August 10, 2011

The Streets of Galway (6th August)

Well, what an unmitigated disaster of sorts that turned out to be.

There I was in the shop for the afternoon, thinking, sure this will be grand, I'm doing a buggy push this evening, Edel is racing the 8k, I can kick back and take it easy with the kids all the way around and hand out flyers for the inaugural Amphibian King - Fitsquad 5km on 24th August. Plug, Plug.

At 6pm (race starts at 7) I get the call to say the young fella is too sick to go in, that I should go in on my own and run the race. Customers still in the shop and no running gear (of my own), this was going to be cutting it close.

6.15 and I'm on the way into town, WR for the fastest closing of a shop. Nothing cleaned up, shoes and socks left on the bench and a tri-suit purloined or 'thieved' as my Twitter buddies like to say in order to facilitate race wear. In my defence it is the new Amphibian King trisuit that has been spotted everywhere recently so technically I was advertising when I took it.

Into the van, and I flailed it into town (within limits) at least until I got snarled up on Lough Atalia road, Ah Bugger!!

I tried calling @conorgrif to see if there was some sort of unknown shortcut that I could take? No joy, I reckoned he either was too busy with a warm up or he was hiding on the sofa, pretending to be incapacitated. There was kudos at stake here, sort of a last man standing after the 4:30 and 125k we put into the legs on the bike today.

I eventually squeezed my way onto the harbour but the traffic was definitely stopped, road closures ahead of the start. It was 6.53 and the gun goes off at 7pm!

Spotted a space. Lamped the van into the spot, baled out to the meter to find it was one of these with a day rate and night rate. Essentially the meter was being mobbed by people who didn't understand that 6.59 meant the meter took their money, wasn't giving parking after 7pm and inside was laughing at people arguing with a stationary inanimate object. Short version, I got changed at the side of the road, into my skin dermal tight trisuit and runners, chip on, race belt & number on, popped money in at 19:00:01, got ticket and shot off to get to the start.

As I rounded the corner, there I see what looks like a flash mob running past. They don't exaggerate when they say "waits for no one" on the website.

Round the corner I dashed, over the bridge, against the tide of runners determined to get to the start line to log my time. By the time I discovered the chip mats were moved I was at the start line so I had no option but to log myself and hope the chip would capture end time.

Officially I started at 19:09.

I was nicely warmed up and turned on my heel, settling nicely into a decent comfortable stride.

I was all on my own, unusual for a race start, so had a clear run at the tail of the group which I started to catch as I passed the van! I was very comfortable as we headed up Eyre Square and around by the cathedral. Not sure of the route so I had no idea of elevation so I just stayed nice and steady.

As we came through Salthill I was passing more and more people that I recognised from the shop so we greeted each other as I went on, a passing word of encouragement to all from me. As we went through the houses some of the marshals shouted cheers of encouragement, Stuart, my 'Geraint Thomas' from the spin was there too cheering in his Welsh lilt. Nice!

As we came onto Salthill, I started to stretch, it flat from here and about 2.5 / 3 k to the end. Passing Grattan beach there was a mad one with a pair of Alpen cow bells, banging like a shed door in a storm. Of course she knew me so shouting she drove my stride on. Thanks Fiona! :)

I hit the home straight really well and strode nice and easily down the road before turning into the Claddagh for the last 150m. I definitely get lifted by the crowd and with Sinead appearing at my shoulder we broke into a sprint (almost all out for me) for the line. As we crossed the line, I stepped back, because I knew something she didn't.

As we went down the chute I broke the news gently, I started 9 minutes after everybody else. Anyway it was all good natured. I was only interested in equalling or bettering Conor to stop him having bragging rights.

My time was unofficial but simple maths has me finished in 37:37. A full minute and a bit under my previous 8k PB, so I was very happy with that! I also pipped Conor by a good minute or so.

On balance we agreed on a tied day, his bike win, my not getting a sofa sleep (working) and my win in the 8k all made us quits. Roll on the next challenge.

Streets of Galway 8k map

1 comment:

Rónán Mac Con Iomaire said...

Great report! Hairiest start to a race I've heard of yet!