Raheny 5

Posted: January 30, 2015 in 2015, Races - 2015
Tags: , , ,

I was almost going to start off by talking about training for Raheny, but I haven’t been training for Raheny (5 mile) I’ve been training for Donadea 50k in February. The point of doing Raheny was just to get an early race in, get a race mindset and preparation in, get used to a race environment and get a bit of hurt in. You could probably call Raheny quite successful then, as I got four of the five done with, funnily enough, only the preparation not being great. A combination of work, home life and laziness meant I hadn’t been out running all week (though I had done over 50k the previous weekend) but I did plan on going out for a very easy ten miles or so on Saturday afternoon. A plan which disappeared out the window when Benny, my friend and neighbour, appeared like a grubby apparition brandishing his last remaining bottle of duty free Jameson Signature Reserve just before Leinster kicked off away to Sale. The afternoon was then spent sipping whiskey, talking nonsense, watching sport and latterly eating Chinese (only boiled rice with my curry though rather than fried, I was racing the next day after all). At least though I went to bed early rather than staying up to watch the UFC.


Apart from when I then got up at midnight and watched the rest of the card.


The race itself is an unusual one to prepare for though. A 3pm start meant my usual routine of wake, multiple coffees, race, wouldn’t do, some food would have to be had, but more time was spent shaving heads (mine and the abomination that was Fionn’s after a foolhardy wager on Thursday) and looking for gear than cooking or eating. Naturally despite the late race start we were even later leaving the house and rushing to get there, running through Raheny, desperately trying to find the race number pick up before the supposed cut-off at 2pm. I think I’m the only one who pays any sort of heed to those times though as there were hordes of people still casually strolling in after me to pick up their numbers. Between that running around though, and the planned running shortly after that, I did get a good warm up. I also had a bottle of my home made SSSD (Super Special Sports Drink) which I glugged after the warm up so I was good to go.


Bodies everywhere

Bodies everywhere

I strolled to the starting area with my boys then (my sons, Oran and Fionn rather than some Tim Westwood style posse) and was slightly taken aback by just how many people were there. Apparently there were almost three thousand people taking part, so add friends, family, supports etc. and the area was thronged with bodies. Speaking of bodies, probably the highlight of my pre-race was the barely disguised look of shame on Oran’s face as I exposed mine to the masses when I took off the t-shirt I’d been wearing for my warm up to replace it with my vest. A little further embarrassment by dragging each of them into pictures with me and then it was time to start making my way towards the start line.


Slightly embarrassed son no. 1

Slightly embarrassed son no. 1

Somewhat sullen son no. 2

Somewhat sullen son no. 2

The first kilometre was possibly the most crowded segment of a race I’ve ever run. There must have been seven or eight hundred people ahead of me, all attempting to run through a not particularly wide road in a housing estate, with cars parked either side. It was impossible to get into any sort of rhythm as we turned this way and that, people were going up onto footpaths, jumping back in, cutting corners and yet when I looked at my watch I was running at about 4:00/km, which is very quick for me. I’d planned on doing the first couple of kilometres at about 4:30/km and then picking up the pace a bit but this felt incredibly comfortable, even without really having gotten into my stride yet. Turning another corner I spotted one of my old, old, old friends Pony standing at the side of the road so gave him a shout and a wave before trundling on.


Finally out onto the open road I tried to moderate my pace, trying to run by feel rather than looking at my watch, semi-comfortable but quick was what I was looking for. Pretty soon I could see the three mile marker hove into view, which was a relief for a couple of reasons – first was that semi-comfortable was quite quickly turning into more than a little uncomfortable and second was that I could really, really do with a toilet break. Normally I try to stop drinking an hour before the race to try to negate that but this morning I was drinking water in the car on the way up, and more significantly had about 400ml of my SSSD not long before I started. Unfortunately I was running through a pretty heavily populated area, not overly blessed with secluded spots where I could stop off, and on top of that there were spectators everywhere. Naturally all I could think of then was somewhere to stop and tinkle, and the more I thought of it the more it became a pressing concern. Shortly after we turned on to the coast road, where I actually thought about jumping over the sea wall for a second, but thought that was maybe a little drastic, so when we then ran alongside a park with some trees and bushes I didn’t even think about it. In a flash I was over the low wall, behind a bush and about twenty seconds later back out on the road frantically trying to make up time.


I remembered quite quickly then that there was apparently a bit of a hill approaching the last mile or so and tried to ease off a little bit but almost immediately I was around the corner and facing up it. Everything after that was a real struggle, but then you should be going as hard as you can anyway. Going up that hill though my legs felt like lead, I felt heavy, slow and like I was really struggling to make progress. After cresting the hill I was praying to see the finish line but all I could see was houses, cars, people running this way and that. People were shouting “it’s just round the corner” but that was just the Raheny 5 equivalent of the usual “downhill all the way to the finish now” or “that’s it, last bit now” that you always get. It felt like I was running through some interminable concrete maze until finally, with legs and lungs burning, I could finally see the finish line and mustered one last effort down the straight.


Trundling towards the line

Trundling towards the line

After a few minutes of retching and dry heaving as we were ushered around yet another bloody corner and down a lane-way between houses to collect the quite frankly fantastic goodie bag I looked at my watch to see a finishing time of 35:25. I’d actually been really happy with my effort, was satisfied that I’d nothing left in the bank crossing the line but now was a little miffed. My one and only previous five mile time was 35:40, so this was a PB, but I’d have really liked to crack 35 minutes. Had my unplanned toilet stop cost me 26 seconds? If it had I was going to be really annoyed with my weak bladder and lack of willpower. As it turned out when I checked my Garmin afterwards it had actually cost me 25 seconds, my ‘moving time’ on my Garmin was 35:00. Maybe I would have dipped under 35:00 if I’d stayed running, maybe not, who knows as I didn’t and my time was my time. I suppose I’ll just have to do another five mile as soon as I can, and this time maybe skip the pre-race SSSD.


A plaque! Reallly nice change from the usual medal

A plaque! Really nice change from the usual medal


PS – big congratulations to my wonderful friends and colleagues Marion Sahani and Claire Lee for their races. Marion managed to make it the whole fifteen metres from her house to the start line to run a great time of 46:22 and Claire managed to make it off the couch for the first time since Killarney in October to run it in 52 minutes, though it would have been much, much quicker if she hadn’t waited to run the final stretch with her offspring.

  1. Flipper says:

    Fair play horses

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