So I've finally got some time to put together my race report. I looks like both Thomas and Grellan got in first with theirs so apologies for those who are now reading through more of the same!!
The Mallow-10 is the first in a four race series of ten mile road races. Last year I had intended on running this series but I got injured just before Christmas and that was that. In the end I only competed in one of the four races - Ballycotton - my first race over 10k ever. That race went well enough for 7 miles or so but then my lack of endurance training showed and I went through a bad purple patch. I still mananged to finish in 66:15 or so which was satisfying at the time. Until, I ran faster during the first 10 miles of the Great North Run. So this year I decided that I was going to try the 10-mile series again just to see if I could better my Great North Run split. Yesterdays race proved that I could and I'm not injured today so maybe I'll make Race 2 in Dungarvan on Feb 1st. I also found out yesterday that I got a place in Race 3 Ballycotton so assuming no injuries I should make at least 3 of the 4 races!!
So, yesterday I got to the race HQ early, 2 hours ahead of the start time, and I spent the next half hour debating with myself what to wear. The weather was awful outside wet, cold and windy. So the argument was whether to wear long sleves or not - a very serious decision. It's amazing how silly things take over pre-race jitters. I eventally went out for a 2.16 mile jog just to test the weather and find the start line which was about 1 mile from the race HQ. Despite running most of the streets in Mallow I failed to find the start!! Also my achilles had been showing signs of tendonitis during the past few weeks so I was glad not to be in too much pain after the warm up. I think the fact that I rested on Friday and Saturday certainly helped.
When I got back to race HQ I bumped into Grellan and shortly afterwards Thomas. We jogged to the start and a bit beyond together (luckily Grellan knew where it was!!) in all 1.7 miles. There was still a bit of time so I took shelter from the wind and rain under a tree beside a high wall while the other 2 guys continued on their warm-up. (I had decided to race without long sleeves!!).
At the appointed time I took up a position behind Grellan and Thomas about 4 ot 5 rows back from the front. The plan was to run a 6:30 pace and see what happened. This was also Thomas' plan so we were able to pace off each other while having a chat for the first mile or so! During this chat Thomas did comment on how 6:30 pace felt like jogging which I put down to the fact that we were running in a group and not in the dark of the night around Carragh Lake!!
Mile 1 was reached in 6:30 - bang on target. Mile 2 took 6:33. Still reasonably on target given the slight uphill climb during this mile. The race really started after the second mile mark as we turned onto the main Cork to Limerick road. This was a downhill section with a strong tailwind. Just as Thomas pulled level with me a gust of wind pushed me forward - I felt like I was flying (literally!!) for a couple of strides!! Thomas surged past me and I decided to let him go - looking at my watch I was doing 5:30 pace which was more than fast enough for me. I tried not to let the gap get too big keeping Thomas and a group of 5 or 6 others about 20 to 30m ahead. Mile 3 was completed in 5:56. The next 3 miles were along the Killarney road past the Mallow Race Track and into a headwind!! At about the 3.5 mile mark I caught up with Thomas again (although he was surprised to see me there and so was I!!). Not content to run in the middle of a group and as I was feeling relatively OK I thought to myself that I'd try and push the pace for a bit. So I went to the head of the group with a target to catch the next smaller group 30m ahead. Mile 4 was completed in 6:11 and I felt strong. Mile 5 was 6:21 (the wind getting stronger and the gap between runners greater). I was still passing runners so that was a good sign. I passed the 5 mile mark in 31:35. Wow, if I can keep this up it may be a PB but going on past history I'll probably blow up at about the 8 mile mark!!
Mile 6 (6:18) and I managed to pass another couple of runners. Although I couldn't hear him I assumed that Thomas wasn't too far behind so it was time to push on!! Mile 7 was uphill and took 6:28. I see from my Garmin that I passed the 10k mark in 38:59 an unofficial PB. By Mile 8 I was beginning to count down the quarter mile splits on my Gramin to the next mile mark but the my stride was in the groove so I pushed on (Thomas will be up on me soon!!). I ran alot of the race in no-mans-land passing each group / runner that I caught and focusing on the next target ahead. My breathing wasn't too bad either but I kept expecting to blow up!! Mile 8 lasted 6:10. Mile 9 a slightly uphill mile lasted 6:20. Fatigue was certainly beginning to kick in but I knew that the last mile had some downhill stretches so there was hope and I was still catching the odd runner. I passed over the railway line and an official shouted that it was only a mile and a quarter to go. That quarter mile seemed to take an age!! So with 1 mile to go I started my kick to the end. Before the race Grellan had told me that it was only a quarter mile from the bridge to the finish line. You can imagine my surprise when the officals shouted only 'half a mile to go' at the far side of the bridge. But I'd started my finishing kick so it was too late to stop now. Besides, although I hadn't seen him since the fourth mile I suspected that Thomas probably wasn't too far behind! Over the last 800m I passed another two runners and the last 100m felt like a sprint (the last 20 seconds was at 5:07 pace!!). Mile 10 was run in 5:59. Which gave my total time for the 10 miles as 1:02:52 an official PB by more than 3 minutes!! This was later rounded down oficially to 1:02:54 due to my tardiness in starting my watch. Officially 63rd position. The second five mile split was 31:27 a negative split and also an 'unofficial' PB equalling my first 5 mile split in the Great North Run last October. Thomas had almost caught me finishing 7 seconds behind - I knew that he was nearby and I'm glad the race wasn't any longer!!
A 3.16 mile cool down and some tea and sandwiches with Grellan completed a great day of running. Roll on Dungarvan on February 1st!!
Week Total (5/1/09 to 11/1/09) - 5 runs
50:02miles - 6:09:21 - 7:23 min/mile pace