Ballycotton 10

In the first three months of this year I had two big races I was targeting and after a good result at the Surf City Half it was now the turn of Ballycotton. After making the top 50 in the Summer Series I felt a new PB was on the cards here if things went right. It is a very popular race that always sells out as soon as the entries open. This is the 39th year of it and with my Dad taking part in 1988 it is great that the course hasn’t changed and I get to run and see how my times compare to his.

The good and bad thing about the starting time at 1:30pm is that you get a good nights sleep but then you have to decide when is best time to eat in the morning. Also since the race is set in a small fishing village traffic and parking can be fun. 20160305_120804

With Ballycotton being so close to my house I set off at 10:30am. I was parked up within 30 minutes and the rain started to appear. This meant I took my time leaving the car. I eventually I made the move and headed down to the village. It is always nice just to stroll around and take it all in. I headed down to the start line and the pier and got what is now my annual photos there.

 

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The wet weather did dampen the atmosphere that bit as people took their time leaving the hall. Things did get a bit crazy around the bag check and the start line but I timed it well enough so that I was at the start line after a quick warm up with 3 minutes to spare. I set a goal before the race of breaking 70 minutes. My plan was to use the first three miles to give me a head start because it is more downhill and you get to enjoy that on the way back so the buffer maybe needed. Then go steady in the middle and hold my pace. One the first time ever I changed my watch to miles and no way was I going to let it go over 7 minutes for a mile.

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Because its a tight start once the gun went off we shuffled up and over the start line. It took about half a mile before things spread out a bit to give a good gap to over take large crowd of people. Looked at my watch at the first mile marker and it said 6:57 – perfect. Next mile 6:44 and then 6:49. Plan was going well then it was time to steady the pace. With it being about 4 or 5 degrees Celsius I brought arm warmers with me in the car but forgot to bring them to the start line. After 2 miles I was happy I forgot them because I was warm enough as it was with just the singlet. The rain wasn’t bothering me either. It helped cool down a bit. It was great to see the crowds out in this weather, they really do help drive you on.

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I was still feeling good hitting half way, my pace had slowed but that was all part of the plan. When I passed the 10km mark I looked at my watch and it was my 2nd fastest 10km I have done. I felt today would be a good day. I also had that cushion still to make sure if I did slow down over the last 3 miles I could still make my target. Between mile 4 and 9 my mile times varied from 6:56 and 6:59. The last 2 miles are the toughest with some hills but at this stage you know to give it all. No use saving up the energy now. There are certain parts of the course where the support really helps and the turn before you hit the straight to the village is one of those spaces. That small “hill” can catch you out but with everyone driving you on it makes it that bit easier.

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For the last mile I upped the pace to whatever I could give. I knew I had the time I wanted, now to see how much I could beat it by. I felt good right up to the line and crossed over in 69:11. Broke the 70 minute mark and took just under 3 minutes off last years time. Once over the line I picked up my mug, that is what it is all about. And then picked up my Mars bar. These are the two things you do the race for and it is well deserved. The weather hadn’t improve that much so there was no hanging around. Grabbed my bag put on some warm clothes and headed back to the car.

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I can look back on a successful day and now my focus goes back to Galway. Hopefully the weather will improve and I’ll get some good sessions on the bike and build up the swimming once more.

 

 

 

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