28 November, 2009
Through the Autumn and early Winter months I had been looking forward to running the Winter League for the first time since 2003. Invariably, recurrent calf injuries had ruled me out in the intervening years but this time things looked more promising ? I?d been running okay and the legs seemed to be holding together....
that was until two days before Christmas when that old familiar stabbing pain returned again on a run in Donadea forest Park.
What made it more frustrating this time was that I would be a first year M50 in 2007, the plan being to hit the ground running and make the most of it before the next batch of vets moved up. More like hit the ground limping!
The last attempt at a run was aborted after 3-4 minutes on New Year?s Day.
Since then I?d done lots of road cycling and the leg felt fine but I honestly didn?t expect it to hold up for the duration of the race. In fact the only reason I decided to try it was that I?m hoping to get an MRI Scan on the problematical leg this week and the doctor thought it no harm to aggravate the problem a bit for the sake of the scan.
So, race day and a gentle warm-up went okay, sussing out the opposition ? Kevin Grogan was there, Peter Kernan too, both hard enough to beat and Martin Francis ? had he moved up yet? -I wouldn?t have expected to beat him.
Peter shouts GO! and we head off up the gentle fire road ascent at not too hectic a pace, Kevin Grogan towards the head of affairs, me just trying not to lose too much ground before the ride. Sharp turn right and there?s the family shouting encouragement. I love this steep climb to the top ? years of cycling seem to help me on this type of terrain and I manage to keep running all the way and pass a fair few of those ahead of me including Kevin.
Across the muddy, grassy top of the hill, struggling into a surprisingly strong and cold wind, past the imposing ruin of the Hellfire Club and off down the long straight to the back of the mountain. Usually what then happens is that I lose all those hard won places gained during the ascent on the two-lap road race around the top.
This time though it was different and I soon unexpectedly found myself passing Mike Long then tried to keep pace with the next few runners ahead of me. Around the left-hander at the end of the straight and into the long drag back with a group including Martin Francis just ahead. Up the steep climb back to the summit and I managed to get ahead of Martin though by this stage I could feel the calf protesting and didn?t expect it to last until the finish.
Across the top and down the straight again and Martin flew past and immediately drew away. Gaps were wider now, the intention switching to holding off those behind rather than catching those in front. While the leg was getting gradually worse I reckoned that if it survived the second time up the drag then I?d manage the descent to the finish and so it proved.
Looking back as I rounded each hairpin there seemed to be no pressure from behind so I eased off a bit and had a big surprise when a very fast finishing John McEnri closed to within a second at the line.
So, as it turned out, I really couldn?t have hoped for a much better result ? 10th overall, 1st M50 and a sore leg for the MRI !
Hopefully I?ll see you at Howth in two weeks.
Thanks to Peter and his merry band of helpers.
Cormac O Ceallaigh adds-We had a big turn out with in excess of 150 runners.Peter O Farrell and his helpersdid a great job marking the course with no lost runners to report.Cormac Conroy took an early lead with the new rising start James McFadden hot on his heals,Conroy retained his lead until the final down hill on the forest track when McFadden powered by him , no doubt the two will have many more battles!
Fionnuala Doherty was the 1st female to cross the line with Orla McEvoy taking 2nd. Mike Gomm dominance in the M70 category came to an end with Charlie O Connell taking 1st place.
Prize giving took place in the Eden pub on grange road, super venue, plenty of parking , and good grub.Big thanks to all those runners who came along early to help with the set up , marking registration,etc Shane O Rourke, Orla McEvoy,Peter O Farrell,Colleen Robinson,Niamh Ni Cholmain and of course our computer wizards ?Turlough Conway and Barry Minnock-well done!
There are loads of opportunities to volunteer for up coming races.Please contact Rachel our volunteer coordinator( her details are on the site) to ensure you don?t miss out on such a fantastic opportunity to volunteer and make a difference in ensuring the continued success of IMRA and the races ahead!