Tuesday, 25 February 2014

A personal best!

Ater a week of brutal storms,  somehow the sun managed to come out in all its glory on Saturday morning, as we lined up for the inaugural Valentine’s Weekend 10-mile Road Race on Saturday, February 15th. 
Thanks to this unexpected bonus of warm sunshine, the atmosphere was unbelievable at the starting line. The excitement was evident in all of the 620 runners who lined out.
Each had their own reasons for running - some just to finish a 10-mile race, others aiming for a personal best or to beat a previous time, and some just running for fun. 
I’m still not sure what my reasons were - but I was definitely aiming to try and get a good time, so the pressure was on a small bit. 
However, I tried to pretend that I didn’t care what I did in case it threw me, as I’ve learned that creating too much expectation can be a bad thing.
The support along the route was also an added bonus and it was great to see supporters clapping the runners. This positive support also showcased the best of Tralee, which is fast becoming a venue for great sporting events. 
The crowd really pulled us along on the first few miles as everyone was pretty much together as we travelled up towards Caherslee and out The Spa towards Fenit. The first few miles went smoothly enough even though I did find myself running faster than normal but I found I could keep it up. Maybe this fitness lark is working after all!
I hate The Kerries - I think that everyone who ran the marathon last year does - so I wasn’t happy when I turned down the Kerries road to head for Higgins Waste.
But actually, those few miles are not anywhere as bad as I remember from the marathon, which goes to show how your mind changes when you’re tired. 
I honestly thought there were major hills on that route, and while it can’t be called flat, it’s nothing like I thought it was. 
The really good thing about the whole race is that there was always a runner beside you, and there was great camaraderie between us all as we each pushed ourselves.  
A 10 miler is a nice distance I think - it’s not too long like a full marathon but it goes beyond the more normal 10k distance, so it’s a great achievement to have under your belt. 
The hardest part was the pull out of Knockmoyle and the road out to the lock gates. It just seemed so long - I suppose because I was getting tired. But thanks to a young spectator who fed me a Jaffa Cake, I was able to keep going. The sun beating down on my head didn't help I am used to training in hailstone so these conditions are not good for me. I am sure some people love sun for running, I on the other hand would have preferred it be overcast. 
I have to say thanks to all the spectators, as they really helped, and while it might not see like a big deal going out, it really does boost the participants. 
The canal was tough, but not as lonely as the marathon last year, so I got through, although I did feel like giving up on a few twists and turns. 
It felt like it took ages to reach Prince’s Street and finally the finish line was in sight, and a final push. 
I have to say I was thrilled to finish in 1.40 - a personal best for me - and I think a respectable time at last. 
I have to say thanks to Joanne Allman for pushing me, as I tend to get lazy and believe I can’t run faster than I am going, when I actually can. 
I think my training is definitely paying off, so for all those out there who think they can’t improve, just keep training and you will. 
This time last year it would have taken me two hours to do that time but look at me this year - 1.40 and it’s all from just doing my training, and nothing else. That's 10 minute miles which is fast for me and now of course the curse of all runners is that have managed that much I have to improve on it. Its a never ending cycle and what keeps you addicted to running. I don’t know if I can actually keep that pace for the whole 26.2 miles of the full marathon but hopefully I will do it faster than last year and that will keep me happy!

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