Last night, prominent Dublin business park, Park West, played host to its 3rd annual 5km/10km road race on what was a perfect night for a run. Myself, the mammy and the auntie had all signed up to do the 5km, with none of us being tempted into the 10km today. Loyal family peeps to the last, my uncle is the park manager at Park West and is involved in organising the race so we have religiously signed up every year since it first started up.
With the sun setting at 7.15pm (thank you Garmin!) and the race starting at 7.20pm, runners were treated to a picture perfect sunset and a dazzling red sky on what was another exceptional September day for our little island. The race involved a rolling wave start for sub-20 minutes, sub 25 minutes and then everyone else. I finished in 22.54 last year so was aiming to better this, this year. However, my legs had been feeling very tired since my 18 mile run on Sunday and I’ve been experiencing a niggle across the top of my left foot, as well as one in my left knee, so I was conscious last night of not overdoing it and ending up with an injury. A 5km PB would not be worth it if it meant I couldn’t run the Dublin marathon in a few weeks time. Priorities people.
The route brought us through a section of the business park for just over 1km, before turning up onto a bridge and then down onto the canal. The canal stretch was an out and back, which was nice because it was all flat apart from when it came to turn off the canal, at about 4km and over another bridge, which turned us back in towards the business park for the final 1km.
This run was an experiment for me. I don’t usually do 5km races but I like the idea of learning to run faster and become just a little bit more competitive over this distance, even if just at a very minor local level. I wanted to see if I could run a faster pace than usual but also wanted to see if I could relax into my stride, while running at the faster pace. I don’t want to win anything (as if I ever would be able to 😀 ) but it’s just for myself to see if I can! Ara sure, why not, as the man says.
I ran the first mile in 7.23, which was okay for me but I wanted to go faster. Last year, I came 2nd in this race, only because there were no other fast women that day (other than no.1 lady, well done you!), it wasn’t because of my speedy skills. But it was a good motivation last night to see where I could place and with the out and back turnaround on the canal, I was able to count all the women who were ahead of me and assess how good they were 😉
At the out and back point, which was just over the 3km mark, I counted that there were 9 women ahead of me. The first 2 ladies looked mighty good and the 3rd lady wasn’t far behind so I reckoned I was probably out of contention 😉 Good for them. But I clocked the 2nd mile at 7.14 and I was comfortable enough with the pace at that stage. I watched the other women up ahead of me and just kept bobbing along aiming to catch up with the next woman in front of me and this helped me to keep my pace going and also kept me distracted. Seriously, really good motivator.
I gradually managed to move up and pick off each of the women who were ahead of me, keeping the numbers in my head… 9 women ahead of me… past by one…. 8 women… 7 women…6 women….5 women… then just 4 women. I actually really enjoyed this – I feel really evil but I reckon it’s just my competitive side shining through. But I got my comeuppance! With just over half a kilometre to go, I was overtaken by another girl who flew by me and looked plenty strong, whereas I was starting to feel empty and found the last kilometre hard going. I tried to keep up but she pulled away and I resigned myself to just finishing as well as I could. I ran in the 3rd mile in 7.00 and finished the 5km in 22.35 and in… 2nd position!
Turns out the other 3 ladies ahead of me were running the 10km so not in our race at all! Still baffling to someone like me that they would be running at that pace for TWICE the distance. Impressive from any angle but when you see it up close… yeesh.
The auntie and the mammy did great too with auntie breaking 30 minutes for her first time, coming in just over 29 minutes. Mom was a trooper too with having not been well for a few days and finished out the distance strongly.
A good result for me and I was happy to have a ran a progressively faster race, which is a remarkable rarity for me. I’m still not sure if the 5km is my kinda distance, with being much shorter than any other race I usually do and much faster. I like the long runs, the ebb and flow, the ups and downs and challenges of the many miles and the basic challenge of just “seeing if you can”. I know I can always do 5km, but doing it well is a different story, and doing it fast is a serious challenge. Great respect to those who can compete over this distance, the sub 20 minuters, the 18 minute nuts, the 17 minute wonders and the Sonia O’Sullivans and Fionnuala Brittons of this world who can boast 14.41 and 15.12 to their names respectively. You amaze me. I may not be in your league incredible people, but it sure is fun to pretend every now and again 🙂