I had planned on doing a long run today, but then I saw that Tralee Triathlon Club were doing a training run on Linehan’s Loop, a tough trail run designed by the great John Linehan. I decided that this would be nice for a change, if a little shorter than planned, but I thought I could always do a second run later on if it proved too easy.
A group of 6 of us (and 3 dogs) met up and travelled to Glenageenty woods, and set off on the trail.
I knew this was a challenging run, and there were a few really good runners here – most of them were Ironman finishers, and were pretty fast, but I wasn’t worried. After all, I’m a hard-ass, hill-eating, ass-kicking, double-digit-marathon-finishing, ultra runner. I eat road and shit PB’s. I’m so tough the bogeyman checks under his bed for me before he goes to sleep. I got this.
The awful realisation of how much I didn’t have this set in at precisely 2.47 miles. At this point, all but one of the triathletes had disappeared off into the distance, bounding gracefully along the trail like a herd of startled gazelle, while I lumbered after them like the world’s oldest, fattest, most fucked up lion. Brendan and his dogs had taken pity on me and held back. I know the exact distance, because at this point I was bent over my knees, dry retching, in between gasps for breath, and had a good view of my Garmin. The only wise decision I had made this morning, not to have breakfast before I set off, was all that saved me making a mess of my shoes. I noted the distance, because it shocked me – I felt like I’d run a tough 20 miles.
After some very slow walking to get my heart rate down, I managed to trot the rest of the loop, holding Brendan back all the way. If I had any doubts about how far behind I was, I met Siobhan coming back along the trail near the end, presumably to check if I was still alive.
Brendan had decided to do a second loop, and, being the sucker for punishment that I am, I decided I’d do a second too – I knew that however bad it was, it couldn’t be worse than the first. I made sure this time that Brendan ran at his own pace though. He took off at a depressingly fast run, proving that I was actually way slower than him! I actually found the second loop easier (though easy is relative here), and even started to enjoy it for the last mile or so. It helped that this section was downhill. The views are spectacular, and it really is a fantastic trail.
Those bloody triathletes, though. I’ll show them next time. Well, maybe not next time, but the time after that.