My race number "89" this evening for the Shanagarry 5 miler was my position after the first (of four) race in the Ballycotton series last month, where I strolled home in 32:32. I have my work cut out for me to get under 50 overall (men) for the final race in August - rank will be based on cumulative time over the 4 races.
While the first mile was at a solid pace, I was about 10 yards behind a group of three Eagles, (John D, Micheal and Pat M) John O'C having surged ahead chasing down Kevin. I couldn't bridge the gap to the 3 in front without putting in a surge, which I didn't want to do so early in the race.
The 5:59 opening mile told me that I had gone out a bit fast and was glad that I hadn't chased down the hares in front. I was racing my race and if the lads were faster so be it. I also knew that the most challenging part of the race was yet to come with a long steady climb from about mile 2 to mile 3.5 and a shorter steeper climb 1/4 mile either side of the 4 mile mark.
Micheal had pushed 10 to 20 yards ahead of John and Pat with me 5 yards behind them churning out a steady pace, at least I wasn't losing contact, which gave me some comfort. Mile 2 in 6:12 (12:11 overall). "If I get 12:11 for the next 2 miles that makes 24:22 for 4 miles, which would set me up nicely for a sub 31 minute PB" - Don't know where that thought came from but it was pure fantasy. During the long rise to the 3 mile mark I passed John and Pat and could see Micheal ahead. I kept churning out the same effort and gradually reeled Micheal in, which I wasn't expecting. Mile 3 in 6:38 (18:49 overall) - the long drag certainly blunted my speed.
I could now see John O'C ahead and thought I might catch him. I was still 20 yards behind him at the 3.5 mile mark where we took a sharp left and a steep downhill for about 100 yards. I let off the brakes and careered down the hill reeling in a few in front and managed to pull alongside John by the time we hit the bottom and before the rise towards the 4 mile mark. Kevin G was pulled up ahead - suffering from a stitch. On the rise towards the 4 mile mark I could see Pat O'C ahead in his distinctive blue 2010 Barcelona Marathon top.
Mile 4 in 6:22 (25:11 overall). The road continued to rise and I maintained a steady pace, while wanting to leave something in the tank for the last 1/2 mile downhill to the finish. I was on Pat's shoulder with about 600m to go and didn't think I had much left to finish strong. We passed the 400m to go sign more or less together - I thought he would have put in a surge and dropped me. With about 250m to go I put in a surge and went ahead and thought the line couldn't come soon enough. With about 30 yards to go John D went flying past me with another guy on his shoulder - I had no time or energy to respond, crossing the line behind them in 31:24 (6:13 final mile).
I didn't stop around to check the results after the race so I don't know where I came but hope that when I line out for Churchtown South in a months time my race number will be well under this evenings "89".