Charleville half marathon report

Get under that 210 minutes

The morning of the half marathon in Charleville was ideal. No long driving or getting up early for this one. Up at 8.30 and down at the start line for 9.40. Did a two mile warm up with Don and his club mate John Morrissey. I was laughing when a steward who looked the worse for wear and munching on a brekkie roll asked what time it was starting on. When we told him he said "Jesus I better get down there so!!!".Priceless.

It was obvious there was going to be a big crowd today. North Cork AC had laid on a excellent race the year before and it was obvious the same standard was being reached today. Chatted to a few locals and Mallow club members and introduced myself to one of the pacers and fellow blogger – Grellan McGrath.

Mile 1 is slightly downhill and is fast. Tried to hold myself back but hit it in 7.08- 7 seconds too fast. Went slower for the second mile 7.26 and fell in for a few miles with John and Tim Joe Buckley. We were hitting around 7.15 average pace which was perfect. Mile3/4/5 all passed in 7.11, 7.13 and 7.19. The road to Killmallock is a long and straight but pretty monontous so I was glad to turn into the historical town and under the Norman fortifications. The locals were sparse enough in attendance but were very supportive. Turned right at the church and hit the half way timing mats only a few seconds off target. Mile 6 and 7 passed in 7.11 and 7.01. I knew the next 3 miles were downhill and very fast so I made sure to try to stick to my pace as much as possible. I wrote my splits on my hand and it was great to be able to focus on these these. Mile 8 and mile 9 went in 7.03 and 7.13 which meant I was a few seconds over target. When I hit the timing mats in mile ten in 1.12.25 I was in a strong position to finish in my target time of 1.35. Normally the legs start to fade badly at this stage but when I hit that awful bridge at mile 11 in 7.20 I was confident. I was hoping to power home for the last 2.1 miles but a almighty f*** cramp grabbed hold of my left leg and I was in serious discomfort. The pace started to drop badly and I was struggling badly. I was even beginning to wonder if i would even finish. The tightening around the back of the leg intensified and I was glad for the momentary chat with a Galtee runner to take my mind off things. Aoife Carroll’s shouts of well done was helping as well. Hit mile 12 in 7.30 and I was seriously unhappy. My wife Aoiffe Lowe was standing at the top of Baker’s Road and it was clear she could see I was in trouble. Turning in the finish at St Josephs I did manage to smile and pose for a John Holland photo shot. Hit mile 13 in 7.35 and went under the clock for a garmin time of 1.35.55. The clock time was 1.36.30 or so.

My time was a PB just not the PB I was looking forward for but a PB is a PB. No point in getting away from the fact that I was disappointed with the cramping at mile 11 onwards and the falling pace for the last two cost me probably 40 odd seconds. When I crossed the line I headed over to the green lay down and lifted the legs onto the tree stump. The heart rate dropped and the legs came back to life. My buddy Don took 5 minutes off his PB (1.42) and is well scheduled to get under 4 hours for Dublin. As for me , well I think the sub 3.30 will be a tight one. I will be sticking to the pacers for that one. As a workout it was a excellent one and as a race it was a good one. This half marathon will be around for a long time to come.

It was great to be able to walk home and enjoy the great feed put on my wife. Nice to see Don, Annette and the kids call in as well. No chance of watching the all Ireland in peace though- have to head to a kiddies birthday party at 4!!!!

2 mile warm up, 13.2 mile half marathon (1.35.55/7.17 pace), 1 mile cooldown walk home.