Today (May 4th) I ran the Tralee Rotary Club 10K – the latest race in the RigBag RTK Championships. I planned on treating this as a training run, as I had tired legs, and some calf soreness after yesterday’s hilly 14 mile training run, as well as a lot of training during the week – I also have two marathons over the next two weekends.
But as usual, it didn’t quite work out that way.
I headed down to collect my number about 45 minutes before the start, and met up with a lot of the Born To Run crew, and had great pre-race fun as usual. Conditions were ideal for running – cool, but dry and sunny, with just a slight breeze.
We set off from the Neil Armstrong Way, and then headed south past the Brandon Hotel, turning up beside it up past the Low Field, and then another sharp left to head up Strand Road, and out through Lohercannon – from here on, the next few miles followed the last few miles of the Tralee 100K, and I must admit I got a shiver down my spine as we passed Blennerville Windmill, remembering the greatest day of my running life so far.
I had taken the first mile or so easy, but, as my leg muscles warmed up, I began to increase my pace a little, just to see how I felt.
After passing through Blennerville, we continued on south-west into the countryside, and then another sharp left at Tonevane brought us onto the familiar “top road” that we often train on. We would follow this narrow country road, with high hedgerows on either side, for the next 2 miles or so.
At this stage I was feeling really good – my legs were warmed up, and I felt strong and fresh, so I began to push on a little. I had passed quite a few runners in the first 2 miles, and I knew I had a reasonably good race in me.
This stretch of road is fairly undulating – no big hills, but a few humpback bridges over little streams, and one or two fairly long drags. I found that every time we hit a hill, I gained on the runners in front, and pulled away from those behind – all the recent hill training is starting to turn me into a bit of a hill monster.
This is one of the few races where I never really felt bad at any stage – I felt fit and strong throughout, and probably could have run it a bit harder, though, with an eye to the next few weeks, I’m glad I didn’t.
After the long straight, we turned north, back toward Tralee, and the last two miles. This was the most testing part of the course – a mile or so of a gentle downward slope, followed by a fairly long and relatively steep hill up past Tralee Rugby Club, before the sharp descent of Ballyard Hill, and the last few hundred yards to the finish line at the Brandon Hotel.
I decided to push it out a bit for the last two miles, and ran it fairly hard – coming on to the Rugby Club hill, there was a guy running a few yards in front of me, who had been ahead of me for the last mile or so, and a girl just behind me, trying to pass me. I knew my hill training was paying off when we hit the hill – within 100 yards, I’d left them both behind, and pulled away from them all the way up the hill – I was actually taken aback a bit by how easy I found the hill – the way I’m going, I’ll be faster going uphill than I am on the flat in another while!
I found I actually slowed a little when I got to the top of the hill and started going down Ballyard Hill – this was a bit slippery with all the rain we’ve had, and I had visions of slipping and doing damage to myself a week before my next marathon.
As I came off Ballyard hill, and onto the home stretch, I could hear several runners close behind, including the guy I’d passed on the hill – about 150 yards from the finish, I saw him start to pass me out of the corner of my eye. That was never going to happen – nobody passes me on the home stretch! I had to shout to two unfortunate ladies who were out for a walk on the footpath to get out of my way, and I dropped the hammer, sprinting the last 150 yards absolutely flat out!
I crossed the line in 55:06, a 10K PB for me. I felt really good at the end, like I had run a fairly brisk training run, rather than a race, and that has to be a good sign that training is going well.
I really enjoyed this race – a nice course, great company, perfect conditions, and a PB – what more could you ask for?
Well done to all the Born To Run gang who completed this, especially to Lorna who had her first Age Group win, to Den who completed no less than 3 races over the weekend, and to the crazy few who ran the Limerick marathon yesterday, and did this today! This was another great Run The Kingdom event, well done to Marcus, Vivienne, Jim, and all the marshalls who made it possible.
Thanks to Brian O’Se for the photos!