Wednesday, 2 July 2014

RACE RECAP: Funlavin 10k

It's been a couple of days since Sunday's 10k, and I'm still on a bit of a high.

Before you get too excited, I didn't PR (and wasn't expecting to!). But I did have an amazing, very inspiring race that has me super optimistic for my PR attempt in Dun Laoghaire in August.

So I guess we'll divide this recap into sections and make it a bit easier to read...

Travel, Registration & Pre-Start

My dad walk/jogged the 5k that was happening at the same time, so he drove me over to Dunlavin. We left at 8.30am knowing we'd be stopping in Tesco (I wanted coconut water for afterwards) and hoping to make it by around 10am. 
....At 9.15 we were pulling into Dunlavin town square. Note for next time - it's definitely not that far from my house to Dunlavin! 

We picked up our race numbers and timing chips - this was actually the first time I've ever had a separate timing chip to tie to my shoe. Every other chip-timed race I've done had those timer strips on the backs of the race numbers. I was actually pretty excited to have a proper timing chip for once!

Sign-in was a breeze as there was a very small number of pre-registered runners, and we mooched around for a while - stopped into the shop, read the paper in the car, found a bathroom - while waiting for the 10.45 warmup. The organisers arranged to use the town hall both pre- and post-race, meaning we could use those bathrooms - a wonderful and very welcome change from porta-potties!

At 10.45 there were a couple of short speeches and then we were offered a group warmup by a lovely lady whose name has unfortunately escaped me. It was a nice dynamic warmup, and although I'd done a little warming up myself first it was still great.

At a couple minutes to eleven the 10k group was led off down the hill (the 10ks started further along than the 5ks, to prevent the two groups getting mixed up on the section of route we shared). The timing mat was rolled out (it had to be carried from the 10k start back to the 5k start after), there was a quick shouted countdown, and we were off!

Kilometre 1

I was feeling good but not great in this kilometre. I was passed by tons of people - loads were left behind me, but I still felt like I was dropping back and must be going really slow. I felt like I was working decently hard, but at the same time it didn't seem like huge effort. So when my Garmin beeped in the first kilometre at 5:39 I just about passed out on the road.

Let me be clear: this wasn't a good idea, but it made me so happy. It broke the 1km record on my Garmin - actually, it smashed it, by a full 20 seconds. I thought I'd always fight to run anything even fractionally below a 6 minute kilometre, and this was on the flat rather than downhill and didn't even feel that hard. I knew in that minute that a) I was a better runner than I'd been giving myself credit for, b) today wouldn't be a repeat of my Flora disaster, and c) I've got a real shot at PRing in Dun Laoghaire.

But still, running your fastest ever kilometre in the first of a 10k in the mountains is maybe a tad silly. So I got a bit antsy for the future.

Kilometre 2 -5

Surprisingly still going strong at this point, running in the low 6's (I think roughly 6:05-6:20) and not finding it horrendously hard. I'd looked at the race map beforehand and knew we started out with mostly flat and a bit of downhill but would move into uphills later in the race, so I was getting a bit worried at holding such a strong pace and knew it might come back to bite me. I tried to pull back a little, but we got a big stretch of downhill just after the 4k mark so it was tricky. I passed two water stops in this stretch - there were three total - but ran through without taking any as I was carrying my water bottle.

Kilometre 6 - 7

The hills hit just before the 6k point, and my god did they hit. I'm usually a fairly decent hill runner, and I ran up most of them, but I had to walk the hill around the 6k mark, it was an insane hill. I'd say I walked most of 6.5 - 7.5, which was almost entirely that big hill - not pleasant. The third water stop fell around the 7.5k mark and I got a cup of water just because it was nice and cold - my bottle was starting to warm up a bit in the sun and not be quite so refreshing. The cold gave me the kick I needed.
Kilometre 8 - 10

Not going to lie, this was tough. It flattened out a bit from about the 8k mark, but I was shattered, and just wanted to stop to be honest. I remember running down the last stretch, with only half a kilometre left and the finish line in sight, and still having to push so hard not to walk. But I did it! Mainly because I was coming in with a lot of the people doing the Family Fun Walk and didn't want to chicken out in front of them...

Final time: 1:08:56

This time sounds crappy but I'm actually thrilled. For someone who doesn't run hills, this was a tough course, and that first couple of kilometres just made my whole month. I didn't know I was capable of that sort of speed. Onward and upward!

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