Monday 15 June 2015

Portumna Forest 50K

#95  Portumna Forest 50K   4:33:52  (New PB)

New PB  
This was my third time doing this race and I loved the previous outings. I was entered into the 50K for the second time the main reason being that it was an early start. The weather forecast for the day was perfect at about 10-14 degrees and dry with light winds.
Waiting for start

Great atmosphere
Staying overnight in Galway it was a relatively short hop to the start line on Saturday morning. Kris Ryan and I made the journey and met up with Andrea Talpo from Crusaders at the start. We arrived at 6:20am and registered. There wasnt much time for messing around and all the usual guys were there ready for the 50K and 100K that was due off at 7am. The half marathon would join us at 9am and the marathon at 12 noon. Hopefully we would all be finished before the marathon even started.

After studying the form (particularly in my age group). I knew that I had to run a sub 4:40 to have even a chance of a age group position and had that as a focus for the day. Given that this is a 15 minute PB that certainly was a decent challenge. I also had a plan for Kristy to break 4:30 which was basically stay with me util 15 miles and then slowly pull ahead similar to recent races.
We are off

The Plan in action
After a start line gantry malfunction we got off shortly after 7am. The first couple of k were busy as the field sorted itself out. My plan had us going through each early lap in 26 minutes. Lap one was under 25 and Kristy was on my tail. Conditions were perfect and apart from a couple of 100 meter section beyond the marina the under foot conditions were good. After 8K Kristy and I had a chat and both agreed that we were going too fast and should slow down. We obviously ignored our own advise as we came through lap 2 together in 50 minutes.

30K in 
Things were similar through lap 3 and lap 4. At the half marathon point we were through in 1:46 about 4 minutes ahead of schedule. Disaster struck me as my shoe lace came undone just in front of eventual 100K winner Brenda and I had to stop to fix it. Kristy was now on her own 2 miles earlier than the plan. Fortunately on the out and back section I could monitor progress and she continued to lap about 30 secs faster than me so the plan was still on.

The only real difficulty to overcome all day was when the half marathon started at 9am at the park entrance and we hit them just as they joined the main route. You then have to navigate your way pretty much through the whole field until you find your place in the race again. This takes time and effort which is reflected particularly in the lap 5 time which was off by 1 minute. I was still doing well however at this stage and came through half way in 2:10 some 20 minutes faster than the national champs in Donadea. There was a great atmosphere and buzz about the whole day.

I was slowing but Kristy was still doing fantastic and I could see her progress on every lap. She was in third place overall at this stage and looked in no difficulty.

The marathon distance was reached half way through lap 9 and I was there in 3:44. Kristy had managed a 3:38 (spot on her marathon PB) and I previously had passed Andrea just as he did his which was in 3:25. This was just about what I had predicted for him.

Andrea, Kris and I at the end
The last 8K of these races are tough and its something just to keep running. I at this stage had slowed to 30 minute laps but knew that I was well under my PB and if I could just keep it together a 4:40 was on the cards or even a 4:35.  I eventually managed a sprint finish for a 4:33:52 (Gun time) which amazingly was 22 minutes better than my previous PB and some 48 minutes better than Donadea. I was chuffed. As I crossed the line Kristy was there. She had managed a 26 minute last lap to nearly catch the girl in font of her but smashed her own PB by 23 minutes for a 4:20 and 3rd place over all. Meanwhile Andrea who had no idea where he was in the race was shocked to discover his 4:03 was good enough for 4th spot. I love it when a plan comes together. Looking at the results I believe I won the MV50 category by 6 minutes which means I win a running prize for the first time ever (Free entry to next year)

It was a great day all round. Kristy and I headed back to Galway and ended up in the G hotel having Cocktails with herself overlooking Galway bay. It was a lovely day.

I also discovered that my new neighbour in Galway had done the Rock and Roll Marathon in Madrid in 2012 in 4:13....  Hmmmmm.. A new recruit maybe.

Photos courtesy of Patrick Malone and Carol Madden  (thanks).

Click here for Polar RC3 stats for the day

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