So this is from a couple of weeks ago but it was different to any other 5k I've done so I thought it was worth recording as I might like to do something like this again. Or remind myself why not to!
This race took place on an open farm with a tourist hostel on it. It's just outside Slane village in Co. Meath and is overall quite idyllic.....possibly more so if it hasn't rained almost constantly for a month and isn't located (quite famously) in a valley. More to come on this!
I arrived over an hour before the race start and parked in an already worryingly muddy field considering I was one of the first cars there. As I got out of the car to go pick up my number someone with a high spec car was already spinning his/her wheels trying to park.....as someone with a practical little runaround this made me a little gleeful and I might have had a little giggle/cackle. I'm not proud of this! They were fine in the end...don't worry!
I picked up my race number with no problems with a little bag of treats too - a bottle of water, an orange, some race flyers and a 10 euro voucher for wheelworx/runworx....not bad! There may have been more but I can't remember now. It was quite chilly at this point so went back to my car where I ended up meeting a girl I connected with on the facebook event page who was also running the race alone. Once we got our numbers sorted we headed up to the start area to people-watch, chat about our other races and generally make the wait for the start less awkward than when alone. God bless social media! We did a brief warm up which was worryingly difficult due to the already churned up ground before the race had even started. This is where I started to be very glad I had signed up for the 5k and not the 10K.
A few minutes before 12 people began to drift up to the start and the route was explained by one of the organisers. With not much ado the 10k people were off. Poor things! About 2-3 minutes later he let us go and we were away.
Off I went downhill about 200 meters into a sharp left through a gate where I became immediately very glad I had tightened my shoelaces firmly before the racc - someone left a shoe behind in the sucking mud! And I have a feeling this was not the last time this happened during this event. Around the bend we went and were faced with a truly massive hill. I was more shocked at the fact that I hadn't noticed it's existence at all than surprised that we were expected to climb it. Luckily I had done my share of massive hills in Achill the week before on a run out and back to Keem beach so I wasn't particularly phased by it but I knew I would have cried if I'd seen it a year or two ago. Started to pass a lot of people from the 5k at this stage and some of those from the 10k too but felt really strong so kept at it. The 1k mark wasn't long after the crest of the hill but we didn't get much relief as the next kilometer was marked by being single track trail in areas where it was very hard to overtake as well as very treacherous ground. This bit seemed to go on forever but going through trees as we were I could see the appeal of racing on this in better conditions. Trying to find the best line, dodging around branches etc. As it stood this wasn't really possible as it was all about staying upright!
The next couple of kilometers were mostly just very very wet ground with only very rare steps where you weren't up to your ankles in mud. There was also a small stream which in normal circumstances could probably be forded quite easily but I opted to go straight in to mid calf as it was too hard to see the stones due to the flooding. To be honest this was quite a relief just to get the clogged mud off the shoes at that stage!
During the last kilometer there was about 300 meters on road as we headed back towards the start area and this felt like running on clouds, fairydust and Beyonces backside. Of course I was so happy to be on road I sprinted like a fool and toasted my legs. I was in for a lovely surprise when we got back on boggy ground for the last run uphill to the finish. I may not look like Bambi but my legs did a damn good impression! Luckily I had left enough of a gap between me and the next competitor that she didn't catch me on this bit as I hadn't a hope of speeding up!
Was delighted to find out after that I was the 7th lady in the 5k out of around 70. Not bad for a slow coach.
Overall a really good first running of this event and I hope they run it again next year. I was sore up to mid thigh until the following Wednesday so just goes to shoe what different muscles these sort of events use over a road 5k. Hopefully these sort of things stand me in good stead for when I do my first road 5k or 10k of 2014 over the next few weeks.