Back to Portumna Forest and onto the Midnight Marathon
Earlier this year, I ran the West of Ireland series marathon in Portumna, which I may have tried to sell to you guys as “brave marathon runner battles on to finish event despite injury” instead of the more accurate “idiot tries to run too many marathons in a week, walks/hobbles for last twenty miles and finishes in probably the worst time ever on that particular course…” Well it seems I’m a glutton for punishment; June 15th saw a return to the forest park in Portumna where over 150 men and women took part in events ranging from 10 to 100 kilometers in length. Unfinished business was the order of the day; I was pretty determined not to repeat the previous meltdown and so began eight loops of the forest.
As I just alluded to, on my last excursion to Portumna I was trotting along on my merry way until I passed the six-mile marker and promptly blew out both my hamstrings. What followed was six hours and fifteen minutes of excruciating walking that turned both my legs to jelly (this despite the course being as flat as a pancake).
This time, things panned out slightly different, it went like this: I had gotten up at 4 o’clock that morning for the long drive from Louth to Galway. Not realising that the marathon didn’t start till 10am, I arrived while the early registrations were still taking place and so retired back to the back of the jeep for some extra sleep. End result: five minutes before the bus left from the car park to the starting line, I got a loud knock on the window and a shout to wake up and get ready! There followed a mad scramble to get my all my gear together in a flurry of straps, backpacks, belts and compression t-shirts…
Unlike the previous occasion in March, we began half a mile back up St. Josephs’ Road into Portumna. One of the best things about this particular course, owing to the fact that it loops around the same route several times, is that you always know when the next snack station is coming up; there was one situated at the finish line and another right at the end of that windy taily bit on the right hand side.
Bolting out of the traps too quickly is still proving to be a major problem for me. For the first 13 miles, I was ranging from about 7:27 to 8:11 minutes per mile. In the second half, this collapsed somewhat, ranging from 11:14 to 13:50 minutes per mile. My heart-rate also dipped sharply around the two-hour mark. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a bit of a double-edge sword. On the one hand, I’m going to have to work a lot harder to repeat the sub 4-hour performance in Kildare. On the other (more positive) hand, I am finally finding my feet.**
I finished in 4hrs:18min:57 sec (cutting nearly two hours off the previous day out in Portumna) and I’m getting to the point where I can settle into a rhythm and feel comfortable finishing in this sort of time. By comfortable, I mean I probably won’t want to throw up on my way over the finish line.
All in all, this was a pretty successful day out. No injuries to report and I am officially no longer the slowest man in Portumna! The next event would be a Midnight Marathon which was part of Le Cheile Athletic Club’s 24 hour Run.
Race report coming soon.
** I used to think that I got all my best writing done during these 2am cramming sessions. After re-reading that sentence, I’m not so sure…
- Finally Breaking the 4-Hour Barrier (runningforreachout.wordpress.com)