Monday, 5 April 2010

Hometown 10k

My taper got postponed for another day as I headed to Clonakilty this morning a bit earlier than planned to take part in a "low key" 10k race in aid of the local national schools. As I was heading to Clon in any event and as a way of supporting the school I went to (I don't need much of an excuse do I?) I decided to head down early for the 11 am start.
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I planned on running it at less than race effort so that my legs would be spared the worst and left relatively intact for Connemara. The rule of thumb of allowing one day for every mile raced before racing again was enough to convince me that I would be recovered by next Sunday. After registering and leaving Abina to take Saran to the local playground I lined up with about 30 others (there was also a 6.5k run and a charity cycle) about a minute before the start. I met up with Michael Dooley and Seamus Cahill from Eagle AC so I would have some indication of how I was doing out there.
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The MC asked for runners to move to the front before sounding the starting gun. I headed off at a steady pace with about 10 or 12 out in front of me. From the off I ran alongside Michael Dooley and was happy that I was keeping a good pace at a comfortable effort. We headed from the Quality Hotel east towards the town before turning right up the hill on the Ardfield Road (this was not going to be a fast course especially given the strong south westerly wind that was against us for most of the first half of the race).
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By the top of the hill we had passed the 2 leading females and were about 30 yards behind a group of 3. About 100 yards ahead of them I could see another guy and I think there were 2 more in front of him. That placed Michael and I in 7th & 8th place. Just before the 2 mile mark I began to pull ahead of Michael and was gaining on number 6. He put in a bit of an effort as I approached but I was content to run on his heels at the same pace/effort that had dragged him in. Within 20 yards he was behind me and number 5 & 4 were 5 and 10 yards in front. I passed them as we started on the long straight causeway to Dunmore with number 3 about 100 yards in front. I was not watching the clock or pace on the Garmin content to keep a comfortably hard effort.
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Turning left away from the wind and towards the halfway mark I was now about 50 yards behind no. 3 with no. 2 about 20 yards in front of him. Having halved the gap in less than a mile I was sure my pace would reel him in. I passed the 5k mark with 3.05 miles on the Garmin (probably a short course) - still the gap remained 50 yards to number 3, but he was now gaining on number 2 and passed him before the 4 mile mark. My pace also carried me passed number 2 and to within 20 yards of no. 3 - the fact that he took a wrong turn at a crossroads before being called back by a marshall helped.
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We continued like this for the next mile - I noticed that I gained on the inclines and he pulled away on the descents. Just after the 9km mark I eventually pulled alongside him at the top of the last incline. I asked him was there 1 in front of him and he replied that there were in fact 2 well out in front. With that he pulled ahead as we descended towards the town. He remained about 10 yards ahead until about 200 yards to go when I put in a bit of an effort and pulled within 5 yards but once he caught sight of the finish he put in a surge and finished strong pulling ahead by about 20 yards - I had no response. To be quite honest my best chance of beating him would have been to put in a sustained effort over the closing mile, but I was not willing to seek out the necessary pain that that involved and anyway I did not want to put my performance in Connemara in jeopardy.
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I crossed the line in 40:24 (6:33 pace average - 6.17 miles on the Garmin = 9.93 km) in 4th place. No. 1 and 2 were within 10 seconds of each other somewhere around 36:30 - 4 minutes ahead. I know it was a bit foolhardy to race 6 days before an ultra, particularly as I threw caution to the wind after I pinned the number to my singlet but I felt good throughout and my legs appear to be in good nick afterwards. Definitely time to ease up and relax though.
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I got talking to No. 2 after the race - he told me he was just about recovered from Ballycotton where he got under the hour for the first time - 59:59.
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7 comments:

  1. Isn't that the kind of behaviour I usually get told off for?

    I resisted with a bleeding hard running the 5-miler in Killarney on Friday as well as a 10k in Ballybunion this weekend because I did not want to jeopardise my race in Connemara.

    Having said that, 6:33 pace seems rather restrained - you might just get away with it.

    See you on Sunday.

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  2. Sounds like the temptation of a podium finish was too much to resist.... Still though the last bit of sharpening may be just what you'll need to clip Thomas in the home straight after 39+ miles!!! :)

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  3. looking forward to the 'CLASH' of the mega Bloggers this weekend!Will sky TV be following your epic battle this Sunday :]

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  4. Seems a little odd 'racing' a 10k the week before but maybe it was just a shot across the bow to warn Thomas that you're good to go. Can't wait for the play by play this weekend. Good luck!

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  5. That was a very restrained race. I'm sure you could have placed 3rd, but Connemara is 'the big one'. I'm looking forward to seeing how the run/walk strategy plays out and if my $10 is turned into $100 by backing you to beat Thomas. No pressure now ;)

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  6. Nice one Grellan. It is so hard to not go out there and give it everything. Especially being that close to the front.

    Best of luck to you at Connemara and I will be thinking about your race. I feel you and I are quite similar as runners and certainly now that we are dealing with a few injuries.

    Great luck to you.

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  7. hi.. just dropping by here... have a nice day! http://kantahanan.blogspot.com/

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