Sunday, 30 June 2013

Another One Bites The Dust

Given my recent good form my plan is to seek out some of the shorter races during the summer months and throw a few speedwork sessions together beforehand so that I could have a decent shot at breaking a few barriers and get a few PBs in the process. I have already got the sub 18 minute 5k, which has given me renewed confidence to have a go at a few more,

sub 38 10k (Pb of 38:15)

sub 24 four miler (Pb of 24:24)

sub 30 five miler (Pb of 30:24)

I'd have to put in more significant specific training to even think about breaking some of the time barriers I would have previously considered beyond my reach such as a sub-60 minute ten miler and an sub-80 half - still the stuff of dreams, but we dream for a reason!
The timing of the Courtmacsherry 10k on Friday evening wasn't the best for me.  However it is the flattest/fastest and the most scenic 10k of all the summer 10k races and one that I had been meaning to do over the last number of years. Circumstances were conspiring against me again this year as I had signed up to pace the 3:15  group at the Waterford Viking Marathon on Saturday morning. However I decided to throw caution to the wind (being doing a lot of that lately) and head down to Courtmacsherry for the 8 p.m. start. I arrived in time to sign up and get a 2 mile warm up in.

It was still quite warm (19C) and humid but I felt under no pressure to get a specific time. My plan was to ease into a comfortably  hard pace over the first mile and see where that takes me. I was looking out for club mate Keith, who I had spotted during my warm up, but could not see him. Not to worry, I was certain i'd see him during the opening mile as he tends to open hard.......  and sure enough as the pace settled over the opening half mile I spotted him out in front as a long line of runners snaked along the flat shoreline towards Timoleague. By the time I was on his shoulder the average pace was 6:04, which was the split for the opening mile - a bit fast for a guy seeking his first sub-40 10k. Over the next mile and a half I continue on at a steady effort, gradually reeling in and passing a few more guys although the pace does slow. There was a noticeable headwind during this opening half, from which I tried to seek shelter behind a guy in front, until he moved to one side to let me pass.

I am on my own for the next mile into Timoleague, with the two front runners coming against me at the start of the short loop through the village. The  gap to the four or five runners I can see strung out in front of me is not closing - I have reached my cruising speed, although miles 2 and 3 have been much slower than my opening mile (post race splits of 6:14/6:24) I hope that the return leg, with the wind at my back will be faster. I pass the 5k mark with 19:22 showing on the Garmin - doesn't look like a sub-38 or even a Pb is on the cards this evening unless there is a serious injection of pace. Still the gap to those in front marginally reduces as we head back out the coast road to Courtmacsherry, with a constant stream of runners coming against us on the opposite side of the road.

If there's one thing that my endurance base has given me over the last few months it's the ability to churn out a reasonably hard pace for a reasonably long time, which stands to me now over the closing miles as we wind our way back to Courtmacsherry and the finish line. There are  about 7 runners strung out in front of me, including Carmel Crowley (2nd Lady) and a few with Bandon and St Finbarr singlets. My steady pace takes me past 2 guys as I slowly gain on Carmel and  2 guys from St Finbarrs (one of whom is running in Vibrams). I have no idea of pace or time, until I hit the 5 mile mark with 30:46 on the garmin - just about on PB pace (6:09) by my rough calculations.

I am on the shoulder of two guys at this stage and manage to pass one. The other guy, who had been running with him, put in a surge and is gone out in front. I keep a steady pace behind him but cannot close the gap, as I have absolutely no raw speed (This is where a few 400's at the track would come in handy). We continue on like this as the village gets closer and I start counting down the remaining time as the effort is beginning to show. I can see the finish line about 300m ahead when out of nowhere a young guy (19 or 20ish) in a Bandon top goes flying past me at twice my speed and proceeds to gain on and pass the guy in front. I have no response for that type of surge (and never will), but I do respond when I see the clock at the finish line ticking down 37:5x and put in my own little surge to cross under the finish gantry at 37:57 for a shiny new Pb and a sub-38 minute 10k. Very happy considering the shape my legs were in after last weekends endurance fest. Had I been a bit more focused in training for and targeting a 10k Pb I would have been aiming for somewhere between 37:10 and 37:30 - still it's nice to leave something out there to aim for.

I hadn't realised that there was a chip start and as I wasn't one of the Duracell bunnies on the front line it took me 5 seconds to cross the start line giving me a chip time of 37:52 and 16th place out of 331 (15th place on Chip time). I was also third M45, which netted me a cotton T-shirt to add to my vast collection, but it was never about the shirt.



  1. Nice race and report Grellan. Sounds like conditions weren't exactly ideal either. I reckon you need shorter than 400s to get the fast-twitch fibres trained up - 150s, 200s and the like. Can definitely see something near 37 in your future.