After getting back into the mindset of racing I knew I had a couple of things I wanted to do before spring was out, namely a 5k and a 10k. I wasn't too pushed about the location but as March was busy with club races at the weekends then it would be difficult to find other races that wouldn't interfere. Luckily this year St Patricks Day fell on a Tuesday and I knew somewhere had to be holding a race. As I was in the West visiting my parents anyway the Tubbercurry 10k seemed to fit the bill.
I've never been to Tubbercurry on purpose so had no idea about this race, its history or the terrain. From what I've learned it's a long established event with some good local rivalry going on and the athletics clubs singlets were out in great numbers. It was a perfect morning for a race - dry, a light breeze and a slight chill in the air still. I got parking right by the start line and made my way to race HQ where I was delighted to receive a well stocked goody bag for my few euro and I could see there was a spread of sandwiches, tea/coffee and homemade cakes being laid out. A good spread usually means a well organised race in my (limited!) experience.
At this point I realised I'd forgotten my Garmin but decided not to get too worked up about it and just go by effort and see what happened. I hadn't run a 10k since 2014 sometime so I had no idea where I was in comparison.
I did a nice leisurely 1-2 mile warm-up and noted that it wasn't the flattest town in the world but didn't think any more of it. Hmmmm.....
Once I finished the warm-up who did I see but my mother and daughter walking towards me. I couldn't believe it! They hadn't told me they were going to come along so it was lovely to see them there. After a brief chat I went to the start and had a chat to some of the other runners there. All very friendly and hills were mentioned but I think I was in denial at this point!
The startline was on the main street heading towards the town square. On my left was the short loop I had done for the warm up - we were at a slightly higher elevation to this so the loop was downhill for the first half a kilometer or so and then back uphill to the start and into the town square. The rest of the race was on a larger loop out of the town so the total effect was of a slightly asymmetric figure eight.
The start itself was a little crowded as we were motioned through a starting gate that was only half the width of the road which resulting in starting the race at a shuffle which is unusual for a 10k! Anyway we were off and proceeded to do that first small loop I was familiar with and run up through the town square. As soon as we got onto the road out of the square the incline hit and kept on hitting for the next 3 miles. I only wish I was wearing my watch for the Garmin stats on the elevation as I've never run anything like it during a race.
So in short I was thinking about quitting at 2 miles in and I wanted to stop for the vast majority of the race. It didn't help that hardly anyone knew I was running it which made it a bit easier to think about stopping. There was a young bloke beside me - probably late teens early twenties for most of the race, wearing the vest of a local athletics club and about 20kg lighter than me but I was slightly encouraged by the fact that he seemed to be suffering every bit as much as I was. On each hill I would pull ahead of him slightly and on the flats he would pull ahead. I should remember more about this race but in fairness it was quite a while ago and my mind has blocked out a lot of the horror at this stage.
The summary is..........every step was awful, I wanted to quit from mile 2. I dragged my sorry ass to mile 5.5 and then the last 0.7 of a mile I thoroughly enjoyed as I could finally breath and I could see the finish line. At this point I had no idea at all of my time. My previous PB was 46:xx and I hoped I was under that but I hadn't a clue really........its not like I had breath to waste asking anyone what pace we were going at!
I didn't spot the clock until the last ten metres before I crossed the line and nearly fell over when I saw a 43 on it. Over the line in 43:56 a chip time of 43:43 and a PB by almost three minutes! To say I was delighted would be an understatement. My family were waiting for me and seemed delighted.......or maybe that was the two scones they had had while they were waiting. Two!
The next mission was to get a snack into me and get back to the car to text the SO with my result. Almost as satisfying as the result itself.
Back home for the traditional St. Patricks Day lunch of salad and burgers on the BBQ followed by a glass or two of red. Sure why not!