Saturday, 21 May 2016

Race 4 - Tuam [Galway 5K Series]

I've always loved the Tuam leg of the 5K Series - probably because it's always been at the end. There has always been a great atmosphere and the course is usually littered with locals cheering on the runners which is always an added bonus. Tuam and traffic also go hand-in-hand, so to be prepared, we left straight after work, arriving in Tuam an hour before the race.

With Yvonne, Gordon & Aisling

The race started shortly after 8pm on the same side road off the N17 . There are roadworks going on at the moment (building the new motorway) which added a little kink to the route but once we hit the first kilometer mark, we had a steady downhill for kilometer 2 which gave me enough time to pick up what I'd lost at the beginning of the race.

As we turned on to the Ballygaddy Rd (2.5km), my friends kid was on the wall roaring "Gordon's ahead of you!" - the running joke for the past few years between Gordon and myself has been that I will push him into a bush if he ever tries pass me in a race. I'd lost sight of Gordon as soon as the race started so had no idea where he was on the field but thanks to Cian, I knew Gordon was ahead. I trundled on up the road before turning back onto the N17 (4km) and making my way to the Ard Ri Hotel finish line. 

My chip time was 22:39 which another disappointing run. I don't know how well marathon training and speedy 5Ks work together but I haven't gotten the hang of it. In Craughwell two weeks ago, I ran my fastest 5K this year but had done my long run on the Thursday before (as we were away over the weekend). I can only assume the five day break between the two has something to do with it. Regardless, Gordon not only beat me, he went an PB'd with an incredible time of 21:09. The next bush I see, he is going into it!

With Noel, Richie, Rob & Elaine after the Race (Pic by John O'Connor - link)

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Race 3 - Loughrea [Galway 5K Series]

Race 3 saw the return of the old Loughrea route which was a bit of a shame as I had enjoyed last years loop around the town but I understand the logistics of organising a race like that. My Tuesday was a bit mental and I had left work early to visit Catherine and the Weight Watchers class down in Ennistymon. I miscalculated my return time and ended up parking/abandoning my car outside some poor woman's house about 3 minutes to start time. I jumped out of the car, changed and ran to the start line just before kick off.

An Yvonne Selfie

The weather was clammy and humid, I was wearing long-sleeves, I was bothered arriving (due to my fear of missing it) and I hadn't had a proper lunch. I'm not blaming any of these factors individually but together with my heavy legs following this morning's bootcamp, I crashed big time during this race.

My kilometer splits were: 4:11 (nice), 4:16 (ooh also nice), 4:37 (eh, pull it back John), 5:15 (wtf) and 4:32 (last km was downhill), resulting in a chip time of 22:56 which was extremely disappointing considering last weeks stellar performance.

Crossing the finish line (Pic by John O'Connor - link)

In my defense (not that I need one), but I'd also just run my longest run in marathon training less than 72 hours before hand and I feel like my body hadn't fully recovered. There is something funky going on at the moment as after my 30km run on Sunday, I crashed bad. I lay on the floor for 45 minutes considering whether I was going to vomit or if I needed food. The humidity is killing me at the moment and think I need to look at my salt/electrolyte intake during a long run.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Race 2 - Craughwell [Galway 5K Series]

Race 2 of the 5K Series saw 600+ runners land in Craughwell for their course which takes runners down through the village before turning left, then left again looping back to the train tracks beside the start point. People have said Craughwell gets a lot of PR's but I wasn't holding out much hope of beating my (21:29 which I clocked up back in 2014). 

The Maree AC gang met before the race and had a quick group photo (better beforehand than afterwards). We have more in the club than seen in the photo below but with that many people around, its hard to get everyone together! We really probably should do a group photo some day!

The Maree AC gang

The race started bang on 8pm and I took off down the main road through Craughwell. The advantage of this course lies in the breath of the road at the start line which gave ample room to maneuver around people as I made my way past the 1km sign clocking up a 4:11/km. I surprised myself over the next two kilometers as my watched flashed 4:18 and 4:21 respectively.

I felt good as I pushed through 4K (4:25 flashed up on my clock) and it wasn't until that point I really thought I could PB. My watch was just before 17:30 and I thought if I could just knock out a Sub 4:00 kilometer, I'd PB. This was tough as I moved onwards towards the finish line. At the corner, a guy was counting the time and I heard him say "21 minutes" as I dug deep and ploughed on but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be... I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 21:33 - four seconds off a PB. 
In the Zone - (Pic from Bradley Motor's Facebook)

I was genuinely surprised at my time - I'd knocked nearly 50 seconds off last weeks time (22:21) and was so close to a PB. It's always tough to miss fractionally as you wonder what you could have done differently. A tiny little dig could have made the difference but I guess I'll never know, oh well, there is always next week (and the week after, and the week after!).

Friday, 6 May 2016

Race 1 - Ballybrit Racecourse [Galway 5K Series]

The Galway 5K Series is six 5K's held in various parts of Galway on a Tuesday Night. This year it just seemed to sneak up really quickly. It is my fourth year taking part and I love coming back to it year after year for many reasons: Mainly because its a great excuse to meet up with my running buddies on a Tuesday evening but also it's a great way to track your 5K time over a 6 week period. I rarely sign up for 5K's as typically the money, travel time, hanging around the start line and free bottle of water just isn't worth the effort. Here you get six different races (and a t-shirt) all for €30!

Race 1 this year was in Ballybrit Racecourse which was handy as its right beside work! It was an early start for this race (7:30pm as opposed to the usual 8pm) so by the time I finished work, collected my race pack and got to the start line, there was little time to dally about.

Gordon, Yvonne, Ais & Myself before the Start

The race started bang on 7:30pm in the crowded avenue outside the main entrance to the famous Galway Racecourse and took us on two laps of the race track before finishing close to the starting gate. The path around the racecourse is narrow in spots which lead to a cramped enough first few minutes until the crowd spaced out a bit.

It rained, the sun came out, it was windy and cold - really a race of four seasons out there which made the second lap just that bit harder when you could see people already finishing across the way. The notable difference this year from before was that we were going in the opposite direction to the horses, which if anyone knows the track means we go down hill (twice) as opposed to up hill on the long drag near the finish line. I clocked 4km and set my sights on a guy a bit ahead of me. We crossed the finish line together but I felt I really need an anchor or something to latch on to for the last few hundred meters.

Thumbs up (in the rain)
Pic taken by 5K Series sponsors - Bradley Renault (link)

Overall I was happy with my time, 22:18. I've about 50 seconds to knock off that if I want to come anywhere near my PB (21:29). I clocked 21:29 in Craughwell back in 2014 and again at Galway Airport last May so its nice to try and keep it consistent (although I really would love a brand new PB). Anyway... the 5K Series is back so expect a lot of race reports over the coming few weeks :)