Sunday, 14 September 2014

Athlone Flatline Half Marathon

So it was warm! 
I don't think I've spent a week more focused on praying for rain in my life.  For an Irish person this is practically treason. I think it may actually be in the citizenship exam.

I decided to bring my kiddos to say with my parents for the weekend so left kildare late Friday so I could pick up race numbers etc in athlone on the way down. Unfortunately this meant 9pm dinner the night before a race..... Not ideal!

Anyway despite eating late I had a good sleep and felt refreshed and ready to race Saturday morning.
I met up with some friends as soon as i arrived who were doing their first half and also the rest of the AC doing the race. Plenty of portaloos meant five minutes max queues so that was appreciated, as was a well timed race briefing which sent all groups out to the start line with their chosen pacer. This seemed to work as I didn't have to spend the first mile weaving around walkers!

We set off on time with me virtually glued to the pink t-shirted 1:45 pacer. I might not be able to stay with him for the duration but I wasn't going to have to chase him in the first mile or two.... Been there, done that!

Miles 1-6 were fine and I felt as i could go faster but held back. This was lucky as the heat really starting getting to me by the halfway point. Every bottle of water I got went straight over my head in an effort to cool off. The bog roads we were on didn't help as any Irish runner will tell you that the warmest place on a hot day is a bog! Also the surface wasn't great and the congestion of the pace group was starting to get to me. All aboard the pain train!!

So from 7 on I was counting down the miles and using mental games to keep me going. I was joined around 10 by L from the club who I've done my long runs with... A super fast girl who is injured right now and was basically running on sheer will alone. Seeing her and hearing her urge me on at that point was amazing and gave me no excuse not to finish strong. We were also joined by her SIL who was running her first half!! What a legend!
Anyway me and the SIL pushed on to stay with the pacer and kept each other going in the last mile where we both had moments where we would have slowed down alone. We ran across the line at 1:44:58 on the clock and a chip time of 1:44:28. Absolutely delighted with that in those conditions.
So now the marathon target is officially being changed or L will kill me :)

What a great race for 20 euro. Not mad about the bog roads but no traffic to contend with so that's a plus. Really well organised and the cold (alcohol free) beer at the finish line was amazing :)  They also had water (obviously,) coke, bananas, orange segments and muffins so a pretty good selection. And the long sleeved technical t will be great for winter training.  This race sold out in its second year and I can see why. Sort out the weather though next year lads!

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