There was barely time to recover from the Intermediate and Masters in Naas (and the night out after) before it was time to start looking forward to the big one........Seniors in Leixlip.
The good thing about this was we would have a strong team with some of our stronger runners eligible for this. The bad thing......the competition would be tough for a senior county medal!
The weather was back to cold and blustery so I was glad to get a good two mile warm-up in before the race with our clubs fastest female........way too fast for me to be warming up with really but it was great to run with her and pick up some tips on how long to warm up for, how long strides should be etc.
There were some seriously fit looking ladies lining up at the start but I tried not to get too intimidated. At least I was getting used to this starting line business. Whereas I had previously stayed towards the back of the pack on the start line one of my teammates, the lovely O insisted on pushing me up further towards the front.
And we were off! The start was predictably horrible and straight into a headwind. So far so miserable. The two strongest girls on the team were already stretching off into the distance which was fine and totally expected. I just needed to make sure there weren't too many people between me and them.
As we turned the corner to climb up a steep hill I was feeling strong. Two younger girls were near me, one I recognised from the local Parkrun as a circa 20 minute 5k runner. I used the hill to my advantage and overtook both, hoping I wasn't going to regret this on the downhills and flats.
The next section to the roundabout and then back to the same hill again in reverse was a bit of a mindf*%k but I held my position here and wasn't passed. I can't really remember if I passed anyone here as it's a bit of a blur. Whatever about the negative points of this section it was nothing compared to getting back to the main road again in the direction of the start and being directed the opposite direction and then into a sideroad to run around a tiny roundabout.......this was the point at which I really wanted to stop with every cell in my body. I deperately wanted to find somewhere to lie down and the fact that the tightness of the bend made me come to an almost complete stop didn't help. I tried to pull myself together and get my legs moving but they felt so heavy and my vision was starting to blur.
Coming back onto the main road we were directed across the road and up onto the curb onto the wide footpath......I stared at this curb as it approached and thought "I really really hope my legs know how to get onto this footpath thingy" I was definitely feeling a bit loopy. This is the point I think that I was passed by a tall blond girl who annoyingly didn't even seem to be working that hard. Oh no!!!! There was no way in hell I was going to catch up to her, I really didn't feel I had anything left and just wanted to get to the finish.
It was at this point I became aware of lads from the club standing along the edge of the course shouting encouragement. It's a good job they were shouting as I couldn't really see anyone, it was definitely the voices I could pick out. I'm not sure what happened but I got this shot of energy knowing I was in the last few hundred meters and knowing I had someone to catch. It also crossed my mind that there were people out there that really believed in me and if I could do more then I should. My tired heavy legs were suddenly turning over like never before and before I knew it I was passing the girl who passed me and praying she didn't have anything else. This was it for me so if she had something more I didn't have an answer (I think....although I didn't know I had this either so there is that!) I don't remember much for the next ten minutes. Presumably other people finished too.....maybe I talked to them but I don't really know. I know I tried to put my jacket on for most of that time but couldn't figure out how the arms worked so couldn't. Runners. We are totally sane.
Soooo.... by the time I found my mind again and made my way over to get some coffee the results were in and we were Senior County gold medalists!!!