I decided to leave it until now to fill you in on my Christmas. I will stick to the blog theme and leave out the serious amount of food and the odd few drinks that tend to go with the season. They do of course add to the fun of spending time with family and enjoying some seriously good grub.
The main event around the festive season, sporting wise, is the Fields of Athenry 10km race. I hadn’t taken part in two years and I really wasn’t feeling much motivation in terms of 10k road running, but why not, it is a super event. Myself and Emma dragged ourselves out of bed on Stephens morning (boxing day for the rest of ye). Neither of us were driven to do the race but I think we helped eachother, both being too stubborn to not do it.
We legged it home from my parents, fed and catered for two sick cats (almost better now) and then hit the road to Athenry. On arrival the massive crowd encouraged us a little and the nice morning even more. A little break from a wet Christmas. I left Emma in a crazy queue for the bathroom and headed off on my warm up. About five minutes into it my watch froze and I barely made the start line because of it. So ten kilometres to go with no watch, therefore no idea of my speed. Ah well suck it up and try enjoy yourself. I was of course tasting turkey and the odd bit of beer at this point and really wondered what was to come next. The gun shot and all 1500 runners took off at once. I managed to shuffle into the second group as the leaders sped off up the hill. Good luck lads, I’m nowhere near that pace. The first few kilometres were awful, I really didn’t feel like myself at all. I still hit the 5km mark in under 18 minutes, to my surprise. The reason I find it hard to write about these road races is the lack of features. The most interesting things were some great floods. Ankle deep water and the adventure racer gets excitied. Long straight stretches of road, not so much!
In saying that I think these races are beneficial for my training and the class of some of the runners taking part is phenominal. I maintained my pace, well my threshold as I had no watch for the rest of the race, and to my surprise ran under the arch in Athenry in 36 minutes 24 seconds. Believe it or not that is a PB in a 10km road race. I think I was 18th overall. On a day where I didn’t feel like stopping every step I might actually take a good chunk off that. The atmosphere around the finish was great so I stayed at there until emma came in. I have to say I felt better when she said she had felt the same throughout the race. It just goes to show how diet the day before a race is important. It may also prove that serious carb loading is a bad idea, especially if you are going to push yourself. You learn something at every event and every time you train.
I topped off the day by playing a full 90 minute soccer match with my old friends from school and college. A tradition every year, although after running a race probably not the best idea. All fun none the less.
I really enjoyed the article below and it once again raises the question as to how best to tackle a mountain. I believe it is the athletes own decision but in the past year there is no doubt the, run a bit, hike a bit method has worked for me. It will be interesting to try out some of these techniques in the next year. I can’t wait to get back up in the hills.