Sunday, 15 November 2009

Race 3 Winter Series (8.01km)

Race 3 Rostrevor Day Race 8.01km
Saturday 14th November

The expression having a bad day springs to mind. The skies cleared for a lovely day sun shine and blue skies but cold. I started warming up but something didn’t feel right. I tried to just block it out and get on with it. We all gathered at the start and away we went.

Taking the same route as race one it was up the grassy hill passed the cafe and into Rostrevor Forest. "The Hill" Only this time we could see what was in front of us. Oh yeah and it was twice as long as race one. Instead of turning right we carried on further up the hill this time. I was well warmed up but couldn’t seem to find a rhythm or a breathing pattern. Legs felt o.k. but my chest and sides felt like I was getting stabbed. I walked a bit ran a bit but lost so much time. When we reached the turn the road levelled out a bit. Even on the level parts and downs I still felt terrible. I pushed on at a very slow pace through the forest and then up a bit of single track that lead into the forest above the top car park. Very steep section and this had most people walking. A steep descent into the car park then a climb heading for the stone. Mostly walking paths from the stone back down heading for home. I found myself holding back on the down hill. Every step I took I could feel the pain through my sides and chest. Back onto the same tracks from the first race. I knew it was all downhill from here. Still I couldn’t push on jogging most of the way back in a very disheartened mood. Across the finish line 44th out of 57 and a time off 00.50.21.

The route was tough but in better form I would call it a great route. Race 8 I hope to be back on this one feeling better and run it right.

Bad day eh!

Hopefully be back stronger for the 5th race. I am missing race 4 as I am doing the Causeway Coast Adventure Race. Glens of Antrim 28th November.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Race 2 Winter Series (7.08km)

Race 2 Castlewellan Night Race 7.08km
Thursday 5th November

Sitting in the office looking out at rain. The thought of running in the rain doesn’t bother me. Riding my motorbike to the event in the rain bothers me. As the day goes on the weather eases. I leave work and go straight to the event. 25mile drive to Castlewellan on off rain and side winds the whole way. As I get to castlewellan I follow the signs for the side entrance to the forest picking my way up a pothole filled road.

I am early again so I have a walk around until registration opens. Registration was just a case of getting my number and chip from the previous race. I got ready in the registration tent and went out for a warm up. The sky had cleared and a beautiful starry filled sky lit up the darkness. Slow jog up and down the banks of the lake. Watching as the car parks filled up and competitors started their stretches and warm ups. As 7:30pm nears everyone shuffled to the start line for a race brief from Rowan. Another good turn out for a cold blustery November night.

Three, Two, One and we’re off. We started on the banks of the lake running on tarmac towards the castle. Thankfully a flat start and already we were into a steady pace. As we leave the tarmac for gravel roads I pick up the pace on the first slight climb. Trying to stay within eyesight of the front group for as long as I can. I was feeling pretty good and the pace seemed to suit me. Staying pretty close to the front we pushed further into the forest. Slight climbs with descents straight away meant I could push without fear of burning out. The gravel roads were very wet and sandy in places puddles everywhere. After just 5 mins you don’t seem to notice the puddles any more. As I got into a rhythm my breathing calmed. Into another climb and although this wasn’t steep it did pull the front group apart. I started to get a stitch but I didn’t ease up. Leaning into the climb and shortening my stride this seemed to really help. I could see I was catching someone in front of me and just made them my target. As we started to descend I picked up the pace again. Head up, chest out, long strides. I felt this style helped as I was taking in much needed air. A few moments on looser gravel but thankfully the ankles held up. As the paths leveled out again I tried to find a rhythm. Fast enough to get me past some of the runners in front but not to fast to let anyone catch me. I was aware of someone behind me but wasn’t sure just how close. You aren’t getting past me was the thoughts in my head. As we turned onto another gravel road I could see the lake. Is this the finish surely not yet. I lift it again and then see a small bridge. Yes this is the finish two people within reach I start into a sprint passing them. Around the corner at the bridge. Where’s the car park? This wasn’t the finish I had mistaken the bridge for a similar one at the finish I had seen when warming up. Now with three people behind me I didn’t want them to catch me. I’m sure it was obvious they could tell I got it wrong. I kept it going pushing hard along the side of the lake. Legs felt good but severe pains in my sides meant breathing was all over the place. Breathe out on the left foot down I had been told previously. This worked for me in training but didn’t seem to help here. I could hear the beeps from the finish line. The end was close and so was someone behind. Finally the bridge and the tarmac. I sprint across the line finishing time 00:35:01 That placed me 29th in a field of 71

Another well organised event with a great course. Thanks to 26 extreme and all the helpers. See you at the next one.

Next Race Rostrevor Saturday 14th November (8.31km)

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