have been yours for the taking!
    to run your best 4 mile you have to push to the red line, just below blowing point and holding it there.
    looking at your pace gave you a negative reaction, you gon't need such thoughts you need to concentrate on pushing, pushing all the way. 5k's and 4 milers are all about how much pain you can handle, knowing your speed is a distraction you really don't need1
    i think garmins are useful in longer races 10 miles onwards.
    great run all the same, but run without the garmin in your next 4 miler and i bet on a 23.59 or better :]

  3. Blimey, getting faster on the last 2 miles is no mean feat. It's amazing what a bit of competition can do. Congrats on the new PR. A great start to the year, and boding well for Barcelona/Connemara.

    Though I agree with Rick - Garmins are useful from 10 miles up, but can be a detriment for shorter races. My own experiences bear this out, and I've managed to wean myself off looking at the wrist.

  4. Grellan

    Terrific race and reporting on it.
    You must be happy with that and there is nothing like the anticipation of the next race once you've pulled out a PB.

    Go get it!

  5. Rick/Thomas, I'm inclined to agree. The funny thing is that the garmin battery was low when I turned it on and I had anticipated running without it to. For the last 2 miles I only looked at it once or twice to check distance left with no idea of pace as I was concentrating more on position and it worked out much better.

  6. Oh, and I wish to retract my comment to your previous post that 33-mile training runs might take the edge off your speed. That's just looking silly now after that race performance!

  7. Yep, racing others rather than yourself will bring the best out of you, here is a good article on the subject

  8. looks like a 'sub-65' is being very conservative!!

    I can't wait to read all about it!!

  9. I presume you've seen those already?

    one, two and three.

    Who wears long sleeves, tights, but no gloves?????

  10. Rick - thanks for the link. Time to concentrate ona few hares I think.

    Brendan - i'd hope for sub 65 but I can't say it's conservative. If i'm wrong i'll be delighted.

    Thomas - Hadn't seen them. I guess I do - still clueless eh! Time to ditch the long pants

  11. Well done on the shiny new PB.