Just back from the Athletics Ireland National Half Marathon down in Waterford and what a day it was for Rathfarnham WSAF AC. National senior men champion in Seán Hehir and national senior team gold. This was a target race for Rathfarnham and it showed. Our lime green colours were widely on display and there were some impressive performances all round in the men/women & senior/master categories.
From a personal perspective the national half marathon was bitter sweet. My target before the national half marathon was a sub-67 time and individual medal. The bitter side was that I missed out on both targets, but there is so much to be positive about. I ran a strong personal best time. I don’t have any regrets about race tactics or final preparations – simple case of been beaten by three better athletes on the day. If I ran that time in the last 5 national half marathons it would be 3 gold and 2 bronze medals. The other major positive is that I’ve been feeling particularly tired and often sick over the last three weeks, missing several days training. So to recover from that and perform is a huge relief. Amazingly I feel better physically after race and I did beforehand – it’s as if the race reawakened my muscle fibres. From a team perspective we have taken our first national gold and it qualifies Rathfarnham WSAF AC for the 2012 European Club Half Marathon Championships. Finally, individual gold went to my club & flat mate Seán Hehir. This championship meant everything to him and it showed. Delighted for him – I am fully aware of his dedication and desire – well deserved victory – should mean a happy household for a while J
|In sync with Seán Hehir, our national champ|
Going to take you back to my last posting now and with hindsight I was at a fitness peak around the Kinnegad 5km in mid-July. The Lydiard endurance training really worked for me – always felt good and running sub 6:30 miles in training was easy. I hit a major peak after 6 weeks pure endurance, 2 weeks hill interval work and 2 weeks of interval & race prep. It was a fantastic learning experience and has prepared me to push on and properly plan for next big targets. Unfortunately, the form went a little wayward leading up to the national track championships. Essentially the Lydiard taper period was too long for me and I could feel the pace disappearing from my legs. I held form relatively well; with a 31min win in the Park West 10km, an 8:34 3k, and finally a 30:35 in the national track 10km, but it was yet another 4th and well off my sub-30 target time.
Since the national 10km my training has gone downhill and well off plan. Planning isn’t possible when you’re forced to train on the basis of how you feel. I’ve only myself to blame – I pushed the body too far and it broke. On the weekend after the national track championships I ran the IMRA World Mountain Championships trial on the Saturday and a 21-mile 6min mile run on the Sunday with the marathon mission squad. Either would have been fine, but both back-to-back was stupid even by my standards. It was nice to win the trial, but it’s a race I could have done without. I ended up getting sick and missing a couple of days training afterwards. Then I compounded my stupidly by running the Frank Duffy 10 mile race. I felt compelled to run, having said to Jim Aughney that I would join the marathon mission team. Knowing I was ill going into the race I decided to run it as a ‘tempo’ pace run. Unfortunately that didn’t work out – I started out at my own pace, but after a half mile someone shouted at me not to run the race on my own and it triggered something in my brain to catch the lead group. Before I knew it I was running 4:55min miles with the leaders. I lasted about 4-5 miles and then it was a lonely run home. I lost interest and slowed substantially for 2nd 5 miles (24:50 vs. 26:50). I followed the 10mile Saturday race with another long run, but at an easy pace. Unfortunately I got sick again after a dental anaesthetic for filling replacement and missed another 2 days of training. Showed up one day for a session with Mark Ryan & Eoin Flynn, but lasted only 500m and walked home. The wheels were falling off and psychologically I was damaged goods. Doubts about all races entered my head. Amazingly this was only 2 weeks ago. I thankfully skipped the classic Warriors race last weekend and managed a solid week of training in the lead up to the national half. All considered I have to be absolutely delighted with the end result.
|National track 10k & half marathon champions|
And so I’ve added to my list of near podium national championship finishes. Five 4th place finishes (marathon 2010, half marathon 2011, track 10km 2009&2011, road 10km 2009) and two 5ths (half marathon 2009, track 10km 2010). All I can do is keep plugging away and I’m sure my day in the sun will surface. I know there is more left in this aging tank J Next up is the World Mountain Running Championships. Initial indications on recovery from the national half are positive, so as long as I stay sensible this week I should be well placed to perform. There are niggling doubts about the Dublin marathon, but that decision can wait until I return from Albania.