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Saturday saw me turning out on a damp overcast day for the Frank Duffy 10, the second build up race in the Adidas Series leading up to the Dublin Marathon in October. I ran the 5 Miler in July, and there is a half marathon next month that I will be partaking in.<br><br>
Because of the sponsorship by Adidas and the Marathon tie-in, this race has grown from a few hundred club runners only four years ago, to nearly 3000 entries, and well over 2000 taking part on the day, so a busy car park, and a lot of people around for the race.<br><br>
I came into this race with good expectations. I have been training well these past 7 weeks, and with last weekends 5 mile race ran in 37:22, and the 3000m track race on Wednesday ran at sun 7 minute mile pace, I was hopeful of running under 78 minutes. Somehow things just didn't work out that way.<br><br>
You know when you get a feeling that it isn't going to be your day - well that was how I felt. I don't know why, maybe I was tired. Two "shorter" races in the previous 7 days, a 10 mile training run on Tuesday, and a busy week at work, must have taken it out of me. I didn't want to go out too quickly, but equally I didn't want to get tied up with the stragglers, so when we started I was as near as I dare to the front, and I set off easily, and was into my running stride very quickly. The first three miles are flat through the Phoenix Park, in fact the whole race is through the Park, and these first few miles were covered in 7:31, 7:35 and 15:57 (two miles as the 3 mile mark was WAY out!), an average of around 7:30 pace - Was it too fast? Obviously....<br><br>
Then the wheels fell off.<br><br>
As soon as the long climb on the Glen Road I was struggling. I tried to keep an even pace, but my legs were rebelling, my chest was aching, and my breathing labouring - I was, quite simply, knackered! This was ridiculous, I had run 5 miles last weekend in 37 and change, I hadn't even reached 5 mile yet and I was slowing to a walk - 9:06 tells its own tale - What had happened, The hill in question is a tad long, but it isn't steep, and in other races and training over the years I have easily managed the climb - not this time!<br><br>
At half way I was a little over 40 minutes, but struggling hard, and as we entered the second lap (the course repeated itself), I knew I had to face that darn climb again in three miles! I was back running evenly now, albeit slower, and I managed 7:56 and 7:55 for the next two miles, but then that darn climb came back to haunt me. 8:51 and 9:01 had me in mental anguish - why was I running so badly, feeling so absolutely drained - It was hard to push on for the finish, and quite frankly I had given up the ghost. I had to walk again in the last mile, before a little rally as I knew the finish was only some 500 yards away, and for those watching me in the last couple of hundred yards I probably looked like a runner again, but as I stopped my watch at 1:22:37, I knew that this had not been a good day at the office.<br><br>
Maybe it was a good thing to get this wake up call and realise that despite two decent performances last week, I am still a long way from being properly fit, at least not for distances, and I need to rethink my short term goals. I have documented many times that I want to Boston Qualify for next April, and that has been my driving force. With the late start to my structured training this year, through no fault of course, Philadelphia, my target race, is looming too quickly, and whilst I will still be heading to the US in November, I may set a new target to try and Boston qualify, and use Philly as a building block.<br><br>
Last night I was in bed at 8:15, totally shattered, and feeling drained, stiff, and with a bruised toe, and more importantly, a bruised ego. Today, I can reflect on the reasons, and work out what has to be done to get my level of fitness back to one that I can feel comfortable with. Like falling off a bike, the only way to get over this will be to get back on the bike, or in this case, back on the road - watch this space - I will be back!<br><br>
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