Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rain, Rain and More Rain

Despite not going to bed early last night I woke up this morning before the alarm clock went off. The weather was awful (rain, rain and rain) and really encouraged me to get ready for the 13.1mile race (not!!). I briefly contemplated convincing myself that my calf was still sore and I should not risk the race. But (un)fortunately my calf felt fine. Maybe the ice and spiky ball had done some good after all.

So at 9:15, a bit later than planned, I headed off to Blarney. Pamela and the girls were going to follow on later hoping to avoid most of the rain. (as if that was likely - it is Ireland you know!!)

After registering it was time for a warm up otherwise known as a light jog in the rain just to acclimatize i.e. get wet!! I had joked with Grellan on Friday that it would be mad to go for a 2 mile warm up before running a half marathon. But that is just what I found myself doing (2.55miles @ 8min pace). My leg was fine and despite the rain being 'wet' it was 'refreshing'. Maybe today will go OK - I thought to myself....

The race started on time at 11:00 and I had positioned myself in the back half of the pack. In hindsight this was a mistake as there was a lot of pushing / jostling for position in the first half mile or so and I found myself getting a bit frustrated. It reminded me of the Great North Run last year where I started well back and spent the whole race running around people. However the pack opened up shortly after the first 0.5m and space was not a problem. Time to settle down I told myself. My plan before the race was to run an even 6:45 pace for as long as I could. This would give me a good benchmark for the Great North Run. I knew that the course was reported to be hilly so I didn't hold out much hope for running 6:45 for the entire race.

Mile 1 was reached in 6:54. A bit behind plan but not bad considering the congestion at the start.
Mile 2 (6:43). Time to settle in I told myself and run to plan.

Mile 3 (6:41). Still on plan, still uphill but still picking off runners.

Mile 4 (6:42). I took a brief look at my watch. Still going strong and not feeling too bad (Picture below is near the 4 mile mark). I picked off another couple of runners during this mile too. Hopefully they don't know something that I don't. Maybe I'll pay for this pace in the second half.

Mile 5 (6:50). Took on the first water here. I planned to take water at approx. 4, 8 and 12 miles as per the Great North Run water stations. I don't know how anyone can drink from plastic cups while running. Got a few sips in without drowning and onward up the hill I went!! Picked off 1 or 2 more but I was conscious that the worst was left to come and there was still a long way to go.

Mile 6 (7:05). Yeah all the reports were correct. The hill into Grenagh is a beast.

Mile 7 (6:35). Just as I reached the village all the locals were coming out from Sunday Mass. Keep going Brendan. It's amazing how not wanting to give up in front of others can motivate you!!

Mile 8 (6:19). A steep downhill out of Grenagh saw my heart rate drop pack down to 170 for the first time since mile 2. A welcome relief!! I even picked off one or two more. I could hear multiple foot steps behind me an feared that the pelaton was about to reel me in. Time to pick up the pace I told myself. So I did.

Mile 9 (6:23). I'm waiting for the downhill section to begin. It seemed to be uphill most of the the way!! Surely there must be a downhill section too?? I passed a guy and commented on the hills. He said the worst was over but I didn't believe him.

Mile 10 (6:20). Although I didn't know it at the time this translates to a 66:35 10mile just slower that my Ballycotton 10 earlier this year but I felt a lot better than I did when I finished the Ballycotton 10 which was just as well 'cause I was still over 3 miles from home!!

Mile 11 (6:28). Only 3 miles to go and the downhill section will come soon. I thought to myself!! This section of the route is over the same road as miles 1 - 4. I think to myself I'm running uphill now so this must be been downhill last time. I didn't know that!!

Mile 12 (6:28). Only 2 miles to go. Passed one more runner and saw another target ahead. It's nearly over....

Mile 13 (6:37). I was still chasing the guy about 20m ahead but I didn't seem to be gaining on him. There didn't seem to be anyone close behind me. At this stage my stride was shortening and I really just wanted to finish as soon as possible. I was tired of all the hills!! Just before the 13mile mark there was one last short steep section. I pushed hard and as I reached the top I saw my fan club (Pamela and the girls) standing by the side of the road shouting 'go daddy go'. Just what I needed and I picked up the pace for the last 0.1mile.

Mile 13.1 (0:37). A slight downhill to the finish saw me cross the line and stop my watch at 1:26:47 (avg heartbeat 176bpm). A big PB by over 8mins and well under my goal for the year of a sub-90 half marathon. Happy days!!

The race report as recorded by Garmin 305 is shown below. Although I can remember all the uphill bits over the first 6miles I don't recall there being too many downhills over the second half. Just as well I brought Mr Garmin - he remembered them for me!!

Coincidentally my official time is also 1:26:47 which is strange given that I didn't start my watch until I crossed the start line approx 7sec after the gun. This is confirmed by the photo of me below crossing the finish line. There is some more discussion on this issue on the
Running in Cork blog..

All in all a very enjoyable and well organised race and I don't think I was passed once during the whole race!! My official placing is 64th out of 508 finishers and it appears that I was the 11th in the M35 category.

A big congrats is also due to Grellan and Thomas who both had excellent runs in the same race and made big PB's. Well done lads.

So now that my goal for the 2008 is reached I think I'm going to have to revise my target for the Great North Run (assuming I get a pass!). I'm not sure what target I should aim for. Maybe sub 1:26 would be realistic given that the race is in 3 weeks time? I'll think about it a bit more and devise my new race plan...

1 comment:

Love2Run said...

Wow, great run and strong race. You really smashed that old mark. I notice how your hr slowly increased as you ratchet the effort over the race. Nice job!