Everyone makes mistakes.
Only sometimes, you don't realise its a mistake until after you made it.
On Saturday, I ran Tonelagee and the Lake. Ran, not raced. I decided it would be a nice stretch of the legs and sure wouldn't me and the Long lad run it twice and it'd be a grand ould 2 hour run.
So we rocked up to Wicklow Gap and I was all "no, not racing, just going for a wee jog".
Race kicked off and the pace was slow. I was sitting in the middle of the pack. Watching the leaders slowly pull away... so slowly it gave me enough time to debate shedding my extra outer layers and ripping it off after them.
Accidently, I think I upped my pace just thinking about racing. Looking around for the Long lad he was nowhere to be seen. I stopped and let him catch up - it was meant to be a socialable run anyways. A couple of concerned call outs from people asking was I ok and one horrified looking Ro who thought I had wrecked something!
Thats what I like about IMRA. I reckon if I had done myself an injury, more than one person would have given up their race to help me get back to the road. I'm unsure what words to use. Camaraderie maybe(?), regardless of where you are in the field.
Plod plod plod up the mountain. Pointing out some bits and pieces to people that might aid them to get up the mountain quicker.
Coming up to the summit, I saw someone drop a bag. Didn't think much of it Aat first. Just ignored it. Waited for Roar at the summit, having a wee auld chat to Aidan. Views very fantastic, if a bit windy.
Roar arrives and we drop off the edge. The couple of minuites we lost to people climbing, we suddenly make back up in seconds as we skip down the muddy/rocky/heathery drop. I said it last year, and I'll say it again. Mountain running bliss! On route down, I tried to coach or point out lines to as many people as I could, all the time making sure I didn't snot myself as the Long lad was beginning to stretch his legs. Around the lake, we got a smile out of the handiness of being orienteers when it comes to sloppy stuff. Then up the b*stard of a climb back up Tonelagee. While walking (it was meant to resemble a slow jog) up it, all I could think about was how bloody hard did I push this climb last year (8:00 179 -v- 11:00 156).
At the top, I again clicked the watch and waited for the Long lad. He was hurting when things go vertical. On reaching the top, we just run off the summit. Putting serious time into those that were with us. The horror on the Long lads face was funny. He couldn't believe how technically poor some of the other imra guys were. Needless to say the topic of conversation then went to the difference between the shrap end (neck and neck, trying to learn peoples weakness and how to break them) to the middle packers (running in isolation. Larger gaps in peoples strengths. Traffic jams etc).
All in all, it was a fantastic run. Most enjoyable company through out.
Then for some sadistic reason, I finished and did an about turn. The Long lad bailed after 100m. He was trashed.
Meanwhile I contuined my lonely plod back up. Meet the usual folks coming down. A wee bit of encouragement whispered to people as they went by
Meet Don coming down and was raging I didn't get to the summit in time to cheer him off it.
Landed on the summit in time for Mick Kellet (the legend) to come through.
Debated doing a run down towards Brockagh to check up on a father and son that got into a little bit of trouble but Aidan said they would be fine.
Cruised off the summit with the wind whistling, now a cloud touching the mountains and chatting about how awesome IMRA is.
What more can ya want from a Saturday morning run.
National Road Relays.
I did not enjoy this. At all. Not sure why. I generally enjoy racing.
I was all set to run the last two mile, but a mix up in logistics meant I ran the 3mile leg (it was a long 3miles... hit 5k by the garmin and double checked it with mapmyrun).
Set off behind Jasion Reid and he kept the gap steady. Clicked off the first km in 3:03 and had the plan to contuine motoring. However, my body and brain had a different thought process going. I was fairly isolated during the race and hammering along on a cement road surrounded by buildings and cars isn't my ideal terrain. My km times then began to wobble and a bad 2nd km of 3:20 showed I clearly started too hard and my enthusiasm for a fight dropped off.
A guy I beat in the National 10k caught me and we ran should to shoulder for the next 2 and a bit km, he clearly wanted to get me back for dropping him on the hills in Phoenix Park. His breathing thoughout was far heavying and erratic than mine. As we rounded the last corner, I shifted through the gears and got away easily. Got to the line first but there was no final leg runner for the club so I stepped off the track. The final leg running arrived after the race was finished. He was more gutted than any of us. Watch out for a sub 70 half come Nationals.
So that was the weekend. A run in the mountains that should have being a murderfest and a race on the roads that should have being a long run in the mountains. Sh!t happens.
I guess I remembered why I race in the mountains again. Its actually a race. Its not just a time trial around a housing estate. Then again. Some of my races in the mountains turn into a time trial - the more recent being the Wicklow Way last year. Maybe in the mountains, there is more to focus on that just turning over my legs at the same cadence, putting one leg in front of the other. In the mountains you have to use all the information that is available to you to make sure you get around the course as quickly as possible. Is that slight dip in the heather to your left a small bog hole? A hollow? or is it a sheep track? That line of peat hags up ahead, can you find the shortest line through the maze or are you straight lining it?
Now stick a map into the equation. All the data you needed to pick the fastest lines, while flat out, you v you, catching your 3min man, dropping him, distractions left and right.
Road racing, a mental mindset to help prepare for WOC Sprint. A necessary evil.
Mountain racing, a mental mindset to help prepare for WOC Long. One of the sick pleasures in life.
Bring on the O.
Selection races 5 weeks 5 days and counting.