It's unlike me to enter an ultra without a taper, so just to keep it interesting that's what I did. I intended to complete the 50k trail marathon on tired legs in an effort to get my endurance levels up a little. In the proceeding week I'd possibly had my highest mileage week this year and so was not only with tired legs, I was generally worn out. So on the start line in Portumna forest whilst everyone was registering Tracy was fast asleep in the car. I'd been chaperoned to the event by a good friend Jonathon and he'd gone off to look at the course, and do some faffing. He was under strict instructions to wake me up when the folks start to line up on the start line. So he did, and, I had a minute to spare.
The race was fairly flat on forest path on a 5k loop. The weather was perfect running weather and the scenery was amazing. Ireland is soooo green. Given my intention to stay at the back of the race and walk and chat, I had a leisurely start and the first loop took about 25 mins. This remained the pace or there abouts for the first 5 laps. However, as the race progressed I just didn't feel like I needed to go that slowly, the legs were by now accustomed to the tired aching and yet I felt I could put more effort in. I just kept getting stronger and stronger and by the end I was completing laps in 22mins. I was passing racers who had 'blown up' and were walking, so this is what 'pacing' is all about... light bulb. I loved it.
I finished the race in 3hrs 54 not bad given my holding back and no intention to win. Had I understood just how strong I was running, then maybe I'd have put more of an effort in a little earlier in the race which would have taken me under the 3hr 50 qualifying time for the world trophy. Kicking myself now, but an amazing lesson learnt and who knows what is around the corner.
|Coming up to the finish line|
The finish was a remarkable affair. This was a wonderful race and a difficult one to orchestrate for the race organisers for sure as there were a 100k, 50k, marathon and 1/2 marathon all occurring at once. I was a little bewildered but understanding as I came through the finish line and was ushered to the medals table, presented with a half marathon medal and asked my time. I looked at my watch, about '3hrs 54', my medal was taken off my neck, replaced with a different one and I was congratulated as I blurted out that 'I think I may have won'.
|3.54.12 New Course record. 6th Overall|
Shoes: INOV8 Road-x 233's
INOV8 FF workout short
INOV8 Race ultra vest
10 TORQ Gels