Sunday, 4 July 2010

Hurricane Clontarf

Photo credit: Racepix 365

It was a tough day at the 'Irish multi-marathon' half marathon and it began with registration! I got to the registration venue seventy minutes before the race time and it was rather farcical. Their was registration on the day, which is always inviting chaos if you're not prepared for it. It took thirty-five minutes to get through the process and those who arrived later had significantly longer than that to get trough it. Additionally, not registering in advance was much more beneficial as you could simply walk past the queue of pre-registered runners and walk up to a table to have your details put into a laptop and away you go; hardly fair.
Anyway, on to the race, which was delayed by twenty-five minutes - I was surprised it was not longer considering. The Lord Mayor was due to start the race but despite it being delayed by twenty-five minutes he managed to pull a no-show and we passed him with his starter horn ambling down the Clontarf promenade about half a mile into the race!
The conditions were exceptionally windy but it was to our backs for the first four miles. Part of this out and back course is on two and a half miles of the Dollymount strand and the wind here was whipping sand up into our faces. The first four miles splits were 06:24; 06:29; 06:28 and 06:20. Here we moved back onto the road and had the wind full blown against us and a deluge of horizontal rain accompanied. Unsurprisingly, the fifth mile split reduced to 07:01. We then turned north-east again and had the wind at our back again with miles six elapsing in 06:22. About half a mile before the turn around the leader passed me heading in the opposing direction against the full force of the wind. From here on in, six miles remaining, the wind would be against us all the way and it would be brutal! Mile seven, 06:39; mile nine; 06:55; mile nine, 06:32. This comparatively fast mile was a result of turning left back to Dollymount strand with the wind coming across us off our right shoulder. It was a bizarre sight to see runners running diagonally and still struggling to remain on course. Back on to Dollymount strand and a right hand turn took us into the teeth of the wind with sand blowing straight up against us. My pace here dropped towards ten minute mile pace, while my HR remained above 165. The next two and a half miles were torture and as we approached the end of the sand section the wind worsened and runners had to run with their heads down and turned left and their right hand raised to protect their eyes. Miles ten, eleven, twelve, back towards Clontarf were, 08:43; 08:22 and 07:55 respectively. Here, back on the promenade a ignorant clown of a cyclist decided he would be the bowling ball to our pins and cut a scythe through three runners including me, while my left elbow indicated our opinion of his antics.
Mile thirteen elapsed in 07: 32. Here, the questionable organisation manifested itself again; as I approached the finish line I could not see it, and then with about forty feet remaining saw in emerge almost eighty degree to my right as I passed a large bush, necessitating a sharp right turn to cross the finish line in 01:32:14. I was pretty pleased with this time, considering the conditions, and I am confident had the weather been different could have finished eight or nine minutes quicker.
I really don't care much for finisher's medals but if you are to get one it would be nice if it indicated for what race you got it, rather than a very flimsy looking piece with '10K' inscribed on it; yes, '10k', not half-marathon. At this point I was just relieved to be finished and that was a coup de grace that brought a chuckle and a smile to my face. All in all, no PB and very questionable organisation but was a good workout in very challenging conditions.


bricey said...

sounds like the conditions conspired against you!! Well done anyhow and at least you got a reasonable benchmark of your current condition. Also given the wind I bet the calorie count is an underestimate!! :)

Grellan said...

Hell on earth Westley! For the weather to knock that much off your time it must have been brutal. Certainly the medal was the final straw - although it drew much laughter this end. At least your racing experience can only get better for here on in.

Westley said...

Yep, the same bloke who organised the race sent an email apology to all competitors, which was good of him. The 10K on 25 July he has also organised has removed the option of on the day registration, so it seems they have as little appetite for going through a similar registration fiasco as I have!