Vibes from John and Brian over the weekend gave me the notion to chance going out with the 60 minute pacers. The first mile is spent trying to find my feet, mile two, I'm into my stride and cautiously allow the thought that I'm on a good day sit near the front of my head.
|They're off - the 2013 Mallow 10 gets under way.|
Not long after and I'm cruising through halfway in 29.45. I had'nt gone through the five mile mark this fast before in a 10 miler, not even near, and never so comfortable. These are the day's that make it worth it, running effortlessly at sub 6 min. pace is a new experience, mind removed from the body as I leave it to its own devices, this is where running comes into its own, becomes spiritual, all the shit falls into place and everything comes into focus. In control but fully aware that the hard part was to come and slightly lacking the confidence to carry it through for the full 10, I was making sure to enjoy the middle section of the race.
In great company, the 60 min. group was whittled down to 6 or 7 around the six mile mark, where we hit the first incline of the race. Not steep but this was the first point where I realised the party was over. The smell of rubber from the pacer's balloon was starting to get to me, that smell is always going to take me straight back to those last few miles on Monday. An old bike habit of trying to get the most shelter from wherever possible had me running 3 feet behind one of the 60 min. pacers as I started to suffer. Out through the 2nd water station, no way was I going to get one here, anything that might increase my chances of loosing contact with the bus driver had to be ignored and I was pretty well hydrated as it was.
Another incline at mile 8 has me digging pretty deep. Big questions rolling around in my head, 'how can I go through another 12 minutes of this?, Is there stuff in the fridge for the kids lunch in the morning?'. These are distractions and the main thing at this intensity is concentration and, believe it or not the ability to 'relax'. I had to 'relax' a number of times since the going got tough at 6.5. Under this pressure things start to go haywire, you start to lose form or 'gait', by settling down and 'relaxing' you can find it again, Later things get loud internally and trying to find the voice to tell you to relax gets more difficult the nearer you get to the line.
On the final incline at mile nine I'm pretty much on the edge. While there's a very physical battle going on at this stage to stay with whats left of the group, now down to four - two pacers, two time winner of the Ladies cork city marathon, Angela McCann and myself, the real battle is going on in the head. Still in it as we go over the top, I'm going to hang on, maybe? screaming at myself (in my head) I cracked, on a downhill section with 0.9 miles to go and I lose contact, This can't be happening? 0.8 miles to go after coming off the bridge and there's nothing in the legs. The head always go's before the legs.
Midweek I was thinking 61.30 at best, which would have been a big chunk off my previous best 10 mile time of 63.19 in the same race last year. Driving to Mallow on my own I got a bit angry and got myself a bit psyched. On the line I was up for it and taking nothing more than 60 minutes but I was'nt totally convinced. This shadow of doubt and the knowledge that I was lacking some base mileage were the two main reasons I did'nt go under the hour.
I'v time lapsed that hour in my head a few hundred times over and can't find that 11 seconds anywhere. That's the satisfaction right there.
I found this short film during the week that hits the nail on the head. We all have the heavy day's where we're stuck to the floor, it's the search for the good day keeps us at it.
Pics courtesy of Paudie Bermingham - Mallow AC