Maynooth Joy Day 2 Mile Race 2013
My first Joy-Day 2 mile race had been in the South of France and had been at a stage when I was only fit enough to walk rather than run - though to be fair I ran the last bit! This time round I had shaken off the injuries from my mystery bike crash and was fit to run, but I was still feeling the after-effects of increasing my activity level too fast. The culprit had been the week following the exertions of the 70 mile bike ride around Somerset that I did on June 21st.
I'd felt fine enough the day after that demanding ride (my first time up at high heart rates for several months - including a climb of Cheddar Gorge quite late in the day) to run for an hour. Then I still felt fine so I rode my bike again the next day. Still feeling fine I ran a bit harder on the Monday. Still feeling great I rode hard up Yanley Lane on the way to work on the Tuesday. Wednesday I no longer felt fine! Strange shivery sensations and sudden cramps in my diaphragm, nasty aching in my back and limbs, permanent indigestion as my digestive system froze up in protest at the exertion - yes, I had made my first stupid mistake on my road to recovery from illness last Autumn. A couple of weeks taking it easy had brought the shivers pretty much to an end and got my resting heart rate back on track, but I was no way going to run hard in a 2 miler. I decided to aim for 8 minute miles and enjoy being part of a race with a big bunch of friends on a still, mile morning at the beautiful university/seminary where we were staying just a short distance outside Dublin. Or were we at Hogwarts? No-one was really sure.
My only pics are self-service photos of the start, but they give an idea of the start and finish lines which were both in the huge courtyard. After Ambarish started us off we lapped the quad and headed out on to perfectly flat, wide pavements through the parkland, fringed by trees. The silence was powerful, the course beautiful. I found myself soon dropped by almost all the guys and many of the girls too - I was following Devashishu but after he sped up into the second lap I had to decide whether to stay with him or slow down. After the weird feelings I'd been experiencing since overtraining, it was a no-brainer. I slowed down.
No idea what my one mile split was, but the whole race took 15.38. Inside my 8 minute mile pace target (and pretty accurate as the race had been measured with a couple of Garmins and was therefore probably no more than 1% long). I was more than happy. It was a steady pace, not one I could have comfortably kept up for a long distance, but it seemed to have the desired effect. I'd had a great race experience, loving every step of the verdant and peaceful loop, and kick-started my recovery too. I discovered this second benefit over the next couple of days - I felt stronger and was able to restart jogging too work from Temple Meads, cycling through Yanley and Ashton Court, and generally getting my fitness back. Next target - stay injury free and run faster at the next 2 miler! Ipswich? New York? Maybe both.
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