It was pretty heavy. According to one newspaper 180 trillion litres of water fell on the country over the weekend, enough to fill 800,000 olympic sized swimming pools? Who am I to disagree? Glad to be running though, memories of racing a bike around the centre park road loop in similar conditions would have had my nerves in a heap. Concerns of staying upright on the greasy bends and continuous spray from the wheel in front would have meant putting my life in the hands of the one person in the line who could see where he was going. In the self preservation stakes running comes out way on top.
It's become a bit of a habit after this summer that I use this train of thought to make light of the notion of running in the rain, It's actually grand and reminding myself that I don't have to deal with those old bike racing issues makes it almost enjoyable. The John Buckley, St. Finbarrs 10 mile was just the latest in a growing number of races where we've been drenched by the time the starting gun went off. The rain is just a slight distraction from the job in hand and it seemed to dumb the wind down a bit last Sunday around the 6/7 mile mark on the waterfront.
The race was a pretty awful affair for anyone standing in my shoes. Suffering from a bit of sleep deprivation the overiding thoughts of wanting to lie down at every mile marker were kept in check by the growing levels of rainwater on both sides of the road. This is a great course for a city race and the inclement weather meant we had more room to ourselves on the waterfront and the old railway line on the 2nd half of the course.
Indifference on the start line settled me in to the idea of running a steady 10 as a good training run, if only to offset the notion that I might run an ok race if I was up for it. Thats something I need to sort out, how to actually get in the frame of mind to be 'up for it', it normally takes some extra miles and a confidence boost somewhere along the line. The first mile was the usual mental and physical mosh pit trying to go from a five minute warm up to race pace in 30 seconds and wondering how on earth I was to expect to carry on like this for 9 more. Bringing up the rear of the 60min. pace group at mile two wasn't the best place to be and the reality of a long slow countdown to the line started to hit home. There was nothing fluid about it and while the legs seemed ok the battery was flat. One of the benefits of consistent speed work I guess is that my cruising pace has improved and the speed I can run with a flat battery has now increased.
I'd settled on calling it a slog and by the time we got to mile 7, make or break time for me in a ten miler, between verses of some Taylor Swift song I gave myself a talking to and managed to see mile 8 with the group. Somewhere round here Johnny, who's reaping the benefits of increased marathon mileage enquired as to my welfare and a one word reply left him in no doubt. He didn't ask again as he kicked for home on the straights of the old railway line with two miles to go. A reminder that racing is as much mental as physical, with two to go I started to run more comfortable than I had for the rest of the race. Knowing it was flat to the finish with a good tailwind, the smell of the finish line was enough to tow me the rest of the way at pretty much the same pace as the previous miles. The rain was horizontal with 400m to go around the Atlantic pond and only added to the occasion for those running. The relief of still seeing 59 on the clock by the time I got there was worth a million quid on a day that I probably shouldn't have.
A category prize (3rd) and a counter on the 2nd place Grange Fermoy AC team for a county team prize was a nice surprise to hear later in the day as Don & myself headed home after the cuppa without realising our good fortune. These are nice roads to race on and the 'Barrs did a good job keeping the show on the road in those conditions, not to be found slacking John Meade led them home as 1st team with three runners in the first four. Next year!
After a slack summer on the racing front it's nice to come home thinking I might be fitter than I thought but with three weeks to my first attempt at Cross Country that smug notion won't last long.