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After a slow steady 5 mile race on Saturday, it was a second race within 5 days and tonight saw the DCC (Dublin City Council) Irishtown 5K Road Race. (Yes, we actually have a place in Dublin called Irishtown).<br><br>
I used to work for the City Council and have marshalled at this race in the past, so it was nice to turn out on a pleasant evening for a race with a couple of hundred others. The race starts on the track at Irishtown Stadium, with 900m on the track before heading into the adjoining park for a couple of laps and back onto the track to finish.<br><br>
My goal was to run under 25 minutes, taking it steady for the first 3K and then trying to see where I was and try and finish strongly. The track start made it easy to settle into a pace, as I could judge myself over 400m and gauge my subsequent pace accordingly. This I duly did, running 1:55 for 400 and settling into my stride. To be honest, once I got into my stride, there wasn't a lot to report for the next 3.6 Km as I settled behind a couple of girls, maintaining the steady pace, and with Km markers I was running well within myself and feeling comfortable.<br><br>
My splits were consistent, 4:50, 4:50, 4:45, 4:47, reaching 4K at 19:12, and a simple maths equation worked out that I was well within my target of 25 minutes, and with a good finish I could break 24. I left my girl pacemakers and concentrated on the runners in front. There was another lady runner, and three guys, the nearest around 10 yards ahead of me, and I set about reeling them in.<br><br>
The park was running out and I knew we had a couple of sharp turns from the park back onto the track, and then 300m on the red top of the track. I closed on the first guy and sat on his butt as we exited the park, navigated the turns and finally took the path to the track. As we strided onto the track I pulled alongside and passed the first guy, quickly onto the shoulder of the lady runner - I eased past her and with the next guy some 5 yards ahead, I closed in. I arrived on his tail with 200 to go, and pushed on, overtaking and keeping the pedal down - One more target in my sights as we rounded the bend, he was another 5 yards ahead, I saw him glance around, and he accelerated when he saw me closing, I gauged myself for the final spurt, but maybe I was asking that little too much of my legs at this stage in my fitness campaign, and little extra was there - he pulled a few more yards on me, before I could react, but my legs were leaden, and no extra pace could be found as the line approached, but I could see the clock saying 23:4......, and relaxed a tad as I was very happy to finish under 24, well inside what I had anticipated, I ran through the line, only a few yards behind my nemesis, with a 23:50 clocking and a smile on my face.<br><br>
I was very happy with my time, two minutes faster than the disaster of a 5K race on June 24th, with good even pacing at a "relatively" fast pace, and although not quite catching my last target, a strong finish, and another good building block. My next planned race is on August 11th, and a great race down in Galway, the Streets of Galway 8K, where I ran 36:21 in 2005, and have a PR from the race of 34:57 back in 2003. I would like to get myself in shape to be challenging the 2005 time, and the encouragement from tonight's run augurs well. Back to training hard for the next three weeks.
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